Many of the first settlers to Batavia, Illinois, came from New
York. By 1850, of the 892 people there, 337 had been born in New
York. Many of these were of English and Netherlands descent.
Between 1860 and 1890, one-third of the population was foreign
born. Perhaps as many as ten ethnic groups migrated to the area
to take advantage of the job opportunities in the factories and
In 1850, a large Irish population came to help build the railroads.
They settled in the southeast part of the city in an area that became
known as the "cabbage patch." After the railroads were finished,
they went to work in the quarries. Germans also came at about that
time. Many of them went to work in the factories or on farms.
The first African-American families came about the time of the
Civil War and gathered in the northeast area.
The year of the great migration was 1872 when many Swedes came
to work in the quarries. Before 1869, there were only about five
or six Swedish families in Batavia and about the same number of
Norwegians. In 1871, the Swedish and Norwegian populations increased
very rapidly. The previous jobs of these immigrants were eliminated
when the factories in which they worked in Chicago were destroyed
by the great fire. These two groups settled on the west side. A
large number of people from Luxembourg immigrated at about this
time as well.