HISTORY OF RICHLAND COUNTY
Source: "Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois: Historical and Biographical"
F.A. Battey & Co, 1884
ORIGIN OF THE COUNTY
submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer
November 28, 1814, the Territorial Legislature organized the county of Edwards. White County was formed at the same session, and the line between them has remained unchanged. This line, extending from the Wabash to the Third Principal Meridian, was the southern boundary of a county, the limits of which extended northward to the international boundary. In 1816, Crawford was formed from the northern territory of Edward's, leaving within the limits of the latter a magnificent territory, from which eight counties, entire, or in part, have been formed. In 1819, the counties of Jefferson and Wayne were formed; in 1821, Lawrence County; in 1823, Marion, and in 1824, Clay and Wabash, leaving Edward's with its present restricted area. The Little and Big Wabash rivers naturally attracted the greater part of immigration and the early seats of justice were founded at an inconvenient distance from the interior settlements, which, from 1818 to 1835, began to be quite numerous. The precedent set of forming small counties in the case of Wabash and Edward's, was not lost upon the people of this interior region, and an agitation for the erection of an independent county of the outlying portions of Clay and Lawrence, was begun as early as 1838. The first vote was unsuccessful, but in 1841, the effort culminated in an act of the Legislature which resulted in the provisional erection of Richland County, as follows:
"Beginning on the south line of Crawford County, where the range line, between Ranges 13 and 14 west, strikes the same; thence south, with said range line, to the south line of Lawrence County; thence west, with said county line, to the line dividing Lawrence and Edward's counties; thence north, with the last mentioned Line, to the south line of Clay County; thence west, with said line, to the center of the Little Wabash River; thence up the middle of said stream, to the mouth of Muddy Fork thereof; thence up the center of the Muddy Fork, to the line dividing townships Nos. 3 and 4; thence east with said line to the range line between ranges 8 and 9; thence north, with said range line, to the south line of Jasper County; and thence east, with said line, to the place of beginning, shall constitute a new county, to be called the county of Richland.
"Sec 2. The county aforesaid is constituted upon the following conditions: The people of the counties of Lawrence and Clay, as they are now organized, shall meet at the several places of holding elections for senator and representatives to the General Assembly, in said counties on the first Monday in June next, and proceed to vote in the same manner of voting for senator and representatives to the General Assembly whether said county shall be constituted or not. The judges of elections in said counties, shall give twenty days' notice of the time and place of holding said elections, by posting up notices thereof, at six of the most public places in each of said counties; and on said day shall open a poll book at each election precinct in said counties, in which they shall cause to be ruled two columns, in one of which they shall set down the votes given for the formation of said new county; and in the other column, the votes given against the same, and said judges shall conduct said election, and make returns thereof, to the clerks of the county commissioners' courts of Lawrence and Clay counties, as is now provided by law in the case of elections for senator and representatives to the General Assembly; and said returns shall be opened and counted in the same manner as required in such elections, and if a majority of all the votes given in each of said counties at said election shall be in favor of the formation of said new county, a certificate thereof shall be made by the clerks of the county commissioners' courts of said counties of Lawrence and Clay, under the seals of said courts, and transmitted by them to the office of the Secretary of State of Illinois, to be filed in his office as evidence of the formation of said county of Richland, and said clerk shall make a like certificate to be filed in their respective offices, which shall be made a matter of record at the next succeeding term of the county commissioners' court of each of said counties, which certificate shall be sufficient to prove the fact therein stated, after which said county shall be one of the counties of the State of Illinois.
"Sec. 3. If said county of Richland shall be constituted as aforesaid, the legal voters of said county shall meet on the third Monday of June next, at the several places of holding elections in said new county, and vote for the place where the county seat of said county shall be located, on which day persons proposing to make donations for the several places proposed to be voted for, shall file with the judges of election of the several election precincts in said new county, their written propositions, which shall not be for less than ten acres of land at the place the seat of justice shall be located, and upon the person or persons offering the donation at the place receiving the greatest number of votes, making to the said county of Rich-land a good and sufficient conveyance for the donation proposed to be given, such place shall be the permanent seat of justice for said county, and said donation shall be disposed of by the county commissioners of said county, in such manner as they may think proper, reserving necessary public grounds; and the proceeds arising from said donation, shall be exclusively used [and] for the erection of public buildings in said county
"Sec. 4. Should said county of Richland be constituted according to the provisions of this act, said county shall, on the first Monday of August next, elect all county officers for said county, to be commissioned and qualified as in other cases.
