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tv   Immigrants in 19th Century Wisconsin  CSPAN  November 28, 2015 9:10pm-9:58pm EST

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year: pioneer life through the seasons", kathleen ernst uses photographs from the old wisconsin history museum to show what 19th-century life was like. describes a year in the life of immigrants to rural wisconsin. kathleen: thank you. i am delighted and honored to be here at the national archives. things all for coming and a special thanks to judge swanson and his colleagues here for making this program possible. firstg mentioned, my nonfiction book was set in maryland where i grew up and i was too afraid -- i was looking for the stories of civilians during the antietam campaign and the whole war and that was the first time i was able to make use of the study collections here at the national archives as i looked at accounts that people filed for damages after the armies had moved through. i'm so enormously grateful that so many of our national treasures are protected here at
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the national archives. wisconsin,lived in however, for over 30 years and i'm here today to talk about another topic that is very dear to my heart. and that is the immigrant experience in wisconsin in the upper midwest. i hope that you can use your imagination a little bit. i would like to set the stage and think about how you would feel 150 years ago if you are preparing, especially to leave europe, for a new land that you can only vaguely imagine. , salts and today in the 19 century, a group of bohemian immigrants with tear-stained cheeks leaned over the railing of their ships that would take them to america. someone started singing an old folk song, "where is my home? " they all joined in. glimpseched as the last
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of their homeland faded into the horizon behind them. on another day, at another doc, and irish boy with haunted eyes and hollow cheeks also boarded a ship. he did not look back at the land that was so desperately ravaged by potato blight and famine. in his pocket was no his mother had written just before she had died and it contains the names that she had scribbled on the paper of an uncle that the boy had never met and one single ord, "wisconsin." on a different doc, several german women gave yarn to their we being mothers -- we being mothers and sisters before boarding the ship. left, they yarn and each of the women on that ship felt her in slip from her fingers. it was the last link to everything dear and familiar.
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sometime later, a swedish farmer who is deep in debt chose a moment -- moonless night to slip from home and make his way to the nearest port. he left his family with nothing but a promise to send passage money when he could if he could. where is my home? that question haunted thousands of europeans a century and more ago. between 1836, and 1850, the wisconsin population rose from 11,000 to over 300000 and five. over the statistics are more than 294,000 unique people. each with her or his own hopes and heartache. each with his or her own story.
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a settler's year tell stories about european and yankee immigrants who made their journey in the 19th and early 20th centuries. people dreaming of and searching for and working to create new homes and a new land. this focuses on the experience of wisconsin immigrants, it does reflect the broader heritage of the upper midwest and nearly our entire nation. these stories have relevance from us all of us, most of us either are immigrants ourselves or have an immigration story on our family tree. i think today it is very difficult for us to even imagine what it was truly like for europeans to leave their homes in the 1800s, knowing that they would probably never see their homeland again or the people that they love, knowing that communications would be extremely difficult in the new world.
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this. typical view is that men were the ones who were eager to seek out new horizons and new opportunities while women were reluctant to emigrate and often looked over their shoulders as they left. that was not always the case. johan schuster of the very succumbed to doubts before his family was going to depart. we know how things are here, he cried, germany, we know, america is an unknown country to us. his wife replied, kindly, but firmly, johan, tomorrow we are leaving for america. surviving the ocean crossing was a challenge, but only the first part of the journey. newcomers traveled on canal .oats or steamships once they reached wisconsin, a few of the new arrivals did settle in milwaukee or green bay
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or sheboygan one of the other points -- ports on the eastern part of the state. the majority cap's going to explore prairie and wooded landscapes. in 1850, less than 10% of the people living in wisconsin were urban dwellers. also traveling from the eastern seaboard were people we call yankees. these are men and women of english descent from the british isles, many were third or fourth generation americans. perhaps they were restless. perhaps they were adventurous. perhaps they were already feeling confined as the populations were growing and land prices were rising. reason, they, too, left their friends and their family and decided to drive a luck on what was in the western frontier. they yankees, in general, brought a deal for civic improvements and a strong dedication to a democratic
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government. although, far fewer in number, free locks also traveled from eastern cities in search of a new home. a few other african-americans fled slavery in the south and fencing should marry and the remote hills of southwestern wisconsin. all of those people trimming of agricultural opportunities were not the first to arrive in the area. early french explorers and traders had managed to meet the native americans who were living there without causing too much harm or displacing them. clash between the u.s. government land policy and the indians way of life came to an end in wisconsin with the black hawk war in 1832. after that, most native people pushed from their homes, the new pioneers found land available. arriveigrants who did
