The Source is: P.M. Pinckard, The Missouri handbook, St. Louis, 1865, 162 pgs.
Transcribed by Donna Walton

DESCRIPTION OF MISSOURI COUNTIES


 

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Is situated in the southeastern part of the State, on the south side of the Missouri river, which forms its northern boundary.  The surface is broken, consisting chiefly of ranges of hills, elevated from 100 to 300 feet above the level of adjacent streams, and often separated from each other by deep valleys-some of them very narrow, others wide.  The general direction of the main ridges are northeast and southwest.  In the southern part of the county the surface is very uneven.  The numerous rapid streams afford an abundance of water, and the valleys are fertile.  Franklin is one of the best timbered counties in the State, and there is but one small prairie in the whole county.  This county is particularly rich in minerals.  There is fully thirty lead mines in the county, and four Scotch-hearth lead furnaces.  Brown hematite iron ore is found in several places in the southeast part of the county.  A fine bed of Alabaster has also recently been discovered.  This mineral region is traversed by the Southwest Branch of Pacific railroad, and by the Maramec river, affording superior facilities for taking the mineral to St. Louis.  Fully one-half of the county is a lead-field, and ore may be looked for in workable quantities, in almost every section of land in this part of the country.  There were 14,000 acres of unaltered land in the county in March 1865.

 

GASCONADE COUNTY

Is situated on the right bank of the Missouri river, and next west Franklin (last described), to which in many respects, it is quite similar.  The north and east half of the county is hilly and broken, and in some places bold flint-hills or knobs occur, which are entirely destitute of timber and unfit for cultivation.  Lead ore is reported to have been found in some of these flint ridges, but others thing it mixed-with uncertainty.  The valleys are very fertile, and a number of superior farms, of bottomland, are under a good state of cultivation.  The prairies are small, dry and fertile.  The county is very well watered.  Along the banks of the Gasconade are a number of saltpeter caves, which were profitably worked several years since.  Some of these caves are large and interesting, consisting frequently of a succession of rooms joined to each other by arched halls of a considerable height.  This county is principally settled by Germans, who devote more attention to grape culture than to farming.  Large tracts of land are occupied by well-cultivated vineyards, especially in the vicinity of Hermann, and we are assured that grape culture and wine making is more profitable than any other branch of agriculture or horticulture.  However, all kinds of grain, fruit and vegetables produce well.  For population, unentered land, and location of minerals, see “Geological Map of Missouri” See also chapter on Grape Culture in “Missouri As It Is in 1865”-to lengthy for insertion in this work

 

GENTRY COUNTY

Is situated in the northwestern part of the Stat, bounded on the north by the Iowa State Line.  The face of the country is undulating, diversified with prairie and timber,
and well watered by Grand River and its tributaries.  Indications of rich beds of copper and an excellent quality of bituminous coal have been found, but no banks or
mines have been opened.  The soil is very fertile, and well adapted to the production of all grains and grasses suitable to this climate.  The county is settled by intelligent, industrious people, and immigrants will find excellent inducements for any kind of business.

 

GREENE COUNTY

Situated in the south-western part of the State, is, topographically speaking, higher than any of the adjacent country, and the streams are all clear and rapid.
The prairies are large, rich and beautiful, skirted by timber along the streams, and in small groves.  Occasional “barrens” intervene which are stony and sparsely timbered.  Though timber is not very abundant, there is sufficient for all practical purposes.  The elevated ridges, erroneously named “Ozark mountains”, extend through this county. 
The soil is not as deep and fertile as in many portions of the State, yet it is considered a good agricultural district and is well adapted to the culture of all kind of cereals, grasses, and produces an abundant yield of fruit.  It is peculiarly adapted to grape culture, and the neglected “barrens” contain all the elements to insure success in vine growing, and with proper management would yield a greater profit than many of the farms that produce 25 to 30 bushels of wheat to the acre.  Peaches grow large, and seldom fail.  The country is well watered, as is shown upon the map, besides large springs of clear, cold water are abundant, some of which furnish excellent water power for manufacturing.  Of minerals, there are beds of iron, copper and lead, but no systematic mining has yet been done.  The Southwest Branch of the Pacific railroad will traverse the county when completed.  The variety of soil, mild and healthy-climate, advantageous natural position and certain market for all farm products, and remunerative wages for all kinds of labor are inducements which immigrants should not overlook.

