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PRESENT RACIAL CLASSIFICATION OF OKLAHOMA MINE WORKERS.
In the different coal communities of Oklahoma, information as to race and country of birth was secured from 3,349 individuals employed in the coal-mining industry. Of this number 1,200 were native-born of native father, 286 native-born of foreign father, and 1,863, or a fraction over 55 per cent, were foreign-born. The following table shows in detail the number of each race:
TABLE 393.-Total number of male employees for whom information was secured in the Oklahoma coal fields, by general nativity and race.
Of the 286 in the above table who were born in the United States and whose fathers were foreign-born, those whose fathers were born in Italy are more strongly represented than any others except those whose fathers were born in England and Scotland.
Of the 1,863 individuals born out of the United States less than 12 per cent are English, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, and German. On the other hand, the Italians (North and South) represent over 41 per cent of the first generation of immigrants from whom information was obtained. After the Italians, the Poles, Lithuanians, and Mexicans are more largely represented than the other races.
PERIOD OF RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES OF FOREIGN-BORN EMPLOYEES IN OKLAHOMA.
Data were also secured as to the period of residence in the United States of the employees of foreign birth and are submitted in the following table, by general nativity and race:
TABLE 394.-Number of foreign-born male employees in the Oklahoma coal fields who have been in the United States each specified number of years, by race.
(STUDY OF EMPLOYEES.)
[By years in the United States is meant years since first arrival in the United States. No deduction is made for time spent abroad.]
Out of 1,815 foreign-born employees shown in the above table, 709, or 39.1 per cent, have been in the United States over ten years, 486, or 26.7 per cent, between five and ten years, and 620, or 34.1 per cent, under five years.
One of the most interesting facts brought out by this table, however, is the decrease in the number of English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and Germans who have resided in the United States less than ten years, and a corresponding increase, during the same period, of southern European races, especially the Italians. Of the English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and Germans employed, 86.5 per cent have been in this country over ten years, 6.5 per cent over five and under ten, and the greater part of the remaining 7 per cent have come
within the last five years. On the other hand, only 144, or 25 per cent, of the 575 North Italians have resided here over ten years, 31.8 per cent between five and ten years, and 43.1 per cent under five years. Other races showing a large per cent of arrivals within the past five years are the Slovak, Slovenian, South Italian, and Polish. In proportion to the number of each race employed, the Irish and Welsh show a larger per cent with a residence of over twenty years than does any other race, followed by the Scotch, English, and Germans.
The preceding table, showing the employment of so many of the more recent immigrants with only a year or so of residence-a number of them with less than a year-indicates that many are coming direct to the Oklahoma coal field upon their arrival in the United States, and supports the belief that many inexperienced men are being employed in the industry.
FUTURE IMMIGRATION TO OKLAHOMA.
Future immigration to Oklahoma will probably be very large. As yet the coal fields have not been extensively developed, and as new mines are opened the demand for labor will increase, and it will be the immigrant races who will have to satisfy this demand.
There will be very little more immigration on the part of the English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh. Very few French have come in since 1895, and the immigration of this race to Oklahoma has now ceased. Of the other races, the Italians (North and South), Lithuanians, Slovaks, Magyars, and Mexicans continue to come and future immigration will be of these races. Very few Poles have been coming of late years, and it is not thought that the future immigration of these people will be large. During the past year many Bulgarians have come to Oklahoma, and it is thought that many more will come within the next few years.
HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION TO THE KANSAS MINES.
The coal fields of Kansas lie principally in the counties of Crawford and Cherokee, in the southeastern part of the State. These counties compose what is known as the Pittsburg coal field, with Pittsburg, Kansas, as the central point. There are many companies operating mines in the district and the development of mining properties has been steadily increasing since the first mines were opened in the vicinity of Pittsburg and Scammon in 1878 and 1879.
Pittsburg is surrounded on all sides by coal camps and small mining towns, the most important being connected by interurban traction lines. Only the larger and older of these places will be considered. In 1877 coal was taken out in small quantities by strip openings, but no immigrant labor came into the field until 1878 and 1879. When the first shaft mines were opened English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh came from Mercer County, Pennsylvania, to help work and develop the new mines. These men were not shipped in, but came of their own accord upon the advice of some fellow-countrymen. There were about 20 men of these races who came during the years 1878 and 1879, and this was the first immigrant labor employed in the
coal fields surrounding Pittsburg. During 1879 other companies opened mines, and as there was no local labor to be had agents were sent to other coal fields and to New York, and immigrants of other races were brought to the field. This method of securing mine workers was continued until the late nineties, but since that time it has not been found necessary to import any more men, as sufficient numbers came of their own accord.
