Franklin farms were more intensely cultivated, and held a much higher average value per acre of improved and unimproved land across all soil types. In Augusta the larger the farm size the lower the average value by acre.
Augusta was larger by a factor of 22 percent, but contained a higher percentage of land poorly suited for agricultural purposes.
Augusta County’s massive personal estate valuation represented holdings in human property—slaves. In the value of real and personal estate, Augusta County’s white residents held wealth on a per capita basis double that of the residents of Franklin County ($1,112 per capita in Augusta to $633 in Franklin).
In both counties propertyless heads of households made up only a small percentage of the population. In both Augusta and Franklin nearly half of the households did not own any land.
Augusta and Franklin’s difference in land value by acre and average farm value differed markedly but in a pattern shared by other counties on the border region. In general, non-slaveholding Northern counties along the border had a much higher value per acre than their Southern neighbors. These counties, however, also had a lower average farm value.
Augusta County remained steady as a percentage of Virginia’s total population between 1820 and 1860, growing slightly in the 1840s. Franklin County, on the other hand, declined significantly as a percentage of the Pennsylvania population between 1840 and 1860.
This table shows the correlations among some geographical and economic variables for Augusta and Franklin. Weak correlations between slaveholding and the other variables reveal that neither wealth nor slaveholding bore a strong relationship to geographic variables.
Both Franklin and Augusta residences were clustered around social institutions. Franklin had more schools in closer proximity to residences.
On a per capita basis Augusta had more major and minor roads than Franklin. On a per square mile basis Franklin was more densely networked in major roads, but Augusta was more densely networked in minor roads.
U.S. Census aggregate figures listed just one town other than Staunton in Augusta County. That town, Waynesboro, was smaller in aggregate population than sixteen towns in Franklin County, where at least nine towns were more than double its size.
Franklin County wheat farmers were more productive on average and on a per acre basis than their Augusta counterparts, especially on the best soil. Augusta’s corn production exceeded Franklin’s on average and on a per acre basis. In other major agricultural products the counties compared favorably.
Franklin farms devoted almost exactly the same proportion of their total grain production on average to wheat as they did to corn, but in Augusta farmers devoted twice as much production to corn on average. Farms of higher value and size in both Franklin and Augusta invested more heavily in wheat production than in corn.
Slaveholders outperformed nonslaveholders in the value of corn and wheat production in Augusta, even though they did not necessarily monopolize the best soil. On the best soil Franklin wheat farmers outproduced their counterparts in Augusta, but on lesser soils Augusta’s wheat farmers were just as productive. In corn production Augusta farmers were more productive across the range of soil types.
Augusta possessed larger parishes and invested more in its buildings than Franklin. Both places were highly churched though their denominations differed.
This table compares in 1850 the numbers of students and teachers in schools in both counties. The 1860 census did not capture similar data. Augusta’s investment in schools and education fell far below Franklin’s in every category, except private academies.
Political activists include individuals mentioned in any newspaper in connection with a political event or position.
On a per capita basis Augusta invested nearly as heavily as Franklin in manufacturing. If only free white Augusta residents are the basis for comparison—not total population—Augusta had a higher per capita investment. Augusta and Franklin differed, though, on the industries they emphasized.
This table shows Augusta’s high capital investment in unskilled labor industries, such as saw mills and woolen mills, and low levels of investment in industries with highly skilled labor.
This table shows a higher per capita development of rural commercial establishments, such as mills and mines, in Augusta and a higher per capita development of urban commercial establishments, such as stores and hotels, in Franklin.
In nearly every occupational category Augusta residents owned more real and personal wealth than their counterparts in Franklin County. The discrepancy was particularly significant among female occupations and students. In Augusta both owned far more wealth than their Franklin counterparts. Only in the categories of artisans and unskilled workers did Franklin achieve similar levels of wealth to Augusta.
This table shows the percentage of various laboring occupations that owned at least some real or personal wealth and their average ages. Laborers in both counties accumulated some real and personal wealth.
Newspapers in Augusta and Franklin ran classified ads from hundreds of businesses in each issue. The origins of these businesses show comparatively higher dependence in Augusta on outside businesses for goods and services.
New York supplied the most articles for reprinting for both Augusta and Franklin editors. The Augusta newspapers relied heavily on Richmond for news stories. Other Southern city papers, such as the Charleston Mercury for example, supplied only a handful of stories to these editors. In the case of Charleston, Staunton’s Whig editor reprinted just six stories and Chambersburg’s editors also picked up six stories total.