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Orphan Trains to Missouri (Missouri Heritage…

Orphan Trains to Missouri (Missouri Heritage Readers Series)

by Michael D. Patrick

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  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Read for the December Missouri Readers Selection. In 1853, Charles Loring Brace formed the Children's Aid Society to offer food, lodging, and clothing to the orphans of New York City. However, they were unable to keep up with the demand, and so they decided to send the children to the Midwest for adoption by farm families, with the thought that it would be a good experience for the children, and would supply needed labor for the farm families. This is the story of the orphans who rode the trains from New York to Missouri to start new lives.
On the surface, this seems a good idea, and it was frequently successful for the children and those who adopted them. However, I was disturbed by the attitudes of the time that blithely accepted this mass transport of children, some of whom were not orphans but were left at the orphanages temporarily by their parents who were struggling to support them. Many siblings were separated with no thought to the emotional consequences, and some of the children were simply used as "free labor" on the farms.
This was a great book. I struggled with the moral dilemma, but I suppose it was what was done at the time. A very touching story. ( )
  tloeffler | Dec 14, 2013 |
From book: Early immigration laws encouraged the poor of Europe to find new hope with new lives in the United States. But sometimes the immigrants exchanged a bad situaiton in their native country for an even worse one on the streets of New York and other industrial cities. As a result, the streets were filled with crowds of abandoned children that the police called "street arabs." Many New York citizens blamed the street arabs for crime and violence in the city and wanted them placed in orphan homes or prisons. ..... In 1853 a man by the name of Charles Loring Brace, along with other well-to-do men in New York City, founded the Children's Aid Society. The society planned to give food, lodging, and clothing to homeless children and provide educational and trade opportunities for them. But the number of children needing help was so large that the Children's Aid Society was unable to care for them, and Brace developed a plan to send many of the children to the rural Midwest by train. He was convinced that the children of the streets would find many benefits in rural America. In 1854 he persuaded the board of the society to send the first trainload of orphans west. With this, the orphan trains were born.
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  dpk1927 | Apr 14, 2007 |
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Discusses the use of orphan trains to place orphaned or abandoned children in homes in nineteenth-century Missouri.

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