ETHNICITY, EXPLOITATION, AND SOCIAL CONFLICT
Native West Virginian; dominated the lumber industry work force after 1910, but during the first decades of the lumber boom most of the woods workers were white Americans from other states and foreign immigrants who had acquired logging skills in the northern woods. Lumberman George Thompson described the first crews of woods and mill workers in his operations near Davis as a "mixed lot." Native West Virginians played a major role, but their numbers were comparatively few. Pennsylvania furnished perhaps the largest number, while New York, Michigan, New England, and Virginia also "contributed liberally." A large number of Swedes came between 1890 and 1893. Most of the Swedes subsequently migrated to the big timber in the Northwest. In 1907 they were replaced by Austrians who took over woods crews and yard work until World War I, when they drifted into other employment. Wood hicks were always on the move, he recalled: "In nearly every camp you could find men that had worked from Maine to the Pacific coast, from Canada to Mexico."1
Even though the percentage of foreign immigrants in the West Virginia
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Publication information: Book title: Transforming the Appalachian Countryside:Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920. Contributors: Ronald L. Lewis - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 165.