Land of Opportunity Provided Good Health and Life

Man had to learn to speak English upon arriving in Troy, New York, where he got a job as a farm laborer.


| Good Old Days



The year was 1873, the place Dornbirn, Austria. Josef Meus-burger, in his early 20s, left his home, family and friends to live the rest of his life in the United States of America.

He left Dornbirn by train on March 29,1873. There was a ship waiting at Bregenz with many emigrants. They joined Josef and were then transported by train to Mannheim, by ship to Koln, and again by train to Bremen, where they spent two days waiting for another train to Bremerhafen. The train was packed with people old and young, and there was much jockeying to see who would be first off and loaded in the small boats that would deliver them to the German ship Deutsland, which was anchored out in the bay.

They departed Bremerhafen that day for Southhampton, England, where they loaded up on coal. On Tuesday they left for the United States in a heavy thunderstorm. The waves were huge, and many people were seasick; children cried all day and night. Altogether there were about 1,000 people on the ship.

They arrived in New York on April 18, and after exchanging their money for American currency, Josef and the others were transported by train to Troy, New York, to work as farm laborers.

Wages were $18 a month. Josef hired out to a farmer for that amount and later was paid $20. No one spoke German, so Josef had to learn to speak English, which turned out to be no problem as he was a fast learner. Josef complained in a letter to his family in Austria that it was cold until the middle of May and then it turned unbearably hot in June. He had to rise at 3:00 every morning to milk the cows; he milked them again at noon. Three meals a day were furnished with plenty of meat, which suited him.

He loved the beauty of his surroundings: the large mountains in the distance and plenty of hills nearby. He never regretted coming to America but reported that some did. He considered the pay good and reported that he was making more money here than he could ever make in his home country. He was proud that he could make good money, and he was able to repay his family the money he had borrowed to make the trip.





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