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From Syria to Seminole: Memoir of a High Plains Merchant Plains Histories Series

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | From Syria to Seminole: Memoir of a High Plains Merchant Plains Histories Series.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Ed Aryain(Author) J'Nell L. Pate(Editor) John R. Wunder(Foreword)

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In August of 1897, in the small village of Henna, Syria, eighteen miles from Damascus, Mohammed (Ed) Aryain was born. As far back as he could remember, Ed dreamed of moving to the United States. In the early twentieth century Syria still suffered from high taxation and control under the Ottoman Turks. Ed saw Syrians who had been to America returning home with gold watches and money to purchase land, and he vowed to do the same. Although his parents did not want him to go, eventually they relented and watched fifteen-year-old Ed begin a 120-mile walk to Beirut to board a steamship. He tells of his emotional first view of the Statue of the Liberty and of his traumatic passage through Ellis Island. Joining the network of Syrians who supported themselves by peddling dry goods, Ed travelled across the Great Plains. Later he rented storefronts in wild oil-boom towns in Oklahoma and Texas. Finally he married an American woman and settled in West Texas, living in Littlefield, Sudan, Brownfield, and finally in Seminole, where he operated his own store on the town square until 1952. But even after decades in the United States, a man never forgets his homeland, and after nearly fifty years in America Ed returned briefly to Syria to visit those who remained of the family he had left behind. Eddie and Jameil Aryain, Eds two sons, have each written an afterword, providing their perspectives on this unique piece of Americana. 'A beautifully edited memoir ...that not only puts faces on Syrian emigrants but humanizes them as well' - ""Great Plains Quarterly"". JNell Pate is the author of six books, including, most recently ""Americas Historic Stockyards: Livestock Hotels"", and a weekly history column in her local newspaper. She lives in Azle, Texas.

The story told by Aryain is rich with the quintessential American values touted today: character, perseverance, fortitude, and initiative. his story provides valuable insight into the experience of Southwest Asian immigrants in the American West and exists as one of the only published material on Islamic immigrant life in communities in America. The work is insightful and full of details about racism, work, family life, and culture of immigrants in West Texas. Well written, impeccably organized, and full of interesting stories that stay with the reader long after putting the book to rest, Aryain's memoir is a good read. The biography of a Syrian American merchant comes to life for the general reader or the serious historian and emerges as a work to be enjoyed and excerpted as a teaching tool about immigrant life in the American West. --Tiffany M. Haggard Fink, New Mexico Historical Review Vol. 83, No. 4

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