A PhamphleL Descriptive of iLs
Hist>ory, Topography, Climate, Soil, Resources and Natural Advantages.......
Prepared in Lhe Interest* of Immigration for the Board of County Commisioners.
COLLINS BOOK AND JOB PRINT
LIBRARY, F. S
A Phamphlet. Descriptive of it>s
Hist>ory, Topography, Climate, Soil, Resources and Natural Advan-
Prepared m the Interest* of Immigration for the Board of County Commisioners.
COLLINS BOOK AND JOB PRINT
LIBRARY FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
Leon county is bounded on the north by Gadsden county and the State of Georgia, on the east by Jefferson, on the south by Jefferson and Wakulla, and on the west by Gadsden and Liberty counties.
It has an area of 730 square miles of land surface, or 467,200 acres.
Its population in 1890 was 17,752, and in 1900 it was 19,887, of which number 3,836 were whites and 16,001 were negroes.
At the close of the school term of 1904 there were in the county 73 schools, of which 34 were for whites and 39 were for negroes.
Leon county is situated between 30 and 31 degrees north latitude and 83 and 84 degrees west longitude. The entire west side is bounded by the Ocklockonee river. The southern boundary is aoout 12 miles, and the northern boundary about 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The surface gradually rises from the southern to the northern side, reaching in some places a height of over 280 feet above sea level. About 130,000 acres are in actual cultivation, leaving over 300,000 acres available for cultivation and settlement, over 100,000 acres of which is improved. The surface is uneven and rolling, entirely free from rocks and boulders, interspersed throughout with lakes and forest.
Lakes Lafayette, Jackson, Iamonia and Miccosukie are extensive bodies of water and abound in fish, and during the winter offer a tine field for snipe and duck shooting. The environment of these lakes is varied and beautiful. The hills surround them witn gently receding curves, with bolder bluffs, or terraces rising one above another to the height of a hundred feet or more. The timber growths are of magnolia, water oak, live oak, hickory and wild cherry, which line the shore, and between, around and over these hang the clematis, woodbine and wild grape and muscadine vines. The general aspect of the country has been further described as beautifully rolling forest and field, alternating; a genuinely Piedmontese landscape, the like of which cannot be found elsewhere in the far South.
The soil of Leon county greatly differs from that in many other portions of the State. It is principally composed of an alluvium of red and chocolate-colored clayey loams covering a territory of about 200 square miles, and piled in a rambling outspread of sweeping hills and dales. It possesses great uniformity of texture and lies below the surface to an average depth of forty-five feet. Sand predominates in the component parts, the first foot of top soil containing about thirty times as much sand as clay. The soil does not clod or sunbake. An analysis by the State Chemist shows that the average soil contains the three prime elements of plant food in the following proportions: One measure of phosphoric acid and three measures of niter to each one thousand measures of soil. Soda and magnesia are present in slightly less proportions, with carbonic acid at a rate of one and three-quarters parts in a thousand. To these excellent chemical conditions may be added equability of temperature, the prolonged period of growth and the regularity and copiousness of rainfall.
AS TO HEALTHFULNESS.
It is frequently asserted by ignorant people that because Florida is comparatively level, and extensive swamps exist in certain localities, that the country is unhealthy and that malaria must, therefore, pervade every section of the State. Good climate and good health go hand in hand; we have shown by scientific facts that the climate is good par excellence, and we will demonstrate by records that experience has proven the healthfulness of Florida equally as good.
In the first place, it is not the flat, low country that it is often represented to be, except in the extreme southern portion and perhaps one or two localities near the coast; on the contrary, the greater portions of the State consist of high, rolling lands, while other portions are composed of high hills, rugged, broken and rocky, with numerous elevations of near 400 feet above tide water.
Malaria exists to some extent in every portion of the world, and, of course, in a country where vegetation grows with the exuberance that it does in Florida, where the breath of real winter is scarcely felt, the presence
of malaria is to be expected; but the diseases arising from malarial influences are limited to the mildest forms of fevers and bilious complaints. There are no such uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms of malarial poisoning met with in Florida as manifest themselves in various parts of the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Bilious fever of a remittent character is the most prevalent, but it readily yields to proper treatment. Intermittent fevers also occur, but are rarely attended with dangerous results. Typhoid fever, as known in more northerly States, is totally unknown here.
