Migration to an American Frontier

John C. Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A sample of one thousand autobiographies written by North Dakota pioneers during the late 1930s reveals a complex pattern of migration and earning a living on the western frontier from 1875 to 1915. North Dakota was settled by eastern Canadians as part of the general westward trend of settlement across the prairies. German, German Russian, and Scandinavian-born settlers moved within discrete information-migration networks which were strengthened by a strong tendency toward marriage within the group that was preserved in the migration process. American stock settlers came from diverse origins and often worked at a succession of farm and nonfarm jobs as they moved westward. Population turnover and labor mobility resulted from the rapid growth of a specialized economic system which offered many opportunities. Seasonal labor migration was common in the early years before transition to a more stable system. The cultural geography of the northern plains emerged from diverse ethnic origins and a common orientation to the market economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-264
Number of pages23
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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