Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 3
Economic Geology
by Edward M. Shepard

Part 1
Water and Soil

Next to an equitable climate and pure air, the possession for which southwestern Missouri is most grateful is her abundant supply of cold and sparkling waters, which, for the most part, come to the surface in large springs generously scattered throughout the whole district.

Surface water supply.—The surface waters of the area under consideration are exceptionally pure. All have their origin in large springs, so that even in the most protracted drought they are never-failing. Few parts of the country are better watered or possess better facilities for the utilization of water-power than this part of the state. The growing demand for water-power, due to the progress in electrical science, greatly enhances the importance of a proper knowledge of our water-supply. The James river and Wilson creek, with their spring branch tributaries in the southern half of the county, and the various branches of the Sac and Pomme de Terre rivers with their tributaries on the north, afford numerous mill sites with practically inexhaustible reservoirs. The temperature of the various springs, in the hottest weather, runs from 44 to 58 degrees F., and that of the streams from 60 to 70 degrees. The extent and character of the water-supply of this county can be better appreciated after a brief consideration of some of the principal springs which gush forth on all sides to form the surface streams.

Springs.—This region is truly a country of springs, and there are few areas which have such an abundance of fine, pure, cold water as abounds in this portion of the state. The majority of the farms possess one or more of these adjuncts to, health and comfort. The largest and finest springs are located at or near the base of the Upper Burlington limestone. The porous, cavernous nature of this rock, together with its great uniformity and thickness, and the hard Lower Burlington forming a compact under layer, presents the most favorable conditions for the accumulation, filtration and distribution of surface waters. Spread out over the western flank of the Ozark uplift, fissured by flexing, and cut into by erosion from the drainage system, it would be natural to expect large and fine springs along the lower slopes. The sink-holes, so abundant in the upper beds of the Upper Burlington, form, undoubtedly, great reservoirs for the accumulation of surface waters, which are carried by underground channels to, or near, the impervious Lower Burlington below, a fact sufficient to explain the existence of the largest and coldest springs near the base of the upper division of the Burlington. In sinking wells in this formation, water is almost invariably obtained at shallow depths, and large underground streams are frequently tapped, giving conclusive evidence of the cavernous nature of the limestone, and the source of supply of the great springs. It has always been a difficult problem to account f or the steady supply of water furnished by the springs which encircle the base of this formation on either side of the uplift; but this question is now solved by the knowledge that the whole formation forms one vast, cavernous reservoir into which the numerous sink-holes and porous strata convey to the underground recesses the surface drainage of the area occupied by the Upper Burlington formation. [85-86]


Only the most important of the immense number of springs that issue from the Upper Burlington can here be mentioned. First, and most noteworthy, because of its utilization, is the Fulbright spring, situated near Springfield in the northwest quarter of section 2, township 29, range 22. It emerges from a small cave in a bluff on the west side of the Doling Park branch of the Sac. The water is wonderfully pure and clear, and has a flow, in ordinary seasons, of eight million gallons in twenty-four hours.

One mile to the southwest, on the Ritter farm, a large lake has been formed by damming the mouth of a narrow valley, into which three great springs empty, making one of the most picturesque points in the vicinity.

Another important spring is the one in Doling Park, the waters from which have been collected into a basin, forming a lake which greatly beautifies that pleasure resort.

The Woolen Mill spring, in the northwestern part of the city of Springfield, occupies a site that has been selected for a public park, and in the immediate vicinity are, also, the Dingeldein spring in the western part of the city, the Jones spring, on the east, the Lyman spring, on Water street, just north of the Public Square, and the Frisco spring, north of the St. Louis and San Francisco railroad car shops. The last mentioned springs, owing to their situation in a thickly-settled region, are all more or less contaminated with sewage, and Jones spring, especially, is unfit for domestic purposes.

The Sander spring, just south of the McCracken mill on the South Dry Sac, is another good example of a spring issuing from the base of the Upper Burlington. It flows from the foot of a low bluff into a large basin, discharging, probably eight million gallons in twenty-four hours. Since the dam was built at this spring it has been shown that its waters are the chief source of supply for Fulbright spring. The reservoir formed by this dam furnishes a valuable addition to the water supply of the city of Springfield in times of drought.

Jones spring, situated about a quarter of a mile from Pierson creek, on the Henderson road, must not be confused with one of the same name already mentioned. It issues from a small cave near the base of a hill, and has a discharge of about eight million gallons of water in twenty-four hours.

