Book Review: British Buckeyes

British Buckeyes: The English, Scots, & Welsh in Ohio, 1700-1900.By Warren E Van Vugt. (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2006. xiii, 295 pp. Cloth, $55.00, ISBN 0-87338-843-7.)

British Buckeyes. The English, Scots, & Welsh in Ohio, 1700-1900 by Warren E. Van Vugt of Calvin College is a survey of the influence British immigrants had on the development of Ohio over the course of two centuries. The arrival, settlement, and impact of British immigrants in the United States after 1775 is virtually ignored in academic literature, so this examination of them in one state is to be welcomed. The first premise of the work is that the history of Ohio cannot be told or understood without the British immigrants. The second premise, asserted in an often repeated phrase, is that British immigrants had a significant impact because of their cultural affinity with the Americans as well as a common language and religion. This fact is perhaps why British immigrants are so often overlooked: before 1775 they helped create American culture, but afterwards they simply blended in, not having as many obstacles to overcome or barriers to break through as other immigrant groups. Van Vugt, following heavily on the heels of Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer, believes that British immigrants coming to Ohio were simply reinforcing the folkways of earlier arrivals from Scotland, England, and Wales. Provocatively, in his conclusion he wonders when Ohio stopped being British and started being American. Although he admits many changes occurred between “early” and “late” British migrants, he does not seem to regard the differences as significant. Continue reading Book Review: British Buckeyes

Lucy Markerly: A Case Study of an Englishwoman’s Immigration to the Western Reserve in the 1830s

By: John T. Nelson

Contending that women have been marginalized in the historical record investigating immigration, historians Donna Gabaccia and Suzanne Sinke have addressed this bias in the scholarly literature. Scholars Sydney Stahl Weinberg, Maxine S. Seller, and Susan Jacoby have called for changes in the study of immigration by integrating the female view into this important field of United States history. They assert that social history will be incomplete until the historiography includes both genders in a uniform study.[1. Donna Gabaccia, “Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home?,” Journal of American Ethnic History 10 (Summer 1991): 61-87.; Suzanne Sinke, “A Historiography of Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” Ethnic Forum9 (1989): 122-145.; Sydney Stahl Weinberg, “The Treatment of Women in Immigration History: A Call for Change,” Journal of American Ethnic History, vol. 11, no. 4, (Summer 1992): 25-67.; Maxine S. Seller, “Beyond the Stereotype: A New Look at the Immigrant Woman, 1880-1924,” The Journal of Ethnic Studies 3 (Spring 1975): 59-70.; Susan Jacoby, “World of Our Mothers: Immigrant Women, Immigrant Daughter,” Present Tense 6 (Spring 1979): 48-51.] This paper will argue that Lucy Markerly, an English woman immigrant, provides a case study to examine questions and issues faced by women immigrants. As a widow who outlived two husbands, this educated woman’s life and writing, speak to the motivations behind immigration in the 1830s. The research will assess her actions, as well as the economic, political, and spiritual beliefs revealed in her journal, poetry, and family library.[2. See Appendix A for examples of Lucy Markerly’s verse.] Continue reading Lucy Markerly: A Case Study of an Englishwoman’s Immigration to the Western Reserve in the 1830s

To Work and Live: Brickyard Laborers, Immigration and Assimilation in an Ohio Town, 1890-1925

By: Martha I. Pallante

Historians generally agree that at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries immigration to the United States, particularly that from Southern and Eastern Europe, played an important role in reshaping the fabric of America life. These waves of humanity flooded American cities joining the laboring masses, and in the process forever changed the character and the composition of American cities. For the most part, historians and the others who have studied this phenomenon have concentrated on the largest masses of that movement–those who went to large urban areas or to the major industrial complexes that acted as magnets for the many immigrant groups.

This study approaches the problem differently. It focuses on a relatively small group of Italian immigrants from the Italian province of Avelino, who arrived in Niles, Ohio between 1890 and the mid 1920s when changes in immigrations laws stemmed their flow. Their origins did little to distinguish them from more mainstream immigration experiences either to east coast or mid-western metropolitan areas. Continue reading To Work and Live: Brickyard Laborers, Immigration and Assimilation in an Ohio Town, 1890-1925