John G. Deal

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon, Jr.

Third Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway


This thesis studies the population of Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War era by examining the persistence (those who remained in the city for ten years) of a sample of white, male heads of household from 1860. It focuses on such characteristics as age, nativity, wealth, and occupation. In contrast to other investigations of persistence, individuals who left the city, but remained in the state, also are examined. Further, a sample from Richmond's population in 1850 is traced during that decade to compare persistence rates and characteristics to the 1860 sample. The low persistence rates in both the 1850s and 1860s demonstrate high turnover in the population and also in businesses. This investigation suggests that the rapid growth which occurred during the 1850s affected the population in a similar fashion as the Civil War and Reconstruction later did. Theories concerning what characteristics affect persistence were supported as persisters in the 1860s were generally in their thirties, wealthier, and had better occupations than non-persisters.

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