Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas
The Southern Publishing Company, 1891
Chicago and Nashville
Scott County historical section, p. 384 – 398
This is one of the largest of the counties of Western Arkansas. It is a true mountain and inter- mountain country, its territory being in the main within the Fourche and Poteau ranges, the ridge of the first forming its southern boundary and the latter in part traversing its northern tier of townships, and in part forming its extreme northern boundary; and again, it is traversed centrally by a range known locally as Ross Mountain; the axis of the three being parallel, and the trend from east to west. In all the Trans-Mississippi country, nothing presents itself which, in its fertility, healthfulness, water, fruit, loveliness and extent, is more truly the type of the great Shenandoah and Luray Valleys of Virginia. The general contour is suggested in the fact that its territory is made up in the main of two valley systems, that of the Fourche La Fave and the Poteau, and partially by a third valley system. that of the Petit Jean, the course of which, from south to north, is at right angles to the others. The area of the county is about 1,000 square miles. Of the whole, 306,520 acres consist of low grounds and second bottoms. and 311, 720 valley slopes, terraces and mountain lands. The area of the Fourche La Fave Valley is 315,400 acres, divided into 134,510 acres, low grounds and second bottoms, and 180,890 acres slopes, terraces and uplands. The Petit Jean Valley is 84,480 acres in extent; 35,480 low grounds and second bottoms, and 49,000 inclines, terraces and up lands. The area of Dutch Creek, a tributary of the Petit Jean, is 30,720 acres; 7,680 low grounds and 23,060 uplands. The area of the Poteau Valley system is as follows: Main stem of Poteau, 35,645 acres low grounds and second bottoms, and 9,600 acres uplands. East fork of Poteau, 48,030 acres low grounds and second bottoms, and 38,000 acres uplands. Jones' Fork of Poteau, 7,680 acres low grounds and second bottoms, 7,680 acres uplands. Black Fork of Poteau, 9,600 low grounds, 22,400 acres uplands. Total area of the Poteau Valley system, 178,640 acres; low grounds and second bottoms, 100,955 acres; valley slopes, terraces and uplands, 77,640 acres. The timbered area of the county is estimated at about 500,000 acres. There are large tracts of Government lands subject to homestead and to entry, at $1.25 per acre.
The Fourche La Fave Valley, the greatest of the three divisions of the county, lacks only 65,000 acres of having as great an area as any one of nine-tenths the counties of this State. Collectively there is nothing like it in amplitude of area in Southern and Western Arkansas; nor in the State exclusive of the lower White and lower Arkansas Valley. The length of the valley is, approximately, fifty miles, of which twenty miles have a water-shed area of 300 square miles. The upper division of the valley has a water-shed area of 210 square miles. The width of the lower division of the valley, from ridge to ridge of the flanking mountains, is fifteen miles, of which a width of six miles is the average of the low grounds. The average width of the upper division from ridge to ridge is seven miles, of which three and one-half miles are the average width of the low grounds. The second greatest division is that of the Poteau Valley system, 174,640 acres in extent. The main stem of the valley has a length of fifteen miles, a general width of five miles, with a width to the low grounds and second bottoms of four miles. The length of the east fork of Poteau is twelve miles; the low grounds seven miles wide; Jones' Fork of Poteau is twelve miles long, general width two miles; width of bottoms one mile. As in the case of the Fourche La Fave and Poteau, within the county is located the fountain head of the Petit Jean. The ramifications of the Petit Jean system, situated in this county, are so many and the valleys in such close proximity that. rather than in detail, the sum of the whole area is given—115,200 acres, of which it is estimated that 43,160 are low grounds. The prices of land are as follows: In the Fourche La Fave Valley—Improved low grounds, $10 to $20 per acre; unimproved, $5 to $10 per acre. Improved uplands and second bottom, $5 to $10 per acre; unimproved, $1.25 to $5 per acre. Poteau Valley—improved low grounds, $10 to $25 per acre; unimproved, $5 to $10 per acre. Improved second bottom, $5 to $10 per acre; uplands, $4 to $10 per acre; unimproved, $1.25 to $5 per acre. Petit Jean Valley—Improved bottom farms, $12 to $25 per acre; unimproved, $5 to $12 per acre. Improved second bottoms and uplands, $5 to $10 per acre; unimproved, $2 to $5 per acre. Coal lands from $10 to $20 per acre. Timberlands from $1.25 to $5 per acre. Its soil is the county's greatest permanent resource. It is generally a light yellow, known as " mulatto" soil, but in many sections it is a light red. It will ordinarily produce with good cultivation an average of three-fourths of a bale of cotton, twenty five to thirty-five bushels of corn, ten to fifteen bushels of wheat, twenty to forty bushels of oats, and two to three tons of millet hay to the acre. This, it is to be understood, is the general upland soil of the county, not including creek or river bottoms; and there is a great similarity in it all, the woodlands and prairies not differing greatly in quality of soil, and the level, undulating and hilly soil being much the same—the hilly having rock intermixed. The river bottom lands are among the best in the world, and will produce, with good cultivation, from three-fourths of a bale to a bale and a half of cotton, seventy-five to one hundred bushels of corn, thirty to forty bushels of wheat and three to five tons millet per acre, and the creek bottoms will average a mean between the uplands and river bottoms. A peculiar feature of the upland soil is the remarkable retentive quality of its fertility. This is owing to the sub-soil of clay, which retains the fertilizing qualities and at the same time prevents the lands from washing.
The following analysis of the low ground and upland soil is taken from Prof. Owen's geological report of Arkansas; Low grounds—Organic and volatile matter, 7.678; alumina, 3.385; oxide of iron, 3,590; carbonate of lime, 1,015; magnesia, .359; brown oxide of manganese, .345; phosphoric acid, .163; sulphuric acid, .075; potash, .241; soda. .037; sand and insoluble silicates, 83.740; total, 100.440. Uplands—Organic and volcatile matter, 4.763; alumina, 4.085; oxide of iron, 3.065; carbonate of lime, .190; magnesia, .313; brown oxide of manganese, .145; phosphoric acid, .261; sulphuric acid, .050; potash, .193; soda, .037; sand Mid insoluble silicates, 83.340; total, 100.445. Moisture expelled from these soils at 400° Fahrenheit—Low ground, 3.950; upland, 3.225. The climate is delightful. A mean temperature of 65°, the prevailing semi-tropical breezes from the gulf; the neutralizing influence of the mountains on the northerly winter storms: mild, open, short winters, with only slight and transient snowfall, and whole weeks of soft sunny weather, that recalls the glory of the northern Indian summer; long, friendly and golden summers with delightfully cool, restful and refreshing nights; freedom from epidemic diseases, an abundance of pure water and superior natural drainage, are "all and singular," elements of a climate, scarcely less enjoyable than that of Southern California or the south of France—a climate that gives the highest average of health known to any good agricultural region in America. Here is the equable mean between the rigors of the higher north and the depressing humidity of the lower south country. Naturally enough, too, here is the equable mean of animal and vegetable and mental temperament, largely the result of climate, and the visitor is not at all surprised to find in this genial, life inspiring influence the impress of normal health upon men, animals and plants. So kindly indeed are the climatic influences, that two crops of many of the field and garden products are matured on the same ground in a single season.