"Sec 5. Said county of Richland shall make a part of the fourth judicial circuit, and so soon as said county shall be organized, the clerk of the county commissioners court of said county shall notify the judge of the said circuit, and it shall be his duty to appoint a clerk, and hold courts in said county, at such times as said judge shall appoint, or shall be provided by law; said courts to be held at such place as the county commissioners of said county shall provide, until public buildings shall be erected.
"Sec. 6. The school funds belonging to the several townships in said county, and all notes and mortgages pertaining to the same, shall be paid and delivered over to the school commissioner of the county of Richland, by the commissioners of the counties of Lawrence and Clay, so soon as the said county of Richland shall be organized, and the commissioner of school lands shall be appointed and qualified according to law; together with all interests arising out of said money that may not have been expended.
" Sec. 7. That, until otherwise provided by law, that portion of Richland County taken off Lawrence, and that portion taken off Clay shall continue to vote with the counties they were taken off of, for senator and representatives to the General Assembly.
"Sec 8. That the passage of this act shall in no wise alter or affect the assessment of property, or the collection of taxes in the counties of Lawrence and Clay, as the same are now organized for the year one thousand eight hundred and forty one. But should the said county of Richland be organized in pursuance to the provisions of this act, the county commissioners' courts of the counties of Lawrence and Clay shall immediately, after the settlement of the collectors of their respective counties, order that portion of taxes collected from citizens residing in that portion of Richland County taken off their respective counties after deducting a proportionate amount for the assessment and collection of the same, to be paid into the county treasury of Richland County.
"Sec. 9. The returns of the election for county officers to be held on the first Monday in August next, and the returns of the election for the purpose of fixing the permanent seat of justice of said county, shall be made to Samuel R. Lowry, James Laws and Joshua L. Johnston, who are hereby authorized and required to open the same and make returns thereof, in the same manner as Clerks of county commissioners' courts and justices of the peace,. called to their assistance in ordinary cases, are required to do."
The only opposition to the formation of a new county was based upon the natural hesitation to curtail the extent of the old county's area, but so determined were the people to be benefited by this change that the project received its most material aid from those about Lawrenceville. It was feared in this region that if the project failed the county seat would be moved to a more central point, and hence their support to the new county. In Clay County there was but little or no opposition, and the vote under the provisions of this act was in favor of the division by a good majority. The name is due to the influence of Rev. Joseph H. Reed, who was a Methodist minister, a resident of the county, prominent in the agitation for a new county, and subsequently a member of the State Legislature. He wished to call the county seat Calhoun, but in deference to his efforts, and as a compromise, the county was named after Richland County, in Ohio, from whence Reed had emigrated.
RICHLAND COUNTY GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Source: "Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois: Historical and Biographical"
F.A. Battey & Co, 1884
submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer
The county thus formed and named is in the eastern part of southern Illinois, and embraces a superficial area of about 350 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Jasper and Crawford counties, on the east by Lawrence, on the south by Wabash, Edward's and Wayne, and on the west by Wayne and Clay counties. This county forms a part of the upper valley of the Little Wabash, though a rise of ground extending north and south, contributes a portion of its drainage through the Embarrass, and Bonpas. The Embarrass, in one of its eccentric bends, cuts the northern line of German Township, and receives some small tributaries, known as Elk Horn, Calf Killer, Elm Slough, Muddy Creek and Bugaboo. Bonpas takes its origin in Claremont Township, and flows in a nearly due south course in two branches, which unite in the township of Bonpas, and joins the larger Wabash at Grayville. It has no important affluents in this county, Sugar Creek being the only one reaching the dignity of a name. The Little Wabash, taking its rise in Shelby and Coles counties, flows a southeasterly course and enters the larger Wabash on the southern line of White County. In its course, it forms the boundary of the southwest corner of Richland County, and receives its main affluent, Big Muddy, at this point. The latter stream receives Harrison and Sugar creeks from Denver Township, and forms a part of the western boundary of the county. Fox River, rising in Jasper County, flows southerly, dividing the western half of Richland County, and joins the Little Wabash in Edward's County. The Fox receives a number of unimportant streams from either side, among which are found the names of Sugar, Big, Little Fox and Gentry creeks. The surface of the county is generally rolling, and its area is nearly equally divided into prairie and timbered land, the latter forming belts along the courses of the streams from one to three miles in width, and the prairies occupying the higher or table lands between the main water courses. The elevation of the prairies above the beds of the principal streams ranges from fifty to about a hundred feet. The southeastern portion of the county, on the headwaters of the Bonpas, is quite broken, and is underlaid by the heavy beds of sandstone and sandy shale, intervening between coals twelve and thirteen, which attain here a thickness of seventy to eighty feet, or more. In the central or western portion the surface is seldom so broken as to render it unfit for cultivation.
