« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
employed by an American farmer, and has a chance to learn the native language and customs. On the other hand, in the cities, the laborers live in Italian quarters and associate very little with Americans. In the summer they live in gangs supervised by a padrone.
Rural Hebrew Communities
The report of the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society of New York shows that in 1909 there were approximately 3,040 Hebrew farmers in 36 States. More than 75 per cent. were in New York, New Jersey, and New England. North Dakota is the only Western State where Hebrew settlers are numerically important. Most of the settlements were formed of immigrants from Russia, Rumania, and Galicia, established by aid of various societies organized to help Russian Hebrews. Of these, the Baron de Hirsch Fund is the most important. It was incorporated in 1891 and was devoted by the philanthropist, Baron de Hirsch, to improve the condition of the Russian Hebrews. After the "May Law" persecution of 1882, in Russia, many Hebrews fled to this country and a dozen or more colonies were planted in Oregon, Dakota, Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Michigan. From 1882 to 1886 they were fostered with material aid and encouragement, but as all except the New Jersey colonies were utter failures, rural settlements became unpopular with the Hebrews. The Vineland, New Jersey, colony, however, was helped by fellow countrymen up to 1890, and then by the Baron de Hirsch Fund, and now is apparently permanently established and successful. There, Hebrew agriculture in America is at its best.
The 1,000 or more Hebrew farmers in New England and New York supplement their farm earnings by speculating in real estate, taking summer boarders or by some other outside source of income. The Hebrew is not adapted by training or tradition to be a pioneer farmer and in general his attempts at agriculture are unsatisfactory. The crops, tillage, the quality and quantity of produce are not as satisfactory as in most colonies of other races. The farm income is not large. The largest gross income noted was on the tobacco farms of the colony at Ellington, Connecticut, which has been established only a few years. The largest net incomes are probably derived from the Vineland, New Jersey, farms. The difficulty in making Hebrew farm colonies succeed has been recognized by the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, which has now established an experimental farm on Long Island for future rural colonists. To succeed, Jewish farmers must have some capital and improved land. They must settle in groups large enough to maintain a synagog. Those most apt to succeed have been either farmers abroad or experienced in this country before becoming permanent farmers. Country life, however, has benefited the individual. Hebrew farmers live better than Poles or Italians of the same length of residence here. They show, also, a greater desire for comforts. They become citizens sooner than most races from southeastern Europe, and take a more intelligent interest in politics and civic questions. In many districts they have demanded better schools. Assimilation is retarded by religious traditions and rural segregation, but the Hebrew landowners are quickly Americanized, and soon appreciate representative government, demo
cratic institutions and an educated electorate. There was no colony investigated by the Immigration Commission whose members voted less as a unit than those where rural Hebrews formed a large part of the electorate.
The Poles in Agriculture
The number of Poles in agriculture is too small comparatively to be very important. Most of this race go into industrial pursuits, only a small per cent. into agriculture. The Polish agricultural groups investigated by the Immigration Commission were of four kinds: early settlements on new, wild, western land; later settlements fostered by owners of large tracts, to develop the land; recent rural immigration in the East, particularly to abandoned farms; and the Polish seasonal laborers. The first settlers on Wisconsin soil came from Canada and Chicago to Portage County, after 1850, and in larger numbers after 1859; but it was after 1870 that the real immigration began. In 1880 Wisconsin had 16 Polish churches, Texas 17, and Michigan and Missouri, each 6. After 1885 many Polish immigrants who had been engaged in industrial pursuits in the cities of the United States were attracted by advertisements of cheap land, and settled on farms in Wisconsin and the Dakotas. They bought land with the earnings they had made in industrial work. In 1855, 300 Silesian peasants settled in Panna Marya, Texas. Since then colonization has been slow, but steady. In the East it has been increased recently by numbers of farm laborers direct from Poland. This movement to abandoned farms is kept up by them, rather than by recruits from New England's industrial laborers.
The Poles are excellent pioneers, independent and self-reliant. They do not need assistance, tho in general the farm is their sole support. They learn by observation and the second and third generations improve on the first. The standard of living is rising in the older colonies, like Radom, Illinois, and Independence, Wisconsin. In some places land, that 20 years ago was forest or swamp land, now is 80 per cent. or 90 per cent. in cultivation and producing profitably.
The Poles are lovers of land and become farmers because they wish to own property, rather than to be laborers. Most of them soon leave seasonal employment for permanent farm work. The early settlers have changed the form of agriculture with changing economic conditions. In Portage County, Wisconsin, for instance, potato growing has developed to large proportions. In Texas the Polish cotton farms are prosperous, and one distinctive feature is that they are largely self-sustaining. In New England the Poles raise specialized crops, such as onions and tobacco. In the Connecticut Valley they rent land, because it is too valuable to purchase. In Illinois and Indiana many were tenants before they became owners, and in Texas there are many Polish tenants. At present the New England and Wisconsin colonies are showing the greatest growth. There is an influx to the latter from industrial centers, stimulated by agents and real estate men. The South and Southwest, however, are not receiving many immigrants.
The Bohemian Farmer
The breadwinners of Bohemian origin in agriculture are settled largely in the upper Mississippi Valley, and in the States of Nebraska and Texas. The
first settlements in Texas were made in the early fifties, in Fayette County, and colonies continued to be established up to 1886. The McLennan County colony of 400 families is the largest in Texas. Since 1905 there has been increased immigration, as the breaking up of some large ranches has thrown more land on the market. The Bohemian farmers in Texas are nearly all in cotton growing, but raise enough produce to keep their families and stock.
The Bohemians in the Connecticut hills typify the movement of foreigners from industry into country districts after they have saved a little money. The few in Connecticut have been induced to move through advertisements in Bohemian papers and by real estate agents. They find many obstacles, for most of them buy old homesteads, and they lack the skill to raise a specialized crop on worn out soil. They have, however, an excellent reputation as farmers.
Other Recent Immigrant Farmers
The Slovaks go rather into industrial work than into agriculture. In a general way they are like Polish rural settlers. At Slovaktown, near Stuttgart, Arkansas, is a colony of about 50 farm families. It was established 15 years ago, recruited from the mines of Illinois and Pennsylvania, but has grown little in recent years. The Slovaks in Connecticut have settled on farms very recently, all of them having been engaged in day labor previously. The Magyars, or Hungarians, also, are seldom found in agriculture. East of the Rocky Mountains, there are about 20 Japanese farmers in Florida and Texas, and a few in Michigan and Wisconsin. In Florida they raise pine