The first generation of workers, mainly young women from the farmsteads of rural New England, were offered a measure of financial and intellectual independence in the mill towns. Starting in the 1840s, an increasing number of immigrants began to displace the young women in the mills. Conditions in the mill towns declined markedly, as U.S.-born labor gave way to immigrants, mainly from Northwestern Europe, who became the second large labor pool for textile manufacturing. After the Civil War, a third wave will bring the Canadiens into the industry.
Industrialization in New England
The Most Important, Forgotten U.S. Immigration Story