Migration cover


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From Massachusetts Bay
to the Old Northwest

by Richard Rawson

Migration tells the compelling story of how America expanded from a few English settlements on the Atlantic coast to the Great Lakes states of the Old Northwest Territory.

It follows the path taken by seven generations of the Rawson family, from the governing councils of Puritan Boston in the 1600s to the rich farmlands of southern Michigan two hundred years later.

Wars between great powers, violent displacement of native peoples, economic downturns and the advent of canal-building and steamship navigation combined to open vast areas to tens of thousands of new settlers. In their quest for personal liberty and economic opportunity, the migrants encountered physical dangers and punishing winter weather, including the "year without a summer" caused by a massive volcanic eruption in the faraway South Sea.

The broad strokes of American history are best understood not just as a parade of great events and famous men and women, but instead by the experience of ordinary people and their families. Richard Rawson's Migration contributes to that understanding.

A retired lawyer with an avid interest in American history, Richard Rawson has been a corporate general counsel, a law school professor, a trustee of both Rutgers University and Drew University, and a recipient of awards for his work to help diversify the legal profession. Richard is an 11th generation descendant of Edward Rawson, who was part of the Great Puritan Migration to North America in the 1630s and who served as secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1650 and 1686. A long time New Jerseyan, the author now lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Migration is his first book.