Georgia’s Frontier Women
Female Fortunes in a Southern Colony

Ben Marsh

A pioneering portrait of women's involvement in the colonization and consolidation of Georgia

Reviews

"Marsh has given us a fresh and important look not only at women's changing economic and cultural worlds in colonial Georgia, but at the dynamic and complex nature of colonial Georgia as a whole. Given its scope and its ambitiousness, Georgia's Frontier Women is certain to become one of the most authoritative books on colonial Georgia for some time."
—Michele Gillespie, Professor of History, Wake Forest University

"An important and welcome addition to the literature on Georgia's history. Because this work addresses the critical role of women in the Georgia colony, it fills a significant gap in our understanding of Georgia's settlement."
—Lee Ann Caldwell, Professor of History, Georgia College & State University


"Marsh's evocatively written examination of female experience in early Georgia restores women to their rightful role as principal players in the transformation of early Georgia into a southern slave society. It is a startingly fresh look at a surprisingly complicated place with important implications for our understanding of plantation worlds. Georgia's Frontier Women significantly advances our understanding of both women in eighteenth-century British America and also Georgia's uneven settlement and early development."
—Trevor Graeme Burnard, author of Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World

"Marsh refines our understanding of how the southern frontier became the South, giving his fellow historians a revised chronology and a new understanding of gender's role in colonization to ponder."
American Historical Review

"Marsh's engaging study of early Georgia explores both the lives of women and the expectations of womanhood from the colony's origins through the era of the American Revolution. . . . Marsh's study will be an edifying, thought-provoking read for colonial and women's historians as well as anyone curious about Georgia's early history. His thorough engagement of sources . . . is a model of rigorous enquiry. And the book is written in a lively style, which will make it engaging to lay readers and undergraduates as well as professional historians."
Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Marsh provides a readable and compelling work on Georgia's formative years and effectively uses family and gender to help explain the colony's transformation into a southern stronghold."
H-Net Reviews

"Ranging from Georgia's founding in the 1730s until the American Revolution in the 1770s, Georgia's Frontier Women explores women's changing roles amid the developing demographic, economic, and social circumstances of the colony's settling. . . . Ben Marsh tells a complex story of narrowing opportunities for Georgia's women as the colony evolved from uncertainty to stability in the face of sporadic warfare, changes in government, land speculation, and the arrival of slaves and immigrants in growing numbers."
—Bob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger

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Description
Ranging from Georgia's founding in the 1730s until the American Revolution in the 1770s, Georgia's Frontier Women explores women's changing roles amid the developing demographic, economic, and social circumstances of the colony's settling. Georgia was launched as a unique experiment on the borderlands of the British Atlantic world. Its female population was far more diverse than any in nearby colonies at comparable times in their formation. Ben Marsh tells a complex story of narrowing opportunities for Georgia's women as the colony evolved from uncertainty toward stability in the face of sporadic warfare, changes in government, land speculation, and the arrival of slaves and immigrants in growing numbers.

Marsh looks at the experiences of white, black, and Native American women-old and young, married and single, working in and out of the home. Mary Musgrove, who played a crucial role in mediating colonist-Creek relations, and Marie Camuse, a leading figure in Georgia's early silk industry, are among the figures whose life stories Marsh draws on to illustrate how some frontier women broke down economic barriers and wielded authority in exceptional ways.

Marsh also looks at how basic assumptions about courtship, marriage, and family varied over time. To early settlers, for example, the search for stability could take them across race, class, or community lines in search of a suitable partner. This would change as emerging elites enforced the regulation of traditional social norms and as white relationships with blacks and Native Americans became more exploitive and adversarial. Many of the qualities that earlier had distinguished Georgia from other southern colonies faded away.

Page count: 272 pp.
Illustrated
Trim size: 6 x 9

Read more about colonial women in Georgia at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

 



Paper
List price: $29.95
978-0-8203-4340-2
6/1/2012

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Ebook
List price: $24.95
978-0-8203-4397-6
6/1/2012
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Ben Marsh is a lecturer in history at Stirling University in Scotland.