 

GRUNDY COUNTY

Is situated in the northern part of the State, about midway between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.  The surface is undulating, and well watered by tributaries of Grand river.  The table lands and divides are generally prairie, and the streams are skirted with timber, affording sufficient for fencing and fuel if properly husbanded.  However, groves should be planted, and then there will be no question about supply.  The soil is very rich and well adapted to all farming purposes.  Turnips have been raised in this county by Mr. Osborn, which, after being closely trimmed, weighed eleven pounds three ounces; and James Wynn has produced corn, one ear of which contained 1383 grains, all well filled, and a radish weighing four pounds three ounces.  Mr Isaac Froman raised in one season, upon a piece of ground two feet by fifteen, first ten bushels of onions, and afterward eight bushels of turnips.  Farmers will find good land at low prices.  Mechanics and machinists are wanted to supply the demand in their line.  Excellent waterpower and good localities for saw, and gristmills.  Schoolteachers –that are teachers- are wanted. 
Loyal, energetic men, from whatever clime, will here find a hearty welcome, and cannot but reap a rich reward for their labor. 

 

HARRISON COUNTY

Situated in the north northwestern part of the State, is bounded on the north by the Iowa State line.  The surface is principally prairie, but in some sections broken. 
The timber is mostly confined to the margins of water courses, and consists of white, black, pin, and burr oak, walnut, sugar tree, maple, linn, sycamore, birch, cherry, cottonwood, hackberry, ash, hickory, etc., which skirt the streams, and stand here and there in groves.  The soil is generally fertile, and produces all kinds of grain,
fruit and vegetables that grow in this latitude.  There are fifteen sawmills and three flouring mills on Grand River and Big Creek.  There is other fine waterpower unimproved.  The inducements to immigration are – rich soil, good timber, healthy climate, clear, rapid streams, and good demand for all articles produced.
This is an excellent county for stock growing. 

 

HENRY COUNTY

Formerly called Rives, is situated in the western part of the State.  The face of the country is undulating-neither level or broken-about one-third timber and the remainder prairie.  Early settlers hesitated about locating upon the larger prairies, owing to the lack of timber for fuel, but there have since been found extensive banks of coal and these objections are removed.  So in many parts of the State, it will be observed that where a superficial examination indicates the absence of some important native element of wealth, deep research and thorough investigation generally prove the existence of hidden treasures, which more than compensate for the seeming deficiency.  The soil is very fertile, and well adapted to all farming purposes.  The county is well calculated for stock growing, as timothy, blue-grass, clover, and native prairie grass grow finely.  Iron and coal are both found in the county.  There were 4, 500 acres of government land, unentered, in March.  Land Office at Booneville.

 

HICKORY COUNTY

Is situated near the center of the southwest quarter of the State.  The land is generally fertile, undulating, and in some places broken, with about an equal amount of prairie and timberland.  In this, as in most other counties, the forests are growing up rapidly since the Indians have been driven away, and the annual fires kept out.  But little attention has been paid to the culture of grapes, hemp, flax, or tobacco.  An average crop of wheat is about thirty bushels to the acre; corn, 100 oats, 30; buckwheat 12 to 15; potatoes 50 to 60; turnips 300.  Timothy, clover, and Hungarian grass do well.  There is excellent waterpower on the Niangua and Pomme de Terre, unimproved.
Lead and iron have been found in various localities, but no mines opened.   There were, in March, 95,000 acres of government land in the county, subject to entry at the Booneville Land Office

 