Sequiota spring, on the old Fisher farm, issues from a cave of the same name, forming a stream of pure, cold water six inches deep, and from four to five feet wide.

Of the numerous springs that help to add volume to the James river, that on the Gates farm, now the property of the James River Club, issues from the base of a high bluff and discharges immediately into the river. At Camp Cora, on the bank of the river, is another spring that undoubtedly has its source in a spring branch which rises several miles to the east and flows past the Mentor cemetery, from which it unfortunately receives the drainage. Continuing its course, sometimes above ground and often sinking to reappear several hundred feet farther on, it finally emerges at Camp Cora, a favorite resort for fishing and camping parties.

Blue spring, having a flow of about six million gallons in, twenty-four hours is also the outlet of an underground stream, the course of which is outlined by a series of caves and sinks trending south thirty degrees east. A strong current of air issuing from one of these caves is probably set in circulation by the movements of the underground current.

The Haseltine spring forms the headwaters of Clear creek and has a flow of about six million gallons a day. It issues from a large cave filled with tumbled debris, in the crevices of which considerable saltpeter has accumulated. The Amphitheater spring, on Sac river, near Percy cave, issues from the center of the base of a beautiful curved mural bluff, which forms a natural amphitheater of considerable size. A quarter of a mile to the east of this, on the south bank of the Sac is the Owen spring, now a part of the Springfield city waterworks system. The head of Asher creek has its source in the small Watson spring in the upper beds of the Upper Burlington, and the town of Cave Spring receives its name from the large stream that flows from the cavern sink within the limits of the village. The Hale and Nelson springs, in sections nine and four, respectively, have about the same value as Cave spring. Rocky Point spring, in West Center township, is a popular place of resort, and Shaking Mound spring, near the town of Ash Grove, has long created considerable interest from the fact that the mound, from the summit of which the spring rises, shakes all over when walked upon. Poles are easily sunk in it through the tenacious, turf and down to a distance of from six to ten feet, into the black muck that makes up the bulk of the mound. The dense mat of grass and sedges which cover the mound remains, green the whole year. Cattle are frequently mired in the bog. This would, undoubtedly, be a good locality in which to search for the remains of extinct animals, and it is a rare example in the south of the peat bog which is not uncommon in the more northern regions.

Of the Lower Burlington limestone springs, several large ones may be noted. One of these, the Big Boiling spring, on the property of the Winoka Lodge Club, S. E. ¼ section 16, township 28, range 21, is probably the largest spring in the county. It flows directly from a flat orifice extending irregularly for nearly one hundred feet along the bank of the river. This spring formerly had its outlet from the cave about eight hundred feet to the northeast, and now, after heavy rains, quite a stream flows from the cave along the surface of the ground to the present outlet of the spring.

A few hundred feet south of the cave opening above mentioned are the Cotton Gin, or Roaring springs, a group of ten beautiful cold springs which occupy a small, narrow canyon, all on the Winoka lodge property. The Ingram springs, a few miles north of Winoka club house, the Spout spring, on the Dillard farm on the west side of Pierson creek, and the McKerrell spring at the head of Wilson creek, are all noted in this region. The Little Yosemite, otherwise known as Cunningham spring, in the N. E. ½ of section 28, township 27, range 22, is also a Lower Burlington spring. All the springs of this geological formation are noted for the beauty of their surroundings and the purity and coldness of their waters.

The springs issuing from the Chouteau limestone are not very large, but they are usually connected with picturesque scenery and are almost always points near which good geological sections are shown. Those of the Hannibal sandstones and shales are very frequently mere seepage springs, forming wet, clayey slopes. The water is almost invariably impure and unwholesome, due, no doubt, to the decomposition of the pyrites contained in the shales. Wells sunk in this formation, almost always contain purgative salts. The springs of the Devonian are small, and almost always seepage springs, frequently contaminated from the Hannibal shales above. The springs of the Silurian limetones are also small and the water is rather warm. Their size is probably due to the fact that these beds are rarely thick enough in Greene county for any great accumulation of water. [86-87]


