Orphan Train Experience

By: Rymir Vaughn

Moving on Up

In the 1850's there were approximately 30,000 homeless children. They lived in the New York streets and slums. Charles Loring Brace, the founder of the Children's Aid Society, thought that it would be a good idea to move these children from the streets of NYC to the farmlands out west.
The Orphan Train Movement in the Mid- 1800s to Early 1900s

Away We Go

With the thought that their lives of struggle would end, Brace sent them off by train. They would be placed in a family that could have used an extra pair of hands. The children were not to be indentured. In fact, the older children that were sent by the C.A.S. were paid for their labor.

Foster Care?

The movement lasted from 1853 to about the early 1900's. Over 120,000 children were placed in this system. This controversial social experiment is looked at as the beginning of Foster Care in the U.S.

Orphan Train Stops

The trains stopped at more than 45 states along with Canada and Mexico. Indiana received the most children.
Orphan Trains Bring Children to Midwestern Communities

Different Ends of the Spectrum

Some of the children led very different lives. Some struggled and some thrived. Some becoming lawyers, politicians, teachers, and bankers.

Additions to Society

The Orphan Train led to things such as child labor laws, adoption, and an establishment of foster care services.

Different Accounts of the Orphan Train