Monday, June 8, 2009

One of my favorite resources

Since all of my family lines come through southern states -- North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi -- one of the most valuable background resources I have found for understanding the lives of my 19th Century ancestors is The Dixie Frontier - A Social History of the Southern Frontier from the First Transmontane Beginnings to the Civil War, by Everett Dick, research professor of American History, Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska. (Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1948). On page 221 of the book, we learn that intermittent fever was another name for malaria. Although girls married young on the frontier (average age 15), the "young maiden" could not "begin to compete with the widow" as a prospective bride (page 135). While a rail splitter did indeed split rails, it was often called mauling rails (p. 313). The book is well documented and offers original sources which can be used for further research.

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