Season 1, Episode 1 - The Birth of Bourbon, Part One

In this first full episode of Migration Nation, Brian & Lyman explore some of the first major population shifts in the new American republic. In these early years, folks traversed the Appalachian Mountains into the western frontier. Listen as we follow these migrations to tell the origin story of a most distinctly American product.

+ CLICK HERE FOR EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


INTRO MUSIC

B: You’re listening to the Episode 1 of Migration Nation with Lyman Stone and Brian Hudson, a Podcast about the history of migration in America. Lyman’s an economist and I’m a social studies teacher.
L: So for today’s episode, we’re gonna talk about a formative time, or really the formative time I guess, in our nation’s migration history, and how it gave us that remarkable distilled corn whiskey called bourbon that we know (and love!) today.
B: So to get to bourbon, we’ll have to talk about migration and settlement of “the West,” which in the period before 1810 or 1820 really meant anything past the Appalachians, so especially Kentucky. The question of what to do with “the West” was one of the biggest issues facing the early republic. And how those first frontiers got settled not only shaped how our nation developed, but, and I know for some people this will seem like a bit of a stretch, I really think this period informs how we view our own heritage today
L: And, of course, and that settlement gave us one of our nation’s most distinctive products.

TRANSITION MUSIC

L: Right, so, I think before we get into the story of early American migration, it’ll be helpful to present some basic facts.
B: But don’t worry listeners, it won’t all be data. In fact, we’re going to close out this topic with an honest-to-goodness spy story, involving secret codes and everything, so keep your ears peeled for that. But before we get to intrigue and intoxicants, it’s no good to talk about what happened with migration in the 1780s and 1790s if you can’t get a sense of the scope of the issue. So for this segment, Lyman will be referring to a fair amount of data, which you can find, complete with all his charts and graphs, on our site.
L: I guess I can set the stage by saying the period from 1780 to 1830 saw some of the most sustained and extraordinary migration flows in American history, based on my estimates from Census data. On average during this period, any given state’s population rose or fell by about 2 to 6 percent due to migration.
B: That doesn’t actually sound all that big.
L: Well sure, it doesn’t sound big, but you’ve gotta get the right comparison: for modern American states, migration only tends to change total population by 1 percent or less.
B: Okay, nevermind, 2 to 6 percent does seem pretty big.
L: Yeah, and when you look at just the frontier states of the time like Kentucky, Illinois, or Alabama, migration could cause local populations to grow 10, 20, or even 30 percent in a single year.
B: Definitely big changes.
L: Right, I mean, imagine that a third of your neighbors arrived in town just last year, and then that happened again the next year, and again the next: that was the typical experience of many frontier areas during this time.
B: So, basically, college dorms.
L: And just as boozy, as we’ll get to.
B: So I imagine the sheer speed of settlement is part of what makes it challenging to describe migration in this period. At those rates, entire towns could spring up in a matter of months, but I’m sure years could go by before the first detailed surveys or cartographers or Census-takers showed up.
L: Yeah, with the result being that for many places, we simply don’t know when the first settlers arrived to within more than a decade or so. In these early years, migration within the US was basically the end-all, be-all for state population. And it’s obvious why. See although Native Americans were still a fairly substantial population group by the time American settlers arrived in many states, they’re not counted in the Census.
B: Which doesn’t mean we can just ignore them!
L: True! But it does mean they’re not the migrants and population we’re talking about for today’s episode.
B: Fair enough.
L: So really we’re just thinking about fertility rates for westernized settlers versus migration. Early Americans did have lots of babies, but infant mortality was also high. Even a really fertile family having one healthy child every 2 or 3 years will take 10 years to grow the population by 5 people, while a wagonload of migrants could do it today, and again tomorrow, and again the next day.
B: Right and in those early stages of settlement, the local population was small, so natural population increase must have been small as well.
L: Yeah, and that creates a situation where areas that received migrants grew, areas that didn’t, well, didn’t. This also means that many frontier areas had populations composed overwhelmingly of migrants for decades on end.
B: Okay so, in the first few decades of American history, everybody’s a migrant. Got it.
L: But there’s a twist to this story! I said migration played a much bigger role in driving population change in the early years of the United States’ history than it does today, and that’s true. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that more people migrated 200 years ago than do today. In fact, there was quite possibly less migration in the early 1800s than now.
