Welcome to Italian Immigration!


 

     There were many different immigrants that came to North Adams during the mid 1800s.  One of the more well known groups were the Italians.  The reason that most of the Italians came over to America is because they were known to have large families and the wages over in Italy weren't supporting their families.  One of the first Italian immigrants to touch North Adams soil was Constante Rosasco in 1864.  Many of the immigrants did labor work or they started their own business.

     The life of many Italians was extremely difficult because unlike the French-Canadians and Irish immigrants for example, they did not have a church.  This might not seem like a big deal to you but to them it was the one ritual that held them all together.  They liked this because it kept them all very close no matter what.  They all liked to celebrate and have huge dinners with lots of food.  Even though the Italians didn't have a church yet they were granted permission from the French-Canadians to use their church to hold Italian speaking masses.  This pleased the Italians a great deal.

     Many reasons why the Italians migrated from Italy to America is because life in a village was hard work with little income and there was a rigid social system.  Most of the people worked as farmers or had land to grow grain for their homemade pasta, figs, dates, grapes, and most important olives.  They would use some of their crops for personal use but market the rest for a profit.  Once the Italians came to North Adams their jobs mostly entailed working on constructing railroads, subways, buildings, and streets.  The biggest project that the Italians did however was working on the Hoosac Tunnel.  Some of the other Italians were experienced stone carvers.  The other immigrants that didn't do any of the above jobs worked in the factories.

 

(We would like to thank the Siciliano family who donated this picture to the right)

This picture here above is the DeMayo family who lived in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  They were not the richest family however they owned their own farm and tried their best to raise a good family.