"Western States," A Guide for Emigrants, John Mason Peck, 1831

A Guide to the West

Around the same time that Abraham Lincoln’s family moved from Indiana to Illinois, John Mason Peck, a clergyman from Connecticut, wrote this Guide for Emigrants to advise migrants on how to survive and prosper as settlers in unfamiliar western states.

Peck addressed his guide particularly to easterners who might be unprepared for the plain lifestyle of pioneer families.  To survive on this alien frontier, he advised, emigrants had to accept the crude hospitality of those who lived there. Peck counseled that movement west profoundly altered migrants’ ideas about work and life.