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200 to 300 bushels per acre. Grapes, melons, and berries of all kinds, produce largely. In the wild blackberry trade alone, almost incredible quantities are gathered by women and children, and sent to market.
Before the construction of the Delaware Railroad, thousands of acres in the central and southern portions of the State were shut in from market. Hence there are vast quantities of virgin land, more or less wooded, whose timber is to be felled, and whose soil developed by the hand of industry. Much timber is still standing along and near the railroad. A profitable business is done in getting out ship timber, while the railroad is constantly requiring wood for fuel and ties for the track. Distant roads are buying ties almost without limit. Numerous tracts of such timber land are for sale. As an illustration of their general character, I copy a single advertisement of a farm of nearly 300 acres, which, finding no purchaser at $25 per acre, was withdrawn from sale :
“ With the exception of 50 acres cleared, it is all covered with the heaviest timber to be found anywhere in the State, including heart and yellow Pine, Cypress, Beech, Chestnut, Gum, Poplar, &c., with some scattering White Oak. Most of the large pine timber is perfectly straight, and they run up 60 to 110 feet before the first limb is reached. A great many of them will make from 4,000 to 5,000 feet of lumber each. Many of the cypress trees are from four to six feet in diameter three feet above the ground, and will yield from 5,000 to 8,000 shingles each. The soil of the tract is a deep, black, yellow muck, from three to five feet in depth, thoroughly drained by county ditches, and when cleared will yield from 50 to 100 bushels of shelled corn per acre, and other crops in proportion. On the cleared part there is a small dwelling and outbuildings, and some few fruit trees of various kinds. A good opening for a steam mill.”
Thirty such announcements might be quoted, the terms of payment being in all cases extremely accommodating to the buyer. With reference to the timbered land, it may be added that there are numerous mill seats, with flour and saw-mills in operation, and much unused water-power. Many of the latter are for sale at reasonable prices. As fuel is abundant and cheap, so steam power may be and is used to advantage.
The lumber question will be one of interest to many readers. It ranks among the most extensive interests in the country. While in the Free States the forests have been melting away before the axe of the freeman, those in the Slave States have remained comparatively undisturbed. Delaware abounds with tracts of invaluable forests of hard and soft woods, which wait only for the hand of Northern enterprise to lay them low. The lumber could be worked up in many profitable ways. The neighboring market of Philadelphia would consume immense quantities. With an influx of population there will be an increased demand for saw-mills. In new village sites already selected, two or three are needed now. There will also be a demand for planing-mills and sash factories. Turning establishments will pay, as black gum, the best material for carriage hubs, is very abundant. They now leave these woods in rough blocks, to be manufactured else
where, instead of being more cheaply turned on the spot where they grew. Spokes and axe-helves could be produced at the lowest cost. Now, Connecticut comes to these Delaware woods and takes away quantities of hickory logs, converts them into spokes and axe-handles, and then brings them back among the very people where the timber grew, and where they could be more cheaply turned. It is the same with manufactories of agricultural implements, with tanneries and other indispensable employments. . But one of the greatest wants is a development of the vast deposits of muck which are found in many places. These masses of decayed fertilizers are deposited in basins along the creeks, many feet in depth. But so far they have shared the general neglect. It will be the task, as well as the remuneration, of enterprising settlers, to seize and appropriate these abounding deposits of manure.
Until within a very few years, Delaware has been a comparatively sealed book. It had but one or two railroads. There was no thorough view of the country to be had-no ready ingress, no ready egress. Moreover, it was blasted by dominion of the slave power, and few desired to know what it really was, because none were willing to remove into a slave region. Land was consequently unsalable; but this condition of things has undergone a mighty change. Railroads have been built, which open up to public observation a region heretofore of difficult access to travellers, slavery is certain to be speedily wiped out, and immigrants are pouring in. Even yet the price of land is very low, ranging from ten
to forty dollars per acre.
Farms with house and outbuildings, fences and fruit trees, within three or four miles of a railroad station, of fair quality and in fair condition, may be obtained for from twenty to thirty dollars per acre. The purchaser can take as much or as little land as he wants. Kent and Sussex counties contain much of this description.
After soil and price have been considered, the vicinity to market is to be looked at. Here it is near and accessible daily by railroad. Products, such as in the West would perish for want of buyers, here find ready sale at high prices. Philadelphia, New York and Boston, are all reached in a few hours. New lines of railroads and steamboats leading direct to New York, are in progress, and when opened will enlarge the present outlets for all kinds of produce. At certain points along the Delaware Railroad there are large establishments for canning peaches, in which hundreds of hands are employed. That portion of the crop which goes to market from the tree, takes the daily train to New York in the afternoon, and reaches that city by daylight the next morning
In some sections there has already been a marked change in the value of real estate, in consequence of the opening of new railroads, and of the public attention having been directed to these lands. About Middletown, in New Castle county, land which some years ago was thrown out into commons as worthless, cannot be obtained now for less than one to two hundred dollars per acre.
Farms in Kent county, now obtainable at from $15 to $40, must within a few years command $75 to $100 per acre. Such are some of the inducements to a settlement in Delaware. If the reader has by this time learned how to get a farm, it is very certain that here he can find one. Population is scarce, land is abundant, and consequently cheap. There are hundreds of owners who, insensible of the advantages they possess, are overstocked with land, and desirous of selling
The opening of railroads here, as elsewhere, attracted enterprising men from abroad. Among the most active of these is Mr. Alfred T. Johnston, of Milford, in Sussex county, on the Junction and Breakwater Railroad, six miles from Delaware Bay, a hundred from Philadelphia by rail, and at the head of navigation on the Mispillion river. Here the fisheries are very productive, and shipbuilding is extensively carried on. In population Milford ranks next to Wilmington, the second town in the State. Mr. Johnston came from Pennsylvania and settled, five years ago, in Milford. Being shrewd and enterprising, he soon discovered the wants of the region, and the numerous openings for settlement that it presented. He made himself thoroughly acquainted with the land and with those owners who desired to sell, then devoted himself to introducing settlers by making the outside world acquainted with the capabilities of Delaware lands. These were such as to attract hundreds from all parts of the Union. He has introduced so large a population as to change majorities at the polls. In the summer of 1864 I went among some of the set