Timothy Anderson is an Associate Professor of Geography at Ohio University, where he teaches courses in cultural and historical geography. His research interests include the historical settlement geography of Ohio, the historical development of Ohio’s regional cultural landscapes, and German immigration to the United States. His most recent research involves the analysis of Pennsylvania-German settlement and cultural landscapes in central Ohio.
Germanic Immigrants and Migrants in Ohio: Patterns, Processes and Cultural Landscapes
Germanic migrants and immigrants played a significant role in the early, formative settlement of the Northwest Territory during the Early National period. This paper addresses the historical settlement geography of three different Germanic migrant populations in rural Ohio during this era: Pennsylvania-German migrants from southeast Pennsylvania in central Ohio; Old-order Amish and Mennonites in northeast Ohio; and German immigrants from northwestern Germany in western Ohio. First, the talk details the geographical origins and numbers of migrants/immigrants involved. Next, the settlement of each of these groups in distinctive parts of the state through time and space are mapped. Finally, the cultural landscape impress of each group is discussed, focusing on distinctive cultural landscape features that set these settlement regions apart.
Ohio’s Regional Cultural Landscapes
Both the historical and contemporary cultural landscapes of Ohio reflect the legacy of the settlement of a variety of population groups during the state’s period of settlement. During this formative era migrants from three of the primary East Coast culture regions, as well as foreign immigrants hailing mainly from Germany, funneled into the frontier Old Northwest via Zane’s Trace, the National Road, The Great Lakes, and the Ohio River. As migrants from each of these hearth areas settled in geographically separate regions in Ohio, they brought with them characteristic values and ideals, including agricultural traditions and material culture. This resulted in distinctive regional cultures. This talk will analyze Ohio’s early settlement history and geography, delineate the state’s distinctive culture regions, and identify the attendant cultural landscape features that distinguish each of these regions.
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