Lyn Johnson & Susan Lehner
Lyn Johnson, President of the Pine County Genealogical Society  & Susan Lehner - Guest Speaker
at the April 18, 2012 meeting

Presentation on Orphan Train Riders

Presentation on "The New York Orphan Train Riders"

Presentation of Orphan Train Riders
Susan Lehner's Presentation  of  "The New York Orphan Train Riders"

child waiting to be adopted
Sketch of a child waiting to be adopted

children on the Orphan Train
Children waiting to be adopted

Susan Lehner's mother age 2
Susan Lehner's mother at age 2 who was adopted by a family in a small western town in Minnesota

New York Foundling Hospital
New York Foundling Hospital founded in 1869

Orphan Trains and Orphan Train Riders 

From the East Coast to the Midwest and beyond


by Susan Lehner

  • This was a bittersweet time - orphaned, neglected and abandoned children of all nationalities were saved from the city streets of New York City.
  • Their lives were endangered by poverty, disease, crime, lack of shelter, and resources to survive.  These children began "Newsies", (newspaper boys) Shoe Shine children and whatever else they could find to help them survive.  They were left to be on their own at a very young age to young teenagers.  These children needed to get off the streets and into proper homes.
  • With the help of some very compassionate persons, organizations, and orphanages, this movement was made possible and some orphan train riders became outstanding citizens in America.  These children are survivors.
  • This part of our American History has really not ever been published in our history books, which was the purpose of the orphan trains, or presented to our schools as part of our history.
  • Our organization, "Orphan Train Riders of New York", have been celebrating this era and history for over 50 years.
Our Mission Statement
Orphan Train Riders of New York supports, educates, and preserves the historical epoch of the orphan trains to groups of all ages.

I am (our family) are very proud descendants of an Orphan Train Rider who rode an Orphan Train in 1914 to a small western town in Minnesota.

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