Between 1854 and 1930, more than 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children were sent west on orphan trains to find new homes. Some were adopted by loving families; others were not as fortunate. In recent years, some of the riders have begun to share their stories. Andrea Warren alternates chapters about the history of the orphan trains with the story of Lee Nailling, who in 1926 rode an orphan train to Texas.
In years past, as today, there have always been children who find themselves needing a home outside of their birth families. In earlier times, families often took in orphaned, or needy children, then immigration and poor jobs and wages, made this all but impossible. This book tells the story of one man's solution to this problem. A pastor decided that there was a better solution than housing kids in orphanages. Thus the Orphan Trains were started from the Children's Aid Society.
Orphan Trains took inner city kids cross country to give families in the Midwest and south an opportunity to choose kids from the trains to become a part of their family. Between 1854 and 1930, more than 200,000 children were placed into families by this method. This book tells one man's journey from his mother's death to his final placement into a good home. Lee Nailing tells his story from abandonment by his father, splitting up of his siblings, to becoming the "son" of a wonderful family. He eventually got in touch with a couple of his surviving siblings too. Parts of other children's experiences were interspersed within this story. Some poor experiences, but mostly good ones.
Children from these trains generally grew up to be good productive citizens, including one governor, a leader in Alaska, leaders in other children's aid groups, and other community leaders. Very interesting book, good for adults and for teaching children about this part of history. Pictures included.
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I loved this book. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions! I thoroughly enjoyed it!