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Orphan Train Riders to Iowa  Orphan Train Riders

~ Dubuque County ~

Dubuque Daily Times
Dubuque, Iowa

Friday Morning, 25 Jun 1888

Handsome Children

Fifty Three Orphan Children Arrive in the City From New York

And Are Speedily Taken by Charge by Foster Parents

A scene occurred at the Page House and the vicinity of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul depot yesterday morning which will not soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

Attached to Central's train from the east there arrived a carload of children ranging in age from 2 1/2 to 3 years.

They were from New York Foundlings Home in charge of the Sisters of Charity. Mr. Curran, the affable agent for the institution, and two experience nurses, Mrs. E. Higgins and Mrs. M. Connolly, accompanied the children. The arrival of the little ones attracted an immense crowd to the Page House. The foster parents of the children were there in force.

A Happy looking party the children were when they were taken from the coach. They were all unusually attractive looking, clad as there were-the boys in tidy kilt suits and the little girls in neatly fitting dresses with white caps. After they were placed upon the depot platform they followed the attendants into the waiting room of the Milwaukee depot by couples hand in hand. The crown could scarcely be kept from grabbing the children and making off with them so eager were the foster parents to get their chance. "Aren't they cute?" Oh, I want that little fellow with the long curls" these and similar expressions were heard on all sides. Mr. Curran however, before leaving New York, had selected parents for each child, and, on the collar was the name of the child's foster parents. Mr. Curran informed the crowd that all the children were engaged, but that he would be here the first week of September next with fifty more. Those who want to adopt children at that time should apply meanwhile to the parish priest, a recommendation from whom would secure each of them a child.

The scene was indeed a pathetic one. A majority of the children took kindly to their newly found parents, but some of them cried piteously when they were being taken away. A fashionably dressed lady took a fancy to a bright little girl with black eyes and hair who had been given to a lady at Kings post-office. The lady in question offered $50 if she would transfer the child to her. The former objected and the fashionable lady increased her efforts to $100 without avail.

Mr. Curran was met by the TIMES reporter. He stated that the institution of which he is an agent has furnished homes for 8,000 orphan children. The parting from the sisters at New York he describes as a very pathetic scene, the little ones knowing no home but the asylum. The children were received into the institution as foundlings and are nursed at a heavy expense. Of the fifty three brought to this city yesterday, twenty three are boys, the remainder girls. Mr. Curran first visits the locality where it is desired to locate a number of the orphans, and ascertains whether the applicant is a worthy person. If so, he or she must first furnish a recommendation from the priest of the parish, and sign and indenture which provides that the Orphan's Home Association shall take the child, if after one year's trial, it has not been treated well. If after a fair trial the priest is satisfied the child has a good home, and indenture is given the foster parents to keep the child until it becomes of age.

Mr. Curran visits the children in their newly found homes once a year. He tells many amusing tales of the applicants for children. Most of them describe the eyes, color of hair, and general character of the child desires, which he selects in the kindergarten attached to the asylum. The Germans object to red hair. Yesterday one woman who timidly objected because the child given to her was auburn-haired quickly withdrew her complaint. Nevertheless, Mr. Curran would allow her to have no child. A middle aged man was so pleased that he went up town and bought enough knick knacks, clothes, etc., to start a good sized country store. But ten of the children found homes in Dubuque. The depots were thronged last night with the little ones with their foster parents on their way to their homes.


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