Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

Niles Immigrant Workers

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

Click here to become a Niles Historical Society Member or to renew your membership

Return to the Homepage

Click on any photograph to view a larger image.


Email Us

Phone: 330.544.2143
Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

Individual Membership: $20.00
Family Membership: $30.00
Patron Membership: $50.00
Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
Corporate Membership:
Call 330.544.2143

Do you love the history of Niles, Ohio and want to preserve that history and memories of events for future generations?

Click here to donate:

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your donation is tax deductible. When you click on the Donate Button, you will be taken to a secure Website where your donation will entered and a receipt generated.






Niles Firebrick workers 1894 or 1895

Niles Firebrick workers 1894 or 1895, L-R.

Front: #2 16-year-old Joe Pallante.

Back: Far left-Rosensteel, #2 Patrick Sheehan, Sr., Man with hat and no vest John Seaton, #6 Mike Infante (moustache), #7 Lorenzo Pallante (bald), man with bowler hat, Thomas E. Thomas. PO2.141

Immigration to Niles was mostly from North Europe during years before 1900

The population of Niles, 1870-1930, naturally possessed the characteristics to be expected in a growing industrial town. There are no figures showing the proportion of the foreign born to the total population before 1890, but the early establishment of the iron industry doubtless attracted more immigrants to Niles than to other Trumbull towns or townships.

In 1860, the foreign born constituted 10 percent, in 1870, 21 percent and in 1880, 19 per cent of the total population of Trumbull County, but in Niles the percentage probably was higher. After his visit here in the ‘eighties’, Henry Howe described the population of Niles as ‘largely foreign’.

One of the industries native to Niles was the Niles Firebrick Company.

A large percentage of Italian immigrants came to work in the mills in Niles from the Bagnoli-Irpino area in Italy.

The 1908 Empire Steel roofing crew with their vice president W. H. Ward

The 1908 Empire Steel roofing crew with their vice president W. H. Ward. PO2.482

30 Percent Foreign Born
The census for 1890 shows that 30 percent of the total Niles population to be of foreign birth, and, if their native born children be added, the figure reaches 67 percent.

Since that year, the proportion of aliens to the total population, has tended to decline, and, of late rather rapidly by the following table:

Glass blowers on pedestal mould

Glass blowers on pedestal moulds left to right:
E. McGowan, John Curtis. Gatherer at station 14- Mr. Sebinaller. ca 1915

The change in the nationalities represented in the Niles population since 1870 illustrates the general change in the source of immigration to America that took place during the period. Before 1890 immigration was mostly from the British Isles and northwestern European countries.

Henry Howe, after his visit of 1886, thought the Irish were the most numerous foreign group in Niles, and next in order, the Welsh and Germans.

Ten years earlier, however, a description published in the Western Reserve Chronicle of Warren of the nationalities granted citizenship papers for the fall quarter, 1876, showed the following ranking: Wales, 26; Ireland, 17; England, 15; Scotland, 5; Germany, 4; Sweden, 2; Canada and Bavaria, one each.

workers with tongs to grab shhet metal

Workers with tongs used to grab shhet metal.

Columbia Manufacturing Co. -Bicycle tubing- located where the Niles Forge stood until 1975. Picture taken of the crew between 1898 and 1900 by James Coupland Sr.

L to R back to front: James Coupland Jr., Bill Bruders, Ed Flannigan, Ed Lyons, Peck Fellows, Omar Rupert, Paddy Quinn, ? Worthington, Jim Grace, Charley Heastings, Teddy Phillips, Jimmy O'Malia, Dick Phillips, ? Sheen, Joe Sweezy, Arthur Chilton, ?,?,
Tom Fellows, Frank Lafford
. PO1.513

  Copyright©2008-2024, Niles Historical Society, All rights reserved
  Back to top