B: I think I’m gonna need you to explain how that’s possible. If migration was driving larger population changes than it is today, shouldn’t that mean more people were migrating?
L: That’s what you’d think! But, put simply, there’s a difference between the total number of people migrating, and their impact on population. We don’t have any direct data estimating the total number of people who moved across state lines in the United States before 1850, so we really don’t know just how large migration flows were in the aggregate at the dawn of the 19th century.
B: Yeah, if I remember right, the US census prior to 1850 was a shoddy operation at best.
L: Yep. They’re pretty tough to use reliably. But at least as of 1850, the best estimates available (provided by researchers Joshua Rosenbloom and William Sundstrom) suggest that migration today is actually somewhat more prevalent than in the antebellum or pre-civil war period.
B: Seriously? You mean that right after the Gold Rush, the Oregon Trail, the opening of the West and California, migration rates were lower than today?
L: Not a lot lower, but yes, they were almost certainly lower. Yet migration had a far bigger impact on local population.
B: It actually kills me a little bit to ask you this, but could you walk me through the demographic math on that? How’s it possible?
L: Aww, Brian, I thought you’d never ask! So a good way to think about this may be to look at a country experiencing similar trends today. In China, migration shifts the population of the average province by between 3 and 4 percent per year, values similar to what the United States experienced during the antebellum period, and over 3 times higher than what the United States is experiencing today. These are huge migration-driven disruptions to Chinese population. But at the same time, the total share of the Chinese population that migrated to any province was only about 1/3 the same share for the United States.
B: So that’s the same trend we see for the early period of American migration--- large net flows having a big population impact being created by fairly small total numbers of migrants.
L: Exactly. And the reason for this discrepancy is simple: Chinese migration today, like US migration before the civil war, was essentially one-way migration. In China today, this means rural-to-urban flows. But in the first 30 years of our history, these mostly one-way flows meant people moving from more settled areas to the frontiers. Almost nobody was moving from Alabama to Virginia; they only moved from Virginia to Alabama. This means that net migration flows could be very large even as gross migration rates were comparatively low.
B: Oh, duh, right, they moved to frontier areas where there was land available, where they felt they could make more of themselves than in the increasingly Old World-reminiscent eastern states. And of course, there was no existing American population there to create migration the other direction. But that only explains why net rates were so high--- it doesn’t explain why the total migration rate was low.
L: For that you’ve gotta think about what migration actually meant in 1800 versus today. Lower gross rates make sense when migration means braving conflicts with Native Americans, injury and loss along wilderness roads, arduous work to clear new land, hunger, disease, and extraordinary separation from family and community for years on end. Migration was costly.
B: This is all making a lot of sense. People likely moved less because it was just such a pain to migrate, but when they did move, it was pretty much always towards the frontier. Like migratory osmosis, people really only moved from densely-populated areas into what amounted to a vacuum. Fair enough. So that seems to imply that rather than being a nation of all migrants, the first American generations probably tended to stay close to home. A nation of home-bodies. On the other hand, as Kentuckians, we’re keenly aware that there were some bold, adventurous pioneers striking out for the frontiers...
L: Right.
B: I suppose there is a reason the pioneer is our alma mater’s mascot. So considering the inherent dangers, these people were clearly an exceptionally risk-tolerant minority.
L: Exactly.
B: Okay. That makes sense. And is totally not what the textbooks I use in class tell my students.
L: “Nation of homebodies” doesn’t quite instill patriotic pride the same way.
B: Well but hold on, when you say migration, I think there may be some confusion. Many of the people migrating over the Appalachians were already “migrants,” right? That is, they immigrated from Europe, then moved? So isn’t that already a 2nd or 3rd migration?
L: Oh right yeah, so, I should clarify how we’ll be using these terms throughout the show. Many of those early frontiersmen were immigrants, though probably fewer than you’d expect. But when I refer to migration, I really mean movement within the US, and especially long-range or interstate movement. We haven’t talked yet about immigration, but of course we will in future episodes. But any time I talk about arrivals from other countries, I’ll always say immigration instead of migration.
B: (maybe tinkling sound of the glass or a drinking sound) So how does this all relate to bourbon?
L: Hah! We’ll get there.

