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Title: Features of the hill country, Florida
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Title: Features of the hill country, Florida
Series Title: Features of the hill country, Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Main
        Page 3
        Page 49
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Back Cover
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
Full Text


"FLORIDA COLLECTION


ANNOUNCEMENT.
The subscribed committeemen of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Leon, in the State of Florida, announce that the preparation of the accompanying pages has been accomplished under their auspices, and they are issued with their approval. The purpose of the publication is in the interest of Immigration. Additions to the number of people engaged in industrial purposes in Leon County only are needed to place it among the most prosperous parts of the country.
It is intended in these pages to present reliably some of the leading facts concerning conditions prevalent in the region of which they treat, trusting that any interest they may awaken will lead to personal inspection of the premises by readers.
The illustrations are photographic representations of actualities, made expressly for this publication.
We commend perusal of the book, it being trustworthy, and extend a cordial welcome to all such persons as may be attracted by it to visit the Tallahassee country.
W. R. WILSON, \ JOHN BRADFORD, i Committee. F. T. CHRISTIE. )




FLORIDA.
Features of the Hill Region.
TEXT BY RICHARD C. LONG.
OWARDS the southern edge of temperate latitudes, a little away from the Mexican sea, rises out of flat pinewood surroundings in Southern Georgia and Florida an unique bit of upland ; at once the most fertile, the most picturesque, and the most salubrious, south of the mountains of North Georgia." In autumn, wildfowl, winging their way out of the North, descry, outlined against the southern sky, profile of this elevation topping adjacent lands and sea. Thereaway, in perpetual sunshine, tempered with refreshing trades and pulsating monsoon, lies spread about the beautiful land face of the
Tallahassee Country
in Leon County, Florida.
Fertility of soil and salubriousness of climate are prime factors in fitting a region for occupancy of human forces; add to these mildness and equability of temperature, regularity of seasons, facilities alike for industrial activities or recreative loiterings, amid picturesque surroundings, with bounteous food supply, and the essentials of social establishment are secured.
In the vicinity of Florida's capital, amid the charming hill region of Leon, such conditions prevail.




Aspect of the out-country is attractive in the extreme. Mr. Maurice Thompson, in his pleasing little romance, The Tallahassee Girl," describes the locality as beautifully rolling forest and field alternating; a genuinely Piedmontese landscape, the like of which cannot be found otherwhere in America." There are strewed prodigally abroad, in endless variety of effects, fine skies, translucent air, undulating distended surface lines, tree-grown acclivities, husbanded valleys, lighted here and there with glistening water bits, all decked in lavish wealth of Southern light and color.
Here is a land delightful to drive over and to walk upon. Broad, well-kept roadways that are hard and smooth ramble wantonly over the hills and away. Along their trend, whether down the shadowy dales, athwart the sun-lit slopes, or across the tilled plateaux, enchanting prospects keep actively alive sense of the beautiful in an enraptured beholder.
Scarce elsewhere occurs such variety and profusion of plant life as among the chocolate hills of Leon. Trees, shrubs, and climbers of countless kinds, severally typical of widely dispersed habitats, are here assembled in a very congress of their kingdomsuperb specimens of their species, prodigies of a sun-warmed forest product, to be seen here and among the bayou lands of alluvial Louisiana only.
Nor is this summer aspect of things altogether a fleeting show, as in most other realms. Chill winds that may break over Appalachian barriers to the northward mingle amid the Leon foothills with kindlier breath of southern seas. In such tempered airs go forth husbandmen with Christmastide to sow. Glossy-leaved tree growths, in perpetual green, then spread dancing shadows athwart the paths as merrily as when the sun hangs higher in the sky. Herds, grazing, tread the ever-springing sod, innocent of sheltered care, while the well-lunged people of the genial clime are out and abroad.




