Immigration and Westward Movement Project Leonid Feldmin by Garrett Parry

By sgparry
  • Leonid Feldmin's Birth

    I, Leonid Feldmin, was born to Issak and Klava Feldmin. I was raised in a Orthodox Jewish family. I grew up on a nice farm just outside of Kiev. We lived well and I don't remember ever being really hungray as a child. I was the second child with an older brother, who passed away at a young age, and a younger sister.
  • Assassination of the Tsar Alexander II of Russia

    On March 13th, 1881 Alexander II was assassinated. The event occured near the capital city at that time which was Saint Petersburg. After the assassination anti-semitic pogroms reach a heightened strength. Many of these pogroms occured in the area of Russia near Kiev, Odessa, etc. Due to the pogroms my family recieved much persecution and hatred from others.
  • Revelotions of 1905 and Political Exile

    In 1905 Russia was a place filled with political and social unrest. Many opposed the Tsarist regime and wanted to establish a more equal system focusing on freedom and equality. I was such one person, I was a Socialist at the time and quickly moved to St. Petersburg to become more influential in the Revolution. However, I was captured by cossacks, or police, and exiled from Russia becuase of this I decided to move to the US.
  • Legal Detention on Ellis Island

    I traveled by boat to Ellis Island, like most other European immigrants. Sadly, political radicals were disliked in the US. This was evident in the Immigration Act of 1903 which banned certain groups from entering the US, one of which was anarchists. I wasn't an anarchist. I was a socialist. However, due to my history some officals thought I might be lieing and really opposed all government not just the Tsarist regime. I was detained in Ellis Island for two weeks, until finally they believed me.
  • Tenements/Jewish Quarter

    Once out of legal detention I made for the Jewish Quarter in New York. I knew a man there, a friend from Russia who had been exiled a little while before me, and I went to stay with him in the tenements. They were horrid, everyone room had at least two people in them if not three. The water made me sick to my stomach and disease spread like a wildfire. Starting in January I started to work as a street vendor selling hats for money, or more commonly food as money was scarce.
  • Rosa Kaplan

    As a street vendor I met many people. One such person was Rosa Kaplan. Her father was a Russian-Jewish Banker who moved to England and then to America, so Rosa was both fluent in Russian and English. We soon got engaged and where to be married in the following winter. Sadly, Rosa got Pnemonia and died in September.
  • Moving West

    I moved west in 1909. Times were rough in New York, the competetion between street vendors was intense. I with my skills I acquired from my youth as a farmboy went to become a logger in the West. I had acquired enough money from my vendor days to make the trip and in a little while I am living just outside of Seattle with some other loggers. I live happily, without discrimination or hunger.
  • Street Vendoring Again

    One day I was returning tools to the lumberyard. I passed by an area some logger were cutting a tree. Suddenly, the thin metal snapped and a part of it scatched against my hand and stomach. The cut damaged many muscles in my right hand and made me incapable of properly using that hand. Due to this fact, I was released from the job of a logger and decided to become a vendor again. Seattle had experienced a economic boom becuase of the Gold Rush and I sold nails, hammers, and other tools.
  • Illness

    In the winter of 1912, working as a vendor out in the cold I got very sick. I couldn't go to a doctor becuse I didn't have enough money. I lived in a small, cramped, and cold apartment better than the tenements but still not very pleasant for a sick man. I had no children and little food, which quickly dwindled to none. Despite this a small child, unkown to me, would come nearly everyday and give me bread and water. I didn't know the little boy but he looked like a fellow Russian and Jew.