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had a lot to do with the succeeding ways that followed them. you probably have heard the term america letters. they would write letters from expelling the virtues of the land and what they had found here and these tattered letters would make their way to some small village in sweden or norway or germany from hand to hand as people read what had been written by someone that they knew and trusted. wisconsinates, officially encouraged immigration for a short time. in a few cases, people were even able to go back and recruit people from their own home village if they wanted to create a bigger community in wisconsin of people that they knew. in 1862, the homestead act brought more seven is to the upper midwest with the promise of what hundred 60 acres of public land in exchange for a certain time of residency and other requirements. in wisconsin, over 3 million acres were claimed by over
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29,000 homesteaders. the records that document these transactions are contained here at the national archives. in the very earliest years of settlement in wisconsin, european settlers hoped to arrive in the summer when there was still time to look around, perhaps, if they had money to actually buy a little piece of land or to find someone to go to work if they arrived with actually nothing. the challenge with arriving in the summer was that hot weather and very crowded conditions in contributedt cabins to devastating epidemics and some of the earliest immigrant settlement. capriciousmmigrants, winds as they were crossing the oceans or other challenges and obstacles delayed them from arriving and it was not uncommon for immigrants to arrive in wisconsin in october or november or december.
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it was december 20 6, 1835, that i first set foot in wisconsin, wrote isaac smith. the weather was extreme a cold. one foot of snow upon the ground. i was in company with some families consisting of women and small children, some of the latter but a few months old. party had to camp as they were traversing through wisconsin. imagine camping in wisconsin winter and 1835 with an infant. but they get want to go out and see the land and sometimes winter conditions made it better for them to get a sense of the landscape. whether bartered from a speculator in 1842 obtained from the federal government twitters purchase from a northern lumber company several decades after that, the newcomers mostly wanted land of their own. year is organized to help readers imagine the cycles
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that immigrants experience. all of the photographs were taken at old rural wisconsin and unless otherwise noted, the images were captured by my colleague lloyd. the photo essays were intended to depict the agricultural year and as i started working on this look and reading accounts and delving into the primary resources, it seemed to me that the agricultural year also was a metaphor for a cycle that most immigrants went through, starting with arriving and sometimes -- in sometimes very challenging and brutal conditions and hopefully completing the circle to getting their feet on the ground. and being content. a settlers year covers both of those. what i would like to do now is give you a taste of some of those stories and photos as they are depicted in my book.
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today, we tend to think of spring as a wonderful time where things are green and winter is fading into the background. in the very earliest years of settlement, when provisions were the harvestow and was still many months away, spring was often a very challenging time for the new arrivals. as frost left this well, --ilies went out and hearted and started carving their farm from the natural landscape as best as they could. most have nothing to work with except a few simple and tools. it, they could afford would buy and oxen. sometimes families would even pull their resources to buy and oxen or a team of them. they were helpful for many reason, they were wonderful animals for pulling a card to the market or other heavy duty
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things, taking walks through the woods to the wintertime. one of the biggest challenges was turning prairie lands into farmlands. prairies have very deep roots and are very dense and are often matted together and it might take two or three teams of oxen hitched to a single plow to overturn the soil. another problem with oxen is that they often ran away and they had a mind of their own, especially if the people who brought them really were not used to working with them. it was not at all in common for people to spend many hours struggling to turn land and plow and then as soon as the oxen were unhitched they were runaway. they would spend more hours trying to get the oxen to come back to the farm. one of the things that immigrants did whether yankee or european was they would bring seeds even cuttings and plans if they could if they were coming
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, so the new england aria they could have a tiny sense of place in their new home fair-minded them of their old home. i have sunflower seeds dear father, and i'm looking forward to flowers like a child, wrote sophie and 1856. we even started and asparagus bed. we are introducing german vegetables little by little while the american lives on meat and potatoes all year. another german immigrant road, the americans leave their cattle out in the open, summer and winter, and sometimes the milk freezes. i cannot bring myself to do that. the cattle barn was the first building to be erected on our new farm. and echoed a third german, americans must come to appreciate fertilization, crop rotation, and the value of remaining in one location.