The coal found in the county partakes of the general excellence characterizing the southern division of the Spadra system. The common thickness is the same as prevails throughout the coal field of Sebastian County, which it adjoins on the south and southeast—forty-two inches—and the maximum from four to seven feet. There is, however, to a certain extent, a difference in the kind of coal. While, say, fifty per cent is a semi-anthracite of the best quality, the remainder consists of the only bituminous coal found in this State. The latter is not invariably bituminous; according to commercial rating there being a proportion that is semi-bituminous, and on the other hand a proportion sufficiently rich to pass as a cannel coal. Accordingly, it is probable that one-half of the fifty per cent is a bituminous coal, strictly speaking. The body of the whole is situated in that part of the county comprising Townships 4 and 5 north. Ranges 29 and 30 west; forty-eight sections constituting the two northern tiers of Township 3 north, Ranges 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33 west, and Township 4 north, Range 28 west. The superficial area is 130,360 acres, of which it is practically accepted that 95,000 acres carry a good coal in quantities. The main body is situated in Townships 4 and 5, Ranges 29 and 30, and north and east of Poteau Mountain. That situated in forty-eight sections named as the two tiers of Township 3 north, Ranges 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33 west, includes the area of Poteau Mountain, to its summit line, and a strip of country in general conformed to the sinuous line of the mountain on the south side. South of the latter area, for a mile, fragmentary bodies probably occur, but it is evident, according to an out cropping of subcarboniferous limestone, fifteen miles south. and the erosion throughout the intermediate area, that it is the extreme southern limit in this State of the coal measures of the Spadra system. Under the head of mineral resources, it should be added that, beyond a carbonate form of ore, it is not probable that discoveries of limonite or hematite, in quantities, will take place short of the Fourche Mountain, which at its summit divides Scott from Polk County. The region excepted is also the general locality where up to date the best grade of carbonate ore, with a probability of being in quantity, has been found.
The subcarboniferous limestone outcropping of this county is the well known exposure pronounced by Prof. Owens to be one of few examples of the kind occurring south of the Arkansas River. It crops out in Sections 35 and 36, Township 2 north, Range 29 west, and again two miles southwest, where it is exposed throughout a length of four miles. Notwithstanding a proportion having a brecciated character in general, it is a massive, close-textured gray rock, producing a very fine white lime.
Gold has also been discovered in the county. That which has been seen, while a low grade ore near the surface, improves as the shaft sinks deeper. In one instance there has been a yield of $5 in gold at five feet, $7 at seven feet, and $10 at ten feet. In addition, discoveries of lead, copper, and larger bodies of fire-clay have been made in the county.
Early in 1887 prospectors discovered a sand-bearing rock at the top of the Black Fork Mountains, in this county, so highly impregnated with petroleum as to give forth a strong petroleum odor, and on throwing portions of the rock on a fire it was found that as soon as it became hot the oil would burn with a fierce flame until consumed, leaving a white sandstone. Pieces of the rock submitted to the State geologist were pronounced by him to be petroleum-bearing sandstone. An expert, who has been in the oil business since the discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania, over a quarter of a century ago, said that he had visited all of the known oil fields in the United States, and that upon comparison he considered the oil field of Scott County superior to any of them outside of Pennsylvania, adding that it might surpass that great petroleum-producing field. Another expert, pronounced by the Pittsburgh Manufacturer “the best authority in gas and oil” with whom the editor was acquainted, and of whom the Age of Steel says that “his practical scientific knowledge makes his services very valuable as a gas and oil expert, and very much sought after,” reported after a few days examination: “The Scott County field is so large and so interesting that to do it justice would require at least two weeks’ careful examination. I find a well-defined sandstone corresponding precisely to the Devonian, of Western Pennsylvania; also a stratum of light-colored slate that is almost universally found accompanying similar strata of sandstone in Western Pennsylvania. There are also indications of another stratum that corresponds with what is known as “second sand” in the Pennsylvania oil field, and that there are large deposits of oil and gas throughout an extensive area of Scott County, I have not the slightest doubt. There are also indications of valuable metals, and it is a most inviting field to the capitalist as well as the scientist.” A well has been sunk to a depth of 985 feet in search of oil, and oil-gas was struck. The tools became fast in the well, and the enterprise was abandoned for the want of money, perhaps leaving untold wealth undeveloped. Scott County certainly possesses vast hidden resources, and is an inviting field for the investment of speculative capital, holding out an excellent prospect of sure and large returns. The timber of the county is of many varieties. Pine, oak, cedar, gum, ash, shell-bark and hickory abound, and there is much walnut, post oak and “cork” pine. The total amount of pine is 1,726,774,000 feet, board measure; of hardwoods 939,086,000 feet, board measure; total of pine and hardwoods 2,665,860,000 feet, board measure. Four streams and their tributaries cross the county. The Petit Jean River flows in an easterly course close to its northern boundary. Dutch Creek traverses for twelve miles its eastern part, flowing northeast. Poteau River flows thirty miles through the center of the county in a westerly direction. The Fourche La Fave River, which rises in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, flows for fifty miles through it on its way to the Arkansas River, bordered by rich valleys, with as good and productive land as in this or any other State. The average elevation of the county is about 700 feet in the valleys, and the highest mountain point is about 2,000 feet above the sea level. Water is abundant for all purposes, including manufacturing, and can be had by sinking wells from twelve to fifteen feet, and there are many mineral springs equal to any in this State except Hot Springs. Many large orchards and vineyards in the county give evidence of the productiveness of fruit here. and as the native grapes are almost as fine in size and as delicious in flavor as cultivated grapes, it is evident the county is the natural home of the grape. Small fruit and berries yield largely. The roads of the county run generally east and west, on account of the contour of the country. One of the main roads runs north and south, and is called the Line road, on account of its close proximity to the line of the Indian Territory, being the principal route for travel from the Arkansas River to Texas. The county is well supplied with cotton-gins, sawmills, grist mills and planing mills.