HOLT COUNTY

Is one of the six that compose the “Platte Purchase” the northwestern corner of the State.  The first permanent settlements were made here in 1836.  The general character of the surface is undulating or “rolling”, with about an equal division of prairie and timber; every portion well watered.  The Missouri bottom varies width from three to ten miles, and is exceedingly fertile being an alluvial formation, and the soil in some places is twenty-three feet deep.  The prairies are also exceedingly fertile.  There has been produced, several years succession, of corn, 125 bushels to the acre; hemp, *** pounds; oats, 40 bushels, etc.  In the season of **** there were 1900 bales of hemp shipped from Fo*** City.  Hemp is the most profitable, as well as the m*** certain crops, and the farmers seem inclined to devote their farms to the culture of hemp and tobacco, and the raising of stock, all of which will be immensely profitable.  The inhabitants are generally intelligent, industrious, and contented.  Industrious, skilful farmers, coopers, wagon-makers, carpenters, and merchants are needed.  Saddlers will find here on of the best openings in the State.  Teachers who are well qualified and wish to enter the field in earnest, will here find an ample scope for labor, and abundance of capital, and willing heats and hands to aid them.

 

HOWARD COUNTY

Is situated on the left branch of the Missouri river, in the north central part of the State.  The first settlement made in this section of country was in 1807-8, by Col. Benj. Cooper, Daniel Boone, the Hancocks and Barkleys.  (See history of the early settlement of this county in “Missouri As It Is”, pages 266-268).  The general surface of the country is undulating, and some portions are quite broken, principally covered with a good growth of timber, consisting of hickory, black and white walnut, oaks of various kinds, black and blue ash, maple, cottonwood, coffee-bean, hackberry and honey locust.  There are but four natural prairies in the county – Spanish, Needle and Foster’s on the upland, and Cooper’s and the Weedy prairie on the bottomland; but through the industry and enterprise of the pioneers, thousand of acres of nature’s dense forest have been transformed into cultivated farms, now graced by the commodious farm house, and yielding abundant crops of all kinds of agricultural products.  The soil of this county is exceedingly fertile, and produces an abundant yield of all kinds of grain, grasses, fruit and vegetables – farmers having gathered as high as 1500 pound of hemp, 2000 pounds of tobacco, 100 bushels of corn, 400 of wheat, etc., and the acre.  The average yield of tobacco in the vicinity of Howard county is 1000 pounds per acre, but as high as 2000 pounds have been raised on an acre in several instances.  The reader can readily calculate the profits of a crop.  (The very extensive tobacco manufactory of B. W. Lewis & Co., Glasgow, if fully described, illustrated, and an essay given on tobacco culture, in the larger work, “Missouri As It Is in 1865”).

 

HOWELL COUNTY

Is situated in the southern part of the State, bounded on the south by the Arkansas line.  It has an area of 650 square miles-and is the smallest tax-paying county in the state except Shannon.  For a general description of this county, the reader is referred to Oregon and Texas counties, in the work.  The lands are broken and hilly, some portions being high table land, and well adapted to fruit and grape culture.  The valleys, though generally narrow, are very fertile.  The scenery in many portions of the county is truly grand and picturesque, the streams are clear and rapid, and the narrow, deep, rocky ravines and chasms, shaded by heavy forests of pine, render it a place of some attraction to the admirers of wild and romantic scenery.  King’s Mount is a high central point, or water shed, from which streams run in every direction. 
Population in 1860, 3251.

 

IRON COUNTY

In the southeastern part of the State, is very appropriately named.  It is emphatically the Iron county of the Union, possessing probably a greater quantity of iron ores, of purer qualities, than the same area of territory, anywhere else on the face of the globe.  Pilot Knob, which towers 581 feet above the bloomery at its base, or 1118 feet higher than the level of Mississippi at St. Louis, covers an area of 360 acres, is principally of iron ore, which yields in working 65 percent.  The upper 141 feet of the knob is estimated to contain 31,299,012,554 pounds, or 13,972,772 tons of iron ore’ then there are 440 feet of ore below, widening as it descends-its depth below the surface is unknown.  The quality for many purposes, inferior to none.  Shepherd Mountain, is situated about 1 ¾ miles west of south from Pilot Knob.  This formation is 79 feet higher than Pilot Knob is of an oblong shape, lying northeast and southwest, nearly two miles in length, by one in width.  The ores found in this Mountain are magnetic and specular oxide, and a mixture of the two.  Thousands of specimens of magnetic ore (commonly called by them “loadstone”, have been procured at Shepherd’s Mountain by visitors, as a curiosity on account of its polarity.  There are several other mountains and hills of iron.  Lead ore, gold-bearing sand, immense beds of fine marble, kalolin, for the manufacture of iron-stone chineware, etc., are found in this county.  The principal portion of the county is mountainous and broken, and great portions of the land unfit for general farming purposes, but generally heavily timbered with oaks, hickories, elm, ash, black walnut, hackberry, locust, red cedar and yellow pine.  The valleys are fertile, and many of the hill sides peculiarly adapted to fruit culture.  Some of the farmers and fruit growers in southeast Missouri have farms that now produce well, although they have been bearing crops for more than 25 years past.  An extended, illustrative notice of this county, its history and capabilities will be found in “Missouri As It Is” –pages 274-279.  Unsurpassed inducements for capitalists and mechanics.  Population in 1860, 5,433.  Principal towns, Ironton, Pilot, Know, Arcadia, and Middlebrook