The water supply of Springfield was first derived from Fulbright spring situated some three miles north of the city, and noted for the abundance and purity of its water. It was early known that a subterranean connection existed between this spring and Sander spring, or Valley Water Mill as it is now called. As the city increased in population, it became necessary, in times of drought, to add to the original water supply, and a dam was built at Valley Water Mill, forming a large reservoir which could be drawn upon in times of special need. The rapid increase in demand for water necessitated other sources of supply. The Ritter spring branch was next piped to the Fulbright reservoir. Later, the water from the Dry Sac was added, and still later, that from the large Owen spring near Percy cave. The severe droughts of the summer and fall of the years 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914, and the strong opposition of the city to the use of the Sac and Ritter spring waters (though these were rendered perfectly safe by the large filtration plant installed at great expense by the Springfield City Water Company), and, the fact that even all these sources together did not furnish a sufficient water supply, caused the company to consider the problem of deep wells. The first well was sunk near the power house at Fulbright spring, to a depth of one thousand four hundred four and one-half feet. The section of this well has been given in the preceding chapter. It proved to be a strong artesian well, having a flow of over two hundred thousand gallons in twenty-four hours, and the company is pumping from it a large supply of remarkably pure water, of medium hardness. Another well has been drilled about one-third of a mile north of the first, and plans are considered for the sinking of one or two more.

The cachement basin for the Fulbright spring, the main source of water supply for the city, lies to the northeast and owing to an east and west fault-line, and the fact that the strata on the north side of the fault-line have been elevated so that they dip naturally to the southwest, the purer and softer waters of the St. Peter and Roubidoux sandstones are brought nearer to the surface and form the main sources of supply for the spring. These waters are mingled in the reservoir with the harder water coming from the Sander or Valley Water Mill spring. During heavy rains, all the springs of the Ozarks become surcharged with earthy matter. Most of them have large subterranean cave-channels wherein is deposited the clay which mainly forms the cementing material of the limestones, and which is left in the bottom of the channels after the soluble lime has been dissolved and carried away in the water. [89]

The muddy waters following heavy rains caused the company to erect at Fulbright spring, one of the finest and most complete filtration plants in the country. In this plant, by a simple process, the earthy materials are precipitated and filtered out through sand; and by the agency of minute quantities of chloride of lime, any bacteria remaining are absolutely destroyed, making the water wonderfully clear and potable.

The installation of the filter-plant and the supplementing of the Fulbright supply, with the deep wells, is the solution of a problem of quantity and quality that has been a serious one for a number of years.


There are but few mineral springs in Greene county, three small chalybeate springs being the only ones known in this area. One of them is just tender the dam at the pond at the Ritter mill, township 29, range 22 west and section 4. This can only be utilized at low water, as the stream overflows it at other times, but its waters are strongly impregnated with iron, and its accessibility to Springfield would make it well worth walling up. There is another on the east bank of the James river, just north of the boat-landing, between the east bank and the island, on the Winoka lodge property, near Galloway. This is covered by the river except in very low water. Another small chalybeate spring is found at the foot of the ferruginous sandstone bluff in the bed of Pomme de Terre, at its head, township 30, range, 20 west, and section 25 northeast quarter. A few miles northwest of Springfield, township 30, range 22 west, section 20 southwest quarter, are Bethesda, springs which have had a local reputation in the past, several houses and cabins having been built in the vicinity. They are situated in the lower bed of the Upper Burlington, and, like many others in this region, can hardly be regarded as mineral springs.


The sandstones and limestones of Greene county furnish an abundant supply of building stones, some of them being of the highest grade.


Coal Measures Sandstones.—As these beds usually have a very uneven texture, and very thin bedding planes, they are little used for any purpose except foundations, chimneys, fence-walls and hearthstones.

Hannibal Sandstones.—One of the building materials most extensively used in this region is the Hannibal sandstone or "worm-eaten" rock, which is of wide-spread occurrence and easily quarried because of its even bedding. Its durability is also very great. Broken and tumbled blocks of this formation are so abundant along the slopes of its outcrops that farmers, who are among its chief users, do not find it necessary to establish quarries for the purpose of obtaining it.

The sandstones of the Silurian include the St. Peter and Roubidoux sandstones. As a rule, they are too soft and friable for utilization in building, and as they are usually in close proximity to the Hannibal, the latter are naturally chosen.


