BRITISH IMMIGRATION - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
BRITISH IMMIGRATION. Immigrants from England, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales were among the earliest to arrive in Cleveland. Because American society was, and is, culturally and linguistically derived from Great Britain, they found in Cleveland a home that was familiar and into which many readily assimilated, leaving few traces such as neighborhoods, churches, or clubs.
English immigrants were the first British to arrive in the area. Indeed, Americans of English descent were the first to come to Cleveland and the WESTERN RESERVE, including MOSES CLEAVELAND† and many in his surveying party. People of English birth or background thereafter determined the city's cultural, business, and industrial growth. Early immigrants became pioneer farmers, settling in the Newburgh area. English immigration increased in the 1830s as the economic potential of the area grew. In 1830 over 1,200 Englishmen arrived in Cleveland; by 1848 1,007 of the city's 13,696 inhabitants were English. Many opened small manufacturing establishments that later grew into major commercial enterprises, initially settling in the area from E. 30th St. to E. 45th St. along Superior Ave., and also in parts of what later became EAST CLEVELAND. Without barriers of custom or language, they moved into all areas of the city. They established various associations, including St. George's Benevolent Society (1858), Sons and Daughters of St. George, and Daughters of the British Empire. The ENGLISH-SPEAKING UNION, CLEVELAND BRANCH, established in 1923, attracted membership from immigrants, but more so from local anglophiles. Admiration of English culture was substantial in the 19th and early 20th centuries, best exemplified by the architectural styles of many Protestant churches (see ARCHITECTURE, SACRED). The immigrants themselves were overwhelmingly Protestant, but also included Catholics and Jews. Despite the popular perception that English immigration was confined to the pre-Civil War period, arrivals continued at a steady rate from the mid-19th century to the 1920s, peaking from 1887-92. The city's English population rose from 4,530 in 1870 to 11,420 in 1910. Thereafter, the population in the city proper began to drop: to 11,126 in 1920, 6,542 in 1940, and 1,132 in 1970. However, English settlement in the Greater Cleveland area remained rather high after World War II. Many English joined the general movement to the suburbs; in 1980, 3,473 English lived in the Greater Cleveland area. In the 1990 census, 112,964 reported that their primary ancestry was English.
Manx, immigrants from the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, form a unique ethnic group. Cleveland, in fact, is the center of Manx immigration in the U.S. Most Cleveland Manx came from the Kirk Andreas section of the Isle of Man. Dr. Harrison, a British army physician, had visited the Reserve, and after returning home told his brother, Rev. Harrison, of the, opportunity in Ohio. Manx farmers, many of whom faced adverse conditions and resented class distinctions, welcomed the news. In 1822 the Corlett family came to America, leased 50 acres of Newburgh land from the CONNECTICUT LAND CO., became farmers, and enthusiastically encouraged their fellow Manxmen to follow. In May 1826 3 more Manx families (the Kelleys, Teares, and Kneens--13 people) settled in Newburgh, each family purchasing a farm, establishing a Manx settlement that drew further migrants. Another 70 Manx families settled in the Warrensville area on 25 May 1827. Eventually there were over 3,000 Manx and their descendants, bound by their own unique Gaelic language, which they used almost exclusively with each other and in their religious services, offered by Rev. Patrick Cannell, a Methodist preacher who came to NEWBURGH in 1826. Cannell first held services in his log house, and later in the schoolhouse on the Corlett farm. The original schoolhouse was replaced in 1842 by "Manx St. School." In 1851 21 Manxmen established Mona's Relief Society to provide emergency assistance. On 7 Dec. 1899, a ladies' auxiliary was organized. In 1913 the group affiliated with the World Manx Society.