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immigrants struck a common that the different way europeans and the yankees tended to view the landscape at that time. i don't think the assessment was totally fair that they made that americans only lives on cake and potatoes and meets, but yankee settlers did have, in general, a different approach to agriculture. they were often very quick to adopt the latest mechanical innovations and they were much more likely to consider short-term profit. they did know from experience that if a field got worn out or things became crowded, they could always move on farther west which they had already done at least one time and sometimes many hopscotch across the country. the europeans who had made a more difficult journey crossing the atlantic tended to look at both the land and their livestock in a different way. takes in the spring
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and the weather got cold, they would not think twice about building a pen inside of their own wondering cabin to make sure that they were protected. they were also much more conscious about crop rotation and fertilization and things like that. european,nkee or spring did bring the promise of better times and with sunshine warming their shoulders, immigrants continued or began the hard work of creating new homes in this new place. one noted that it took courage to plant a settlement. but with tiny seeds and breaking plows and red geraniums, we try to face the challenges. they dreamed of abundance despite quivering muscles, blistered palms, and sometimes hamsa carts. when spring soften the landscape, all things seemed possible.
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when summer came, the farmers look to the sky. they hoped for the right amount of rain, not too much or too little. women checked their gardens every day looking for new growth, but also looking for any sign of insects that might devastate one of their carefully tended crops. at this point, once the planting was done, so much of their success now depended largely on factors be on their control. you may think of wisconsin as a dairy state. time, in the mid-1800s, the most important crops were grains. they were vitally important. what we would not give for an onenary barley growth immigrant lamented. the americans do not know how to grind grain and our swedish stomachs once our beloved porridge. most farmers to plant right and oats for their own home use
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which is what they were used to, but long before the dairy industry data merge in wisconsin, wheat was literally a golden cash crop. thousands and thousands of prairie acres were plowed under and sown with wheat. in the days of candles, harvesting all of that wheat was a challenge. the best could cut about four acres a day. but that took a lot of practice. when i first began to create a week, i found my ribs should break the next morning when i started in again, recalled frederick a prussian immigrant who arrived in 1854. cut grain had to be raked and bound into bundles and stacked all by hand. it was not just the man that were working outside. european women were often very comfortable and used to working in the fields and doing heavy labor. but certainly, some of the yankee women also an early years
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realized that if the farm was going to get started they needed to get to work on also. one pioneer noted other neighbor, she has always been a persistent worker in the field, her has been cradled the grain and she bounded. she could not do her housework in the daytime because of the press of outside days. she did it at night after supper and the chores were done. i need to fill you in that this woman while doing all of that raised 18 children. she was pregnant most of the time. children often attended school in the summer which would probably horrify our children today. but it was the easiest time to spare them from home during this hottest months. landing at already been done and the frenzy of the big harvest had not begun. children were sent to school at there was one to send them to.
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before, schoolhouses were officially established, it is very common for families to pull the resources and one parent would say send everybody in the neighborhood to me and we will have classes in our cabin. until we can get a schoolteacher hired. learned thatalso they had work to do on a busy farm. as soon as they were able to move around they were sent to gather wood chips to bring in for kindling or another favorite shore was sending the children in the grain fields because if crows came in and started to threaten the grain, the children would run up and down and chase away the birds. cows or oxenn the ran away, the older children were sent to find them which was not always a hard job. one man notes that whenever he wins as a boy to chase oxen, he managed to go by way of swimming
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hole so he can have a little fun on the way. as the summer sticky heat faded, andyone took a deep breath got back of where they were. some dreams had already been shattered by health storms or grasshoppers or drought. sometimes they found bugs in the grain or caterpillars and the cabbage. -- times even a hearty woman lost determination did not prevail. other dreams literally bore fruit. as evidenced by cucumbers and beans and pickles. my farm is thriving. he wrote him to germany and 1852. in addition to god's blessing, our work has not been in vain.
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in the earlier's a settlement, families often worked all fall to thrash their wheat. other grain crops. again, people with very little access to tools or agricultural innovations did everything by hand. men without barn floors like this gentleman spreadsheets on the ground or canvas tarps and you put bundles of grain on the and what thecle men are doing is literally beating the little kernels of grain from the stocks. it is a long operation. other men drove oxen and endless rounds on the bundles of grain to trample the seed free. once that work was done, there was another job to do by hand. the kernels were not all clean.
