Submitted by Carolyn
PEMISCOT COUNTY, pp. 470-471
From THE STATE OF MISSOURI, AN AUTOBIOGRAPY
EDITED FOR M. T. Davis, F. J. Moss, B. H. Bonfoey, W. H. Marshall, J. H. Hawthorne, J. O. Allison, L. F. Parker, N. H. Gentry, D. P. Stroup,
The Missouri Commission to the LOUISIANA PURCHASE EXPOSITION
By Walter Williams, 1904
Most southeastern of Missouri’s Counties is Pemiscot. It is entirely lowland in character, five-sixths timbered, striding for agricultural position. Soil is alluvial, deposits of the Mississippi river. Individual timber growth is large and forest dense. Cypress trees attain twelve feet in diameter, and cottonwood ten to twelve feet. Lakes existed; within two years the largest of these has been drained and has yielded sixty-five to one hundred bushels of corn to the acre. Alfalfa crop records are more striking. Four to six tons of hay are harvested annually after the first year. Cotton product aggregates a quarter of million dollars annually. Gins, cotton seed oil mills, and timber product plants are of largest proportion. Caruthersville High School is among the best in Missouri. It is approved by the University of Missouri. County contains 480 square miles of surface, 307,200 acres, of which 47,361 are in cultivation. Farms number 1,201, average size 71.5 acres, estimated actual value, $3,058,897.
POPULATION: - White, 11,253; colored, 862; American born, 12,048; foreign born, 67; total 12,115. Farm homes owned, 462; rented, 729; other homes owned, 577; rented, 652; total families, 2,420.
FINANCE: - County tax, 50 cents on one hundred dollars; school tax from 10 cents to $1.30; average 66 2-3 cents; total assessed valuation, $3,344,288; 65 per cent of actual valuation; county debt, $8,000; no township debt.
TIMBER: - Sycamore, cottonwood, red gumwood, walnut, ash, red oak, overcup oak, cypress. Four-fifths of acreage has been log cut; twenty thousand acres have been deadened. Estimated that mills are making 250,000 feet of lumber weekly from Pemiscot land. In south of county, east of bayou, where forest was densest, land averaged 8,000 feet cottonwood acre yield, in addition to other timbers. Local mills have capacities of 25,000 to 40,000 feet of soft wood daily.
LAND: - Level, protected from river by levee extending along entire river front. To carry away water from hills inland ditches have been constructed west and southwest from a point between Hayward and Stewarts to Elk Chute, thence southwesterly in Little river which flows into St. Francis river. No ditches in extreme west and northwest, where water stands generally during January, February and March. Three drainage districts have organized to ditch through central part of county, which will drain practically all now undrained, excepting the extreme northwest. Cost defrayed through taxation system covering twenty years. Settlements are principally surrounding Caruthersville and Hayti and upon waterways. Estimated that less than five per cent of the county is wasteland. Timber land, representing four-fifths of area, is selling at $10 to $20 an acre. One-fifth in cultivation sells at $30 to $40. Small acreage of it away from market may be had at $25; some immediately touching Caruthersville will reach $100; at Hayti, $90. Soil is rich, alluvial, seldom containing too much sand. A good farm house costs $250, made of native lumber. Perhaps 60,000 acres of land are owned by foreign corporations and co-partnerships, holding for sure advance in prices.
MANUFACTURES: - Timber and cotton are the basis of manufactures. Timber for hoops, staves, barrel heads and other such interests will be plentiful for twenty years. Much timber is being destroyed in order to make land agriculturally available. At Caruthersville a mill gins cotton and utilizes seeds in oil making.
TRANSPORTATION: - Railroad: Frisco control: St. Louis, Memphis & Southwestern, 41.89; St. Louis and Gulf, 25.78 miles. Lee Line Steamers. (Note from typist: the Powell Ferry began operation at Caruthersville across the Mississippi river to Tennessee in 1895.)
TOWNS: - Caruthersville, county seat: Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Holiness and Catholic churches; two stave factories; heading plant; planing mill; cotton seed oil mill; money center for saw mills, paying $100,000 a month; electric lights; ice plant, cold storage, water works, whole sale hardware and saddle house; wholesale grocery; annual livestock and agricultural fair. Hayti, railroad junction and division end; mill town, stave factory. Pascola, Holland and Steele are mill towns.
WATER: - Wells are driven gas pipe with pump attached. Water is iron flavor. One lake remains, Big Lake at Gayoso, 1,400 acres. Caruthersville Hunting and Fishing Club of 20 years have Big Lake under lease, building club house.
NEWSPAPERS: - Caruthersville Press, Democrat; Hayti Argus.