." These three words--often abbreviated "GTT" on the doors of abandoned homesteads across the southeastern Texas during the 1830s and 1840s--provide a key to the story of United States from prehistoric times to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Texas
The Online Handbook of Texas says this about GTT:
I knew that "GTT" was painted on the side of buildings and written in books and that it usually meant a hasty exit. What I didn't know was that it stemmed from two different sets of events.
The First "GTT" Migration
It is estimated that over 100,000 whites migrated from the
Deep South into and large numbers of former slaves migrated into Texas for the free land. They had been promised free land in the Southern States, but that never happened, so the Freedman's Bureau encouraged them to go to Texas . Texas
Why Jeremiah and His Family Migrated
I have family stories that Jeremiah and his family moved because the land had been divided too many times and there was not enough left for he and his grown children to farm. Another family story suggested that Jeremiah left
because he had committed murder and had to flee the state. That would fit with the story of individuals who left for Alabama in a hurry. But I have researched the murder story and that wasn't why he left. And then there is the fact that his son-in-law, Henry Miller, had family near where they settled. And perhaps he came because of men he met during the Civil War. The cemetery he is buried in has a large number of former Confederate soldiers buried there. Texas
The more logical explanations fit the historical events in post-reconstruction
--the poor economy, the weariness of the land, the abundance of land in Alabama , whose economy was burgeoning in 1904 when the family migrated to Erath Co. And while he didn't leave "GTT" emblazoned on his home (at least as far as we know), he did leave a record as being one of the 100,000 or so individuals who left the South and came to Texas . Texas
What I Learned
I learned that when I combine the records I have collected with the stories I know and add the historical events associated with that time and place, I can find explanations for my ancestor's migrations.
I learned that even when I think I "know" the history I should still do some additional research to be sure all my facts are straight and that I have all the information that is available.
I learned that my memory is not as good as it used to be, so now I check all my facts before committing them to paper.
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