The county of Escambia was constituted in 1868, and named for the beautiful river which flows across it. It is one of the youngest counties of the State, but is regarded one of she thriftiest in the great Timber Belt. It has peculiar natural advantages in its forest wealth, its smooth topography, and its deep and wide streams. It has an area of 1,000 square miles.
Population in 1870, 4,041; population in 1880, 5,719. White, 4,106; colored, 1,613.
Tilled Land—6,934 acres. Area planted in cotton, 278 acres; in corn, 3,699 acres; in oats, 869 acres ; in sugar cane, 83 acres; in rice, 405 acres; in sweet potatoes, 494 acres.
Cotton Production—94 bales.
Escambia lies in the heart of the long-leaf pine region. The county is, in general, a level district of pine woods, the uniform surface of which is broken only by small valleys which are occasioned by the creeks and branches and the lime-sinks. The soil is uniformly a light, sandy loam of prevailing light colors, and is not very productive unless aided with fertilizers. The high yield of the few acres planted in the county show what these level soils are capable of doing well when properly helped and judiciously tilled. The most fertile land, naturally, found in the county is along the Conecuh River, where are found alluvial deposits. Fortunately, these sandy lands are quite level, and hence are not exposed to washing, and will retain all the fertilizers used upon them. Their character is such as to favor the rapid rotation of crops. The sandy surface throughout is underlaid with a deep clay subsoil.
Cane, corn, rice, millet, sorghum, sweet and Irish Potatoes, and peas are the chief products of the farm. All these do well, but of the sugar cane and the potatoe it is doubtful whether any portion of the Union can surpass this section in their production. This county produces more sugar-cane than any other in the State.
Last year immense quantities of the purest molasses or syrup was made. Resides furnishing a sufficiency for home consumption, quantities of it was shipped to the West. The potato attains a sweetness and size here which are but rarely attained elsewhere. Peaches, pears, grapes, apples, figs, pomegranates and quinces grow in the orchards, while vegetables of every character thrive and supply the homes almost from one end of the year to the other. Of the fruits, grapes do exceedingly well.
Orchard culture and truck farming would, no doubt, prove profitable pursuits in the region adjacent the railway lines which penetrate the county.
But the glory of Escambia is her magnificent forests of pine. In this county the expansive domains of yellow or long-leaf pine may be seen in its perfection. These pines give rise to the chief industries of the county, viz: The timber, lumber and turpentine business. Some of the finest and best equipped saw mills and turpentine distilleries known to the South are found in Escambia county. Timbers are hewn from the forests and rafted along the large streams to the mills to be converted into lumber, or else to Pensacola, where a ready market awaits them. These lumber and turpentine industries are near the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, which traverses the county north and south.
Luxuriant herbage grows throughout these pine districts, affording grasses to cattle and sheep. So little is the expense attaching to stock-raising and wool-growing that they are rapidly assuming prominence as industries in Escambia. There are 30,000 sheep in the county that arc sustained entirely upon the native grasses. The growth of this spontaneous herbage is scarcely retarded by the short winters, and thus the herds of cattle and sheep and goats are sustained almost throughout the year.
Deer are found in some portions of Escambia as well as other species of game.
The principal streams are Conecuh and Escambia Rivers, Murder, Cedar, Burnt Corn and Sizemore Creeks. These are remarkably fine streams of water, affording not only an unceasing supply of water for home and farm consumption, but furnishing a sufficiency for multitudes of manufactories. There sport in these creeks and rivers vast quantities of fresh water fish which are easily captured. The trout is quite a common luxury with the people of Escambia.
The places of importance are Brewton, the county-seat, with a population of 1,500, Pollard and Flomaton. Brewton is one of the thriftiest business centers to be met with in the interior of Alabama. Besides its large and flourishing mercantile establishments, it has several institutions of learning. Chief among these is Brewton Institute, a school of high grade, and manned with a competent corps of professors. Brewton affords an illustration of the immense wealth which is resident in the adjacent forests of timber. Here are found mammoth lumber mills, while a sash, door and blind factory is being built.
The health of the town is greatly enhanced by the prevalence of artesian wells.
Escambia is penetrated by two railroads—the Louisville & Nashville, and the southern end of the Pensacola & Selma Railroad. The Pensacola Division of the Louisville & Nashville Line enters the county at Flomaton, where it forms a junction with the main trunk. This gives the county an outlet to Pensacola. Through governmental intervention the Escambia and Conecuh Rivers will be opened for light boats in the future, and, when done, this will largely contribute to the prosperity of the county.
Purchasers of lands will find them ranging from $1.25 to $5 per acre. Near the railroad centers they will command a higher price than that given. A hospitable people, healthful climate, pure water, bounteous, natural luxuries, and cheap lands, are attractions offered to immigrants in Escambia county.
There are 90,000 acres of government land in the county.Source: Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley, D. D., 1887 , Transcribed by C. Anthony.
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