Page 879


Goodspeed’s 1891 Biographical Memoirs


Carter, of Morehouse Parish, LA. 15 years of age and that they were both on their feet at the time the ceremony was performed and appeared to look in fine health.  Friday the 19th of June, 1857.


M.M. Fleming, Judge


Ashley is the second county from the Mississippi River, on the southern border of the State; the Ouachita River to the mouth of the Saline and thence up the Saline to the Drew County line, making the western boundary.  Drew County is on the north and Chicot on the east.  The county is thirty nine miles at the longest place, east and west, and twenty seven miles north and south, and has an area of 950 square miles or 608,000 acres.  The whole of this, barring about 35,000 acres of bottom land on Saline and Ouachita Rivers, is susceptible of cultivation.  As these lands are subject to annual overflows, they are in the consequence used as range for hogs and cattle, the cane brakes affording one pasturage during the winter for cattle, to say nothing of the mast and grass, which are seemingly inexhaustible.  The width of the bottom lands on this side are from two to three miles, all of which is covered with a magnificent growth of hardwood timber.  Down south, extends the dividing ridge between the Ouachita and Saline Rivers on the west, and Bayou Bartholomew on the east.  This divide has on its summit all the isolated expanses of prairie situated in this county, but the larger part of it is covered with heavy timber.  The surface is best described as one long swell succeeding swell, becoming gradually higher as they near the center, and receding each way.  Nowhere have they an altitude of more than twenty-five feet above the bottom lands of hte Saline and Ouachita Rivers, or fifty feet above the bayou bottoms.  All the interior streams have their source in or near these prairies. 

The bottom lands of the Bayou Bartholomew are entirely free from overflow, and while of an alluvial nature, are distinct and separate from the Mississippi bottoms, and of a different character from the soil of the remainder of the county.  All in all, this is a remarkable scope of country.  It is variously conjectured that the bayou itself is an old channel of the Arkansas River, or the trace of the once mighty current of the Mississippi.  The stream is certainly very crooked in its meanderings, and has, skirting along either side, in the larger bends, extensive lakes that show evidence of having at one time been the channel of the stream.  These lakes act as reservoirs during high water in the bayou, the water running back into them.  This in a great measure accounts for the fact that the adjacent bottoms do not overflow.

Keener Springs, about twelve miles east of Hamburg, are notable as the Methodist campground.  At this place has been erected a large pavilion and here are held annual camp meeting services.  The county is well watered by the Ouachita and Saline Rivers on the west, Bayou Bartholomew in the eastern part of the county, and Shmanahant, which rises in the north central part of the county and flows southwest in its general direction.  Overflow Creek and numerous other small streams traverse the county.  All the inland streams take their rise in or near the prairies.  The county's general surface outside of the bottom lands, is dotted with mounds, small and irregular in size.  In Bartholomew bottom there are several of large formation.

The "like with unlike conditions" of the county is brought out notably in its climate; the perfection of the peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, grape, cotton, sugar-cane and sweet potato being second, along with that of the pear, strawberry, raspberry, corn, oats, sorghum, rye and Irish potato.

It is discovered in its temperature, which in winter has never been known to fall to zero, and which in summer is modified during the day and night time by gulf breezes.

It is observed in its flora, the magnolia, holly, beech, arbor vitae, pine, cypress, gum, sycamore, basswood, oak, pecan, walnut, hickory, ash and elm, all flourishing here in perfection, and the spring and summer blossoms of the south covering the earth with "beds of oriental flowers."

It is seen in its successful adaptation to the raising of live stock; in its maximum production of cotton and corn, and in its remarkable complement of merchantable soft and hardwood timber, the like of which can not be found elsewhere in the State.

It is established in an investigation of its domestic water supply; in an exemption from the ills of malaria, if a resident in the bottom is avoided, and in the health of the women and children seen here, who wear the colors of the rose and lily in their cheeks equally as they would throughout the mountains of the State.

And no less, while questioning nothing of the original aims of the companies to make their systems connecting links between remote centers, once here it is also to be seen that the great excellence growing out of its "like the unlike conditions" is a potent reason why three grand trunk roads should have been projected through the