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without transportation, many people do not have transportation for quite some time, obtaining supplies or even going to a mill once the grain was finished with a difficult challenge. one young belgian woman left home long before dawn with a 60 pound stack of wheat slung over her shoulder. she made a 15 hour, 30 mile trudge to the closest mill. she would get her grain ground into flour and she would sleep on the floor and the next day she would return home with the precious flower slung over her shoulder. that sounds pretty challenging for most of us, but her son row, she was can -- it was considered a vacation of shorts -- sorts. it was a change of motion for her. suppers were only one of the late-season diversions.
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sellers were generally quick to help their neighbors. and made the work of faster and it certainly added a social element to even the most grueling tasks such as butchering hogs. the angels frenzy of the worst of the harvest past, they could afford to take a little bit more time and tell a few stories and visit with their neighbors a little longer. life was not so easy recalled one woman. but we always had time for old-fashioned country pleasures. please to take our work and go and spend all day with a neighbor and we had real sociable times. children were kept busy in the fall and they help to empty the gardens, first gathering all of the vegetables which were above ground and then moving on later to the root crop. the vines that twined through the corn stocks and grain sometimes boring enormous fruit , never beforetive
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farmed soil. multipleould not carry plug-ins and had to bring them in one at a time. they are very valuable to us. they make syrup and we also feed them to the cattle. which makes them give much milk. by november, hickory smoke wafted from the smoke houses and up the letter simmered on the stove and they were crocs and barrels in the sellers. women recounted the jars and sacks of food store they're. consulate calculating what they had and what they had left. men also did the same in the barns looking at a and straw. they set aside for the cows.
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he man noted that although and his wife had never been to school, they could calculate as well as anyone else because of an necessity of evaluating food for the winter. the families had done their best and ready or not, cold weather was upon them. years, when some immigrants arrived in wisconsin, again, literally with nothing but the close that they were wearing, they left their homeland and because they had nothing to look forward to there. passage and got to wisconsin by working as a hired hand across the country. choice onem had no their first winter but today a duck out into the side of the hill. and spend the winter in there. as later arrivals came, they would welcome them and also, which must have been very cramped and smoky and a very long winter for the people
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inside. even those with small cabins did not fare all hold up better sometimes. sometimes meant that a cabin up, but there was no money or time to put glass in the windows so they had open spaces. water froze and our glasses on the table, recalls hannah parker, and if a little spilled on the floor it would freeze before we could wipe it up. we had no could for the baby and had to keep them tied in a chair. our mother was sick all winter and we hunt will and blankets around the stove pipes and fixed or a bad and that enclosure. some families, as you can see in this light did not have a note. they may do with an old-fashioned open -- cabins that might not hungglass or doors, women rugs in the doorframes. can imagine, when
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temperatures plunged far below zero, it was impossible to maintain a comfortable heat in the cabins. not all of the people in the house can find a place around the stove at the same time wrote a norwegian man. the ones who got their first enjoyed rights of priority. we almost perish from cold both indoors and out. you can imagine a tiny cabin like this mobbed with a crush of immigrants. sometimes in the earlier is, there were some people sleeping in one cabin that it was hard to walk across the floor and the night because of all the people sleeping. one man wrote how he and his wife had slept in a bed while another couple slept under the bed because that was the only space left. times are challenging notches for europeans, a yankee immigrant remembered another harsh reality for the early settlers. he wrote, only those who have
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experienced it can imagine the loneliness of a first winter 30 miles from the closest post office. one inconvenience was the lack of matches. night, thed windy fireplace went out. soon, another gentleman came over and he had also lost fire. together they started for the home to borrow -- he fell in a river while crossing a falling tree. clothing, to dry his the other two men home. after some distance, he turned hadsaw that the bottom melted from the heat of the cold and he had lost his fire again. trudging back to his neighbors he borrowed an iron kettle and succeeded in reaching home to start his fire again.
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even during the most brutal cold of this constant winter, one crop always back into the new arrivals and that was timber. , soonnish woman recalled it was winter and not having any money my husband and i had to go to work again. we helped each other to make or goods for which we received $.60. we had to wait recent knee-deep and yet we had to work every day that the weather permitted it. it was necessary to live. men often spent much of their winters cutting fence holes in anticipation of the spring, making shingles that they might be able to sell or cutting would. it kept many families going during those early winters. another account told of a woman who shouldered and ask like all of the women did in those days. and went into the woods with her young husband helping him cut trees and logs.
