Most white North Carolinians lived on their own farms. Only one in four families owned slaves, and only the top tenth of families could be considered wealthy. Most of the state's citizens were yeomen, farmers who worked the land they or some other family member owned.

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Subsistence Farming

All couples had the daunting task of making a farm work. Some had to "start from scrath" literally using axes and hoes to chop and scrape at the forest and soil to clear land for a house, a barn, and fields. North Carolinians spent a lot of their energy planting grains- mostly corn, wheat, and oats- for they had to feed their families first before doing anything else.

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The Neighborhood Economy

During the early 1800s, rural neighborhoods dominated the landscape of North Carolina. Because most North Caroliians still needed to walk most places they went, neighborhoods could be no more than 5 to 8 miles across.

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