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"The Incoming of the Poles"

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Immigrants from Poland and the other countries of Eastern Europe began to arrive in the Connecticut River Valley in the third quarter of the 19th century. As newcomers, these people were different from previous immigrants. For one thing, they were Catholic. One of the late 19th century great fears was the presence of large numbers of people who, they thought, did not comprehend established American values. Native-born Americans were protective of their heritage and fearful of outsiders as they celebrated their Centennial in 1876. Conversely they also recognized that the Poles could provide a possible solution to the abandoned farmsteads in the Valley and admitted to their fierce industry to improve and work the land. After a discussion of the diet, domestic customs, and frugality the conclusion of the reporter, writing for the Greenfield Gazette and Courier, was that the immigrant is "rather to be welcomed than discouraged."


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