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Industrial significance of the community-Effects of industrial depression-Households studied-Members of households for whom detailed information was secured[Text Tables 582 to 585 and General Tables 325 and 326].
INDUSTRIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE COMMUNITY. Community E is made up of two adjoining towns which are for all practical purposes one city, the divisions between them being more artificial than real. They are situated in the southwestern part of Illinois along the bank of the Mississippi River, and are connected by steam and electric lines with St. Louis. The towns are of comparatively recent growth, having, during the past five years, experienced an extraordinary expansion in business and population, brought about by the establishment of new industries and the extension of those already established, especially that of steel. The principal industry is the car shops and foundry established in the year 1889. This company has an annual capacity of 400,000 chilled cast-iron freight and passenger car wheels, 15,000 all-steel freight cars, and 2,000 tons of bolts and forgings. Under normal conditions it employs
. 6,000 men. One steel foundry company, which began operations in 1895, turns out each year 60,000 tons of railway and other large steel castings and has a force of 1,600 employees. Another steel foundry, established in 1902, has an annual capacity of 50,000 steel castings and employs about 1,400 men. Another establishment, founded in 1894, is engaged in the manufacture of steel and granite ware. There is also in the community a company engaged in the manufacture of corn products, which was started in 1904 and which has more than 600 persons on its pay roll.
Part of the community is in an early stage of growth, and as is usually the case with towns of this character in the Middle West, it covers a large area of territory. Its streets are bad and its buildings largely of frame construction and scattered. Another part has reached a more permanent stage, with good streets, stone and brick buildings, and attractive residential sections.
EFFECTS OF INDUSTRIAL DEPRESSION. During five months of 1908 the car shops and steel companies constantly reduced their working forces until only a very small percentage of the number of employees before the panic were at work. On the other hand, the depression brought an increasing volume of business to the corn-products company, through their manufacture of a cheap kind of sirup, and this company employed more labor than ever before.
In the general curtailment of work, as is usually the case, married men with families and Americans were given the preference. As a result, the recent immigrants were the residual sufferers and were largely thrown out of employment. Very few had work, and in a great many instances the few unskilled places that were open were filled by Americans who were normally skilled workmen, but who at the time of the depression were compelled to take any kind of work they could get.
Being unable to secure work, the recent immigrants who had saved sufficient to pay their passage, or who had been able to secure money from home, returned to their native countries. Only those remained in the community who came to this country during the depression and were unable to secure work and save sufficient to return, or those who were unable to return to their countries of origin because of political offenses or other reasons. The estimate is made that between five and six thousand recent immigrants left the community during the first six months of 1908.
Those that remained were supported in large measure by the mercantile houses. The representative mercantile establishments among the Bulgarians adopted the policy of extending credit to their patrons. They permitted them to retain their rooms on credit and supplied them with clothing, meat, groceries, bread, and all kinds of food on their promises to pay as soon as they were able to secure work. The volume of credit extended may be understood from the fact that on April 1, 1908, one mercantile house had on its books $25,000 and a similar establishment was carrying $15,000 in small accounts.
With very few exceptions, the Bulgarian firms thus carried the accounts of their countrymen and other recent immigrants. As a matter of fact, the merchants were not taking very large risks in that they so completely controlled the alien population, and for the additional reason that although the credits represented in the aggregate large sums, the individual accounts were small and could be paid without inconvenience as soon as work was resumed. This action of the merchants, however, whether brought about by selfish or disinterested motives, had the effect of lessening the amount of charitable and public relief to the unemployed immigrants, which was necessary in other localities. Only a small amount of relief work was necessary, and this was brought about by several Macedonian mercantile houses, with 400 to 500 patrons, which refused any longer to extend credit.
HOUSEHOLDS STUDIED. In addition to the statistical data gathered from the records of the local manufacturing plants and their employees, the following table shows, by general nativity and race of head of household, the households studied in the community. TABLE 582.-Households studied, by general nativity and race of head of household.
(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)
The preceding table indicates roughly the relatively numerical importance of the households of each specified race in the community. A larger proportion of Bulgarian than of Magyar households were selected for detailed study on account of the comparatively larger number of such households.