The geological formations of this county comprise a moderate thickness of drift clay, sand and gravel, that is everywhere found immediately beneath the soil, except in the creek valleys, where this superficial material has been removed by corroding agencies; and a series of sand stones, shales, etc., embracing an aggregate thickness of 250 to 300 feet, which belongs to the upper coal measures, and include the horizon of three or four thin seams of coal. The drift clays are somewhat thicker in this county than in Lawrence, and the boulders are more numerous and of larger size. Below the brown, gravely clays that usually form the subsoil on the uplands, and range from ten to twenty feet in thickness, there is in many places a bed of hard, bluish gray, gravely clay, or "hard pan," as it is frequently termed, and below this at some points there is an old soil or muck bed, underlaid by from one to five feet or more of quicksand. Limbs and trunks of trees are frequently found imbedded in this old soil, in which they probably grew, or in the bluish gray hard pan immediately above it, but to the present time no authentic specimens of animal remains have been found in them in this State sufficiently preserved for identification. Some small fresh water and land shells have been found in the quicksands in other portions of the State, but they did not prove to be specifically distinct from those now living.
From the meager outcrops to be seen on the small streams in this county, it would not be possible to construct a continuous section of all the beds that should be found here, but fortunately a boring has been made at Olney which renders material assistance in ascertaining the general character of the formations that underlay the southern and eastern portions of the county to the depth penetrated by the drill. This boring was made for coal, and from the report of the boring the following section is compiled
1. Soil and drift clay
10. Hard rock (probably sandstone)
2. Yellow sandstone
11. Clay shale
3. Gray sandstone
12. Black shale and coal (No. 12).
4. Black shale (horizon of coal NO.. l3)
13. Clay shale
5. Clay shale
6. Hard rock (probably sandstone)
15. Shale, partly calcareous
7. Clay shale, with black slate
8. Hard sand rock
17. Hard rock (probably sandstone)
9. Clay shale...
Two and a half miles south of Olney, in the vicinity of Boden's mill, located on the southeast quarter of Section 15, Township 3, Range 10 east, there is an outcrop of a thin coal in the creek bed, overlaid by the following strata
Black shale, with concretions of blue septaria
Blue clay shale
Coal (No. 13 of general section)
Hard silicious limestone, with broken plants
Clay shale, with concretions of limestone
The black shale in this section is probably identical with No. 4 of the Olney boring, and the thin coal below was wanting there, or else was passed without observation. The band of hard silicious limestone found at this locality is a very durable stone, and has been quarried for building purposes. It is a refractory stone to work, but may be relied on for culverts and bridge abutments, where an ordinary sandstone would yield to atmospheric influences. One and a half miles south of Claremont, there is an outcrop of the following beds, probably representing the same strata seen at Boden's mill, south of Olney.
1 - 2
2. Hard Silicious Limestone with broken
3. Blue shale, with calcareous nodules
4. Black laminated shale, extending to creek level
The quarry here belongs to the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, and an immense amount of stone has been quarried from the calcareous sandstone No. 2 of the above section, to be used in the construction of culverts and bridges on that road. This quarry is near the center of Section 16, Township 3, Range 14 east. On Mr. P. Berry's place, on the southeast quarter of Section 11, Township 2, Range 14 east, coal has been mined for several years, in a limited way, by stripping the seam along its outcrop in the valley of a small stream, a tributary of the Bon pas. The coal is about eighteen inches thick, and of good quality, and is overlaid by a few inches of soft bituminous shale, and an argillaceous shelly limestone. This coal is also mined on the northeast quarter of the same section. This is probably coal No. 12 of the general section, and must have been passed through in the boring at Olney, and may be represented by No. 12 of the boring at that point.
