Orphan Train Riders

By: Ivana Gutierrez

Time Period

From 1854 to 1929

The Experience

According to National Orphan Train Complex, it was different riding the train depending upon when you rode the train. It would be 30-40 children riding with two or three adults. Some of these children were from babies to teens. Some of the older children didn't know what was going on and others were too excited to leave New York to go to the West side. When the children had arrived at the place they were supposed to be at. The children would be clean up and they would be taken to the meet up place, such as where the parents would come and inspect them to see if they were good to be taken home.

Where did they come from/go to?

According to National Orphan Train Complex, Boston and New York were the places the riders were mainly from or that's where the children immigrated to. Also, the riders were coming from Canada. The rides "were sent to the 48 continental United States. The majority were sent to the West, but New England, the South, and the eastern seaboard had their share."



What Did It Happen ?

The Orphan Train Happened because there approximately 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York.

How were the riders treated?

Many riders were treated differently. Some were treated like family and others were treated bad and like servants.

Who started The Children’s Aid Society?

According to National Orphan Train Complex, "In 1853, Charles Loring Brace and a group of businessmen formed a new organization to help care for the neglected children of New York City. They called it the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) with Mr. Brace as the first Secretary." Also "Today, many consider the Orphan Train Movement as the precursor to modern foster care."


Orphan Train Riders
Orphan Train Interview w/ Idona Swedenburg