The Backcountry

But first, some geography

We will be talking about Virginia — sometimes referred to as the Old Dominion because Virginia was the first English colony and the dominion of English kings and queens.  We will also be speaking about the Carolinas and the western regions of New York and Pennsylvania because those areas share many geographical features found in Virginia.  There are five principal regions of Virginia:

Tidewater spans the eastern seaboard of the United States from New Jersey to Georgia, extending westward from the ocean to a point where the flatness of the landscape ends.  In Virginia, this peculiar terrain rises 300 feet above sea level.

Piedmont is a French word meaning foot of the mountains.  The American Piedmont extends from Pennsylvania to Alabama.  The Virginia piedmont is separated from its coastal plain by a fall line where rivers, small waterfalls, and rapids cascade off resistant rocks as they make their way to the ocean.  Those rivers give Virginia its unique geography and strongly affect its history and economy.  The fall line runs through Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Petersburg; west of these points, the rivers are too shallow for deep-bottom ships to navigate. The Virginia piedmont is its largest region, with a hill country that gently rises to 1,000 feet and then doubles that height at the foothills of the Blue Ridge.

The Blue Ridge region extends from southern Pennsylvania to South Carolina and Georgia.  It is a rounded mountain range that looks blue from a distance.  It is rugged from tectonic collisions between 1.0 and 1.6 billion years ago.  The Blue Ridge is covered with thick forests and rises to an average elevation of 4,000 feet.  The highest peak is Mount Rogers, at 5,729 feet.  These mountains extend southwestward for 615 miles, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to Oglethorpe, Georgia.  The range itself is a relatively narrow ridge, fluctuating from between five and 65 miles wide.   In the mid-1600s, this entire region was referred to as “the backcountry.”

The Valley & Ridge region is part of a gigantic trough that extends from Quebec, Canada, to Alabama — often referred to as The Great Valley. Virginia’s portion of this valley is the largest of any state, with narrow and elongated elevations extending 3,000 to 4,000 feet high, with flat, lush valleys and a gentle topography containing deep caves, caverns, and hot springs.

Virginia’s Appalachian Plateau is in the state’s southwestern portion, but part stretches from New York to Alabama.  It is the smallest of the state’s five regions, containing only three counties.

Geography is an essential factor in human development. One’s physical environment determines a range of human attributes, from physical appearance to diet and lifespan.  We know that settling into a new climate will impact human health — and we know that lifespan could be adversely affected by a well-placed tomahawk.  We also understand that people born in one region and later migrate to another take all they know about life.  Whether this works out to anyone’s satisfaction depends on the willingness of human beings to cooperate.

Physical geography and human settlement patterns produced two frontiers in Virginia.  One frontier pushed westward from Tidewater into the Piedmont.  Simultaneously, an autonomous backcountry developed as a southward extension of the Pennsylvania settlements into the drainages of the upper Potomac River, beginning with the Shenandoah Valley.  These circumstances helped to create cultural differences within Virginia’s backcountry settlements.

Some background

The London Company’s expedition in 1606 was by no means the first European attempt to explore North America.  In 1564, French Protestants (Huguenots) established a colony near Jacksonville, Florida.  It was an intrusion soon noticed by the Spanish, who had previously claimed this region.  Spanish officials established a military post at St. Augustine within a year, from which their troops used extreme measures to remove all French interlopers.

Meanwhile, Basque, English, and French fishing fleets became regular visitors to the coasts from Newfoundland to Cape Cod.  Some of these fishing fleets even set up semi-permanent camps on the shores to dry their catches and to trade with local people — exchanging furs for manufactured goods.  For the next twenty years, the European presence in North America was limited to these semi-permanent incursions.  Then in the 1580s, the English tried to plant a permanent colony on Roanoke Island (on the outer banks of present-day North Carolina) — an effort that, for several reasons, was doomed to failure.

In the early 1600s, and rapid succession, the English established a settlement in Chesapeake Bay (Jamestown, 1607), the French constructed Quebec (1608), and the Dutch exhibited an interest in present-day New York (then called New Amsterdam).  The Plymouth Company established a colony in 1620, and nine years later, the Massachusetts Bay Company began their settlement. 

Despite the widely communicated caution that success in North America was never guaranteed, thousands of families opted to make the journey.  Competition for space soon took on a distinctly global complexion with names like New England, New France, and New Spain.  To the people already living in North America (the so-called Native Americans), it was an invasion of epic proportions.  The Indians did resist, of course, but in the long term, they were destined to lose.  Along with thousands of human beings, the Europeans imported sophisticated new technology and (unbeknownst to them) virulent diseases.

