Continued from Part 1.
E. ADDITIONAL FACTORS LEADING TO THE TREMENDOUS SETTLEMENT
OF THE FIRST 50 YEARS OF THE 19th CENTURY.
1. Canal boom of the 1820s, especially the extremely successful Erie Canal which drastically lowers the cost of east-west shipping.
2. Changing Indian policy which by 1816 encourages each Indian head of family to select 640 acres on which to live or move west of Mississippi River and by 1826 tells all Indians east of Mississippi they must remove, thus making much land available, especially for cotton production in
3. The Adams-Onis Treaty in 1819 gives the US Spain's claim to Florida, but also to the land north of the 42nd parallel (the northern border of California).
4. American settlement of Texas, beginning in 1823, which leads to Texas independence in 1836, admission to the Union in 1845.
5. Development of the railroad as a means of transportation and of encouraging westward movement.
6. American interest in Oregon soars after 1841, with rapid settlement of the Willamette River Valley.
7. Mormons, dispossessed from their homes in Missouri and Illinois, go first to Iowa, then make a major migration to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, quickly expanding throughout the Great Basin.
8. The War with Mexico ends with the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo giving the Southwest to the US
9. The discovery of large amounts of placer gold in California leads to a major rush there in 1849 and statehood in 1850.
10. The Pacific Railway Act and Homestead Act in 1862 lead to a further, effective settlement of the West.
11. The CENSUS of 1890 OFFICIALLY declares that there is no longer a frontier in the US
III. IMPORTANT FACTS THAT MAY HELP YOU FIND
WHERE YOUR FAMILY CAME FROM OR WENT.
A. RULE OF THE HARVEST. Before the 1850s (and McCormick's reaper) families rarely planted more than they could harvest, which was between 15-25 acres per able bodied person who could help with the harvest. Finding out how many acres your family cultivated will help you know how many people were in the household.
B. IMPORTANCE OF HARDWOOD TREES. In both the North and the South, conventional wisdom indicated that land covered with hardwood trees was the best, while grassland was to be avoided.
Despite the great difficulty of clearing land covered with oaks and maples, that was the land mostlikely selected by your ancestors prior to the 1820s.
C. FAMILIES WHO MADE THEIR LIVING PIONEER FARMING rarely moved unless they had enough means to live on for at least 2 years, or had someone who would provide for them this long.
This is due to the fact that it took 2 years to go through the process of converting a hardwood forest into an
economically viable farm. If your family moved, it usually meant they had enough money to survive for 2 years without much additional income, or enough dollars to buy an already improved farm. Few poverty stricken people (PSP) moved west,
but a fair number of PSPs moved east.
D. MOST SETTLERS BEFORE 1800 at least in the North, moved west during the winter, usually in January and early February. Expect your families to have moved then, not in the summer.
E. With a new notable exceptions, your ancestors moved almost due West, rarely deviating more than a few degrees up or down.
F. IF YOUR ANCESTORS WERE IN NEW ENGLAND PRIOR TO 1700, expect them to stay very close to the same site until 1800. By 1810, they will most likely be in upstate New York, by 1820 in northern Ohio, Indiana or Illinois, and by 1850 perhaps in Iowa, Oregon, California or Utah.
G. TOWNS SETTLED BY NEW ENGLANDERS usually had streets running north-south and east-west, while towns settled by Southerners often placed less emphasis on grid patterns.
COLONIAL ROADS TO 1750. As one of the earliest east-west wagon roads, the Lancaster Road linked Philadelphia to Harrisburg before 1730. A connection from Lancaster to Winchester, Virginia, in the early 1740s, created what was called either the Philadelphia Wagon Road or the Great Valley Road.
The Fall Line Road crossed Virginia and the Carolinas, and eventually into Georgia. By 1746, the Pioneer's Road had connected Alexandria to Winchester, Virginia, joining with the Great Valley Road.
By 1748, the Upper Road became an important wagon route for migrations into the Carolinas.
THE WAY WEST, 1775-1795. Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road was the route for thousands of settlers into Kentucky. Meanwhile the western Pennsylvania routes provided an overland access to the Ohio River. After the Revolutionary War, western migrations on these routes continued to increase.