Mount Carmel, six miles north of Carroll, contained over 200 German Catholic families in 1877, mostly from Dubuque County, and was known among Americans tellingly as "the Catholic settlement." 90 The town of Carroll in 1877 contained 80 German Catholic families; Hillsdale, eight miles south, had another 120 German Catholic families; and satellite settlements were forming throughout Carroll County and in neighboring regions. "Such," concluded a correspondent to Die Iowa, "is the increase in Catholicity in western Iowa." 91
Although ties among the American-born were less noticeable on ethnic maps, old middle western ties remained a force that continued to link migrations toward the arid West. The migration from Clinton County, Iowa, in the extreme eastern part of the state to Sac County in the west was so large that a township in Sac County was named Clinton, after the migrants' old home. 92 A similar thread reached from Dubuque County, slightly north of Clinton County, to Ida County, just west of Sac County. After visiting the western Iowa residents, a friend and former neighbor reported in a local paper that they now owned 1,900 acres of improved land. 93 And even as migration moved into the semiarid reaches of Nebraska, some old ties remained intact and new ones were formed. Representing a new ethnic definition, the "Iowa colony" was formed in the Niobrara country of the Nebraska sandhills. 94
Perhaps based at first on the yearning for reunion, then, chain migrations created a human matrix throughout the Middle West that linked people with common pasts and ultimately offered them social and economic benefits. Settlements that contained former acquaintances and family members often offered opportunities to work and accumulate capital for wages that were usually higher than those in Europe. Economic aid continued. One immigrant who arrived in 1892 at a destination common to many of his friends and kin remembered that he received all the supplies he needed on credit. 95 Economic betterment, in sum, was often more readily found under the auspices of kin than through the individual pursuit of wealth.
Various songs at mid-century proclaimed that the migration to the nineteenth-century rural Middle West was a decision individuals often made to improve their economic circumstances. Yet the personal calculus for the decision to migrate was not so simple. When contemplating the move west, potential migrants were forced to consider the world they would leave behind, including their familial responsibilities for parents