Reception and entertainment in Florida, during the winter season, of people seeking relief from indoor confinement and ungrateful temperatures elsewhere, have assumed enormous proportions. The region of Leon County has given less regard to this undertaking than most parts of the State.
In recent years a knowledge of conditions existing in the Tallahassee country has gradually crept abroad, attractive in many particulars to the several classes of visitants who, from one cause or another, are accustomed to sojourn in Florida. With the improvement taking place in railway and hotel service, quite respectable numbers of tourists or winter visitors have come to frequent surrounding here. Chiefest among these, perhaps, have been gentlemanly sportsmen, with their families, from Eastern, Western, and Middle States, to whom the most excellent quail-shooting, from November to February inclusive, has proven attractive, with abundance of snipe on the meadows until May.
Many people, too, have come to seek in Tallahassee conditions considered entirely with reference to salubriousness, and special fitness of the environment to one particular ailment or another; and very general approval has resulted, among sick and delicate folks, as to the beneficial eftects of Tallahassee airs and artesian waters. There is a quiet, peaceful tone pervading the surroundings of the quaint, dreamy little city, most gratifying to persons in ill health, who find among flowery, sun-bathed gardens, parks, and tree-grown avenues a restfulness that is especially grateful. A pronounced difference exists between the air of the elevated region hereabouts and that of many parts of Florida. The sea air that reaches the Leon plateaux comes from the warm bosom of the Mexican Gulf, but eighteen miles away. It comes, too, through and over the resinous boughs of intervening miles of dry pine woods, reaching the Tallahassee
8


OCKEELOCKEE.


terraces, three hundred feet above the sea level, impregnated with curative properties of recognized value. Great wealth of genial temperature and comfortable sunshine accompanies these medicated waves of ozone, devoid of chilliness and fog.
In the possibility of out-of-door existence for the most delicate ones for so much the greater part of the time, and the diversion and attraction of the beautiful gardens, drives, and promenades, probably lies much of the healing virtue of sojourn among the hospitable surroundings of Tallahassee.
Yet another sort of folk who of recent years have been attracted to the Leon country are a score or more of gentlemen from American States, England, Scotland, and France.
These have become purchasers of larger or smaller tracts of plantation lands, and permanent all the year round citizens, surrounding their homes with the countless comforts and embellishments that delightful conditions here admit of.
' Somewhat further along in these pages and pictures will recur the subject of attractions in Leon County for sportsmen, a class of visitors who, when of a thoroughly well-bred type, find great favor and fellowship with the plantation and covert owners of the region. Some account was given in the Travel Columns of the American Field for January, February, and March of 1894 of the character of shooting and fishing to be had in Leon County, Florida, reference to which will impart reliable information to those desiring it.
Immediately this publication must concern itself with setting forth some facts about the industrial relation of things in this country of ours.
Serious-minded people will want to know how we make a living amongst all this picturesqueness and delightful lounging.
8




Agriculture for seventy years has been the chief industrial purpose of Leon County people. Throughout that period success has attended here all well-directed efforts at husbandry. There was a time, thirty years ago, when plantation purposes of broadest intent prevailed on Leon's fertile uplands. Estates of hundreds of negro slaves and thousands of tilled acres gave affluent incomes to proprietors. Slave labor bestowed on crops of grain, sugar cane, cotton, and tobacco, yielded an aggregation of produce valued at millions annually.
For twenty years after the civil war there prevailed, in all farm purposes conducted with newly freed labor, an element of risk and waste hugely discouraging in the undertaking. Out of the mass of well and ill directed effort under the changed condi*. tions were gradually evolved clearer senses of things. A generation of younger men,, respectively sons of old masters and slaves, awakened to a knowledge of mutual dependencies, and, together, learned by observation and experiment of a diversity of farm purpose unconsidered by their sires. Within the last decade the once prevalent system of large plantation tracts, operated by tenants paying rent in kind and invariably in cotton, has fallen into disfavor. Where practicable, smaller areas, more thorough tillage, improved implements, rotation, fertilization, and diversification of crops, have become the prevailing tendencies. Such temper of things induces want of immigration. Need is felt of more people, a practical class of farm folk, disposed to settle in the country-side, and by infusion of new ideas and energies give additional impetus to the newly awakened tendency of affairs.
Thousands of acres of excellent farm lands, heretofore indispensable for the use of tenantry, have, under a new direction of purposes, become surplus holdings, and are purchasable at fair values and on easy terms.
It is to those persons of practical farm knowledge and usage throughout the
10




