Southern States Migration History

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Syllabus for class taught by G. David Dilts, AG® from FamilySearch at the FGS Conference 2010

European history affected immigration to the United States South, the factors affecting migration from the US, and the influences that affected movement within and out of the Southern states.

Religious Events in Europe Influenced the Religion of our Ancestors[edit | edit source]

A. Events that led to various Jewish, Catholic, and Orthodox denominations in America.

  • B.C. Jews spread in Roman Empire, 300s Germany, 1096 East Europe
  • 313 Constantine allows Christianity in Rome―the Roman Catholic faith spreads
  • 330 He moves capitol to Constantinople―leads to Eastern Orthodox religion
  • 988 Vladimir I of Kiev officially adopts Christianity—starting Russian Orthodox Church

B. Events that led to various Protestant denominations in America.

  • 1415 John Huss of Prague burned—leads to Moravians and Protestantism
  • 1453 Constantinople falls to Islam ; 1492 Spain expels Islam
  • 1525 First Lutheran ordination at Wittenberg Germany
  • 1531 Instead of Pope, King Gustav I appoints first Swedish Lutheran archbishop
  • 1532-1535 Műnster Germany Anabaptist Rebellion leads to Mennonites/Amish
  • 1534 Separation Act (Henry VIII turns England to Church of England/Episcopalian)
  • 1540 John Calvin’s Reformed Consistory (religious court) in Geneva Switzerland
  • 1559 first French Reformed (Huguenot) Synod formed in Paris
  • 1560 John Knox leads Scotland Parliament to embrace Calvinist Presbyterian Church
  • 1559-1625 Puritans push for radical anti-Catholic reform of Church of England
  • 1608 Pilgrims see no hope of reforming Church of England and move to Netherlands
  • 1648 England Quakers break off from Puritans

C. Europe's Religions in 1560 (at the dawn of the exploration and settlement of America).

Colonization of the South by Ethnic Groups[edit | edit source]

A. Early Colonization Failures (no known descendants stayed in America)

  • Spain (Catholic): Pensacola 1559, hurricane; Virginia Jesuits 1570, Indians
  • France: Huguenot 1564-1565 Jacksonville FL; Catholic 1598 Sable Is.; 1604 St Croix Is.
  • Britain (Episcopalian): 1586 & 1587 Roanoke Island, NC, had disappeared by 1590

B. Early Colonization Successes (living descendants in America)

  • 1519 map shows St. John to Maine seasonal fishing villages (unofficial colonies) (English, French, Portuguese); 1583 St. John Newfoundland became first official English colony
  • 1520-1521 Spanish (Roman Catholics) conquer Mexico. 1565 Spanish kill Huguenots and build St. Augustine, 1598 Santa Fe, 1716 Nacogdoches
  • 1599 French (Catholics) build trading post at Tadoussac; 1605 Port Royal; 1608 Quebec; Later: 1699 Biloxi, 1754 Pittsburgh, 1764 Acadians start arriving in LA; 1764 St. Louis
  • 1607 English (Episcopalian) settle at Jamestown. 1 was indentured. About ¾ of immigrants were bondsmen; 1620 Pilgrims at Plymouth; 1630 Puritans at Massachusetts Bay
  • 1619 African slaves sold at Jamestown, VA, 1808 importation stops—internal trade thrives
  • 1624 Netherland (Dutch Reformed) in NYC-Albany, NJ-CT; 1674 taken over by England
  • 1638 New Sweden (Lutheran) on lower Delaware River; 1655 conquered by Netherlands
  • Germans at Jamestown; 1682 William Penn brings to PA, MD/VA; 1714-1717 Culpepper VA; by 1721 German Coast LA; 1753 Moravians in NC; aft. 1840s diverse Germans in TX
  • Scotch-Irish (Presbyterians) 1710-1775 many to PA, then VA, NC, SC and all of South
  • Indian: 5 tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole) lived like whites; some whites adopted an Indian lifestyle (Sam Houston); abt. 25% of U.S. has Indian ancestors; Maps of Indian land cessions and Trail of Tears to Oklahoma 1831-1842 ; some Cherokees and Seminoles hid to avoid removal and later passed as whites