There was also a third group: African tribalists ripped out of their traditional homes by ethnic enemies and Moslem merchants seeking wealth through Portuguese and Spanish slave merchants.  Enslaving blacks was intentional because the Spanish and Portuguese found Africans physically superior to Indian laborers.  Spanish and Portuguese colonists believed African slavery was essential to their success in the New World.

All European colonial powers faced similar challenges: company investors pushed colonial officials to turn profits, but there was more land than people to work it.  There is no question that human bondage was a dastardly imposition, but Africans weren’t the only people bonded to the land.  Seventy-five percent of all English settlers were indentured.  In July 1776, two-and-a-half million Englishmen lived in British America — of which 1.8 million were indentured.  In contrast, there were (an estimated) 462,000 enslaved Africans in the British colonies in 1775.

Considering the sheer number of European immigrants and then factoring in their political and cultural differences, there can be no doubt about the complexity of colonization.  The process forced people, officials, and migrants to confront issues not of their own making.  When they responded to stimuli, they did so in the best way they knew how and from a limited number of choices.  Some of these were not the best choices — which demanded a very high price.   


On December 20, 1606, ships of the London Company set sail from England to establish a colony in Virginia.  These would-be colonists arrived in the Chesapeake Bay in April 1607.  On board the ship, mastered by Captain Newport, was 105 men, including 40 soldiers, 35 “gentlemen,” and various artisans and laborers.  It fell upon Captain Newport to find a suitable site for a secure and profitable colony.  Spanish soldiers routinely scoured the coastal regions for evidence of English encroachments in these years.  He chose a river the English named the James and sailed fifty miles from its mouth to find a low-lying peninsula that seemed to meet his requirements.  Captain Newport decided to call it James Towne.

Initially, matters proceeded in good order.  Colonists cleared land and erected a palisade for communal protection.  Inside they built small, crude dwellings.  The colonists also cleared land for agriculture.  Nearby, a resident confederation of tribes led by Powhatan seemed to change from initial hostility to friendship and hospitality.  With the offers of food and friendship, the English began to pay less attention to planting crops and more to exploring the region for quick riches.

Despite early promises of success, danger signs began to reveal themselves.  During the summer and autumn months, colonists contracted illnesses that caused death among more than a few settlers — a product of settling in marshy swamps.  Modern scientists say that the English brought the disease with them — something they called the bloody flux (known today as typhoid and dysentery).  The unhygienic practices of settlers made the flux into an epidemic.  Worse, they were consuming water contaminated by human waste and seawater.

By autumn, settlers realized their agricultural production was insufficient to get them through the winter months.  At first, they didn’t know what they didn’t know about farming in Virginia, but the rude awakening was that they were looking at starvation, and part of that problem was that the gentlemen settlers didn’t think they should have to work in the fields.  The Powhatan community would soon become their food source — but even with that, only 35 of 105 settlers survived the winter.

History may seem to favor Captain John Smith — but it is a fact that he saved Jamestown by organizing the settlers and forcing them to work in productive ways.  He established a trade relationship with the Indians — manufactured goods for food.  When he was desperate, he took from the natives what he felt he needed, which of course, soured whatever goodwill existed between the Indians and colonists.  The lesson learned at Jamestown was that colonies needed strong governors.

Almost from the start, English investors in the Virginia Company were unhappy with the accomplishments of their Jamestown colonists.[1]  They sought a new charter, which the king granted in May 1609 — a measure to place the company on a sounder financial footing by selling shares valued at £12, 10 sh, £25, and £50.[2]  Investors were promised a dividend from whatever gold, land, or other valuable commodities the Company amassed after seven years.

The Charter allowed the company to make its laws and regulations, subject only to their compatibility with English law.  To avoid the disputes that had characterized Virginia in its first years, the Company gave full authority and nearly dictatorial powers to the colony’s governor.  These changes were nearly too little and too late, for Jamestown was just then experiencing its “starving time.” The Company, however, was bent on persevering and sent a new batch of ships and colonists in 1611.  Over the next five years, Sir Thomas Gates and then Sir Thomas Dale governed the colony with iron fists through Lawes devine, morall, and martiall.

