What if I got Outlanded? Cincinnati

As we watch, read, and enjoy Outlander I have been increasingly curious what it would be like if the rocks around where I live decided to get magical and drop me 200 years in the past 1814.  Or what would it be like if Claire’s rocks had sent her to where I live in 1743.  So I did a little research (yes I am a history nerd) and what came of it was a pretty interesting comparison, and leads me too…

This will be the first post in series of posts titled “What if I Outlanded?”  I think the term used so well by Diana Gabaldon as the title to her books could really be used to describe how any of us would feel if we were slammed back in time.

So where do we start?  With me of course because, well it was my idea.  So we begin in Cincinnati, OH.


It’s greener than the picture would have you think but, that is where I am in case you were curious and lived in another country that had no reason to know where Ohio is.

Let’s start with what Claire would experience in 1743.  At this time Ohio was relatively unsettled.  The area around Cincinnati was settled in 1788 and Ohio didn’t reach statehood until 1803.  In fact, the one of the first English speaking settlers (Christopher Gist) wouldn’t arrive in the area until 1749.  So if you only speak English the communication would be a struggle.  Prior to 1749 the French had set up trading posts through the Ohio Valley and several Native American Tribes had made their way into the area after being forced away from the east coast.

Claire would be near the Ohio River, which at the time would not be as gross as it is today.  There are a lot of wild animals and woodland creatures that could be used as a source of food, but to survive I think you would have to learn how to go unnoticed by any person who lived in the area.  Many of the people were forced from their homes by settlers and were forced to move further west, add that (understandable) tension creator to the inability to communicate and you have predicament.

I imagine that Ohio would be rather pretty at the time, mostly trees and rolling hills.  Of course if you landed in winter that would be a whole other mess.  But I put Claire’s best chance of survival in 1743 Ohio at trying to make her way to Pittsburgh which had been settled in 1717.  She could then try to gain passage further east and even back to Europe.

So what about me?  I’m Amy from 2014 and I get stuck in 1814.  First reaction is oh my goodness that is so cool, followed by sheer panic.  I am a bit of geneaology buff myself so I know that none of my lineage lived in Cincinnati in 1814.  The majority of my family came to the United States during the Irish potato famine.  The few that didn’t came from Germany in the 1850’s.  I did have one relative who would have been on the continent at the time.  My fourth great grandfather owned a large piece of land in Virginia but going there and explaining my situation may not have gone well.  Plus from what I can tell, they were loyalists and possibly not popular by this point.  So let’s just say I would be going at it alone, but considering what Claire had to deal with with her past relatives we’ll call it a blessing in disguise.

The 1820 Census in Cincinnati showed just over 9,000 residents.  So probably enough people to try to blend in.  This was also up 300% from what the population had been in 1810 so we are talking a flood of new people around there anyway.  My biggest obstacles would be accidental cursing and the visible tattoo on my left shoulder.  The second could be remedied by finding an outfit with a shawl.  Then I could possibly find a kindly older couple who wanted to take me in as their housekeeper.  Or the Circulating Library Society of Cincinnati was founded in 1814 so maybe I could get in on the ground floor there.

Alternatively, Cincinnati was a middleground in a lot of trade routes.  It could be possible to use the Miami and Erie Canal or the Ohio river to travel to other parts of the country and try my luck there.

So there it is, that is what would happen if I got Outlanded.  Want me to Outland you? Send a request with your location and I’ll see what I can do

My sources are wikipedia – don’t judge – that shit is accurate.


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