TRANSITION MUSIC

L: Okay, so with that exhausting walk through the data, we’ve provided an outline of migration during the early period: migration rates were probably slightly lower than today due to the costs and risks of migration, but those who did migrate tended to be on a one-way journey from settled areas to the frontier. But I think we skipped something interesting-- we said the roads early migrants took were often difficult to travel. Now as I process the data, I’ve been imagining long wagon trains on the Oregon Trail in my head, but we’re not even to that period yet are we?
B: No, but it’s not as far off as you might think.
L: Do we at least have Conestoga wagons?
B: Now that we do have! The Conestoga wagon was first mentioned in an accounting log for William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, in 1717, and was developed by Pennsylvania German immigrants to assist in transporting goods to market back along the coasts.
L: Woah woah woah--- you mean the most iconic image of Americans headed west… is a foreign-made vehicle?
B: (laughing) Oh gosh. I actually never thought of it that way. But seriously it could be the original commercial for German-engineered cars: “iron-rimmed wheels, slopped rims to prevent cargo spillage, durable canvas covers, and caulked bottom for floating makes the Conestoga wagon the premier frontier-settling vehicle”.
L: This completely changes how I think about Oregon Trail.
B: So I actually really like this analogy because, like premier engineering today, Conestoga wagons were also almost certainly beyond the average migrant’s price range, coming in at a whopping $200 to $500 for the wagon, plus another $100 to $1,000 per horse needed to pull it, and those horses were often a special “Conestoga” breed.
L: Wow. For listeners here, keep in mind that the average household income in the US was probably somewhere between $100 and $500 a year.
B: So yeah, Conestogas would be expensive, as in, multiple-years-of-wages expensive.
L: So I shouldn’t visualize long trains of conestoga wagons?
B: Oh, there were wagon trains, enough that the route through the Shenandoah Valley from Philadelphia to Roanoke, Virginia came to be called the “Great Wagon Road.” But mostly smaller wagons, mixed in with small carts, pack horses, and migrants on foot. The Great Wagon Road ended near Roanoke, Virginia, where a wide gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains allowed access eastward to the interior of the Carolinas. But to the west, the Appalachian mountains posed a serious barrier to the English, German, and Scots-Irish settlers looking for new lands.
L: Getting over the Appalachians is a formidable task even today. Every time I drive I-64 or I-68 or I-70 headed home from DC, I’m struck again by the serious damage the uphills do to my gas mileage, and the super intense engineering getting those highways through the mountains. And if there’s snow… yeah even with modern conveniences those roads become impassible really fast.
B: Right, it was a serious hurdle to westward migration. But you’ve looked into the major westward routes, right?
L: Yeah I have, and I was really surprised to find that there were basically just a few ways to get past the Appalachian mountains.
B: Huh; I would have expected lots of routes.
L: I know, right? Listing them from north to south, the Mohawk Valley in New York was the first option, then came the Pittsburgh or Ohio River passage (itself only accessed through hard roads in western Pennsylvania), the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap leading to Tennessee and Kentucky, and the deep southern route around the mountains towards the Gulf of Mexico. Each route had its perils and its promises, but, for this episode, we’ll be focusing on the Wilderness Road and, to a lesser extent, the Pittsburg or Ohio River route.
B: Because those are the routes that matter most for bourbon, which we really will eventually get to.
L: Right. Buuuuut I want to make another digression here.
B: Seriously?