The community's major cultural organization, the Manx Choral Society, was organized in 1926 by John E. Christian. It performed at the 1st Intl. Manx Convention, held in Cleveland in Aug. 1928. The North American Manx Assn. was organized at that convention; Christian was elected chairman. In 1923 the Cleveland Manx "sealed their link with the Isle of Man" when they presented a gold medal award at the Manx Musical Festival. This honor is awarded annually and is the strongest cultural bond between the homeland and Cleveland. Among noted Clevelanders of Manx descent are Dr. WM. T. CORLETT†, lawyer W. Sheldon Kerruish, shipbuilder THOS. QUAYLE† and builders JOHN GILL & SONS CO.. Although immigration from the Isle of Man has nearly ceased, the closely knit Manx community, numbering an estimated 1,100 immigrants and descendants in 1970, continued to foster its culture and history into the 1980s.
Scottish immigrants first came to Cleveland ca. 1796; however, the largest Scottish immigrations occurred ca. 1830, many coming by way of Canada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or the Carolinas. Most later arrivals came directly from Scotland. A number of the early immigrants were stonemasons, settling in the city. Most, however, were farmers and moved out to the farmland near Eddy Rd. The McIlrath, Eddy, and Shaw families developed EAST CLEVELAND. The second wave of migration settled around Denison and Fulton avenues on the west side, and E. 70th St. and Superior on the east side. Soon the Scots moved into all sections of Greater Cleveland. Those who came after 1830 adjusted quickly and achieved distinction in many fields, becoming industrial pioneers, particularly manufacturing iron., HENRY CHISHOLM† was a founder of Cleveland Rolling Mill, which ultimately became part of U.S. STEEL CORP.'s American Steel & Wire Co. His son William was instrumental in the Union Steel Screw Works and Chisholm Steel Shovel Works. ALEXANDER WINTON† manufactured bicycles and the Winton automobile. Alexander Campbell was a general contractor whose company paved many Cleveland streets. Wm. Knox, an architect, designed the ROCKEFELLER BUILDING and Trinity Congregational Church; Andrew Dall, Sr., and his son Andrew Dall, Jr., built some of Cleveland's finest structures. The Scots were well represented in the leadership of the Presbyterian Church. Rev. Andrew B. Meldrum, from Fifeshire, came to Cleveland in 1902 and became pastor of Old Stone Church; Dr. Alexander McGaffin was significant in establishing Second Presbyterian Church, which later became part of the CHURCH OF THE COVENANT. Ironically, the second bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese was Bp. RICHARD GILMOUR†, originally a Scots Covenanter.
The Scots quickly created cultural organizations, by May 1846 establishing St. Andrews Benevolent Society, a branch of St. Andrews Scottish Society of Edinburgh, to aid Scottish immigrants and eventually establishing the Scottish Old Folks Home. In 1895 CLAN GRANT NO. 17 (named in honor of Pres. U. S. Grant, of Scottish descent) was established as a fraternal organization. Other Scottish organizations included the Caledonia Literary Society, Cleveland Kilty Band, Caledonia Pipe Band, Rob Roy Players Club (1929), and Cleveland Scottish Choral Union (1928). In 1935 there were over 15 independent Scottish organizations. At one time, Cleveland was the headquarters of the Daughters of Scotland-Grand Lodge. Blue Bell No. 1, the first lodge of the Daughters of Scotland, was organized in 1900 to help needy Scotsmen. Emigration from Scotland decreased in the late 19th century; the population in Cleveland fell from 1,705 in 1880 to 1,474 in 1890. Then, during the early 20th century, it increased again: in 1900, 2,179; in 1910, 2,880; in 1920, 3,929; and in 1930, 5,145. In 1930 an additional 1,376 Scottish immigrants lived in the city's 4 largest suburbs. Following World War II, the city population began to decline, to 4,866 in 1950; 3,895 in 1960; and 688 in 1970. In 1980 1,896 Scottish immigrants lived in the Cleveland area. In the 1990 census, 22,139 individuals felt their primary ancestry was Scottish. Another 16,831 claimed Scotch-Irish background. Despite this decline, local interest in Scottish culture has grown. The Ohio Scottish Games, held annually in nearby Oberlin, attract thousands of participants and spectators, most of whom are several generations removed from their Scottish roots.
