by Diana Alm

My grandmother, Helena MacAlpine Clint,
came to Illinois from Scotland in 1880
at the age of five.

The MacAlpine clan is important in Scottish history, because Kenneth MacAlpine was the first King of Scotland. He united the Picts and Scots in 834 A.D. The clan is petitioning the British government for permission to be reinstated as an official clan. It lost this status as its numbers dwindled in the past century or two. If you are a MacAlpine you can add your name to their list and help the cause. Go to:

Immigrants came to Rock Island County from many countries between 1840 and 1921 when new immgration laws required that an immigrant be related to someone already here.

They came from Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, and Sweden primarily. Most knew little English and settled near relatives and friends who had come at an earlier time. This helped them overcome the language barrier.

These ethnic groups may have come for religious freedom, but it is more likely they formed churches because of a common language. Besides its religious significance, the church provided an important social activity for the friends and family of these hard working immigrants. Almost all of the early churches in Rock Island county were related to a particular ethnic culture.

Many of those from Sweden came to work for John Deere, because they worked well with steel. Because they knew little English, the story goes that they rode the train until someone called out, "John Deere town, and they all got off the train! They didn't know the city was "Moline."

Many settlers from Great Britain settled in Rock Island, because they came up the Mississippi rather than overland.

Sandra Gordon sends this information about her great grandfather who came to Rock Island from County Down, Ireland.
My G-Grandfather, Hugh Gordon, arrived in New York 21 March 1881 aboard the SS Germanic from Liverpool. He was accompanied by the Peter Woods family and others. This group was from Co. Down, Ireland. Their destination was Rock Island, IL. My cousin in Ireland sent me the following information:

Newtownards Chronicle dated 12 March 1881
On Tuesday a party of emigrants, fourteen in number, passed through Newtownards from the neighbourhood of Greyabbey, en route for Rock Island, Illinois, USA, via White Star Line to New York. They were all of the agricultural class, and some of them left comfortable homes to join their transatlantic relatives, by whom - in every case - the passage warrants had been paid. It may be interesting to mention the fact that in Rock Island there is a small Presbyterian church called Boghillbo, the congregation of which is comlposed almost exclusively of emigrants from Ballyboghilbo, Greyabbey.

The following pages will give you an idea of the migration patterns of various ethnic groups that settled this area.

The Irish Experience

The Swedish Experience

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