Moving to the west in the 1800s was a significant opportunity for the people who were living in Virginia due to the limited resources and opportunities. Farming in Virginia was becoming competitive, and there were fewer opportunities for young families at the time. The west part of the United States of America provided a ripe opportunity for young men like myself to migrate and establish our young families due to the availability of fertile land in Oklahoma. The opening of the Oklahoma territories for occupation was my major reason for moving out to the west. In Virginia, the dwindling opportunities and high competition due to the increasing population pushed me to the west to provide better opportunities and for a better life for my family. At the time, during the 1880 economic situation in Virginia was extremely competitive with fewer opportunities as well as high inflation which made it even harder for young families like me.
After 9 years trying to bring up a young family in Virginia as a farmer in a rich White American farm I decided to take advantage of the opening of the Oklahoma territories in 1889. My wife and I we were relatively young at the time and our son and I was only 12 years old enough to accompany us to the difficult migration and movement to the west. Upon consulting my young wife and her agreement due to the poor state of Virginia economy at the time, we decided to set out to the west alongside a multitude of other in a wagon train to seek better opportunities. In my mind, I wanted to become a farmer once I arrived in the west due to the easy availability of arable land for farming in Oklahoma. The wagon train was instrumental in our movement to the west because it provided enough space to carry supplies and farming tools which made it easy to start over in Oklahoma. I carried along enough food and grains to plant for my family, and we could only see a better future as farmers in the west. However, the journey was long and also there was a significant scare of attacks from the Native Indian communities along the way. Despite this scare, most of the Native Americans we met were friendly and also wanted to trade with the people traveling to the west.
The Homestead Act of 1862 was my major motivating factor to move to the west because it allowed Americans who were 21 years and above to easily own 160 acres pieces of land that were big enough for farming. I was 32 years of age at the time, and I qualified under the Homestead Act to own land which I was to acquire full ownership after continued residence and use of the land. On arriving in the west, there were plenty of opportunities especially after the announcement by Harrison in 1889 of the opening of the Oklahoma territories. Upon arrival in Oklahoma, there was significant competition for land and also the conditions for living at the time were not pleasant. Due to its economic and agricultural potential we all endured with the hardships with the hope of a better future. With time, urban centers emerged, and community centers were established which were economic hubs and provided cheap diversions and recreation as the economy improved. However, the pressure of high transportation fees and low commodity prices continued to trouble us in the 1900s. With time, farmers created unions which were able to fight for their common problems.
Gittinger, R. (2015). The Formation of the State of Oklahoma: 18031906. University of Oklahoma Press.
White, R. (2015). It's your misfortune and none of my own: A new history of the American West. University of Oklahoma Press.
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