The tyranny of Virginia governors was not especially attractive to potential colonists.  What was more, the colonists who went to Virginia lacked the knowledge and skill to contribute to the colony’s success.  They could not even feed themselves — which is why many colonists perished from disease, unsanitary conditions, and malnutrition.  Historians claim that between 1614 and 1618, potential colonists were far more attracted to the West Indies and Bermuda than they were to Virginia.

By 1618, the Virginia Company was forced to change course once more.  The Company had yet to solve either the profitability problem or the settlers’ morale (or incompetence).

The company treasurer, Sir Edwin Sandys, embarked on a series of reforms known as the Virginia Headright System.  Sandys believed Virginia needed more than an increase in settlers; Virginia needed quality citizens.  He schemed to grant sub-patents of land to wealthy adventurers.  Investors would be rewarded with 100 acres of land to each émigré, fifty acres to each colonist who paid their way to Virginia, and fifty additional acres for each person he brought along.

Sandys also hit upon the idea of convening an assembly in the colony, whose representatives would be elected by colonists.  The assembly would have full power to enact laws on all matters relating to the colony — subject to veto by either the governor or the Company in London.

Historians emphasize there were some improvements — but only some.  John Rolfe (1585 – 1622) developed the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in Virginia.  While colonists favored tobacco as a cash crop, company managers discouraged tobacco in favor of planting corn.[3]

Meanwhile, Virginia continued to face shortages of laborers.  The answer to this problem was ominously foreshadowed in a little-noticed event that John Rolfe described to Sir Edwin in 1619 — the arrival of a Dutch man-o-war carrying a group of captive Africans.  By the end of the century, slave labor would become the foundation of the colony’s economy.[4]

Ultimately, the Virginia Company failed because of poor relations with the Indians.  In 1622, an Indian war party slaughtered a large number of Virginia planters.  Following an inquiry into company affairs, the company’s Royal Charter was revoked.

First Come — First Serve

The way things worked in the early settlement period was that the first waves of colonists to arrive usually ended up with the choicest land nearest the seacoast.  Of course, there are more than a few ways to describe “choice land,” so I suppose what I mean to say is  — the land easiest to clear and farm, the land closest to waterways with landings suitable for loading and unloading ships, and land most suitable controlling slave labor.  One hundred years later, most of the prime land along the coast had been taken by wealthy investors and gentlemen farmers.  One hundred years later, and certainly by 1745, new arrivals had nowhere to go other than to the “backcountry.”

The term “backcountry” was used during the early settlement and colonial periods for the vast interior of Virginia and the Carolinas — areas far inland from the coastline, across and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Dr. John Lederer first explored this region in 1670.[5]  It wasn’t until the mid-eighteenth century that large numbers of Scotch-Irish and German settlers began to make their way into the backcountry.[6]  In time, the interior (western) population swelled to become forty percent of the region’s total and, because of political conditions in the colonies, became one of the most volatile regions of southern colonial society for several decades.

By royal charter, the extreme western boundaries of Virginia at this time extended to the Pacific Ocean.  Still, the terms “backcountry” or “back settlements” specifically refer to new settlements in the eastern Appalachian Mountains — most notably in the Shenandoah Valley — that began taking shape in the 1720s.  This term was commonly used in the colonial era when “frontier” referred more specifically to national boundaries.  In the 1720s and 1730s, British and colonial authorities encouraged settlement of the backcountry, particularly by non-English Protestant immigrants whose small-farm, non-slave communities might create a buffer zone against Indian attacks and French territorial expansion (while deterring runaway slaves hoping to establish independent colonies in the Appalachians).

Due to its social, economic, political, and cultural distinctiveness, the backcountry frontier region played a significant role in the eighteenth-century history of Virginia and the writings of historians about the influence of Virginia’s colonial period on the later history of the state and the nation.  By the end of the eighteenth century, the backcountry had become a successful model for developing mixed-farm/market-town settlements as Americans overspread the trans-Appalachian west.

Although American Indians had occupied the western region of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a thousand years before contact with Europeans, it did not harbor large Indian populations at the time when colonial explorers broached the western regions.  In a series of conflicts over trade and the use of natural resources that consumed much of the latter half of the seventeenth century, the Five Nations of the Iroquois League had driven most native peoples out of the upper Ohio and Potomac River valleys by 1700.