country, likely to contemplate, from one cause or another, removal to new fields of action, that the people of Leon County, Florida, are anxious to present the facts set forth in this publication. An earnest and general desire prevails among the people of the county for the coming among them of clever and industrious men and women, with every assurance of finding here favorable conditions for home-making in a bountiful land with civilized and disciplined surroundings.
There are not in Leon County, State, or United States lands of any value subject to Homestead entry or purchase. The generally fine quality of the soil, and its adaptability to supporting slave forces, led to its very early settlement.
Intending settlers for forty years past have bought their lands from private hands. Such purchases will be of parts of, or entire, plantation tracts, ranging from five or ten to several thousand acres, for the greater part cleared and under cultivation, but having always preserved areas of woodland.
No speculative inflation of prices has ever obtained in connection with Leon County real estate. In some localities of the county values have greatly enhanced of late years, commanding several fold the prices of ten years ago, but such advances are invariably based on actual demand and bona-fide bargain and sale, and that, too, for ordinary, gene-, ral farm purposes, and for no boomed project of easily made fortunes.
A radical difference exists between the nature of the soil in the greater part of Leon County and that of most other parts of Florida. In place of a sandy flatness, so commonly associated with ideas of the State, occur here, over an area of about two hundred square miles, an alluvium of red and chocolate colored clayey loams, piled in a rambling outspread of terraced hills and dalesa drift of finely ground and commingled secondary limestone measures, fetched hither from the northwestward, in compara-
12




tively recent geological time, by some prodigious cataclysm, and laid down immediately on the undisturbed face of the Pleiocene. It is of great uniformity of texture throughout an average depth of forty-five feet. Fertile on top, fertile in the middle, and equally so at the very bottom, it, like an oilstone, is good all the way through and does not wear out. Sand greatly predominates over other properties. In the first foot of tqpsoil about twenty-nine times as much sand exists as clay. It is entirely free from stbnesj or boulders, nor does it clod or sun-bake. There is in the surface soil sufficient clay to give decided consistency, many indigenous permanent pasture grasses and clovers taking a firm roothold and making deep, strong, tough sod, while under the plow the earth is friable, pulverizes thoroughly, and scours the share. Of the three prime elements of plant food, official analysis by the State's chemist discloses, in an average sample of unfertilized surface soil, the presence of one measure of potash, two and a half of phosphoric acid, and three of nitre to each one thousand measures of soil.
Soda, lime, and magnesia are present in slightly less proportions, with carbonic acid at a rate of about one and three-quarters parts in a thousand. Coupled with these chemical conditions there are incidental ones, such as prolonged period of growth, equability of temperature, regularity and copiousness of rainfall, all of which become potent factors in the problem of plant propagation and nutrition.
The general averages of crop products for the entire county, as estimated from
statistics compiled under Florida statutes by the Assessor of Revenue, are low. But a
perfectly fair account of what the good farmers accomplish as average products per
acre, on the qualities of soil described above, in the several customary crops of their
farms, according to favorableness of seasons and thoroughness of cultivation, are, of
corn, from fifteen to twenty-five bushels; of oats, twenty-five to forty bushels; of sugar-
u




cane products, from four hundred to five hundred gallons of syrup or two thousand five hundred pounds of sugar; of sweet potatoes, from three hundred to five hundred bushels; of cigar tobacco (Havana, Sumatra, or Nicaragua), from six hundred to one thousand pounds; of peanuts, from forty-five to seventy bushels; of rye, from twelve to fifteen bushels; of rice, from fifty to one hundred bushels; and of hay, from one to three tons.
These accounts of soil capacities and crop products, let it be remembered, are given of unfertilized soil of good qualities, in its natural condition but well worked, and the results are general averages, exclusive of all high-class methods.
Upon about such results for seventy years past, together with a cotton crop, the civilization and social establishment of this region have rested.
A population of twenty thousand souls, together with their work animals, are comfortably maintained in Leon County, abundantly supplied with choice food of home production, with a large surplus of these and several special market or money crops to sell. f
No more marked departure from old-time methods has of late years occurred, in the region under discussion, than in the matter of grass culture.
Within a decade the section has become a hay-producing one, and that, too, simply by utilizing natural resources that, while neglected, have been quite as available these sixty years. None of the commonly known domesticated grasses of the North and West are found to be of high value in Middle Florida. Orchard grass, blue grass, timothy, and red clover, all grow with luxuriance on the chocolate loams of Leon, provided human agencies are lent them in the struggle with native varieties of fitter survival.
Indigenous to the section are four annual grasses, especially fine hay producers.
These abundantly seed themselves, spontaneously springing up when and wherever
la