MEMBERS OF HOUSEHOLDS FOR WHOM DETAILED INFORMATION WAS
The following table shows, by general nativity and race of head of household, the persons in households studied and persons for whom detailed information was secured: Table 583.- Persons in households studied and persons for whom detailed information
uas secured, by general nativity and race of head of household.
As regards the 808 persons in the 145 households studied in this locality, it will be seen that the entire number are in households the heads of which are foreign-born. In this locality only those households the heads of which are Bulgarians and Magyars were studied, and it will be noted that a very much larger proportion of the total number of persons are in households the heads of which are Bulgarians.
The following table shows the sex of persons in the households studied for whom information was secured, according to general nativity and race of head of household:
TABLE 584.-Sex of persons for whom detailed information was secured, by general nativity
and race of head of household.
The preceding table clearly indicates a preponderance of males in both Bulgarian and Magyar households, although the excess of males over females is less marked among the Magyars than among the Bulgarians. The Bulgarian households show only 6 females out of a total of 517 persons, as contrasted with 73 Magyar females out of a total of 276, or, in terms of percentages, only 1.2 per cent of persons in the Bulgarian households are females, while 26.4 per cent of those in Magyar households are of this sex.
The table next presented shows, by sex and by general nativity and race of individual, the persons in the households studied for whom detailed information was secured:
TABLE 585.--Persons for whom detailed information was secured, by sex and general
nativity and race of individual.
The preceding table shows that, of the total number of persons covered by the detailed study of households in the community, 98.5 per cent of the males are of foreign birth and 1.5 per cent are of native birth but of foreign father. Of the females, 75.9 per cent are foreign-born, chiefly of the Magyar race, while 24.1
per cent are native-born of Magyar (foreign) father. Very few Bulgarian
females, either of the first or second generation, were studied. Among the males for whom detailed information was secured, a much higher proportion of those of foreign birth are Bulgarians than Magyars. Of the males of the second generation, detailed information was only secured from 11, all of Magyar fathers.
History of immigration—The industrial depression and the exodus of 1909—The
Bulgarians at home-Period of residence in the United States of members of immigrant households studied-Methods of securing immigrants—Destination of immigrants to the community-Racial composition of the community-Distribution of the population—[Text Table 586 and General Table 327].
HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION.
In 1892 the site of this community was an unbroken stretch of cornfields. In the following year a large company began the construction of their present rolling-mill plant, an enterprise which was considerably delayed by the financial depression of that time. The men employed in the construction were Americans, white and black, and some Americanized Germans, all brought from the neighboring city of St. Louis. When the rolling-mill plant began operation in 1894, the pioneer operatives were English, Irish, Germans, and Welsh. In this year also about 75 Polish families, including about 300 adult males, appeared. They came from St. Louis, and most of them had been in the United States for a number of years. As they found regular work in Community E, they remained, the company building frame houses for their use. A plant for stamping granite and metal ware was completed shortly after the rolling mills, and the majority of the operatives of the two establishments still continued to be of the English-speaking races. Among them were many native negroes, who lived in a row of shanties built along the Mississippi River and known as the Levee. For a period of six years, however, no immigrants, with the exception of the Poles mentioned above, appeared in the community.
During the two years 1894–1896 a large steel plant, including blast furnaces, rolling mills, and foundries, was established in the community. In 1901 another steel establishment of the same description began operations. Four years later a large company for the manufacture of corn products was located in the community. About the same time shops were erected for building wooden and steel cars. These shops employed over 3,000 men. By the year 1900, as was to be expected, the demand for unskilled labor could no longer be supplied by English-speaking people alone. Consequently, in that year Slovaks from St. Louis were employed by the local industries. Within a year they numbered about 50 families, or 250 male workers. In 1902 came the Magyars, followed by a few Croatians. In 1903 the Magyars numbered about 20 families, with the usual following of single boarders. Mixed groups of Roumanians, Greeks, and Servians followed. The latter were from southern Hungary and numbered about 50 male adults, including about a dozen family groups.