Upper Burlington Limestone.—This is the most beautiful as well as the most valuable of all the building stories of this region. It is a very thick and widely distributed formation which adds to its other advantages the fact that it is most easily worked. When free from chert, the beds are massive, and blocks of unlimited size can be quarried. Coarsely sub-crystalline in structure, with marked purity of composition and homogeneity of texture, the middle beds of this rock make an unusually fine stone for all construction purposes, needing ordinarily, only a bush-hammer dressing. It has been used, with fine effect, in Drury College chapel, St. John's Episcopal church, many private residences, the foundation walls of the local government building and the wall of the Confederate cemetery near Springfield. There are several large quarries in and near Springfield, as well as numerous places where small amounts of the rock are taken out for local purposes. While the are many small quarries throughout the county which are but roughly worked for lime or foundation rock, it is only at Phoenix that a systematic development of these beds has been undertaken.

Phoenix Quarries.—These quarries are located near the town of Phoenix, in the northwestern part of the county, and were opened in 1888. They are in the middle beds of the Upper Burlington limestone, and the plant is equipped for working, handling and sawing blocks of all sizes, with a quarrying capacity of eight hundred cubic feet a day.

Ash Grove White Lime Association Quarry.—Near the town of Ash Grove, a ledge of Upper Burlington limestone seven hundred feet long, and from twenty-two to twenty-five feet thick has been exposed, and the fact that it has no horizontal, and few vertical seams, makes it one of the finest undeveloped properties in the state. Though used at present, for the rnanufacture of lime only, it would be of great value for the production of dimension stone.

Chouteau Limestone.—This is another Greene, county stone that deserves a much wider use than is now accorded it. It is widely distributed in beds of uniform thickness which are easily worked, is durable, has a fine buff color and is most desirable in every way. [91]

Sac Limestone.—Another evidence of the undeveloped resources in which this county abounds is found in the Sac limestone, a formation that contains enough silica to make it susceptible of a good polish and which, where thick enough and free from pyrites, is a fine stone for architectural purposes.


There are three distinct beds of these rocks, known as the Joachim, Jefferson City and Gasconade magnesian limestones, and they are worthy of a more extended knowledge and use. Most of them are of fine structure, with great beauty and durability, the exception being in the beds of the Joachim layers, which, outside of the extreme southeastern portion of the county, are too silicious and unevenly bedded to be of use for building purposes. The middle beds of the Jefferson City limestone, however, possess most desirable qualities, being the compact, fine-grained, white and heavily-bedded stone called "cotton-rock," which, though soft when first quarried, hardens with time and exposure. From a small quarry of Gasconade limestone, situated three miles northeast of Fair Grove, township 31, range 20 west, section 15, on the south-side of the Pomme de Terre, an exceptionally beautiful building stone is obtained. A large, two-story house was constructed from it on the Adams place and the rock being white, compact, fine-grained and of homogeneous texture, might easily be taken for marble at a little distance. The durability of these dolomitic rocks is very great. A number of tombstones in the church yard near Fair Grove date back to 1840, and the inscriptions are as legible as when first carved, showing that time but serves to harden these stones. The total output of limestone in Greene county for 1912 was worth $99,334.00; 1913, $79,701.00. Only six counties exceed Greene in output.


It has been said that some of the Greene county stones already described are susceptible of a sufficient amount of polish to give them a value for ornamental purposes. In addition to these, onyx, chiefly a stalagmitic formation occurring in caverns, has been found. As far as exhibited, it contains too many flaws and irregularities of various kinds to make it of any special value, but it is possible that when the deposits are more fully explored more perfect masses may be found. The best specimens exhibited equal the so-called Mexican onyx in richness of color and marking. [92]


The manufacture of lime has become a large and important industry in Missouri, the state ranking fifth in the United States in 1912, and the product of Greene county exceeding that of any other county in the state. Up to 1867, all the lime manufactured in southern Missouri was prepared in the rudest manner. Log heaps were built and rough blocks of limestone were thrown upon them to be burned in the simplest way, or rough stone walls sufficient to support and retain the rock were built, and the lime was burned in these temporary kilns. Such structures as these are scattered about the county, notably at the following points: on the bluff at the Pierson creek mines, near Ingram, mill; at the ford north of Doling Park, Springfield; east of Ebenezer; and at the Patterson place north of the public square, in Springfield, near the present intersection of Water and Boonville streets.

