A plan to Induce Irish Immigrants in the East to Make Their Homes in the New Northwest, Dakota

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IRISH IMMIGRATION CONVENTION: Yankton, Clay & Union Counties--Dakota Territory 1872
A Plan to Induce Irish Immigrants in the East to Make Their Homes in the New Northwest, Dakota”
The proportion of Irish immigration to the Territory of Dakota had been, from the earliest days of settlement, equal to that of other foreign nationalities, except possibly the Scandinavians, up to the year 1872, notwithstanding which a number of public-spirited sons of the Green Isle resident in Clay, Union and Yankton counties, impressed with advantages Dakota offered to the industrious classes of all nations, conceived a plan for an organized effort to induce their countrymen to make their homes in the new Northwest, Dakota preferred. Accordingly, pursuant to a published call, a convention of northwestern Irish- American citizens assembled at Vermillion, Dakota, on Thursday, September 19, 1872, for the purpose of devising the best means to promote aid and encourage Irish immigration to the Northwest. Delegations were present from Northwestern Iowa, Northwestern Nebraska, and from nearly every organized county in the territory, though the number of organized counties at the time was limited to twelve.
Hon. John Stanage, of Yankton County, was elected chairman, and T. J. Sloan, of Clay, secretary. No detailed report of the proceedings has been preserved. The reports of the committees, however, found its way into the public prints of that day, and show the spirit and commendable aims of the convention.
The Committee on Resolutions reported as follows:

  • Whereas, It has pleased God that the pressure of bad government, and the force of circumstances and of choice, has transplanted one-half of the Irish race from their own soil to this free land;

  • And Whereas. Many of our brother Irishmen, through poverty, negligence and apathy, have located in the densely populated districts of the East, where if they remain, many of them must remain poor, indigent, and subject to the contaminating influences of city life;

  • And Whereas, Our experience has taught us that life in the West is conducive to the independence, wealth, dignity, health, honor and purity of Irishmen and their families;

Wherefore, be it resolved:

  1. First, That we earnestly invite and beseech our people in Ireland, Canada and the East to seek new homes in this free, independent, healthy and productive land;

  2. Second, That we appeal to our wealthy, powerful and educated countrymen in the East to foster, promote and encourage Irish emigration to the Northwest;

  3. Third. That we, the Irish-American and cosmopolitan citizens of this convention, pledge our experience, sympathy and aid to such of them as may come.

WE, the Committee on Experience and Addresses, recommend that the chairman call upon the citizens of this convention, residents of the Northwest, to write their individual experience in the West, and place it in comparison with the East, and that such experience be published for the information of emigrants.
(From: CHAPTER LV, History of Dakota Territory by George Kingsbury, 1915, p. 672)

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