Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Between the years of 1854-1929 their were 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children that were transported from the coastal cities of America, to foster families in the mid-west. These children were transported by train, the trains were known as the
"orphan trains." There were two charity institutions that were involved in this venture: "The Children's Aid Society" and "The New York Foundling Hospital." This began the first documented foster care in America. http://www.orphantrainriders.com and http://www.orphantraindepot.com
"My Heart Remembers" by Kim Vogel Sawyer
In 1886 three young siblings that were Irish immigrants and living with their parents in a tenement in New York City, were orphaned and displaced by a fire in their building. The children survived, but their parents died in the fire. During the escape from the burning building the oldest of the children Maelle was told by her father to look after her younger brother and sister, she was only 8 years old. After the fire that had happened in the middle of the night, the next morning there was confusion about where their parents could be, they did not understand that their parents had died in the burning building. A police officer took the children to an orphanage where they were clothed and fed, and they lived there for a short time. The orphanage made arrangements for all three of the children to travel together by train to Missouri to new homes, then the three children were separated and each lived a very diverse life. Maelle the oldest never gave up hope that they would be reunited, she was old enough at their parting that she remembered her siblings and what had happened to their parents. Maelle gave to each of her siblings a "treasure" of their past, this was so they would be able to recognize each other when they were older.
I had never heard of these "orphan trains" before and was really intrigued by learning about this segment of American History. I have thought about the countless stories good and bad that these children lived. I am sure some of the children may have never known, nor remembered who their birth families were. This book was an easy read, meaning a fast read, but it was also hard to put down, I could not wait to turn each page wanting to know what was going to happen to these children. This book was published by Bethany House Publisher's. http://bethanyhouse.com
Friday, April 11, 2008
"Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick
The author writes in the preface that, "we all want to know how it was in the beginning." "The beginning," that he writes about is the first colony that was established that had women and children, families; the first colony of people that left the previous homelands in order to have religious freedom, and the first successful permanent colony in America. Jamestown had been founded in 1607, but had not been a success, most of the men had died of starvation and disease. The Puritans had separated themselves from the Church of England, and in 1608 re-located to Leiden, Holland. The Puritans left Holland fearing their children were becoming too integrated into the dutch society. The voyage to America took 65 traveling days, their were 102 people and 2 dogs, 3 of the people were pregnant mothers. On November 11, 1620 they finally arrived at Province town Harbor, Massachusetts, and on November 15 they came ashore. The Puritans established Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts which then spread out over the New England area. In 1630 17 ships brought 1000 English men, women and children. In just a few years the areas of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut would be inhabited by the Pilgrims. They were mainly farmers, artisans, families. Relationships were made with the local Native Americans, and they were introduced to farming in this new world, the Indians taught the Puritans to use dried herring fish to fertilize the the soil. They were taught where to fish, and the trading of furs. There was fighting amongst the tribes and with the Pilgrims. The main war was King Philip's war, this was from 1675-1676. Philip was the leader of the Indian tribe Pokanokets, eventually only 30 of his braves were left, and then he aligned himself with the Nipmucks. The Pilgrims outlasted the Native Americans, but if the Mohawks who were the most feared of the Indian tribes in the northeast, and the french, had aligned themselves with King Philip there might have been a different ending. The book is full of much historical research, facts and figures, but yet it becomes very personal by the telling of many stories of the Puritans, and the first Pilgrims, also stories of the Native Americans in the New England area. After reading this book I have learned that there is a difference between Puritan and Pilgrim. Puritan was the name of the particular group that first arrived, they were a specific religious group. Pilgrim refers not only to Puritans but also to all the other peoples that first came to America, such as the Quakers that arrived in 1655, and Baptists, or those that were people of money and wanted to build a new life in this new world. The author states that their are "35 million descendants of the Mayflower, which is about 10 percent of the American population."
I had read another of Nathaniel Philbrick's books in the past,"In the Heart of the Sea", another excellent book, hard to put down.
After reading this book I have already decided what my summer of 2008 reading study will be, American History.