Movers and shakers...very interesting to think about.
Many farmers and wives and children get up every morning, and feed the animals and go about their chores. Daily work is determined by season often. For the children there is school during the months their families don't need their hands helping with crops.
Yes, I'm again talking about my ancestors.
Consider how many people depended upon the land for their livelihood for so many years. These were the people who settled, built buildings, tilled land, planted, tended, harvested, and put up the results of their labors for winter food. They would feed animals daily, milk cows or goats, make sure there was pasture for them, and work from sunup to sundown...then eat good home prepared, and home raised foods.
These people kept doing that year after year, all their lives.
Why would they leave and take off with a wagon load of goods to make a new place into home?
Several thoughts come to mind. Politics. Markets. There may have been increasing prices of taxation, or the area where they lived no longer was affordable for some reason or another. Maybe the price of a cash crop suddenly plummeted. Was there a war? A depression because of a war?
Drought, or floods. The area might have had several years of poor crops, in which people might have hoped somewhere else had better land. Did they know about rotating crops or just use up the land with what was most easily grown and sold? Just because they were my ancestors doesn't mean they had educations as good as I did.
Disease, persecution (religious tolerance not always being practiced), and lack of opportunity could have also played a part in the decisions to "go west." Or south in the case of many of my family members.
From New England, ships went to Florida and then New Orleans and Texas. From Virginia and North Carolina, wagons took pioneering families to Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas.
And when I say opportunities, I am reminded that when families had 12 children, many of them would grow up and marry, but all the land had already been claimed, all the businesses that could support that community had already been established, so young people obviously felt drawn to a new frontier.
Then there were the soldiers who had fought for their country, only to be paid in land in areas that had not been settled yet, so they took their families there in order to prosper.
Did my ancestors know a trade or have a skill which would have been welcome in a new community?
Today, we don't have those opportunities, so we seldom think about how the people must have thought before leaving behind all they knew. But we do know how a mobile society means we no longer live where we grew up, by the time most of us retire.
So families are scattered to the four winds. And with the internet, I can again feel somewhat close to my family members...indeed, become friends with people all around the globe.