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Italians who have taken
sick and death benefits and is fraternal. naturalization papers belong to the American Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, and Foresters of America. Negroes are members of the Odd Fellows and Masons. English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh are members of the Masons, Knights of Pythias, Foresters of America, Woodmen of the World, and the usual American fraternal and beneficial societies. The Lithuanians are not affiliated with any fraternal or beneficial organizations.
SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS.
The amount of money saved by immigrants in Oklahoma and Kansas bituminous mining localities varies according to the thrift of the particular race. The South Italian saves more than any of the other immigrant races, the North Italian is second, and the Lithuanian, Polish, Croatian, Slovak, Magyar, Scotch, Welsh, English, Irish, American, Mexican, and American negro rank in the order named.
A large number of the South Italians locating in the coal districts seem to come only with the idea of remaining a few years, and in that time expect to save enough money to return to Italy and carry into effect whatever plans they may have. The consequence is that they save every dollar possible, and deny themselves all but the necessities of life. The majority of Italians who are single men, or who have families in Italy, begin to send surplus earnings to that country as soon as possible. The large amount of money sent out each year shows how much this race saves in comparison with natives and other immigrant races." The native miner rarely has money saved and spends all his earnings, living from pay day to pay day on credit. The English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh save little more than the native miner. The native negro and the Mexican usually stop work after pay day until they spend their earnings. Lithuanians are much more thrifty than the races last named and are judicious in the expenditure of their earnings. They send very little money to Europe. Most of them have saved money to build homes and many have money on deposit in the banks. They live better than the Italians and spend more money for food, clothing, and other living expenses, and consequently do not save as much. The Poles, Magyars, Slovenians, and Slovaks are thrifty but do not save to the extent of the Italians. The living expenses of these races is higher, and they are said to be much better customers at the company stores. They send money to their native land, but not in such large amounts as the Italians.
OWNERSHIP OF HOMES.
The Italians, when they decide to make their permanent homes in the coal-mining districts, buy property and build as soon as possible. Most of the Lithuanians have settled there permanently and nearly all of them who are married own homes. Many Magyars, Poles, Slovenians, and Slovaks also own homes in Oklahoma and Kansas, but some are migratory and move from one part of the country to another. When work is not good in Oklahoma or Kansas they will go to Colorado or Pennsylvania, or wherever they can find ready employment. However, where any have settled permanently they usually own homes. Mexicans show no tendency toward
a See pp. 111, 112.
purchasing homes and only three or four in the whole district own property. A few American negroes own homes, but most of them. rent houses from the coal companies.
Most of the money invested by immigrants is in real estate, either in homes or business. In Community No. 4 in Oklahoma, several Italians and two or three Lithuanians own stock in the two banks there, and in Community No. 7, Oklahoma, the majority of the stock in the leading bank is owned by Italians. In Community No. 1, Oklahoma, an Italian owns a large macaroni factory. In another community in that State two immigrants from Ireland own one of the largest coal-mining concerns in the district. In each locality Italians, Slovaks, or Magyars have money invested in stores. Lithuanians are also in business in several towns. At Community No. 7, Oklahoma, the stock in a large mercantile company is all owned by Italians. Several smaller mines are owned by English or Irish. Nearly all the immigrants owning homes also own live stock.
Many immigrants are engaged in the mercantile business in both Kansas and Oklahoma mining localities. Several large stores in Oklahoma are owned by German and Russian Hebrews. At Community No. 6 the largest furniture store in the town is owned by a French miner. A son of this man also has a store of this description in Community No. 4. These stores are conducted according to American ideas and are as good as those of natives in the same business. In almost every town in the coal fields Italians and immigrants from Austria-Hungary are found conducting stores. In all cases these are small groceries or bake shops carrying a stock inferior to that handled by natives. A few handle mining supplies in a small way. There are also a small number of Syrian stores, particularly at Community No. 2, Oklahoma. These stores are in most cases supply houses for peddlers, as Syrians are doing a peddling business through the mining camps. There are also restaurants owned by Italians and Mexicans. A company has lately been formed in Community No. 7 to operate a large grocery and dry goods store. All the stock in this company has been subscribed for by Italians and the plan is to cater to people of this race alone. The president of the Citizens State Bank in the same town is an Italian, and the bank has a large number of immigrant depositors.
The French at Communities No. 6 and 7, Oklahoma, all own homes, and their houses are clean and well kept and more pretentious than those of other immigrants in that locality. In many towns in the Kansas coal fields, immigrants have invested large amounts in homes, others have gone into business on their savings, and in each of the towns mentioned there are stores owned by immigrants. Each year more money is being invested locally and less goes to Europe. A good many French people have also purchased farms with money earned in the mines and are prospering. The immigrant stores in localities in Kansas, except those owned by the French and Hebrews, are greatly inferior to those owned by Americans. They are not so progressive, do not expand, and are afraid to risk an investment in a large and varied stock. The wholesalers say that the immigrant usually pays promptly, but buys in very small quantities and a cheap class of goods. Immigrants in business cater only to their particular race; they have little to do with natives, and do not seek their trade.
In order to show the amount of money invested in real estate, instances of the amount of property owned by immigrants in a few typical towns may be presented.
The assessed value of property in Community No. 4, both real and personal, exclusive of coal mines and equipment, is $600,000. Of this, $100,000 is owned by immigrants in homes, town lots, and personal property. It is estimated that the stock in immigrant stores amounts to $22,000, thus making the value of property owned by foreigners, $122,000. The majority of immigrants who have been in Community No. 4 for some years own homes and in many cases have other houses which they rent to fellow-countrymen who have been in this country a shorter time.