Scott County was erected by act of the Territorial Legislature November 5, 1833. Its boundaries were defined October 24, 1835. The boundary between Scott and Crawford Counties was defined December 16, 1838. A part of Sebastian County was attached to Scott June 1, 1861. The county formerly embraced all the territory it has now, and the townships of Cauthorn, Boone, Reveille, Sugar Creek and Petit Jean, which were cut off and made part of the new county of Sarber, now Logan, in 1870. The line between Scott and Logan Counties was changed May 21, 1873. The county’s present boundaries, fixed in 1881, are as follows: North by Sebastian and Logan Counties, east by Yell County, south by Montgomery and Polk Counties, and west by the Indian Territory. The county seat was originally located at Booneville, twenty-five miles northeast of Waldron. The county offices being too far from the center of the county the seat of justice was afterward removed to Winfield, about three miles northeast of Waldron. where it remained until about 1845, when William G. Featherston donated ten acres of land, a part of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 21, Township 3 north, Range 20 west, to the commissioners appointed by the county court, in consideration of the location of the county site on said land. This was the beginning of Waldron. Some time afterward a court house was built, which was burned during the war with all the public records. About 1870 a new and substantial framed court-house was erected on the public square of the town, where the public business was transacted until the spring of 1882, when it also was burned, together with the county records. The last fire was undoubtedly the work of incendiaries. No successful movement to rebuild the court-house has been inaugurated. The courts are held in rooms over John F. Forrester’s store, and the county offices are accommodated elsewhere in Waldron. The county has a substantial jail. The Fourth Congressional District is composed of Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Scott, Logan, Pulaski, Yell, Perry, Saline, Garland and Montgomery Counties, and at present represented by Hon. J. H. Rogers, of Fort Smith. This county is in the Twelfth Judicial District, comprising the counties of Scott, Sebastian, Crawford and Logan, and in the Twenty-eighth State Senatorial District, composed of Scott and Sebastian Counties. The several political townships of Scott County are named as follows: Barber, Tomlinson, Lewis, Cauthron, La Fayette, Brawley, Black Fork, Blansett, Johnson, Mountain, Mill Creek, Park, Cedar, La Faye, Hunt, James, Tate and Hickman.
The following named county officers have served; beginning at the dates mentioned: Judge-1833, Elijah Baker; 1835, James Logan; 1838, Gilbert Marshall; 1842, Levi Bradley; 1844. William Kenner; 1846, Elijah Arnold; 1848, M. H. Blue; 1850, J. H. Thompson; 1852, J. R. Raymond; 1854, W. E. Elkins; 1856, J. H. Forbet; 1858. H. Hine; 1860, J. H. Smith; 1862, William Oliver; 1864, J. T. Harrison; July, 1865, N. Ellington; April, 1871, M. M. Tate; 1872-74, board of supervisors; 1874, L. D. Pendery; 1876, S. Harrell, 1878, J. H. Payne; 1880, J. H. Brown; 1886, Roland Chiles; 1888, Daniel Hon. Clerk-1833, S B. Walker; 1835, G. Marshall; 1838, W. Kenner; 1840, S. H. Chism; 1842, E. H. Featherston; 1844, John Baxter; 1846, William Kenner; 1848, J. B. Garrett; 1850, William Kenner; 1854, E H. Featherston; 1856, J. C. Gibson; 1860, S. Graves; 1862, L. D. Gilbreath; 1864, F. M. Scott; July. 1865, C. H. Oliver; 1866, L. D. Gilbreath; 1872, W. B. Turman; 1874, J. C. Gilbreath; 1887, T. M. Duncan. Sheriff -1833, James Riley; 1835, Charles Humphrey; 1840, William Garner; T. P Sadler until formation of Yell County; 1842, J. B. Garrett; 1844, A.Harland; 1846; J. B. Garrett; 1848, J. R. Baxter; 1852, R. C. Reed; 1856, William Gibson; 1862, C. C. Lewis; 1864, G. Kincannon; July, 1865. J. W. Barnett; 1868, N. A. Floyd; 1874, F. C. Gaines; 1878, Samuel Leming; August, 1879, A. P. Walker; 1880, John Rawlings; 1882, C. M. Vise; 1888, W. T. Brown; 1888, Free Malone; 1889, C. M. Vise. Treasurer-1836, W. Cauthron; 1840, Jesse Perkins; 1844, G. W. Read; 1848, J. M. Swinney; 1854, T. I. Gates; 1856, J. C. Moles; 1862, J. W. Evatt; 1872, M. Johnson; 1874, W. D. Looper; 1878, E. McCray; 1880, A. D. Peace; 1884, T. M. Evatt; 1888, F. M. Bottoms. Coroner-1833, J. R. Choate; 1835, W. Cauthron; 1836,G. C. Walker; 1838, J. R. Choate; 1840, H. A. Patterson; 1842, George Carroll; 1844, James Stewart; 1848, W. Hodge; 1850, W. B. Carr; 1852, A. Kuykendall; 1854. Drew Choate; 1856, John Pace; 1858, J. E. Moore; 1860, A. Ross; 1862, R. H. Halley; 1864, C. L. J. Hough; 1866, W. D. Riley; 1872, William Chitwood; 1874, G. W. Smith; 1876, G. W. Rea; 1878, T. F. Smith; 1882, C. H. Bell; 1884, J. L. Baker; 1886, F. G. Thomas; 1888, W. L. Tolleson. Surveyor-1836, T. J. Garner; 1842, W. Wheat; 1844, J. Anthony; 1848, Charles Cauthron; 1850, E. H. Featherston; 1852, S. H. Prowell; 1854, W. T. Dallins; 1858, J. H. Johnson; 1862, C. L. Hough; 1866, J. Bethel; 1868, D. P. Davis; December, 1870, C. A. Bird; 1872, C. L. Hough; 1878, G. W. Blair; 1882, W. T. Brown; 1886, W. J. King. Assessor-1868, C. Malone; 1872. T. Suddith; 1874, W. H. Highfill; 1876, C. M. Vise; 1880, P. H. Young; 1886, E. B. Young; 1888. E. N. McRay. The county officers elected in September, 1890, are as follows: James M. Harvey, judge; T. M. Duncan, clerk; L. P. Fuller, sheriff; D. A. Edwards, treasurer; T. H. Johnson, coroner; E. N. McRay, assessor. The clerk is circuit clerk and ex-officio clerk of the county and probate courts and recorder.
