By the 1870s the Orphan trains of the Children’s Aid Society were rolling into towns in more than 30 states. An average of over three thousand children a year were taken out of orphanages and placed with families. It is estimated that there are now over two million descendants of Orphan Train riders.
This segment from the West by Orphan Train documentary includes archival photographs and an interview with Amanda Wahlmeier, former Curator at the National Orphan Train Complex.
Q: What were your hours of labor?
A: From 5 in the morning till 8 at night.
Q: At 7 years of age?
Q: Were you sometimes late?
A: Yes, and if we were, the overlooker would beat us till we were black and blue.( Joseph Hebergram, former child worker, interviewed in 1832)
MOST PEOPLE today are kept unaware of the fact that there were a series of laws passed into effect in the 1800’s, whereas unwed mothers were coerced to hand over their children to authorities. Thousands upon thousands complied—but why? The official explanation often falls upon the shame of immorality, mixed with the toxic blend of Industrialization workhouses.
Accordingly, they wanted to escape and make a better life for themselves, so they abandoned their children to child labor institutions and re-education centers.At the Foundling hospital in London, an estimated 4,500 women handed over their children. And that’s just one hospital.
There were as many as four Foundling Asylums in New York City alone, in which they were collectively turning over a thousand babies annually. By 1847, the number of child migrants who had been identified as orphans in Canada were unprecedented4. Though Grosse-Île in Quebec usually managed 10 orphans per year, they were overrun with more than a hundred in less than a month, and by years-end, thousands had arrived.Italy fared no better. Infants were deposited into foundling homes in scathing numbers. The trend started as early as the 1930’s, when as many as 32,000 infants were reported per Province.
. Nearby Spain and Portugal saw as many as 15,000 annual foundlings each. That number exceeded 35,000 per year within two decades, so that Italy had over 1,200 locations where newborns could be dropped off. Before 1860, some 374,000 recorded infants rounded the turnstiles in Milan, Naples, and Florence alone.
By 1887, foundling homes in St. Petersburg and Moscow began receiving over 27,000 babies on their doorstep. Historian David L. Ransel records that Moscow was receiving between 16,000 and 18,000 infants annually by the 1880’s, and sending over 10,000 of these each year to outlying villages for care. “In 1882 there were all told 41,720 foundlings from the Moscow home living with 32,000 foster families scattered throughout 4,418 villages. A dozen villages had over 90 fostering’s each.”Entire cartloads of foundlings were trucked in by women known as kommissionerki. “These enterprising women collected unwanted children in the villages and district towns, cared for them temporarily, usually in squalid conditions, and then when enough had been gathered to make the journey profitable, they packed the infants into a wagon and hauled them to the metropolitan foundling home.
Fees for this service were substantial and reportedly provided the kommissionerki with a comfortable living.”The foundlings were real. Their recorded numbers however are not. Fact of the matter is, the exact heads of children who were dropped off on doorsteps and then sent to industrial age work houses will never be known.
And I have yet to touch on the Orphan Train. Even official history agrees, most left absolutely no footprint in the record books.Everything we are told is a cover up.Annie Macpherson will go down in history as the woman who scammed more than 100,000 foundlings and shipped them from the United Kingdom to Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, even to the outer-edges of the earth, Australia, so that they could be sold into child labor. But just so we’re clear, MacPherson was a straw man. They were all sold into labor.