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Irish Immigration: The Gilded Age Essay

3896 words - 16 pages

During what is known as the Gilded Age, there was major changes happening in the US. These changes included industrialization, population increase, along with cities rising up and big business like the railroad company coming about as well. These were just a few of the many changes that were occurring. One of the biggest occurrences in the US was immigration. Imagine you and your family leaving your homeland to a completely new world where there is a language you might not be able to understand or speak. These immigrant groups not only relocated throughout different states but immigrant were moving to specific cities to the best places they felt accepted. As an example we had many immigrant groups that came to Saint Louis, Missouri. One of the biggest immigrant groups to populate Saint Louis was the Irish. Unfortunately the Irish were not as accepted in Saint Louis as they hoped to be, but still lived their life despite the hatred.
The first thing that we will look at is the Irish demographics. The Irish population had fluctuated tremendously over the years. When looking at where they came from, the highest group seems to have been coming from Dublin and Nothern Ireland, along with Kerry County, Ireland as well. Previous to the the 1840's, there were two other waves of Irish immigration in the US. According to the Colombia Guide to Irish American History, the first of the Irish immigrants came in the 1500's due to Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition and the population has continued to grow even since. The third wave began in the 1840's. From census data from US during the Gilded Age, in the 1860's the total number of Irish born immigrants were 22,926. Throughout this time, until around 1910, that number decreased. The number of Irish born in 1910, in the US was 14,268. However when looking at census data in Saint Louis the numbers were similar to the pattern as the US census. In the 1880's the number of people born in Ireland, living in Saint Louis City was 28,5361. In the 1900 that number dropped to

19,4212. It is interesting to note the pattern of this census data, to compare we can look at the Saint Louis county census data. In 1880 the number of Irish in the county was 9923. In 1900 that number dropped to 7544.
When the Irish came to Saint Louis, the congregated into a few different places throughout the city. These places are; the Kerry Patch, the Hill and Columbus Square. The most famous of these areas is the Kerry Patch. This neighborhood's boundaries have been defined in different ways came, one defined the neighborhod being located near 14th and O'Fallon streets downtown5. The people who populated this neighborhood came from Kerry County, Ireland, hense is name “Kerry” Patch. This neighborhood was founded in 1840 and there was much tragedy in a short amount of time, from this area's founding. There was a flood, cholera epidemic and a fire that destroyed much of the city in 18496. This caused about 10 percent of the population to...

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