In 1701, as the result of treaties with British and French colonial officials, the Iroquois established their neutrality in the future imperial wars of European powers and resumed endemic conflicts with southern Indians, namely Cherokee, Creek, and Catawba.  Setting northern Indians against southern Indians polarized western Virginia, making it unstable for over one hundred years.  Indian war parties, diplomatic intrigues, hunting expeditions, trading ventures, and a hunger for political domination beset the region.

Virginia’s former frontier was an expression of an Anglo-Virginia plantation society reliant on slave labor; its last frontier was an egalitarian, multi-religious, small farm and mixed grain-livestock economy that was neither dependent on tobacco nor slavery.

What made the backcountry distinct was its people — its history — the tension between the ancient people, the Indians, and the newly arrived Virginians.  The Virginians believed that this western land belonged to them.  The Indians believed otherwise.  The territorial claims were important, but so too were anxieties over colonial security in a rapidly expanding slave society.  The backcountry’s character (and significance) was the product of political and imperial conflicts that set fire to the Atlantic world.

Europe’s unquenchable appetite for land, wealth, and recognition as a world power helps explain the westward push and a sudden demand for tobacco throughout Europe.[7]  In the western backcountry, the craving for land converged with the security concerns of imperial authorities in London and the colonial capitals.  Historians explain this significance in the following way: “the Blue Ridge was to the British colonies what the north of Ireland had earlier been to England — and, in a larger sense, what Gibraltar meant for British access to the Mediterranean.”

In the west …

Alexander Spotswood (1676 – 1740) served as lieutenant governor of Virginia (1710 – 1722), ruling in the absence of Colonial Governor George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney.  It was common practice for colonial governors to remain in England, leaving the day-to-day operations in the hands of their lieutenant governors. Spotswood’s accomplishments included improved relations with American Indians, an end to piracy, and increased gubernatorial power.  He was not a fan of the House of Burgesses, particularly members who criticized his decisions.

The Shenandoah Valley’s strategic importance was undoubtedly on Governor Spotswood’s mind when he led an expedition there in 1716. Spotswood believed that settlement of the valley by British subjects would secure Virginia and serve the colony’s defensive interests — against Indians and in the imperial struggles of the French and Indian Wars. Virginia Rangers had recently discovered hidden passes over the Blue Ridge that exposed the colony to attack by Indians and French marines. 

Lieutenant Colonel Spotswood was additionally concerned about the growing threat of runaway slaves establishing autonomous mountain communities to resist re-capture.  This was a valid concern among British colonial officials owing to the rebellion in Jamaica by the maroons, with whom the British engaged in a protracted war.

The major push toward British occupation of the backcountry began with a series of land orders totaling 400,000 acres west of the Blue Ridge.  Lieutenant Governor William Gooch issued these between 1730 – 1732.[8]  Most recipients (some of whom obtained orders for more than 100,000 acres) were Germanic and Scots-Irish immigrants from Pennsylvania.  Gooch mandated that these recipients recruit one settler family for every 1,000 acres within two years as a condition of receiving their land patents.  The policy initiated a massive migration of Pennsylvanians to the Virginia backcountry.  Within three years, 160 families had settled the region — by 1745, nearly 10,000 Europeans lived in the Shenandoah Valley.

In the backcountry, stark differences in racial, ethnic, and religious identity set the society of frontier settlers apart from the culture of eastern Virginia.  In the minds of colonial officials in Williamsburg and London, backcountry Protestants, capable of standing on their two feet with no interest in African slavery, were perfect champions in the global struggle with Catholic France and Spain.  They also had the potential to form a militia barrier in defense of eastern Virginia against rampaging blacks.  That was the thinking, of course — and not too far off the mark considering the involvement of these far-western independent thinkers protecting eastern Virginia in another 120 years.

Backcountry developments

Robert Dinwiddie (1692 – 1770) served as a member of the Governor’s Council (1742 – 1751) and then as Lieutenant Governor (1751 – 1758).[9]  Dinwiddie was a Scottish merchant from Glasgow who began his public career in Bermuda, where he worked as an Admiralty Agent and customs agent.  Governor Dinwiddie was always a controversial official in Virginia, particularly in his role leading up to the French & Indian War (1754).

Settlers arriving in the backcountry “scattered” for the benefit of the best lands, which resulted in open-country communities, with each homestead consisting of around 300 acres with access to springs and water courses.  The situation resulted in mixed German, Scots-Irish, English, and Anglo-Virginian families through endogamy.  Local tradecraft involved entire communities through frontier exchange economies, irrespective of ethnic identities.  Households engaged each other continually in the commerce of agricultural surpluses, labor exchanges, and artisan services.  Trading for a few spare bushels of wheat, corn, or apples for a day’s work or a bit of blacksmithing with a neighbor was a standing arrangement.

