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county, and a country equal to any part of the earth, lies back upon the high grounds. Sugar-tree bottom extends into Ray, and has long been celebrated as a fine tract of country. During the period when, in the early settlement of the county, all parts of it were unhealthy, this region suffered so far as to be abandoned by some of the settlers ; but Sugar-tree bottom has been latterly reoccupied, and extensive entries have recently been made in it. The seat of justice of Ray has been for many years. fixed at Richmond, about seven miles back from the Missouri.
RICHMOND is situated on a high, rolling tract of land, and the town is flourishing. It contains seven stores. A little below Bluffton, and on the river-bank, a new town has been commenced with fair business prospects. It is called CAMDEN, and there are already several stores established there. The site is a good one, based upon rock; and a regular slope from the river-landing to the high ground affords easy communication between land and water. There is in Ray sufficient timber to ensure the cultivation of all the arable land in the county. The timber is good, and the sugar-tree, which abounds, is convenient and profitable. The black walnut timber is very thrifty, of fine growth, and is used for building materials, and for the manufacture of furniture. There is sufficient territory north of Ray, between the county proper and the state line, for two good counties. This territory is now attached to Ray for all civil and military purposes. Camden will probably be the landing for Richmond, as the ground between the two places is high on the route, and a good road can be had with light labour. There are in Ray some tracts of low prairie, too wet for the plough, but suitable for grass : the Hurd'sgrass flourishes exceedingly in such ground as this. There is one grist-mill on the east, and one on the middle fork of Crook. ed river, and a saw-mill on the main Crooked river. There are other sites unoccupied on the same stream. There is a saw and grist inill begun on Shoal creek, a tributary of Grand river. There is no blue ash, white walnut, or sassafras in Ray county. The timber that grows in the neighbouring counties is likewise found here, with these exceptions. It is singularly unaccountable that blue ash, white walnut, and sassafras timber are not found higher up the Missouri than the eastern boundary of Ray county ; and there is no apparent change in the soil at the point where this timber fails to grow. In addition to the crops which have been always produced since the first settlement of the county, consisting of corn, wheat, rye, and oats, tobacco and hemp are beginning to variegate the crops and enrich the farms of Ray county. The stock produced in this county consists of horses, horned cattle, hogs, and sheep; and Ray is considered one of the great stock counties of Missouri. Much limestone is found in this county, and bituminous coal of good quality is abundant. Several salt-springs are found in Ray, but the water is only of suitable strength for the use of stock. There is no deficiency of fresh-water springs in Ray. The territory attached to this county has too large a portion of prairie for very dense settlements.
In pursuing his inquiries in Ray, the compiler, while travelling along near the base of a limestone bluff, met an inhabitant walking barefooted from his plantation to his house. The presence of the barefooted citizen, and the ledge of shelving rocks near at hand, suggested the inquiry which the compiler made, and the dialogue that ensued may illustrate the nonchalance of frontier character. • Are you not afraię of snakes, when walking barefooted near these rocky points, where there may be rattlesnake dens ?"_"No, stranger," was the ready reply. “I generally steps over them."-"Are they numerous in this region of country ?”—“There is a right smart sprinkle of snakes in these parts. I and brother-in-law went out snaking a few days ago, and we killed three hundred and fifty rattlesnakes, and two yearlin copperheads, and it warn't a very good morning for snaking, neither."_“You would intimate, then, that you get a better haul when the weather is favourable ?"'- --- Ye-s, we cords 'em up, sometimes.” The snake-killer had probably read “ Captain Riley's Narrative," and " The Lives of the blessed Martyrs." There is nothing to apprehend from poisonous reptiles in Missouri, although, it is true, there are a few rattlesnakes in the country. These are rarely seen, and the infinite number of hogs that range through the forests and prairies are carrying on a war
of extermination against these natural enemies of the human family. Rattlesnakes are likewise frequently destroyed by deer. An old buck makes it pastime to leap upon the coil of a snake, and cut it in pieces with his pointed hoofs. A horse will instantly take alarm, and sheer off from the rattling caution the snake is accustomed to give. Professor Silliman very justly remarks of the rattlesnake_" That he never is the assailant; when he gives battle, it is with previous notice; and when he strikes, his fangs inflict a fatal wound." There are, however, within the knowledge of all medical men, antidotes for this poison; and there is a plant in almost all the prairies and barrens of Missouri called “rattlesnakes' master" (the botanical term not remembered), that never fails to effect a cure when properly applied and in season.
