You pose an interesting question. I have wondered the same thing for some time. I cannot categorically give an answer, but I have a theory. During the period 1750-1780, the area became settled by Germans like my Blackwelder ancestors and also by Scots-Irish. They were nearly all farmers & acquired sizable tracts. When these 1st generation men died, they left the land to their sons, giving them still decent sized farms. But by the period 1805-1840, the 3rd generation of men was coming along. Take one 1st generation man who had 3 sons. Each son got 1/3 of this original tract. When these men died, assuming they each had 3 sons who lived to maturity, each would have only 1/9 of the original tract. And people had large families back then. Sometimes 5 or 6 sons. So there was little land to inherit & probably none available to purchase. So a lot of these 3rd generation men I believe headed to less settled areas where land was either free or cheap. Anyone else have other theories?
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