網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

GENERAL TOPOGRAPHY, ETC. OF MISSOURI.

THE State of Missouri is situated between 36° and 40° 30' north latitude, and 11° 45' and 17° 30' west longitude. It is bounded north by the Wisconsin territory, and territory of the United States occupied by her red children ; west by the territory of the United States inhabited by emigrant Indians; east by the Mississippi river, separating it from the States of Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee ; and south by the State of Arkansas. Extract from the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

Description of the permanent boundaries of the State of Missouri.

“We do declare, ratify, and confirm the following as the permanent boundaries of the said state, that is to say: beginning in the middle of the Mississippi river, on the parallel of thirty-six degrees of north latitude; thence to the St. Frangois river; thence

up and following the course of that river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the parallel of latitude of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes ; thence west along the same to a. point where the said parallel is intersected by a meridian line passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kanzas river; thence from the point aforesaid, north along the said meridian line, to the intersection of the parallel of latitude which passes through the rapids of the river Desmoines, making the said line correspond with the Indian boundary line; thence east from the point of intersection last aforesaid, along the said parallel of latitude to the middle of the channel of the main fork of the said river Desmoines ; thence down along the middle of the main channel of the said river Desmoines to the mouth of the same where it empties into the Mississippi river; thence due east to the

sum

middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence down following the course of the Mississippi river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the place of beginning."*

An impression has gone abroad that the general face of the country throughout this state is flat, and that its sursace lies low. This error has obtained currency in the absence of mountains in a large portion of Missouri, and by the idea formed of a prairie by those who have never seen a natural meadow. It has been supposed that a prairie is necessarily a low, grassy plain, approaching in character a cranberry-marsh. The English definition of the French word prairie is “ meadow," and our eastern brethren should bear in mind, that an artificial meadow is as often made on a hillside, or on table-land upon

its mit, as it is on the borders of a stream, or on a low plain. Our prairies, therefore, or the meadows of the Great Spirit, in which his herds of buffalo, and elk, and flocks of antelope graze, stretch over rolling or undulating ground, and sometimes rise into picturesque hills, infinitely variegated in altitude, and form, and beauty. There are, in some of the southern counties of Missouri, mountainous districts, and the Ozark mountains are elevations of a reputable class.

The timber of Missouri takes in almost all the valuable and ornamental varieties of the earth, short of the tropical productions, from the humble hazel up to the cedar that vies in excellence with those of Lebanon. The broken and mountain re. gions of this state, that are deficient in soil, furnish, in minerals and in timber, rich equivalents for this defect. The pine forests on the Gasconade and Merrimac are, happily, in the immediate vicinity of water-power of unlimited force. Upon the Gasconade many saw-mills find constant employment in preparing this timber for market; and down this stream to the Missouri it is subsequently conveyed in rafts. In the vicinity of the iron and

* Recently acquired territory changes the above boundaries, so as to take in all that is embraced by running a line due west from the northwest corner of the state (as described above) until it reaches the Missouri river; thence down the middle of the main channel thereof to the mouth of Kanzas river. This territory is called the Platte country.-Compiler.

.

copper mineral, likewise, water-power and mill-sites of great excellence are found, inviting labour and capital to an unlimited amount. The interior navigable waters of this state furnish peculiarly great advantages over any other division of the union, if we except Louisiana and Illinois. The eastern shores of Missouri are washed with the father of waters for a distance of about four hundred miles, from the mouth of the river Desmoines to the southern extremity of New Madrid county, that corner of the state which is alike celebrated for its fertility and Nature's shocking convulsions. Along this tract of country, the stranger, with agreeable and ever-varying surprise, pursues his route in a floating palace, thinking himself on the border of a newly-discovered empire. On approaching the city of St. Louis, the acme of his wonder-working imagination forces the involuntary reflection, that the inquiry shall never again be made, “ Where did the proud city of Nineveh stand ?" It is here, rising on its ancient foundations, in modern days, and exquisite beauty! The agreeable and not extravagant illusion is carried out on a close examination of the mounds, on the highest grounds of the city. These specimens of Herculean labour are the works of a people of whom tradition itself conveys no definite idea.