Consumptives, or those suffering from chronic disorders of the mucous membranes, particularly of the air passages, usually find much relief, if their change has not been too long postponed. Here are vast forests of pines, breathing forth their balm till the whole atmosphere is fragrant with it, and if there is a possibility of relief for the unfortunate victim of consumption, this, in conjunction with the genial sunshine and soft, balmy air, will effect it.
The climate of our State is regarded as a specific for most forms of rheumatism, and when coupled with the bathing to be had from the numerous sulphur springs, the beneficial influences of which have long been known, a cure is often certain and complete. The following comparisons from the mortuary records of various States and territories of the United States will forcibly illustrate the superior healthfulness of Florida.
COMPARATIVE DEATH RATE.
Maine, one in 315; Massachusetts, one in 254; New York, one in 473; Pennsylvania, one in 462; Illinois, one in 579 ; Virginia, one in 557 ; Minnesota, one in 755, and Florida, one in 1,447. The records also show that the ratio of deaths to the number of cases of remittent fever is much less in Florida than in any other section of the United States. In the central section of the United States the proportion is one death to 36 cases; in Northern section, one to 52 ; in the Southern, one to 54 ; in Texas, one to 78 ; in California, one to every 122; in New Mexico, one to each 148; while in Florida it is only one out of every 287. And the average annual
mortality for the whole State is less than 3 per cent.
On the foregoing statement of facts, concerning climate and healthfulness, Florida bases her claim to absolute supremacy over all competitors.
PRODUCTS OF THE SOIL.
The list of productions is a long and varied one, embracing nearly all the crops and fruits of the Middle, Northern and Southern States. The agricultural resources of the county are unlimited. The climate and fertility of the soil give the farmer advantages not possessed in more northern latitudes. Something may be planted every day in the year. This county is in the center of the rich agricultural section of Northern Florida, and no district of the same extent in the State can offer superior inducements to cultivators of the soil. Whether we consider its unexceptionable climate, the variety, abundance and value of its timber, the wonderful fertility of its soil, with its adaptability to such a vast catalogue of crops, the ease with which the soil is cultivated, no portion of the State can offer superior inducements to farmers.
The staple products are cotton, corn, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, oats and tobacco.
Cotton was once the chief product, but now only about 6,034 bales are raised. New land will produce about a bale to the acre, old land less. When, the land is fertilized and cultivated according to the "improved methods, two bales to the acre can be easily raised. The seed are readily sold at 20 and 25 cents per bushel to the cotton oil factory. The cotton seed meal and refuse hulls are extensively used for stock food and fertilizer.
CornAbout 500,000 bushels of corn is raised annually, ranging from 12 to 60 bushels per acre. This crop now has become very profitable and the surplus readily sold. Planting begins about the middle of February and laid by in June.
Sugar CaneThe farmers of this county have long since realized the value of this crop. The soil here is peculiarly well adapted for the growth of cane. Even when crudely raised and crudely manufactured, by old and wasteful methods, Florida sugar and syrup rivals in color, grain and quality the best Louisiana production.
Syrup, while hot. if bottled or canned and sealed, will preserve its new flavor a long period, and when used tastes as if just brought from the mill. Syrup put up this way finds a ready sale and brings from 60 to 80 cents per gallon. This crop is planted in February and made up in October and November. The average yield is about 300 gallons to the acre, but under proper conditions and management, will produce 600 gallons. The acreage planted is small. About 5,000 barrels of syrup and 10,000 pounds of sugar is the usual crop. There is a fine opening here for a large sugar plant.
Sweet PotatoesNearly 200,000 bushels are raised annually. The yield is all the way from 100 to 400 bushels to the acre. The slips are planted from June to August, and early potatoes can be had the latter part of July. This is an all round food, can be used for man and beast, and should be, next to corn, the chief food crop.
