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Video: Back Country Settlers

To colonists living in Savannah, the back country seemed like a very distant 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 that fresh lands offered. Betty Slaton of the Washington Historical Museum demonstrates open fire cooking techniques that back country residents would have used for baking biscuits and cakes. The style of houses settlers built, from dugouts that were basically holes in the ground to log cabins, are also discussed. The people who moved into the back country had to be self-reliant, determined, and strong to survive.

Teacher tip: 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?