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Several Italian beneficial societies exist in Vireland and vicinity. The purposes of these are much alike. Payment of small monthly dues, generally about 50 cents, secures a sick benefit of $5 or $6 or less a week and a certain death benefit to members of the order. The table below presents approximate statistics for 1908:
TABLE 18.–Beneficial societies, membership, value of property, etc.
In addition, there are several educational, sporting, and political clubs. Italian brass bands are organized in East Vineland, New Italy, and Landisville. These are entirely Italian in membership. There are some Italian members of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges; the Royal Arcanum and Union Brothers have a large Italian contingent; and many of the well-known orders admit Italians freely.
Socially, there is not a great deal of mingling with the Americans, except among the native-born Italians and the younger_Americans who live in the borough and have grown up together. Even so, at the social dances, parties, receptions, and the like not many Italians are found, although the social mingling becomes more marked year by year, and there is more or less intermarrying.
In the country, owing to the segregation of the Italians in districts, the separation socially is even more noticeable. Recreations are few; weddings, Sunday visiting or gatherings of relatives, church holidays, occasional social functions under the auspices of the church or the beneficial societies, outings to town, and rather infrequent neighborhood dances or parties include most of the social and recreative enterprises. Their amusements include the entire family. Domestic ties are strong, and the family is the unit. Divorce is very infrequent and domestic troubles are seldom aired in court. The family type is patriarchial, founded on economic cooperation. Father, mother, and children contribute to the support of the whole; the interests are mutual, the father supreme; while there is division of labor, it is based on strength and adaptability rather than on household and outdoor tasks. There is no division of interests and, so far as she can understand English, the wife or daughter knows as much about agricultural methods, markets, and returns as her husband or brother.
In religion, fully 95 per cent of the Italians, foreign and nativeborn, are Roman Catholics. In Vineland there is one Catholic church, in New Italy two, in Landisville one, and one at Minatola. In addition there are two Presbyterian missions, one in Vineland, with a small church property and one at Minatola. The Minatola organization is small, has no church edifice and no stated pastor. In some respects this sect is akin to the Waldensian.
The public schools of Vineland Borough and Landis Township are comparatively adequate and excellent. At present there is a total attendance of 2,200 children. Fifty-six teachers are employed and 20 school buildings, including the high school, are occupied. Two additional two-room schools are now being built in the Italian settlement. No race census has ever been taken, and it is difficult to ascertain the proportion of Italian children.
The Italian children are bright and learn very readily, as readily as the American, but most of them leave school at the age of 14, whether they have completed the eight grades or not. When a truant officer was first employed a few years ago he experienced much difficulty in enforcing the compulsory-attendance law. Now that the parents realize that the law must be complied with, there is little trouble. When country children stay out it is to work rather than to play truant.
There are very few who enter the high school and still fewer who complete the course; not more than three Italians have been graduated in the history of the school. It is to be noted that the total membership of the graduating classes in the high school averages but 20, or less than 1 per cent of the total school attendance, even so if the racial averages of the lower grades held, at least one-third of these should be of Italian parentage. In this respect educators contrast them unfavorably with the Jewish children, who learn with avidity, almost with precocity, and are likely to finish the entire school course with honors, excelling their American classmates. There is absolutely no prejudice against Italian pupils. Even in those schools where the races are not evenly balanced numerically the children study and play in perfect harmony, as a general rule. Nor is there any prejudice against teaching them. In the districts in the New Italy section, where the constituency is almost entirely Italian, the teachers have found much difficulty in securing boarding places. To overcome this, four or five of the teachers live in Vineland and the school board provides a livery team with which they drive out the 4 to 6 miles daily.
The librarian of the free public library of Vineland reports an increasing interest on the part of the Italian children in books and magazines, although not nearly so great as among American children. In some of the factories magazines placed in the racks are read with avidity by the employees, but very few subscribe for magazines or papers.
In short, the desire for education, for books, for commercial, and literary knowledge is a matter of three generations. The children can read and write the English language and are satisfied; the grandchildren, now growing up, will be reared in an atmosphere almost entirely American and will reach out into professional and literary pursuits. It is noticeable that the second generation, who have come to Vineland after a residence in Illinois, Colorado, Texas, or Pennsylvania perhaps speak better English and are more alive to educational advantages than those who have spent their entire lives in the agricultural colonies here. There is no doubt that segregation by race tends to perpetuate language, customs, and ideals.
Education does not extend to domestic science nor the household arts, and very few Italian girls give any attention to improved culinary methods or household science.
It is difficult to arrive at the actual number of Italian voters in the three townships. Some idea, however, may be gained from the 50 family schedules taken. Of the 28 South Italians, 8, or nearly 29 per cent, are aliens; 18, or 64 per cent, are full citizens, and i has his first papers. The 21 North Italians show up better. There is but 1 alien, 18, or six-sevenths of the number are full citizens, and 2 have their first papers. It is perhaps within bounds to say that nine-tenths of all the North Italians have either their first or their second papers.
Of the South Italians about 65 per cent; among the farmers perhaps 75 per cent have first or second papers. The mill hands and railroad workers will show a smaller percentage of citizens.
There have been some Italian township officers in the country districts-constables, assessors, justices of the peace, and tax collectors. These men perform their duties conscientiously in the main, but, it is said, are sometimes influenced by racial or personal considerations. They vote on local issues along lines of personal feeling, but take rather perfunctory interest in the general elections. The North Italian vote is intelligent, and there is no charge of corruption. The South Italians have a more questionable reputation in this regard.
Vineland has always been a no-license town, but in accordance with legislative enactment the issue is brought before the electorate yearly. The Italians nearly all oppose no license, but few vote for license, as is shown by the overwhelming majorities in favor of no saloons. “This means," says the Italians, "that we do not vote on the question at all."
There is no question about the good economic results that have accrued to Vineland and Landis Township through the settlement of these people here. Taking up new and uncleared land they have made beautiful homes and farms, brought prosperity and productiveness to a wilderness. They are generally a sober, temperate, and industrious people. There is a little complaint that they are dishonest in small dealings and there is some petty thievery. One must sharply distinguish between the Sicilian and South Italian and
the immigrant from northern Italy in this respect, however. The early comers are universally respected; some hold posts of honor and trust, and practically everyone stands high in the esteem of all who deal with him. Many of the so-called vices and crimes against person attaching to the late comers are to be ascribed to ignorance of the American language, to old-world habits, to superstition, and, as noted before, to racial characteristics.
Very few receive any aid from the poor fund. In Buena Vista Township, with a poll list of 430 Italians, only 5 received any poor aid in 1908, the aggregate of relief rendered being $52. The total appropriation for the poor fund of Landis Township, with 1,300 polls and 400 Italian families, is about $150 yearly. The amount expended on Italians is scarcely more than $35. Two occasions arise when charity becomes necessary-sudden and prolonged illness or misfortune and lack of means among a few of the newer settlers, who are clearing land and getting a start. The total amount of charitable aid is very insignificant compared with that distributed in many New England towns inhabited chiefly by native New Englanders.
There are no licensed saloons in Vineland, but there are said to be some "speakeasies,” and police authorities declare that most of these are kept by Italians. There is some intemperance and all drink homemade wine, but there are few or no drunkards. There is drinking at celebrations and on holidays frequently, but on the whole it may be said that such carousals, if they may be so called, are mild and not marked by excesses.
THE SECOND GENERATION.
The North Italian American farmers are an enterprising class. Too many of them have been kept very closely to their fathers' farms until past the age of 21, and, associating only with Italians and doing little business in the village, they have had much to learn after arriving at manhood and responsible proprietorship, but they are careful cultivators and are becoming more progressive yearly. Some of them have lands worth $10,000 to $12,000, partly inherited, and sell produce valued at $2,500 to $3,800 yearly from their places. Some are trying new crops-peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes-putting their money into the canning factory and joining the farmers' exchange. They buy new horse machinery, perhaps too freely, and experiment with new varieties of old crops. Their farms, as compared with their fathers, are less carefully cultivated, perhaps, and less work is done with the hoe. Some are practicing shorter hours and taking more time for rest and recreation. On the whole, the most of them show up well when compared with the second-generation immigrant of any race in agriculture. There are few or none who are scientific farmers and none attend the State college of agriculture.
There are old residents who think the young men are not as good workers nor as reliable workers as the first comers. Certainly they are more fastidious in the choice of occupations and can not be imposed upon so easily.
The young women marry Italians and do not much differ from their mothers except in dress and deportment. They cook much the same sort of food and are rarely very proficient housekeepers, enjoying
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rather the oversight of the work out of doors. As girls they are carefully brought up and very closely watched in the matters of conduct and morals. The chosen husband must suit the father, ordinarily. Italian girls do not roam the streets at night unaccompanied by the father or mother.
Little can be said about the South Italians, because there are fewer of the second generation who have grown to manhood and womanhood. They speak English, most of them read and write, and almost none write Italian. There is some movement away from the land into the ranks of the industrial manual labor of the city.
THE ITALIANS AT NEWFIELD AND MALAGA.
Newfield and Malaga, little hamlets on the Pennsylvania Electric Line from Camden to Millville or Atlantic City, are about 30 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 4 and 6 miles, respectively, north of Vineland. They lie in the political division of Franklin Township, the most southeasterly township in Gloucester County.
Malaga was at one time a flourishing village, owing to a very thriving window-blind manufactory that went out of existence in the nineties. With the passing of the factory the town gradually sank into decay, the population moved away, and now little remains except a little sawmill, turning out box lumber, and a good hotel-a sort of road house for seashore automobile parties. The big four-room, now dilapidated, school building, gaunt and unpainted, is attended by scarce 50 pupils. In the palmy days it was full' to overflowing: In the immediate vicinity several town-site companies have laid out lots, avenues, and streets on the deserted farms and uncleared brush lands, and the flaring white signs marking the avenues and boulevards through the briars and thick brush would be comical were they not pathetic.
Newfield, a mile or two farther southeast, is a little larger and more enterprising. A rug factory, employing 60 persons in all, of which 20 are Italians, 4 girls and 16 men, is now picking up after a season of depression. A manufactory of fireworks, employing about the same number, is scattered over the landscape in rude shacks" at some little distance from the village.
At an early day Franklin Township was settled by “Jerseymen," who lived partly on the fruits of the field—wheat, rye, corn, and some poultry, vegetables and fruit, which found a market in the near-by manufacturing towns; partly on the products of the forest-timber, hoop poles, barrel staves, lumber and the like. The vanishing timber, the growing poverty of the soil, the removal of the mills, the generally depressed condition of agriculture, the exodus of the young people made farming in the late eighties a precarious industry. Only die most fit were able to make a surplus over living expenses and many were allowing their farms to run down.
THE COMING OF THE ITALIANS.
i 1889 two or three families of Italians, hearing of the success of thi imetand colons and the cheap lands near by, came to the vicinity
Sex and bought deserted farms, formerly cultivated, now propozu's tu brust, and weeds. There was an old house on one of the