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Wherever they are found, the German-Swiss make excellent farmers, and while the immigration from Switzerland has been insignificant in numbers, several new Swiss colonies composed of emigrants from the older settlements have been established in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas, and are working a favorable influence on agriculture at several points.
In some respects the Russians, most of whom are Russian Hebrews, are treated under the discussion of the Hebrew agricultural colonies. But there are increasing numbers of Russian peasants from certain Russian provinces who are engaging in agricultural pursuits chiefly in the Central West between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains and in western Canada. The census figures are not very satisfactory and mean only that those enumerated gave Russia as their birthplace or the birthplace of their parents, without regard to race. These are, however, the only available statistics."
The Russians are mostly grain farmers. They purchased cheap land, settling in rather compact rural groups, and in general have been fairly successful and prosperous. No purely Russian colonies other than those of Russian Jews were investigated, but a number of farmers of Russian nativity were met with, usually intermingled with Poles and other Slavs.
OTHER RACE GROUPS.
All the other important races in rural settlements except the French and Austrians are dealt with in general or in detail elsewhere in this report and need not be summarized here. According to the census of 1900, of the 106,583 male breadwinners of French parentage, 24.6 per cent were in agricultural pursuits. The foreign-born reported 11,355, or 22.1 per cent, in agriculture, 7,415 being farmers and 2,356 farm laborers. The second generation had 14,845, or 26.9 per cent, in agriculture, 9,047 of whom were farmers and 5,145 farm laborers. Of the 167,620 Austrians in gainful occupations, 9.6 per cent were in agriculture, the foreign-born reporting 12,314, or 8 per cent, and the native-born 3,812, or 26.1 per cent. The foreign-born had 8,016 farmers and 3,487 farm laborers, the native-born 1,071 farmers and 2,667 farm laborers. In the present study the Austrians in part are treated under the head of Poles.
a For detailed information see Reports of the Immigration Commission on Occupations, vol. 28 (S. Doc. No. 282, 61st Cong., 2d sess.).
b As is the case with other races of recent immigration, the number of Americanborn Austríans of breadwinning age is comparatively small.
SCOPE AND METHOD OF INVESTIGATION.
The Immigration Commission's investigation of recent immigrants in agriculture was planned to comprehend a study of all the important agricultural groups of certain selected races east of the Mississippi River and a general survey of Texas, Arkansas, and southern Missouri.
Racially, the study includes only those races which come from southern or eastern Europe, and the Japanese. Specifically, North and South Italians, Hebrews, Poles, Slovaks, Bohemians and other Slavs, Portuguese, Japanese, and a few colonies of German-Swiss and Belgians were investigated. With a few exceptions, every important immigrant rural settlement in the States east of the Mississippi River was visited or taken into consideration.
The study is for several reasons confined to the races mentioned. First, most of these immigrants have been on the land a comparatively short time. Second, they belong to the class of immigrants whose success in agriculture in the United States is not fully assured or recognized. Third, so far as their previous occupations in the United States are concerned, they are of the nonagricultural races, although in Europe they belonged to the peasantry. The agricultural fitness of the north European immigrants who migrated early to the West is so well known, and their capacity for Americanization and assimilation has been so fully proved, that an investigation of such rural settlements would resolve itself into a study of farming conditions and American rural life rather than an inquiry into immigration. Finally, the agricultural immigrant of the future in all probability will be recruited from the above-mentioned and kindred races from southern and eastern Europe.
In respect to occupations, the study logically divides itself into two rather unequal parts: (a) Colonies, settlements, communities, and rural groups, composed of farmers having a permanent abode in the country; (b) seasonal agricultural laborers, usually having a permanent residence in cities or towns, who migrate to the country in groups or gangs to supply the seasonal demand for farm laborers.
Of the seasonal laborers only a few of the many groups east of the Mississippi were studied. "Black Portuguese" cranberry pickers in the East, Polish and Indian cranberry pickers in Wisconsin, Italian berry pickers in New Jersey, Italians and Poles engaged on farms and in canning factories in New York State, and Japanese, Belgians, and Bohemians in sugar-beet culture in Ohio and Wisconsin, are the groups included under this inquiry.
a Data concerning the Belgians and German-Swiss have not been tabulated by the Commission.
COMMUNITIES INVESTIGATED, BY RACES.
The Italian rural groups considered include both North and South Italians and were found in 13 States-5 Northern States, 5 Southern States east of the Mississippi, and Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. It is believed that practically every important colony or settlement east of the Rocky Mountains was considered, and nearly all of them were visited by the agents of the Commission. The report gives somewhat detailed accounts of 20 rural groups, and treats summarily of 23 others, chiefly in Texas. The majority of the Italian settlements are racially homogeneous, and their boundaries are rather well defined. In the 43 groups there are approximately 4,142 families of Italian origin, most of them exclusively engaged in agricultural pursuits.
