Court and Tax Records from the Early American Frontier

  • Matthew Ward (Creator)
  • Richard McMahon (Creator)
  • Catriona Paul (Other)
  • Darren Reid (Other)



The data utilised in the book, Making the Frontier Man: Manhood, Violence, and Authority in the Early Western Backcountry, ca.1750-1815, was collected principally from archives in the United States, although some microfilm resources were also utilised. A full list of the sources of the data are listed in the ReadMe file. The principal sources utilised were the record books of the local county courts, most frequently the Court of Quarter Sessions or the Court of Common Pleas. For some counties, other archival material such as ended causes were also consulted to provide further detail of cases. The data was cross-referenced with tax records obtained from a range of published and archival resources, and also cross-referenced with a database constructed to explore ethnicity. The latter is not included here. Because of some simplification of the data, and the removal of some items for copyright issues, the data may not exactly match the tables in the book.

The study examined court records of cases of petty crime based on 6,500 indictments in fourteen different counties across the backcountry of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky, from the mid-eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century and investigates patterns of violent behaviour and petty crime.

Counties: Champaign OH, Christian KY, Cumberland PA, Fairfield OH, Frederick VA, Harrison KY, Lancaster PA, Mason KY, Muhlenberg KY, Rockbridge VA, Washington County PA and Washington OH.

Included are the raw court and tax data that were used for the project. Some materials have been redacted for copyright reasons, and also the tables have been edited to ensure consistency throughout.

Court and Tax Records from the Early American Frontier is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License:

Keywords: Violence, Masculinity, Gun Culture, Warfare, Gender, Frontier.
Date made availableSept 2023
PublisherUniversity of Dundee
Temporal coverage1729 - 1816

Data Monitor categories

  • Violence
  • Masculinity
  • Gun Culture
  • Warfare
  • Gender
  • Frontier

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