The first introduction of modern methods of manufacture was made by the Ash Grove White Lime Association. This company now largely controls the trade of the Southwest, shipping to Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and even to the Pacific coast. A history of this company is essentially a history of the lime industry in southwestern Missouri. In 1880, the late Gen. G. H. Nettleton, general manager of the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf railroad, called the attention of Mr. J. H. Barton to the large amount and fine quality of limestone thrown out of the deep cut of the railroad west of Ash Grove, and urged the importance of establishing a lime plant on the line of this road. A car-load of the stone was shipped to the old Burns kiln, at Springfield, and burned into a fine quality of white lime. Mr. Barton immediately erected two kilns at Ash Grove and the following year Mr. W. B. Hill, of Carthage, became associated with him. Two years later Barton and Hill organized a stock company known as the Ash Grove White Lime Association, which, in addition to the nine kilns at Ash Grove, soon built several others at Everton, in an adjacent county and at Galloway, in Greene county.

In 1884 Mr. James H. Smith built a kiln at the junction of St. Louis and San Francisco and the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis railroads, in Springfield and sold a one-half interest to J. G. Schermerhorn. Another kiln was soon added when Mr. J. S. Atkinson purchased an interest and the Springfield White Lime Association was organized. One kiln was added in 1885, and another in 1886. In 1894, this company sold out to the Marblehead Company, of Chicago, which continues the operation of the plant with a number of new kilns.

The Burns kiln, discontinued many years ago, was situated east of the present site of the Marblehead kilns. It was started in 1975 and was operated until 1890. Up to 1884, one kiln supplied all the demand for lime in Springfield and vicinity. [93]


Much less study is given to the soils of our country than the importance of the subject demands. Great emphasis is always laid upon the mineral resources of a region, but it is not too much to say that the wealth, prosperity and civilization of a country very largely depend upon the nature and variety of the superficial portion of the earth's crust that is made to serve the uses of man. Such oversight is but another example of the neglect experienced by the common things of life.

Most of the questions that arise in regard to agriculture are geological in their nature. The origin and distribution of soils; their character and how originated; how they may be improved and renewed; the source and supply of mineral fertilizers to replace the loss by removal of crops all these topics are true geological problems. Soils have. been defined as "Those superficial portions of the earth's crust, usually of little depth, with the subsoils extending to variable depths beneath them and composed chiefly of exceedingly variable mixtures of sand and clay, with considerable proportions of vegetable mold and iron oxide, with usually smaller but very important amounts of lime, magnesia, the alkalies, potash, soda, and phosphoric acid." The surface soil differs from the subsoil mainly in containing products of the decomposition of vegetable and animal matter, and is made up of the more finely comminuted portions of the subsoil. The scene of most agricultural operations is the thin upper portion of the earth's crust in which seeds are planted and to which fertilizers are added when nature does not supply a sufficient amount of the desired elements.

All soils have been derived from the mechanical and chemical disintegration of rocks. A mass of rock exposed to the air in an even temperature and free from moisture, will remain intact for ages. A similar mass, exposed to changes of temperature, will crumble and break down. Rocks are very sensitive to thermal changes, not only those of the seasons, but the slighter changes between day and night. It is estimated that the former affects the rock-mass to a depth of sixty feet or more and the latter from three to ten feet. This is because of the expansion and contraction of the particles of which the rock is composed, the coarser rocks breaking up more rapidly than those of finer texture. The loosening of the grains, caused, by this constant change in temperature, together with abundant rains, brings in moisture as another agent, which, penetrating the mass and freezing, is a powerful factor in the disassociating of the mass. Water is an exception to the general rule that bodies expand with heat and contract with cold. Freezing is an irresistible force that rends, shatters, breaks and crumbles, and rapidly forms an unconsolidated mass, which is one step toward the preparation, of the soil. Of the various agents in the formation of soils, water is the most aggressive. Not only is it powerful mechanically, but it is an important chemical factor. The granular disassociated rock alone is not capable of forming food for plants; it must be dissolved before it can be assimilated by them. Water is the most important element for the solution of these granules. Many rock constituents are considered by the chemist as insoluble, but to the geologist all rock-forming minerals have been proved to be soluble, since the constant action, through ages of time, and by infinitesimal degrees, gives, in the aggregate, a very considerable result. The dissolving power of water is largely due to such contained impurities as carbon dioxide and free oxygen. The effect of this solution is strikingly illustrated by the great caverns and underground waterways that are so abundant in this region. These show the remarkable solvent power of water acting through long periods of time. Water acts not only chemically, but mechanically as well, and that in two distinct ways; first, in penetrating the loosened rock, softening it and destroying the cohesion between the grains, thus rendering it more susceptible to disintegration, and second, in the direct wear caused by the erosion and abrading of running streams. There is more or less constant circulation of water between the earth and the atmosphere, perpetual in its action. Sea beaches, mountain sides and river valleys furnish good examples of the power of running water to affect the surface of the earth. By it material is gathered, carried, mixed and deposited along river valleys, forming the rich bottom lands of our water courses.