L: It’s worth it! I want to make an honorable mention for the Mohawk Valley route through western New York: according to historian Stephen Flanders’ Atlas of American Migration, at its height in the 1790s, 20 boatloads of settlers passed through Albany each day.
B: I mean, okay...That does seem like a lot for the time, but why the special mention?
L: Well the really crazy thing is that this tide of migrants didn’t stop in winter: the pioneers just headed west in sleighs! I kid you not, western New York was settled by sleigh-riding Yankees and Germans.
B: Oh my gosh. That is awesome.
L: I know, right? But that route will figure more prominently in a future episode-- for now, back to the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian mountains.
B: Being named the Wilderness Road doesn’t make it sound very inviting. And it wasn’t even a road to begin with. Daniel Boone and several fellow “long-hunters”---
L: Wait! Are we seriously going to tell Daniel Boone stories?
B: Yes! He’s the real deal in this case: he and his men literally chopped a path through the Cumberland Gap, a narrow break in the mountains near the border of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The “Wilderness Road” didn’t begin as a real road though-- from when it began in the 1770s to the mid-1790s, it was just a narrow path, unpaved and unimproved. While thousands of migrants did come to Kentucky this way, they weren’t bringing wagons down that first narrow, muddy, often-eroded trail.
L: So how’d they transport all their possessions?
B: Most migrants took the Great Wagon Road to where it met the Wilderness Road in the southern Shenandoah mountains, then sold or abandoned their wagons. Many probably didn’t even know they would have to leave their wagons behind when they left their port of call in Philadelphia or Alexandria.
L: Seriously?
B: Yeah. The road wasn’t improved enough to permit the passage of wagons until 1796, but you wouldn’t know it from the ads for wagons circulating in Philadelphia.
L: But I know that even before those improvements in 1796, upwards of 70,000 migrants had traveled the road, presumably carrying their belongings on packhorses and mules, driving cattle and pigs ahead of them, generally under armed guard the whole way for fear of attacks by Native American tribes, especially the Shawnee and Cherokee, or else threats from highwaymen and brigands.
B: You just wanted to say brigand.
L: I resisted the urge to include the phrase, “beset by the threat of transient brigandage.”
B: Except… now it made the cut. Just so everyone can see what I have to deal with.
L: I like my fancy words.
B: (laughing) Anyways, it won’t be until 1808 that continuous wagon travel is possible from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River, taking the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia to Roanoke, the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap to the aptly-named Tennessee Path, and then the Natchez Trace from Nashville to Louisiana. By and large, the only way to transport bulk goods was by boat up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers from the Gulf of Mexico.
L: Which is the incredibly, stupendously loooong way around.
B: Hah, yeah. And it’ll figure prominently in the history of bourbon. But before that, you mentioned conflicts with the indigenous people as one of the risks accompanying migration. Do we actually know anything about how frequently this occurred?
L: Eh, not exactly, but it’s worth mentioning that in the account that Daniel Boone himself wrote of his experiences settling Kentucky, he subtitles his story as “the Wars for Kentucke.” Nobody was under any illusions about how the land would be brought into the fold, so to speak: by conquest. Conquest of the untamed wilderness, to be sure, but also just outright war with the Native Americans.
B: Who, again, I feel like I need to say, we will be talking about in a more focused way and in greater depth in future episodes.
