It seems incomprehensible that there was a time in America s not-so-distant past that nearly 200,000 children could be loaded on trains in large cities on our East Coast, sent to the rural Midwest, and presented for the picking to anyone who expressed an interest in them. That's exactly what happened between the years 1854 and 1930.The primitive social experiment became known as placing out, and had its origins in a New York City organization founded by Charles Loring Brace called the Children's Aid Society. The Society gathered up orphans, half-orphans, and abandoned children from streets and orphanages, and placed them on what are now referred to as Orphan Trains. It was Brace s belief that there was always room for one more at a farmer s table. 

Orphan Trains and Their Precious Cargo - The Life's Work of Reverend Herman D. Clarke


Edited by Clark Kidder


* 2nd Edition - With Many New Orphan Train Riders and Documents.  Mr. Kidder also digitally restored the photos for

this new edition. See full index to this book on separate page of this website.


By the mid-1800s, the street corners of New York City were home to several thousand homeless, abandoned and orphaned children. These poor unfortunates were destined to lie a life of crime or prostitution - creating a tremendous drain on city resources and society in general. Although some found refuge in orphanages and sanitariums, these facilities were ill-suited for the care of these children and lacked the resources to provide for more than a handful at a time. Those that remained on the street often turned to theft and burglary, or even prostitution as a means of survival, compounding the city’s already rampant crime problem. Clearly a solution was needed for the good of both New York City and its orphan population. Relief came with the establishment of the Children’s Aid Society in 1853 by one Charles Loring Brace. Brace was a theologian and a reformer whose answer to New York’s orphan problem was a practice known simply as “placing out.” The society would gather likely orphans and send them west by train in groups of anywhere from six to one hundred individuals, stopping at predetermined destinations where it was known foster homes were available. The American West was at this time in critical need of laborers in both agriculture and industry, and many families were eager to provide foster homes to a child who was willing to work. Children would be periodically checked on by an agent of the society and were required to write the society at least twice a year describing their experiences. As with any foster care system, placing out could be a hit-or-miss affair—many children would bounce from home to home and some were returned to New York as undesirables. There were many success stories however, with orphans finding supportive homes and loving foster families. Some were actually adopted into the families with which they were placed. All faced the challenge of a new life in unfamiliar surroundings, without the comfort of friends, relatives and siblings left behind. The orphan trains of the Children’s Aid Society ran until 1929, and this text presents the story of one of its agents— the Rev. Mr. Herman Clarke. Rev. Clarke entered the employ of the Society in 1900, and was a tireless devotee to the children entrusted to his care. His ministry was in Dodge Center, Minnisota, and he was later placed in charge of Children’s Homes in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Battle Creek, Michigan. Over the years he would travel thousands of miles on the rails with his orphan charges, and received as many as two thousand letters a year from them. In the twilight of life, the reverend began to compile scrapbooks for his grandchildren detailing both the family’s genealogy and his years spent working with the society. Six out of these seven scrapbooks have been discovered by the author and they form the basis of this history. Numerous photographs of orphans and their foster families, as well as facsimiles of advertisements published by the society, and a special section of orphan train poetry enrich this text.


Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Clark Kidder; 2 edition (July 31, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692829423
ISBN-13: 978-0692829424
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11 inches


Please let me know if you would like me to sign the book and to whom - a great gift idea! 

Orphan Trains and Their Precious Cargo - The Life's Work of Rev. Herman D. Clarke is also available in softcover at Amazon.com via this link. CLICK HERE TO GO TO AMAZON.COM




​​

Volume Two Includes:

Softcover (autographed):  $23.00 each (free shipping)

     Many generations of Wisconsinites were educated in one-room country schools and have fond memories of an era in education now quickly fading into the attic of American history.These schools were not without their limitations and lack of amenities, but they accomplished their mission nonetheless. Rock County contained over 150 of them at one time. These schools were gathering places for everything from community clubs and church meetings to holiday and political events. They were a part of the very fabric of the community, bringing together neighbors who otherwise would rarely see each other. The advent of a statewide road system, which made it possible for schools to consolidate and facilitate the transfer of students to larger, more modern schools, spelled the end for the one-room school era. With all their drawbacks, these quaint little schools contributed their part to the social and economic development of our state. 


     Included in this book are written histories of the school buildings, memories of pupils and teachers, as well as lists of students, teachers, and board members associated with each school. Also included are various photos of students, teachers, interiors and exteriors of the schools. 
     A history of the Rock County Normal School is included, which includes a list of teachers who graduated from the school during its operation. This book is a must have for historians studying early education in Rock County, the state of Wisconsin, or the Midwest in general. Genealogists will discover a gold mine of information about their family members and ancestors as collectively, there are over 15,000 names indexed, and over 1,000 photos in the six volumes.