land surfaces are stirred from February to October.
No setting aside of time or place is necessary for their accommodation in farm economy. But the same year, and every year, along with, or as immediate successors to, most other crops, theirs is an assured presence, necessitating only good husbandry, at a minimum cost, to reap benefits and values attainable elsewhere with domesticated varieties at an enormously greater expense.
" Crab grass" [Panicum Sanguinale), Crow-foot grass" [Dactyloctenium Egypt-icum), 'Barn grass" [Rleusine Indica,) and "Water grass" [Paspalum Lczve), are the four chief native grasses, among the annuals, most generally and profitably turned to farm account.
To these four grass types farmers are here indebted for hay supplies. Land may be put down to grass simply by breaking and harrowing; the seed are already there. It depends upon when the land is turned down which kind of grass will come. Before July ist "crab grass" will habilitate treated surfaces; after that time "crow-foot" is apt to take possession.
Oat stubble, left unbroken, will produce from one ton to a ton and a half of crab grass in July. If turned down and harrowed in early June it will produce two to three tons crab hay in August or September.
Illustrations on page 15 are of the cutting, during the first week in August, of grass produced on stubble land without breaking up the ground after removal of the grain crop in June. In the picture Crab grass," taken upon the beautiful Lake Annie" stock farm, the preceding crop was of German millet. Three tons per acre were taken off this close in June. The August mow was estimated as likely to furnish a ton and a half of crab hay. In September will come off another cut of aftermath entirely of crab
18


grass, and of about one and a half tons weight when cured. Another picture, "Crow-foot and Barn Grass," is a scene on Ethel Meadows" farm, where on August 7th an estimated cut of two tons cured hay is being taken from a surface where fifty bushels of oats per acre were harvested in early June, and the stubble left unturned to promptly rehabilitate itself by spontaneous seeding of crow-foot and barn grass. This close will also furnish another mowing in September heavier than the one being removed in the picture.
" Peas and beggar-weed" show about four tons of cured forage being taken, in late August, from land yielding oat crop in early June, stubble then turned down and peas sown broadcast. There will be October aftermath.
Every second year, in the course of customary rotative methods, only the August cutting of grass occurs on these unbroken stubbles, after which the areas are turned over and broadcasted to cow-peas, which latter crop, after producing seed for another year, are turned down in November for manure and the fall planting of oats sown upon it. Two market crops, one of grain and one of hay, and a valuable quid pro quo returned to the land in manurial peas, all the same year, is a reciprocal ride-and-tie arrangement that keeps a man, a beast, and an acre fat.
There are also indigenous in Leon County several perennial grasses, which are not only bountiful hay producers when desired, but bear treading admirably, forming close, heavy sod, and constitute permanent all-the-year-round pastures for horses, cattle, sheep, or hogs.
Chiefest among these are three varieties of Sedge" (Andropogan Virginicus, A. Furcatus, and A. Macrourus), Bermuda grass" {Cynodon Dactylon), and Smut grass" [Sporabulus Indicus). These several pasture grasses are veritable mud-sills," upon which rests a solid superstructure of diversified farm purpose and prosperity in this
19


delightful region. Among the illustrations on page 17 is shown Bermuda pasture at Clavo" farm, and Andropogan" or sedge pasture at Knuck an Nimma," both of which speak for themselves in the appearance of the herds.
A unique feature of the methods pursued on Knuck an Nimma" is that, except a few acres in sugar cane, there is not an acre in cultivation on the farm. The whole business is in sedge pasture, divided in twain, a winter and a summer walk. The herd is never penned except to be milked night and morning. Not a shelter on the place. The herd graze all night in the summer time, and lie in the shade cud-chewing by day. The proprietor told us his herd paid him net, on his entire farm of four hundred and eighty acres, five dollars per acre per annum.
To those unfamiliar with the character and value of native Florida grasses, the following table of analyses of nutritive content and estimated market values, compiled by Mr. Peter Collier, of the Agricultural Bureau at Washington, may prove of interest :
1 Orchard Grass, Blue Grass. Timothy Crow-foot. Brown Sedge. Blue Joint. Crab Grass. Smut Grass. Bermuda. Barn Grass. Japan Clover. Beggar Weed.
Carbohydrates.. 64 21 6l-73 63.10 72.17 60.08 66.76 53-31 6l.38 61.08 63.28 62.78 54-09
Albuminoids 7.2 1 9 87 9.70 6.90 2-57 6 90 8.38 10.59 II.05 10.39 12 92 26.14
Cellulose...... 2I-35 23-94 22.70 T4.85 28.35 21 98 27.50 22.00 IO.96 19.27 20. 32 13.06