Scott County has been represented in the State Senate as follows: With Crawford County, 1836-38, by R. C. S. Brown; with Crawford, 1840, by J. A. Scott; with Crawford, 1842-43, by J. A. Scott; with Franklin, 1844-45, by J. F. Gaines; with Franklin, 1848, by J. F. Gaines; with Franklin, 1848-49, by S. H. Chism; with Franklin, 1850-51, by S. H. Chism; with Franklin, 1852-53, by Jesse Miller; with Franklin, 1854-55, by Jesse Miller; with Sebastian, 1856-57, by Green J. Clark; with Sebastian, 1858-59, by Green J. Clark; with Sebastian, 1860-62, by Green J. Clark; with Sebastian, 1882, by Green J. Clark; with Sebastian, 1864-65, by Charles Milor; with Sebastian, 1866-67, by H. C. Holleman, who was unseated and succeeded by T. H. Scott; with Polk, Montgomery and Hot Springs, 1868-69, by D. P. Beldin; with Polk, Montgomery and Hot Spring, by D. P. Beldin; with Polk, Montgomery and Hot Springs, 1873, by D. P. Beldin; with Polk, Montgomery and Hot Springs, 1874, by D. P. Beldin; with Sebastian, 1874-75, by J. H. Scott; with Sebastian, 1877, by R. T. Kerr; with Sebastian, 1879, by R. T. Kerr; with Sebastian, 1881, by J. P. Hall; with Sebastian, 1883, by J. P. Hall; with Sebastian, 1885, by R. H. McConnell; with Sebastian, 1887, by R. H. McConnell; with Sebastian, last session, by A. G. Washburn, who is also the senator-elect. In the Lower House of the State Legislature the county has been thus represented. In 1836-38 by James Logan; in 1838, by G. Marshall; in 1840, by T. M. Scott and S. Humphrey; in 1842-43, by J. F. Gaines and A. Thompson; in 1844-45 (no record); in 1848, by Edward A. Featherston; in 1848-49, by Milton Gilbreath: in 1850-51, by Charles Cauthron; in 1852-53, by Milton Gilbreath; in 1854-55, by James Logan; in 1856-57, by J. F. Lee; in 1858-59. by John H. Forbet; in 1860-62, by James F. Lee; in 1862, by Elijah Leming; in 1864-65, by Thomas Cauthron; in the Confederate Legislature, 1864, by Elijah Leming; in 1866-67, Elijah Leming; in 1868-69, with Polk, Montgomery and Hot Spring, by J. V. Harrison and J. H. Demby; in 1871, with Hot Spring, Montgomery, Polk and Grant, by J. F. Lane, J. J. Sumpter, and James M. Bethel, admitted in place of C. K. Kymes, P. B. Allen and N. Ellington; in 1873, with Polk, Montgomery, Hot Spring and Grant, by L. D. Gilbreath, J. J. Sumpter and George G. Latta; in 1874, with Polk, Montgomery and Hot Spring, by H. H. Barton and J. J. Sumpter; in 1874-75, by I. Frank Fuller; in 1877, by James H. Smith; in 1879, by A. G. Washburn; in 1881, by F. C. Gaines; in 1883, by G. E. James; in 1885, by A. G. Washburn; in 1887, by A. G. Washburn; in last session by W. A. Houck. J. W. McNutt is representative-elect.
The judicial circuits of the State have been frequently changed. In some instances the number of the judicial districts has been completely transferred to others and new numbers adopted for the original. The State in 1873 was divided into sixteen circuits, but only for a term, when the number was reduced, as has been stated; this county is in the Twelfth. In giving the list of judges the Twelfth Circuit is referred to through to the present, regardless of changes that may have taken place in its composition. The judges of this circuit have been commissioned as follows: P. C. Dooley, April 26, 1873; J. H. Rogers, April 20, 1877; R. B. Rutherford, October 2, 1882; John S. Little, October 30, 1886; T. C. Humphry, spring of 1890. The prosecuting attorneys have been: D. D. Leach, April 26, 1873; John S. Little (three terms), April 2, 1877; A. C. Lowers (two terms), September 20, 1884; J. B. McDonough, October 30, 1888. Courts are held on the second Monday in February and August. The resident attorneys are named as follows: Daniel Hon, A. G. Leming, S. Wilson, B. F. Wolf, A. G. Washburn, T. N. Sanford, O. M. Harwell, C. H. Hawthorne and M. M. Beavers. The county has been thus represented in Constitutional Conventions: By Gilbert Marshall in 1836; by E. T. Walker in 1861; by Charles H. Oliver in 1868; and by J. W. Sorrells in 1874.
At an early day there were adventuresome hunters and prospecters who penetrated the new, wild country within the limits of the present county of Scott. Such can hardly be called home-seekers, for they were of the class that moves on before advancing civilization; but some of them, charmed by the wild beauty of their surroundings, remained and became permanent settlers. The advancement of the present day was surely not foreshadowed in their time, and then men were not attracted by that certainty of gain and worldly prosperity which has influenced men to make their abiding place here during the past few decades. They had no neighbors at first, but Indians—savages and natural enemies—and still more savage beasts. Did space permit, some highly interesting narratives of the pioneer period might be told, but it is with the period of development that this sketch has most to do. This period was ushered in by another class of men. They were home-seekers pure and simple—men of family, who sought here, where Nature outstretched to them a helping hand so willingly, that material reward for honest toil which was to be achieved, but grudgingly, in older communities. Many a time has the story of the pioneer been told. It is old, but ever new, because dear to the present generation like the old songs their mothers sang. From the first it was a stern battle with scarcity and adversity. Every gain was hardly won. The simplest achievement cost the most arduous labor. The most that could be procured and accomplished was very little indeed. There were no luxuries and there was a dearth of necessaries. Hard work was the common lot of all—the men, women and the children. Self-denial and mutual assistance were the rule. The labor which kept the wolf figurative from the pioneer's door failed to secure it from the attacks of the wolves that lurked in the forest. The red man was a constant menace, and there were other dangers. There was no absolute security. Even Nature, when in her unkindly moods, seemed terrific in those unbroken woods. No pioneer ever lived to forget the birth of the first child in his neighborhood; none forgot the first marriage; none but could point out, long years after it was made, the first grave, or speak except in quavering voice of that day when, under the gloomy trees, the earth first opened to receive one of their number. Perhaps it was a funeral without a clergyman; but it could not have been a funeral without a prayer. God was with them in the wilderness. As far back as 1820 a few buffaloes and elks remained in this part of the country, and bears, wolves, panthers, wild cats, deer, the smaller animals, wild turkeys, wild geese, ducks, prairie chickens and other small fowls were numerous. The buffalo and elk have become extinct, the bears nearly so, while other animals and fowls remain in sufficient quantities in some localities to make it interesting, and sometimes profitable for hunters. Raccoon and opossums are very common now. The wild turkey and quail furnish ample sport on the wing, while squirrels and rabbits are also plentiful. In the fall and spring wild geese and ducks are abundant. Deer hunts are not uncommon, and the hunter seldom returns empty handed. The timber wolf is not unfrequently a visitor to the sheep pens. The pioneers lived to a great extent upon wild game, which was so easily obtained that rifle shots from their cabin doors brought it down, within convenient distance.