About live miles northeast of Olney coal has been found on the open prairie, at a depth of about twenty-two feet below the general surface level. It was first discovered in digging a stock well, and subsequently an inclined tunnel has been driven down to the coal and preparations made to work it in a systematic way. The roof of this seam consists of clay shale with some limestone, in boulder-like masses, though it is possible the limestone masses thrown out in opening the tunnel may belong to the drift clays and not to the roof shales of the coal. This coal is found on the adjoining farm, and on a farm a little farther to the west, on Section 18, Township 4 north, Range 10 east, a double seam is reported to have been passed through in a bore but a short distance below the surface, the upper one two " feet and the lower one three feet in thickness, with a space of about fifteen feet between them. These coals, if there are really two distinct seams here, must be about the horizon of No. 15 of" the general section, and this is probably about the southern line of outcrop for these coals, as no indications of their presence was found in the boring at Olney or in sinking wells about the city, and from the topography of the surface it is believed the surface level where these coals have been found is at least forty or fifty feet above the level at Olney. A previous survey notes the following section at the quarry on Section 34, Township 4, Range 10 east. 1. Soil and drift, eight feet 2. Soft buff sandstone, three feet. 3. Hard gray building stone, four feet. The gray sandstone is very hard and takes a good finish, stands well but is somewhat marred by carbonaceous spots. At the quarry two miles west of Olney, the quarry rock is overlaid by eight feet of buff silicious shale, beneath which is a heavy bedded buff sandstone that was quarried for the masonry on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad at the time of its construction.
On Section 18, Township 3, Range 10, on Big Creek, occurs the following section:
1. Covered slope, twenty-five feet.
2. Shaly sandstone, five feet.
3. Heavy bedded sandstone, ten feet.
4. Black bituminous shale, three feet.
A quarter of a mile down the creek a soft buff sandstone in heavy beds from four to ten feet thick alternate with thinner beds of hard bluish sandstone.
On Section 34, Township 3, Range 14, in a well near the Higgins mill, sixteen feet of sandstone was passed through and a coal seam below it reported to be twenty inches thick. Shaly sandstone and clay shale were seen, overlaying the heavy bedded sandstone a few hundred yards above the mill.
The hills along the Bonpas are from twenty to sixty feet high, composed of drift deposits consisting of yellowish clay with gravel and small boulders, the latter seldom exceeding five or six inches in diameter.
At the coal bank on Section 16, Township 2, Range 14, the section is as follows:
1. Soil and drift, ten feet.
2. Buff sandstone and shale, five feet.
3. Bluish gray limestone, two feet
4. Shale, two inches.
5. Coal, one foot eight inches.
The shale over the coal was filled with fossil shells, corals, etc. The limestone over this coal was also seen three miles northwest of the coal bank where it was formerly quarried and burned for lime.
A quarter of a mile below the Big Creek bridge, south of Olney, is found the following section:
1. Soil and drift, fifteen feet.
2. Coarse irregular bedded sandstone, fifteen feet.
3. Black marly shale, thirteen feet. The lower part of the black shale was slaty and contained numerous fossils.
Four and a half miles southwest of Olney a black shale outcrops in the banks of Sugar Creek, about five feet thick, underlaid by a thin coal. A quarter of a mile below, at the bridge, is seen the same conglomerate sandstone that occurs on Big Creek, underlaid by the same black shale, which is sometimes marly and contains numerous fossils. It also contains large nodules of impure limestone. This bituminous shale and thin coal represent coal No. 13 of the general section, and the same group of fossils is found in Montgomery County.
Sandstone of a fair quality for ordinary use is quite abundant, and there is probably not a township in the county where good quarries could not be opened at a moderate expense. Many of these localities have been indicated in the foregoing lines. The quarries south of Claremont, belonging to the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, afford a very hard and durable rock, and although the bed is only about six feet in average thickness, it is, fortunately, so situated as to require no great expenditure in stripping, and the rock has been removed over a considerable surface. The rock is a very hard, gray, micaceous sandstone, and seems to be but little affected by long exposure, and hence affords a desirable material for culverts, bridge abutments, etc. The sand stones in the northern and western portions of the county are for the most part rather soft, but locally they afford some very good building stone, as at the quarry northeast of Olney, and at the quarry two miles west of the town. The stratum of hard, silicious limestone outcropping on Big Creek, two miles and a half south of Olney, is a durable stone but is not to be obtained in sufficient quantity to be of much importance as a building stone.
