Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

ence for his new location over the bleak climate he had left. I saw but one desirous of selling and removing, and but one house having on it a handbill as being in market. Most of these farms were just carved out of the woods, showing piles of roots that had been grubbed up. They were, of course, rough looking, like all new clearings in a new country; but the hand of industry was rapidly taming their wildness, and bringing them into prime condition. The general testimony was, that one day's labor on this soil would accomplish twice as much work as if expended on the heavy or strong soil from which they had migrated.

Such was the condition of the farms bought within six months or a year. Those which had been taken up by the first settlers, those of two and ahalf years ago, presented a very different appear

The genial and tractable soil had enabled their owners to work a great transformation even in that brief period. From most of these the stumps had wholly disappeared. Great fields of grain were whitening to the harvest; many acres of peach and apple orchards were to be seen, the former promising to yield a crop the coming season; gardens were full of fine vegetables; the front upon the road had been trimmed up and seeded to grass, while shrubbery and flowers were visible on many of the lawns. Of the thirty-acre farm of Mr. William 0. H. Guynneth, a brief notice may serve as an illustration. This gentleman is from Boston, and was among the earliest of the settlers. He bought thirty acres, then utterly wild, now completely tamed. His dwelling-house is so beautifnl a structure as to command admiration anywhere. He has planted orchards, now growing finely, and has acres of excellent wheat. His large cornfield showed as fine a growth as farmer could desire, and so also did his

ance.

clover crop.

I walked over his ample garden, vineyard, and fruit grounds. Every kind of ordinary garden truck was growing with a luxuriance altogether unexpected, and fully equal to the average of that on lands that sell readily at seven times the cost of his. Several hundred grape vines, Concord, Isabella, and Catawba, two years planted, showed such an excess of fruit as to compel Mr. Guynneth to remove at least half. In no section of New Jersey have I seen the grape vine grow so rampantly as in this ground. Cherry trees, pears, and other fruits, flourished equally well. It was the same with strawberries, gooseberries, and blackberries. This ground had not received a particle of manure. What it now is affords a practical illustration of the real value of this section of New Jersey-three years ago a forest, now the productive and really elegant home of an intelligent and accomplished family.

On reaching the extreme boundary of the Vineland tract, I called on Mr. Robert G. Brandriff, who has here cultivated a farm of 90 acres during the last eleven years. This length of tillage I judged likely to show what was the real stamina of this soil-whether it had any enduring heart in it, or whether it would speedily run down to barrenness. As Mr. Brandriff's land was of even lighter character than that of Vineland, its behavior under long cropping would afford a favorable test for the whole neighborhood. He gave me, without reserve, all the particulars of a truly remarkable history, with permission to use them.

Eleven years ago, this farm was covered with forest. The owner offered it to Mr. Brandriff for $400 for the 90 acres, and an ample time for payment, and being a storekeeper a few miles off, added the important help of a credit on his books for supplies för family use, and materials for buildings, to the amount of $600. At this time Mr. Brandriff was not possessed of a dollar; but he went to work, cleared up his land little by little, a few acres yearly, and thus conquered all difficulties, until now he has 60 acres in cultivation, from which his receipts, in 1863, were $2,000. His family consists of six persons, who have lived well during all this time. His fences and buildings cost him some $1600. He keeps four cows, pigs, and one horse, by which all the work on the easily tilled soil of the farm is done. He hires but one man, except in busy times. For the wants of his family, and the prosecution of other improvements, his annual outlay is $1,000.

Mr. Brandriff showed me his account book for the eleven years he had been at work, in which all his receipts and expenditures were clearly entered, with the balance accurately struck at each year's end. His farm is now worth $6,000, and he has abundant property outside of it to represent any debt he owes.

His residence here has not been the

hum-drum existence of a mere sandpiper or woodchuck. He is a keen sportsman with line and gun. At the proper season he plunges into the forest that covers much of this section of New Jersey, camps out at night as naturally as an Indian, considers sleep of no consequence when compared with a coon hunt, and is a dead shot at any unlucky deer that crosses his path. The huge antlers hanging up in his shed afford evidence of his skill with the rifle. At other times he visits the neighboring waters of Delaware Bay, where squadrons of wild ducks make generous contributions to his fondness for the gun.

Mr. Brandriff sells his crops at Milville, two miles from his farm. His wheat crop has been 20 bushels per acre, 75 of shelled corn, 200 of round potatoes, 100 of sweet, 560 of carrots, 620 of turnips, while his cabbages pay $100 per acre, and of grass the yield is two to three tons. For manure, his main dependence is on the home product, sometimes using the fertilizers. The particulars of his experience have been thus recited as affording unanswerable evidence of the character of nearly all the land in this heretofore neglected region of New Jersey. Much of it is superior to this particular farm.

The visitor to Vineland cannot fail to notice the absence of fences, even in a ride of fifty miles. No farms have been fenced in, and not a dozen town lots. It had been calculated that $5,000,000 would be required to do the fencing of the whole tract. To save the settlement from this useless tax, Mr. Landis invoked the aid of the Legislature. A new township was erected, bearing his name, in which the running at large of cattle and swine was prohibited-thus each settler fences in his own stock only, and is saved the great cost of fencing out the vicious road-thieves of his neighbors. No other township in New Jersey is found with a similar regulation.

Another peculiarity will be noticed—the total absence of grog-shops, with gangs of loafers congregated about their doors.

The law erecting Landis township gave to the people the power of saying whether rum should be sold there or not. So far they have rigidly refused to have it among them, and the character of the settlers coming in will guarantee exclusion in the future. The fine hotel which accommodates strangers has been at no expense for either bar or toddy-stick. These two enactments were portions of Mr. Landis's original plan, and afford satisfactory evidence of the sound morals and practical good sense which he has brought to bear in carrying it out.

No one can spend a day at this place without being strongly impressed in its favor, nor converse with its proprietor without being struck with his remarkable executive capacity. His whole enterprise of settling a tract of forty-five square miles of wild land, has been conceived and carried out on the most comprehensive scale. It is now successfully established on what was three years ago a perfect solitude, by the energy of a single capacious mind. I have seen much of the process of making new settlements on the waste places of the earth; but

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »