The Orphan Trains

By Aliya Rouine

What were the Orphan Trains? When did they occur?

The orphan trains was a social service program to take kids mainly from Eastern cities of the US to live and be adopted by families in the Midwest. The orphan trains happened between the years of 1854 and 1929.
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Who were the orphan riders?

Children and babies who were left and abandoned in cities like New York, Boston, and other Eastern cities. They were either left because

- parental death

- neglect, abandonment, prostitution.

- massive overpopulation in the New York area due to extensive immigration in the mid 19th century.

- a general attitude among the "higher society" that those in the "lower

    classes" didn't deserve the help.

Here are a few of the orphan riders

Where did the Orphan Trains go?

The orphan trains stopped at 45 states in the US as well as Canada and Mexico. The largest number of children were placed in Indiana.

Why did the orphan train end?

This movement ended because of the start of the depression in 1930. During that time it was hard for families to think about another mouth to feed at this time.

How were the orphans treated?

The children were not treated with total respect. When they were getting chosen to be with their new families, perspective parents might poke them or choose them by strength so they could help in the fields. They would not be chosen by character. Some lived fine lives and went on to be successful, others may have suffered abuses.