© Wendinger, Renee.  Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York.  Minnesota: Legendary Publicastion, 2010. Print.

    History of the Orphan Train Riders of New York (Midwest)
                                                   Website: www.orphantrainridersof minnesota.com

Immigration
In 1853 the United States began evaluation of railroad routes to the Pacific, sending mapping announcements to Europe and the rest of the world.  Praises went forth, inviting
people to come to American and obtain "free land."  As a result, the United States received a large number of immigrants.  Steamship agents and railroad companies attracted
the rest with descriptions of "the land of opportunity."  Port cities became overcrowded, with assorted jobs filled by cheap labor.  New York City had the largest influx of
immigrants.  Many made long overland journeys, but countless others stayed in the city.  A host of urban ills, including poverty, disease, alcoholism, job competition, and lack of
resources led to instability and desperation.  Sometimes families were left with little choice but to abandon their children to the city streets.

The New York Children's Aid Society
The Children's Aid Society was under the auspices of the Brace Farm School, the Industrial Schools, and Newsboys Lodging Homes.  Charles Loring Brace and friends founded the
Children's Aid Society in 1853-54.  Brace saw orphaned, half-orphaned, and runaway children become waifs of the city.  Envisioning new lives for these destitute youngsters, Brace
devised a plan to send them away from overpopulated city streets to find family homes in the West.  He believed the West had "many spare places at the table of life" and a
wholesome atmosphere in which to raise children.  This excellent plan was not totally satisfactory for all children.  Some went to good homes, but others were instead
mistreated.  Upon arrival, children were grouped upon stages, on station platforms, in town halls, or on wooden boxes, and prospective parents were asked to choose a child by
personal viewing.  Thus the phrase put up for adoption became known.  Boys may have had their muscles examined as potential farm laborers.  Similarly, teeth, stature, and
visible medical issues were considered.

The New York Foundling Hospital
In 1869 Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbons and the Sisters of Charity founded the New York Foundling Hospital.  Crime seemed to follow poverty, and the most monstrous crime of all
was infanticide.  The Sisters were child savers, too, but reserved safekeeping to infants and young children.  The Foundling Hospital's children usually aged between one and six
years, rode on trains affectionately called "baby trains," "mercy trains," or "baby specials."  This organization sent nearly as many children west as did the Children's Aid Society.  
The New York Foundling Hospital and the Children's Aid Society were two of the largest East Coast agencies placing children in the West.  

Indentured Application
The New York Foundling Hospital commissioned prospective parents to apply for a child in advance.  Clergy and city officials announced the need for family homes to local parishes
and citizens.  Prospective parents could specify the age, gender, hair and eye color they sought in a child.  The New York Foundling Hospital carried an indenture system
formulating a contract requiring parents needed to clothe, educate, and provide financially for the child until the age of eighteen.  The form essentially guaranteed room and
board in exchange for labor.  A child could be sent back to New York if placement proved unsatisfactory.  The expectation was that the contract could be dismissed in favor of
adoption.

Seventy Five Years of Orphan Trains
As of 1854 and 1929 over 250,000 children from the urban East Coast, predominantly New York, were placed on what became known as "orphan trains."  This one-way trip in
most cases was designed to relocate homeless, neglected, and abandoned children to all points west across America.  The transfer was the first emigration plan the largest mass
migration of children ever to take place on American soil formulated this countries earliest child welfare system.  The humble beginnings for these children dispensed outstanding
citizens that shaped American character and culture.  

Minnesota Reunions
Orphan train riders Marie Lenzmeier of Wahpeton, ND, Mary Buscher of Breckenridge, MN, and Carmella Keaveny of Tintah, MN discovered they were orphans from New York,
and had traveled across the United States in the early 1900's to find new family homes.  The women considered, "how many more like us in the world can we find?
Seven riders gathered in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1960.  One of the women placed an enthusiastic phone call to the New York Foundling Hospital revealing their recent get-
together.  A Sister of Charity at the Foundling announced that none of their children had ever established a reunion of orphans, and voiced profound happiness on the unique and
exciting idea.
The women elected to place an ad in several newspapers throughout the Midwest inviting others like themselves to a meeting at the Metropolitan building in Wahpeton.  Nine
individuals arrived to become acquainted and exchange life stories on July 1, 1961.  The group was unanimous in establishing successive meetings.
Letters began to arrive from nearly every state in the United States expressing a connection to life as a foundling from New York in search of forming an extended family with
others like themselves.  A meeting of riders was held on June 16, 1962 in Wahpeton, ND reaching thirty-five members across America.
The dream established by the originators of the first Orphan Train Riders of New York reunion was the first of its kind in the entire United States appointing Minnesota as the first
state to carry on precedence.  And so the meeting continued, attendance grew, and a familiar family unit took shape yearly.
Orphan Train Riders of New York, continues the dream of its founders and contributors exclusively as an orphan train organization whose primary objective is to support and
educate others about a phenomenal part of American History.  Annual gatherings are attended by riders, descendants across-the-board of New York orphan train riders, friends,
and a broad spectrum of  interested individual's.  A fifty year milestone of gatherings transpires on October 2, 2010.  