 

JASPER COUNTY

Situated in the southwest corner of the State, is bounded on the west by the Kansas State line, and separated from Arkansas by Newton and McDonald counties.  The surface of the country is gently undulating, with about two-thirds prairie, and the remainder timber land.  The prairies are very fertile, interspersed with streams of pure running water, the courses of which are skirted with timber.  The southern part of the county is under laid with mountain limestone, containing numerous and extensive deposits of lead and zinc.  As an agricultural region, this stands high-all kinds of grain, grasses, fruit and vegetable yield good crops.  The heavy yield of grasses, abundance of clear, cold spring branches, and the mild climate, renders this well adapted for stock growing.  Manufactures and capitalists will find on Spring River alone, at least fifty sites, furnishing good water power, unimproved.  Good openings for all kinds of mechanics.  There is an oil spring in township 34, range 28.  Population in 1860, 6,607.  Towns, Carthage, Sarcoxie, Fidelity, Sherwood, &c.

 

JACKSON COUNTY

Is situated in the northwestern portion of the State, bounded on the north by the Missouri river, and on the west by the Kansas State line.  The county has an undulating surface, with a desirable division of prairie and timber, underlaid with limestone, well adapted for building purposes, and is well watered.  The soil is very fertile, producing the heaviest yields of all kinds of agricultural products.  The agricultural, manufacturing and commercial resources of Jackson county are second to but one or two in the State, and in some respects it has no equal.  The Union Pacific railroad is completed and in operation from Kansas City, west, to Lawrence, and is being pushed forward with all possible dispatch.  The Pacific railroad of Missouri will be completed to Kansas City, probably, early in June, thus making a continuous line from Kansas City to St Louis and the East.  Capitalists, manufacturers, farmers, mechanics, or any class of business men will here find ample scope for the profitable employment of the capital, labor and skill.  The principal towns in the county are Independence, the county seat, Kansas City, the heaviest commercial point west of St Louis, Westport, Sibley, Lone Jack, New Santa Fe, etc.  Population 1860, 19,166.

 

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Is situated in the east central part of the State, bounded on the east by the Mississippi river.  In the northern and eastern portions of the county the land is generally undulating and fertile; and in the western and southern hilly and sterile.  A great proportion of the county is heavily timbered, and the land more valuable for mineral than agricultural purposes.  The best farming lands are found along the Maramec and Big Rivers, the Platin, Sandy and Joaquim creeks.  Big River is the largest stream that traverses the county, which in ordinary seasons would be considered a creek, but it rises rapidly, retains its maximum but a few hours, and runs out rapidly.  The scenery along some of the streams is beautiful, and the limestone bluffs about Selma and Rush Tower have an elevation of from 250 to 300 feet, which at a distance, resemble artificial towers.  There are no “gravely ridges” but will produce excellent fruit.  One farmer has 9,000 peach trees in on orchard, and we seldom see better peaches anywhere.  This county appears to contain an inexhaustible amount of lead ore, also immense beds of iron, copper, white sand, etc., etc.  Principal towns, Hillsboro, DeSoto, Selma, and Victoria.  Population in 1860, 8, 861.

