IAGenWeb Project
Join our Team!
Orphan Train Riders to Iowa  Orphan Train Riders

~ Linn County ~

Originally appeared in

The Leader

Malvern, Iowa
28 Mar 1901

Orphan Train Stopped Here

Homes Wanted For Children

A company of orphan and homeless children from the children's Aid Society of New York will arrive at Malvern Thursday, April 4, to find good homes among the farmer and citizens of Mills and adjoining counties.

The children are from 3 to 14 years of age, and have been thrown friendless upon the world and the Society, which is supported by charitable contributions, ask the citizens of this community to aid in the finding of homes for these children who, thus aided, become useful men and women. Persons taking the children treat them as member of their family, send them to church, school and Sunday School and properly clothe them, until they are 18 years of age. It is then expected that they will receive some wages.

The following well-known citizens have kindly consented to act as a committee to aid the agent in securing homes: Thos. Paul, w. H. Cross, J. D. Paddick, W. S. Corbin and W. P. Wortman.

Distribution will take place Thursday, April 4, 1901, at 9:30 a. m. Persons desiring to take children are requested to give their names to the committee as soon as possible. Applications must be endorsed by the committee. B. W. Tice, Agent Children's Aid Society, 105 East 22nd St., New York. Mrs. Emily L. Bryant, Special Agent, Burlington Junction, Mo.

Such a notice today would, of course, cause widespread concern and even indignation among Social Service officials as well as private citizens. For now it all but requires an act of Congress to adopt a child, even under the best of circumstances.



The Leader, abt 1981:
But the above notice nearly 80 years ago came at the latter end of a social movement that had existed for almost a half century-the distribution of orphans and homeless children from New York City throughout the mid-west.

Conditions for children of the very poor in New York during much of the 19th century were appalling. An article entitled, "The Orphan's Friend, Charles Collins Townsend and The Orphans; Home of Industry," in the Dec. 1979 issue of The Palimpsest of the State Historical Society, stated that New York in 1853 had "hordes of vagabond urchins."

The Rev. Mr. Townsend, who after several years experience as a missionary in the mid-west was the pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City, conceived the idea of establishing a farm and home for orphans, meantime there were a few homes for orphans established in or near New York which continued long after Townsend's death to try to place their charges in the mid-west, holding that life on a farm was by far the best thing for the unfortunate children.
Thus the notice that appeared in The Leader in 1901 was one of the latter efforts to place the orphans in Iowa.

Although the editor of The Leader was on the committee screening applicants for the orphans sent to Malvern, he evidently felt the disposal of them too confidential for further news in the paper. But it was reported that 12 orphans arrived here " and, good home found for all.

Mabel Robinson, a small girl at the time, still remembers the arrival of the orphans here and the interest it stirred in the community. While she was living with her uncle and aunt, Mr. And Mrs. Fred Zanders, who reared her, she and a girlfriend, also from a single-child family, hoped that their parents might take one of the homeless ones and thus provide them with additional companionship.

Other whom Mrs. Robinson remember from the group of orphans: Mary Wilson, whose health had been endangered earlier from malnutrition but who found a good home here and grew up to be a very good citizen; Cloyd Strohl, adopted by Mr. And Mrs. George Strohl of near Strahan helped on their farm.