L: Right. But for now, consider a few salient facts: in Daniel Boone’s account, he is captured by various native American tribes at least 3 times. Over a dozen of his immediate companions die in conflict. His own son dies fighting a rearguard action to defend the first settler caravan to attempt the crossing into Kentucky: native resistance is sufficiently fierce that they give it up and stay at the Clinch River in Virginia.
B: But do we trust Boone’s stories? He could easily be exaggerating, and I’m not sure how long these threats last, certainly not up into the 1800s?
L: I mean he may be spinning a yarn for us, but the last documented organized raid in Kentucky was the “Innis Bottom Massacre” in 1792 just outside the newly-founded town (and eventual state capital) of Frankfort. Five settlers were killed or went missing. But the year before, a raid in Ohio killed 11, and 2 years later in 1794, there was a small raid all the way into southwestern Virginia. Just over the Ohio in the marginally settled lands of the Northwest Territory, native resistance remained fierce up until the War of 1812, which we’ll discuss in another episode. And it’s worth noting, in 1791, the first American Federal military action occurred , when a column of 1,500 men under Colonel Arthur St. Clair headed into Ohio to drive out some Native Americans. The result? 61 Native Americans killed, while over a third of the Americans were killed, and another third wounded or captured.
B: Wait, what? What’s this battle called?
L: It doesn’t have an official name, although historian Colin Calloway has written a book about it called, aptly, the “Victory With No Name.” The most common term used is “St. Clair’s Defeat.” Which, by the way, St. Clair’s defeat is on literally the total opposite side of Ohio as St. Clairsville Ohio, but they are both named for the same dude. Just the first one was named for his defeat, the second for his being the first governor of the Northwest Territory.
B: Oh right, I think that Stuff You Missed in History Class just recently had an episode on that.
L: And so did Ben Franklin’s World. They’re both good; when you’re done here, listeners should check them out! But all of that is to say: the actual likelihood of a given migrant being attacked by Native American warriors on the Wilderness Road was very, very low after 1790, and if they were part of a large group, there was essentially no chance. The territory changed from what Daniel Boone called a “howling wilderness” to the most densely populated territory west of the Appalachians in the space of 15 years. And that’s entirely thanks to the Wilderness Road and, yes, the warlike Americans who carved it out.
B: Just how many of these “warlike Americans” are we talking about? You mentioned 70,000 by 1796 earlier.
L: In 1790, probably 90% of the population of Kentucky had arrived via the road. By 1800, the share was probably nearer 50% or 75%, and most of the remainder came via the Ohio River, or were born in Kentucky to first-generation Kentuckian parents. By the time the Wilderness Road becomes obsolete in the 1830s, historian James Crutchfield writes in The Settlement of America: An Encyclopedia of Westward Expansion from Jamestown to the Closing of the Frontier that between 200,000 and 300,000 people migrated over the road. The next biggest single route or trail was probably the Mohawk or Iroquois Trail through New York, which probably 200,000 people used to migrate west over the same period.
B: Those are the sleigh-riders!
L: Yes! Who, again, really deserve more historic mention. And of course, the numerous smaller routes to and from Pittsburgh probably provided passage for about a million people.
B: And the first, what was it, 100,000 or so, came over carrying all their belongings in saddlebags, backpacks, and baskets?
L: Right. The age before U-Haul.
B: And these migrants coming over the mountains, slogging through hard roads, clearing difficult land... they’re not all just English-born newly-liberated Americans.
L: No, they’re not. Like we said before, lots of migrants were also immigrants: Germans, Moravians, and, of course, the Scots-Irish. But for that, I think we’ve gotta back up again. And talk about whiskey.
B: Finally!

