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A Rural Survey of Morgan County, Missouri (1916) <Previous 
[p.46, continued]

Topography, Streams and Soil.

The following is from "A History of Morgan County," edited by A. G. Baker, Versailles, Mo., and published in 1907:

"The county contains a superficial area of nearly 640 square miles, and its most elevated portion is 400 to 500 feet above the Osage river and from 600 to 700 above high-water mark at St. Louis. This elevation passes nearly east and west through the county, and but a little south of the middle, forming the divide of the north and south watersheds, the north streams flowing ultimately into the Missouri river and those south into the Osage river. The divide passes through Versailles, the water from the south side of the public square going south; that from the north side flowing in the opposite direction. The streams on the north are more sluggish than those on the south, and they also differ in this: The former are from pools and surface water only, while those on the south are fed by deep and strong springs, and are cold and clear, except for a short time after heavy rains. On the north the majority of the streams at [p.47] times become very low and sometimes dry, while at the south they are little affected by the weather.

"The surface of the county is rolling, and it is divided between timber and prairie land. The latter is rich and rolling, presenting the most beautiful landscapes to the eye when passing over the county. The prairie land is in the middle, north and northeast of the county, and is about one-third of the area. In the southern portion it is heavily timbered. The surface in the middle portion of the county is elevated, undulating prairie mostly, and towards the south there are at first slopes, gradually becoming more hilly, and when near the Osage and tributary streams, it is of a somewhat broken and rocky nature. The most elevated point in the county is about five miles west of Versailles.

"The largest stream touching the county is the Osage river on the south. It forms the boundary line of southwest and southeast corners of the county. In the south watershed is Big Gravois creek, the largest stream south of the divide. It rises in township 42, range 18, flowing southeast to the Osage, and has a length of twenty miles, with a fall of 400 feet. Is a strong stream, about seventy yards wide at the mouth, and is a fine water power. There are several small branches flowing into it, all clear and rapid, strong streams. In the southwest part of the county are Proctor, Mills, Little Buffalo and Minow creeks, and Jenkin's, Huff's and Lick branches. Such is their fall as to give them horse power for mechanical purposes. Big Buffalo creek heads in township 42, range 19, running southwest, crossing the line into Benton county. A branch of Little Gravois creek heads in township 41, range 16, running south and west for four miles, when it joins the main stream.

"North of the divide are Big and Little Richland, Haw and Flat creeks. Except Flat creek, these head in township 42, range 18 and 19, flowing northerly, and empty into Flat creek in township 45, range 19, and form the Lamine. These streams are more sluggish than the streams running south, as they have less fall. Flat creek is the largest stream north of the divide; it connects with Richland near the north county line to form the Lamine. Northeast of Versailles a short distance some head branches of North Moreau rise, flowing northeast into Moniteau county. In addition to Moreau creek are Linder's, Burris and Smith's forks. Taking Versailles as the central point, the drainage from her carries the water in all directions, but mostly north, northeast and south.

"Nearly the entire area of the county is occupied by the series of magnesium limestone and sandstone, representing the calciferous rocks—the lower part of the Lower Silurian. The [p.48] alluvium of the Quaternary period ranges up to forty feet in depth, in which there is slightly mixed coarse sand. The heavy alluvial deposits are in the valleys, mostly a yellowish clay, the alluvian mixed with this being left by the streams or brought from the highland. The uplands, where free from rocks, are rich and productive in plant food and are finely adapted for fruits of nearly all kinds grown in this latitude. The rocky portions are only in the southern part of the county, and these lands are superior ranges for stock, and suited to the cultivation of the grape. A natural product of the soil, produced by pasturing, is a luxuriant growth of blue grass."


Missouri State Board of Agriculture Monthly Bulletin Vol. XIV, No. 2 (February, 1916): A Rural Survey of Morgan County Missouri. Digital version © 2001 Peter Binkley; permission to reproduce for non-commercial purposes is granted.