|Most families came to explore
economic opportunities in the West. Many came to provide services
for the growing population as well as to purchase good farm or
Frequently, large groups of neighbors would move west. In advance of the move, some formed companies or organized colonies to purchase land and lay out towns with a public square, a church, and school lands.
|Many farm families came because
they could not compete economically with farms run by cheap slave
labor in the South. Some had sold their farms in the South to pay
off debts, and others could not afford land in Kentucky and
Tennessee, where speculators drove up prices.
They came in closely knit family groups, including grandparents and in-laws. Families were work units, conveyers of moral values, and sources of emotional comfort. Family obligations and loyalty were central to their lives.
© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96