Weather Forecast


Author coming to speak about grandma's trip on orphan train

Ann Zemke, who has been featured in "Better Homes and Gardens" for her quilting and story of her grandmother's life on an orphan train, is coming to Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Zemke is also the author of "They Named Me Marjorie," a book about her grandmother's story of life on an orphan train. A light supper will be served at 5:30 p.m., and Zemke will speak at 6:30. The public is invited and a free-will offering will be taken.

Zemke, a Minnesotan, has created more than 150 quilts, according to the article published on her in "Better Homes and Gardens," but one in particular tells the story of her grandmother, who at age 8 was sent away on an orphan train and became another family's indentured servant.

In the mid-1800s, thousands of emigrants came to America to find a much better life, but instead found hardship. From 1854 to 1929 about 250,000 children rode orphan trains to rural America to find new homes. Some of the children were orphaned and others were abandoned. Some parents placed them on the train, hoping for a better life for their children.

At their destinations, families would pick the children they wanted, and many of those children did not find that hopeful life they had been looking for. With no regulations in place, follow-ups were never performed on the children and their new homes, Zemke explains on her Web site,

Zemke said she's shared her grandmother's story hundreds of times, but she never tires of it, and encourages everyone to share their own story.