Orphan Train Riders -

The White Slavery Movement

(If it's green it's a LINK to more)


Jennifer (the creator of the above site/link and this article) recently wrote us and asked that we not post her entire article here so people would go to her site to read more, HOWEVER, her site has at least 50 or more links on this particulare page that we have chosen not to show here. We have purposely done that so you, the reader, would be encouraged to visit her site. The links in her site are so much more informative than her one page here. Jennifer, please, let our readers see this article here because they will more than likely go to your site for more, which we heartily encourage everyone to do. On Jennifer's site is even a video. Please, everyone, consider this a taste teaser for more. Go to http://jacksbox4you.blogspot.com/2007/11/orphan-train-riders-white-slavery.html for much, much more!!!

Also, Yonder Places found the following for Jennifer: On 17 Feb she posted: "I am pleased to announce that today my blog was recognized by the Geneabloggers website. Please note the Geneabloggers badge on the right side of the front page. Geneabloggers is a great resource for various genealogical blogs. I would encourage you all to browse through the offerings at this site. http://jacksbox4you.blogspot.com/" (((And we add: GO SEE IT!!!)))

divider bar

And now on to her article:

Orphan Train Riders — The White Slavery Movement

Posted by Jennifer in the United States

Society's across the generations have had to make hard decisions regarding how to handle children that are left destitute when parents die, abandoned by parents, when parents were not able to provide for their children, or parents who were not fit to raise children due to alcohol abuse or physical abuse of the children. As a result these abandoned children were left to their own devices to obtain shelter and food, often stealing, begging, selling matches and/or papers to support themselves. These children were labeled as "Street Arabs", "the dangerous classes", and 'street urchins" to name a few. In the mid 1800's and early 1900's of the United States history, these problems escalated and led Charles Loring Brace, a minister in New York, to found The Children's Aid Society in 1853 in New York City. Orphanages or asylums as they were called back then, did exist, but Charles L. Brace felt that it was not the best environment for children to grow and develop. Brace thought that the children would benefit from fresh air, work and a loving family and resulted in the birth of the Orphan Trains. Unfortunately the loving family life was not always the case and the child would have to be moved to another family.

In 1865, the New York Foundling Asylum was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. Beginning in 1872, the Asylum began to send children in trains out to families in the west. Indentured forms were filled out by the people accepting the child with indenture lasting until they were 18 years of age. The New England Home For Little Wanderers (NEHFLW) in Boston, Chicago Home Society, Minnesota Home Society, and other such societies also placed children with families on the frontier. Most children were never adopted into the families they went to but became indentured servants.

These trains were in existence from 1854 to 1930. During this time, approximately 200,000 or more children were transported on The Orphan Trains to various destinations across the country. Please refer to the map on the right or you can view the map in a larger format by clicking on The Orphan Train Map. This map shows in numbers how many of these children were transported to each state. It was common to have children separated from their siblings, to not have birth certificates, and no further contact with their parents or siblings. In many cases the only legal document for the children would have been their baptismal certificate. By the age of 18, the children were released from their indenture and were expected to make their own way in life. Many of the states that received children from The Orphan Trains have sites that contain extracted information regarding the children that came to the state and who sponsored them as in the examples of the states of Kansas and Nebraska. The best way to determine if your state has a list would be to search on Google, Yahoo, or your favorite search engine.

The Orphan Train Collection and National Orphan Train Complex websites are available to read for further detail regarding these lost children of the United States. If you would like to read some personal accounts of a few of the children that were affected click The Stories of the Orphan Train Riders designed by D. Bruce Ayler one of the descendants of the Orphan Train Riders.

(Note: Within this article is a link to the states they went to, and how many went...but this is not all inclusive. The link is: http://www.orphantraindepot.com/Map.html)

Alabama 39
Arkansas 136
California 168
Canada 566
Colorado 1,563
Connecticut 1,588
Delaware 833
District of Columbia 172
Florida 400
Georgia 317
Idaho 52
Illinois 9,172
Indian Territory 59
Indiana 3,955
Iowa 6,675
Kansas 4,150
Kentucky 212
Louisiana 79
Maine 43
Maryland 563
Massachusetts 375
Michigan 5,326
Minnesota 3,258
Missouri 6,088
Montana 83
Nebraska 3,442
Nevada 59
New Jersey 4,977
New York 33,053
New Mexico 1
New Hampshire 136
North Carolina 144
North Dakota 975
Ohio 7,272
Oklahoma 95
Oregon 90
Pennsylvania 2,679
Rhode Island 340
South Carolina 191
South Dakota 43
Tennessee 233
Texas 1,327
Utah 31
Vermont 262
Virginia 1,634
Washington 231
West Virginia 149
Wisconsin 2,750
Wyoming 19

* From 1854 until 1910, the New York Children's Aid Society had taken 106,245 children and poor families scattered among the states listed. The "Free Home Placing Out" continued for 19 more years, ending in 1929. During these last years many thousands more were sent out. This chart does not reflect the children placed by:

—New York Foundling Hospital
—New England Home for Little Wanderers
—New York Juvenile Asylum
—Chicago Home Society
—Minnesota Home Society
—Salvation Army
—and many other placing agencies.

And we want to add AGAIN - PLEASE visit Jennifer's website for MORE



Click Here to send us an email

click this arrow to return to the top of this page



Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Valid CSS!