A Farewell to Victor

Posted by on April 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

A Farewell to Victor

Victor L. Cornell, the last surviving orphan train rider featured in our film, has died.

Cornell, of Moscow, Idaho, was 95.  He died Jan. 29, 2017.

Vic was little brother to Stanley Cornell, who died just four month earlier at age 96.

The two endured together the loss of their mother and their subsequent placement in an orphanage. They were sent on an orphan train, and were sent back from several homes before finding a happy childhood with J.L. and Ethel Deger of Wellington, Texas.


  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Stanley on two occasions. Both were Orphan Train Riders reunions in Colorado. I admired his grit and wonderful ending to the brothers’s search for a family!

    My mother and two of her sisters also rode the train from New York to Nebraska circa 1922. They were placed in three separate homes but maintained close contact for the remainder of their lives.

    The train riders stories are an inspiration and your documentary captured their unique survival skills. In all the years I accompanied my Mother and my Aunt to various reunions meeting and hearing other riders stories, I always marveled at their lack of self pity. Thank you for bringing their story to light!

    • Hello mrs ertle, I am a student doing a school history project on the orphan trains, and its triumph and tragedy. If you’d like may I ask you some questions on your mother and aunts experiences. Do you have any stories they’ve told you? Do you have some of their thoughts they’ve told about the trains? And how do you yourself feel about the movement that was the orphan trains? If you do not feel comfortable answering my questions I will respect that request. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, a truly interested student

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