(National Park Service.)
Settlers began to flood into western New York after the Revolutionary War, first from New England, then from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Most came in search of better economic opportunities, hoping in particular to find land fertile enough to support a successful farm. Early settlers usually came in wagons, which required traveling on roads that were rough, frequently muddy, and almost always slow.
Towns quickly developed along most transportation routes. In many respects Waterloo and Seneca Falls, two towns located between the Finger Lakes and the Erie Canal, were typical of the communities that developed in upstate New York in the first half of the 19th century. There travelers found services, farmers bought and sold goods, and people from throughout the area participated in social and governmental activities.
1.What alternative methods of transportation could people from New England have used to reach western New York in 1830? In 1850?
2. How would people coming from Pennsylvania have traveled in 1825? In 1855?
3. Do you think people in New York welcomed the presence of new methods of transportation? Why or why not?
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