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  • Settling a New Georgia Frontier

    In the early 1760s the area north and west of Georgia’s coast previously inhabited by Native Americans was opened up for settlement. It was a wilderness where few whites lived. Steve Froehle, a frontier reenactor talks about settlers pouring south from Virginia and the Carolinas seeking economic opportunities in the Georgia colony while Betty Slaton of the Washington Historical Museum demonstrates cooking techniques.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Why did people settle in Georgia?

    2. Describe the kinds of hardships these new settlers faced.

    3. Describe the traits these early settlers had to have in order to survive in this new territory.

    4. Describe some of the ways these people lived. What did they have to make because they could not buy them in the stores?

    5. Give reasons why people would leave a settled life and move to unsettled land to begin a new life.

    Expansion

    1. After viewing the video, discuss the concepts of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. How are they different and how do individuals learn them? What would be the benefits of moving into territory that was virtually unknown at the time?

    2. Pick a state or country where you would like to live. Write about where you would go, where you would live, and why you would go (other than a job). Tell how you would make a living there and how your life would change. Justify your choice of where you would move.

    3. Make a diorama or layout of a Georgia back country settlement. Students could be responsible for researching and building a replica (in miniature) of this craft: gardening with hand-made tools, quilting, building a cabin, blacksmithing, making clothes, weaving cloth, corn shucking, cooking in a fireplace, etc. Markers could describe how each of these was done with the students supplying the verbal explanations.

    Vocabulary

    Dutch oven: heavy metal or ceramic kettle with a tight-fitting cover, used chiefly for preparing meats and stews and sometimes for baking
    spider: frying pan having a long handle and legs
    scarce: (especially of food, money, or some other resource) insufficient for the demand
    self-reliant: dependent on one's own powers and resources rather than those of others

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Why did people settle in Georgia?
    People from the Virginias and the Carolinas as well as those Georgians who had lived along the coast of Georgia wanted fertile land and heard about the land in Georgia. They thought they could make a fresh start in this new land which was sold cheaply so that settlers could keep away the Native Americans and hold the land for the state.

    2. Describe the kinds of hardships these new settlers faced.
    These people had to begin without anything and started from scratch. The times were hard and the food scarce. They had to raise their own plants and gardens and hunt animals for food. In addition, shelter had to be built by hand. Sometimes their first house was dug out of the ground. They built their own cabins and planted their own fruit orchards of apples and/or peaches.

    3. Describe the traits these early settlers had to have in order to survive in this new territory.
    These were strong people and self-reliant. They were highly-motivated to make a new life for themselves. They had perseverance (guts) to make this new life work for themselves and their families.

    4. Describe some of the ways these people lived. What did they have to make because they could not buy them in the stores?
    Fireplaces were the cooking stoves of this era. Settlers learned to cook using a Dutch oven or a spider on the coals of the fire. They could both bake and cook in these. They had to raise their own corn, grind it, and make flour and other breads from this. They raised wheat and rice, also. Using the guns they brought with them, they hunted rabbits, squirrels, deer, turkey, and other small animals for food. Candles were made of beeswax. Even children learned all of these crafts in order to help the family. Trees were cut to make their homes and furniture as well as their tools. They traded with the Native Americans to get things that they could not make themselves.

    5. Give reasons why people would leave a settled life and move to unsettled land to begin a new life.
    One of the main reasons was that they were offered free land. Cities along the coast of Georgia were beginning to be crowded and offered little upward movement in careers. Some of the settlers were former farmers in their native land. They wanted land for themselves and hope for a new life for them and their families. They were able to live off the land. The more they worked, the better off they were. When people are given an opportunity to make a new life for themselves, if they are hard-workers, they will take that opportunity.

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