Ash........... 7- 23 4 46 4-5 6.08 8.00 4-36 10.81 6.03 7.81 7.06 3-38 7.71

Total.......... 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 IOO.OO IOO. OO IOO.OO IOO.OO IOO.OO

Value per ton
as hay food. 17.07 13-80 16.00 10.64 15.62 14-45 17.35 i7-5 i7-5 20.35 21 02
20




Comparison of relative qualities of grasses indicated above shows that in carbohydrates and albuminoids, the valuable parts of forage, more than half of the native Florida varieties named are richer and more valuable than the three well-known domesticated kindsorchard grass, blue grass, and timothy; and in the constituent cellulose, a non-digestible and valueless property, the proportion is less.
Evolution and development of hay-cropping and sod-setting gave new direction to the management of live stock in Leon. Along with stack-building and loft-filling came better herd making and tending.
Dairying
developed into an established industry. There are in Leon County more than fifty farms devoted in part or in whole to the production of butter for market. Jersey cattle, registered, thoroughbred, and of high grade, predominate in the herds.
Approximately three thousand head of such cows and heifers constitute the butter-producing force of the county, estimated to be an increase in ten years of not less than four hundred per centum.
The invariable custom in the management of these herds is with open pasturage throughout the year, supplemented in winter and spring with daily rations of hay, stover, ensilage, fodder corn, bran, cottonseed, corn meal, potatoes, "turnips, millet, or pea vines, but in every instance the extra feed stuffs are the product of the farm where fed. Estimate, based on as exhaustive data as are attainable, places the average annual product in butter per cow at two hundred pounds.
Prices realized for this product are from twenty-five to thirty cents per pound. It is estimated that the dairies of the county will market, during the year 1894, 140 tons of butter, of a value of $75,600.




This is an encouraging showing for a young industry, and gives great promise for the future. Rapidly as the dairy business has grown of late, not one-tenth of the territory in the county best adapted to such purposes, having running water and meadows, has as yet been appropriated to that end. The enterprise might assume twenty-fold its present dimensions before choice locations for the purpose will become scarce. Introduction of mechanical separators in cream-gathering has given impetus to the industry.
An item of good profit has attended herd-owning in a demand from East, West, and South Florida for milch cows in winter, to supply milk to the great crowds of winter visitors frequenting those parts. Butter-makers are enabled in that way to cull their herds annually of copious milkers who produce little butter.
Practical dairymen readily recognize advantages attending shaded pastures. The magnificent trees that invariably dot the pasture lands of Leon may be counted not least among the favorable conditions of dairying there.
The projectors of this publication unhesitatingly recommend to industrious people everywhere, as a well-tested project, dairy farming in Leon County, Florida.
Lands, cattle, grass, water, shade, kindly climate, inexpensive appurtenances, healthful condition of herds and herders, with ready market, amid civilized and neighborly surroundings, await those who may choose to come.
This is a business whose income begins with its establishment. No waiting weary and expensive years for "trees to come into bearing"; "golden fruit" drops off the dasher at the first churning. One of the largest and most profitable dairies in Leon County twelve years a,go consisted of two cheap old cows, while the covered end of a horse trough at the well was the dairy for the first year.
Rearing of Horses and Mules, while carried on upon a less extensive scale
24


by individuals than in the antebellum days, attains now very considerable proportions in the aggregate of foals dropped annually in the county. Several proprietors have made the breeding of standard horses and mules a leading feature of their farm purpose. Excellent types of both animals are practical results under prevailing conditions. Abundant supply of rich, nutritious pasture grass for ten months, with cheap oats, corn, and hay, are calculated to insure good results in horse-breeding. Most excellent qualities of wind and bottom are proverbially characteristic of Middle Florida bred stock. There are in the county, in stud, many good stallions thoroughbred and standard, and several Jacks of high degree. Much of the riding, driving, and work stock of the section is native born, and their propagation is steadily on the increase. On the 27th of June, while engaged in securing photographs for illustrating this work, we saw in a pasture on Lake Jackson five handsome brood mares and ten mule colts, half of whom were coming two-year-olds. These animals were in fine condition, the colts well grown and shapely, the lot quite equal to anything of the kind we have ever seen in Tennessee or Kentucky. Speaking admiringly of them, their owner assured us that neither the dams nor colts had eaten grain or hay since November of the previous year, but had subsisted entirely on the grass of the pasture where they ran, and that during that time no day or night had been spent under a shelter. There were about four hundred acres in the pasture where they ran, along with three hundred head of cattle. Walking over and inspecting its character disclosed among its growths Bermuda, smut grass, numerous sedges, Japan clover, maiden cane, crab grass, crow-foot, water grass, barn grass, nimblewill, carpet grass, and other unknown or unnamed species.
It is the universal impression among all Middle Floridians whose experience has offered opportunities for judging, that in matters of wind, endurance, pluck, and heart-
25


