Wright Hall 213
Spring 2013 Office Hours: MTWR 3:25 - 4:40 PM
Ph.D. University of California, Davis, 2012
M.A. University of California, Davis, 2006
B.A. Georgetown University, 2004
Library Resident Research Fellow, American Philosophical Society, August 2009
Library Resident Research Fellow, David Library of the American Revolution, June 2009
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Library Company of Philadelphia and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, July 2008
Reed-Smith First Year Fellow, University of California, Davis, History Department, 2004-2005
History 105 Historical Foundation of Global Cultures
History 106 Thinking Historically in a Global Age
History 492 Selected Readings in Colonial American History
"Surveyors and Land Speculation in Early Pennsylvania." Member of Roundtable: "Problems in Penn's Woods: Competition and Conflict in Pennsylvania's 18th-Century Borderlands," Pennsylvania Historical Association Annual Meeting, October 14, 2011.
"The Impact of Surveyors on Post-Revolutionary Land Speculation." Member of Roundtable: "Squatters, Speculators, and States: Settling and Unsettling Developments in the Old Northwest," Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting, July 17, 2011.
"Revisiting 'Fair Play': the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna, 1769-1784." Part of "Back to Penn's Woods: Revisiting Pennsylvania's 18th-Century Borderlands," Pennsylvania Historical Association Annual Meeting, October, 15, 2010.
"Jurisdictional Conflicts on the Susquehanna Among Pennsylvania's Deputy Surveyors, 1764-1773." Part of "Establishing a Colony in an Uncertain Region," Pennsylvania Historical Association Annual Meeting, October, 23, 2009.
"Surveyors and Informal Indian Diplomacy in Northwest Pennsylvania during the 1790s." Part of "Reconstructing Empire: Race and Power in the Post-Revolutionary Ohio Valley," Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting, July 19, 2009.
"'Fair Play Has Entirely Ceased, and Law Has Taken Its Place': The Rise and Fall of the Squatter Republic in the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna River, 1768-1800" (forthcoming in October 2012 in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography).
Review of John Fea, The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America, in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 76, No. 2 (Spring 2009).
My dissertation examines surveyors' impact on land speculation in the Mid-Atlantic backcountry during the eighteenth century. Because surveys transformed "wilderness" into discrete properties that settlers could buy and sell, early American governments used surveyors to regulate land distribution. Operating with little oversight, backcountry surveyors often flouted instructions intended to limit land speculation and encourage settlers to fill up the frontier evenly, without leaving gaps in undesirable areas like highlands and piney forests. Instead, they leveraged their unique knowledge of the terrain and inhabitants of the backcountry to make themselves useful to their speculator patrons. Especially after the American Revolution opened up millions of acres in the trans-Appalachian West, surveying became a way for men of middling means to enter the elite world of land dealing. Many, like George Washington and William Maclay, used backcountry surveying as a steppingstone to careers in national politics.