Air is another agent in the formation of soils. Its action is largely due to the carbon dioxide and oxygen which produce chemical changes. Mechanically, also, air is occasionally a powerful agent in disintegrating the rocks and in changing the soil in certain regions. In deserts, prevailing winds blow the sands against rock surfaces, thereby becoming powerful, abrading agents.

Organic life is another prominent promoter of rock disintegration. Animals exert their influence solely through chemical means, while plants act both chemically and physically. [94-95]


Various attempts have been made to classify soils, but only two of them are satisfactory, viz; that based upon their origin and that based upon their physical characters. The first are the indigenous soils, or those of disintegration, directly derived by processes already described from the rocks underneath, or in close proximity, these being necessarily of shallow depth; the second are soils of transportation, that is soils that have been carried from their source by various agents and deposited in a location some distance from their origin. The soils of transportation are divided into two classes, the glacial or drift, and the alluvial. The former are not found in Greene county, as this region is situated too far south for them, but the alluvial soils, formed and transported by the erosive agency of water and more or less stratified, are our most fertile soils because of the varied nature of their ingredients and the fineness of their texture. They are most strikingly exemplified in river bottoms and deltas, and they are in a constant process of formation.

In attempting to classify soils according to their physical characteristics, we find a wide range of differences. Gravel soil is made up of small, more or less water-worn fragments of rock, mixed with varying quantities (generally about thirty percent) of fine earth, and it may be utilized under favorable conditions, for vineyards, grazing and forest areas. A sandy soil usually contains eighty per cent. or more of quartz sand, and is usually derived from the wearing away of sandstones. A clay soil contains not less than sixty per cent. of clay, mixed with sand. It may be derived from the breaking down of a great many different rocks, and when containing from sixty per cent. to eighty per cent. of clay they are, as a rule, valuable, productive soils. Clay is impermeable to water and unless lying on a porous subsoil is liable to be wet and cold. A soil containing from eighty per cent. to ninety per cent. of clay may, under favorable conditions, be utilized for the cultivation of wheat and clover. Loam soils are those which have a more or less uniform mixture of clay, sand and lime, and there are various kinds of this soil; a heavy loam, containing from ten per cent. to twenty-five per cent. of sand; a clay loam, with twenty-five per cent. to forty per cent. of sand; a loam with forty per cent. to sixty per cent. of sand; sandy loam with sixty per cent. to seventy per cent. of sand; and a light sandy loam with seventy-five per cent. to ninety per cent. of sand. Marl is a term applied to all calcareous clays. The lime in marl must not fall below fifteen per cent, nor the clay rise above seventy-five per cent. Calcareous soils contain lime as a prominent ingredients which varies from fifty per cent. to seventy-five per cent. Lastly, humus soils, sometimes called peat or muck soils are largely of vegetable origin.

One may get a general knowledge of the soils of the area under discussion by consulting a geological1 map of Greene county, when it will be seen that the entire county is covered with indigeneous soils which vary in character with the different geological formations from which they are derived. The river valleys and stream bottoms contain alluvial soil. The southwestern two-thirds of the county is covered with the lower carboniferous rocks and is largely made up of limestones with smaller deposits of sandstones and shales. The soils derived from the Upper Burlington limestone beds which cover most of this area, are among the most arable in the state. The purity of the limestone and its great porosity and thickness, together with the abundance of soft chert and carbonate of iron, give by decomposition, all the constituents of a strong and sufficiently porous, rich soil. Detritus from former beds of sandstone above also aids in contributing valuable residual material. From the decomposition of the beds of this limestone and chert is formed a highly ferruginous deposit of clay, called "geest," mixed with broken and decomposed chert, the latter generally giving the porosity to this clayey soil, especially where the fissuring of this formation has taken place through underground drainage. Where this is not the case, the barren post-oak flats occur. One not familiar with the soil of the Upper Burlington formation is surprised at its productiveness, as the unfavorable appearance of the red clay so freely mixed with the broken chert does not seem to indicate the great fertility of a soil that is not only rich, but lasting. Where the sandstones and shales of the lower Carboniferous are mixed with the eroded materials from the superimposed formations, the resulting soil is very fertile.

