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Home: Regional: U.S. States: New York: Chenango County

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Posted by: E. Rancier Date: June 30, 2001 at 14:12:08
In Reply to: RHODE ISLAND FAMILIES by Gail Moran of 919

I have seen the question addressed by Rhode Islanders discussing the large movement into New York state right after the Revolutionary War. They opine that many RI men were sent into the Indian border lands in northern New York and along Lake Ontario to defend against the British and Indians. The men who were peacetime farmers were impressed with the soil and generally agreeable climate. The soil in RI was hard to farm. Nobody is specific but probably the effects of too much salt air and immature soils, low in nutrients caused poor crop yields. The men who returned from New York State told everyone about the wonderful soil. When the final treaties were signed with Indians and it was safe to go onto Indian territory which came into the possession of the US, Rhode Islanders sold or traded their land and set off for the wilds of New York. Many had land grants awarded for military service. My own family traded for land in Oswego Co. leaving behind their life in Scituate/Foster, RI. Even today RI is not an agricultural paradise. Not everyone who went west came from RI. Many settlers were driven from the Hudson Valley by greedy landlords and high taxation. The history of land settlement in NY state varies by which patent was involved. Some patents were sold to small holders as they were meant to be but it wasn't until the 1840's that the state legislature had to pass laws limiting the size of holdings to stop the lawlessness in some areas as landless farmers threatened landlords with violence.


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