RIPLEY COUNTY is bounded, “ beginning in Cane Creek, where the southern boundary-line of the state crosses the same, in range five east; thence with the state line to a point where the same crosses the north fork of White river; thence running a northwardly direction on the dividing ridge between the head waters of Spring, Eleven Point, and Current rivers, and the waters of Osage and Gasconade rivers, to the southwest corner of Washington county; thence east along the township line between townships thirty-three and thirty-four, to the Madison county line; thence south with said line to Black river; thence with said river, along the middle of the main channel thereof, to a point due west of the Cedar Cabin; thence with the southwest boundary of Wayne county to the beginning."
The Eleven Point river and Current river are large head branches of White river, and these rise in the north part of Ripley, and run through it. The Little Black, likewise a branch of Current river, rises in the southern part of Ripley, and runs into the State of Arkansas. On Current river there are two good saw-mills. These mills are surrounded with yellow pine time ber upon the high grounds. This timber indicates poor land; and the good soil of Ripley is generally found on the borders of the numerous streams with which the county is watered. These streams are clear, and the water of these, and the fine springs which
abound here, are exceedingly good. A fifty-acre field was observed by a traveller on Little Black, fenced with cedar rails. The altitude of the pine timber in this region of country is very great, and the forests are valuable. The settlements in this county are sparse ; but those along the old Potosi road to Little Rock are among some of the earliest of Missouri, as the orchards and buildings indicate.
VAN BUREN is the seat of justice of Ripley, and is situate on the right bank of Current river. The place is not of so much importance as the name would imply, for there is but one mercantile house in it. A town of this description forcibly brings to mind the orchard of the Down-easter, that consisted of “ scattering tree.” But the merchant thus situated may promise himself as much attention from his customers as a hen with one chicken bestows on her brood, and he has nothing to apprehend, from competition.
The country that is so thinly settled will, at some future period, become very populous, and proportionally productive. When the resources of the large territory, included at present within the bounds of Ripley, shall have been ascertained and unfolded by government patronage and individual enterprise, it will be found desirable as a place of residence and for business purposes.
The winters here are mild, and well adapted to stock-raising. The southern market may be reached with convenience by descending the White river. These, and many other advantages, should attract a flood-tide of emigration, and give this county more notoriety than it has hitherto acquired.
BEAUFORD is a town recently laid off on the left bank, and below the forks of Big Black. This town has some advantages, secured to it by the proprietor of the large tract of land by which it is surrounded, called the “Maxwell grant.” Several tracts of land have been appropriated by Mr. Maxwell, for the use of churches and schools in Beauford. When the fine mineral country around this town shall begin to yield up its treasures, its growth must be steady, and accelerated in proportion to the extent of the mining operations. The country around Beauford is covered with strong indications of mineral of various kinds, and
many specimens have been picked up on the surface in several places. There is much valuable timber in its vicinity, and a fair proportion of good arable land for a mineral country. Yellow pine crowns the hills in this quarter, and this timber is, in Missouri, of great value.
Rives County. The boundaries of this county begin at the southwest corner of section thirty, township forty-four, range twenty-eight; thence south to the line between townships thirty-nine and forty; thence east to the line between ranges twenty-three and twenty-four; thence north to the southeast corner of Johnson county ; thence west to the beginning.
Rives is situated southwestwardly from Pettis, south of Johnson and west of Benton. At a place in the centre of the county, which is yet nameless, the seat of justice is located. The usual beginnings of a town, a tavern, store, and blacksmith's shop, are built, and in full blast. This place is within two miles of Grand river, and on the left bank. With a fair distribution of timber and prairie, this county is rich, and three fifths of the land in it is fit for cultivation. It is well watered with sixteen branches of Thibaut; and Grand river, Black Water, ånd Deep Water are larger streams. There is an abundant supply of stone coal in all the prairies of this county. It would appear that, in proportion to the deficiency of fuel on the surface, there is almost always found a supply beneath ; and thus, like the good and evil generally distributed in the affairs of mankind, that which is not found by superficial examination is obtained by deep research. Rives county is a peculiarly fine stock country, yielding abundantly all the wild grasses, as well as fresh and salt water. The salt water of the springs in Rives is not sufficiently strong to justify an attempt to make salt from them, but it is well suited for the growth and fattening of stock. The citizens of Rives enjoy the advantage of water-power to an infinite extent, and this general advantage is not likely to be attended by individual ruin; for the mill-sites are such as can be cheaply and safely improved. The cultivation of the prairies, or the preparation of the soil for the first crop, is generally attended with heavier labour than any subsequent operation. There are several prai