In today’s world, it seems unfathomable to gather all the homeless children, place them on a train and send them to another state with nothing but the clothes on their back.
Back in the late 1800’s through the 1920’s, however, that’s exactly what happened to many of the orphaned children living on the streets of New York City.
Those children or were put on “Orphan Trains” and sent off to places like Henry County where they were then sold as domestic help.
Executive Director of the Geneseo Historical Society Angie Snook tells the WGIL Evening News to this day there are still descendants of the “Orphan Train” in Henry County and Iowa.
“They took a census in Iowa in 2000 and 1/3rd of the population in Iowa are descendants of the Orphan Train,” says Snook. “The statistics are unbelievable and it’s just been fascinating to do the research.”
Snook says by the 1900’s there were 101,000 orphanages taking in children and putting them on Orphan Trains.
You can learn more about the Orphan Train and it’s impact on Henry County this Saturday at Bishop Hill Dairy Building at 1 p.m.