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Tom Riley – “The Great Hunger and Its Impact On The Orphan Train Era in America, 1853-1929”

October 15, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

The Great Hunger led to massive emigration to the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. Shiploads of emaciated Irish adults, children and families arrived daily on coffin ships in New York City, America’s Golden Door. Many parents, already emaciated, died aboard ship and were buried at sea, or shortly after their arrival. Families and parentless children made their way into Lower Manhattan, including the notorious “Five Points area. Over 15,000 orphaned children, many Irish, flooded New York streets, living in sewer pipes, alleyways and wooden boxes. The Irish Diaspora was later followed by many other ethnic groups fleeing corruption, tyranny, hunger and lack of opportunity.

Author Tom Riley will share “the greatest American story never told.” Learn what happened to the 273,000 New York City children, as many as one-quarter Irish, sent out across America on Orphan Trains — an attempt to assist the massive numbers living in poverty and exposed to disease, abuse and exploitation. Orphan Train founders believed salvation was to be found in America’s heartland. Learn how, at a time when America lacked a “safely net,” the American Female Guardian Society built twelve industrial schools to teach these children a trade. Learn about two orphan train riders, sent on the same train to Indiana, and how they later became the governors of Alaska and North Dakota.

Tom has researched and written several books on the Orphan Train Era, which will be available for signature and sale after the presentation. Learn more by visiting www.TheOrphanTrainRiders.com, including Tom’s fascinating bio on the “About” page.


October 15, 2015
6:00 pm
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