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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

2. Immigration and settlement,   pp. 43-51


Page 48

Other than St. Patrick's Catholic Church and School, there are no other identified historic
resources associated with Irish immigrants in Janesville. A thorough survey of potential
resources has not been undertaken; it is possible that historic resources related to this group
may be uncovered in the future.
German Settlement
The Germans were the largest non-English-speaking immigrant group to come to America from
western Europe. Over five million Germans arrived in the United States between 1820 and 1910.
They came in three waves: from 1845 to 1855, they came mostly from southwestern German
states; from 1865 to 1874, they came mostly from northwestern German states; and from 1880 to
1893, they came mostly from northeastern Germany. In Wisconsin, Germans arrived in
significant numbers during the 1840s, 1850s, and 1880s. German-bom population in the state
peaked in 1900. Subsequent generations of ethnic Germans retained their culture and traditions
well into the twentieth century. (Wyatt 1986: Settlement 2-1-2-10)
Most of Janesville's German immigrants arrived in city between 1850 and 1880. The majority of
them came from Prussia, but others came from Baden, Saxony, Bavaria, Mecklenberg, and
Pomerania. By 1880, Germans composed the largest foreign-born population in Janesville.
(Manuscript Censuses for 1850,1860,1870, and 1880)
Despite their numbers, the Germans did not dominate the community the way they did in other
Wisconsin cities like Milwaukee and Watertown. Most of the Germans in Janesville centered
their social and cultural lives around their churches. Both German Catholic and German
Lutheran churches were established in the city; they conducted German-language services well
into the twentieth century. These churches included St. Paul's Lutheran Church, St. John's
Lutheran Church, and St. Mary's Catholic Church. (Their relationships with the German
immigrant community in Janesville is discussed in the Religion chapter.)
, ",  "             lA i   I       I!  _ _   -  - ,-i' -        : T
a-                                I       k           4-... ...
"-      - 3      'I  -"                          -.                   .
-            ~-T
__
is  ~    -..I  f   2I
I_______     _
Federal Census of Population, 1860. A census page from Janeaville's Second Ward shows a sampling of the ethnic
diversity of the community.
Immigration and Settlement
48


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