West by Orphan Train
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It seems incomprehensible that there was a time in America’s not-so-distant past when nearly a quarter of a million children from East Coast orphanages were loaded on trains and sent west, where they were presented “for the picking.” West by Orphan Train will tell the story of these children, who were taken from a sometimes-rough existence to an unfamiliar rural setting during an era that lasted from 1854 to 1929. As some of the last of the still-living orphan train riders like to remind us, it was a different era — one that can’t be judged without understanding what lives were like then. West by Orphan Train, an award-winning documentary film, offers that understanding.
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A few months later, my grandfather who had just turned five was taken to Iowa along with some other children by H.D. Clarke who kept up correspondence with him through the years. My grandfather was fortunate in that he was placed with a woman who really wanted a son rather than "free help". Though she was single and in her early 40's at the time, she had a good farm in central Iowa adjacent to the farms of her brother as well as her sister and brother-in-law. After the initial trial period, she adopted my grandfather.