The Farmer's Last Frontier: Agriculture, 1860-1897

By Fred A. Shannon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
Agricultural Settlement in New Areas

OUTLYING SETTLED REGIONS IN 1860

THE movement of population to new lands after 1860 was largely along lines drawn before that time, and to a great degree was merely a further spreading out over already partially settled areas. Even to the 1940's there was a comparatively small number of persons tilling soil in regions wholly untouched by the hoe or plow eighty years earlier. Yet, although there were dotted settlements in the Spanish borderlands, around the Great Salt Lake, and in the mining regions of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin, in 1860 an area which was half of the United States, and which lay between the Pacific coast settlements and the Western front ier of the Prairie farms, contained only 1 per cent of the nation's population. Roughly speaking, the ninety-fifth meridian separated the regions containing from two to six persons to the square mile from the territory occupied mainly by unenumerated Indians. In Texas the settled portion reached about to the ninety-eighth meridian, and in northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska the ninety- seventh was touched, but on the other hand there was an almost total lack of population north of the forty-fifth parallel in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and north of the forty-fourth in Michigan.1 Down to 1900 the population frontier of two or more to the square

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1
Fred Albert Shannon, America's Economic Growth ( New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940), p. 356, and map p. 139.

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