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Orphan Train by James Magnuson
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Orphan Train

by James Magnuson, Dorothea G. Petrie (Joint Author.)

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Emma Symms and her uncle, an Episcopal minister, set off in 1854 with 27 orphans and abandoned children from New York City in order to find homes for them with farmers in the mid-west. Her uncle is taken ill after the first group of children find homes on their first stop, but she makes the tough decision to stick with their plan rather than return the children to New York City. As she goes she ends up being given help from the unlikeliest of sources, Frank Carlin, a daggeureotypist who is enroute to take daggeurotypes of the building of a railroad.

This is a young adult/tween type novel that was written in the 1970s after one of the authors first learned of the orphan trains that took thousands of New York City orphans and abandoned children to farms in the Midwest and west over the course of fifty years starting in 1854. While it wasn’t a brilliant novel, some of the children were fairly well done and while I’d heard of children in world wars being sent west on trains to live with families, this was the first I’d heard of the nineteenth century trains.
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  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
The streets of New York City are over run with orphans and abandoned children when in 1853 a retired minister and his niece make arrangements with families in the Midwest to open their homes to these children. Factually, this mission continued through 1904.

This story is focused upon that first journey by train toward a new life for a handful of children led by Emma Symms. The story is funny, poignant and at times, tragic. At the beginning, Emma is almost clueless about what lies ahead--she is not the classic motherly type and only signed on because it was so very important to her uncle. Yet her courage, common sense and instincts plus help from an unexpected direction, make it all possible. ( )
  cfk | Nov 22, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Magnuson, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Petrie, Dorothea G.Joint Author.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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