Hard currency in the colonies was rare, so most commercial exchanges were measured by calculating debits and credits in book accounts.  This kind of joint economic development on an isolated frontier was encouraged by a long period of (mostly) peaceful relations with American Indians, with whom trade in skins and furs advanced everyone’s interests.  However, the nature of backcountry life changed dramatically between 1750 and 1760.  In a long-term trend that started in the mid-1740s (accelerating sharply in the 1750s), prices for wheat and flour in the Atlantic economy began to rise.  Flour exports from Philadelphia increased several times as the port city took control of the provisions trade with the West Indies and southern Europe.

Philadelphia was connected to western Virginia by the Great Wagon Road, one of the longest roads in early America.[10]  By late in the 1760s, wheat had become the Shenandoah Valley’s primary staple crop: a farmer in the lower valley could grow wheat, grind it into flour at a local mill, sell it at the Philadelphia or Alexandria market, and realize a profit against considerable transportation costs.[11]

The defining transformation of backcountry Virginia and Carolina was the development of towns.  While it is true that agricultural commodities were left for the market from farm gates and mills, the credit recorded in the accounts of town merchants (and imported goods) provided robust commerce in the backcountry.

A second significant development that stimulated town founding and growth was the global struggle of the Seven Years’ War, which embroiled the backcountry in armed conflict from 1754 to 1763. Pontiac’s War (1763–1765), waged by Indians against the British in the Illinois and Ohio countries, also engrossed the backcountry in fearmongering and fighting.  Fleeing outlying farms and unfortified open-country neighborhoods, farm families sought the security of garrisoned towns such as Winchester, Virginia.  There, and in at least five new towns founded during the conflict, the economic demand created by refugees and the labor they could provide intermingled with the needs of soldiers and camp followers to stir a dynamic economic mix out of which true market-town economies emerged.


If so-called open-country neighborhoods and exchange economies were characteristic of the first phase of backcountry settlement, then the evolutionary town-and-country settlement system was the product of a revolution in agricultural production.  The emergence of this system by the end of the 1700s enabled frontier households to participate in a consumer revolution that transformed British Imperialism into an empire of goods and services.

What happened after the backcountry ended, however, was anything but backward.  The economy was so productive that agriculture west of the Blue Ridge Mountains could only be described as bountiful.  The backcountry became the “new” Virginia and Carolina — best characterized by high-farming and market-town commerce.

It was undoubtedly true that certain sectional patterns endured — giving meaning to the term Old Dominion, or Old Virginia (slavery, tobacco, and plantation conservativism), but dynamic town-and-country economies west of the Blue Ridge predisposed its peoples to favor banks, internal improvements, and other forms of economic modernization.  They voted for Federalists in debates over the Constitution.  They actively supported the new central government whose economic power to integrate interstate and international commerce constituted the lifeblood of the backcountry.  In this way, the backcountry became a model for trans-Appalachian frontier development — and the model for what the United States would eventually become.


  1. Brooks, M.  The Appalachians: The Naturalist America.  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.
  2. Constantz, G.  Hollows, Peepers, and Highlanders: An Appalachian Mountain Ecology.  West Virginia University Press, 2004.
  3. Olson, T.  Blue Ridge Folklife.  University Press of Mississippi, 1998.
  4. Rehder, J.  Appalachian Folkways.  University of Tennessee Press, 2013.
  5. The Encyclopedia of Virginia, online.
  6. The Jefferson Monticello, online.
  7. The National Park Service, online.


[1] The London Company was also called the Virginia Company.  Same company. 

[2] The English monetary unit was originally equivalent to one pound (symbol £ ) of silver.

[3] England’s king opposed and discouraged the use of filthy weed.

[4] The 1619 Project is a “long-form journalism project” developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones (et al.), a staff writer for The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine (2019), which seeks to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery at the center of the national narrative.  This project was timed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the “first enslaved Africans” in the English colony of Virginia.  Unfortunately, while the essential supposition is true, the Africans that arrived in the English colony were aboard a Dutch ship, as noted in correspondence from John Rolfe to Virginia Company treasurer Sir Edwin Sandys, London.  A question remains about whether these Africans were enslaved or indentured people.

