In the beginning the Great Hunger in Ireland (1845-1852) initiated the American Orphan Train Era (1853-1929) here in America. The Irish Famine caused the death of over 1.2 million people and the emigration of 2,000,000 people to America, Europe, Australia and Canada. In 7 years the population in Ireland was reduced from 8,000,000 to 5,000,000 citizens. On any given day in New York City in 1852, 12,000-15,000 orphaned children lived in alleyways, box cartons and sewer pipes for protection against the elements. In an era where there was no social safety net, children resorted to theft, gambling, prostitution and gang warfare in order to survive. As time went by immigrant children of every ethnic group rode the Orphan Trains in search of a home and an escape from war, poverty, disease and homelessness. We do know from records that over 273,000 children departed from Grand Central in New York City and were sent all across America and were taken in by farm families and business professionals. The Children's Aid Society and the New York Foundling Hospital depended on the kindness of strangers and for the most part the people in the heartland of America came through. The trains also ran in Boston, Chicago & Philadelphia but the records have not been found. Learn about the Orphan Train Era from Tom's web site: www.theorphantrainriders.com. TomRiley will be doing a free lecture/video at the following venues.
1) SPRING LAKE, NJ-- BOOK FESTIVAL----AUGUST 23RD (Call 732-449-6655 for more info)
2) GOSHEN LIBRARY ORPHAN TRAIN PROGRAM---SEPTEMBER 5TH, SAT--10AM
3) STONY POINT LIBRARY---SEPTEMBER 8TH AT 6:30PM--ORPHAN TRAIN PROGRAM
4) MONROE LIBRARY---SEPTEMBER 9TH AT 6PM--ORPHAN TRAIN PROGRAM
5) SHREWSBURY PUBLIC LIBRARY, SHREWSBURY, MASSACHUSETTS---OCTOBER 7TH AT 7PM