TobaccoThe modern culture of tobacco has brought it to the front as a valuable and paying crop. This will soon become one of the most profitable industries of the county, returning large revenues to the farmer. The famous "Vuelta Abajo" seed seems to be the best for planting. The Sumatra tobacco, raised from the genuine Sumatra seed under shade, is equal to the foreign product. The success which has attended the efforts of tobacco growers has proven beyond all doubt that the soil and climate of this county possess all the requisites for successful tobacco culture. Besides the tobacco grown for wrappers and fillers, a very good quality of tobacco, equaling any produced in Virginia or the Carolinas, can be grown for plug wrappers, also for cigarette and pipe use. The seed can be sown for plants the same as celery seed or any fine flower seed. The usual method is to sow on land where trash and wood has been burned to ashes.
The settings are planted out in April and May. Prun- ing and cutting begin in July.
The yield is from 800 to 1,000 pounds to the acre. It sells from 20 to 40 cents a pound. Fancy tobacco brings higher prices.
OatsThis crop is planted in October and February, and when properly planted yields from 25 to 35 bushels per acre. Oats raised in Leon county are in large de-
mand for seed, and this crop is becoming very valuable and profitable.
PeanutsThis crop is largely under-estimated as a food crop. The yield is about 30 bushels to the acre and the nut readily sells at $1.00 a bushel, while the vine is valuable as forage and can be easily kept.
CowpeasThese are always in demand. The yield is about 15 to 20 bushels per acre. The vine, cured, is a fine winter fodder.
The principal agricultural and other farm products for 1903 were as follows:
Upland cotton, bales____________ 6,034______$283,776
Oats, bushels____________________ 38,099______ 29,066
Sweet potatoes, bushels______93,947______ 39,169
Hay, tons_______________________ 1,853______ 25,442
Peanuts, bushels________________12,901______ 12,901
Syrup, barrels___________________ 3,159______ 33,473
Tobacco, pounds_________________ 15,555______ 5,325
Pears, barrels____________________ 3,673______ 6,376
PeacheS, bushels________________ 1,973______ 1,976
Figs, crates_____________________ 1,465______ 2,348
Live stock on hand for 1903 :
Horses, number_________________ 2,180______ 176,040
Mules, number__________________ 840______ 91,843
Work oxen, number yoke________ 1,020______ 19-.680
Stock cattlenativenumber____ 6,277______ 39,804
Cattle thoroughbred, various
typesnumber______________ 1,426______ 27,448
Milch cows, number_____________ 3,197______ 55,237
Hogs, number___________________ 14,328______ 42,301
Poultry, all kinds, and their products _______________________ 27,882
Milk sold, gallons_______________453,377______ 48,076
Butter, pounds__________________155,820______. 39,490
STOCK RAISING AND DAIRYING.
The natural pasturage of Leon county makes it possible to extensively enlarge this industry with the addition of some cultivated pastures. The equable climate, the abundance of water and forage greatly reduce the labor attached to this work in other districts.
The four annual grassesthe crab grass, crow-foot grass, barn grass and water grassfurnish the principal hay supplies, these seed themselves coming up in abundance when the land is stirred. Besides these, the Bermuda, sedge and smut grasses are perennial, and chemical analysis shows them to be rich in nutritive qualities.
The desmodium, known as the beggar weed, grows ra"nk"arid luxuriant-after the corn crop Is laid by in J\1M. This weed fully equals clover in its nutritious elements, and stock prefer it, green or dry, to any other forage. This weed can be cured and baled in the same way as other hays. All of these grasses, with sorghum cane, cattail millet, German millet, cowpeas, cloct beans, turnips, carrots, with field corn planted for ensilage, furnish an inexhaustible supply of forage for stock of all kinds.
As good water, an abundance of reliable pasture, mild climate and freedom from cattle diseases form the principal requisites for successful stock raising and dairying, the above stated facts place Leon county in the front in this field of work.
Horses, cows, hogs, sheep and goats and beef cattle are raised here to some extent, yet this industry is in its infancy and all the labor and money invested in this occupation will richly repay the investor.
The Leon county horse is noted for his- hardiness, health and 'bottom.'' Good beef is a rarity in this section, because the stock sold here is fed on wire grass and hence very tough, while beef cattle fattened on Leon county pasturage is tender and palatable. There is a wide and profitable field here for enterprising people who are interested in stock raising.
