Orphan Train Conference planned in Little Falls [UPDATED]Published 9:10am Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Updated 11:10am Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Between 1854-1929 over 250,000 children were placed out on orphan trains from the East Coast, venturing into unknown territory in the West by train, to settle with unfamiliar families across America.
The transfer was the first emigration plan and largest mass migration of children ever to take place on American soil; formulating our counties first child welfare system.
For many of these children arriving in new family homes throughout America, the placement left them facing kind and loving families, or as indentured servants bound to hard labor.
Descendants and interested persons gather annually to celebrate and discover the saga of those little pioneers drawn into a social experiment spanning a quarter of a century (75 years).
There are less than 50 surviving orphan train riders existing throughout the Unites States today.
A silent auction, meeting, entertainment, lunch and orations by orphan train rider descendants will fill the day at the 53rd Annual Orphan Train Riders celebration at St Francis Center, 116 8th Avenue SE, Little Falls, MN 56345, on Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Entertainment will take place at 10 a.m. by Riders on the Orphan Train from Austin, Texas. Phil Lancaster and Alison Moore have traveled the country extensively performing an exceptional history line-up presenting a multi-media program combining audio visual elements, historical fiction and musical ballads into a collaborative performance that brings the Orphan Train movement, a largely-unknown chapter in American history, to public awareness.
John Shontz, railroad historian from Helena, Montana, will be on hand to discuss the railroads connection via the orphan trains.
Collective information will be made available to individuals seeking journey histories.
The conference is open to any interested persons. Walk-ins are welcome. Contact an officer to register:
Renée Wendinger- President firstname.lastname@example.org (507) 794-7835
Pete Keaveny -Vice President email@example.com (701) 452-4336
Joyce LaVoie -Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org (320) 732-0959
Janice Gonsior -Treasurer (763) 571-4462
Susan Lehner – Historian email@example.com (320) 629-7642.
Orphan Train Conference planned in Little Falls