Wild fruits in their season have abounded from the first—strawberry, blackberry and huckleberry, the wild plum of different varieties, wild grapes, a summer sort about the size of the Delaware, and equally as finely flavored, a smaller grape that ripens after the frost, then a grape called Muscatine, about as large as the Concord, usually growing singly, but sometimes in clusters, with a thick skin, and excellent for sauce when cooked. All these natural provisions the early settlers availed themselves of. It was not child's play to live in Scott County forty to sixty years ago. The pioneers were isolated to a distressing degree from civilization, and it required an unusual amount of grit, patience, perseverance and longsuffering. They were quick to lend a helping hand to each other. They educated their children under adverse circumstances. They organized schools and churches with only a small following. They built not for themselves but for those who should come after them. Year after year prospects have brightened, the country has gradually improved, and today no section of the new Southwest is developing more rapidly than Scott County. It would be difficult to find a more energetic class of business men than take the lead in this portion of the State. For their former hardships they have been repaid. They have acquired, in many instances, a liberal competency. They have brought their families up in respectability. The sons of many of these same pioneers have adorned the halls of the State and National Legislature, while others have held important positions in local and State affairs, with honor to themselves and to their constituency. Among the earlier settlers of the county were the following: Along the Poteau and its branches—Father Hickman. Richard Edens, Zachariah Hemby, Josiah Barnett, Reuben C. Reed, William Kenner, George W. Reed, William Doyle, John Gable, Jesse A. Reed, David Reed and the father of David and the other Reeds mentioned, William Anthony, Henry Frazier, Jackson Hon, John F. McAnally, Jesse Anthony, Finis E. Anthony, John Anthony, Dennis Boultinghouse, Daniel Boultinghouse, James Boultinghouse, Thomas Crenshaw, Finis Farmer, David Yandall, Jesse Yandall, Samuel Yandall, William Yandall, Thompson Bailey, Harrison Huie, Dodson Huie. Massie McRay, William McRay, John H. Johnson, Allen Starrett, Dr. James H. Smith, James H. McCord, the Whitmeyers, Isaiah Hickman, Nathaniel Hickman, William Veils, Willian T. Dollens, Alexander Sehorn, William Sehorn, the Duprees, John Pool, Thomas Pool, Austin Bethel, James M. Bethel; on the Poteau—Henry Wolf, Tobias Wolf, Andrew J. Ross, Leonard J. Denton, Thomas Brown, Thomas M. Brown, John Brown, Frank Brown; along Ross’ Creek—the Brawley family, Spencer Bates, Thompson G. Bates, Frank Bates, Sanford Bates, Zachariah Allison, Maj. Joel Denton, W. W. Denton, R. P. Denton, A. B. Denton, Cooper Hayes, Davis Tolbert, William Tucker, John Anthony, Jesse, John, Alexander, G. W., Solomon, Thomas and C. C. Jones and two James Joneses; along Brawley (later Jones’) Creek—Elias Hays, Hiram Hays, Archibald Hays, Bayless E. Brasher, Allen Brasher, Henry Brasher, Jacob Brasher, John L. Summers, Vineyard Crawford, C. A. Crawford, Robert Finley, the Hendricks, Elijah Grey, David Burcham, John Barnett; along Haw Creek—William G. Featherston, Edward E. Featherston, Micajah Thompson, Dr. Sorrells, the Reed family, Landy Turman, Wiley B. Glass, Caleb Baker, Jacob C. Moles, James M. Swinney, Dr. Vance, James H. Thompson, Counsellor Bunn, Thomas Ferguson, Mills the miller, Judge Raymond, Allen Marshall, “Kern” Titsworth, John W. Perkins, John Rawlings, James R. Baxter; in the Waldron vicinity—Joy Estep, David Jones, Silas Pinion, Milton Larimore, William Price and brother, Jasper Foster, Newton Foster and others on Black Fork; along the Fourche La Fave—John Kilburn, James Kilburn, John Stewart, Robert Richmond, Luke Harrison, Benton Jones, William Jones, L. D. Gilbreath, Bailey Allen, Beverly Allen, Michael Wilson, James Gibson, Richard Burriss, James F. Gaines, G. G. Gaines, Thomas Gaines, James Caviness, John Caviness, James Henson, Marion Henson, Lewis Henson, the Daileys, Thomas Gist, Neil Gist, Peter Whisenhunt, James Whisenhunt, James P. Blancett, John Caughran, Lewis Caughran; along the Petit Jean—James Sorrells, S. B. Sorrells, Dr. Warren Sorrells, Dr. Royston Sorrells, Stephen Graves, Thomas Graves, Michael Awalt, Thomas Baxter, Shadrach Chitwood, J. J. Tomlinson, Wiley A. Tomlinson (formerly spelled Tumlinson), James Graves, Dr. E.T. Walker, Andrew J. Tomlinson, Samuel S. French, Elisha Williams, John, Thomas and Barry Hunt, William Henley, George W. Rupe, the CantreIls, Gen. Taylor, Allen Sorrells, W. W. Sorrells, McKinney Curry, Alfred Bethel, Samuel Duncan, William Duncan, R. P. Claiborn, the Witt family, George Abbott, C. C. Lewis, John E. Carnett, George Barnard. All of these were early residents of the county. Some were the heads of families who came here, others the sons of pioneers. Their names have been given by Dr. Smith (the oldest physician in the county) and other old citizens. It is not attempted to supply all initials. The aim has been, rather, to mention these pioneer citizens in such a familiar way as to recall those who have passed away to the memory of all of the living who once knew them. In view of the fact that the earlier county records are no longer in existence, the compiler feels like congratulating his readers that his earnest efforts have boon so well recorded and rewarded.