Since the introduction of centrifugal separators and methods of dairying, more scientific and convenient than the old methods, dairying will soon rank as one of the chief industries of the county. The Jersey stock seem best adapted to this county for dairy purposes. Other breeds also do well. Cross breeding with Hereford, Short Horn and Devon stock has proved very successful, and the cattle of this county have already gained a reputation for superiority. There has been a steady demand for milch cows raised in Leon, and these cows always bring fair prices. The butter from Leon county
has won a name for excellency abroad and large quantities have been shipped at profitable prices. There are several fine dairies already established here and good butter readily retails from 25 to 30 cents a pound. Cheese has been made here, and it is said that this branch of dairying is more profitable than butter making. Large quantities of milk are sold in the city, giving steady employment,to four or five milk wagons.
The money value of dairy stock and products is over $160,000, and of farm stock, hogs and sheep, over $192,000.
There is a wide field here for the improvement and extension of this industry, and no other section of the State can offer better inducements to the dairyman and stock raiser than this.
The forest growth of this county embraces live oak, red oak, water oak, white oak, hickory, walnut, cherry, magnolia, sweet gum, pine and other trees. The pine furnishes an abundance of lumber and the lumber mill industry is very profitable. Lumber for all building purposes is plentiful. The oak, hickory, walnut, dogwood, cherry and other hard woods offer the best inducements possible for erecting an extensive hard wood factory. A factory of this kind could easily work up axe handles, broom handles, wheelwright material and hardware of various kinds. The chinaberry flourishes here and is of very fast growth, and could be utilized for furniture and no doubt used for lead pencil covers.
The pecan, hickory and walnut are not only useful for the wood they furnish, but also for the nuts. These trees grow rapidly here and fruit heavily. The heavy growth of trees indicates the nature of the soil, and these trees, like all other bounteous supplies, are not appreciated as they should be. In addition to this forest growth, there is some cypress and black gum, which can be easily reached and utilized. A hard wood factory would be a paying investment in this count}. Pecans sell readily for $5.00 per bushel. The trees begin to bear in about six years. A pecan grove is a more certain paying investment than an orange grove.
All varieties of vegetables can be grown and trucking for the home market and for shipping can be made a source of immense profit. The spring garden includes garden peas, celery, lettuce, Irish potatoes, beets, cabbage and cauliflower, followed by tomatoes, onions, beans of all varieties, early corn, okra, melons, cantaloupes and egg-plant. The fall garden, beginning about September, beets, lettuce, turnips, cabbage and garden peas are planted. Two crops of Irish potatoes can be grown through the year. Some kinds of vegetables can be grown throughout the entire year. Squash, cucumber, pumpkin and kershaw grow here in abundance. This is the native home of the strawberry. They are very easily cultivated. Planted in September, they yield a crop in April and a heavier crop the next year. The yield is enormous and the crop valuable. The blackberry and dewberry grow wild and bear abundantly. They make fine preserves. Watermelons and cantaloupes are easily raised and quantities are sold every year at the home market. Strawberry and melon culture can be made very profitable. What is needed here to make truck farming a source of vast revenue is a first-class canning factory. Vegetables of all kinds grow so abundantly that the surplus left from shipping would furnish sufficient material to run a large canning factory.
While this is not a fruit country equal to some other sections of the United States, yet all fruit trees flourish and grow to large proportions here. The grape culture is an established success in this county. The Catawba, Concord, Scuppernong and other varieties grow vigorously and fruit well. The San Louis vineyards near Tallahassee annually yield large quantities of grapes and many thousand gallons of wine are pressed.
The fig fruits heavy and figs properly preserved sell for 75 cents a quart jar. The pomegranate, a large and beautiful fruit, very refreshing to the taste, thrives here and could be made a source of profit. The wild persimmon ripens about November. The tree grows quite large. The Japan persimmon can be cultivated and yields sufficiently well to make their culture profit-
able. The wild plum, which flourishes here, makes a very fine preserve. The cultivated varieties flourish and fruit well. The Japan plum makes a large ornamental tree and bears a fine sub-acid fruit, very pleasant to the taste. The LeConte pear does well and quite large quantities are snipped. The peach, apple and quince trees grow to large proportions here, but the fruitage is not always sound, which can be universally ascribed to a lack of proper attention and cultivation. Where given the proper care and management, no section of country produces finer or more abundant crops of peaches than this.
