deposit," though called by other writers loess. At Grand Tower, where the Mississippi has worn for itself this narrow gorge or pass through the rocks, the current rushes and roars and tumbles along at such a mill-flume rate, that the passage by boats either up or down stream, is difficult and dangerous * And it was here that the river pirates had their stronghold in the early days of keel-boat traffic between St. Louis and New Orleans. They permitted no traders to pass this point without paying such tribute as they chose to levy; and upon the least show of resistance, they would rob, murder and plunder without remedy. If the human history of this place could be written, it would be full of blood-curdling incidents, and deeds of violence by rude and murderous men.

The following table of elevations above tide water in the Gulf of Mexico will give a general idea of the heights reached by this southern

upland region:

Granby, Newton county, (farthest southwest) 1,030 feet.

Marshfield, in Webster county, 96 miles from the west line

of the state 1,462"

Ohio City, opposite mouth of the Ohio river 272"

New Madrid, 30 miles farther south 247"

St. Louis directrix, (or register) 372"

Base of Pilot Knob 909"

Top of Pilot Knob 1,490"

It will thus be seen that the top of Pilot Knob, at the eastern end of our south border highlands, is only twenty-eight feet higher than Marshfield, near the western end.


The Mississippi river bounds the state on the east for a distance of more than 500 miles. The Missouri washes the western boundary of the state from the northwest corner southwardly, some 250 miles, to the mouth of the Kansas, whence it takes a course south of east, through the heart of the state to its junction with the Mississippi, a distance of nearly 400 miles, presenting a river front from these two majestic streams of 1,550 miles. Besides these mighty streams, are many smaller rivers, more or less navigable for steamboats and barges. On the south, or the right

*A small work published at Davenport, Iowa, in 1856, describes this place as "a gorge where the river has in some remote geological age burst through a limestone mountain ridge, making a dangerous rocky pass, and Washing the cliff into strange, fantastic forms." And the western poet nearly 30 years ago, thus described the spot:

"Here Nature sports with Art in rocky towers,
Quarried by the wave, or lifts in Doric state
Abraded pillars to the corniced cliff;
And through sharp angles, narrows, flume and gorge,
Tho wildered waters, plunging, roar and foam—
Scylla and Charybdis of no mythic tale."

bank of the Missouri, the Gasconade, Osage and La Mine are navigable; on the Osage, steamboats make regular trips as high as Warsaw, and barges and keel-boats may pass as high as the state line. On the left bank of the Missouri, the Platte, Chariton and Grand rivers are navigable for keel-boats and barges; and small steamers have made a few trips on their waters. The other important streams of the state are the Des Moines, Salt, Meramec, St. Francis and White rivers, all of which on rare occasions have been navigated by steamers. There are large numbers of smaller streams called rivers and creeks.

There are places in all our streams, except the Mississippi and Missouri, where they might be dammed and made to drive the machinery of mills and factories. Rock beds to support dams and make them permanent are to be found in many localities on the Osage, Niangua, Pomme du Terre, Sac, Spring river, Big river, Castor, Bourbeuse, Gasconade, St. Francis, Current, White, Grand, La Mine, Meramec, etc. No country is better supplied with bold springs of pure water. Many of them are remarkable for their size and volume.

There is, on the whole, no state in the Union better supplied with an abundance of wholesome, living water for stock and domestic uses; and it abounds in springs, splendidly situated for dairy business, with water at a uniform temperature below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There are no lakes in the state except a few small ones in the extreme southeastern counties.


Mineral Springs occur in every part of the state. There are excellent salt springs in Cooper, Saline, Howard and adjoining counties. Sulphur springs that have become known as places of summer resort, are: The Chouteau springs in Cooper county; Monagan springs in St. Clair county; Elk springs in Pike county; Cheltenham springs in St. Louis county. And Prof. Swallow says there are sulphur springs in half the counties of the state. Sweet springs, on Blackwater creek, are what are called chalybeate waters, containing some of the salts of iron; and there are a few others of this class. Petroleum or tar springs occur in Carroll, Ray, Randolph, Cass, Lafayette, Bates, Vernon, and other counties, and furnish a good lubricating oil in large quantities. In the south part of the State there are numerous fresh water springs of such great flowage as to be utilized for water power. One called Bryce's spring, on the Niangua river, which runs through Dallas, Hickory and Camden counties, discharges 10,927,872 cubic feet of water per day, drives a large flouring mill, and flows away a river 42 yards wide. This is the largest one, of these big springs. The temperature of its water is steadily at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the flowage uniform throughout the year.


As late as 1830 the greater part of Missouri was still marked on common school geography maps as part of the great American desert; and in 1820, even our own great statesman, Thomas H. Benton, had written: "After you get 40 or 50 miles from the Mississippi, arid plains set in and the country is uninhabitable except upon the borders of the rivers and creeks." But our present knowledge of Missouri's climate, soils and products show how widely mistaken our wisest people were on this subject in those early days.

Prof. Swallow, Dean of the State Agricultural College at Columbia (State University), has given the soils of the state a classification adapted to the popular understanding, by using names that everybody can read and know what they mean, instead of technical scientific terms known only to a few who have had a college education. And as this history is designed for the masses of the people, and to a large extent for the farmers, we give a condensed statement of Prof. Swallow's classification.

Those known as hackberry lands are first in fertility and productiveness. Upon these lands also grow elm, wild cherry, honey locust, hickory, white, black, burr and chestnut oaks, black and white walnut, mulberry, linden, ash, poplar, catalpa, sassafras and maple. The prairie soils of about the same quality, if not identical, are known as crow foot lands, so called from a species of weed found upon them, and these two soils generally join each other where the timber and prairie lands meet. Both rest upon a bed of fine silicious marls. They cover more than seven million acres of land. On this soil white oaks have been found twenty-nine feet in circumference and one hundred feet high; linden twenty-three feet in circumference and quite as lofty; the burr oak and sycamore grow still larger. Prairie grasses, on the crowfoot lands, grow very rank and tall, and by the old settlers were said to entirely conceal herds of cattle from the view.