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she wore heavy boots. often, the acts would do something while she cut the wood. despite the grueling labor, many women took satisfaction in their congressman and relished being outdoors. andsaid that being outdoors staying busy was warmer than trying to stay warm inside of the cabin. established,s were windsor did not keep people indoors, including children heading for school. please do get pretty cold and winter mornings wandering through the deep snow and with temperatures at 20 or 30 below zero, so many of the early immigrants cherished the idea of education for their children. summer and winter when the times that they could best be spared from the farm. young adults cherished winter
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for another reason and that was sleigh rides. the crack ofled, the drivers went as the horses started off and the jingle of bells and the sharp crisp winter air, the joyful songs and the jokes, usually, he wrote, u.n. 20 miles away and you probably wrote all evening and reached the end by 1:00 in the morning. then came the oyster stew. you sat around the stove telling stories, singing songs, cracking jokes for a while. then, that come. if you are lucky, and if there were not any -- you got home before dawn. winter sometimes provided a very busy immigrants a chance to do things that slept away from them during the warmer months. perhaps it was a little bit of hand work, perhaps it was writing long letters to the
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people that they had left behind. poured outed emily her homesickness and a letter. you don't know how anxious i am to go back to dear old fremont for a visit with all of you. should we never have the pleasure of meeting again, on earth, let us anticipate a joyful meeting and heaven where parting shopping no no more. as the years went by and farms became established, winter was ultimately a time to favor a slower pace, to reflect a plan for the coming year. harvests -- utumn women and men caught their breath. rocking chairs closer to his dose and waited for spring. agreed that the first year was by far the hardest year in the world.
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everyone that starts on the journey must consider that one must first taste sour before he can drink sweet, cautioned one. certainly the winter season was especially hard on the newly arrived immigrants who huddled in the dugout or cabins with nothing to do but wait for spring. spring did arrive. labor andancing the the homesickness, and sometimes despair, was the spirit of cooperation that pervaded the rural settlement. it helps many pioneers survive that first difficult year. almost everybody needed some help. recalled a black woman who lives in the integrated community of pleasant ridge. immigrants and lonely valleys watched for the next crop of newcomers, even if their own cabin was already crowded. women often sought the company of other women and it was not
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unusual for a newly arrived woman who was struggling to get her feet on the ground to be visited by the closest woman and even if they did not speak the same language, her neighbor would come in and perhaps make a cup of tea. say, i understand and i'm here to help you. certainly, some dreams died. if you immigrants chose to save their money and return to their homeland. some immigrants do not live long enough to see their dreams of cells. to know if their sacrifices had been in vain or to see their children and grandchildren thrive. however, many settlers did manage with what one man summarized as hard work, indomitable pluck, and a rigid economy. to create farms, good farms that would provide for their descendents. are ultimately
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found on thousands of farms throughout wisconsin and the upper midwest. there was not a distinct pioneer era in wisconsin, at a time when some of the earliest settlers in the southeastern corner of this date were smiling upon the fruits of decades of labor, later arrivals were moving up into the land were timber companies have moved through, cut the timber and left acres and acres of stems. the finns and swedes who settled and that aria or starting their own pioneer era, decades after the first yankees and some of the europeans had arrived. immigrant spoke for many of those who had sacrificed and plans and worked and stuck it out to the hard times. of all of my former occupations he wrote, there was none that appeared to me as much as agriculture does.
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i am now devoted to this with all of my soul he wrote in 1853. when i formerly wish for in sad hours i have found here. people from russia and belgium and pennsylvania and massachusetts and finland and scotland and so many other places new that they were at last home. i would be delighted to take any questions that you might have. i have been asked to remind you that there are microphones on each side of the room, so if you have a question it would be helpful if you could step over to one of the microphones. >> could you describe what a
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typical first home was like on the prairie in wisconsin when they just got there? kathleen: i'll do my best. the first homes for the europeans in particular were often varies mall, square, large structures. they built the style of home that they had known in the old country and a lot of the europeans found the environment very different in wisconsin. many of them left because the landscape was so ravaged where they came from and the idea of having wood available was a dream come true for them. the ideal lands for most europeans was finding a farm where they could create their home that had a little prairie land and some forest land, even though it is very arduous to clear the way and they would turn them into farm fields, but they knew how precious the wood was.
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that being the case, with when available, they would build and sometimesns they were one-story, sometimes they were two-story. some of the workers from europe were very skilled and a beautiful work. other cabins that survived were put at very hastily. to provide a first shelter. and what usually happens was a european family might move into that little cabin and once they were sure that all of their livestock was well taken care of and they had time and money, then they would build a larger cabin or a log home and that first little one room building would be used as a summer kitchen or a chicken coop or whatever they needed and ultimately, perhaps a third home would be a framed house some years later. it was much more likely for the yankees to have a little bit more means and they would start a farm largely on prairie land.
