Kenngott on French-Canadians, c.1912

Another excerpt from “The Record of a City: A Social Survey of Lowell Massachusetts”, written by George F. Kenngott in 1912 (p.29).

Shortly after the close of the Civil War, the French-Canadians came in ever increasing numbers, induced by the demand for labor which the growth of manufactures created, and by the relatively high wages which could be obtained by comparatively unskilled workmen. While at first it seemed that the French-Canadians were a shifting population, a great many of them have become permanent residents, voters and owners of real estate. Like the Irish who came before them, they have erected great churches and established parochial schools. They have intermarried with Irish and American, and have become important factors of the city life. At first they were gregarious, living in “Little Canada” in the heart of the city. Since the introduction of the electric car system, many of them have established their homes in other sections of the city. At first they were essentially aliens and foreigners, they came for their own profit and pleasure, and preserved their isolation; now they have generally adopted the language and customs of the United States, and few return permanently to their former homes.