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the trade was renewed; and it has since been conducted with
It is true, that freights and ensurance and pilot-wages are higher than in any other trade, caused by the dangers of the ever-varying channel of the river. The season of navigation in this river is likewise short; and the dangers forbid running after nightfall. In consequence of all these difficulties and dangers, the steamers employed in the Missouri trade are not sufficient to carry out all the surplus produce prepared for market by the farmers of the country. Many flat-boats are annually built for this purpose. After the June food has subsided, the smaller class of steamers continue to carry up merchandise, but refuse uniformly to take return cargoes. It is this state of the trade that induced public-spirited gentlemen from many counties of the interior to meet in convention, at the commercial emporium of Missouri, on the 20th of April, 1836, and devise means of constructing several railroads.
It might be supposed that the difficulty here complained of would be overcome by the increase of boats for the Missouri trade. But it should be borne in mind, that during the three or four months that the river is safely navigable, it is impossible to have the merchandise or the produce in readiness for transi. tion. And it unfortunately happens, that when the farmer might calculate on the highest prices, and the most ready sale of the products of his soil and labour, the channel of communication is closed with ice, or too shoal for safe navigation, even with flat-boats. It is with regret that this acknowledgment is made; but it is a patriotic duty in him who bears any relationship to an historian to give utterance to the truth, no matter how much or in what manner it may affect the interests of his countrymen. A gazetteer is a work of reference, and must be critically authentic. But as the evils above described may, and will, yield to the remedy provided by the contemplated railroads, the more frankness and truth we lay before those who are disposed to migrate to the richest and the most salubrious region of the globe, the more content will they be after their location in the country. It is gratifying to remark, that the same evils do not afflict the inhabitants on the Mississippi, above St. Louis, during
the period of low water, that those on the Missouri are doomed to suffer.
It is fortunate for the greater portion of those who are inclined to people the interior of Missouri, that the obstructions in the navigation of the river do exist. If it were otherwise, the value of the public land would at this moment have been so much enhanced, that a forty-acre tract would be compassed with difficulty by those in middling circumstances, and its price would have risen far beyond the reach of those who depend on their labour to obtain a freehold of limited dimensions. But when the internal improvements that are in progress are completed, the settlers who have secured small tracts of land, whom fortune had hitherto neglected, will find themselves rich even to the extent of cupidity, by the increased value of property, both real and personal
There are at present organized in Missouri FIFTY COUNTIES ; and the territory beyond the boundaries of these is of sufficient extent to make twenty-five or thirty additional good counties. This territory is now sparsely inhabited ; and it is parcelled out, and attached to the several counties adjacent to this frontier territory. There are several counties whose territory is too extensive for the convenience of the inhabitants, in holding intercourse with the county officers at the seat of justice ; but where there is sufficient good land for a division, these may be subdivided, and the number extended beyond the amount mentioned as the probable maximum. The number
reach one hundred. The territory of Missouri has capacity and resources to sustain a population of at least FIVE MILLIONS ; and this number of inhabitants will find occupation in the various pursuits that now engage the attention of Missourians, viz., the learned professions, agriculture, mining, mercantile and the mechanie arts, including the manufacture of grain, hemp, and tobacco, and those manufactures where iron and wood are the raw materials consumed. If the culture and the manufacture of silk, for which the climate is well adapted, be added to the pursuits above enumerated, the population of Missouri may be happily extended to six MILLIONS, without being inconveniently dense.
BARRY COUNTY lies in the southwest corner of the state, and its legal limits are as follows : “Beginning on range line between ranges twenty-three and twenty-four, two miles south of the township line between townships thirty-one and thirty-two ; thence south to the state line ; thence west with said line to the southwest corner of the state ; thence north with the state line to the township line between townships thirty-four and thirty-five ; thence east with said line to the western boundary of Polk county; thence east to the beginning." The territory at present included within the boundary-lines of Barry county is sufficient in extent for six counties, but the proportion of prairie and tracts of land, the soil of which is not first rate, will render it advisable to make the subdivisions mark out only three counties, and these will be good ones. The water-power of this region of country is unparalleled in Missouri. The southwestern streams that fura nish this power are, first, the most northerly fork of the tributaries of Six Bulls, within the state, is called North Fork; next to it is Spring river; the next, in going south, is Centre Creek; and the fourth is Shoal Creek. The great fall on Shoal Creek is fourteen and a half feet perpendicular, and sixty-three yards across from shore to shore. The water, at a low stage, at a point near and above the perpendicular pitch, is seven inches deep on one side, and nine on the other. At this point the water is greatly accelerated by the declivity. This fall is four miles by land, and ten by water, from the west boundary of the state. It is supposed navigable for small boats from this fall to the Six Bulls. At this fall there is a mill now building, and adjoining it a beautiful rich prairie opens, as if to invite the millers to sow, and reap, and
grind on their own account. As this is a good wheat country,
of the springs would be pronounced freestone water. The springs are numerous and exceedingly large, breaking out in volumes sufficient, and with current strong enough, to drive the machinery of a grist-mill. Fine bodies of pine timber grow on Elk river, or Cowskin (it is known by both names), and this timber is floated down the river to the mills that have been erected on its tributa.
ries, near the Cowskin. There is likewise one mill nearly completed on the main stream, near the lower termination of the pine forests. In Barry county there is a considerable tract of unsurveyed land that the inhabitants call condemned land. But they have redeemed it from the anathema of the surveyors by cultivation and habitation of many beautiful and rich tracts of this condemned country. It is presumed that the inhabitants are not very solicitous to have the time arrive when the “METALLIC" shall be demanded of them in payment for land that is quite productive, without that vexatious formality of “planking up;" nor would these good people object to the application of one of the statutes of Missouri to their claims, which provides that twenty years' peaceable possession of land shall perfect a title to it. It is presumed that the surveyors reported this land as not being worth the expense of surveying on account of the large proportion of prairie that it contains. There cannot exist a doubt of the salubrity of the climate of that fine region of country embraced within the county limits of Barry.
BENTON COUNTY boundaries begin at the southwest corner of Pettis county; thence east to the line between sections nineteen and twenty; thence south to the township line dividing townships thirty-six and thirty-seven ; thence west with said township line to the range line dividing ranges twenty-three and twentyfour; and thence north with said range line to the beginning.
Benton is one of the new counties, situate on both sides of the Osage river. Bledsoe's ferry, on the Osage, where the main road from Booneville crosses this river in the route to Fort Smith and the Cherokee nation, on the Arkansas, is about the centre of Benton county-it may be three miles west of the centre. There are, within a mile of this place, two storcs, and the courts are now held in the vicinity. The broken rocky points of land formed by the termination of ridges leading into the Osage and its tributaries within the county, render unfit for cultivation about one fisth part of the land of Benton. These rocky points bear upon the surface strong indications of lead minéral, and some ore has been raised here. The rocky cliffs on the river are garnished with evergreens, which give agreeable