The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania

By Solon J. Buck; Elizabeth Hawthorn Buck et al. | Go to book overview

XIII. Commercial and Industrial Foundations

THE quarter century from 1790 to 1815 witnessed the beginning, but only the beginning, of the transformation of the original self-sufficing agricultural economy of western Pennsylvania into an industrial economy based largely on the manufacture of commodities for the outside world. Although agriculture was destined to be superseded in the course of time by manufacturing as the principal source of wealth in the region, it continued to expand throughout this period, not only in the northern section, which was still in process of settlement, but also in the southwestern, where that process had been completed in the main by 1790. This agricultural expansion in fact played an important part in the promotion of industrialism, for it provided the surpluses that made possible the expansion of commerce and the accumulation of fluid capital, both of which were essential to the development of manufacturing on a large scale.

Contemporary accounts of agricultural conditions during the early years of the nineteenth century indicate great variation from section to section and from farm to farm, but on the whole a steady increase in acreage under cultivation, in crops produced, and in the income and wealth of the farmers. In 1804 a traveler reported that the farmers of the Monongahela country "seemed to live in ease and plenty," although many of them were affected by the mania to move to the new country beyond the Ohio. Four years later Cramer Navigator asserted that wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, corn, and potatoes were produced in that section "in great abundance," that Monongahela flour sold for more than any other at New Orleans, and that "the best and greatest quantity of rye whiskey is made on this river." In 1811, John Melish wrote of this same section: "The farms are well improved, and the farm-houses are, many of them, substantial, and

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The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • I. the Natural Environment 1
  • Ii. the Indian Regime 19
  • Iii. Forerunners of White Occupation 46
  • Iv. the French Occupation 67
  • V. the Indian Reservation 96
  • Vi. the Cultural Heritage of the Pioneers 115
  • Vii. the Coming of the Settlers 135
  • Viii. the Establishment of Political Boundaries 156
  • Ix. the Revolution and Indian Relations, 1774-95 175
  • X. the Expansion of Settlement 1790-1820 204
  • Xi. the Development of Transportation 229
  • Xii. Frontier Economy 261
  • Xiii. Commercial and Industrial Foundations 288
  • Xiv. Domestic Life 318
  • Xv. Community Life 349
  • Xvi. Intellectual Life 372
  • Xvii. Religion 401
  • Xviii. Local Government and Community Control 430
  • Xix. Frontier Radicalism and Rebellion 454
  • Xx. Jeffersonian Democracy 474
  • Xxi. the Pattern of Culture 488
  • Bibliographical Essay 493
  • Index 539
  • Maps 557
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