Product Details

  • Publisher: Clark Kidder;  (November 29, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English


This book series is also available in softcover on Amazon.com. They can  be accessed via the links below:

​​​​




Bradford Township

No. 4 – Avalon School

Jt. 14 – Douglas School

Jt. 14 – Emerald Grove School

Jt. 12 – Fairfield School

No. 3 – Hickory Grove (aka Van Tassel School and Winegar School)

Jt. 2 – Maple Grove School (aka Stoney School)

No. 6 – McAarthur School

Jt. 1 – Prairie View School

No. 5 – Smithton SchoolNo. 1 – Wetmore School

Rock Township

 No. 4 – Afton School

No. 7 – Bass Creek School

No. 3 – Frances Willard School (aka Willard School)

Jt. 1 – Happy Hollow School (previously known as Riverside School at nearby location)

No. 5 – Hayner School

Jt. 1 – Riverside School

Jt. 2 – Town Line School

Turtle Township

 Jt. 1 – Chamberlain School

No. 12 – Dougan School

No. 3 – Hart School (aka Schuster School)

No. 5 – Maple Lawn School (aka Joel Miner School)

No. 6 – Morgan School

Jt. 8-2 – Murray School

No. 6 – Zilley School (aka D. D. Egery School)

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Emily's Story:  The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider

Plymouth Township

 No. 8 – Bush School

Jt. 3 – Ellis School

No. 4 – Fisher School

No. 6 – Hanover School

No. 5 – Haugen School

No. 7 – Pleasant Hill School

Jt. 2 – Red Brick School

​​​​​​View the book trailer for Emily's Story:

Beloit Township


No. 5 - Crist School (aka Klondike School)


No. 7 - Gesley School


No. 8 - Hollister School


Jt. 1 - Ioan School


No. 3 - Nye School


No. 4 - Old Powers School


No. 6 - Ruble School


Jt. 1 - Washburn School

 The stories of the individual children involved in this great migration of little emigrants have nearly all been lost in the attic of American history. 
In this book, the author tells the true story of his paternal grandmother, the late Emily (Reese) Kidder, who, at the tender age of thirteen, became one of the aforementioned children who rode an Orphan Train. In 1906, Emily was plucked from the Elizabeth Home for Girls, operated by the Children's Aid Society, and placed on a train, along with eight other children, bound for Hopkinton, Iowa. Emily s journey, as it turned out, was only just beginning. Life had many lessons in store for her - lessons that would involve perseverance, overcoming adversity, finding lasting love, and suffering great loss. 


Emily's story is told through the use of primary material, oral history, interviews, and historical photographs. It is a tribute to the human spirit of an extraordinary young girl who became a woman - a woman to whom the heartfelt phrase "there's no place like home" had a very profound meaning.

Center Township


Jt. 3 - Barrett School


Jt. 2 - Bog School


Jt. 2 - Brown Center School


No. 2 - Crall School (aka East Center School)


No. 1 - Tuttle (aka West Center School)


Porter Township

 No. 1 – Ball Tavern School

Jt. 5-8 – Cooksville School

No. 3 – Eagle School

No. 1 – Forest Academy School

No. 6 – Lienau School

No. 8 – Miller School

Jt. 9 – Stebbinsville School

Jt. 7 – Stevens SchoolJt. 2 – White Star School

Janesville Township

No. 7 – Possibly Anderson School?

No. 6 – Austin School

No. 5 – Burdick School

No. 3 – Crystal Springs School

No. 6 – Follansbee School

Jt. 1 – Leyden School

No. 1 – Mount Pleasant School

No. 4 – Riverside School (aka Rock River School)

Volume One Includes:

Volume Six Includes:

Fulton Township

No. 2 – Cox School

No. 1 – Hubbell School

No. 4 – Indianford School I and II

No. 9 – Kidder School (aka Pleasant View School)

No. 1 – Mary Miles School

Jt. 7 – Newville School

Jt. 2 – Oakdale School (aka Mizo School)

No. 5 – Sandy Sink SchoolNo. 6 – Sheepskin School

Volume Three Includes:

Softcover (autographed):  $23.00 each (free shipping)

Milton Township

Jt. 6 – Merrifield School

Jt. 6 – North Milton School (aka Hudson School and Crandall School)

Jt. 1 – Otter Creek School

Jt. 5 – Paul School


Jt. 2 – Rock River School

Union Township

 No. 5 – Brown School

No. 3 – Butts Corners School

Jt. 10 – Emery School

No. 9 – Franklin School

No. 2 – Holt School

No. 7 – Pleasant Prairie School (likely known first as Robinson School)