There are two coal seams cropping out in this county that promise to be of some value in supplying the local demand for fuel, and the upper one, if the thickness had been found persistent over any considerable area, would have furnished all needed supplies for the county for many years to come. The lower seam, which outcrops on the headwaters of the Bonpas, in the southeastern portion of the county, and has been referred to as No. 12 of the general section, ranges from sixteen to twenty inches in thickness, and has only been worked by stripping in the creek valleys where it outcrops. It affords a coal of good quality, but unfortunately is generally too thin to be mined profitably in a systematic way. The other seam, five miles northwest of Olney, is about three feet in thickness, and an inclined tunnel has been carried down to it, but the preparations which were made for carrying on the work systematically for the supply of the home market have not resulted advantageously to the projectors, as yet. This is probably the Shelbyville seam, No. 15, of the general section, which is the thickest seam in the upper coal measures and usually quite persistent in its development. In Shelby County this seam affords a semi-block coal, of fair quality, hard enough to be handled without much waste and tolerably free from sulphuret of iron, but showing thin partings of selenite on the transverse cleavage. The thickness of the sand stones, shales, etc., intervening between coals twelve and fifteen in the valley of the Okaw, is about 235 feet, but in this county it is probably somewhat less, though this point could only be determined approximately, from the lack of continuous outcrops of the intervening strata. The main coals of the lower coal measures are probably from 600 to 1,000 feet below the surface at Olney, and it would require an expenditure of capital to open and work them that the present demand for coal would not justify. If the seam northeast of Olney should be found to retain an average thickness of three feet over any considerable area, it could be worked profitably and supply the home market. At present the chief supply is derived from the coal-fields of Indiana.
No limestone is found especially adapted for use in the lime kiln, though some attempts have been made to use the rock overlying coal No. 12, on the Bonpas, for that purpose. It is usually too argillaceous to slack freely when burned, and at best, would only produce a very inferior quality of lime.
The soil is, however, the chief resource of the county. The prairies are generally small and possess a rich, productive clay loam soil that seems practically inexhaustible, and will seldom need fertilizing if properly cultivated with a judicious system of rotation in crops. On the timbered lands the soil is less uniform in quality, and its character is generally well indicated by the various growth of timber. Where this is mainly composed of two or three varieties of oak and hickory the soil is thin and poor, and requires frequent applications of fertilizers to keep it up to the ordinary standard of productiveness for western lands. But where the timber growth is largely interspersed with elm, black walnut, linden, wild cherry, persimmon, honey locust, etc., the soil is good and will rank favorably with the best prairie land in its productive qualities. A large portion of the timbered land in the county is of this quality, and when cleared and brought under cultivation it produces nearly or quite as well as the best prairie land.
The agricultural facilities, methods and progress of Richland County are not dissimilar to those of the other counties reviewed in this volume. The pioneer farmer found enough to engage his attention in securing a plain subsistence for his family, but with the rude, careless cultivation which he expended upon it, the land yielded considerably in excess of his demands, and in the absence of profitable markets, there was little inducement to raise more. When one piece of ground was conceived to be exhausted a freshly cleared piece was brought in subjection to the plow, and the older plat temporarily abandoned. There was little, if any, systematic farming until about 1855. At this time the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad was constructed from Vincennes to Saint Louis and opened up a market for the surplus products of this region, and with this incentive the farmer brought more care and thought to the production of a crop. Until recently the subject of fertilizers has received but little attention. The virgin soil was so productive, and the stabling of stock so little practiced, that the value or necessity for the enrichment of the ground did not press itself upon the attention. Of late years the barnyard accumulations have generally been utilized upon the wheat crop, the manure being spread upon the sown crop. But little of commercial fertilizers have been used. Occasionally a little plaster or phosphate has been used as an experiment, but the richness of the soil has obviated the necessity of its use. This fertility has led to the practice of cropping the ground for a series of years with the same grain. Certain pieces of " willow land" and river bottoms have produced good yields of wheat for twelve or fifteen years in succession without manuring. There is practically no rotation of crops observed in the county. The first crop on sod ground is generally wheat, and this may be kept in wheat for a succession of from five to ten years, and when found to be exhausted is turned out to recuperate in growing weeds. There is more of systematic rotation of late years, though the range of crops is limited; on flat ground, corn is generally planted on sod, and this followed by a second crop, or wheat. The plan of cultivation adheres to shallow plowing, about eight inches being the average depth. Deep plowing and sub soiling have been experimented with, but the advantages are so remote and the surface soil so little impaired in its productiveness, that the practice has never gained a foothold in Richland. In the matter of drainage the county is still in the happy freedom from any stern necessity. Most of the farming lands have so good a natural drainage, that the majority of cultivated lands are dependent upon the plow only for surface drainage. A theory is maintained as to the advantage of tile draining, but the judgment of the community upon this topic has evaporated in talk. A tile factory has been established about a mile south of Olney, and tile will probably be used to a considerable extent, but thus far no regular attempts at permanent drains have been made.