55 years of Celebrating our Orphan Train Riders will be  October 3, 2015 in Little Falls, MN. To date October 2015 there are few living riders in Minnesota

A conservative number of four million descendants originate from riders of the orphan trains.   As of 2010, approximately 100 Riders survive in the United States.    
ORPHAN TRAIN RIDERS OF NEW YORK (MIDWEST)
Mission Statement
Orphan Train Riders of New York
supports, educates, and
preserves the historical epoch
of the orphan trains to groups of all ages
©Copyright  June 2010 Susan Lehner - All rights reserved.  Website owned exclusively by Susan Lehner .  When reviewing any of this
information you see that it is incorrect or more can be added please contact me so I can make the correction.   Also, when viewing the pictures,
you will notice many names are missing, so if you can identify any of these - please let me know and I will make the additions  and/or
corrections.
Current Officers: 2015-2016
President - Rob Kolosky -
rkolosky@gmail.com
Vice President -Julie Berglund - jberglund04@yahoo.com
Secretary - Susan Keaveny Lehner -
sblehner@centurylink.net
Treasurer - Diana Schaefer diana@newUlmtel.net
Web-designer/Historian - Susan Keaveny Lehner  sblehner@centurylink.net
1
1961
Wahpeton, ND
Metropolitan Bldg
2
1962
Wahpeton, ND
Metropolitan Bldg
3
1963
St Paul, MN
Hotel St Paul
4
1964
St Cloud, MN
St Germain Hotel
5
1965
Fargo, ND
Town House
6
1966
Sleepy Eye, Mn
Orchard Inn
7
1967
St Paul, MN
Hotel St Paul
8
1968
Melrose, MN
Legion Hall
9
1969
Waite Park,  MN
Moose Lodge
10
1970
Moorehead, MN
Holiday Inn
11
1971
Anoka, MN
Legion Hall
12
1972
Sleepy Eye, MN
Orchard Inn
13
1973
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
14
1974
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
15
1975
St Cloud, MN
St Germain Hotel
16
1976
Dilworth, MN
Silver Spike Motel
17
1977
St Cloud, MN
St Germain Hotel
18
1978
Wahpeton, ND
Hwy 210 Motel
19
1979
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
20
1980
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
21
1981
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
22
1982
Wadena, MN
Holiday Inn
23
1983
Alexandria, MN
Holiday Inn
24
1984
Osage, Iowa
VFW Club
25
1985
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
26
1986
New Ulm, MN
 
27
1987
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
28
1988
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
29
1989
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
30
1990
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
31
1991
Melrose, MN
VFW
32
1992
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
33
1993
Redwood Falls, MN
St Catherine Church Hall
34
1994
Alexandria, MN
Holiday Inn
35
1995
Alexandria, MN
St Marys School
36
1996
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
37
1997
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
38
1998
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
39
1999
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
40
2000
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
41
2001
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
42
2002
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
43
2003
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
44
2004
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
45
2005
Little Falls, MN
Gathering Space in Chapel
46
2006
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
47
9/27/07
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
48
10/18/08
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
49
10/17/09
Little Falls, Mn
St Francis Hall
50
10/02/10
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
51
10/01/11
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
52
10/06/12
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
53
10/05/13
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
54
10/11/14
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
55
10/03/15
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
56
9/24/16
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
57
9/23/17
Little Falls, Mn
St Francis Hall
58
9/29/18
Little Falls, Mn
St Francis Hall
59
9/14/19
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
60
9/26/20
Little Falls, MN
St Francis Hall
List of past Minnesota Orphan Train Reunions
SAVE THE DATE

Orphan Train Riders of Minnesota
60 Years of Celebrating our Orphan Train Riders
September 26, 2020
St Francis Center, 116 8th Avenue Little Falls, MN  56345
9:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Open to all families, friends and interested persons.
All are Invited to attend
Contact Susan Keaveny Lehner  sblehner@centurylink.net if you would like to
join us.
The first ever Orphan Train Reunion was held in 1960 in Grand Island, NE.    7 riders attended