By Donna R Causey on January 4, 2014
(I wanted to post this as my Funderburg(h) and connecting families through marriage were in these parts of Alabama in the very early 1800’s. My 4th great grandfather, Isaac Funderburgh was in the area and some of his children were born in this area and then married and stayed in these parts. These were the Foreman’s, Oden’s, Pace’s, Moore’s, Crumpler’s, Hamilton’s, Lanning’s, McGee’s)
“The Old Federal Road” successfully connected Fort Stoddert to the Chattahoochee River. At that point, the Federal Road merged with the earlier postal riders’ horse path that linked Athens, Georgia, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Unlike the old horse path, the Federal Road went eastward making a connection with lands ripe for the recruitment of soldiers and obtaining supplies for the military. This path quickly became a major travel route for pioneers to the area once known as the Old Southwest.
From its start as a narrow horse path used to carry the mails, the Old Federal Road underwent great development and became a major military road connecting early American forts in the Creek Lands and the Mississippi Territory. Acting as the interstate highway of its day, when “Alabama Fever” raged through the Carolinas and Georgia, the Old Federal Road carried thousands of pioneers to the Old Southwest. As such, the Federal Road directly contributed to the dramatic increase in Alabama’s population between 1810 and 1820 – with Alabama’s population growing far faster than that of either Mississippi or Louisiana during this time. Alabama continued out-distancing both Mississippi and Louisiana in population growth through 1850.” (from History of the Old Federal Road in Alabama.)
Families tended to be quite large. Early settlers often had a large number of children born in the new state of Alabama, sometimes the number of children from one man was 20 or 30 by several wives. The large families settled on land and frequently raised “white gold”:— cotton. The population of Alabama increased again with the Indian Removal Act in 1830 that opened vast areas of the interior of Alabama for settlement.
However, in 1837, cotton prices declined sharply and a collapsing land bubble created by restrictive lending policies in Great Britain caused an economic panic. A severe recession gripped the United States, especially in the south, which forced many people in Alabama to move further west to improve their fortunes. Parents and grandparents often remained behind in Alabama and the Mississippi Territory while their children settled in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the new republic of Texas. (My 3dr great grandfather, Henry M Funderburgh was one of the families who left for Texas pre 1850.) Some followed their children to the new land but many are buried across the state of Alabama. The migration continued for the years 1837 to 1844 as banks collapsed, businesses failed and prices declined. Sometimes, whole communities moved to a new locality often led by a minister or leading citizen. Many large farms and plantations were thrown out of cultivation in Alabama and never recovered.
Around the time of the time of the Civil War, another major shift in population occurred. Prior to the Civil War, settlers moved west to get away from the fighting. After the war, many returned home to destroyed farms, plantations and a dismal life during reconstruction in Alabama so they left for the west and a better future. Some traveled as far away as California and Alaska, in a search of gold.