An effort was made to take note of all the important Hebrew colonies in the States included in the inquiry. Perhaps three-fourths or more of all Hebrews engaged in agriculture in the United States were reached. By far the greater number of Hebrew farmers are located in New Jersey, New York, and southern New England, in well-defined districts. Adopting the classification of the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, the rural colonies visited numbered 25. The approximate number of rural families in these colonies was 1,470, and the total number of persons approximately 7,767. This report combines these communities or colonies under seven titles, and deals more or less in detail with each large group. There are no Hebrew rural colonies of any significance in the South or Southwest, although there are a few colonies in the Dakotas.
The Poles have engaged in agriculture more extensively than any other race studied except the Bohemians, and many Polish settlements have been established too long to be called recent. Nevertheless, the Poles are a new element in eastern agriculture, and the immigration of Poles to the rural communities of the West and Southwest is steady, if slow. No colonies of importance were found in the South east of the Mississippi River, and but few in the North Atlantic States. Except those in Michigan (which State was not visited), few large Polish settlements in the North Central or North Atlantic States were omitted from the inquiry. In Wisconsin, where Polish farmers are comparatively numerous, four rather large settlements, typical of different varieties of Polish agriculture, were studied.
The summarized account of Poles in the Southwest treats of 13 parishes in 3 States and includes only a part of the Polish farmers there settled. In the North 34 Polish parishes in 6 States are represented in the report. In all, 47 rural (church) parishes, numbering approximately 6,219 families, most of them on farms, were reached by agents of the Commission."
The principal farm colonies of Bohemians east of the Mississippi are in Wisconsin. No attempt was made to study the very old colonies in Wisconsin, and except in the Southwest no investigation was made west of the Mississippi._Detailed information was secured from the colonies found in New England. A colony in the vicinity of Petersburg, Va., was not studied. In Texas a general survey was made of 30 colonies or settlements visited by the Commission's agents and one small rural group in Missouri was studied. The 30 groups in Texas and the one in Missouri number approximately 3,344 farm families and 16,905 persons. The Connecticut settlements number about 60 families and 320 persons.
East of California, practically all the rural Portuguese are in southeastern New England. Detailed information was secured from one typical farm settlement of "white" Portuguese numbering about 60 families, engaged in potato growing in Rhode Island.
Almost every Japanese engaged in independent farming east of the Rocky Mountains was interviewed. They number 28 families or households, aggregating approximately 223 persons; the greater number are in Texas and the remainder are in Florida. Detailed accounts appear in the complete report. The condition of the few Japanese sugar-beet laborers in Wisconsin is noted in the report on seasonal laborers, but the most comprehensive account of Japanese is in the report on Japanese and other immigrant races in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States," in which section nearly all the Japanese immigrants are located.
Only two Slovak or chiefly Slovak settlements, one in Arkansas and one in Pennsylvania, could be found in the States visited, but Slovaks, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Russians, or Austrians in small numbers were discovered in six States, comprising in all about 164 families. The Commission secured representative data from two rural settlements of Belgians—one the very old settlement near Green Bay, Wis., including parts of three counties, and the other a small group near Alexandria, La.-and data were also secured from the old and very important settlement of German-Swiss in Green County, Wis., where farmers of the third generation, reckoning from the original settlers, are now operating dairy farms. However, no separate accounts of these colonies appear in the report.
a Japanese and Other Immigrant Races in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States. Reports of the Immigration Commission, vols. 23-25. (S. Doc. No. 633, pt. 25, 61st Cong., 2d sess.)
SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION.
The table following shows the approximate number of persons of specified racial origin in the different communities visited. The approximations were made partly from town records, partly from church registers, partly from published estimates or private censuses made by interested persons, and partly from a canvass made by agents of the Commission. The term "group" is elastic. In the case of Poles it is synonymous with "parish"; the Hebrews employ a classification of their own by towns or colonies; for the Italians, "community," "colony," or "settlement" might be substituted for "group."
The number of families is approximately correct, and refers, generally speaking, to farm families. The number of persons is probably not far wrong in the aggregate, but is for many reasons unreliable when considered by individual groups, since it was compiled from many unofficial sources. It was not the purpose of the Commission to take a census of the rural immigrants nor to make a quantitative study.
TABLE 1.-Scope of investigation.
[The northern group includes Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The southern group includes North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. "Texas and Southwest" includes Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.]
a Parishes, districts, colonies, or communities. Poles enumerated entirely by parishes.
e Estimate, 1901-1903, by Kruszka, Historya Polska w Ameryce, Vol. II.