Sunday, November 04, 2007

Migration- The Great Trail

The Great Trail on the map above is the blue route moving from the east out of Columbiana Co. and across eastern Ohio to Northwest Ohio.

The Great Trail was the route used my people that were coming out of Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and Virginia. There were a couple of primary groups that came this route. They were the Germans, Irish, and Quakers. This would begin the period of the melting pot of cultures in Ohio.

The main migration of Germans into Northwest Ohio began around 1825. The interesting thing about this particular migration is the fact that many of the migrants were actually new immigrants from Germany. These folks followed the dreams that had been shown to them of the wonderful things that would be available to them in the new world. Whole families and cities in Germany would board ships and begin the journey to the United States. People in Europe at the time were tired of the wars, crowding and lack of food. The New World promised to fix these things. Many of them would land in Philadelphia and in Delaware. It was here that they would learn of the bountiful lands to the west. It was here that they would purchase their wagons and begin the slow migration west to the Ohio country.

The second group was the Germans that lived in the United States for generations. A common religion for these folks was Mennonite. Things were starting to become crowded in the areas of Lancaster and Franklin counties in PA. In the early stages many of them had moved to Western Maryland in the Hagerstown area. The promise of new bountiful farm land got them to pack the wagon and head west.

The Irish had settled in the eastern half of Pennsylvania. The crowding and lack of land forced them to look further west. You can see record of their travel all through the southern half of Pennsylvania.

The Quakers had come to America because of it's religious tolerance. Concentration of these folks in small areas was key. The meeting houses that they worshiped in were in specific areas. Ohio would become a destination point for these people seeking new land.

These groups would locate all over Northwest Ohio. Allen, Fulton, Henry, Putnam and Williams became very popular places for the Germans. The Irish lived all over the area. Many helped to add to the populations of the small cities and help them grow. The Germans would become one of the largest population groups in Northwest Ohio.

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