WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT

An Orphan Train Rider's Story 
Mail-Order Kid


"MARILYN COFFEY HAS CAUGHT THE REAL JESSIE TERESA"

“As I read through Mail-Order Kid it was like Jessie Teresa Martin was sitting on the couch with me telling the story of her life. It is so real. I knew Jessie Teresa personally. In fact, she stayed in our home attending one of OTHSA’s reunions of Orphan Train Riders. She sat in the yard swing; her feet in the air because she was so short, and laughed as she told me about flirting with the doctors and how she loved to dance. She showed me her Star of David and told how she came to have it. Her remark was that she had all her bases covered with her Catholic upbringing and her Jewish genetics.

“Everyone who met her loved her. She was just that kind of person and Marilyn Coffey has caught the real Jessie Teresa on the pages of this book. In 1993, Jessie Teresa’s story was written by her family and submitted for publication in “Orphan Train Riders: Their Own Stories Vol. 2,” however, she always wanted her story told in more detail and called me when she knew Marilyn Coffey was writing it for her. This book fulfills her desire to have her very own life story told in a way that people can understand what it meant to her to be a ‘orphan.’ I wish she had lived long enough to autograph my copy of her book.”

—Mary Ellen Johnson Founder and Executive Director 
Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, Inc.


​"NEW AND UNUSUAL"

“Quite fascinating, a new and unusual look at the Orphan Train experience.”

—Pippa White performer “The Orphan Train,” One’s Company Productions


"EXCELLENT JOB"

“An excellent job of bringing to life a little-known part of our country’s history.” 

—Sandy Hill journalist, novelist


"A CLASSIC"

—Kira Gale publisher, River Junction Press
OUT OF THE FOUNDLING, 
INTO THE FIRE

The massive orphan train exodus whisked three-year-old Teresa from the safety of her New York orphanage, where the worst thing the Foundling nuns did was wash her curly black hair, to a desolate house and cold-hearted “parents” in Kansas. There she entered a small and strange Volga German world whose inhabitants spoke a language she had never heard. In this odd world, she encountered whippings and sexual abuse.

Perhaps half a million children, like Teresa, were plucked from orphanages and shipped by rail (or “relocated”) to nearly every state in the Union from 1854 to 1929.

Mail-Order Kid looks at the orphan train movement through the eyes of one small child who yearns to know her “real” mother, survives a tortured childhood, and ultimately, as an adult, comes to terms with her past, her faith, and herself.