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clustered, but it has been impossible to avoid American neighbors. There is some race prejudice, as has been said, but this is dying out, although American farmers especially are very likely to lament that the Italians are not altogether desirable, and that they are rapidly crowding in and forcing the American farmer out. Americans ordinarily do not like to live where most of their neighbors are Italians. In the shops this prejudice is more marked. Some of the lodges frankly shut out the Italians, and few are admitted to social enterprises on the same footing with Americans.

There have been some cases of intermarriage with other nationalities from the first years of the colony. Several Italians have intermarried with Germans, and two brothers have been mentioned who married English girls, sisters, early in the history of the Italians at Hammonton. The Italian men are more likely to seek American girls, since the men go out more and mingle more freely with the young people of other races than do the Italian women. At any rate few intermarriages have been recorded between Italian women and men of other races.


Probably 90 per cent of the Italians belong to the Roman Catholic Church. In Hammonton there is but one Catholic Church, St. Joseph's, which both Italians and non-Italians attend. An Italian and a German priest are in charge.

Some of the Italians belong to the Protestant churches in town, one very interesting group attending a Presbyterian mission church. It is called the Italian Presbyterian Mission, and is supported partly by the Presbyterian Church; an Italian pastor from Rome is maintained. This mission church was established, according to the present pastor, in 1895, with about 20 members. There are now 40 adult members and an interesting Sunday school with an attendance of about 70. The pastor can speak little English and most of his Sunday school helpers are women who come from the local Presbyterian Church. The pastor laments the fact that the young Italians can not read or write their own language, and proposes to establish a night school to remedy this condition, so far as his own congregation is concerned.


The Italian in this community has few characteristic vices. There was some complaint that among the berry pickers there was a propensity for pilfering and petty larceny. More complaint is made in this respect by farmers at Hammonton than at Vineland. It was said that small articles that can be readily carried away-hand tools, garments hung out of doors, parts of harness, occasionally children's toys, pencils, and small articles in stores-sometimes disappear. The Italians are not burglars, and Hammonton farmers usually do without locks on barns and granaries, but potatoes and fruit are sometimes taken from the fields, and infrequently pigs are stolen at night. Whether guilty or not the Italians usually are blamed for all the petty thieving that occurs in the, community.

However, business morality and strict integrity so far as contractual obligations go are characteristic of the Hammonton Italians, if the

testimony of business men and others who have had financial deal ings with them is correct, "but," it was said, "nearly everyone will lie without compunction about other matters if it serves his purpose. In this respect, however, there is said to be a noticeable improvement which seems to accompany an advance in intelligence and material prosperity.

Of their thrift and industry there is no question, and the standard of personal morality in the family is above the average. Both religion and tradition throw safeguards around the purity of the young. On the other hand, there is much profanity, and, according to a strict standard, a great deal of Sunday desecration. Berry picking and shipping by express go on on Sunday, and this tendency to do Sunday work extends to other farm operations. All in all, considerable labor is done on the first day of the week. Otherwise, Sunday is a day of amusement or church going. There is not much to say about the use of liquor. The trite but oft-repeated reply to questions on that point is, "The Italian drinks a great deal of wine, beer, and whisky, but there is very little drunkenness." There are a good many quarrels among the Italians themselves that grow out of indulgence in liquor. Fights and stabbing affrays are not frequent, but

some occur.

In the summer of 1909 an Italian was killed with a wagon bolt, on a lonely piece of road some miles from Hammonton. His slayer said the quarrel was over a bottle of whisky. A justice of the peace declared that a great many of the quarrels arose out of quick temper and hot blood. The Italians are quarrelsome, get "fighting mad" in an instant, and get over it as quickly. In general, they have a wholesome respect for law and except among themselves are very peaceful.

The Italians do not go to law as readily as some races. No statistics are at hand on the actual number of crimes committed or their character, but justices and lawyers mention a number of murders within their recollection, a long list of serious stabbing affrays, some shootings, and one or two cases of attempted rape (all among themselves). They sometimes carry revolvers, but the two-edged knife is the usual weapon both of defense and offense. There are among them a few desperate men, bad characters, but on the whole crimes are ordinarily committed in hot blood. In sober moments, most Italians are willing to leave the settlement of their difficulties to the officers of the law. In short, they are guilty of more crimes, commit more violence and crimes against person, than the Americans, but they have a much better reputation than their city fellows, and with increasing education and enlightenment these vicious traits are passing. The quiet demeanor and orderly behavior of a great crowd of Italians on the "Italian Fourth" were noticeable. Although a detail of special marshals was appointed, they had little to do. No serious disturbance of any sort arose; the streets were blocked with people, but no violence occurred, only a very few arrests, more for precaution than punishment, and not one of them was a local Italian.

The Italian farm family is, as has been said, the economic unit. Family ties are strong. The children obey and aid their parents; the wife is subject to her husband. When every child is an income earner, it is an advantage to have a large family. To have many children

s not only an honor, but a blessing. Six, eight, or ten children in a family is common. The childless household is infrequent, and the mother with but two or three children is an object of pity. There seems to be no voluntary restriction of the birth rate, no matter how large the family.