Welsh immigrants were important in Cleveland's development as one of the nation's iron and steel centers. One of the first Welsh immigrants, Jas., J. Chard, came from Wales in 1822, settled on a farm in EUCLID in 1830, and moved to Cleveland in 1832, opening a general leather business. Welsh arrivals in Cleveland in the 1840s often settled in Newburgh. In 1848 62 of Cleveland's population of 13,696 had been born in Wales. They soon came in larger groups, particularly after established an iron mill in Newburgh in 1856 and encouraged fellow Welshmen to come to Cleveland. The Welsh community grew rapidly around their mill, and by 1870 over 2,000 Welsh lived in Newburgh. Another Welshman, David James, built a competitive rolling mill called Crossing Mill, which subsequently became Empire Steel Co. Another Welsh settlement was established near Otis Steel Mills along Lake Erie--smaller than that at Newburgh, which became known as the "Lakeshore Welsh." Almost as soon as they settled in Cleveland, the Welsh held cottage prayer meetings and services in their homes. A Sunday school was founded in 1850 on Broadway; a Welsh Congregational Society was formed in 1858; and 2 years later a chapel on Wales St. opened for worship, with a church completed and dedicated in 1864. As more Welsh came, their social and cultural activities, particularly singing societies, centered around the church, and the congregation outgrew the building. In 1876 a larger church was constructed, later known as JONES ROAD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH in Newburgh. In 1890 Welsh Presbyterians organized a congregation, which later united with Westminster Presbyterian Church.
In the 1880s and 1890s, Polish immigrants settled in Newburgh, replacing the Welshmen at the mills. As Welsh ownership of the mills became less dominant and Newburgh became part of Cleveland, the old Welsh community gradually disintegrated. However, Newburgh continued housing Welsh families and their descendants into the 1960s, producing some of the city's most noted politicians, including HARRY L. DAVIS†, DANIEL E. MORGAN†, WM. R. HOPKINS†, and EDWARD BLYTHIN†. An activity that united the physically dispersed community was the Welsh love of 4-part singing. The Newburgh Welsh Chorus, organized in 1870 under the direction of Henry A. Jones, competed with singing groups of Youngstown and Pittsburgh at the Welsh Eisteddfod, an institution from Wales dedicated to competitive singing and literary activities, winning many 1st prizes. When Newburgh became part of Cleveland, the Welsh singers became the Mendelssohn Choir, and later members of the Forest City Glee Club. The Welsh singers disbanded during World War I and later joined the ORPHEUS MALE CHORUS under the leadership of a native Welshman, Dr. Chas. D. Dawe. Another Welsh singing group, the Cambrian Male Chorus, was directed by Wm. A. Hughes.
In 1900 the city's Welsh population peaked at 1,490. Seven years later the Cleveland, Welsh Society was organized to assist impoverished Welsh and provide burial plots for indigent Welsh. On 6 Sept. 1911, a group of Welsh women organized an auxiliary, which in 1912 became the Welsh Women's Club of Cleveland. The Lakewood Women's Welsh Club was organized in 1923; the Women's Welsh Club of W. Cleveland in 1926; and the E. Cleveland Women's Welsh Club in 1927. These societies, with the Welsh Women's Club of America, purchased and supported the Welsh Home for the Aged, first located on Mayfield Rd., replaced by the WELSH HOME in ROCKY RIVER. These organizations were established in the face of a decline in the city's Welsh population. By 1910 it dropped to 1,298. Although it rose to 1,438 in 1930, the Depression proved disastrous and by 1940 it dropped to 584. By 1980 it was estimated that slightly more than 200 Welsh immigrants lived in the Greater Cleveland area. In 1990 11,501 Cuyahoga County residents felt their primary ancestral background to be Welsh.
Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 11:59:19 AM
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