TRANSITION MUSIC

L: The Wilderness Road dumped early settlers out in Kentucky or Tennessee.
B: It’s no surprise, then, that these were some of the earliest new states admitted to the union, before 1800.
L: But other areas west of the Appalachians also saw growth. Before 1790, the largest white settlement in the Ohio Valley was probably Fort Pitt, at the junction of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers.
B: That’s Pittsburgh, for those who didn’t catch it.
L: Right. It had been around in some form since the 1750s, though as of 1761, under 350 people lived in there. By 1763, there were at least 600 people. We know that because, during one of the most successful of the periodic attempts by Native American groups to push out white settlers and prevent continued migration, the officer in charge of Fort Pitt brought all the civilians inside the walls and, helpfully for modern demographers, got a precise count of them all.
B: Right. I’m sure that’s exactly what was on his mind. Some nerd will want to know this in 250 years.
L: I mean, he also smashed and burnt down all their homes to deny resources to Chief Pontiac’s fighters. Whatever the case, by 1796, the city had about 1,400 residents, which rose to over 1,500 by the Census count in 1800. The surrounding countryside had seen migrants arrive in huge numbers since the 1770s, numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands. These migrants brought with them cultural practices and affinities.
B: Please tell me we’re about to generalize about ethnic drinking tendencies.
L: I mean, well, I wasn’t going to generalize about the drinking, per se, just the making of drink. Which I guess is only a marginal improvement?
B: Way to recognize your teetotaling judgmentalism of my people before it’s too late... But it’s true…
L: See!
B: You still can’t just stereotype all Scots-Irish people! The area around Pittsburgh was settled by the Scots-Irish. And they did bring with them knowledge of distilling. In fact, I think to tell any more of this story, we’ll have to talk about my favorite of all popular American uprisings, the Whiskey Rebellion.

TRANSITION MUSIC

B: First, I’ll temporarily take over Lyman’s job as map guru to help set the stage for how Scots-Irish Americans, distilling, and violence all coalesced into one of the first tests of the sovereignty of the new American Federal government.
Initially, when the lands around Pittsburgh opened up in the 1760s, the territory was largely settled by fairly tame families of farmers.
L: Is it typical to call people tame?
B: Compared to the settlers to come, I think so. See, due to this region being on the newly-opened frontier, the question of ownership quickly arose, namely a boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Mason-Dixon line, which established the southern border of Pennsylvania in the 1760s, did not yet extend into this new land, so the lands around Pittsburgh were claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania. As a result, both colonies set up land offices in the area and organized the territory into overlapping counties: primarily Augusta County, Virginia and Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
L: They named the western area West-More-Land? Awfully creative.
B: There were lots of new areas opening up; can you blame them for going minimalist in the naming?
L: Fair point.
B: So what followed this border dispute was a somewhat amusing period of time in the 1770s where both colonies were setting up their own administrative bodies, meaning that it wasn’t uncommon for the officials from Virginia to arrest the officials from Pennsylvania and vice versa. It also meant that neither county was really able to very effectively enforce rule of law.
L: That seems like an understatement.
B: I’m trying to be objective here! The result of these tensions was a fairly ahem libertarian existence for those who settled on this new land. This relaxed state of justice soon attracted new settlers that William Findley, who was a very important figure in the nascent years of the Pennsylvanian frontier, dubbed “ungovernable people”. A longer quote from Findley, himself a Scotch-Irish immigrant, is worth reading:
clears throat
“Many [of the settlers in western Pennsylvania] submitted alternately to one [government] or the other, as it comported with their interest or their caprice, and it is reasonable to believe that by many neither was well submitted to. This relaxed state of of society encouraged a greater number of ungovernable people to settle among them than otherwise would have done.”
L: So these are your un-tame people?
B: I think the Scots-Irish immigrants would happily accept the label “untamed.” See, part of this “relaxed state of society” related to some stark differences between Pennsylvanian and Virginian tax policies.
L: Hey, now! I thought I was the economics guy! Stay in your lane!
B: Hey you gave lots of information on the Wilderness Road and Pittsburgh, I think I’m allowed some maps and tax policy!
