Handbook of Missouri: Linn County

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Handbook of Missouri: Linn County

Linn County is in the exact center of the State, east and west; her north boundary is forty miles south of the Iowa State line and her south boundry, twenty miles north of the Missouri River. The county is nearly square in form and contains six hundred and forty-eight square miles. Seventy-five per cent. of her lands consists of beautiful un-
dulating prairies, and the residue of timbered valleys and rolling timber lands.


The topography of the country presents a scene of beauty and rural lovliness unsurpassed in any country. There are eight running streams, which, with their tributaries, cross the county from north to south, furnishing an abundant and convenient supply of water for stock; and all along these streams are fine timber belts, from one-fourth of
a mile to one and a half miles in width, affording plenty of timber fire, fencing and other uses. The intervals between the streams, varying in distance from one to four miles, consists of beautiful, wave-like prairies just sufficiently rolling to give good drainage. There are occasional springs of excellent water, and an abundance of the finest water for drinking, washing and culinary purposes, can be found in any
portion of the county at a depth of from twelve to thirty feet.


There is an abundance of excellent bituminous coal underlying most, if not the entire, county assuring an unfailing supply of fuel for all time. Along nearly all the streams is found a plentiful supply of blue and gray limestone of excellent quality for building purposes, and on Locust Creek there is an extensive formation of white freestone, of great thickness and fine quality.

An abundance of good brick clay is found in almost every part of the county, and large deposits of potters' clay are found in various localities.

THE SURFACE SOIL, generally, consists of a splendid black vegetable
mould, varying in thickness from eight inches to two feet, easy of cultivation and of the greatest fertility; and this surface soil is underlaid with a subsoil varying from six or eight to thirty feet in thickness, and is largely composed of the carbonates and phosphates of lime and other fertilizing qualities; which furnish us a soil absolutely imperishable and inexhaustible. This subsoil when thrown to the surface, soon, under the influence of heat and cold, rain and sunshine, slacks like an ash heap, and is unsurpassed in its producing qualities. In the entire county there is little land, indeed, that cannot be utilized as either agricultural or grazing lands.


A glance at the map of the United States will show that Linn County is located in the very heart of the great grain, fruit and grazing belt of the continent. Corn, wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat, hemp, tobacco,
broom-corn, sorghum, millet, beans, potatoes, and all kinds of garden vegetables, etc., are here in abundance. Thus far, corn is king of grains, as will be seen by reference to the table of statistics of
shipments hereto appended. It must be borne in mind, however, that this is, emphatically, a stock-raising count, and that by far the greater part of the corn and hay produced is fed to stock in the county. The average crop of corn, under ordinary cultivation, shows an average of from forty to sixty bushels per acre, and where the culture is thorough, the number of bushels per acre sometimes shows a
yield of from eighty to one hundred and ten bushels
per acre. Wheat, although the average crop is from fifteen to twenty bushels per acre, is not extensively raised, because of the greater profit realized from
corn and stock raising. Any amount of wheat, of finest quality, can be raised here; rye, oats, millet, and buckwheat, grow splendidly, and yield abundant crops. A large portion of the lands are finely adapted for tobacco raising, and, whenever prices justify, large quantities, of fine quality, are produced.

Grasses, such as timothy, clover, red-top, herd grass, etc., grow in rich abundance, and for stock-growing purposes are exceedingly profitable. A large percentage of the improved farms are in timothy meadows, from which an average of from one and three-fourth tons to two and one-fourth tons of hay per acre are produced. Blue grass is  indigenous to the soil; and as soon as the native prairie and other grasses are exposed to close grazing they yield to the blue grass, which grows most luxuriantly, and affords the most desirable and nutritious pasturage for cattle, sheep, horses and mules. The celebrated blue grass regions of Kentucky do not excel this splendid country, and a thoroughly grass and corn country like this must necssarily become desirable and wealthy. From what has been said of the soil and productions, it necessarily follows that it must be


and so it is. For growing live stock it has not its superior on the  continent. Horses, mules, cattle, sheep and swine all do admirably, and are being raised in large numbers, from the finest bloods down through the various grades to common stock, and very large shipments are constantly being made of horses, mules, cattle and swine, to supply the demands elsewhere. With such facilities for grazing ana feeding cattle, the dairy is taking an important place in the county, and is rapidly becoming a source of profit. It is yet in its infancy, but will soon become an important factor in the business of the country.


