New Immigration and Westward Expansion Timeline

  • Why are we Immigrating?

    My husband is very ill and recently got fired from his job because he has not been able to go due to his disease. The bank is soon going to forclose our house because we have not been able to keep up with the mortgage from paying all the hospital fees. About a year ago, my brother wrote a letter to us in Ireland from America saying how great it was. We want to move west because of the land and job opportunities and, most importantly, in hopes to find someone with a cure for my husband's disease.
  • Inspection at Ellis Island

    Hi, my name is Mary Cormack and my husband, Joseph, and I have arrived in America! Now all we have to do is wait in line to answer some questions in order to be permitted into the rest of the country. Nearly seven hours passed before my husband and I got called up. They asked us many questions about where we were from, and what we were doing in America. After about 15 minutes of interrogation, we were allowed to pass the gates and leave Ellis Island.
  • I got a Job!

    I am working as a nanny for a kind Chinese family who happens to be my neighbor. The mother, Mei Hao, is very friendly. We sometimes have tea in the afternoons together when she is off work and her child is taking a nap. She works in a sewing factory, and our husbands work together in a sweatshop. My husband receives great pay, but he tells me his manager makes very rude racist remarks to him. For Shang Hao, Mei’s husband, apparently his wage got lowered just because he is Chinese.
  • Continental Railroad

    Mei’s husband just got fired. Within a month later, my husband got fired. Clearly Irish and Chinese are not welcome here. Mei heard that there are some jobs available, working on the Continental Railroad. Both of our husbands got hired for the job so luckily we can still afford to stay at our apartments.
  • Bad News

    Mei had recently told me that her father and sister had been planning to migrate to America, so my employment may not be needed anymore. I was surprised by the sudden information, but grateful that I had saved up all the money I have earned from them so my husband and I have a cushion of money if he loses his job again.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act

    Bad news for Mei, but good news for me. Because the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, Mei’s father and sister cannot migrate to America, allowing me to keep my job working as a nanny for Shang and Mei. I feel bad for Mei that she will not be able to see her father and sister for ten more years, but she told me she was glad that she had my husband and me who felt like family to her.