The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider
Author: Clark Kidder
Publisher: Kidder Productions, LLC
It seems incomprehensible that there was a time in America s not-so-distant past that nearly 200,000 children could be loaded on trains in large cities on our East Coast, sent to the rural Midwest, and presented for the picking to anyone who expressed an interest in them. That's exactly what happened between the years 1854 and 1929. The primitive social experiment became known as placing out, and had its origins in a New York City organization founded by Charles Loring Brace called the Children's Aid Society. The Society gathered up orphans, half-orphans, and abandoned children from streets and orphanages, and placed them on what are now referred to as Orphan Trains. It was Brace s belief that there was always room for one more at a farmer s table. The stories of the individual children involved in this great migration of little emigrants have nearly all been lost in the attic of American history. In this book, the author tells the true story of his paternal grandmother, the late Emily (Reese) Kidder, who, at the tender age of thirteen, became one of the aforementioned children who rode an Orphan Train. In 1906, Emily was plucked from the Elizabeth Home for Girls, which was operated by the Children's Aid Society, and placed on a train, along with eight other children, bound for Hopkinton, Iowa. Emily s journey, as it turned out, was only just beginning. Life had many lessons in store for her - lessons that would involve perseverance, overcoming adversity, finding lasting love, and suffering great loss. Emily's story is told through the use of primary material, oral history, interviews, and historical photographs. It is a tribute to the human spirit of an extraordinary young girl who became a woman - a woman to whom the heartfelt phrase "there's no place like home," had a very profound meaning.