The facilities for transportation have been increased in the last few years. This county is in close touch with East, South and West Florida, with the Gulf, with the Western and Northwestern States, and with the North and the entire Atlantic seaboard.
The Seaboard Air Line ramifies East, North, South and West, connecting with other lines. The Carrabelle, Tallahassee and Georgia Railroad and St. Marks Railroad give an outlet to the Gulf. The Georgia, Florida and Alabama Railroad connects north through Bain-bridge with the Western, Northwestern and Northern markets. These lines of road make it possible to get the "benefit of cheap and rapid travel and shipping. The prospect for this county to enlarge and improve all departments of industry is brighter now than ever before.
' GOVERNMENT AND TAXATION.
The population of the county numbers 3,886 white and 16,001 colored. The white citizens are noted for their sociable qualities, hospitality and energy. The negro is quiet, law-abiding and industrious.
The assessed value of real property for 1905 is $1,672,-920; personal, $491,560; railroad and telegraph, $413,-703; total, $2,578,183. The county levies 7 mills tax for school purposes and appropriates the poll tax to this cause. A county levy of 5& mills is made this year for county revenue. The county is in a good financial condition.
The county and city of Tallahassee are both under good police surveillance and life and property are safe and secure throughout the entire county.
Land varies in price according to quality and location. Good farms of 160 acres can be bought, built and stocked entire and complete all the way from $1,400 up.
The county needs men with brains and willing hands, home makers and permanent settlers, and to people of this kind Leon county offers a home in an equable clime, where, with a few dollars of invested capital, they can live in plenty and comfort the year round; where, with energy and vim, they can soon accumulate a surplus, and where they will have health, good society, ample church and school advantages and all the political privileges they may enjoy in any other country.
TALLAHASSEE, THE STATE CAPITAL.
The site upon which Tallahassee, the present seat of the State Government, stands, was agreed upon as the best situation for the State capital by the Commissioners, John L. Williams and W. H. Simmons, in October, 1823;' it was formally selected as the capital in 1824, and on May 24th, 1824, an act was passed by Congress providing for a grant of land for the permanent seat of government, which point was to be the basis for all surveying operations in the State, and to be fixed as the point from which the principal meridian and parallel should run.
The city is located upon a hill of some 300 feet_above sea level, which slopes in all directions, giving beautiful views of the surrounding country, and furnishing excellent natural drainage.
The capitol building occupies a square on a portion of the land granted for the site, which is in the southern section of the city. The building has been remodeled and enlarged within the last two years at a cost of $75,000.00, and is now quite a commodious and imposing structure of Grecian style of architecture, the type of architecture being retained in the rebuilding.
The situation of the city is an admirable one from the standpoint of health, being so much above sea level that it is free from all epidemics of contagious diseases; it is also surrounded by a country justly famed for its beauty topographically and great fertility of soil; the surrounding country is high and gently undulating, yet with numerous lofty hills, from which lovely views are obtained; the soil is of mixed clay and sandy loam, and
the timber growth principally of oak, hickory, walnut, magnolia, live oak and pine; the roadways are firm and kept in good condition, making driving a source of health and pleasure to those who enjoy the sunshine of life, or delight to inhale the balmy air from over the tropic waters of the Mexican sea.
Tallahassee is a thriving town of nearly 5,000 people, and resembles most Southern towns in that its residences occupy, as a rule, spacious plats or gardens, with plenty of distance between, with wide and well shaded streets, and necessarily covers a considerable area. All sorts and varieties of flowers and shrubs abound, and it is particularly noted for the great variety and pro-fuseness of its magnificent roses.
