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GYPSIES

GYPSIES, people with origins in northern India, and later, Europe, began settling on Cleveland's near west side in the 1880s, and within 40 years there were at least 1,000 living in the area known as OHIO CITY. Among the Gypsies reported living in Cleveland were Gypsy musicians whose ancestors had settled on the near west side during the turn of the century, nomadic bands who moved through the city, and a number who worked as fortunetellers. Within Cleveland, the Gypsies maintained a governmental system consisting of tribal rulers--usually the oldest and wisest men. The tribal name usually derived from the last name of the ruler. In the early 1980s, Frank Miller was considered king of the Cleveland Gypsies. The exotic stereotype of the nomadic Gypsy has often disguised the fact that fewer and fewer remain migratory in the 1980s. However, Cleveland's Gypsy population dwindled down to a few hundred in the 1970s. Some moved to PARMA and N. OLMSTED, but hundreds more chose to go to larger cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, and other places where ethnic cultures were more entrenched.