Cambro-ordivician rocks cover the northeastern portion of Greene county. They consist of thick alternating beds of cherty sandstones and magnesian limestones. The soils derived from the cherty sandstones differ from those derived from the other sandstones in being far less productive, owing, no doubt, to the excess of chert and the lack of that cementing material which exists more abundantly in the carboniferous sandstones. The sandstones of this region are softer and the soils more porous, which are also detrimental features. The Silurian limestones are all highly magnesian, merging both above and below, into highly silicious cherty beds. These cherty beds form rugged and desolate regions with scant soils and sparse vegetation. The magnesian limestones, when decomposed, generally form an excellent and productive soil. [95-97]


The physical character of the soils in Greene county or those conditions which render them desirable for cultivation, is an important subject for consideration. The first point to be noted is that of texture. A soil must be sufficiently porous to permit the access of air, moisture and fertilizers, and to be easily penetrated by growing roots. On the other hand, it must be compact enough to prevent too rapid escape of water and fertilizers. Another consideration is that of color, an important item, as this has much to do with the absorption and utilization of heat from the sun. The light-colored compact soils are liable to be cold, while the darker-colored and permeable soils represent the opposite extremes. Humboldt records the temperature of a white and a black sand, situated side by side, as respectively 40 degrees and 54.2 degrees centigrade. Difference in color had been found to produce an average difference of over seven degrees in soil temperature. As warmth exerts a great influence over the growth of the plant from the seed up, it is evident that the color of the soil is a very important element in the raising of crops. These physical properties depend largely upon the varying proportions of quartz sand, iron oxide and the products of decaying organic matter termed humus. An excess of quartz sand gives rise to a porous soil that is easy of cultivation, but which dries out too quickly and tends to sterility because of the leaching out of soluble material and fertilizers. On the other hand, an excess of clay gives rise to the opposite extreme, a heavy soil, hard to work, retentive of moisture and fertilizers, but cold and wet. An excess of humus gives a light soil, unfavorable for the mechanical support of plants, liable to be sour from excess of vegetable acids, and usually deficient in some mineral constituent of plant life. When properly drained, its dark color causes it to absorb heat too readily. Williams says, "That soil is best whose conditions, equally removed from too great compactness and too great permeability, fit it to absorb and to retain the due amount of moisture, while giving easy exit to any overplus, to permit the ready access of the air, and to absorb and utilize the warmth proper to its location. From a comparison of many analyses, such a soil would contain from sixty per cent. to eighty-five per cent. of sand, from ten per cent. to thirty per cent. of clay and iron oxide, and from five per cent. to ten per cent. of humus. Where soil, from an excess of any component, does not naturally possess a proper texture, it stands in need of amelioration."

Soils containing an excess of clay may be improved by thorough under-draining, by deep plowing in ridges and burning brush in the furrows, or by letting the furrows stand through the winter to be acted upon by frost, or by mixing in sand, quicklime or coal ashes, where practicable.

Too sandy soils may be improved by deep plowing, where there is, a subsoil of clay, or by the addition of quicklime or marl. Sandy soils should rarely be tilled deeper than a few inches, and every effort should be made to

retain and increase the original compactness.

Humus and mucky soils should be thoroughly drained and treated with quicklime, sand and manure.

In the above methods of amelioration, man is aided largely by a number of animals. Earthworms, ants, moles, prairie dogs and marmots all assist in such manipulations of the soil as are extremely beneficial to the agriculturalist, and entirely along the line of his own efforts. Their burrowing habits result in bringing subsoil to the surface, thus renewing many elements that have been taken away by cropping. Earthworms, in particular, have brought about remarkable changes. Not only do they bring large quantities of subsoil to the surface, but they convert it into true soil by the addition of organic matter. Darwin has estimated that earthworms bring to the surface, annually, two-tenths of an inch per acre, equivalent to an average of ten and one-half tons per acre. Besides this, they increase the ammonia contents of the soil three-fold. By their burrowing, they render readily accessible air, water and fertilizers to a depth of from three to six feet. They also drag organic matter, in the shape of leaves, deep into the earth. By their alkaline secretion, they correct the acidity of the soil. [97-99]