iness of constitution Leon County bred horses, especially among thoroughbreds, are incomparably superior to the average class of stock fetched hither from the North and, West. Many hundreds of the mounts among Georgia and Florida cavalry during the civil war were Leon County bred, and within the familiar knowledge of the writer is the invariable reputation such stock bore in the several commands for great superiority. It is certainly among the assured accomplishments of the future that the rearing of horses on an extensive and approved scale shall obtain among the hill farms of the Leon region.
No character of live stock have ever been more successfully handled in Leon County than
Sheep.
Their care since the civil war has fallen into disuse rather than disfavor, owing largely to the system of tenant-farming becoming prevalent with the emancipation of slavery.
It is the assurance of flock-owners in the county that their flocks are the best interest-bearing property on their tax lists. Sixty years' experience has demonstrated great immunity from disease among Middle Florida flocks, and their attendance with as small percentage of loss from misadventure as in any part of the world, perhaps.
The dry, friable character of the soil avoids the dreaded foot plagues. The pure, wholesome character of water supply, with sandy margins and bottoms, prevents innumerable maladies derived from polluted sources of drink among Western flocks. There are no chilly winds and freezing temperatures to decimate the new-born lambs. Young are dropped with impunity at any season in the open runs. Barns and shelters are nonessentials, and grass is attainable the year round. Sheep may be as carelessly and economically handled as in Southwestern frontier or Mexican regions, with the advantage
26




over conditions therein the matter of early lamb and fat mutton supplyof being at the very doors of centres of demand like Tampa, Jacksonville, Savannah, Augusta, etc.
An idea now beginning to take form among certain farmers is sheep on permanent sod of Bermuda, over acres set to orchards of pears or pecans. It seems an unique feature in sheep-walking, this planting over hundreds of acres great groves of pecan trees, furnishing a protecting shade to the flocks, while the flocks in turn make grow and abundantly productive the nut-producing trees, jifflfl Bermuda," smut, and mission grass grow luxuriantly in the shade. Experimentation in a small way in this direction has been attended with such satisfactory results as are likely to rapidly popularize the scheme and give rise to quite extensive conversion of old cotton plantations into sheep pastures and nut or other fruit orchards.
Hogs have for these many years been veritable entities among the corn-growing acres of Leonhogs indeed, without a suspicion of razor-back" taint in their swinish veins, lineal descendants of as Berkshireish progenitors as ever elsewhere sought the mire.
In past times immense supplies of pork and bacon, necessary to support great slave forces, were produced here on the plantations, besides quantities of bacon and hams made for sale.
Meat production on no such scale prevails now, yet no good farmer in Leon County would feel his year's operations a success did he fail to make meat to do him." Hog products can be produced in Leon perhaps as cheaply as on the corn lands of the West. The grain-food supply, had there at minimum cost, is substituted successfully in Middle Florida by the limitless and inexpensive production of farinaceous roots. Sweet potatoes, chufas, peanuts, artichokes, and cassava are available
28




