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Unacknowledged Heroes, The Reid Family Essay

1996 words - 8 pages

Unacknowledged HeroesThe discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in the mid 19th century immediately started the growth of a new industry. Its use as a producer of kerosene for lighting created began the overwhelming demand for oil. By the time John D. Rockerfeller was able to monopolize the oil industry into the Standard Oil Company, it had already become a necessity in America's society. Oil has been essential in fueling transportation vehicles and power stations, and is vital in the development of plastics, tars, and tires worldwide (Uses).Though many Americans heavily rely on oil in their daily routines, few fail to neither consider nor acknowledge the people responsible for its development. Most of the people accountable for birthing the world's oil industry previously poured in with large waves of immigrants (Reid). Those of Irish descent greatly outnumbered all other nationalities in the mid eighteen hundreds during the peak of immigration (Irish). This overwhelming number of Irishmen in desperate need of jobs caused them to further migrate to different parts of America. This shift did not grant all Irish immigrants the success they wished for, like that of "Leadville Johnny" Brown in the 1849 Gold Rush or John Daniel Crimmins, whose construction company built much of New York City in the 1800's (Making). Yet most families were perfectly content with the successes they created, and positively developed their lives greatly in comparison to previous lifestyles.Newlyweds Michael and Bridget Reid were eager to begin their lives together in 1855. Both had been raised in Tipperary, Ireland (Reid) and had lived through many of its hardships. As teenagers they experienced the Great Potato Famine when it struck Ireland, which destroyed more than half of the nation's staple crop and caused over one million people to die of starvation and disease (Irish Potato). As a result, between 1845 and 1855, millions of Irish natives fled to North America due to lack of food, which in turn led to the decline of economic conditions and chaos in Ireland (Your Irish). Though the majority of immigration in the 1800's took place during the famine, Michael and Bridget were slightly delayed in their decision to immigrate to the United States. This may not have been in their control, considering many immigrating families had to save up enough money to emigrate due to poverty levels (Irish in America). Therefore, it is a definite possibility that Michael and Bridget did just that. Yet once their first and second sons William and Thomas were born in 1857 and 1859, Michael and Bridget knew they needed to ensure that their children's lives would be prosperous (Reid).During the late 19th century, millions of immigrants poured into America to pursue their dreams in the country that promised prosperity and easy-living for all. The young Irish couple Michael and Bridget had caught wind of the sweet possibilities that America had to offer, and decided that moving there would be...

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