Those of the present rising generation who are accustomed to excellent school advantages of today can hardly realize the meagerness of such opportunities in their fathers’ boyhood. Even reading, writing and the merest rudiments of arithmetic were considered a luxury that the poor could not possess. So it was that many otherwise intelligent men and women grew up unable to read and write. The simply well-to do people secured an itinerant teacher to stop in the neighborhood and hold a subscription school at some one’s house for a short time. There were probably few of these before about 1840. It was in this manner that the earliest teachers began who taught in various parts of this region. This kind of schooling continued down until about the time when the public-school system was introduced. One has but to glance at these figures, giving the number of teachers employed in the State of Arkansas in successive years, to gain a fair idea of the growth of popular education in any part of the State: In 1869 there were 1,335; in 1870, 2,302; in 1871, 2,128; in 1872, 2,035; in 1873, 1,481; in 1874-75, no reports; in 1876, 481; in 1877-78, no reports; in 1879, 1,458; in 1880, 1,872; in 1881, 2,169; in 1882, 2,501; in 1883, 2,462; in 1884, 2,899; in 1885, 3,582; in 1886, 3,691; in 1887, 4,167; in 1888, 4,664. It will readily be seen that the greatest care and activity have been shown in the years of the present decade, and the most firm and permanent improvement in the last few years. Academies did not take permanent root here as they did in older and wealthier counties, and the need of education felt by fathers and mothers, who had grown up without much of any themselves, made them better prepared to receive the new system favorably than many counties that had been well supplied with advanced private schools. The progress of the public schools in the county has been constant, especially during the present decade, and has been proportionately equal to other parts of the State. The following statistics from the report of the State superintendent of public instruction for the year ending June 30, 1888, will tend to show in part how the public schools of the county are prospering: Statement of the public school fund of Scott County—Amount received: Balance on hand June 30, 1887, $2,345.26; from common school fund (State), $3,950.45; poll tax, $1,857.07; total, $8,152.78. Amount expended: For teachers’ salaries, $6,093; buildings and repairing, $500; purchasing apparatus, etc., $100; treasurer’s commissions, $116.15; other purposes, $25; total, $6,834.15. Balance in county treasury unexpended: Of common school fund, $1,173.71; district fund, $144.92; total, $1,318.63. Summary of county examiner’s report: Enumeration, white, 4,890; colored, 16; total, 4,906. Enrollment, white, 2,523; colored, none; total, 2,523. Number of districts, 75; number of districts reporting enrollment, 52; number of districts voting tax, 19; number of teachers employed, 47; number of school-houses, 36; value of school-houses, $4,875; number of institutes held, 1; number of teachers attending, 48. One of the best literary schools in the State is located at Waldron. The main building of the house is 34x70 feet, two stories, with vestibules. There is a wing forty feet in length on the east side of the building, which is also two stories, making four large rooms. The building is new and well furnished throughout, is well seated and has modern fixtures and apparatus. Messrs. Henderson and Goddard, the principals of the school, are trained and thorough educators. Many students come from remote parts of this county and from adjoining counties, and there is no reason to doubt that the school will grow and prosper as it has never done before, for every facility is offered here that can be obtained elsewhere for giving children either a primary or an advanced course. Board can be obtained at low rates, and the morals of the town are of an exceptional character. At Cauthron is an efficient school known as the Cauthron High School. This institution has about 200 pupils, and stands high in public esteem. Gipsonville, Boles and Park also have good schools. The following reference to early schools in Scott County is extracted from a modern newspaper: “No colleges adorned the country then, and educational facilities were meager. The young fellow who had a desire to obtain an education attended school two or three months in the winter, not unfrequently walking, morning and evening, two or three miles for that privilege. The accommodations then were not so good as now. Instead of the elaborate furniture of the present day, the boy of twenty and thirty years ago was compelled to sit on the slick side of an unusually hard bench made of a slab or fence rail and placed at an uncomfortable distance from the dirt-and-stick fireplace, which, with its prodigious jambs, yawned like the cavern of the infernal region; while in the corner near the teacher’s desk stood the birch as straight and long as the moral law, and woe betide the youth who would dare to intrude upon the rules of the school. This mode of teaching was good enough in its time. Better and more efficient means have been adopted.” H. N. Smith is county examiner of public schools.
The church and the school have gone hand in hand here as elsewhere. Early religious meetings were held by traveling preachers in the log cabins of the pioneers, and from an early day, in many localities, the same building has accommodated the school during the week, and the church people of the district on Sunday. At this time houses of worship are to be found in all parts of the county, and nearly all religious denominations common to this part of the country are represented. In some parts of the county, notably in Waldron, are expensive and sightly churches, which are being improved and beautified with each passing year. Church membership is increasing, and popular interest in Sunday school work is extending. As the church membership gains in education, numerical strength and material wealth, its demands on the pastors are more exacting. This is evidenced in the wider learning and greater ability of the preachers of to-day than were attainable in the clergy of an early period. The church has done its share in the grand work of development and enlightenment, and it is coming to be supported with a popular liberality.
There are in this county post offices named as follows: Barber, Belva, Black Fork, Blansett, Blue Ball, Boles, Boothe, Brawley, Buck Knob, Cauthron, Cedar Creek, Crow, Echo, Farmer, Fuller, Gate, Gipson, Green Ridge, Nebraska, Olio, Parks, Poteau, Tomlinson, Waldron, Winfield and Zelkirk. Being an exclusively agricultural region, the sales market of which was at Fort Smith, distant forty eight miles, the county is notably without its proportion of crossroad towns and villages, characteristic of our American country in general. Instead, the exception is in its favor that wherever the aggregation of population admitted such a step, rather than country grocery store, and evidence of a former groggery, it is apparent that the interest has concentrated upon well-built school-houses. And, therefore, it is to be discovered, notwithstanding the remoteness of the county, that in general the morals and understanding of its young people have been trained to excellent standards. This is true of Cauthron, Gipsonville, Boles and Park, which, without their fine schools, would only have a postal name. Cauthron is situated in the Poteau Valley, west and a little north of Waldron. In addition to several stores, a saw-mill, a blacksmith shop and a woodworking shop, it is the seat of the Cauthron High School, elsewhere referred to. Tomlinson is situated in the Petit Jean Valley, near the celebrated mountain pass of that name. Boles is situated in the Fourche Valley on the line of the proposed Missouri Pacific extension from Fort Smith to Gurdon. Park is situated in the Fourche Valley, on the line of both the Texarkana and Northern, and the proposed ’Frisco extension through the Fourche Valley to Little Rock. Gipsonville is in the Poteau Valley, near the line of the Indian Territory. The other post-offices mentioned are located conveniently for residents of various parts of the county, but none of them are trade centers of importance, except Waldron, the seat of justice. To its excellent school facilities Waldron adds the prestige of a good country trade. maintained against the great disadvantage of long distance from markets. It is situated on the south bank of the Poteau, at a point commanding the resources of the whole valley, and at the same time commanding every feasible entrance through the mountain boundaries of the county, and is unavoidably in the line of the Missouri Pacific and Texarkana & Fort Smith extensions through this county, the preliminary survey of both having been made to this place. and considerable preparatory construction work having been done on one of them. In the midst of a fine agricultural district, commanding trade from a long distance in all directions, the town is substantially built, the business portion being of handsome brick blocks. Of the numerous stores not a stock of merchandise is carried in a frame building, and really there are no frame business houses in the central portion of the town. The residence portion is fairly well built. Quite a number of pleasant and cozy homes adorn the town, while a good two-story school building and new church buildings add largely to its appearance of thrift and enterprise. Located 20 miles east of the line of the Indian Territory, 50 miles southeast of Fort Smith, 140 miles west of Little Rock, 95 miles northwest of Hot Springs and 150 miles north of Texarkana, in the midst of the Fourche La Faye, Petit Jean and Poteau Valley, the town is admirably well situated for rail road facilities, and will doubtless become a rail road center of no small magnitude, with two great systems—the ’Frisco and the Missouri Pacific--pointing this way, one or both of them likely to build lines into the county at no distant day. Waldron was incorporated November 5, 1875. Its mayor is W. P. Forrester.