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they do not want to clear the woods. many of the earliest times for them might have been cabins but were often also framed homes. thank you. >> did you discover that many of them went to milwaukee or chicago first to make money for their farms? kathleen: did some of them go to the city's first, yes. often they did. some of the men who arrived first could not get to wisconsin even if they knew that was where they wanted to be and they would work on the eastern seaboard for a little while and save up enough money to get a little farther and a little farther. ,hat also happened frequently especially with some of the later arrivals, if a family got together that money was still very tight because they would work on their farm and then the men would leave for the winter and they would go up to northern wisconsin or the upper peninsula of michigan and they would work
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at a lumber camp or perhaps a mine. women were often left alone for months on end in the wintertime with their children because that was the only way that they can make ends meet. yes or. >> and researching my family history, i have noticed that i have relatives who came from bavaria in the 1850's and they settled for a short while in new york. i mean maybe a few years. then they moved on to the midwest. i'm curious, do you have any. about what might have been going on in that process? kathleen: it's possible that they knew someone there. who said that you can stop with me. maybe work for a little while and see how you like life here. so many of the people who came, they were so hungry for land to farm that there just was not good land like in summary parts
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of europe. the restrictions were so great. a family might have a farm, but if you are younger you may not be entitled to any of it. once the very first wave got over, it was really common for people to write letters and say come here and stay with us. look around, maybe you would like to work here, or they needed to work on the docks or some other kind of labor to earn enough money to get farther on. ultimately, so many of them, their real goal, was a farm of their own, something they had never been able to own in germany or norway or sweden. one more? >> could you talk about how they went about making clothing from scratch? kathleen: good question. how did they make clothing from scratch? ,he easiest thing to transport
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especially for the europeans, were flax seeds. the plants were provided the fibers to make lenin. ultimately, you could weave it on a limb. part of the challenge was that it was a very lengthy thing to process. you could carry seeds, but then you have to separate the fibers from the stocks through a long series of steps. then you spin it, then you weave it. once you have done that, linen was a good hearty cloth. was a luxuryloom and the early years, so perhaps one woman in the neighborhood would have one and she would work out some sort of barter or trade system for other women so that they could either use it or she would do we mean -- do we being for other people. the other thing that families wanted to acquire as quickly as they could were a flock of sheep.
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they usually did not come first. first came food animals like chicken or cakes. when they could, they would get a flock of sheep and the yankees were such good animal breeders, they introduced a lot of breeds to the europeans who did not know all of the differences and the types of fleas that the different shapes might have. you've probably heard of merino fleece. it was coveted then, too. cropbecame a good cash during the civil war, also, because the federal government .as looking for access wall one thing that is interesting is that a lot of the immigrants brought mementos from the old country and most of the beautifully woven tapestries that we find were brought from the old country. in the new country, especially during those first two years, they did not have time to worry about fancy patterns or dying
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different colors of wool. if they could get their sheep just a few, they would wash them the wallring and clean and spin it and then it or we what they needed from there. thank you. any others? again, thank you so much for coming. if you have any other questions you can grab me later. it has been a delight to share this with you this morning. thank you. [applause] >> hello, this is hillary clinton, i want to thank you for letting me with you about an issue that is central to our children's future. and critical in our fight to restore this nation's economy. solving our nation's health care
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crisis. model oris no role cookbook for being first lady. >> a future is created every day. the future is not something that is out there waiting to happen to us. the future is something that we make. >> i have said and i believe that there is a good possibility that sometimes -- sometime in the next 20 years we will have a woman president. >> hillary clinton experienced many firsts in her role as first lady. she and her husband president bill clinton have been political partners since law school. she has endorsed several scandals including his impeachment. as she considers a second bid for the white house, her story is still being written. hillary clinton, this sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span 's original series, first ladies. influence an image, examining the public and private lives of the women who filled the position of first lady and their influence on the presidency for martha washington to michelle obama.
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sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. each week, american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. next, we visit the library of congress on capitol hill to learn about an exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act of 1954. >> good morning. my name is adrian. i'm the african-american history and cultural nationalist for the manuscript division of the library of congress and one of the curators for the library's current exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act of 1964 entitled the civil rights act of 1954, a long struggle for freedom. the exhibit takes its subtitle from the speech that president lyndon johnson read before the nation

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