The elm lands, are scarcely inferior to the hackberry lands, and possess very nearly the same growth of other timber. The soil has about the same properties, except that the sand is finer and the Clay more abundant The same quality of soil appears in the prairie known as the resin-weed lands.

Next in order are hickory lands, with a growth of white and shellbark hickory, black, scarlet and laurel oaks, sugar maple, persimmon and the haw, red-bud and crab-apple trees of smaller growth. In some portions of the state the tulip tree, beech and black gum grow on lands of the same quality. Large areas of prairie in the northeast and the southwest have soils of nearly the same quality, called mulatto soils. There is also a soil lying upon the red clays of southern Missouri similar to the above. These hickory lands and those described as assimilating to them, are highly esteemed by the farmers for the culture of corn, wheat and other cereals. They are admirably adapted to the cultivation of fruits, and their blue grass pastures are equal to any in the state. Their area may be fairly estimated at six millions of acres.

The magnesian limestone soils extend from Callaway county south to the Arkansas line, and from Jefferson west to Polk county, an area of about ten millions of acres. These soils are dark, warm, light and very productive. They produce black and white walnut, black gum, white and wahoo elms, sugar maple, honey locust, mulberry, chestnut, post, laurel, black, scarlet and Spanish oaks, persimmon, blue ash, and many trees of smaller growth. They cover all the country underlaid by the magnesian limestone series, but are inconvenient for ordinary tillage when they occupy the hillsides or narrow valleys. Among the most fertile soils in the state, they produce fine crops of almost all the staples; and thrifty and productive fruit trees and grape vines evince their extraordinary adaptation and fitness to the culture of the grape and other fruits.

On the ridges, where the lighter materials of the soil have been washed away, or were originally wanting, white oak lands are to be found, the oaks accompanied by shellbark and black hickory, and trees and shrubs of smaller growth. While the surface soil is not so rich as the hickory lands, the sub-soil is quite as good, and the land may be greatly improved by turning the sub-soil to the surface. These produce superior wheat, good corn, and a very fine quality of tobacco. On these lands fruits are abundant and a sure crop. They embrace about one and a half million of acres.

Post oak lands have about the same growth as the white oak lands, and produce good crops of the staples of the country, and yield the best tobacco in the West. Fruits of all kinds excel on this soil. These lands require deep culture.

The blackjack lands occupy the high flint ridges underlaid with hornstone and sandstone, and under these conditions are considered the poorest in the state, except for pastures and vineyards. The presence, however, of black jack on other lands does not indicate thin or poor lands.

Pine lands are extensive, embracing about two millions of acres. The pines (pints mitis, yellow pine), grow to great size, and furnish immense supplies of marketable lumber. They are accompanied by heavy growths of oak, which takes the country as successor to the pine. The soil is sandy and is adapted to small grains and grasses.

Bisecting the state by a line drawn from the city of Hannibal, on the Mississippi river, to its southwest corner, the half lying to the north and west of this line may be described as the prairie region of the state, with the rare advantage that every county is bountifully supplied with timber and with rivers and smaller streams of water. That which lies east and south of the bisecting line is the timbered or forest section, in which are found numerous prairies of greater or less extent.

The prairie lands are again divided into bottom and upland prairies. The bottom prairies closely resemble in soil the river bottoms. In a certain sense, the formation is identical; each came from accretions, one from the rivers and the other from the higher or upland prairies. The marl formation is the foundation of both and in both it is deeply buried under the modern alluvium.

The celebrated and eloquent orator, Henry Ward Beecher, paid the following brilliant tribute to our grand state:

"The breadth of land from the Red River country of the far North, stretching to the Gulf of Mexico, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iow'a, Missouri, Kansas and Texas is one of the most wonderful agricultural spectacles of the globe! It is one of the few facts that are unthinkable! In this ocean of land, and at nearly its centre, Stands The Imperial State Of Missouri. Even a Kansas man admits that in natural qualifications it leads all the rest, and is the crown and glory of the Union! It has boundless treasures of coal, iron, lead and other minerals; lands richer there cannot be, nor finer streams; its forests are more equally distributed all over the state than in any other; its climate, wholesome and delightful, blends the temperature of the northern lakes and the great southern gulf."

Horace Greely said: "Missouri possesses the resources and capacities of a nation within the boundaries of a State."


Animals.—Missouri has been the feeding ground for vast herds of the choicest of the large game animals up to the present generation. Old hunters and trappers, still living, tell marvelous stories of their exploits with the gun. As civilization and population advanced westward their numbers decreased, yet Missouri is still furnishing a very large proportion of the game for the markets of all the large cities of the United States. Even London receives large shipments, every winter, from St. Louis. From October 1st to February 1st, of every year, there is not an express car arriving in St. Louis which does not bring large consignments of game. The quantity is enormous, and far beyond the knowledge of every one except those engaged in the trade, or whose duties bring them in contact with the facts.

Elk, buffalo, antelope and bear formerly abounded in this state, but are now nearly or quite driven entirely beyond our borders. Red deer are still plentiful in some parts of the state. In fact, the Ozark Mountains and the swamp lands of southeast Missouri constitute a great deer park and game preserve, and will continue to do so until immigration crowds out the game. It is a notorious fact, that venison sells as cheaply as good beef in St. Louis markets, during the winter season.

« ForrigeFortsett »