1868 Survey of Arkansas Counties by

State Land Commissioner, J.M. Lewis


Answers provided by County Clerk E.R. Seeley

and State Representative James M. Livesay

Questions Answers
Name of County? Greene
Name of County Seat? Gainesville
Population of same? 6,000
Facilities of communicating with State Capitol? Overland, water, and railroad
Different Crops grown? Corn , wheat, cotton, tobacco, oats , all kinds of vegetables , fine fruit & etc...
Average yeild per acre of each? corn 40bu, cotton th 1000; tobacco ?; wheat 15 to 20 bushels,oats 30 bu.
Place of shipment? Memphis , Tenn. , and Cape Girardeau , Mo.
Distance of same county seat? 120+
Wild Fruits , vines etc...? A great variety , not space to describe
Cultivated Fruits , vines etc...? Apple, Peach , grape , pear , plum, quince, strawberry , etc...
General conformation of country , kind of lands , etc... Fine lands , ridge and bottom
Different kinds of timber? Several kinds of oak , cypress, pine , poplar , black and white walnut, birch , hackberry , ash , hickory , etc...
Water : Springs , streams , bayous and lakes ? Fine springs and well water ______
Number of schools and churches ? 50 churches and 50 schools
Price of wild lands per acre? from 25 cents to $5
Price of cultivated lands per acre? from $3 to $10
Name of navigable streams in county? none
Number of miles navigable in county?  
Mineral , mines , etc... None discovered , thought to be good lead mines (hides ? having been fair ? weighing 16 lbs
Principal local diseases ? Chills and fevers
Wages of mechanics and farm laborers ? Mechanics $2 to $3 per day : farm laborers 50 cents to $ 1 per day
Game and fish? In abundance
Range for stock ? very good
Health of same ? Ditto
Number of mills? 4
Building materials ? fine timber and staves
Water power ? none


This article has been transcribed from the original letter some words were illegible.


Gainesville , Greene County


August 26th , 1868


J. M. Lewis

Commissioner of Immigration


In answering your interrogatories , I can not find half the space to give you a minute description of the fertility of soil and different crops grown ! Greene County is 52 miles in length with a high ridge running north and south through her center, with a base of twelve miles at the widest point , known as Crowley Ridge. The backbone of this ridge is lined with beautiful pine forest , which makes valuable lumber for building purposes . The west side of the ridge juts out on the Cache River bottoms with fine springs trickling down her rich valleys terminating in brooks which lead out through what is known as the swamplands of the Cache River. The east side of this gradually slopes off to the rich bottom lands of the St. Francis River with beautiful little streams ___?__by flowing springs ____?__ through nearly every section of the land , supplying abundance of stock water at all seasons of the year. The soil is of the dark mulatto kind , somewhat sandy , very rich and fertile . Wild fruits grow here in abundance . The wild grape will almost compare with that cultivated in northern latitudes . I have seen the trunks of the vine of wild grapes that its diameter would measure six or eight inches. Sassafras grow large enough to make canoes or forty rails to the cut . We have yellow poplar in abundance . In fact we have the best variety of timber known in the state. There is generally nuts sufficient to keep hogs fat the year round. I have seen acorns in the spring of the year on the creeks in drifts by the wagon oads. In the bottom lands we have fine winter range for horses and cattle . Great many planters drive their stock to those bottoms in the fall after frost kills the vegetation on the ridge lands . They generally come out in the spring beef fat . There is thousands of acres in these bottoms covered with cane . Soil of a black , sandy nature and the ____ lands is covered with a winter grass that resembles large wheat fields which makes everlasting ___ range for stock of all kinds. The timber in this bottom lands is not so good as that of the uplands . We have plenty wild game , deer , turkey, bear in abundance. Also plenty of wild bees , some men have honey year around and never ___ a bee. Also plenty of furs , mink , otter , beaver and all other kinds of wild varmints. We also have plenty of cat perch , and pike in all of our little creeks and when we want large fish we go to the St. Francis River which is but a short distance and gig buffalo fish. We sometimes salt up these fish by the barrel and keep them year around . Or you may dry them and hang them up in your smoke house as you do your bacon to use at any time you wish. There is plenty of fish in this river to supply the State of Arkansas. One man can go in among these fish where lands will compare with almost any other portion of the state . For fear I shall weary your patience I will bring my remarks to a close. I have the honor to be your obedient servant ,

James M. Livesay



Return to Greene County, Arkansas Links

Return to Greene County, Arkansas Index Page