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Established: Jan. 5, 1835
Parent County: Greene
County Seat: Bolivar
(This town named for Bolivar, Tennessee, home to many of the original settlers)
Named After: U.S. President James K. Polk
Is situated in the southwestern portion of the State. The topography of this county is agreeably diversified with rolling prairies, picturesque hills and wooded valleys. The surface is generally undulating, except along the streams, where it is broken in many places by rugged cliffs, and rocky hills. The county is very well watered by creeks and springs.
In the bottoms of the Pomme de Terre, the remains of the mastodon and mammoth, with other species now extinct have been found imbedded,
with the bones of the bear, buffalo, elk, etc. The most productive soils of the upland is on the limestone hills of the Sac and its tributaries, while
the bottomlands or valleys of the same streams are unsurpassed in fertility. In some parts of the county the land is poor, and the timbered ridges too rocky and sterile for cultivation. Tobacco is a sure and profitable crop. The soil is well adapted to cereals, roots and grasses that flourish in this latitude; corn, oats, wheat and timothy are considered as certain crops. Apples, pears, peaches and plums yield plentifully.
Grape culture would prove very successful-indigenous varieties grow in abundance. Owing to the want of the facilities for transportation to market, (until the Southwest Branch is completed), stock growing will probably be the most pleasant and profitable business for farmers.
In past years 2000 horses and mules have been taken to the cotton states, and a much larger number of cattle to St. Louis and other markets.
Sheep thrive well, the climate being most favorable to their growth. There are four steam and five waterpower mills, two distilleries and four carding machines in the county. These remarks will generally apply to adjoining counties. [Source: "The Missouri handbook", P.M. Pinckard, St. Louis, 1865. Transcribed by Donna Walton]