An English Immigrants Experience: The Success of Edward Green

Out of all the immigrant groups that came to the United States in the nineteenth century, English immigrants are often overlooked. Unlike other immigrant groups, the English were able to adjust to life in the U.S. with fewer problems–including anti-immigrant persecution and language acquisition. As a result, historians frequently ignored their experiences.[1]

English immigrants have often been over looked but that did not mean that they did not find success. In 1859, Edward Green of Alexandria, Virginia, for example, worked for the Manassas Gap railroad in Alexandria.[2] He started out as an accountant and worked his way up.[3] By the time of the 1860 U.S. Census, Green had been promoted to treasurer of the Manassas Gap Railroad.[4] Whenever the railroad announced when different trains were leaving, his name was attached to it.[5] Green having his name constantly in the paper would have elevated his social standing in the community. Green was worth $3,000 in 1860. Green was married to Ann, and they had five kids together.[6] By the time he died on January 25, 1864, Green had prospered.[7]

[1] Charlotte Erickson, Invisible Immigrants: The Adaption of English and Scottish Immigrants in the Nineteenth- Century America (Coral Gables Florida: University of Miami Press, 1972), 1-10

[2] Edward Green, “Manassas Gap Railroad,” Alexandria Gazette, March 11, 1859.

[3] 1850 Federal Census (Population Schedule) Alexandria, Virginia, sheet number 15, line 22, digital image, accessed on September 20, 2016, http://www.ancestry.com/.

[4] 1860 Federal Census (Population Schedule) Alexandria, Virginia, sheet number 203, line 27, digital image accessed on September 20, 2016, http://www.ancestry.com/.

[5] Green, “Manassas Gap Railroad.”

[6] 1860 Federal Census (Population Schedule) Alexandria, Virginia, sheet number 203-204, line 27-30 on page 203, line 1-3 on page 204, digital image, accessed on September 20, 2016, http://www.ancestry.com/.

[7] “Died,” Alexandria Gazette, January 26, 1864.

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