Through the heart of the richest agricultural portion of the state, the mad waters of Missouri furnish a devious channel, where, in more or less peril, the navigator holds profitable intercourse with a rich and prosperous people, for a distance of near six hundred miles. Upon the right and left banks of this river eighteen counties are bounded. The tributaries on the right bank of Missouri, which are navigable, are Lamine, Osage, and Gasconade. The Osage is navigable beyond the western boundary of the state for keel-boats. The Grand river, and Chariton, on the left, are navigable for keels. By the Salt river, the trader is likewise enabled to penetrate the interior with keels as far as the county of Monroe. Thirteen counties are bounded by the Mississippi.

'The southwestern section of the state may be drained of its produce through the channel of the Six Bulls and its tributaries. The erroneous maps which have been published of the streams

in this part of Missouri have deceived many into a belief that these navigable facilities are beyond the western boundaries of the state. These inaccuracies have been carefully overcome in draughting the map prefixed to this volume. By the White river, and the St. François, and their tributaries, the southern central section of Missouri can communicate with that great vein of the earth, the Mississippi. Where the pure waters of these streams mingle with the turbid element, minerals and meat, grain and metals, will become passive associates on their way to the ocean, in the same mammoth vehicles of trade. That Nature should not appear to have provided all these facilities of trade and intercourse in vain, a list of the products of Missouri should naturally here claim a place of record. Beneath the clay and soil of Missouri, marble, freestone, and buhrstone may be quarried. Iron, lead, copper, and tin may be placed on the list of minerals, more abundant, useful, and valuable than any thing the earth can be made to yield up here, and are the leading heavy articles of export that Missouri can furnish to enrich herself, and lay the world under contribution. The coal-beds and salines of Missouri are places of deposite, where honest enterprise can have credit, and may draw to an unlimited amount ; here, the draughts of indolence alone are protested. The products that furnish ample remuneration for diligence, in the cultivation of the soil of Missouri, consist of hemp for exportation ; cotton and flax for domestic use; tobacco, corn, wheat, rye, barley, and oats-all of these are sure and abundant crops, and are staple commodities. The grasses are timothy, clover, blue grass, herds' grass, or red-top; all these flourish on prairies or woodland, on bočtom or upland, in wet or in dry soil. Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and turnips, and an infinite variety of garden vegetables, richly repay the gardener for moderate labour. The stock that Missourians seem by nature invited to raise, and which finds, in prairies and woodland, in high grounds and in river bottoms, abundant supplies of herbage, yields to the farmer larger remuneration than the product of any other branch of his agricultural operations. This stock consists of horses, mules, jacks, genets, cattle, hogs, and sheep. The climate of Missouri is friendly to

the health of all these animals, and poultry and fowls add to the profit and substantial good living of the farmer, and the inhabitants of the cities and villages. Although the flocks of sheep in Missouri that have the merino cross are healthy in all situations, yet there are positions, on rocky points and broken sections of country, which seem peculiarly fitted for sheep-pastures, and hold out great inducements for the operation of wool-growers. There are, in many of the counties of Missouri, prairies of considerable extent, which might be used as sheep-walks with infinite profit.

These tracts of natural meadow, or pasture, present the strongest inducements for adopting the primitive and innocent life of a shepherd. In traversing these immeasurable lawns, the traveller involuntarily casts about him a curious and inquiring gaze, to find the poetic guardian of flocks, with pipe in hand, reclining on the grassy hill-side, or leaning contemplatively against the trunk of some lone tree, in the simplicity and dignity of human happiness and contentment. In coursing in high metile over these pathless tracts of country, in pursuit of flocks or herds, that in frolic or wantonness have gone astray, the horseman finds new subjects of admiration. In the oft-repeated evidence of agility exhibited by the bounding stag and the more timid fawn, as they dart across his path, or the wild turkey and grouse (or prairie-hen) which startle the horse and rider as they suddenly wing their way towards the next hill. top, man proudly feels the elevation to which he is intellectually borne above animated nature that surrounds him. The game

of Missouri, the ranks of which are thinned as settlements advance, consists of elk, deer, bear, turkeys, grouse, geese, swan, and brandt, and a great variety of ducks, snipe, upland plover, partridges, wild pigeons, and pheasants. This last bird has followed the settlers, and multiplied greatly in the country within the last five years. The old inhabitants do not remember to have seen one here in the early settlement of the country. The honey-bee, so exemplary in its habits, and so large a contributor to the luxuries of life, is likewise a follower in the train of the pioneer emigrant. The beaver, that formerly laid his cast-steel teeth to the trunk of our forest-trees, is rarely

« 上一頁繼續 »