Migration Responses to Conflict: Evidence from the Border of the American Civil War

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Migration Responses to Conflict: Evidence from the Border of the American Civil War
by Shari Eli, Laura Salisbury, Allison Shertzer

NBER Working Paper No. 22591
Issued in September 2016, Revised in September 2016
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Development Economics, Labor Studies

The American Civil War fractured communities in border states where families who would eventually support the Union or the Confederacy lived together prior to the conflict. We study the subsequent migration choices of these Civil War veterans and their families using a unique longitudinal dataset covering enlistees from the border state of Kentucky. Nearly half of surviving Kentucky veterans moved to a new county between 1860 and 1880. There was no differential propensity to migrate according to side, but former Union soldiers were more likely to leave counties with greater Confederate sympathy for destinations that supported the North. Confederate veterans were more likely to move to counties that supported the Confederacy, or if they left the state, for the South or far West. We find no evidence of a positive economic return to these relocation decisions.

https://www.nber.org/papers/w22591

One that @wausaubob might enjoy...

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#2
Figure 3, page 38. Nice visual depiction.
The sorting that took place before the war was picked up in the 1860 census. Then the railroads noticed more sorting during the war.
 

damYankee

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This is a topic that has interested me for some time. It is a part of the story of the Civil War that IMO doesn’t get enough attention.
The call of cheap land and opportunity in the west drew many a southern to hit the trail, literally.
Thanks for posting.
 

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The paper left me with more questions than it answered.
A few minor points; "The Civil War began when Confederate ships fired on Fort Sumpter." Confederate ships? And the war ended when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Well, ok, that must be what it says on Facebook.
KY. produced tobacco, whiskey, snuff, and flour, and exported all of this to the North and South. No mention of hemp. KY was the nation's leading producer of hemp, and was used primarily in conjunction with the cotton trade, so that's a pretty big economic tie with the south. Perhaps I'm being petty with my criticism, but if these well educated people cannot get the simple stuff correct, I tend to be very critical of everything else they write.
The study looks at a time period of 20 years; 1860-1880. Perhaps I wouldn't be so critical if that time period was shorter, say 10 years, (1860-1870), as that may show a more direct relationship about who your neighbors were in KY and who there were when you moved. I seem to remember a pretty big economic panic in the 1870's that may have had an effect on when you moved and to where.
They also mentioned the homestead act three of four times, but the map which shows where Union and Confederates moved to doesn't seem to show either group of veterans making much use of that government benefit. I'm not aware that Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois had much land available for the homestead act, but I could be in error. Again, using the provided maps, one area that both union and Confederate veterans moved to in pretty good numbers was along the Missouri River in central and Western Missouri. I know there was no homestead land being settled there. This area is known as "Little Dixie," and it was very southern, so why would union veterans move there? Maybe it had to do with land prices after the war?

This is a topic that has interested me for some time. It is a part of the story of the Civil War that IMO doesn’t get enough attention........
Thanks for posting.
I agree, but this paper fell far short in supplying any tangible answers for me.

Yes! Thanks for posting it.
 
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#5
I agree with Booner, that the statistical work is better than the narrative. One should realize that the Census demonstrated a good deal of sorting before Civil War. See page xxxiv. https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/population/1860a-02.pdf?#
The people left in the south, while this sorting was going on, were pro cotton and pro slavery. People who just wanted to grow corn and raise hogs, had options north of the Ohio River.
See also page 273, https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1883656.pdf for more information about additional sorting during the war.
I suspect the movement of ex-US soldiers followed relatives and townsmen into new opportunities in Missouri, Texas and in the northern states.
The two patterns from figure 3 are similar, but US veterans had wider range of opportunities.
A suspect that the financial status of the two groups were not exactly the same.
 
