Mark McPherson, a planter born in Maryland to a marginally successful family, left his home state despite having land and means in Maryland. A resident of Charles County, he inherited land from parents who died while he was still young. This land ownership did not set him apart as it would have in other places, however, and he lacked influence and success as a planter. He fought in the Continental Army for the entirety of the Revolutionary War and earned bounty land in western Maryland as a result. Even with these added acres, McPherson did not remain in Maryland for long after the war. Migrating to Lincoln County, Kentucky, he quickly acquired land, got married, and began his career as a planter in his new home.
McPherson’s narrative reveals the importance of a man’s social status during the Revolutionary period. He was born into a family that possessed land, and he was granted a number of acres upon his parents’ deaths. Even so, McPherson was unsatisfied with his place in society, and he entered service to fight in the war. This service earned him 200 acres of bounty land, but he sold the lots to go westward in search of a community that he could stand out in. McPherson found this community in Kentucky, where he was part of the landed minority. His land ownership gave him the economic and social significance that he desired throughout his life.
Read about McPherson’s life here.
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