Migration Patterns
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Migration Routes and Settlement Patterns, 1607-1890


George K. Schweitzer, PHD, SCD

The Early colonial Era 1607-1700

1607-1700 Chiefly English Settlers

English settle VA 1607 & MA 1620

Dutch in NY 1624

Eng, ND 1634

English moved from MA & ME 1630

Revolution 1776-83 indian attacks and cheap land sent people to TN-KY, also came down OH river to WV-KY-S-OH


UP TO THE APPALACHIANS 1700-63 many Germans & Scotch-Irish

Behind lowlands was rugged upland, sloping up to Appalachian Mtns, which run from (NE NY) - (EC PA)-(E WV)-(E KY)-(EC TN)-NW GA)

Running along the uplands (called Piedmont in S) just E of Mtns is long, broad, easily-traveled, fertile, Great Valley, also (NE NY) -to-(NW GA)

VA & NC Piedmont settled first from E by Engl & Scots (NC) Indians (Span) blocked SC

In NY Indians (French) & land speculators blocked settlers, so immigrants entered by Philadelphia, many Germans (1710-) & Scotch - Irish (1717-)

They filled SE PA, then cheap land turned them down Valley (1727) filled Valley to TN, then left it through passes into upland VA-NC-SC

In N, where many Scotch-Irish also came, uplands of MA-CT-NH-MD & VT settled, NY blocked so they moved NW instead of W.



Hostile French U Indians across the Mtns before 1763, French defeated, gave English Canada & all the land up to MS River, drove Indians back

Settlers moved

(1) from MD-VA-MC thru Valley Thru Cumberland Gap in KY

(2) VA-NC-MD thru Valley into NE TN

(3) from PA-NJ-MD-N VA to Forks of OH River (SW PA, later Pittsburg) on Forbes and Braddocks Roads.

(4) From VA into WV toward and to OH River thru river valleys

Then American Revolution (1776-83), savage British-incited Indian attacks, but cheap land brought people into TN-KY, also came down OH River to WV-KY-S OH.

Revolution gave US all land E of MS River , gave Spain FL & W of MS River, hostile Indians in OH (British incited) and AL-MS (Spanish incited)



NY indians left during the Rev.

OH Indians defeated 1795

Spain sold LA terr to France 1802 who sold it to US 1803



1. New Engl into NY along Mohawk

2. NJ-DE-PA-MD-VA to Pittsburgh ten down OH

3. NJ-PA-MD down Valley to TN-KY-S OH

4. NC-SC to TN-KY on Jonesboro road (Saluda Gap.)

5. SC across river to GA

VT statehood 1791

KY 1792

TN 1796

W NY & NW PA 1795-1812

S OH then NORTHWARD 1790-1803 (OH statehood)

N OH settled thru NY-PA, OH populated from VA-NC-SC by poor soil farmers

KY-PA moving W, NY vets, by MA-CT thru NY

Settlement rapid, spilled over into S IN & S IL, reached C GA



1812 settlement pattern was a triangle with base on Atlantic seaboard, apex confluence of OH-MS Rivers, indians in N IN-IL & AL -MS

1812 War broke Indian power in both N & S pushing them westward

1815-30 Southerners KY-TN-VA-NC-SC crossed KY & WV & S OH to S IN & S IL, then to mines in NW IL & SW WI

1830 -50 Middlers (NY-OH-PA) & Germans settle N IN, & N IL & S MI & S WI, importance of Erie Canal, lake travel, rise of Detroit & Chicago.



1815-50 W GA-AL-MS-W TN filled by people from NC-SC-GA-TN the cotton land




LA settled early following LA Purchase 1803 Fench refugees, then from MS-AL-GA & Ireland & Germans, statehood 1812.

MO then settled by KY-TN-VA-OH-GER-IRE, statehood 1821, became trade center of W, then AR more slowly from TN-AL-MS-NC-KY-GA statehood 1836

E. Indians put in OK & KS 1825-40 with settlers forbidden, behind them desert, formed migration barrier, LA-MS-AR-MO-KY people could go S to TX or jump to CA-OR from W MO

No barrier on Upper MS River,

IA settled from OH-IN-IL-PA-NY-KY, statehood 1846 then MN from NY-WI & Ger & Irl , statehood 1858

Americans move into MEX-TX beginning 1821, TX independence 1836, annexed 1845, settled from TN-AL-GA-MS & Germans

People began entering KS in 1854 (from OH-IL-MO-IN-IA-GER-IRE), statehood 1861

NE settled 1850's from IL-IA-OH-MY-PA-GER-SWE, statehood 1867



Beginning with the Methodist Mission 1834, Brit OR began to fill thru OR Trail (MO up Platte River to Ft Laramie thru S Pass to Ft Bridger & Ft Hall down Snake River to Fts Boise & Walla Walla down Columbia River)

Sizeable migrations after 1842, Brit abandon OR-WA 1846, became OR Territory 1848 (from MO-IL-IA-OH)

1847 /8 persecuted Mormons moved to isolated UT desert on OR Trail to Ft Bridger, then SW, established sizable theocracy, became Terr of UT 1850, with Mormons governing

In 1841 US settlers began moving overland into Mexican CA, 1846/8 US won Mexican War, CA-NM-AZ-ceded to US

1849 Gold Rush



3 ways to CA:

OR Trail to Ft Hall then CA Trail to San Francisco

Santa Fe Trail to Santa Fe then Spanish Trail SW to Los Angeles

Santa Fe SW then W on Gila Trail to San Diego or Los Angeles



Mining frontier moved W-to-E- (CA-NV-CO, WA-ID-MT-SD)

1858 Gold Strikes NV-CO
1864 NV statehood (CA-NY-OH)

1876 CO statehood (IL-NY-MO-OH-IA)

1855 Strike in WA

1889 State (IA-WI-IL-NY-NOR-GER ) in years after gold, copper, lead, tin mined

1865-85 The Great Plains opened up and filled with ranchers & their longhorned cattle. Indians finally ended up on reservations in this area.

Plains spread N from TX(W TX-W OK-KS-NE-CO-WY-MT-SD-ND, then NM-ZA-E-OZ

Ranchers were followed

1825 - Erie Canal completion (followed by other canals opening up in Indiana and Illinois to settlement)
1828- Gold Rush, Georgia 1828, and opening to
settlement of the Cherokee lands in GA, Al, TN and Carolinas in 1838.

1848 - Gold discovered in California

1857 - Gold discovered at Pike's Peak, Colorado (Illinois men go)

1857 - Panic of 1857 - economic disaster, recall of mortgages, low pay for crops

1860-65 - Civil War

1863-65 - Steep incline in prices; low crop prices; high rail costs to
transport crops (good for manufacturers, hard on farmers)

1866 - Depression following the Civil War

1868 - Ads begun in newspapers to attract emigrants west

1873 - Railroad Panic - another economic downfall

1874 - Gold discovered in Black Hills of the Dakotas (a means to get the public interested in a topic other than the depression and corruption of the Railroad Panic)

1874 - World wide depression

1875 - Grasshoppers on the plains of Dakota Territory and Kansas

1875-79 - Poor crop years on the prairies

1879 - Economic Hard Times - another depression

1881 - Peak of emigrant trains to that time

1887 - Dawes Act (breaking up communal Indian lands; opened land to white settlement)

1889-1901 - subsequent Land Runs in Oklahoma

1896 - Gold discovered in the Alaskan Klondike


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