Choices for a New Home.
1. Farm thresher and farmers (click on image for larger view)
2. Prairie sod house and wheat (click on image for larger view)
Before the family left the old country, they usually knew where they would be living in the new country. For many, family members had come to the new country, found jobs, and made a home. Then they wrote and told other members of the family to come to the new world, "... a land of milk and honey where the streets were paved with gold."
Earning Money in the New Country.
3. Akelbert Riepe's Pharmacy Davenport, Iowa, 1890s (?)
When they arrived in America, most people went to familiar jobs they were familiar with, like farming and mining. Some stayed in the big cities and became shop owners. America was a big country, so there were many choices. Farming families headed west to places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas where there were acres of land available for farming and raising dairy cattle. Men who could work in the mines stayed in the east and mined coal in places like eastern Pennsylvania.
Some went to cities like Chicago, Cincinnati, and Kansas City to work in the stockyards and factories. Shop owners usually went where their families went, or where other people from their home country settled. Then they could be around others with the traditions and the language of their homeland. When they came to America, not everyone was able to speak English.
The Long Train Ride.
The only way to get across the new land was by train. Whether they were going to the farmlands or factories in the Midwest, the coal mines along the eastern seaboard, or to towns scattered across the United States, almost everyone took a train to their new home.
4. Central Pacific locomotive No. 1, c1863
Taking a train across the land could be cold in the winter or hot in the summer, but everyone knew that at the end of the ride was the new home that would give warmth and love to the family. Riding the train was dusty, crowded and smelly. It seemed to take forever to cross the land.
The New Home.
Once the family had settled in their new home, it was very important to keep in contact with the family members that were left behind in the old country. Letters were sent back and forth across the ocean. Family in the new land wrote and told about the wonders they had seen when crossing the ocean on the boat and crossing the land on the train. They told about the joy they felt when they saw family members that had arrived in the new land before them. They wrote about the excitement of meeting others from their homeland in the new land. Letters from the old country told about family members and friends who had been left behind, things going on in the old town, and how others were adjusting to families leaving for the promises of the new land. Either way, it was important not to forget family. Many remembered their family by creating samplers with the names of family members left behind. A sampler is a handmade picture sewn on cloth and framed to hang in a place of honor in a house.
: Create a "sampler" of your ancestors, including you, your parents, and your grandparents. Your teacher has a copy of the chart you are to use to make your sampler.