How did the Finches originally come to Maycomb in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and what is the "disturbance between the North and South" that Scout refers to? 

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 1, Scout explains her family's history and how her father, Atticus, came to live in the small town of Maycomb. Atticus told Scout that their ancestor, Simon Finch, left Cornwall, England to escape religious persecution and immigrated to America where he settled in Mobile, Alabama. He then bought three slaves and traveled forty miles up the Alabama River. Simon established a homestead which was named Finch's Landing and became a relatively wealthy plantation owner. However, Simon lost all of his wealth during the "disturbance between the North and the South." The "disturbance" that Scout references is the Civil War which took place between 1861-1865. The North defeated the South and left much of its economy and infrastructure in ruins. Atticus grew up on Finch's Landing and eventually moved to Montgomery to study law. After Atticus had been admitted to the bar, he moved to Maycomb to practice law. Atticus chose to stay in Maycomb and raise his children while his sister, Alexandra, remained at Finch's Landing.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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A descendant of the first settler in the area, Atticus Finch grew up at Finch's Landing, 20 miles west of Maycomb. He became the first Finch to decide against "living on the land": Atticus lived at the landing until he "went to Montgomery to read law," and then he moved to Maycomb after law school. After becoming a lawyer, he put his brother, Jack, through medical school, while sister Alexandra remained at the Landing. Simon Finch, Atticus's ancestor, was born in Cornwall, England before arriving in America. After travelling to Jamaica, Simon made his way to Mobile before heading "up the Saint Stephens" River and building his "homestead on the banks of the Alabama River." Simon "died rich," leaving his kin a home that eventually became a thriving plantation. The Civil War later destroyed the "self-sufficient" empire that was Finch's Landing, and

     Simon would have regarded with impotent fury the disturbance between the North and the South, as it left his descendants stripped of everything but their land...  (Chapter 1)


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