Orphan Trains

By: Andrea Warren

The History Of Orphan Trains

By the 1850's, thousands of children were living on orphan trains or on the streets all over American cities. There were many different reasons why children would be on orphan trains. The most common reasons were that the children had no parents, the family could not properly support the children or the parents would abandon the child. Most likely after a child was separated from their family, they would probably never see the again. Very few kids had the possibility of ever seeing their siblings again but some were very lucky and were taken into homes in groups with their sisters and brothers, unlike others. The orphan trains became a big success around the country and a 1910 Children's Aid Society said that 87% percent of the children that were on the orphan trains had found loving families.

When trains were coming to an area in the United States they would hang up signs so people would know when the train was supposed to come.

What Life Was Like For A Train Rider

One day the child would wake up to hear that they were being sent off away from their family on a train. The train would arrive at the station and the child would get on with whatever luggage they had. Soon they would leave the station and make their way through the country looking for a family to adopt them. Sometimes the family that would adopt the child would only be looking for someone to work in their fields or in their house. Other times the child would also be abused by their adoptive parents. Other times the adoptive parents would change their minds and would ask to return the child to the orphan trains. But that was the worst that could happen to a child most times the adoptive parents would care and love the child as it was their own.