Agriculture and poverty in the Kentucky mountains: Beech Creek and Clay County, 1850-1910
D. B. Billings
K. M. Blee
The 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.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.