Because see, although neither the Virginian nor Pennsylvanian governments were reliably able to enforce their authority west of the Appalachians, it was generally understood that, if you were to be forced to comply with one state’s taxes, Virginia would be far preferable.
L: Which might be why the Whiskey Rebellion ends up happening in Pennsylvania, instead of the Virginian counties that ultimately become Kentucky.
B: Possibly. Though Kentucky had its own share of early unrest.
L: Don’t spoil it!
B: Right. Anyways, imagine these settlers’ dismay, then, when in 1784 the Mason-Dixon line was simply extended further west, creating essentially the modern border of Pennsylvania and Maryland, leaving large swaths of this formerly-disputed territory unquestionably within the borders of Pennsylvania and their substantively heavier taxation.
L: Taxes on land, which is what all the settlers were there for, and on whiskey…
B: Don’t…
L: Which is really what they were there for.
B: You’re awful.
L: If you can’t have fun with historical stereotypes, then you can you have fun with?
B: Well, the western Pennsylvanians, or north-western Virginians if you prefer, certainly did not think Pennsylvania’s tax policies were fun. They even got to the point where they hatched a brief scheme to break off and form a new state called, in another brilliant moment of unbridled creativity, Westsylvania.
L: (enthusiastically) Yes! That’s fantastic.
B: No but really, while this movement failed, their grievances are going to crop up time and again as we tell the story of America’s westward migrations: high taxes, poor protection from Native Americans, a perceived lack of redress of grievances, and simple geographic separation from the state capitol. Frontierspeople perceiving that central governments are ignoring them were not just politically volatile, but actually constituted a revolutionary threat to the sovereignty of established governments.
L: So it occurs to me this theme of distance from the capital is worth hammering in: it’s gonna play a big role when we get to Kentucky, and again when we get to Texas, and I wonder if it might connect to animosity towards DC today?
B: I mean, in every case it’s basically a sense of alienation leading to worsening perceptions of the government. However, despite all of this animosity and near-anarchy in western Pennsylvania, there wasn’t really any violent opposition. They were “ungovernable,” but not yet violent.
L: But wouldn’t open violence have been, well, at least a bit atypical? Sort of a crossing of the Rubicon?
B: Ehhh not really. Just a few decades earlier, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and even Connecticut fought a series of conflicts over their borders. One of the larger conflicts, known as Cresap’s War or the Conojocular War, is what led to the Mason-Dixon line’s establishment in the first place. And it wasn’t some small dispute; you know it’s serious business when the “Casualties” section on Wikipedia matter-of-factly establishes the losses as “Heavy” on both sides.
L: Oh. Well then. I stand corrected. So how does this all relate to bourbon?
B: Well, it helps lead us up to the Whiskey Rebellion, which will then lead us to bourbon. This area in western Pennsylvania, as we’ve discussed, had a history of independence and resistance to centralized control. And when the new central government tries to impose taxes, then we’ll really see how untame these people are.
L: However… I think that will have to wait.
B: Well wouldya look at the time! So it will. So in our next episode, we’ll pick up where we left off: the Whiskey Rebellion.
L: And then, we promise, we really will get back to bourbon. And even to a secret agent story.

TRANSITION MUSIC

B: Well, that’s it for the first episode of Migration Nation! Thanks for listening in, and we hope you’ll join us again. If you’d like more information about what we’re doing here, or would like to offer us your support, join us on the web at migrationpodcast.com, where you can find transcripts of our episodes, bonus nerdy materials from Lyman and me, and even a look ahead at episodes we have in the works.
L: For today’s episode, we wanted to point listeners to some of the books we found particularly helpful. One book we used for this episode, and which we’ll use in many future episodes, was Stephen A. Flanders’ “Atlas of American Migration.” This book starts at the first people crossing over the Bering land bridge and charts American migration to 1990. It’s full of maps, charts, data, and offers a good overview of migration history. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the early years of American migration with us! Until next time, this is Brian and Lyman at Destiny’s Manifest, saying “Stay classy, migration nation!”

RUTH’S SUMMARY JINGLE


Music Credits:
Antonin Dvorak - "New World Symphony"
The Dubliners - "Whiskey in the Jar"
Doc Watson and Jack Lawrence - "Shady Grove"
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem - "Jug of Punch"
The Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton - "Cabinet Battle #1"
Doctor Turtle - "Let's Just Get Through Christmas" under CC BY 4.0 licence

Host blogs about this episode:
Lyman