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The quote on page 6 from the Kentucky attorney named Holt was interesting. I wonder how many people in Kentucky figured out that Canada would be on the Ohio River if Kentucky seceded?
 

damYankee

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The paper left me with more questions than it answered.
A few minor points; "The Civil War began when Confederate ships fired on Fort Sumpter." Confederate ships? And the war ended when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Well, ok, that must be what it says on Facebook.
KY. produced tobacco, whiskey, snuff, and flour, and exported all of this to the North and South. No mention of hemp. KY was the nation's leading producer of hemp, and was used primarily in conjunction with the cotton trade, so that's a pretty big economic tie with the south. Perhaps I'm being petty with my criticism, but if these well educated people cannot get the simple stuff correct, I tend to be very critical of everything else they write.
The study looks at a time period of 20 years; 1860-1880. Perhaps I wouldn't be so critical if that time period was shorter, say 10 years, (1860-1870), as that may show a more direct relationship about who your neighbors were in KY and who there were when you moved. I seem to remember a pretty big economic panic in the 1870's that may have had an effect on when you moved and to where.
They also mentioned the homestead act three of four times, but the map which shows where Union and Confederates moved to doesn't seem to show either group of veterans making much use of that government benefit. I'm not aware that Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois had much land available for the homestead act, but I could be in error. Again, using the provided maps, one area that both union and Confederate veterans moved to in pretty good numbers was along the Missouri River in central and Western Missouri. I know there was no homestead land being settled there. This area is known as "Little Dixie," and it was very southern, so why would union veterans move there? Maybe it had to do with land prices after the war?




I agree, but this paper fell far short in supplying any tangible answers for me.

Yes! Thanks for posting it.
I know of at least one Confederate widow who remarried and moved to Oregon. That would be my g g grandmother who lived in Rolla Missouri at the time.
But even before the war began there were many southerners who went west, The Jackson widow took her three children west and her son married the granddaughter of John Ingram, his story and that of others is told in part here,
http://www.oregonpioneers.com/ThreeArkansasWagonTrains_1852.pdf
 

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The quote on page 6 from the Kentucky attorney named Holt was interesting. I wonder how many people in Kentucky figured out that Canada would be on the Ohio River if Kentucky seceded?
I would think that most of KY's slave owners had that figured out by 1860. How well was the Fugitive Slave Act enforced by KY's northern neighbors? IDK, but at least KY had a river that separated them from their neighbors to the north, and I imagine that river was patroled by slave catchers rather heavily. All KY slave owners had to do was look to their west to see what was going on between MO and KS in the late 1850's.
 

Booner

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I know of at least one Confederate widow who remarried and moved to Oregon. That would be my g g grandmother who lived in Rolla Missouri at the time.
But even before the war began there were many southerners who went west, The Jackson widow took her three children west and her son married the granddaughter of John Ingram, his story and that of others is told in part here,
http://www.oregonpioneers.com/ThreeArkansasWagonTrains_1852.pdf
I've read that just prior to, and during the war, there were slave owners from MO who went to TX, and this trend continued after the war, as it was shown on the map he study provided. The area in TX was along the TX/OK border in the Northeast and I'm assuming this was a "frontier" area.

My GG grandfather (union) went to WY after the war. I'm assuming that had something to do with the Homestead Act. He later moved back to NW. MO.
 
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Booner

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Good resource!
Thanks.
I was just looking at Texas. It looks like there was a huge influx of immigrants from KY between between 1870-1880 by 10,000 (22,000 in 1870 to 33,000 in 1880). There was a similar trend from other states to Tx in the same years.
 

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This is a topic that has interested me for some time. It is a part of the story of the Civil War that IMO doesn’t get enough attention. The call of cheap land and opportunity in the west drew many a southern to hit the trail, literally.
It interested me also. Had read - and can't remember the source - that men from both armies packed up and moved west as a reaction to the as-yet-unnamed PTSD they suffered from as a result of the war. I would imagine that if you survived those incredible slaughters, the wide-open spaces and majestic views would at least be distracting from the horrors witnessed.
98

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DaveBrt

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#13
Good resource!
Thanks.
I was just looking at Texas. It looks like there was a huge influx of immigrants from KY between between 1870-1880 by 10,000 (22,000 in 1870 to 33,000 in 1880). There was a similar trend from other states to Tx in the same years.
My ancestors moved from north Georgia to central Texas in the mid 1890's. The railroads were renting box cars to anyone who wanted to move. My folks took 5 families and everything they all owned, including livestock, and did not have to change cars until they arrived at their destination. This ease of moving surely assisted in the migration being discussed.
 

