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Established: Jan. 5, 1835
County Seat: Bolivar
(This townnamed 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
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]