Making the Heartland Quilt: A Geographical History of Settlement and Migration in Early-Nineteenth-Century Illinois

By Douglas K. Meyer | Go to book overview

6
Upland South Immigrant Regions

These bottoms, especially the American, are the best regions in the United States for raising stock, particularly horses, cattle, and swine. Seventy-five bushels of corn to the acre is an ordinary crop.

-- Peck 1836

Settlers from the Upland South predominated across southern Illinois during the territorial and early statehood periods. Migrating primarily from valley and hill environs, they arrived prior to 1800 in search of cheap land, fertile soil, similar environmental habitats, and escape from slave territory. Emigrant guides painted landscape images of hope, fertility, and success for many destinations in Illinois Country ( Beck 1823; Mitchell 1837; Peck 1831, 1836, 1837). The colonizing frontier society was far from homogeneous. Patterson differentiates two frontier types: pioneer-hunter and yeoman farmer ( 1881). The latter's Upland South farming practices and material culture traditions impressed southern Illinois. The former, the mobile woodland frontiersmen, persisted on the margins of civilization. Being from the lower classes of southern society, these colorful, social-cultural misfits were "notorious for fighting, drinking, swearing, and dissolute conduct" (116). Patterson argues that the worst of these shiftless, pioneer- hunter families in the early days always moved farther West. By the 1830s and 1840s, the frontier as an escape outlet for this segment of pioneer society had thrust into the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas and the central hills of s ( Jordan 1967, 1970).

Upland South immigrant regions reveal similarities in their clustering and dispersion patterns in Illinois by 1850. Structural patterns delineate the northern extent of southernness. Upland Southerners spread westward and northwestward within a dynamic American diffusion network into the Lower Midwest (fig. 3.8). I propose the emergence of a cultural core within the Upland South culture

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Making the Heartland Quilt: A Geographical History of Settlement and Migration in Early-Nineteenth-Century Illinois
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Frontier Illinois Place Images 1
  • 2 - Historical and Geographical Settlement Conditions 19
  • 3 - Evolution of Urban Road Networks 42
  • 4 - Riparian Corridors of Internal Development 80
  • 5 - Emerging Regional Settlement Patterns 104
  • 6 - Upland South Immigrant Regions 136
  • 7 - New England Immigrant Regions 169
  • 8 - Midland-Midwest Immigrant Regions 196
  • 9 - Foreign-Born Immigrant Regions 228
  • 10 - Conclusion 283
  • Bibliography 303
  • Index 323
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