Agriculture and poverty in the Kentucky mountains: Beech Creek and Clay County, 1850-1910
AbstractThe poverty of Appalachia is not the product of modernization. Nor is it a unique phenomenon. An examination of the history of farming in Beech Creek, Kentucky, reveals that this community, which was prosperous in 1860, owed its fall into poverty to a number of factors that had impoverished other regions: the high rate of population growth among the families living in the area, the division and re-division of the limited land to accommodate the new generations of families, the need to use woodland for agriculture before reforestation succeeded in restoring the old soil to its original productivity, and slow economic growth resulting from the emphasis on subsistence rather than commercial agriculture. The same pattern had occurred in New England in the eighteenth century. What was unique in Appalachia was that subsistence farming lasted so long, owing to growing isolation from the rest of the country as the area was bypassed in the construction of modern means of transportation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1064-95.
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