Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Part 3: Why Did James and Susan Stoutenburg Move Back to New York?

I cannot definitively say why James and Susan moved back to New York with their infant son, Frank, sometime between the time the family was enumerated in July 1860 and when their next child was born in January 1861.

Iowa is a plains state. It is very flat and has very few trees. The farther west one moves from the Mississippi River, the fewer the trees. The lack of trees and the flatness of the prairie drove some Scandinavian immigrants to return to Europe. But the prairie fires more likely drove those Scandinavian immigrants as well as settlers from the eastern part of the United States to go back home.

New Yorkers pushed westward settling in western New York and then Ohio. Many of those who successfully settled in Iowa had lived in other places. Thus, as these people pushed westward the plains of Iowa was not a great surprise or disappointment.

James and Susan Stoutenburg seem to have come directly from New York to Iowa. I can only speculate on how they felt upon arriving in this part of Iowa. I was back in Minnesota last weekend with my sister from Nevada. As I was driving from Minneapolis to St. Cloud, I told my sister what this state needs is some mountains. I wonder if Susan told her husband that Iowa needs some trees? Was the flatness of the terrain and lack of trees the factor that drove James and Susan back to New York?

Or could their decision to go back to New York, have anything to do with the talk of succession and the probable impending war?

I probably will never know why Susan and James went back to New York.

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