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 out of doors domination of the zone that started prior to the yank Revolution, making a legacy of trouble that keeps to plague Appalachia this present day. The vendors and exploiters of the sector have integrated Lord Fairfax, George Washington, and, so much lately, the U.S. woodland Service.
The overarching difficulty of those absentee landowners has been to regulate 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 modifications, a capitalistic outlook, and an ethic of development and improvement pervaded western Virginia from earliest cost. citizens, despite the fact that, have been speedy outspent by way 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 far and wide.
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Additional resources for Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920
The new Whig party in the West was echoing the Federalist political traditions of centralized political power and industrial development. Farmers turned to the local courts to resolve a multitude of land controversies in western Virginia, but the state took no action to clear up the confusion within its boundaries. In this regulatory vacuum, settlers continued to scramble for lands in the West. Until the land ran out on the frontier, conflicts among claimants were apparently settled by com- 44 Absentee Landowning and Exploitation promise or local court directives.
The more egregious activities included surveyor Henry Jackson's scratching out old records and reentering them in his own name. 40 Aside from challenges, sloppy record keeping, and outright fraud, the history of these early land conveyances has been further obscured because political divisions have changed county boundaries greatly since colonial days. Rarely did records of old land transactions move to new county courthouses. More important, political differences within the Virginia statehouse led to confusion on the frontier.
As settlement increased and population rose, Virginia created Harrison County in 1784 from Monongalia; in 1787 Randolph was partitioned from Harrison. Pocahontas County was formed in 1821 from parts of Bath, Pendleton, and Randolph counties. Tucker was formed from Randolph in 1856. 67 square miles. 34 square miles. 62 square miles of territory were explored, claimed, and settled in the eighteenth century by a wide array of claimants that included kings and commoners, merchants, Indians, and soldiers.
Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920 by Barbara Rasmussen