Texas couple bring 1800s Orphan Train back to life in Marshall - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Texas couple bring 1800s Orphan Train back to life in Marshall

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Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster bring a message of a different time.

"Between 1854 and 1929 over 250,000 children were sent out of New York on trains and given away on train station platforms in every state in the United States," said Moore Wednesday in Marshall, TX.

Their program, Riders on the Orphan Train, expose different communities to an almost 80 year experiment which tried to give homeless children an opportunity for a better life in the developing Midwest.

They called it ‘the placing out system,' and not all of them were orphans," explained Moore. "About half were orphans. Half of them were half-orphans, had single parent families that could not work and take care of them."

"When we do our program we have people that show up and tell us, 'Well my mother got off the train in Amarillo. She was two-years-old. I still have the dress she wore.' Things of that sort," said Lancaster.

"Coming up on sixteen years on the road, we never get tired of what we're doing" said Moore. "We always hear new stories, and we feel very strongly need."

So the pair tell it with the use both music and video. It's their way of honoring what they call "historical treasures."

"There are very few left," said Lancaster. "We use to say this is the eleventh hour situation. Now it's more like three minutes to midnight ."

Check out Riders on the Orphan Trains website to see where the performance will be next. 

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