We like to think of our states as we know them now—like, Texas has a panhandle and Las Vegas is in Nevada—not Utah, and Oregon stays on its side of the Snake River. But any good Western States researcher knows about the past territorial lives of the states along the Rocky Mountain corridor. In 1850 it was all about Texas, and the territories of Oregon and Utah…
And by 1860 the area was part of five territories—Washington, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, and New Mexico:
By 1870 what we now know as the Western States had taken their familiar shape, and those along the Rockies were officially territories in their own right:
By 1900 all the Western States had achieved statehood but New Mexico and Arizona, who were admitted to the Union in 1912:
Where did your ancestors settle in the West? Make a timeline of their activities and movements and plan to search some Territorial Records. Help in that area will be posted next time.
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