Apples of the finest quality are becoming more abundant every year, so that now the local demand is fully supplied, and shipments are being made to supply the demand of less favored localities both north and south. It is a natural grape country, and many varieties are produced in vast quantities, so that pure wines of the best quality is vinted here, and tons of the most luscious grapes are sold every year in the markets at from two to four cents per pound. Pears, peaches, plums, cherries, strawberries and raspberries are extensively raised of
the finest quality, and their production may be extended indefinitely.


Linn County is most happily located as to climate. Being exempt from the extremes of cold or heat, she enjoys all the advantages of a most delightful temperate latitude. It occupies a mean altitude of about nine hundred feet, hence is not subjected to the piercing wintry blasts experienced on the more elevated plains farther west, and is exempt from miasmatic influences; pulmonary diseases are never begotten here, and are never seen, except in cases where the seed was sown in other climes. No purer, sweeter, fresher air was ever breathed by
human lungs than that which fans the prairie slopes of this county.


Running through the county from east to west is the old reliable Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, giving direct communication with the Mississippi River at Hannibal and Quincy, and connecting with the great net-work of railroads divering from those points south, east and north; and to the west with the Missouri River, and with the great system of railroads diverging from Kansas City and St. Joseph. She also has the Burlington & Southwestern Railroad, crossing the county from north to
south. This important road is already completed from Burlington, Iowa, to Laclede, in this county, and will, most likely, be speedily completed twelve miles further south, so as to connect with St. Louis & Omaha Railroad at Cunningham, in Chariton County, thus giving direct communication with Chicago and St. Louis.


The city of Brookfield is the most important on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, it is centrally located, has about 3,000 inhabitants and does a very large business in shipping live stock and agricultural products. Four miles east of Brookfield is the thriving village of St. Catherine, and six miles further east is the live town of Bucklin, both of which do a fine business. Five miles west of Brookfield is Laclede, at the junction of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad and the Burlington & Southwestern Railroad, which is a fine shipping and business town; and six miles further west is the thrifty business town of Meadville. On the Burlington & Southwestern Railroad, near the center of the
county, north and south, is the important town of Linneus, the county seat, a fine business place and a good shipping point. Near the line of the county is Browning, a young town of great thrift and business energy on the Burlington & Southwestern Railroad. Hence it will be seen that Linn County is well supplied with facilities for communicating with the great business centers in all directions.


Linn County contains about 20,000 inhabitants. About one-half of the population are from the Northern and Eastern States, and the residue are from Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee or are native born. They are of the true make-up hospitable, peaceable, industrious, courteous and possess indomitable energy and thrift; and in intelligence and true moral worth will compare favorably with any community in any locality, all of which is fully attested by her one hundred and fourteen tasteful
school houses, and by the neat and attractive churches found in every neighborhood in the county. She is justly proud of her many churches and her noble, well supported free schools, affording the finest facilities for a good education, and thorough moral training to the rising generation. They are pre-eminently a peaceable and law-abiding people, and no community can be found where every class is more thorough protected in their person and property than are the citizens here.


Unimproved lands, from medium to the finest quality, can be had at from three to ten dollars per acre, depending on location and advantages; and good improved farms, with comfortable houses,
barns and orchards, can be had at prices varying from seven to twenty dollars per acre. Persons desiring good stock farms, of from 300 to 15,000 acres in body, can be most admirably suited in this county.


Linn County has no bonded indebtedness, and only a small floating indebtedness. The school building bonds are nearly all paid off, and, with the exception of three or four townships, there is no railroad indebtedness.



These shipments are from the city of Brookfield. alone.' Taking the seven other railroad towns in the county together, the shipments would be much enlarged.
The value of real estate, horses, mules, cattle, sheep, swine and other property, in the aggregate, amounts to $3,600,000, as shown by the assessment of 1879.