The grass crop is not an important one here. Stock is not grown or fed extensively, and grain seems to have absorbed the principal attention. Timothy and redtop are sown separately or mixed for hay, and considerable quantities are shipped to foreign markets. Meadows are not prepared with special care before seeding, but form a convenient way of resting the soil while the farmer still retains its use. The average life of a meadow is about three years, though some advanced farmers by manuring it extend its productiveness to five years. At this age the weeds become so numerous as to damage the value of the hay, and the land is turned over for wheat or corn, and sometimes turned out for pasture. Clover is sown only for seed, which commands a good price in the home markets, ranging in price from $3-50 to $8 per bushel. Until very recently this could not be successfully grown on the prairie land, though the present year has exceptionally spread the growth of white clover all over the country. But little is sown for the purpose of plowing under, and the hay is so difficult to handle properly, that the majority of farmers do not value it save for seed. The principal crop of the county is wheat, though at first it was supposed that it would not grow here. A very serious difficulty in its early culture here was the unfavorable character of the season, and this unchanged, the best of cultivation would have probably failed to secure a crop. The early farmers, however, brought with them certain methods of successful culture in the east and found it difficult to modify them to suit the new circumstances found here. The consequence was that after repeated efforts with careful cultivation scarcely a straw was gleaned and the crop pronounced a failure in this region. Some wheat was grown during the years preceding 1855, but from this date to 1860, more intelligent effort was put forth to master the situation. The blue stem was an early variety that succeeded, and the Mediterranean. Of late years the Fultz wheat has been the favorite grain, but the tendency now seems to trend toward the Lancaster and the old Mediterranean. From 1860 to 1881, the crop has been reasonably sure, producing an average of from twelve to fifteen bushels per acre. In the latter year there was a drought which resulted in absolute failure of all crops. In the following year the wheat yield was very large, the crop being estimated at an average of eighteen bushels to the acre. The cultivation of this crop is not carried on with the care and judgment to be expected in the case of so important a crop. The ground is generally prepared by plowing in July or August, unless the season be wet, when the plowing is sometimes deferred to avoid the growth of weeds that inevitably spring up in such case. After slight harrowing, the wheat is drilled in and occasionally top-dressel and rolled. The grain is threshed in the field and marketed at home. There are three grist-mills that buy considerable wheat for manufacture, but the larger part of the product finds its way through the elevator at Olney to Baltimore and other eastern points. Rye and barley scarcely figure in the agriculture of the county. A limited acreage is sown annually for feed, there being but little or no sale for the grains. Oats are never the successful crop here that they are in the north. The climate is found too hot for its best success. A considerable acreage is grown but the product is intended for home use, and no more is grown than is used here. An occasional crop will yield a grain that weighs thirty-three pounds to the bushel.
Corn is only second to wheat as a source of revenue to the farmer. It has always been a reliable crop, and that without the careful cultivation which elsewhere proves so remunerative. The white variety was the early variety planted, but the change in seasons scarcely gave it time to mature in seasons affected by dry weather. In recent years many have planted corn secured in Ohio, and this while not bearing so large an ear, was found to mature better and quite as good for all purposes. This variety matures in ninety days from the planting, and gets to a point in its growth where it is little effected by the dry weather which seldom fails to be experienced in the latter part of the summer or fall in this region. The ground is not as carefully prepared for this crop as it should be.
