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Too often our sense of history is blunted by school textbook paragraphs and stunted by "the Hollywood version". Truer history shows us that almost as soon as the first colonists to American shores landed they fixed their land hungry eyes and "new life" hopes on the West. Whether it was from cities and settlements of Philadelphia or Charleston, Boston or New York, the people took boat or wagon, and later train to the lands of the setting sun, braving the Wilderness, hostiles, and hardships to push the frontier outward. What is the progress you've seen westward in your genealogical research? Check the census reports, the family legends, the routes from point of origin to eventual destination -- you will see a saga of exploration and courage in your family roots that inspire respect, admiration, and even sometimes astonishment. Let's talk about it!

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The Gants - from England:

William Gant -- the progenitor of the American branch of the family -- was born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England in 1768. Horncastle is an ancient market town in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies to the south of the Lincolnshire Wolds, where the River Bain meets the River Waring, and north of the West and Wildmore Fens. For the most part, this was lowlands, beset by flood, but with a rich agricultural soil. By the time, he was twenty-two, William Gant was living near Saddleworth in Yorkshire -- described as a harsh land where "settlements of farmers were huddled on the hillsides, the only viable site to maintain a living, as compared to the bleakly inhospitable higher moorlands, or the swampy, unhealthy valley bottoms."

It was here that William Gant married Jane Holt -- the two year younger daughter of a well-to-do family, whose family (as the stories say) did not approve of the marriage. William and Jane immigrated to America shortly after the Revolutionary War and made their way to Boone County, Kentucky (1798) near the Ohio River, about seven miles below Cincinnati, and began raising their family: Robert, John, Thomas, Sarah and Mary Elizabeth.

In young manhood, Robert Gant married and settled near his father. After some years he and family came to Randolph County Illinois, and settled. A few years later (1826) William Gant started to migrate to Randolph County, Illinois, traveling by boat. He drowned on the way. His wife and the remaining children came to Illinois and settled near her son, Robert. Alter William's" death, she later went back to England where she was treated very coldly by her family and relatives. She soon returned to her home in Randolph County, Illinois and resolved never to return to her relatives in England again.

The Gants were noted as being "honest, honorable, and highly esteemed and became some of the leading farmers and citizens of the community and county, having "gone West".
It has been interesting following my STAGNER family migration west from PA (mid 1700's) to (W)VA (1790's) to OH (1805) to IL (1852) and finally to Texas (after 1880). Some of the other lines I am researching ended up in Texas much sooner (like my BAKER, BROWN and DAVIS lines). My STAGNER family migrated from Texas to CA in the 1940s. I am a first generation Californian. :)
Hello Lizzie

Well, welcome to California (belated). Thank you for your interesting posting. Were the earlier Stagners Quakers? Many Quaker families seem to have migrated from PA to WVA and then on to Ohio. One of my lines the GRIFFITHS followed that route.
I have found records from Wolf's (St. Paul's) Reformed and Lutheran Church in York Co, PA for my first STAGNER family members here in the US. I am planning a trip with my father to visit York Co, PA this fall to look for more family records.
I am interested in the WOLFORD WOHLFORD families as they moved west from Pennsylvaniaand their movements within PA. My line bounced around PA for 4 generations before heading west. Johannes settled in Berks Co. near the present Rehersburg in Tulpehocken Twp. Philip 1743-ca 1812 moved to West Manheim Twp. in York Co with his brither Christopher. Then Philip II moved to Miles Twp. Centre Co. near Rebersburg and then Philip III moved across the mountain to Sugar Valley - Greene Twp, Clinton Co. near Loganton. My line "daughters out" here.

But other lines from Centre and Clinton Co exploded west. Some went to Stephenson Co IL in 1843. Some stopped in Knox Co OH along the way. Others moved on from Knox Co to Harper and Rice Cos. in Kansas. Some from Stephenson Co went on to Eustis in Frontier Co Nebraska. Another line from Stephenson Co. moved to Wisconsin and this line ended up in Manitoba. Still others from PA moved toNevada City in Nevada Co CA in the Gold Rush.

Thats just the direct line. It is fascinating seeing where they went, the routes taken and trying to discover why they went there.
Hi, Jim

Thanks for posting and yes, I agree...trying to figure out the whys of migration is fascinating -- there are so many potential reasons.

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