Settlement and Growth of Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

  • A. Roman Catholics: wherever Spanish/French settled; and the British in 1634 Maryland
  • B. Episcopalians: 1607 Virginia, and North Carolina, and Maryland
  • C. Huguenots (French Reformed) 1st to Germany, England, Nethelands—1620 Chesterfield and Powhatan Co VA; bef. 1685 Charleston SC; 1700 Manakintown VA; 1704 Bath NC
  • D. New England: 1620 Pilgrims; 1630 Puritan Great Migration (Congregationalists)
  • E. Lutherans: 1638 New Sweden; 1682 PA; then south into Shenendoah Valley
  • F. Baptists (Congregationalist converts from New England) start Sandy Creek NC Baptist Assoc. 1758, separation of church and state makes them popular after the Revolution
  • G. Quakers: 1656 2 Quaker women missionaries from Barbados to Boston, imprisoned, books burned; deported back to Barbados; 1661 VA expels burgess for loving Quakers; 1670 parts of NJ sold to 2 Quakers; 1672 George Fox visits RI to NC; 1682 William Penn in PA
  • H. Mennonites/Amish: 1683 Wm Penn brought German and Swiss Mennonites/Amish to Germantown PA; 1800s Mennonites took up frontier OH IN VA NC MO ONT; After 1865
  • J. Presbyterians/Scots: 1683 Francis Makemie arrives in East NJ; 1684-1686 Stuarts Town SC wiped out; 1706 1st presbytery in Philadelphia; 1735 Darian GA; 1746 Log College slowly evolves into Princeton University; many Scots-Irish Presbyterians in Appalachians
  • K. Moravians: Savannah River in GA (evicted to PA for pacifism) 1735, Wachovia NC 1752
  • L. Methodists: English ministers HQ in Baltimore MD 1771, most ministers leave in 1776, M.E. Church founded in Baltimore 1783, explosive growth in NC SC KY TN circuits 1780s
  • M. Jews: Savannah GA 1734, Charleston SC 1750, Richmond VA 1789, Wilmington NC 1867

Southern Migration Pathways[edit | edit source]

Transportation routes in the South affected an ancestor's migration patterns

  • A. Forests block travel but provide lumber for building
  • B. Major eastern rivers provided transportation past the trees: Susquehanna, Potomac, James, Savannah, Suwannee, Chattahoochee-Apalachicola, Coosa, Alabama, Tombigbee, Mobile, Sabine, Mississippi, Ohio, Monongahela, New/Kanawha, and Tennessee. Western rivers important for watering horses: Rio Grande, Pecos, Red, Arkansas, Missouri.
  • C. Major ports: Philadelphia (bigger than New York before 1810), Baltimore, Annapolis, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans (Midwest sold crops here), Galveston (biggest natural disaster in USA), Natchez, Memphis, St. Louis, Louisville (at waterfall), Wheeling (busiest VA port 1861)
  • D. Major roads were affected by mountains, gaps, and rivers
  • Camino Real de Tierra Adentro 1598 Mexico City to Santa Fe.
  • King’s Highway 1664, Boston-Charleston, for King Charles after NY “liberated.”
  • Camino Real de los Tejas about 1716, Guerrero, Mexico to Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • Fall Line Road about 1735, Fredericksburg-Macon, connects towns at waterfalls
  • Upper Road 1740s, Fredericksburg-Athens, many Scots-Irish
  • Great Valley Road, Philadelphia-Knoxville, forks, Indian path gained by 1744 treaty
  • Natchez Trace, Natchez-Nashville 1740s, extended to Maysville KY by 1790s, pirates
  • New River/Kanawha River 1750s, filling WV after connected by Great Valley Road
  • Braddock’s Road 1753, Ft Cumberland-Pittsburg, G Washington French-Indian War
  • Ohio river 1750s flatboats and keel boats with best floating starting at Wheeling
  • Forbes’ Road 1758, Philadelphia-Pittsburg another military road
  • Wilderness Road 1774 pack animals until 1796 wagons, Great Valley Road-Louisville
  • Nashville Road 1788, Knoxville-Nashville, militia built
  • Zane’s Trace 1796, Wheeling-Maysville, connects to Natchez Trace
  • Federal Horse Path 1805, Macon-New Orleans, post road thru Creek Indian land
  • Gen. Jackson’s Military Road 1813, Tupelo-New Orleans, War of 1812
  • National Road, Baltimore-St. Louis, authorized 1803, really started 1815, finished 1838
  • Underground railroad—smugglers routes from the South into Canada via safe houses
  • E. Key migration points
  • Atlantic ports: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston- 3/4 African slaves, New Orleans
  • Mountain gaps: New River Gap and Cumberland Gap
  • Ohio River: Wheeling (past awkward river bend), Louisville (waterfall)
  • Mississippi River: New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Louis (significant market cities)
  • Louisville and Portland Canal (2 miles) made Ohio River navigable Pittsburgh-Cairo 1830; Chesapeake and Ohio Canal DC-Cumberland MD 1836 (then by railroad west to Wheeling)
  • Fort Smith: on Arkansas River to CO; Independence: Santa Fe Trail 1821, Oregon Trail 1841, California Trail 1846, Butterfield Overland Mail St. Louis-San Francisco 1858
  • Baltimore & Ohio RR Baltimore-Harpers Ferry 1837, -Wheeling 1853; Texas & Pacific RR St. Louis-California 1881, Southern Pacific RR New Orleans-California 1883

Other Factors Influencing Migration in the South[edit | edit source]

  • Gold, glory (international rivalry and war), and God (the three G's)
  • Land hunger, tenant farming, homesteads (after Civil War)
  • Freedom—from slavery (10% already free in 1861) and from interference/responsibility
  • Plantation economy—cotton depletes the soil, peanuts replenish soil
  • Population growth—what to do with younger sons

Homework[edit | edit source]

Select an ancestor who settled in the southern United States whose ethnic or religious group is known. Study the migration history of that group. Write a two page report comparing and contrasting your ancestor's migration experience with that of his ethnic or religious group.