The assessed value of property in Community No. 1 is $4,301,571, of which $2,850,425 is real and $1,451,146 is personal. The estimated value of property owned by immigrants is $275,000, distributed by races as follows: Scotch, $150,000; English, $50,000; Italians, $50,000; Irish, $15,000; other races of recent immigration, $10,000. The assessed value of property in Community No. 2 is $700,000. Three hundred and twenty-nine thousand dollars, or a little less than half the total assessment, is owned by immigrants. The assessed value of property in Community No. 3 is $105,000, of which $25,000 is owned by immigrants, principally Italians. The assessed valuation of property in Community No. 5 is $600,000. The property owned by immigrants is valued at $5,000. In this community few recent immigrants are buying homes, and the property referred to is owned by English and Scotch.
In the course of the detailed investigation in the Southwest, data were secured from the families studied relative to the ownership of homes. In the following table the figures are given for employees of the coal-mining industry of the Southwest, by general nativity and race of head of family:
TABLE 445.-Number and per cent of families owning home, by general nativity and race of head of family.
The total number of families reported in the preceding table is 476. Of these, 241, or 50.6 per cent, own homes. As regards the native-born of native father the percentage owning homes is 28.9; for the foreign-born it is 55.2. Among the native-born of native father, 35.1 per cent of the whites occupy homes owned by themselves as against 15.4 per cent of the negroes. The foreign-born, classified according to race, rank in the percentage owning homes as follows: Slovak, Welsh, South Italian, Croatian, Irish, Lithuanian, North Italian, Polish, and Mexican. The percentage for the Slovaks is 83.3; that for the Mexicans is 14.3. It will be noted that for all the foreign races, except the Mexican, the percentage of homes owned is larger than for the native-born whites. The figure for the American negro is only slightly higher than for the Mexican. For these two races the percentages are far lower than the percentage of any other race
It is interesting to note here that in the Southwest the percentage of families owning homes is much higher than in Pennsylvania and the South and slightly lower than in the Middle West. The fact that the standard for employees of the Southwest and Middle West is so much higher than the standard for those of the East and South is believed to be due, in a considerable measure, to the prevalence of better working conditions in and about the mines of the first-named sections.
In the Middle West the Polish lead in the percentage owning homes. North Italian, South Italian, American white, and Lithuanian follow in the order mentioned. In the Middle West 53.8 per cent of all the employees own their homes, as against 50.6 per cent in the Southwest."
MONEY SENT ABROAD.
As already indicated, a large amount of the money saved by immigrants each year goes to Europe. Most of this is sent to Italy, AustriaHungary, and Russia. Of all the immigrants in Kansas and Oklahoma the South Italians send the largest amount of money abroad. North Italians, Poles, Slovenians, and Slovaks also send out considerable amounts. This money goes through various channels, and although it is impossible to estimate the total amount sent from the coal fields of the two States, a rough conception of the aggregate may be had by giving some examples showing amounts sent from certain localities, the information having been secured from post-offices, steamship agents, immigrant bankers, and other sources.
The money sent from Community No. 1, Okla., during 1908, amounted to about $20,000. Most of this went to Italy. From Community No. 6, $10,000 has been sent to European countries during the past year, most of this being sent to cities in Russia and Austria-Hungary. From Community No. 3, $3,000 went to Italy. Immigrants at Community No. 2 sent out about $35,000 in 1908, a large proportion going through the local post-office, the rest being sent through immigrant bankers and steamship agents. Nearly $20,000 of this amount went to Italy, the balance going to AustriaHungary and Russia. During 1908, as nearly as can be estimated,
a See Table 113, Vol. I, p. 179.
$108,000 was sent from Community No. 7 and the surrounding coal camps. Two-thirds of this sum went to Italy and the rest to Austria-Hungary and Russia. From other localities in Oklahoma and Kansas, of the same population and racial composition as those given above, similar proportionate amounts were sent to Europe, the largest sums going from localities occupied by Italians. English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh sent out scarcely any money, Lithuanians very little, and Mexicans none at all.
SCHOOL FACILITIES AND ATTENDANCE.
The mining sections of Kansas and Oklahoma are well supplied with good schools. In the larger cities and towns there are high schools, and in all of the smaller villages and mining settlements there are graded schools giving pupils the opportunity to reach the fifth or sixth grade. In almost all localities there are also parochial schools with a good force of teachers, taking scholars through the higher branches. In the earlier days of mining in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) school facilities were very poor, and it was the custom of the larger coal companies to provide schools for the children of their employees. To provide a fund for the support of these schools each man on the pay roll was assessed a certain sum each month, usually 25 cents for the single men and 50 cents for heads of families. Since the Territory has been admitted to statehood this is no longer necessary, as good schools are provided by the State.
In Oklahoma a canvass of schools in the principal mining localities was made and in nine of the largest schools it was found that there was a total enrolment of 4,208 pupils, 29.6 per cent of whom were of foreign parentage. The number of each race was as follows:
TABLE 446.-Children of immigrants in nine public schools of Oklahoma, by race of
It will also be profitable to discuss briefly the schools in the different towns of Oklahoma in or around which coal mines are located.
Community No. 1 has good schools, with a total enrolment of 913. Of these, 108 are children of immigrants of the following races: