The First Orphan Train Riders

Posted by on December 29, 2018 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

The First Orphan Train Riders

While doing research for his new book on the history of the New York Juvenile Asylum and its orphan trains, Clark Kidder, co-producer and co-writer of West by Orphan Train, made an incredible discovery. In an old ledger kept by the New York Juvenile Asylum he discovered the names and ages of thirty-six of the children that rode the very first orphan (to Dowagiac, Michigan) in September 1854. After his book is published in 2019, Mr. Kidder will add the names to the interactive map here on our website.


  1. My paternal Grandmother Agnes was sent to Kansas as an illegitimate 8yo girl from Poland. Born around 1900. Married Smetana who died in farm accident ran over by team of horses. Married Jacob “Jake” Flaming. Lived in Caldwell Kansas. Any information?

    • I think we overlooked this comment long ago. But we are curious: Did you get information? If not, have you checked with the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, Kansas. I think they would have better information about Kansas children:

      • I did just go search our database for “Agnes” and none came up, Kelli. Any chance she was renamed once adopted? Born with a different first name?

    • Wait, Kelli, I did find one Agnes, born in 1891. The record says Agnes Skogland. Was that her? Or would you not know her birth family’s last name?

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