Riders On the Orphan Train

Riders On the Orphan Train

orphan trainNACOGDOCHES- The Riders on the Orphan Train program will arrive at the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot on Tuesday, March 25th. Novelist and Humanities Scholar, Alison Moore, and singer/songwriter, Phil Lancaster, will bring the story of the orphan train riders to life. This program is a 1½ hour multi-media program that incorporates video, music and audience discussion that sheds light on the largest child migration in history.

 Between 1854 and 1929 over 250,000 orphans and unwanted children were taken out of New York City and given away at train stations across America. Originally organized by minister Charles Loring Brace to rid New York of homeless street children and provide them with an opportunity to find new homes in the developing Midwest, this nearly eighty year experiment in child migration is filled with horror stories and happy endings. The trains stopped in pre-selected towns where people interested in taking a child would assemble. Children not chosen were put back on the train and many were shuttled from family to family and town to town. Until the release of a 1993 documentary on PBS’s The American Experience, these children’s stories were largely untold.

This special repeat performance is funded by the Ayres Family Foundation of Texas for a history project called “Orphan Train to Texas”. Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster would like to extend a special invitation to any family members of orphan train riders to come and tell their story on camera for a Texas History on Line video.

This educational and moving presentation will be at the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot, 101 Old Tyler Road, on Tuesday, March 25th at 6 p.m. This program is free and appropriate for all ages. Please arrive early – performance starts promptly at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact the Historic Sites Department at 936-560-4441 or

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