 

JOHNSON COUNTY

Is situated in the western part of the State, separated from the Kansas State line by Cass county.  A great proportion of the county is fertile prairie land, level or slightly undulating, interspersed here and there with forest trees and small groves of thrifty young timber.  The county is well watered by streams, many of which originate in never-failing springs.  The numerous saline springs are highly prized by stock growers.  Plumbago, or black oxide of manganese is found in Township 44, Range 24 West, section 6, which is susceptible of a fine polish, makes a clear black mark, and is used for pencils.  Excellent limestone, and a five-feet thick vein of coal also exist here.  A great proportion of the county is well adapted to agriculture, in all its branches.  Stock growing will pay well.  The Pacific railroad traverses the county, furnishing a speedy transit for all farm products to market – passing through the center of the county.  The principal towns are Warrensburg, Knob, Noster, Kingsville, Columbus, Fayetteville, Rose Hill, Cornelia, Holden, etc.  Population in 1860, 13, 080.

 

KNOX COUNTY

In the northeastern part of the State, is separated from the Mississippi river by Lewis county, and from the Iowa line by Scotland county.  The face of the country is undulating, with a desirable division of prairie and timberland.  The soil is well adapted to all farming purposes, and there is no better location for stock-raising.
Cattle and sheep do very well.  Land is good and cheap.  Some farms are offered for less than the improvements cost, because the “atmosphere is too loyal” for the owners, and the rebels are compelled to ‘secede”.  All classes of farmers, mechanics and businessmen will find good inducements to locate here.  Population in 1860, 1.553.  Principal towns, Edina, Newark, Jeddo and Colony

 

LACLEDE COUNTY

Is situated in the south central part of the State, was formed in 1849, from a portion of Pulaski, and named in honor of Pierre Laclede Liguest, the founder of St. Louis.  The county is situated upon the high table lands of the Ozark range, and presents a variety of surface, from the level or moderately undulating prairie, to rugged hills and miniature mountains.  In the vicinity of Big Niangua, Gasconade, and Osage Fork, the hills range from 155 to 500 feet in height, separated from each other by deep and narrow valleys.  The soil of the upland is various; the light and gravelly portions are well adapted to fruit culture, and particularly favorable for grapes; while in the post-oak flats, the subsoil of clay comes nearer the surface.  For many purposes this soil is superior to the alluvial, and has produced as high as 55 bushels of wheat to the acre, from 800 to 1200 pounds of tobacco and most excellent timothy and grasses.  There are in the county probably 100,000 acres of rich alluvial bottomland, much of which is under a good state of cultivation.  Both iron and lead are found in the county.  There are 190,000 acres of Government land subject to entry.  Population in 1860, 4,861.

 

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

 Is situated on the right bank of the Missouri river, and separated from the Kansas line by Jackson county.  The general character of the land is level or gently undulating-in some portions somewhat broken or rough.  By passing over the country between Marshal and Lexington, the traveler sees some as fine country as there is in Missouri.  The soil throughout the county is generally very productive, and well adapted to all the purposes of the farmers who have produced to the acres, tobacco 800 pounds; corn 100 bushels;  wheat, 25 bushels; timothy, 2 tons; Hungarian grass, 3 tons, and fruit and vegetables in proportion.  As high as 2200 pounds of hemp have been produced per acre.  On the 18th of February 45 bales of choice hemp were sold in St. Louis, for the handsome price of $190 per ton.  The hemp was grown by Mr. Fristow of the county.  Farmers will see at a glance that this county is very well adapted to all the purposes of agriculture.  The class of people most needed are qualified school teachers, practical farmers and mechanics, who have capital in improve land or establish manufactories; also carpenters, plasterers and masons.  They will find here good schools and churches, good society, fertile farming land, healthy climate, wood and stone coal abundant, springs and rapid streams of water, etc.  Principal towns, Lexington, Waverly, Middletown, Wellington, Dover, Chapel Hill, etc.  Population in 1860, 13763.

