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Orphan Train Riders to Iowa Orphan Train Riders
~ Dorothy Urch ~

When she was 5 years old, Dorothy and her brother, Charles, boarded a train in New York City accompanied Clara Comstock. The year was 1917. Her three older brothers were at war in Europe and their father had died the year before. Mary Elizabeth Brooks, Dorothy's mother, with bad health, no work, no way to feed her large family, handed her three youngest children -- Albert, 9, Dorothy, 5, and Charles, 2, over to the Children's Aid Society. Dorothy was adopted by the Johnson's in Algona. Albert was placed in Algona a year later, with a different family.

Although she had always known she was adopted, it wasn't until Dorothy was in her 80's that she heard the term "Orphan Train". Encouraged by her children, grand children and great-grandchildren, Dorothy set out to learn as much as she could about the Orphan Trains. Now she spends as much time as she can telling her tale and working to get the story of the Orphan Trains put into the history books.

Dorothy has written a book about her and her brothers.

Dorothy Johnson Urch