Daily Archives: June 12, 2020

Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above

In 1803 President Jefferson bought all of Louisiana Territory from France. The United States suddenly became a huge country, spanning North America east to west. The president sent Lewis and Clark on the Discovery Expedition to explore our newly-acquired real estate. They came back with reports of land that was ideal for new settlers. And so, people packed their bags and headed to the frontier.

There weren’t roads to travel, but much of the new territory was flat enough for a wagon to lumber across. The US government divided up the land and you could buy a parcel to settle and make into a farm.

It’s one thing to raise crops and livestock to feed yourself, but most farmers want to raise enough to sell for good ol’ cash. Also, if you grow something like wheat, your harvest needs to go to a mill to turn it into flour. Mills and markets were back east. That’s a long, hard trip by wagon.

My pal Shirley Raye Redmond’s story of Lewis and Clark for younger readers—https://geomatters.com/products/lewis-clark-step-ir
Here’s an old post about illustrating her book—https://www.johnmanders.com/westward-ho/
If you’d like to read an account of settling the American west by someone who was there, I highly recommend The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/about-us/little-house-on-the-prairie-books/

Here’s 3 takes on Cole Porter’s classic tune:

noun: frontier; plural noun: frontiers
a line or border separating two countries.
Similar: border,bounds
the extreme limit of settled land beyond which lies wilderness, especially referring to the western US before Pacific settlement.
“his novel of the American frontier”
the extreme limit of understanding or achievement in a particular area.
“the success of science in extending the frontiers of knowledge”
late Middle English: from Old French frontiere, based on Latin frons, front- ‘front’.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space