The reading regarding Martin Weitz discussed the experience of Weitz who emigrated to America from Schotten Germany. Weitz was a wool weaver in Germany and came to America in 1854 to work in the textile industry, it is noted that it was not that Germany was not as technologically developed as America but that it was the demand for labor in America was much greater than in Germany. Looking at my notes I noticed that Weitz would have been a part of the second wave of immigration from Germany to America, and he fit the description mentioned in class of single men coming to work. When Weitz came to America the wool industry began to grow, and more labor was needed to keep up, this allowed Weitz to find work in Rockville Connecticut. This town had a recent and rapid immigration growth between 1846 and 1855, including Weitz, the reading goes on to read about the experience of Weitz as an immigrant working and living here through letters he wrote once in America. In the first letter, Weitz mentions the poor health in America, stating that there are “all kinds of fever”(341) and prays that he will be able to stay healthy and therefore successful. This had me wonder if Weitz was regretting emigrating to America but then he goes on to say that he can’t write anymore because he was distraught thinking of the misery they faced in Germany. Weitz goes on to write about his marriage and eventually family and fairly successful life in America despite struggles. I think this reading was a great way to learn about the experience of German immigrants that went into factory jobs especially in the textile industry.
The next reading I completed was not about an individual but about the Stille and Krumme family and their experience of emigrating to America from Lengerich in Prussia between the years of 1833 until at least 1871. First Wilhelm Stille came to America in 1833 and then his nephew in 1836 and sister and fiance soon after and more after. The reading mentioned that many people emigrated illegally from this area of Prussia, including Wilhelm, this was likely due to how easy it was to complete this. Their father was a tenant farmer in Prussia but because of the economic situation, there was not work from Wilhelm and Wilhelmina here as well as the fact that the relationship between Wilhelmina and her fiance was not accepted there were reasons for the choice to emigrate to America. Through the letters of multiple members of this family written to their family back in Prussia, we gain insight as to the experience of their lives after coming to America. The first letter was interesting to me as in it Wilhelm seems to be reassuring his family that he will be trying to find success in America and not worry because if he can’t he will just return. In the next letter, Wilhelm is writing more about the potential that his family or some relatives at least will also be emigrating to America, which we can confirm as the next letter is from his sister Wilhelmina. I found this reading very interesting as it dealt with the idea of chain migration. I have always been interested in the way that one may persuade someone to emigrate after they had done so and this gave me a bit of insight into this idea.