Immigrant Women in the Settlement of Missouri

By Robyn Burnett; Ken Luebbering | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Immigrant Farm Families

The availability of land attracted many immigrants to Missouri. Some had owned land in Europe, but many had been tenant farmers with scant hope of ever owning the land they worked. At the end of the Civil War, there were still large areas of undeveloped land suitable for farming in the state. Many immigrant farm families were already settled in Missouri, but the state government actively encouraged more immigration, and these settlers developed new areas for farming.

Immigrant farm families, sometimes in groups, sometimes individually, settled throughout the state. Russell Gerlach notes several examples of immigrant farm communities in his study of settlement patterns in Missouri. A group of Polish farmers settled in Franklin County before the Civil War and in 1866 established the communities of Krakow and Clover Bottoms. Swedish farmers settled near St. Clair in the 1870s. A group of Portuguese farmers located near the Gasconade River in Pulaski County and raised cattle and sheep. Some French families who came from near the Swiss border established vineyards near Dillon.

In the late 1870s, several Austro-Hungarian families moved to the Steelville area in Crawford County. John Zahorsky, author of Austrian Immigration, Crawford County, says these immigrants were attracted to the area because they heard that farms were cheap in

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