 

LAWRENCE COUNTY 

Is situated in the southwestern part of the State, separated from the Kansas line by Jasper and Newton, and from Arkansas by Barry county.  The face of the country is undulating, and in some sections broken, with prairie and timber well diversified.  It is well watered by streams which have their sources at large springs, and are peculiarly clear and flow over gravel and rocky beds.  The valleys are fertile, well timbered, and susceptible of the highest degree of cultivation, while the high prairies, with their broad acres of grass, are unsurpassed for grazing.  The mildness of the climate, and bountiful supply of living water, render this a desirable portion of the State for stock growing and fruit culture-especially the grape.  The natural advantages of the county are great, but like many other counties in the State, there is here a deplorable lack of energy manifest among the leading men; consequently the various industrial pursuits are not represented in a manner corresponding with the advantageous location and natural resources.  Lead and iron ore abound in the county.  There is also good water power for manufactories.  Population in 1860, 9,062.

 

LEWIS COUNTY 

It is situated on the Mississippi river, in the northeastern portion of the State.  The surface is undulating and diversified, about one-half of the county being well timbered with forests or groves, distributed along the water courses, and separated by beautiful upland meadows or prairies, the soil of which is deep, fertile, and easy cultivated.  The largest yield per acre that we have note of are – wheat 25 bushels; corn 80; rye 12; barley 20; oats 50; buckwheat 40; potatoes 150; onions 200; beets 200; turnips 500; timothy 3 tons; clover 2 tons; Hungarian grass 5 tons; and tobacco 1200 pounds.  Coal has been discovered near Monticello, and in some other portions of the county.  Limestone abounds in various localities.  Principal towns, Monticello, Canton, and LaGrange.  Population in 1860, 10,419.

 

LINCOLN COUNTY 

Is situated in the eastern part of the State, and possesses both prairie and timber-level bottom land, and undulating and broken upland.  It is drained by Cruivre (or Copper) river, and its lengthy branches, and by several small creeks which empty into the Mississippi.  A wide bottom extends along the river, which is exceedingly fertile, and in seasons of very high water, portions of it are subject to overflow.  Hard wood timber and good building stone are abundant throughout the county.  The soil is generally admirably adapted to all agricultural purposes.  This county was formed from a part of St. Charles county, in 1818, and a portion of it was at an early day covered with Spanish grants, which retarded its settlement.  In 1823 the Cuivre was considered navigable several miles above its mouth.  Farmers, stock-growers, and all classes of loyal  business men will here find openings for business.  Population in 1860, 11,362.  Principal towns, Troy, Louisville, New Hope, Cape au Gris and Auburn.

 

LINN COUNTY 

Is situated in the northwestern portion of the State, and has an area of 650 square miles.  The principal portion of the land is rolling prairie, interspersed with woodland.  It is watered by upwards of twelve streams, traversing the county from north to south, and emptying into Grand River.  The larger streams are Locust creek, West Fork of Locust creek, Elk, Turkey, Yellow and Little Yellow creeks, some which afford excellent water power.  The soil of the county is generally very fertile-principally prairie, wit a good supply of woodland well distributed.  All kinds of grain, grasses, and fruit of this latitude produce well here.  The timber most abundant here is walnut, elm, hackberry, oaks, ash, cherry, hickory, mulberry, sycamore, linn, maple, birch and cottonwood.  There is an abundance of good building stone, and inexhaustible beds of coal throughout the county.  Principal towns, Linneus, Laclede, Wyandotte, Brookfield, Franklin, St. Catharine, Thayer, North Salem and Enterprise.  Population in 1860, 8,555.  Unentered land in March, 1865, 1,480 acres.

 

LIVINGSTON COUNTY

 Is situated in the northwestern part of the State, and contains an area of 530 square miles.  The surface of the county is generally level or slightly rolling, and the soil admirably adapted to the production of all kinds of grain, grasses, fruit and vegetables that flourish in this latitude.  (See description of “The Grand River County” – of which this forms a part _ in “Missouri As It Is” pages 103-108.)  Stock-growers will find here an excellent location for the profitable prosecution of that enterprise.  Lead has been found in several localities, and banks are already opened near Utica, and at other points in the county, which will in some measure compensate for the scarcity of timber.  Principal towns Chillicoth, Utica, Bedford, and Dawn.  Population in 1860, 6,833.

  

 

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