What do you learn about Atticus and family in the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Scout introduces her family history in Chapter One of To Kill a Mockingbird. She attributes the actions of Andrew Jackson for bringing her ancestors to Alabama. If Jackson had not driven out the Creek nation then Simon Finch would never have been able to settle in that land.

She goes on to say that Simon Finch was a fur-trapper from Cornwall, England with no illustrious family history of his own. He was characterized by piety which "was exceeded only by his stinginess." Being a Methodist, he left his home in England to build a life in the more religiously tolerant Americas where he worked for some time as a physician. He then became a planter and homesteader, bought several slaves, and started a family. He died a wealthy man. Many of the residents of Maycomb County are descendants of Simon Finch.

The family remained prosperous cotton farmers until the Civil War which devastated the family fortune. Most of the family remained at the family estate at Finch's Landing and continued to work the land, but Scout's father, Atticus, bucked the trend and moved to Maycomb after studying law. We also learn that Atticus has a brother that went to Boston to learn medicine and a sister who remained on the family land.

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As the narrator, Scout gives the reader a thorough history lesson about the Finch family in the first chapter. The first Finch in the area was Simon Finch, who built the family homestead at Finch's Landing sometime in the early-to-mid 19th century. Simon was a prosperous planter, but the family fortunes were decimated after the Civil War. Atticus grew up there with his brother, Jack, and sister, Alexandra. Atticus went to law school and later supported Jack through medical school. Meanwhile, Alexandra married Jimmy Hancock,

"... a taciturn man who spent most of his time lying in a hammock by the river..."

She and Jimmy remained to live at Finch's Landing while Atticus moved to Maycomb. Atticus married a woman much younger than himself, but she died of a heart attack shortly after Scout's birth. The family lived on "the main residential street in town" and employed Calpurnia, a black woman, as their housekeeper. Atticus became one of the most well known men in Maycomb,

"... related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town."

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