Author Julia Park Tracey Will Visit Concordia’s Orphan Train Museum on Her Tour

By Payton Tholstrup

Author Julia Park Tracey is on a 14-day long “Retracing the Orphan Train Tour” to promote her novel, The Bereaved. The novel, based on her ancestral history, is about a woman named Martha who loses four children to the Orphan Trains. Martha is Park Tracey’s great, great, great grandmother. Her lost son is Tracey’s great, great grandfather. The events, which are being coordinated in partnership with libraries, bookstores, and historical societies, will be live streamed.

At each event, she will be discussing how she uncovered her grandfather’s history from his time as a young rider on the Orphan Train. Martha’s experiences in the book show just how vulnerable women in the 1850s were. When Martha moved to New York City with her children, she couldn’t find work to sustain the family. Her children were going hungry. She brought them to The Home for the Friendless until she could raise the money needed to support them, but soon realized the home had other hidden objectives. Since Martha was single, the home believed she had “bad moral character” and she was separated from her children.

The Orphan Trains, which ran for 75 years, had 250,000 children removed from New York City. These children were shipped further West and put up for adoption or forced to work as servants until they came of age.

The final destination on Park Tracey’s tour will be the Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, Kansas on October 20th, 2023.

To follow Park Tracey’s tour, visit her website here:

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