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More about the Orphan Trains

July 25, 2014
Estherville News

The recent article about the Orphan Trains needs some redaction. Only the first Orphan Train sent out in 1854 to Dowagiac, MI used a cattle car. That was never repeated. Reduced passenger fare was provided for the children and they road in passenger cars. The original "cattle car" that was mentioned is not in Springdale, AR. It's whereabouts is unknown. The total number of children sent out by the two principal organizations, the Children's Aid Society and the Catholic Foundling Hospital, sent out an estimated 250,000 children, that went to every state in the continental US. There were several thousand sent to Iowa, not 250,000. "Riders on the Orphan Train" is a multi media presentation about the Orphan Trains that is the official outreach program for the National Orphan Train Complex and Museum in Concordia, KS, helping to tell this hugely unknown chapter in America's history. There is a continually ongoing oral history accompanying this out reach program. As it tours new stories are uncovered. In April while visiting Wharton, Texas, an unknown Orphan Train rider was discovered, Beatrice Flanagan Fojtik , 93 years old, told her story of getting off the train in Sealy, TX near Houston in 1922. Mary Maresh who got off the train in Rosenberg, TX in 1911, is the oldest living Orphan Train Rider in Texas, she is 105 years old.

Phil Lancaster,

Austin, Texas

 
 

 

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