Great info, thanks!!
Frederick Merks’ book “History of the Westward Movement” is a valuable resource for family historians. Merk goes into extensive detail on the history of land transfers, migrations, taxation, legislation and the American economy from the beginning of American history up to Migratory Farm Labor from 1900- 1975.
Chapters include “Land Policy and the Principle of Equality of States”, “Settlement of the Prairie and Lake Plains”, and “Agriculture in the Middle West and the Granger and Greenback Movements”.
Merk includes maps outlining road and railroad development, which crops were produced when and where, treaty cessions and population growth, amongst others. By reading his book, you may understand why your ancestor went where when. For instance, the Homestead Act was legislated in 1862 and encouraged many people to migrate into the Middle West areas, including Kent County, Michigan where my ancestor Benjamin W Ellison went early in 1863 to farm his free 160…
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