Download e-book for iPad: Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, by Barbara Rasmussen

By Barbara Rasmussen

Absentee landowning has lengthy been tied to monetary misery in Appalachia. during this very important 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 internet of outdoor domination of the quarter that started prior to the yank Revolution, making a legacy of problem that keeps to plague Appalachia this day. The vendors and exploiters of the zone have incorporated Lord Fairfax, George Washington, and, such a lot lately, the U.S. woodland Service.

The overarching obstacle 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 procedure that also favors absentee landholders and at the same time impoverishes the state.

Class changes, a capitalistic outlook, and an ethic of progress and improvement pervaded western Virginia from earliest cost. citizens, in spite of the fact that, have been fast outspent by means of wealthier, extra strong outsiders. lack of confidence in landownership, Rasmussen demonstrates, is the main major distinction among early mountain farmers and early American farmers all over the place.

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Additional info for Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920

Sample text

The trail ascended the South Branch and followed the North Fork and Seneca Creek, crossed the Alleghenies twenty miles south of the North Branch Trail and the branches of the Cheat River above the mouth of Horse Camp Creek, and passed near Elkins and Beverly to the vicinity of Huttonsville in Randolph County. 13 These trails were difficult, but all were well traveled. This region contains rugged mountains and narrow valleys, watered by often fickle rivers. The Cheat, Greenbrier, Tygart, and Blackwater rivers run full, flooding in the early spring months, and dwindle to a trickle by the advent of summer.

32 A survey the Deakinses commissioned from W. Pettyjohn on July 12, 1784, may have been contested by other claimants in the region. 33 Goff was a Settler Politics 39 member of the Monongahela region's gentry. In 1787 he was appointed by the governor to be a justice of the peace for Randolph County, and that court subsequently elected him its first president. 34 The Deakinses' May 1784 claim to 1,696 acres on the eastern shore of the Cheat probably overlapped with several settler claims in the same region, particularly those of the Parsons brothers.

Conversely, frontiersmen and farmers defined their claims by the crops they grew, the fences they built, and the taxes they paid. The line between settlers and speculators blurred. Ambitious entrepreneurs in the West often shared, at least temporarily, the perspectives of absentee landowners. Over time, however, transmontane dwellers and investors divided themselves into two large, loosely aligned groups. Some sought a proactive government devoted to transmontane development. Others wished for government to remain uninvolved in the West, keeping taxes low and development to an inexpensive minimum.

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Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920 by Barbara Rasmussen


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