jgoodguy

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My ancestors moved from north Georgia to central Texas in the mid 1890's. The railroads were renting box cars to anyone who wanted to move. My folks took 5 families and everything they all owned, including livestock, and did not have to change cars until they arrived at their destination. This ease of moving surely assisted in the migration being discussed.
An interesting new fact for me!
 

damYankee

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The Ingram side of our family immigrated from England to Virginia, to North Carolina, to the north east corner of Arkansas then to Oregon.
From Information we have available there were other Ingram’s who moved from Virginia to Tennessee then to Missouri and other mid west states before going to the west coast, they were primarily farmers, blacksmiths and wagon makers. Prime skills for pioneers and settlers.
We know from letters they were better educated than the general impression of pioneers, the Arkansas branch lived in a part of Arkansas they was not geographically fit for large scale cotton farming and went west for the promise of cheap land and rich fertile soil. Hard work obviously was the norm.
 
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When you compare the 1850 to the 1860 census for the North and South Carolina, there was a great out-migration which amounted to losing 2/3 of the population, and a regaining of 1/3 by in-migration. Which begs the question, "What was going on?" One thing: an undeclared war, socio-economic conflict between classes, the "haves" and "have-nots" slaves, fear and paranoia of slave uprisings driving inane actions by people in power.
 

jgoodguy

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When you compare the 1850 to the 1860 census for the North and South Carolina, there was a great out-migration which amounted to losing 2/3 of the population, and a regaining of 1/3 by in-migration. Which begs the question, "What was going on?" One thing: an undeclared war, socio-economic conflict between classes, the "haves" and "have-nots" slaves, fear and paranoia of slave uprisings driving inane actions by people in power.
The standard answer is that Slave labor either generates outmigration of whites or political fights because of lack of economic opportunity. Given the control of the slave owners in SC outmigration seems likely. FWIW the winning factor in a State becoming free was a large white population fearing competition from slaves engaging in political action. Interesting enough, in California, many immigrants from slave states voted for California becoming free for that reason.
 
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When you compare the 1850 to the 1860 census for the North and South Carolina, there was a great out-migration which amounted to losing 2/3 of the population, and a regaining of 1/3 by in-migration. Which begs the question, "What was going on?" One thing: an undeclared war, socio-economic conflict between classes, the "haves" and "have-nots" slaves, fear and paranoia of slave uprisings driving inane actions by people in power.
In the 10 years prior to 1860, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia had been able to retain most of their populations. However the overall pattern was one of out migration, after 1790. There were disease problems in the southern areas. Only low population density protected people from those diseases. The black population would have drifted westward and northward too, if they had not been enslaved.
Northern cities had some of the same problems with bad water and contagious disease. However the effect is disguised by extremely high birth rates and accelerating international immigration. The fact that the north had a winter season produced some relief from insect borne diseases. Also places like the state of New York had a more diverse and healthier agricultural mix, with railroads to keep the food flowing.
 
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Northern agriculture probably did not have the same labor bottleneck that southern agriculture had to deal with.
With respect to cotton, I think it was picking season that called for many hours from many hands. With respect to tobacco, perhaps cutting and drying produced the most time sensitive need. For rice, perhaps planting season was the biggest problem. For sugar, I think it was caning and milling that created arduous labor.
In northern farming, there was a greater ability to spread out the work. The path toward mechanization was more straightforward, too.
 
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#20
Good morning @wausaubob and @jgoodguy. Thanks for your insight. I've attached a document from which I gathered clues. However, there were others, such as newspaper clippings from the era, I used to form a conclusion.

I agree, the reasons for the out-migration were many. A drought hit the southeastern seaboard in 1854, and crops failed. The slave uprisings in Virginia, and then a slave in Greenville, SC killed her mistress, stoking paranoia; the fact that there were numbers of slaves increasing faster than the free population, the Indian Removal Act, increased European immigration, the control of the market value of crops, increasing tariffs, the abolition movement causing conflict, all these and more stimulated an out-migration. From what I gathered, South Carolina had enough in-migrations to near balance out the loss of its founding families.
 

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