The Orphan Train


What was the Orphan Train Movement?

The Orphan Trains

When did this occur and why?

It was the 1850s and there was over 30,000 homeless children in New York. Charles Loring Brace, the founder of The Children's Aid Society, believed that there was a way to change the futures of these children. By removing youngsters from the poverty and debauchery of the city streets and placing them in morally upright farm families, he thought they would have a chance of escaping a lifetime of suffering.

Did the Orphan Trains make life better?

Over all yeah it did. There was no such thing as welfare back then and little foster care. These kids either lived in orphanages or on their own in the streets. They had no medical help and many would turn to crime. This lead them to jail or even death. The Orphan Train Movement was the start to children's rights. It also saw the beginning of the welfare system. In the end, the Orphan Trains saved a lot of kids' lives and helped put in place the system we have today.

The Story of Mary Jane Baade an Orphan Train Rider

Mary Jane Baade was Placed in a New York orphanage when she was two weeks old she lived inside the walls of the Catholic institution for the first 26 months of her life. In the summer of 1912 Mary Jane left the orphanage to travel thousands of miles to a new home. After the 2 1/2-day train journey, Mary arrived to Grand Island to meet her new family. “When I got off the train, my brother was looking for me,” she says. “There she is!,” she heard Frank yell. And from that day forward she was, at last, part of a family. The orphanage kept close tabs on the children it placed in homes. Once a year, each July, “they would visit, to check on us,” she says.

Read the whole story by clicking on the link below.