Abstract

Different soil classes offered varying economic results for farmers. The use of multiple data sets to analyze the connection between soils, economic benefits, and settlement patterns at three geographical levels—the five states of the Old Northwest, the sixty-eight counties in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, and the individual farms in one mid-Michigan county—tends to confirm that soils were a significant motivating factor in the locational decisions of antebellum farmers at the state, county, and intra-county levels of the north-central United States during the mid-nineteenth century.

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