Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- June 12, 1866Report of Agent of German Society for the Protection of Immigrants for the Month of May 1866.
Following is the report of my activities during the month of May, 1866:
Applications for work 279 Secured employment for 214 Letters received 33 Letters written 40 Families aided financially 15 Information and advice given to 132 Located baggage for 4 Secured railroad passes for 7 Depots and landing places visited 14 Caused arrest of "runners" 2 Secured passage at cost of Society 2 Issued recommendations to 26
On May 20, I found Mrs. Henriette Stroeger, widow of an immigrant who died en voyage, her infant child, and her sister lying sick and helpless near the Milwaukee Railroad depot. I had them brought to the Hospital for Women and Children, on Ohio Street where they were restored to health at the Society's expense. Another immigrant who was brought to this institution was treated gratis by Dr. G. Schloetzer. This man has not yet recovered from his illness.
Our Police Commissioner should place a special policeman who is able to speak both English and German at the various depots to protect travelers, especially immigrants; this officer ought to be present at the arrival and departure of every immigrant train to see to it that immigrants are not mistreated or defrauded by railroad agents, confidence men, expressmen, or by "runners" or proprietors of saloons and hotels which are patronized by immigrants. By making it the sole duty of a policeman to patrol the depots and landing places, the Police Commissioner would do much to prevent the many just complaints that I hear frequently.3
Immigrants who travel from New York to Iowa are often forced to pay the transportation charges on excess baggage from Chicago to Iowa twice, once in New York and again in Chicago, at the depot of the Galena division of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. This railroad will accept a ticket issued by the railroad agent in Castel Gardens, New York only if the weight of the baggage is written thereon plainly in ink, so that the charges on excess baggage for the trip from Chicago to Iowa can be collected from the agent at New York. However, these agents are frequently intent upon their own interests and they use a lead pencil rather than pen and ink. The figures recording the amount of excess baggage are then written so illegibly on the tickets that the officers of the Northwestern Railroad refuse to accept them as valid. I have brought these facts to the attention of the Commissioner of Immigration stationed at Castle Gardens, New York, and shall follow up the matter until it is disposed of in favor of immigrants.
On May 30, Mr. Thiener, a German immigrant, bought his passage from Chicago 4to Gillmon, Illinois from the agent of the Illinois Central Railroad. The fare is $3.65. Mr. Thiener gave the agent a twenty-franc piece, expecting to receive $1.35, the premium of exchange, in return. The agent refused to pay the premium, as did the acting superintendent of the railroad when I complained to him. The latter informed me that their agent had been instructed to accept gold or paper money but not to refund the prevalent premium on gold, and that none of the railroads of the West were accepting gold at the market value. Therefore, our German citizens ought to warn all immigrants with whom they come in contact against paying gold for railroad passage.
About a thousand trunks and other articles--among them much baggage that belongs to German immigrants--is stored in the warehouse of the Illinois and Michigan Central Railroad, where they are kept for two years. Could not these railroads show their appreciation for the many dollars the public pays into their coffers by publishing an exact list of these articles in local newspapers?5
W. C. Boeckmann and Johann Colljung, who arrived here via the steamship "England", which left Liverpool on March 29, have asked me to issue the following warning: The English steamship "England" sailed from Liverpool with 1,312 passengers aboard; 667 of these died at sea or in quarantine at Halifax. There were 563 German immigrants on the ship, and about one half of them died. The food that was served during the voyage was of very poor quality; the fish and the potatoes were spoiled. The rooms on the ship were overcrowded, the ventilation in the steerage was very poor, and everywhere there was filth. Many German passengers were "relieved" of their baggage, or their baggage was taken from them, by health officers at Halifax, who made no reimbursement.
Frequently, immigrants complain that the transportation of baggage from Baltimore to Chicago by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad leaves much to be desired. This company has not yet introduced the check system, and although C. F. Hillebrand, the Baltimore and Ohio agent at Baltimore, always assures immigrants that their baggage will arrive at Chicago at the same time they 6do, they often must wait ten to fourteen days at Chicago, or continue their journey without their belongings.
In conclusion, I wish to acknowledge and commend the conduct of John H. Gund, a Police Sergeant, who so kindly and sympathetically cared for the needs of the family of M. J. J. Tagg, who was friendless and destitute when he arrived in this city.
Ernst J. Knnobelsdorff, Agent.
II D 10, II D 8, III G
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