Tricounty News

History Matters

Minnesotan Ann Zemke tells the story of her grandmother, who at age eight was sent away on an orphan train and essentially became another family's INDENTURED SERVANT. Ann has stitched more than 150 quilts, but this one changed her life. After presenting the quilt to her mother on her 75th birthday, Ann decided to delve even deeper into her grandmother's life by writing a book: "They Named Me Marjorie." "I never thought I could write a book," says Ann. "Like quilt-making, I broke the story into blocks, and then pieced them together. My grandma would be proud to know her story is living on." Ann Zemke gives a 60-minute presentation, using a very special quilt she made in memory of her grandmother, Marjorie Peterson, an orphan train rider. Ann has captivated audiences across the United States at museums, schools, quilt guilds and churches with this fascinating story and the remarkable quilt it inspired. From 1854 to 1929, an estimaged 250,000 children rode trains from New york and other overpopulated areas of the United States, mostly in the Midwest, to find a new home. Some of these children were orphans, others were abandoned, while others were put on trains by their parents, hoping they would have a better life. The trains were called "orphan trains." Today, Ann finds herself much in demand as a speaker and her enthusiasm has inspired many others to write their memoirs or make biographical quilts. Although she's told the story of her grandmother hundreds of times, she never tires of it. Or the urgent plea she makes at the end of every presentation:   "Share your story!" The Kimball Area Historical Society is proud to present "The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider" with Ann Zemke Saturday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. at the Kimball High School cafetorium. The public is welcome. Refreshments will follow. You're invited! For more information, call (320) 398-5743 or (320) 398-5250. ********** If you ever wanted to find out more about the "Orphan Train" ... congratulations, this is your chance ... whether you're curious about the legendary Orphan Train, an exquisite quilter, or both, you will have spent a worthwhile couple of hours on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 6. And this program won't be held again soon, anywhere closer to you than this, if ever. So bring your friends, have lunch along the way or at one of Kimball's fine eateries. We all look forward to meeting you again or for the first time. The high school cafetorium is on the west side of the school building (use that door). ********* If you're interested in membership, city hall restoration donations, souvenir keepsakes and contributing a special story for this column or stories and photos for the exhibit and permanent story/photo collection, you are invited to contact The Kimball Area Historical Society at Box 100, Kimball, Minn. 55353 or phone (320) 398-5743, (320) 398-5250 or (800) 252-2521. Watch this column for coming events. ********** "History in focus."