Page 880

GoodspeedÂ’s 1891 Biographical Memoirs

country, with one now almost completed through the entire length of the bayou valley, and which will be in active operation in a few weeks. While pine is also found interspersed with the hardwoods of the interior area, the pine forests, strictly speaking, occupy a strip of territory five miles in width which, bounding the predominant area of the county, is in effect as a cordon set about the uplands, the outlying district being the alluvial and river bottom lands before mentioned; and the interior, the prairie and ridgeland territory, midway of which Hamburg, the county seat, is located.

Of the whole area of the county the total exent of pine, cypress and hardwood forest is 742 square miles, estimated to afford 3,500,000,000 feet of merchantable timber. At a first glance (when the number of feet of timber is carried into the number of square miles) there is an exageration, but it is only an appearance due to the fact that the cypress is estimated at 12,800,000 feet to the square mile, while the pine (which runs much over 8,000 feet to the square acre) is set down at 5,120,000 feet, and the hardwoods at 4,840,000 feet to the square mile.

The total extent of the pine cordon, or pine belt so called, is 330 square miles, which at 5,120,000 feet to the square mile, foots up a merchantable pine distribution of 1,689,600,000 feet, board measure. It is, in view of its relation to the whole territory of the county, advantageously situated to the three systems of roads projected through the county, and to the hardwood forests. This is borne out in the fact of the purchasers of the pine lands being frank enough to admit that they are governed in the liberal price paid for it, equally by the prospect of outlet and the opportunity offered of ultimately falling back upon the hardwood forests of the outlying district. The cypress, or a great body of it which remains intact in the extreme easatern part of the county, is estimated to afford 480,000,000 feet, board measure. While as to the hardwoods the sum total consists of 1,346,400,000 feet, board measure; and includes the following varieties: Red Gum, Oak, Ash, Hickory, Bitter Pecan, Walnut, Beach and Hackberry. The sum total of alluvial territory is 180,000 acres; prairie, 18,800 acres; sandy loam upland, including creek lands, 140,750 acres; and clayey loam uplands, 232,000 acres.

Of the systems, as characterized physically, the alluvial territory is the most remarkable, being, in addition to its great extent, at all times superior to overflow. It is the area alluded to in another place as the valley plane of Bayou Batholomew, and according to minor local modifications in the surface, is known differently as the Bayou, Gum Ridge, and Overflow Creek country, the origin of the three having, evidently been the same. Its relation to the agriculture of the county, present and prospective, is seen in its charactor, being a section the yield of which on an average is only a fraction less than a bale of cotton to the acre, and the corn yield forty bushels to the acre notwithstanding its indifferent cultivation. It is also a region of very remarkably sized hardwood, and cypress timber, which alone would pay for twice the present value of the land. The price of the uncleared land is from $3 to $5 per acre. While as relates to the land in cultivation, it is in fact regarded here as extravagent if more than $10 is required per acre.

The local estimation in which it is held is brought out in the fact that the title to many thousand acres is held by local capitalists here at Hamburg whose annual returns from that source alone aggregate $53,000 per annum.

The prairie and timbered uplands are held at $1.25 to $3 per acre in a wild state, and at $3 to $10 per acre when in cultivation, the fifference in the price of the lands in cultivation having reference to time it has been in use, charactor of land and improvement. It is notably the area of the county destined to receive the densest population, the alluvial district being malarial, and until the country is cleared, requiring that the white settlers should keep their families on the highlands.

The proportion of sandy loam territory is the section of the country through which there is continued into North Louisiana the great yellow pine belt, the Fort Scott, Natchez & New Orleans railroad will penetrate, and the total of which in board feet measure has been estimated at ten billions. At the same time it is classed as pine lands, it does not in its soil charactoristics comprise "pine barrens", so called, but instead is fruitful and rests on a clay foundation.

The clayey loam upland is in greater part territory which is seen to have been derived from a system of prairie, of which the present limited areas continuing in the county are seen to be survivals. As will all soils of the county it responds quickly to cultivation and attention, a quality which at the same time it is inherent is also seen to be derived from the climate.

The immediate area commanded by the shiretown is of this charactor, including a proportion of the prairie proper, and in view of its adaptation to fruit, grasses, staple and market crops, vines and tubers in particular thriving luxuriantly, in time