From these essential facts, Hannah-Jones contends that the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain were because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.  She no doubt believes that this proposition is well-founded in historical evidence.  It is not — and in her zeal to publish a racially biased proposal, she ignores all the evidence to the contrary.  One may understand this in the context of Miss Hannah-Jones’s educational background, which is in sensational journalism rather than in history.

Several distinguished scholars strenuously oppose Miss Hannah-Jones in her flawed assertions about The New York Times 1619 Project — including:

  • Dr. Leslie M. Harris, Ph.D., a scholar at Northwestern University.  Dr. Harris received her post-honorary degree from Stanford University in 1995; she is regarded as an American History, African-American Studies, and African Studies expert.
  • Dr. Gordon S. Wood (b. 1933) has a post-honorary degree from Harvard University (a Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar).
  • Dr. James M. McPherson (b.1936), a post-honorary degree from John Hopkins University (a Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar).
  • Dr. Robert Sean Wilentz (b.1951), a post-honorary degree from Yale (Pulitzer Prize finalist/Bancroft Scholar).
  • Dr. Victoria E. Bynum (b. circa 1959), a post-honorary degree from the University of California, San Diego, and
  • Dr. James Oakes has a post-honorary degree from the University of California (Berkley) and is currently a Distinguished Professor of History and Humanities at the University of New York (Manhattan).

Further note: despite evidence to the contrary, several leftist states have adopted the 1619 Project by incorporating it into state history curricula, as evidenced by the New Jersey State Library unit offering on African slavery during the British Colonial period.

[5] Lederer was a 17th-century physician and an explorer of the Appalachian Mountain region.  He and his party were the first Europeans to crest the Blue Ridge Mountains (1669) and see the Shenandoah Valley and Allegheny Mountains.

[6] The first sizeable group of Scots to arrive in the Carolinas was the so-called Argyll Colony (1739).  A second group migrated following the Jacobean War (1745 – 1746) — which some estimate exceeded 20,000 Scotch settlers.  German settlement resulted from an effort by the Swiss Land Company and the British Crown to settle 100 families from the German Palatines (Holy Roman principalities) in the town of New Bern (on the Neuse and Trent Rivers) in 1710.  The colony prospered for around 18 months until local Indians massacred the settlers and destroyed the town.

[7] The 1707 Act of Union opened trade throughout the British Empire for the first time, substantially increasing the demand for Tobacco products.

[8] For a true story of Lieutenant Colonel William Gooch, see also Gooch’s Colonial Marines.

[9] Dinwiddie’s governor was William Anne Keppel, Second Earl Albemarle (1702 – 1754).  Keppel was one of Great Britain’s many absentee governors, serving as such from 1737 – 1754 (his death).  Keppel had a distinguished military career, rising to lieutenant general during the War of Austrian Succession.  He also served as Ambassador to France under King George II.  Keppel was a shrewd politician who frustrated his lieutenant governors by playing them off against the House of Burgesses.    

[10] The Great Wagon Road was an “improved trail” connecting the Appalachian Valley in Pennsylvania to Georgia through the backcountry.  The primary ethnic groups that traveled this region were ethnic German Palatines and Scots-Irish immigrants.  Essentially, the road connected Philadelphia to York, York to Winchester, Virginia, Winchester to Roanoke, Roanoke to Wachovia, North Carolina, then Salisbury, Charlotte to Augusta, Georgia through Pelzer, South Carolina.  Note: Roanoke was once known as Big Lick.

[11] The proceeds of flour production enabled frontier households to participate in a consumer revolution that transformed the British empire into a trade empire by the end of the eighteenth century.  Fine imported wares began to appear on the tables and in the sitting rooms of backcountry houses, which were often enlarged or rebuilt according to new international Georgian-designed homes (an I-House) — a two-story dwelling with an exterior end-chimney.

About Mustang

Retired Marine, historian, writer.
This entry was posted in American Frontier, American Indians, British Colonies, Colonial America, Corruption, Georgia, History, Indenture & Slavery, Indian War, Massacres, Mountain Men, New France, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Pioneers, Politicians, South Carolina, Virginia. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Backcountry

  1. Eric says:

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay and commented:
    Some great history here…well done, and thank you for sharing this knowledge with us


  2. Pingback: The Backcountry — Calculus of Decay | Vermont Folk Troth

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