Rare Orphan Train child contract for one Caroline Marey to an Illinois Farm Family. Caroline age 10 was swept off the from the New York Juvenile Asylum and basically sold into service to R.D.Gregg of Blackston,Livingston County Illinois on September 22 1882.
I have provided a number of photographs for you to read this compelling document. Little Caroline was basically sold as a slave.
From about 1850 through the early twentieth century, thousands of children were transfered from the overcrowded orphanages and homes in the large cities in the northeastern United States, to live with families on farms throughout the middle West.
The name orphan train originates with the railroad trains that transported the children to their new homes. While some of the children were orphans, many of them had one or even two living parents. In those cases, the child's parents were unable or unwilling to care for them. Other parents believed their children would have a better life if sent to a caring family in the farmlands of the west. Many of the parents and children were immigrants who found life in America harder than they anticipated.
The goal of the orphan trains was to provide the children with a better life - many had fended for themselves on the streets of New York. Many were not babies, but were in their teens when sent West. The results were mixed. In some cases, as adults, the orphan train riders were very positive about their adoptive family, felt they were treated well, loved, and given a better chance in life. However, in many cases, the children were taken into a new home only for the work they were expected to do. Some were mistreated. In many cases, siblings were separated from each other and consequently, from the only family they knew.
Family history research about Orphan Train Riders is often a difficult undertaking. Records can be scarce. As adults, children often did not remember or did not discuss their previous life in the east. Many feel that contact with siblings and living relatives was discouraged - perhaps in an attempt to "help the children adjust" to their new home.
Illinois became the new home of many of the children who rode the Orphan Trains.
This rare historical & important document details the plight many of these children went through.
Item ID: 720
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