Away back, years prior to the “late unpleasantness,” William G. Featherston, who had, even at that early date, acquired some ability as a real-estate speculator, proposed to the proper authorities that if they would remove the seat of justice from Winfield, and locate the court-house on his land and build a town, he would donate for that purpose ten acres. The proposition was accepted. Owning the balance of the land around the town, it soon became necessary for him to lay out some additions, and it was not long until the new county seat began to forge ahead; but Waldron never advanced much in point of substantial improvements until the political troubles dating from about 1874 to 1879, arose. The town then consisted of wooden buildings, and most of the business houses were rough box concerns, very unprepossessing in appearance, and almost worthless, save as temporary shelters. Some nefarious individuals, and there were many of them here at that time, conceived the idea that they could get even with their adversaries by burning out the town, which they proceeded to do. What seemed to be a calamity, at the time, proved, in the end, to be a blessing. Enterprising merchants began to erect substantial brick buildings, and the good work has been going on until now there are twenty of them, each from 20 to 30 feet wide and from 50 to 100 feet long. and most of them two stories high. There are numerous smaller buildings, such as are found in surrounding country towns. In point of good buildings and substantial growth, there is no town between Fort Smith and Texarkana that compares with Waldron. It is universally conceded that it has more solid business men than any other town in the State with the same number of merchants doing the same volume of business. The trade coming here during the past year is estimated at $350,000, and that amount may be taken as a low figure.
The population is about 800. The religious interests of the town are watched over by several religions denominations, most of which have good church buildings. The secret societies are represented by the Masonic and I. O. O. F. orders and the G. A. R. The town and county can boast of two good newspapers. The general business interests comprise 8 general merchandise stores, 5 grocery stores, 3 drug stores, 2 millinery stores, 1 hardware store, I saddlery and harness shop, 1 shoe shop, 3 blacksmiths, 2 hotels, 2 livery stables, 2 grist-mills and cotton-gins, 1 planing-mill, 6 doctors and several real estate agencies. Real estate in Waldron is held at fair prices, business lots ranging at from $300 to $500, residence lots from $50 to $100.
The cotton shipment each year amounts to 8,000 or 10,000 bales, and with a railroad the amount would. be more than doubled, while the shipment of stock, grain and lumber would increase the tonnage immeasurably. In the matter of merchandise, there is quite a quarter of a million of dollars worth of goods, at the present rate of cartage, brought to the town by its numerous merchants. The development of the coal and mineral deposits, and the opening up of the vast pineries and hardwood districts, and the location of saw-mills, offer more than usual inducements to railroad companies to build into Waldron's rich tributary country. Here all the social and financial elements of successful and enlivening citizenship find a common center and hearty support. Surrounded by a fine farming and fruit-growing region, with a belt of timber on the south of great commercial value, and located in one of the best coal regions known to the South, Waldron possesses in a large degree those elements of prosperity which attract capital and manufacturing and commercial industry. Aside from the promises that have risen in the probability of the town’s becoming an important railroad junction, and with its timber resources the site of mills and wagon factories, it is to be seen that the place is not to remain stationary once the railroad passes the barrier of Poteau Mountain. The men who are here have the will, energy and money to give their town and county an upward impetus, and if in a year’s time after the introduction of railroad communication, Waldron is not one of the best known and wide-awake towns in the State, it will have followed from nothing left undone, wherein good business sense and well directed energy can prevail.
As has been intimated, there are as yet no railroads in the county, but the Jenson and Mansfield branch of the ’Frisco department of the Santa Fe system, reaches to Mansfield, in Sebastian County, near the Scott County line, and there is daily stage connection between Mansfield and Waldron. An extension of this line is projected from Mansfield to Little Rock, via Waldron. The line of the proposed Choctaw Railroad (now called the “Kali Ali”) is surveyed along the entire length of the county from east to west, partially through the Fourche La Fave Valley. This railroad, now under construction from McAllister, Ind. T., to Little Rock via Waldron, has been completed and is in operation to a point forty miles west of the latter place. The Missouri Pacific Company has a line in operation from Fort Smith to Greenwood, in Sebastian County, a few miles north of the Scott County boundary. The aim is to extend this road via Tomlinson, Waldron and Buck Knob to Gurdon, in Clark County, there to form a connection with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad and lines south from that point which are built or to be built, and considerable work has been done on the road-bed. Other railway projects not so well defined as these are talked of, and it would seem that the time is not far in the future when Scott County will be traversed by a sufficient number of railways to fully develop its resources, and Waldron will be a railroad center of no mean importance, while other thriving towns will grow up within the county limits.