crops at minimum cost of production, and in Florida latitudes remain in the ground during winter, the hogs harvesting their own keeping.
With corn at thirty-five cents per bushel to harden off" in January, there are no drawbacks to hog production.
Poultry forms a conspicuous item in a schedule of Leon County farm produce, being a source of universal home comfort and luxury, as well as one of no mean profit. Equable temperatures insure perpetual supplies of insect and plant food, and obviate the necessity of elaborate housing. Fowls run at large and forage the year round, and, where well fed, yield eggs at all seasons of the year. Besides a most generous supply of chickens, eggs, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guineas for town and country home consumption, large quantities of each are exported to supply demand in East, West, and South Florida.
It is in the combination of General Farm, Purposes that consist the customary surroundings and occupations of Leon County country people. Farmers' families consist here, as a rule, of intelligent, well-bred folks, polite and kindly in manner and feeling, while typically Southern in habits and customs. They are generally domiciled in comfortable, roomy homes of a structure best suited to the climate, surrounded with spacious, shady groves of stately trees ; flower-yards, vegetable gardens, and orchards are invariable features of home environment. There exist throughout the region liberal social sentiment and pronounced hospitality.
Greatly the majority of the farming people are the descendants of early settlers from the rural districts of the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Of recent years there have settled at points throughout the county occasional immigrants from Western and Northern American States, with now and then a representative from
30


England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland, or Germany. No element of Scandinavian origin is as yet to be found here.
Nowhere are there special fruit, vegetable, poultry farms, or any other one-purpose enterprises. The custom is to live abundantly and comfortably. A variety of food commodities for man and beast, with a surplus for sale, is the established order of things, and then to supplement such prime essentials with some one or more special crops as market or money features, to be sold off the premises.
Heretofore for sixty-odd years cotton has been the chief commodity looked to for supplying cash. It still remains an almost invariable feature of farm purpose, notwithstanding the low prices prevailing for some years, which is owing to its being always salable, at some price, at any and every store, and of the further fact that it occupies, in its cultivation and harvest, time of regularly employed labor that would otherwise be idle.
With the constantly improving facilities of railway transportation and quick transit, innumerable side industries have become possible profitable pursuits. So that, along with the regular occupation of the general farm, every one fosters some little special scheme for which he may have a fancy or particular knowledge. It may be a few hundred crates, at a particular season, of some one vegetable or.another: Irish potatoes in April, at from five to ten dollars per barrel in New York; ^an acre or two of egg plants in late June and early July, worth a like price per feusj*@l crate. Cabbage, cucumbers, beans, beets, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce are all possibilities of good profitableness with Leon farmers to the extent of a few hundred dollars annually.
So the growing of seeds for seedmen is sometimes a moneyed adjunct of a farm.
Corn, oats, rye, hay, fodder, sugar cane, potatoes, peanuts, with millet, and sorghum, are staple crops invariably looked out for, while hogs and poultry as universally
31


accompany them; and on every farm are cows and abundant milk and butter.
Fruit-growing, except in the matter of Le Conte, Chinese, Sand, and Keifer pears, has not assumed marketable proportions among Leon farmers. Home supplies, however, of plums, peaches, figs, and oranges are to be had very generally, with quantities of blackberries and strawberries.
Of the three varieties of pears mentioned above very extensive plantings have been had. There are possibly one thousand acres in the county set to this fruit. An acre carries fifty trees. At seven years and upwards, three barrels to the tree is a good average yield, and two dollars per barrel net is about the experience of ten years' projecting. The conversion of large tracts into pears and grass, or pecans and grass, with sheep or Angoras to under-tread, is likely to become a popular and successful scheme in these parts.
In the matter of vegetable supply Leon possesses unique advantages. Generally, elsewhere in Florida, surfaces are poor and sandy. With costly fertilizing and irrigating vegetables are grown during the winter and early spring. With the opening of summer the sand gets dry and as hot as newly roasted coffee, and vegetation of a succulent nature disappears from the face of the earth. In Leon County, with her more tenacious and fertile clayey loams, and regularity of rainfall throughout the summer, growing gardens are not only practicable, but are established and indispensable features of every farm surrounding. Indeed, at whatever season of the year one tests the hospitality of the farm homes in Leon, he must be impressed with the bountiful and varied food supply of the inmates, and particularly with how little of such luxuriousness is attended with a moneyed outlay.
Repeatedly, during the taking of the photographs for this publication, the author
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and his artist companion were recipients of a bounteous entertainment at boards literally-groaning under a burden of viands. Fish, flesh, fowls, and fodder stuffs of delicious qualities, delightfully prepared, were proffered us everywhere ; and, positively, salt, black pepper, and coffee were the only commodities among the lot not a product of the farms where we were entertained.
To people unaccustomed, in other less fortunate parts of the country, to rely on a garden and orchard every day in the year for an abundant and varied food supply, there is scarcely a just appreciation of what figure such resource cuts in the living expense of a farmer's household. To be thoroughly well fed the year round, and no occasion to put out money to secure it, means just the difference between profitable and unprofitable farming.
A feature of natural conditions existing amid the admirable farm lands of Middle Florida is the presence there of an indigenous growth greatly superior to red clover as a
Renovator of Worn Lands.
Desmodiu-m, or "beggar weed," as termed in the South, is a slender-stem plant with spreading, seedy top, growing often ten feet in height. Belonging to the Legu-minosce, pre-eminently among its kind is this plant rich in potash, phosphoric acid, and nitre, and peculiarly fitted for extracting these several plant foods from the subsoil and atmosphere. Whatever, in agricultural experiences elsewhere, red clover may have accomplished as a renovator of exhausted farm lands, is greatly surpassed in these Southlands by the prodigious capacities of "beggar weed" in this regard. An enormous growth of tap-root penetrates deep into the subsoil, and through stout lateral feeders fetches from the subsoil rich stores of inorganic properties, while the dense, rank growth
34