For a number of years after the close of the Civil War the city prospered little, owing to the severe reverses of the property-owning people consequent upon that period; but in recent years, with the advent of greater and better transportation facilities in the way of new railroads, the improvement and increase in the building of residences, hotels and business houses, and the establishment of new industrial enterprises of various kinds, the city has grown, and continues to grow, at a correspondingly increased ratio with each year. The volume of business reaches to near two and a half million dollars per annum. As a showing for the source of this business, this city is a distributing point of considerable importance in the way of lumber, me/chandise for interior villages, and supplies for the naval stores manufacturers, and a center of trade for a large and prosperous farming country. The city is the terminus of three railroads, and is also on the Seaboard Air Line, about midway betwreen Jacksonville and Pensacola. The corporate limits cover over thirty miles of measured streets. Tallahassee has within the corporation, or immediately adjoining, four railroads, three machine shops, two large and well equipped saw and planing mills, one modern ice factory, one cotton seed oil mill of large capacity, one cotton compress and two cotton warehouses, one gas plant and one electric light and power plant, the latter the property of the city; one cigar factory of large capacity and one not so large, but both of which do a flourishing business, and one moss factory which prepares the gray moss for mattress making. The city is supplied with water from artesian
wells from a depth of 700 feet. There are numerous industries not mentioned above that afford profitable employment for many people.
There are two large and well appointed hotels and a number of smaller ones, all well kept. There are two banks with ample capital, both of which transact a large and profitable business; there are two newspaper plants, one a daily and one weekly; one comfortable opera house of large seating capacity, and an efficient fire department, well equipped with the latest modern appliances for combating the fiery element. Religious denominations are represented in the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches.
There is also an elegant public library, supported by public subscription, which contains about 10,000 volumes, including works upon all branches of literature, science, art and fiction. Its use is open to all for a moderate monthly fee.
Formerly the population of Tallahassee was rather exclusive in its character, but in recent years, with the breaking up of old associations and the passing of old ideals, the influx of new people from new lands has changed it into quite a cosmopolitan town: yet through all the vicissitudes and changes that have come about, one of the greatest characteristics of the old order of things still remains a dominant feature with the people, who, always noted for their generous hospitality in the past, still cling to that noble trait, and welcome with a hearty good will all those who come with good intent, whether it be in quest of health or pleasure, or to build a home in this favored section.
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES.
Leon county is wonderfully blessed in having a most excellent public school system and the only College for Women in Florida.
The length of the term of the rural schools is from five to eight months, while the city schools run from seven to nine months. These schools are supported by the one mill State tax, seven mills local county tax, and the city schools have an additional three-mill tax. The Leon County High School is supported by the county, and all the rural schools are tributary to it. There are no incidental or tuition fees. Two of the high schools of the couuty are recognized by the State Board of Education as standard high schools, and as such
receive appropriations from the State government.
The State College for Women is doubtless the leading college of its kind in the South. It is maintained by a small endowment bequeathed by the late Chief Justice Westcott, and by State appropriations. The plant is situated on a high hill in the western part of Tallahassee, and is estimated to be worth $150,000. This institution of learning has a faculty of twenty-one teachers, graduates of the leading universities of this country and of Europe. The college might rightly be termed a university for women. The six departments maintained are the College of Liberal Arts, with a standard far beyond that of the ordinary college for women, affording extensive courses in the ancient and modern languages, mathematics, natural sciences, English language and literature, and physical culture. The School of Industrial Arts, in which the girls are taught the science of cooking, dress-making and millinery, horticulture and floriculture, industrial drawing, and various other branches pertaining to household economics. The State School for Teachers is established for the training of teachers for the schools of the State along the most advanced and approved lines, embracing classical, literary and scientific studies, vocal music, free-hand and industrial drawing, domestic science and manual training, reading and physical culture. The School of Music is equal to the best, and far surpasses m^ny in the South. It is one of the largest departments in the college, and is conducted by a corps of able instructors. This department embraces piano, voice.culture, organ, violin, history and theory of music, elocution and physical culture. The School of Art is likewise an important department, embracing drawing and "painting, history of art, clay modeling, designing and carving. The other department of the college is that of Expression, embracing oratory, literature and physical education.
From this it can be seen that the college offers the widest and highest as well as the best education possible to obtain.
The educational facilities of the county will doubtless be a great inducement in itself to prospective settlers and home seekers; at the same time tourists from the North may enjoy the mild climate of Florida, together with the educational advantages that Tallahassee and Leon county have to offer.
NOT TO BE TAKEN FROM THIS ROOM