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Orphan Train Riders to Iowa  Orphan Train Riders

~ Lyon County ~

Argus Leader

August 1980

Edward Risberg died forgotten by his generation, but may find himself remembered by those yet to come.

Thanks to the generosity and sensitivity of a self-admitted history nut, Risberg's body now rests beneath a headstone in the Rock Rapids Cemetery, his gravesite looking as respectable as any of those whose owners boast fame, fortune or, at least, family.

You may remember Risberg. Staff writer Chuck Raasch dug into the story last August when an obituary about a man with no survivors caught his attention. By talking with the few people who knew something about him, Raasch reconstructed the story of a man and his sister who grew up in New York in the early 1900s and came to Rock Rapids, apparently on one of the orphan trains of those homeless days.

Mary Risberg was adopted by the Hans Raveling family who consented to take Edward when he refused to be separated from his sister. Edward soon tired of the Iowa farm life, though, and left for California at age 14 and apparently spent his life there.

He returned to Rock Rapids about two years ago, living out his life at the Indian Hills Care Center. He died of cancer at age 76, a ward of the county. He was buried next to his sister.

"It just caught my eye," Ron Butler says of the story that ran August 17, 1980.  Ron Butler designed and donated the tombstone for Edward Risberg. The rest of the story is about him.