The oldest paper in Scott County is the Waldron Reporter, edited and published by M. M. Beavers, who in his issue of October 3, 1890, gave the following account of the enterprise: “The Reporter closes its eleventh volume with this issue. It has been here eleven years and hopes to remain. The paper was established in 1879 by Mr. S. H. Farley, who continued with it as proprietor until November, 1883, when he disposed of his interest to the present proprietor and J. M. Harvey. Judge Harvey retired a few months afterward. The present management has had control for seven years past, and has been in precarious situations more than once. To offset these adverse conditions, however, the paper has at other times been prosperous. We have endeavored to assist in building up the material prosperity of Scott County, and to advocate Democratic doctrine. Believing as we do that the hope of the country is the Democratic party, we shall continue to advocate its teachings, and to urge the people to vote for the men named by the party organizations for the different offices. It is only through organized effort that good results can be accomplished in a political campaign. People who go outside of primaries and conventions to vote for officers are either knaves or imbeciles. The Reporter has made a good many friends during its career, and some enemies. Its friends, and particularly those who pay up, will, we hope, have a pleasant journey through life, and a rich reward in heaven. Its enemies should repent while they are still on praying ground.” The Reporter is a seven-column, four page sheet.
The Scott County Citizen was first issued October 24, 1887, with P. C. Stone as editor and proprietor. It announced itself as Republican in politics, and set forth some of its aims thus: “To cooperate with the various interests of the people throughout the country by trying to develop the country’s valuable resources by means of advocating internal improvements and encouraging all branches of agricultural, commercial, manufacturing and other industrial pursuits, whereby our forests of most excellent timber, extensive coal beds, and the untold wealth of other resources which have so long lain dormant and unproductive among us, will be utilized and yield a large profit to the owners.” September 28, 1888, A. G. Leming became editor, and Mr. Stone business manager of the Citizen. February 28, 1890, the paper was sold to M. Keener & Co., Mr. Leming retaining an interest and editorial charge. The Citizen is a four-column, eight-page paper. These journals have done their part toward the work of general development. They are both well edited and exceptionally bright and able local newspapers. Previous attempts to establish papers in Scott. County were not permanently successful.
The period of the Civil War is often referred to as “a time that tried men’s souls.” If it was trying to the people of the North and still more so to portions of the South remote from the scenes of conflict, it was still more intensely and peculiarly so to the people of the border States; and Arkansas, especially this part of Arkansas, was in such a state of anarchy and constant danger as was no other part of the country in which great battles were not fought; and even in such localities the cloudy trouble came, poured out its wrath and passed away, while here, during the four years of the war, and for years afterward, the sun did not rise on a household untroubled with apprehension as to what the day would bring forth, nor set upon home over which the night did not cast shadows of vague and awful terror. To many, the period of “reconstruction” was more terrible than that of the actual war. It was not the wish of a majority of the voters of Scott County to disrupt the union of the States. The people at first voted against secession and sent Union delegates to represent them in the State convention held to consider Federal relations. The history of the issue of those deliberations and of what followed is well known.
Even later it was not so much a question of one portion of the nation against another, as of the defense of home and family, and the sacred claims of nativity and friendship. When the war was begun the people of Scott County, with few exceptions, naturally sympathized with the Southern cause, and a large percentage of the male population joined the Confederate Army, though it was as State troops that they, many of them, enlisted and saw their first service. There were, first and last, several companies raised in this county. The earliest in the field was that of captain, afterward known familiarly as Maj. George W. Featherston, which disbanded after the battle of Oak Hill, though Maj. Featherston was later in the service, as will be seen. Another of the Scott County commanders was Capt. William Gibson, later Maj. Gibson. No regular engagement between the contending forces took place within the county, but it was overrun to some extent by scouting parties, guerrillas and marauders, and a considerable amount of property was destroyed or carried away, and a few individuals were killed. In October, 1863, Maj. Featherston and Capt. Isaac Bagwell were in command of a small guard at Waldron, which was surprised and captured by a larger Federal force. Maj. Featherston was shot down, so seriously wounded as to keep him long thereafter under medical treatment. From that time until February, 1864, the Federals kept a garrison at Waldron, consisting in part at least, of portions of Col. James Johnson’s First Arkansas Infantry, and of Col. Cloud’s regiment, under command of Lieut. Col. Owen A. Bassett. At times the post was commanded by Lieut. Col. Searl, of Johnson’s regiment. The Federal headquarters during most, if not all, of this period of occupation, was at the residence of William G. Featherston. The Unionists abandoned the post at the date last mentioned, putting the torch to every house in town but the Featherston residence just referred to, and the residence of Dr. Elijah Leming; and these two buildings thus spared were burned later by bushwhackers, on account of the alleged Union sympathies of their owners. Near the close of the war, and after the territory fell into the Union lines, some troops were raised in it for the Federal Army. It is said that some of these were deserters from the Confederate Army, and some returned Union refugees. They, for the most part, united with the Second Kansas Cavalry, the Sixth Iowa Infantry and the Fourth Arkansas Regiment, which was afterward merged into the Second. When asked about the reconstruction period, one old and honored citizen of the county replied: “It was harder than the war.” Yet, while some lives were sacrificed, the people of Scott County did not suffer during those years as did the people of some other parts of the State.
The war is with the past, and so, too, have passed away the unsettled conditions succeeding it. Men of southern birth and proclivities dwell here, side by side, in mutual friendship and mutual helpfulness, with men of northern birth and proclivities. There is no question now of section against section. There is nothing political for neighbors to seriously disagree about, and if there were the people of Scott County are too intent upon their home interests and upon the work of general development, to give it a moment's unfriendly consideration. Much space has been given to consideration of this county’s mineral and railway possibilities and promise. That they are flattering, cannot be doubted. But if never a pound of coal should be mined—if never a rod of rail should be laid—this would yet be a land of promise and a land of plenty. If there is any part of God’s footstool and man’s workshop where soils, seasons, grains, grasses, fruits, vegetables, plants, —everything—are under tribute to the provident and thrifty and enterprising farmer, it is in Scott County, between its green mountain ranges. Genial skies are overhead, generous soils are under foot; clear swift sunny waters flow down the valleys, sparkling fountains feed the brooklets; prairie and woodland, interval and valley are decked with the richest herbage; wild fruits grow in profusion in the woods and by the way-side; a soft blue haze—the dreamy influence of the semi-tropics—hallows this golden and glorious land from January to December, and it is “God's country,” for His beneficent smile is on everything from the waterlines to the crown of the highest hills. Class prejudices and sectional feeling have long been eliminated. A brave, cordial, genial, hospitable and generous mixed people are here to give genuine western welcome to all worthy new-comers. They never ask after your antecedents here, but measure you, if you are a new comer, by what you are and what you can do. The hospitality of this people, is as strong as brave, and magnanimous men and gentle women can cultivate; as warm and genial as the climate, and as broad as the boundless southwest. They are lovers of law and order, and lovers of fair play, have profound reverence for woman and home, sad take care of their personal credit as if it were their only stock in trade.
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