The better farmers contend that the ground should be plowed in the late fall or in the open period of the winter. In the spring when the ground is ready to plow the prepared ground may be thoroughly harrowed and planted before the spring plowing can be accomplished. But few follow this practice, however, and spring plowing is the rule. In the care of the growing crops the same diversity of method occurs. The old rule of going through the field a certain number of times before "laying by" the crop, is still too generally followed. There are those, however, who cultivate the corn until it becomes too tall for further cultivation, and the increased yield under this culture is in marked contrast to the less careful method. The corn is generally husked from the standing stalk, which is sometimes " stripped" and " topped," but generally is left to stand entire and stock turned in on it after the frost of winter has rendered the ground hard. It is sometimes cut and shocked and wheat sown between the rows of shocks. The larger part of the product is sold, though it is becoming the general opinion that it could be more profitably fed to stock. The yield ranges from twenty-five to forty-five bushels per acre, though there are exceptional cases where a higher yield is obtained. Sorghum and broom-corn are found in little patches, but the extensive culture of either is not observed here. Fruit is becoming a prominent source of agricultural revenue in Richland County. Apples are the leading variety and almost the exclusive variety cultivated for market purposes. This fruit is hardy in this locality, and receives the most intelligent care. Some of the orchards are quite extensive, one covering an area of 160 acres and numbers of them from twenty to forty acres, each. The market is good, large quantities being shipped from the county seat. Peaches were extensively cultivated, a few years since, but the uncertainty of the crop, the severity of the winters and their disastrous' effect upon the life of the trees, have had a tendency to discourage the culture. The difficulty of reaching a profitable market in good season is another very serious discouragement, and peaches may be said to be rather less than more than enough for the home demand. Pears are grown in orchards with fair success, but the product barely suffices for home use. Cherries and plums are found only in the gardens and are subject to the usual hindrances found elsewhere. Small fruit culture is yet in its infancy. Of blackberries there is an abundant wild growth, which in favorable years brings into the county a considerable revenue. The same is true of nuts, the product of the hickory occasionally reaching a remarkable feature in the exports of the county. Strawberries and other fruits of this class are found to grow well here, and the facilities afforded by the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad are leading many to add this branch of horticulture to the ordinary culture of the farm.
The improvements in stock date principally within the last ten years. The class of horses here were merely scrubs, until about 1867 or 1868. In this year Ellingsworth, of Effingham County, exhibited a Norman stallion at the fair, that was very much admired, and the following spring was stood in the county. The rage for Norman colts became almost universal and a marked improvement in the class of horses in the county was observed. This has continued until the present with but little abatement. The "all purpose" horse is the one chiefly needed, and is the class to which most of the horses are to be referred. Mr. Arch. Spring has several horses of this strain and pays considerable attention to breeding them. In the summer of 1883, E. S. Wilson and Thomas Tippitt received from the Clydesdale Horse Breeding Company, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Glasgow, Scotland, three full blooded two year old Clydesdale fillies. Mr. Wilson received " Bonnie Lass " and " Ida May," and Mr. Tippitt, " Rosa." These animals are claimed to have more muscle per pound of weight than the Norman, and are therefore less slovenly in gait, and make a more sprightly animal. Mr. Wilson has embarked pretty extensively in this grade of horses, and their exhibition at the fair drew forth many marks of approval. While this class of horses seems to meet more fully the public demand, roadsters and speed horses are not neglected by breeders. Mr. Sand leads in this variety, and has some of the finest bred animals in the State. Mules are not so much bred here as in Jasper or Cumberland counties. The taste seems to have been educated in favor of draft horses, and hence they have not taken the prominent position they probably otherwise would. There are, however, some good mules in the county, and are always found among the teams that come to the county seat on special occasions. The same spirit of improvements is manifested among cattle. The short horn Durham takes the lead, and good herds are owned by P. Heltman and H. B. Miller. Jerseys are represented in the county by G. D. Slanker. Some Ayrshires were exhibited at the fair this year, and attracted considerable attention by their peculiarities. Hogs are more generally marked in their improvement from the original breeds than any other kind of stock. The old "hazel splitters" have become long ago extinct. The first improvement was the introduction of the Irish Grazers, which have been succeeded by the Berkshire, Poland-China and Chester White. Among the leading stock men interested in these breeds are E.S. Wilson, P. Heltman, A, G. Basden and Bowlsby Bros. Sheep are beginning to be found in the county in considerable numbers. William McWilliams is the leading sheep grazer in Richland County, and is instrumental in introducing this animal considerably in the county. The Merinos are principally represented in his flocks, though coarse wools are found here also. P. Heltman is chiefly engaged in breeding Southdowns among sheep. The farmers are to a large extent taking sheep "on shares," and in this way the county will be pretty well supplied with this useful class of animal. But a single attempt, so far as learned, has been made in dairying- on a large scale. A factory was started at Parkersburg about 1878, but the experiment proved a failure, the enterprise ending in some sort of litigation.