One of the first steps toward scientific agriculture in Greene county should be to find out what plants are best suited to different soils, and this may be ascertained by the analysis of the soil and the analysis of the ash of the plant. As the constituents of the plant must be derived from the soil, it is important to know how to replace what is lost by cropping. As a rule, silica and iron are always present in sufficient amounts, and this is generally true of lime and magnesia, though it is a curious fact that some soils, in Springfield and other parts of the county, though derived from a very pure limestone, are frequently deficient in lime, since that material has been washed away and only the residual cementing material left.

The mineral constituents of soils needing most looking after are phosphoric acid and the alkalies, potash and soda. In addition to these, an organic nitrogenous substance is positively essential. A high authority says: "A fertilizer may be considered complete when it contains lime, potash, lime-phosphate and a nitrogenous substance," and another gives an example of how lasting in the soil even a small per cent. of one element may be. He says: "An average soil will give about 2,000,000 pounds per acre for a depth of eight inches. If, then, it contains 1 per cent. of lime, this will make available, with ordinary cultivation, at least 20,000 pounds per acre. The tobacco is the greatest consumer of lime among the common crops, as it contains about nine and one-half pounds per hundred of dried leaves, or 190 pounds per ton. It would require, therefore, one hundred crops of a ton per acre much more than the usual crop to exhaust this element from a soil containing 1 per cent. of it.

The wheat grain requires over 28 per cent. potash; apples require 35 percent 35 per cent. and pears 54 per cent. Apples require 26 per cent. of sodium, while the pear requires only 8 per cent. Wheat requires 1.5 per cent. of lime, corn about the same; apples, 4 per cent.; pears 8 per cent. and grapes 34 per cent. Of magnesia, wheat requires 12 per cent.; corn, 16 per cent.; apples, 8 per cent., and pears, 5 per cent. Of phosphoric acid, wheat requires 57 per cent.; corn, 44 per cent., apples, 13 per cent., and pears and grapes each 15 per cent.

The loss of these materials from the soil may be intelligently replaced by fertilizers, or by the rotation of crops. Nitrogen may be added to the soil by fertilizers, containing nitrogenous substances, or by the planting of clover or some other leguminous plants which possess the remarkable power of storing up nitrates through the agency of bacteria. [99-100]


Material for macadamizing roads is readily obtainable throughout Greene county. The limestone and chert from the Upper Burlington limestone has, heretofore, been mainly used for this purpose. A great mistake has been made in using this material, as it is so soft that it rapidly pulverizes, and forms an impalpable dust that is very disagreeable in dry weather, and the roads are also quickly cut through by heavy teaming. The use of the hard Lower Burlington limestone and chert is strongly recommended where macadamizing is to be done. The splendid natural ridge roads on the Lower Burlington in Christian and Stone counties testify to the superior qualities of the limestone and chert of this formation for road-making purposes.

River Gravels.—Probably the best local material in Green county for macadamizing roads is the gravel so abundantly found in the beds of the larger streams, such as the James and Sac, and especially that part of the gravel which is derived from the breaking down of the chert of the Lower Burlington. This latter is more abundant near the headwaters of these streams in the northern and eastern parts of the county; consequently, the gravels found in these localities are much more valuable than those obtained farther to the west. For example, the best gravel for road purposes is that obtained as far west as the Galloway bridge; beyond that point, and lower down the river, it is softer and less desirable.

Cementing Gravels. —A fine deposit of water-worn gravel, mixed with a certain proportion of cementing clay, is found just west of the switch at Rule station, on the Chadwick branch of the St. Louis & San Francisco railroad, township 28, range 21, section 20, southwest quarter. This is probably a tertiary deposit, and is situated at an altitude of about forty feet above the James river, and about a quarter of a mile away from that stream. The bed has been exposed for about a quarter of a mile along the right of way of the railroad, and the road running south from Rule indicates its extension for nearly half a mile to the southeast. Another fine deposit of this cementing gravel is found on the Rogersville road near the Winoka Lodge property. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of these gravels, which experiment has proved to be the best and cheapest macadamizing material accessible to the city of Springfield. [100-101]


1 See "Geological Survey of Greene County, Missouri," Missouri Geological Survey, 'Vol. XII, Map.

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