By Barbara Rasmussen
Absentee landowning has lengthy been tied to monetary misery in Appalachia. during this vital revisionist learn, Barbara Rasmussen examines the character of landownership in 5 counties of West Virginia and its results upon the counties' fiscal and social development.
Rasmussen untangles an online of out of doors domination of the sector that started out sooner than the yankee Revolution, making a legacy of complication that maintains to plague Appalachia this day. The vendors and exploiters of the zone have integrated Lord Fairfax, George Washington, and, such a lot lately, the U.S. woodland Service.
The overarching challenge of those absentee landowners has been to manage the land, the politics, the govt, and the assets of the fabulously wealthy Appalachian Mountains. Their early and constant domination of politics guaranteed a land tax approach that also favors absentee landholders and at the same time impoverishes the state.
Class ameliorations, a capitalistic outlook, and an ethic of progress and improvement pervaded western Virginia from earliest cost. citizens, notwithstanding, have been fast outspent through wealthier, extra robust outsiders. lack of confidence in landownership, Rasmussen demonstrates, is the main major distinction among early mountain farmers and early American farmers all over.
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Extra resources for Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920
From among themselves, farmers elected a strong and honest local leadership. Wealthy farmers in the mountains, as in the Tidewater, were chosen by their constituents to govern their counties. The mountain county courts fulfilled the same social and governmental role as the county courts of the eastern counties. Society in the transmontane became increasingly stratified with the rapid increase of population. As in the eastern part of Virginia, wealthier families in the West who controlled the courts acted in the interests of local hierarchies.
In cases of dispute, the Richmond records generally prevailed as the final authority. Settlers often experienced much anxiety when they were unable to defend their farms against challenges from other claimants, even though the law stipulated that their preemption claims and military warrants took precedence over speculator-held treasury warrants conveyed by the state land office. For example, a survey for Noah Haden was recorded on December 6, 1783, registering his claim to 594 acres of land in Monongalia County on the Dry Fork of Cheat River, part of a 1,000-acre warrant issued on October 16, 1782.
The continued Settler Politics 37 pressure of speculation on the frontier added to the confusion. Investors were actively involved in influencing developments along the frontiers. Since 1760 they had been the largest and most powerful owners of Virginia's transmontane. 25 Settlers within the Monongahela region were long established in Romney and along the South Branch River, Pattersons Creek, and the Maryland side of the Potomac. 26 Later settlers moved westward along the Cheat. John Crouch arrived in 1766, and James Parsons settled in 1769.
Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920 by Barbara Rasmussen