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The Orphan Trains

It is estimated that 250,000 children from New York were transported to the Midwest on what we call today “The Orphan Trains.” About one in four of those children were of Irish descent. “The Orphan Trains Era, 1853-1923” will be the topic at the Wednesday, September 11th meeting of the Irish Cultural Society. The meeting convenes at 7:30 p.m. in the Garden City Public Library, 60 Seventh Street, across the street from the Garden City Hotel. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The speaker will be Tom Riley who has written ten books, four of them on the Orphan Trains. Tom will use Power Point and video to illustrate the history of a most unusual element in United States history. Religious conflict is a part of this story. The audience will have many questions: What happened to most of these children? How well were the foster homes vetted? How was schooling assured? Have laws been changed? Tom Riley will be able to answer all of these inquiries.

Tom Riley is a USPS retiree who has been a prolific writer before and after his retirement. In fact, he has written a history of the Postal Service. As a child, Tom was a foster child who credits Happy Valley School in Pomona, NY for giving him and his siblings a solid foundation upon which to build their lives. Before his career in the Postal Service, Tom had joined the Air Force where he earned a Top Secret Clearance. After the military, Tom earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Iona College. The Irish Cultural society’s season starts with a compelling subject told by the right speaker.

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