Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




James P Whittenburg


This is a history of a frontier county in late colonial Virginia. Augusta County was created in 1738 and subdivided for the first time in 1770. During the intervening years it encompassed most of Virginia's claims to land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.;As drawn by Virginians, the borders of Augusta County simultaneously encompassed two types of frontiers: a frontier of settlement on which white immigrants created a new society, and a frontier of culture in which those settlers interacted with a variety of Indians. This study examines both types of frontier experiences.;On the settlement frontier, white immigrants rapidly created a deferential and hierarchical society identical in its major features to contemporary counties throughout colonial Virginia. The aspects of white society examined by this dissertation include landholding, control of labor, religious diversity, and resistance to magisterial authority.;In the cultural frontier, Indian-white relations included routinely peaceful contacts as well as occasional violent outbursts. Cherokees responded to white expansion primarily with diplomacy and accommodation, while the tribes of the upper Ohio River Valley chose more militant resistance.;For contemporary whites and Indians, the complex frontier that was colonial Augusta County seemed at times to offer great rewards. Red or white, individual successes in realizing those rewards varied widely, depending partly on chance and larger historical events beyond local control. One constant continually influenced both destinies--the form and function of white society. That society, simultaneously conservative and dynamic, supported the expansion of colonial Virginia into the North American interior.



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