Farmers were Searching for Rich Soil with Good Reason
Without modern machinery and equipment, farm land quickly lost its vitality. Typically, fields had to lie fallow for two years or so before replanting. Certain crops, like tobacco, quickly robbed the soil of its nutrients. Thus, the farmer was always on the lookout for better soil.
" The Rolling Stone Gathers no Moss. Neither does the uneasy farmer, who is constantly moving or talking about moving, somewhere to find rich land. Generally speaking the migrating man belongs to that class who are careless of the soil, exhausts it for present crops without an eye to the future. His lands are heavily taxed by injurious management, and before he has secured the value of their labor be stowed in clearing them, he is left with a crippled plantation, yielding but a poor crop. To move in quest of the virgin soil again, is but incurring heavy expenses, hard labor, loss of time deprivations innumerable, besides parting with the old homestead for a mere trifle, when he could soon make it rich and productive, if he would feed it with half the care that he feeds his own imagination upon some vision ary scheme of growing rich in El Dorado, to which be is about to emigrate. It will not do to hoe a great field for little crops, nor to mow twenty acres for five loads of hay. Enrich the land and it will pay you for it. Better farm fifty acres well than fifty by halves, and it is much bettor to improve the old farm, than to go off upon some expedition after a new one. Source: The North Carolina Standard, September 25, 1850. Chatham Co. NC Genealogy Resources