A new life on Uncle Sam's farm : Newfoundlanders in Massachusetts, 1846-1859

Chafe, Edward-Vincent (1982) A new life on Uncle Sam's farm : Newfoundlanders in Massachusetts, 1846-1859. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

During the 1840's Newfoundland experienced serious economic distress. The cod fishery which sustained most of the island's population was unable to expand fast enough to support the ever increasing numbers. Newfoundland's position was further undermined by the conflagration in 1846 which nearly destroyed its capital, St. John's, and the advent of a seven-year depression in the fishery the following year. Social and political change accompanied the economic distress. The commercially independent outports declined in importance as trade centralized at St. John's. The lack of productive work fuelled sectarian animosity, which in turn, manifested itself in a drive for political control. -- The unstable situation in Newfoundland compelled many of its inhabitants to migrate. Newfoundlanders took passage to many different locations, but of them, Massachusetts appears to have been the prime destination. The state was attractive to migrants because of its geographic proximity, its placement along established shipping routes, and the low overhead required for a movement. Not only did the Commonwealth extend permanent and temporary employment, but it offered work in maritime-related activities. -- The movement from Newfoundland to Massachusetts occurring during the 1840's and 1850's, consisted largely of young, native-born Newfoundlanders. The migration was selective in that a majority of those that left were Irish-Catholic and residents of St. John's. Occupationally the migrants were skilled and continued in their particular livelihoods upon arrival in the state. The move to Massachusetts was calculated and proceeded in stages. A member of the family, usually the father, went down to seek employment and later other family members came to join him. The settlement of Newfoundlanders in Massachusetts was highly concentrated, with the bulk of them settling at three locations, Boston, Newburyport and Gloucester. The homogeneous origins and the clustered distribution of the migrants fostered the transfer of existing kinship groups, which acted to consolidate the Newfoundlanders into distinct communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7684
Item ID: 7684
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 102-109.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador; United States--Massachusetts
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Newfoundlanders--Massachusetts; Massachusetts--Emigration and immigration; Newfoundland and Labrador--Emigration and immigration

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