Orphan Trains of Illinois
The Orphan Trains placed children from the Eastern United States on farms in the Midwest States from 1851 until 1929. Click on the rectangle in the top right hand corner of the map to view the map full screen and larger photos. Click on the map tags to read about orphans placed in different locations. Letters are from the annual reports of the New York Juvenile Asylum. The year of each report is referenced in the tag. Search by orphan name in the full screen mode.
One orphan who was researched by his family was Dennis Morrison, who was sent to Greenup, Cumberland County, Illinois. His family obtained the records of his entrance into the New York Juvenile Asylum and posted them on Ancestry.com. These records are held by the Columbia University archives and can be obtained there for a fee.
Dennis and his brother, Patrick Henry, were surrendered at the New York Juvenile Asylum by their father, John Morrison, on October 18, 1853. Dennis' birthdate was recorded as July 4, 1843, making him ten years old when he was left at the Asylum.
As a young man, Dennis volunteered in the 125 Illinois Regiment, Company B on September 3, 1862 and fought in the Civil War until he was mustered out on June 9, 1865.
He married Clarinda Sedgwick in Greenup, Illinois on August 4, 1880. they had four children and raised them in Cumberland County.
He was admitted to the Danville Home for Disabled Volunteers September 19. 1900 and died there January 18, 1929.
Daniel Harney (1879 - 1931)
Daniel Harney came to Illinois at the age of 10 and lived first in Stephenson County. His parents, Henry and Ann Harney were both Irish immigrants in New York. In 1900 Daniel lived with Charles and Mary Furey in Waddams, Illinois and according to his obituary in 1931, he lived with them from his first days in Illinois. He married Matilda Stamm in 1907 and his mother, Ann, came from New York to live with him and Matilda before 1910. Daniel attended college in DeKalb to become a teacher and finally worked as a mail carrier for 25 years. The Harneys never had children.
James Harney (1885 - 1943), brother to Daniel Harney was also sent west to Stephenson County. His first known location was the farm of William Kailey in 1910 in Waddams. James married Amelia Schuck and had four children with her: Clara, Lucille, Marietta and Rosella. An article in the Freeport Journal Standard in 1923 reveals that the ties between Harney and his first guardians continued throughout his life. This article stated that William Kailey was living in James Harney's home in Kearney, Nebraska. In Nebraska Harney worked as a house man in a hotel and Amelia worked as a laundress. James Harney's death certificate provides the maiden name of his mother, Ann Woods.
David Rodgers (1882 - ?) was sent west in 1893 and placed with the Myron Lee family. David immigrated from England in 1889. It appears that a second New York orphan was also living with the Lees. Lillian Holden was born in 1887 in Massachusetts and had no other relatives in Illinois. After David joined the Lees, they had four children of their own and moved to Genesee in Whiteside County. No further information could be found about David Rodgers or Lillian Holden.
Eugene Heydecker 1864 - 1943 and Remy Heydecker (1866 - 1951)
Eugene lived with Charles and Emma Schooner Pine Rock, Ogle County in 1880. His mother, Justine, died in 1872 and his father died in 1877 in New Orleans. In 1893 Eugene married Nellie Miller, and they had three children, Bessie, Louis and Chester. Eugene's parents were from Germany and eugene claimed birth in New York and Massachusetts in different census reports. Eugene was renting the farm. In 1920, Eugene and Nellie had relocated to Beaver, Kansas, but in 1930, Eugene had returned to Rochelle, Illinois and was divorced. In 1940, he lived with a niece in Rochelle. Eugene's son Louis wrote this recollection on Ancestry.com.
Eugene Heydecker was an orphan boy from New York; raised by the C.A. Schoonhoven family of near Chana, IL. My parents lived on a farm owned by the Schoonhovens. My sister Bessie, brother Chester and I were born on that farm in Illinois. In 1906 we came to Winfield, Kansas. We came by train with all our belongings in a boxcar, including six horses. Also, my mother had a favorite white rose (which some of the Schoonhovens had brought earlier from Pennsylvania) and a Christmas cactus that we brought.
Remy Heydecker (1866 - 1951) was sent to Illinois along with his brother. Remy married Dora Benner in 1888 and settled in Rochelle, Illinois. They had four children: Carrie, Gertrude, Leon and Vernie. Remy was a grain elevator operator in Rochelle in 1900 and in 1920 he was a City Clerk.
Oliver M. Smith 1872 - ?
Oliver was sent to Illinois in 1882 and in 1900 he was still living in Ogle County on a rented farm with his wife Addie McAlnay and two sons, George and Elmer. Oliver's parents were J H Smith and Carol Tell, who were both born in New York.
Jacob Salzer 1880 - 1967
Jacob Salzer was sent to Illinois in 1894 and lived with John and Elizabeth Davey. He adopted their name and was known as Salcer Jacob Davey the remainder of his life. He married Enez B. Murray in 1908 and had daughters Dorothy, Roberta and Birdena. On his death certificate only the Daveys were listed as his parents. In 1930 he owned a general store in Rockford, IL.
Samuel Sinclair 1863 - 1944
Samuel Sinclair, an Irish boy, came to Illinois in 1875 and lived on the farm of Jeremiah Blair. He was the first of boys to work for Jeremiah Blair. Frank Blakeman and William Rodden also worked for Blair in the years after Sinclair left the farm. By 1895 Sinclair was working a farm on his own and was married to Sarah Jane Hunt. They had two children together: Leslie and Earl. Sinclair married a second time in 1929 to Anna Nickel, a German immigrant. Sinclair worked odd jobs and as a carpenter after being a farmer. In 1923 Sinclair applied for a passport in order to return to England to visit family.
Charlotte Wood 1877 - 1967
Charlotte Wood was born in Rhode Island and came to Illinois 1892 and was already married to William S. Allen by 1894. Their marriage record disclosed the names of her parents, George Wood and Elizabeth Raybold. The Allens had 8 children, and William Allen was in business as a manufacturer of concrete blocks in Chili, Hancock County. Their children were: John, Jessie, Arthur, Minnie, James, Louis, David and Hazel.