Monday, January 26, 2009

For Alice

This charming Doll House was built in 1910 by Louis Dietz for five-year-old Alice O'Brien.
Alice, born in 1905, was born in the New York Foundling Hospital and was one of the Orphan Train Children.
An estimated 1200 orphan train children from New York came to Texas in the years commencing in 1854 and ending about 1929.
Some of these children were orphans, some lived on the streets, and some were merely poor.
The police arrested vagrant children, some as young as five, and locked them up with adult criminals. In 1853, Charles Loring Brace, IV founded the Children's Aid Society in New York. to arrange the trips, raise the money, obtain the legal permissions needed for relocation. To recruit likely children, Brace and his staff of volunteers visited orphanages and reformatories and the homes of impoverished parents.
Three times a month agents of the Society assembled the children into groups ranging from six to one hundred and fifty. The groups were booked at a discount on regular passenger trains.
My son-in-law spoke of the Orphan Trains coming through Waterloo, Iowa and some families in that town would take in children - often because another hand was needed to work on the farm.
On May 31st, 1929, the Children's Aid Society sent three boys to Sulfur Springs, Texas. It was the last of the orphan trains.
Although some of the Orphan Train children did not have a happy life, little Alice O'Brien was a beloved daughter of the Dietz family.

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