The first English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh who came to the Kansas fields in 1878 and 1879 from Mercer County, Pennsylvania, induced friends to join them from the same State, and in 1882 a few families came direct from Great Britain. The majority, however, continued to come from Pennsylvania. They were usually accompanied by their families and established permanent homes. Up to 1890 there was a steady immigration of the races, as new mines were developed. From that year until 1895 there was quite an influx from the coal fields of Indian Territory, where the earlier immigrants had been displaced on account of the prominent part they had taken in labor disputes. Since 1895 smaller numbers have been coming, but at the present time immigration on the part of these races to Kansas has ceased.
The immigrants from Austria-Hungary in the Pittsburg field are Croatians, Germans, Poles, Magyars, Slovaks, and Slovenians. All of these races were at first brought into the district by the coal operators. The first shipments were made in 1879 and 1880 from Pennsylvania, and included representatives of all of the above-mentioned races. They went to work in the mines in the vicinity of Pittsburg, but are now to be found all over the field.
From 1880 to the early nineties many were brought direct from New York as soon as they landed. Agents of the operators questioned newly arrived immigrants on landing in New York as to what work they had been engaged in before leaving Europe. All who had been coal miners were given transportation and were brought to Pittsburg and put to work in the mines. A Croatian, who was one of the first to come into the field, said he had been engaged in mining in Pennsylvania, and was approached by the agent who told him that work was plentiful and wages good in the coal mines of Kansas. He with several of his countrymen consented to go and were brought out with a party which included Poles, Croatians, Magyars, and Slovaks. Conditions were found to be as represented, and he and some of his friends wrote to their friends in Pennsylvania and induced them to join them in Kansas. None of the men who first arrived were accompanied by their families, but later many sent for their wives and kindred. After being in the field a short time they also induced friends from Europe to come, and thus immigration from Austria-Hungary was started to the Pittsburg district.
About 1885 a few began to purchase homes and each year more have made Kansas their permanent home. Since 1903 immigrants from Austria-Hungary have not arrived in as large numbers as previously, but immigration is still steady. The reason given for the decline in immigration during the past few years is that the development of mining operations has not been rapid. The number of the immi
grants in the field constantly varies, as many go to other localities when work is slack and return when the mines in the Pittsburg district are running regularly.
The first immigrants from Italy were brought into the field in 1880 as strike breakers. These men were brought from Pennsylvania and Illinois and there were about 30 in the party. From the above-mentioned year until about 1895 agents employed by the coal companies continued to bring them into the district from other sections of the United States, usually in parties of 10 or 15. This started immigration on the part of the Italians. Those brought in by agents induced friends and relatives to join them, and since 1880 the immigration of Italians to the coal fields of Kansas has been steady. As is usually the case with the Italians, they are segregated and have formed colonies in different localities. The town of Chicopee, near Pittsburg, is composed almost entirely of this race, of whom about 1,500 live in and around the town. Many own homes and are permanent residents. All of the Italians have engaged in coal mining, and it is this industry alone which has drawn them to Kansas.
In 1879 a few French were induced to come from Illinois to the Pittsburg coal fields, and in 1880 others were brought from the same place and from Pennsylvania. This started immigration on the part of the French, and they continued to come until about 1897. Since that time they have been migrating in smaller numbers. After 1884 many French came direct from France and Belgium. Immigration of French to Kansas has practically ceased, however, and fewer of this race are engaged in mining than was the case four or five years ago. Those who have left the mines have engaged in farming and other pursuits. A number of farms in the section are owned by the French, and many own homes in the different towns in the coal field. The French are not segregated. The cause assigned for others coming was the overcrowded condition of the mines in their native land, and the desire to earn more. A great many of the French own their homes and are permanent residents.
Taking the field as a whole, there were in round numbers 12,000 men employed in the coal-mining industry in Kansas in the year 1907, and with the exception of 1,300 in Leavenworth and Osage counties they are in the Pittsburg field.
The races represented in the field are estimated as follows: