History of Greene County, Missouri
1883

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian


 History of Missouri

Chapter 2: Descriptive and Geographical

Name—Extent—Surface—Rivers—Timber—Climate—Prairies—Soils—Population by Counties.


NAME.

The name Missouri is derived from the Indian tongue and signifies muddy.

EXTENT.

Missouri is bounded on the north by Iowa (from which it is separated for about thirty miles on the northeast, by the Des Moines River), and on the east by the Mississippi River, which divides it from Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, and on the west by the Indian Territory, and the States of Kansas and Nebraska. The State lies (with the exception of a small projection between the St. Francis and the Mississippi Rivers, which extends to 36°), between 36° 30' and 40° 36' north latitude, and between 12° 2' and 18° 51' west longitude from Washington.

The extreme width of the State east and west, is about 348 miles; its width on its northern boundary, measured from its northeast corner along the Iowa line, to its intersection with the Des Moines River, is about 210 miles; its width on its southern boundary is about 288 miles. Its average width is about 235 miles.

The length of the State north and south, not including the narrow strip between the St. Francis and Mississippi Rivers, is about 282 miles. It is about 450 miles from its extreme northwest corner to its southeast corner, and from the northeast corner to the southwest corner, it is about 230 miles. These limits embrace an area of 65,350 square miles, or 41,824,000 acres, being nearly as large as England, and the States of Vermont and New Hampshire. [8]

SURFACE.

North of the Missouri, the State is level or undulating, while the portion south of that river (the larger portion of the State) exhibits a greater variety of surface. In the southeastern part is an extensive marsh, reaching beyond the State into Arkansas. The remainder of this portion between the Mississippi and Osage Rivers is rolling, and gradually rising into a hilly and mountainous district, forming the outskirts of the Ozark Mountains.

Beyond the Osage River, at some distance, commences a vast expanse of prairie land which stretches away towards the Rocky Mountains. The ridges forming the Ozark chain extend in a northeast and southwest direction, separating the waters that flow northeast into the Missouri from those that flow southeast into the Mississippi River.

RIVERS.

No State in the Union enjoys better facilities for navigation than Missouri. By means of the Mississippi River, which stretches along her entire eastern boundary, she can hold commercial intercourse with the most northern territory and State in the Union; with the whole valley of the Ohio; with many of the Atlantic States, and with the Gulf of Mexico.

"Ay, gather Europe's royal rivers all—
The snow-swelled Neva, with an Empire's weight
On her broad breast, she yet may overwhelm;
Dark Danube, hurrying, as by foe pursued,
Through shaggy forests and by palace walls,
To hide its terror in a sea of gloom;
The castled Rhine, whose vine-crowned waters flow,
The fount of fable and the source of song;
The rushing Rhone, in whose cerulean depths
The loving sky seems wedded with the wave;
The yellow Tiber, chok'd with Roman spoils,
A dying miser shrinking 'neath his gold;
The Seine, where fashion glasses the fairest forms;
The Thames that bears the riches of the world;
Gather their waters in one ocean mass,
Our Mississippi rolling proudly on,
Would sweep them from its path, or swallow up,
Like Aaron's rod, these streams of fame and song."
[8]

By the Missouri River she can extend her commerce to the Rocky Mountains, and receive in return the products which will come in the course of time, by its multitude of tributaries.

The Missouri River coasts the northwest line of the State for about 250 miles, following its windings, and then flows through the State, a little south of east, to its junction with the Mississippi. The Missouri River receives a number of tributaries within the limits of the State, the principal of which are the Nodaway, Platte, Grand and Chariton from the north, and the Blue, Sniabar, Lamine, Osage and and Gasconade from the south. The principal tributaries of the Mississippi within the State, are the Salt River, north, and the Meramec River south of the Missouri.

The St. Francis and White Rivers, with their branches, drain the southeastern part of the State, and pass into Arkansas. The Osage is navigable for steamboats for more than 175 miles. There are a vast number of smaller streams, such as creeks, branches and rivers, which water the State in all directions.

Timber.—Not more towering in their sublimity were the cedars of ancient Lebanon, nor more precious in their utility were the almug-trees of Ophir, than the native forests of Missouri. The river bottoms are covered with a luxuriant growth of oak, ash, elm, hickory, cottonwood, linn, white and black walnut, and in fact, all the varieties found in the Atlantic and Eastern States. In the more barren districts may be seen the white and pin oak, and in many places a dense growth of pine. The crab apple, papaw and persimmon are abundant, as also the hazel and pecan.

Climate.—The climate of Missouri is, in general, pleasant and salubrious. Like that of North America, it is changeable, and subject to sudden and sometimes extreme changes of heat and cold; but it is decidedly milder, taking the whole year through, than that of the same latitudes east of the mountains. While the summers are not more oppressive than they are in the corresponding latitudes on and near the Atlantic coast, the winters are shorter, and very much milder, except during the month of February, which has many days of pleasant sunshine.

Prairies.—Missouri is a prairie State, especially that portion of it north and northwest of the Missouri River. These prairies, along the water courses, abound with the thickest and most luxurious belts of timber, while the "rolling" prairies occupy the higher portions of the country, the descent generally to the forests or bottom lands being over only declivities. Many of these prairies, however, exhibit a gracefully waving surface, swelling and sinking with an easy slope, and a full, rounded outline, equally avoiding the unmeaning horizontal surface and the interruption of abrupt or angular elevations.

These prairies often embrace extensive tracts of land, and in one or two instances they cover an area of fifty thousand acres. During the spring and summer they are carpeted with a velvet of green, and gaily bedecked with flowers of various forms and hues, making a most fascinating panorama of ever-changing color and loveliness. To fully appreciate their great beauty and magnitude, they must be seen.

Soil.—The soil of Missouri is good, and of great agricultural capabilities, but the most fertile portions of the State are the river bottoms, which are a rich alluvium, mixed in many cases with sand, the producing qualities of which are not excelled by the prolific valley of the famous Nile.

South of the Missouri River there is a greater variety of soil, but much of it is fertile, and even in the mountains and mineral districts there are rich valleys, and about the sources of the White, Eleven Points, Current and Big Black Rivers, the soil, though unproductive, furnishes a valuable growth of yellow pine.

The marshy lands in the southeastern part of the State will, by a system of drainage, be one of the most fertile districts in the State. [9-10[

POPULATION BY COUNTIES IN 1870, 1876, AND 1880.

COUNTIES

1870

1876

1860

Adair

11,449

13,774

15,190

Andrew

15,137

14,992

16,318

Atchison

8,440

10,925

14,565

Audrain

12,307

15,157

19,739

Barry

10,373

11,146

14,424

Barton

5,087

6,900

10,332

Bates

15,960

17,484

25,382

Benton

11,322

11,027

12,398

Bollinger

8,162

8,884

11,132

Boone

20,765

31,923

25,424

Buchanan

35,109

38,165

49,824

Butler

4,298

4,363

6,011

Caldwell

11,390

12,200

13,654

Callaway

19,202

25,257

23,670

Camden

6,108

7,027

7,269

Cape Girardeau

17,558

17,891

20,998

Carroll

17,440

21,498

20,998

Carter

1,440

1,549

2,168

Cass

19,299

18,069

22,431

Cedar

9,471

9,897

10,747

Chariton

19,136

23,294

25,224

Christian

13,667

14,549

15,631

Clark

13,667

14,549

15,631

Clay

15,564

15,320

15,579

Clinton

14,063

13,698

16,073

Cole

10,292

14,122

145,519

Cooper

20,692

21,356

21,622

Crawford

7,982

9,391

10,763

Dade

8,683

11,089

12,557

Dallas

8,383

8,073

9,272

Daviess

14,410

16,557

19,174

DeKalb

9,858

11,159

13,343

Dent

6,357

7,401

10,647

Douglas

3,915

6,461

7,753

Dunklin

5,982

6,255

9,604

Franklin

30,098

26,924

26,536

Gasconade

10,093

11,160

11,153

Gentry

11,607

12,673

17,188

Greene

21,549

24,693

28,817

Grundy

10,567

13,071

15,201

Harrison

14,635

18,530

20,318

Henry

17,401

18,465

23,914

Hickory

6,452

5,870

7,388

Holt

11,652

13,245

15,510

Howard

17,233

17,815

18,428

Howell

4,218

6,756

8,814

Iron

6,278

6,623

8,183

Jackson

55,041

54,045

82,328

Jasper

14,928

29,384

32,021

Jefferson

15,380

16,186

18,736

Johnson

24,648

23,646

28,177

Knox

10,974

12,678

13,047

Laclede

9,380

9,845

11,524

Lafayette

22,624

22,204

25,761

Lawrence

13,067

13,054

17,585

Lewis

15,114

16,360

15,925

Lincoln

15,960

16,858

17,443

Linn

15,906

18,110

20,016

Livingston

16,730

18,074

20,205

McDonald

5,226

6,072

7,816

Macon

22,230

25,028

26,223

Madison

5,849

8,750

8,866

Maries

5,916

6,481

7,304

Marion

23,780

22,794

24,4837

Mercer

11,557

13,393

14,674

Miller

6,616

8,529

9,807

Mississippi

4,982

7,498

9,270

Moniteau

13,375

13,084

14,349

Monroe

17,149

17,7515

19,075

Montgomery

10,405

14,418

16,250

Morgan

8,434

9,529

10,134

New Madrid

6,357

6,673

7,694

Newton

12,821

16,875

18,948

Nodaway

14,751

23,196

29,560

Oregon

3,287

4,469

5,791

Osage

10,793

11,200

11,824

Ozark

3,363

4,579

5,618

Pemiscot

2,059

2,573

4,299

Perry

9,877

11,189

11,895

Pettis

18,706

23,167

27,285

Phelps

10,506

9,919

12,565

Pike

23,076

22,828

26,716

Platte

17,352

15,948

17,372

Polk

17,352

15,948

17,372

Pulaski

4,714

6,157

7,250

Putnam

11,217

12,641

13,556

Ralls

10,510

9,997

11,838

Randolph

15,908

19,173

22,751

Ray

18,700

18,394

20,196

Reynolds

18,700

18,394

20,196

Ripley

3,175

3,913

5,377

St. Charles

21,304

21,821

23,060

St. Clair

6,742

11,242

14,126

St. Francois

9,742

11,621

13,822

Ste. Genevieve

8,384

9,409

10,309

St. Louis1

351,189

000

31,888

Saline

21,672

27,087

29,912

Schuyler

8,820

9,881

10,470

Scotland

10,670

12,030

12,507

Scott

7,317

7,312

8,587

Shannon

2,389

3,236

3,441

Shelby

10,119

13,243

14,024

Stoddard

8,535

10,888

13,432

Stone

3,253

3,544

4,405

Sullivan

11,907

14,039

16,569

Taney

4,407

6,124

5,605

Texas

9,618

10,287

12,207

Vernon

11,247

14,413

19,370

Warren

9,673

10,321

10,806

Washington

11,719

13,100

121,895

Wayne

6,068

7,006

9,097

Webster

10,434

10,684

12,175

Worth

5,004

7,164

8,208

Wright

5,684

6,124

9,733

City of St. Louis

___000

_ 000

__350,522

 


1,721,295


1,547,030


2,168,804

SUMMARY.

Males ———— 1,126,424
Females ——— 1,041,380
Native ———— 1,957,564
Foreign ———— 211,240
White ———— 2,023,568
Colored2 ————— 145,236

[11-13]

____________________

1 St. Louis City and County separated in 1877. Population for 1876 not given.
2 Including 92 Chinese, 2 half Chinese, and 96 Indians and half-breeds.


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