The girls are carefully watched, and the boys are under surveillance until they come to maturity. The mothers desire that their children stay at home in the evenings and take great pains to keep them off the streets. Some of the young men stay on the farms and help their fathers after coming of age, and minors turn all their savings into the common fund. Husbands are jealous of the virtue of their wives. There is little unfaithfulness, especially on the side of the wife, and seldom, indeed, does a divorce occur or a family quarrel find its way into the courts. Justices tell of instances where the husband had habitually beaten the wife, but in no case had wife beating been made a ground of legal complaint on the part of the woman. Chastisement of his wife is a prerogative of the husband.

In the early years the records of vital statistics showed a very high infant mortality. Babies apparently were not given the proper clothing or care demanded by the more rigorous climate of New Jersey, and many died before they had lived out their first year. The mortality of children is much higher than the adult death rate. With proper medical care, more knowledge of the demands of the climate, and a higher degree of intelligence, the death rate will fall. In fact it has fallen considerably when compared with the earlier winters. The open air and the comparatively mild climate seem to suit the children, who, in general, look strong and healthy.

The girls marry young, about 50 per cent of them before they are 20 years of age. The New Jersey law requires that the wife be at least 18 and the husband not less than 21, unless the parents consent to an earlier union. Justices say that many couples under age must be refused marriage licenses. The marriage age of the man is about the same as the average elsewhere.


Opportunities for education at Hammonton are good. The town maintains, according to the annual school report dated February 28, 1909, a high school, a grammar school, and a primary school in the village, and 10 common schools in the outlying districts. There were 1,242 children enrolled in the various schools, with an average attendance of 1,057. Of these, 792 were enrolled in the village, and 450 in the 7 rural schools. The corps of teachers numbers 42, a supervising principal, 36 teachers, 4 assistants, and a general substitute. A truant officer is employed, the truant expense account being $169.37 for the year. Within very recent years more attention has been given to the enforcement of the compulsory school law, and the 1909 report shows a gain of 181 in attendance, although the enrollment increased only 60. The table following shows the enrollment and attendance by schools.

TABLE 32.-Enrollment and attendance, public schools, Hammonton, N. J., 1908–9.

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Data were not available to show the number of Italian children enrolled in the schools in the year 1908-9, but Mrs. Mead, in the article previously quoted," shows this for the year 1906-7 as follows:

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There are six schools that show an attendance of Italians aggregating 75 per cent or more of the total enrollment. These are the country schools, two of which were attended only by Italian pupils. Few Italians are in the high school, but the number is increasing very slowly. A very few pupils go to business or professional schools outside of Hammonton, but not many get beyond the elementary grades.

The lower percentages of attendance in the country schools are significant. It is hard to enforce a truant law where the father relies on his children to help him in his berry fields or the little girls must keep the house and care for the babies while the mother is at work.

Some of the Italian children walk a long distance to attend the central village school. They prefer to go there and complain that the Italian school children in the outlying schools are rough and rowdyish and that there is less opportunity for advancement in their studies. In the schools as a whole, more than one-half (52 per cent) of the children are of Italian parentage.

a Bulletin No. 70, United States Bureau of Labor.


Just how many Hammonton Italians have received their second papers could not be learned with accuracy. At a recent election in which the issue brought out almost the entire Italian vote, 246 Italian ballots were cast. The total voting list of the town is somewhat under 1,000. In the 1908 election the total vote was 920 and of these it is stated that nearly 27 per cent were cast by Americanborn and naturalized Italians. Just what proportion were cast by each of these groups can not be stated. Fewer of the Italians at Hammonton have taken out naturalization papers than of the North Italians at Vineland.

The Italians take interest in local matters-expenses for village improvements, saloon licenses, and the like-and occasionally raise their voices at the town meeting-which is conducted on the old New England plan. The town officers are men of a high order of intelligence and integrity and so far as could be learned have not attempted to hold their offices by venality or corrupt favoritism. Little vote buying or selling was reported. The Italian votes according to his personal regard for the candidate. Several Italians have held office. At present there are no Italian councilmen, but the assessor, a justice of the peace, two constables, and a clerk of election are Italians. Recently by a narrow margin they failed to elect an Italian freeholder. They make very good officers, interpret the law strictly, and in general vote on local issues. They take little interest in state or national elections. Perhaps the political status of the Italians is less favorable and less significant in proportion to their numbers than either their social or their economic status, but it will be but a matter of time until the Italian Americans recognize their political power and privileges and become an active factor in civic affairs.

In almost every respect the outlook for the second generation is good. There are practically no illiterates over 10 years of age, and many young people of both sexes are exceptionally bright and intelligent. The movement to the cities is not marked, and it is significant that several young men are successfully operating farms of their own. Many other have engaged in small business and commercial ventures in the village. No unprejudiced observer can mingle with them for many days without being convinced that in this instance at least the South Italians are proving themselves desirable American citizens; and after comparing them in intelligence, progressiveness, and standard of living with the South Italian berry pickers from the cities whom they employ can not but conclude that there is some virtue in rural life and ownership of land that makes for the prosperity and ultimate well being of this race at least of those who have made homes in the vicinity of Hammonton.


The table following presents detailed information relative to 12 typical South Italian families selected from among those studied by the Commission at Hammonton.

48296°-VOL 21-11-10

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