Jt. 8-4 – Tullar SchoolNo. 4 – Tupper School

No. 18 – Morgan School

Jt. 10 – Palmer School

Jt. 11 – Spring Brook School

Jt. 1 – Stoddard School (aka Slocum School and Burrows School)

Jt. 7 – Sturtevant School

Jt. 4 – Vickerman School

Softcover (autographed):  $23.00 each (free shipping)

Softcover (autographed):  $23.00 each (free shipping)

Magnolia Township

Jt. 1 – Cainville School

No. 1 – Furseth School

No. 5 – Harvey School

No. 6 – Drew School (aka Huyke School)

No. 3 – Magnolia Center School

No. 2 – Moore School (aka Old Stone Jug School)

No. 7 – Richmond School (aka Gardner School)

Harmony Township

 No. 9 – Blackhawk School

No. 6 – Crandall School

No. 2 – Dillenbeck School

No. 7 – Four Oaks School

No. 3 – Howarth School

No. 8 – Milton Avenue School

No. 5 – Mouat School

No. 4 – Mount Zion SchoolJt. 1-9 – Six Corners School

Softcover:  $22.00 (Free Shipping) 

Please let me know if you would like me to sign the book and to whom - a great gift idea!

Softcover:  $25.00 (Free Shipping) 

Please let me know if you would like me to sign the book and to whom - a great gift idea!

Johnstown Township

 No. 8 – Bevens School

No. 2 – Johnstown Center School

No. 3 – Johnstown School (aka Old Johnstown School)

No. 11 – Maple Corners School

No. 4 – Plainview School

No. 1 – Rock Prairie School (aka Babcock School)

No. 8 – Stone School

Jt. 1-6 – Utters Corners School

No. 5 – Wehler School

A History of The Rural Schools of Rock County, Wisconsin

Softcover (autographed) set of all six volumes:  $100.00 (free shipping)

Spring Valley Township

 Jt. 1 – Beck School

Jt. 8-2 – Oak Hill School

Jt. 4 – Old Stone School

No. 6 – Putnam School

Jt. 2 – Randall School (aka Taylor School)

No. 5 – Rock Hill School

No. 2 – Scotch Hill School

No. 3 – Spring Valley Center School

No. 1 – Spring Valley Corners School

Author Clark Kidder 
Official Website

LaPrairie Township

No. 1 – Belding School

Jt. 2 – Creek Side School

Jt. 2 – Finch School

No. 2 – Gravel Hill School

Jt. 2 –  Hugunin School

Jt. 6-2 – Kemmerer School

No. 3 – Maple View School

No. 4 – Sherman School

No. 4 – Turk School

No. 4 – Van Allen SchoolNo. 7 – Woodman School

Softcover (autographed):  $23.00 each (free shipping)

Newark Township

 No. 7 – Coon Creek School

No. 3 – Engen School

Jt. 1 – Goldsmith School

No. 1 – Grove School

No. 2 – Inman School

No. 4 – Lawver School

No. 5 – Newark Center School (aka Bartlett School)

No. 6 – Smythe School

No. 8 – Williams School

Softcover (autographed):  $23.00 each (free shipping)

Volume Five Includes:
Volume Four Includes:

Avon Township


No. 1 - Adams School


No. 6 - Avon School


No. 2 - Avon Center School


No. 3 - Barr School


No. 16 - Fairview School (on Walworth-Rock County Line)


No. 5 - Howard School


Jt. 1-3 - Pioneer-Engen School (aka Skinner School)


Jt. 2 - Stokes School

Lima Township

No. 3 – Alexander School

No. 12 – Bullock School

Jt. 14 – Burr Oak School (aka Burdick School)

Jt. 15 – Logtown School (aka Grogan School)

Jt. 5 – Hunt School (aka Cravath School, White School, and Green School)

No. 9 – Lima Center School (aka Lima School and Crandall School)

Product Details


  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Clark Kidder; 2nd edition (2007 and 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615153135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615153131
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches


You can also buy the book on Kindle or in softcover at Amazon.com by clicking on this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Emilys-Story-Journey-Orphan-ebook/dp/B006COWJPM/ref=sr_1_4_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1376092357&sr=8-4&keywords=clark+kidder

Clinton Township

Jt. 1-4 – Clinton Corners School

Jt. 1-16 – Conley School

No. 5 – Hofto School

No. 3 – Jefferson Prairie School

No. 4 – Northrop School

Jt. 1 – Summerville School