Why didn’t I learn about the Orphan Trains in school?

  • Sumo

The best answer I can give is at best speculative.  This is my personal belief, rather than a cold hard fact.  In general, history is about adults and is written by adults.  It has only been in recent history that children have been more than property.  They were to be seen, but not heard.  History books are not written about property or people with no voice.

Another possible reason is that we do not want to admit we did this to our children.  While it may have been necessary for their survival, we still feel guilty about sending them out in this fashion.

During the latter part of this migration, we had just gone through a civil war to abolish slavery, but the farms and shops still needed labor.  Some of these children took the place of the slaves.  A family did not have to pay more than room and board.

None of the above answers can be proven or disproved.  None of them provides a satisfactory answer.  We want to sweep it out of sight under the rug.  If the children’s migration is not in our history books, we do not have to admit that it happened.

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