of foliage gathers abundantly of nitre.
The Agricultural Department at Washington has published the following comparative analysis of these two plants :
Desmodium. Red Clover.
45-83 4 -o
2 [.22 16. i
25-39 35-1
7-56 7.8
In these figures the albuminoids contained in desmodium, as to those in red clover, are 132 to 100, or nearly one-third greater. In comparative bulkiness of product per acre, desmodium, which averages six feet high, is to red clover, growing at an average of two feet, as 300 is to 100, or three times greater.
In comparative cost of production desmodium is an indigenous crop, sure to spring up spontaneously in Leon County, Florida, in June of every year, wherever surfaces are stirred; is an annual, and by the end of the year leaves a crop of stems, leaves, and roots weighing an average of ten tons per acre.
Mr. Collier, of the Agricultural Department, estimates as among the available contents of one ton of desmodium, eight pounds of potash, sixteen pounds of phosphoric acid, and forty pounds of ammonia. An acre, then, of average beggar weed growth would approximate tenfold those amounts, or relatively eighty pounds of potash, one hundred and sixty pounds of phosphoric acid, and four hundred pounds of ammonia, which at


market prices for these commoditiesthat is, five and a half cents per pound for the two former, and fifteen cents per pound for the latterwould amount to seventy-two dollars. Or, approximately, to secure so much plant food and supply it upon an acre, by the purchase of commercial fertilizers, as is contained in the natural product of an acre of average desmodium, a farmer would have to expend seventy-two dollars in fertilizer and then transport and apply it. The fact that there is an annual repetition of this extraordinary manurial application to cultivated lands in Leon County, without cost, and actually in spite of a farmer, is of itself a feature of sufficient value to attract hitherwards practical agriculturists who know something of the reciprocity of tillage. On page 15 of this work the picture "Peas and Beggar Weed" shows a nine weeks' growth of cow-peas and desmodium being mown for forage ; and on page 33 Desmodium to turn under is a squint at a forty-acre field of beggar weed which has come voluntarily on oat stubble since the cutting of the grain, middle of June, and the land not stirred or broken afterwards. Just seventy days have elapsed since the beggar weed" in the picture sprang up. The crop was about four and a half feet high when photographed, and will double its height during September. Imagine turning under such a crop, in which, per acre, accurate scientific analysis says there are of potash eighty pounds, phosphoric acid one hundred and sixty pounds, and of ammonia four hundred ; then, on the same page, look at the picture "Corn40 bushels per acre, without fertilizer" and comprehend how it all happens. "Without fertilizing" means, in that place, without any outlay of time, money, or labor in securing plant foodmerely utilizing the natural conditions already there.
In the foregoing glance we have taken at some of the salient features of industrial purposes as they present themselves in surroundings here, conservative views
36




have been taken of all matters. We might have spoken boastfully of the great enterprise of growing cigar tobacco at two dollars per pound, and given photographs of perhaps fifty large, substantial tobacco barns that have been erected within three years last past. When that industry becomes better understood and established, when the country's product shall have acquired an uniform quality and found a ready and regular market, it will be ample time to advertise the industry as a reliably fixed resource in Leon County farming. No doubt such conditions are in store for us. But production of cigar tobacco, especially the Nicaragua and Sumatra leaf, for wrappers, embraces a process of curing and preparation by the farmer, before it is marketable, that as yet is but slightly understood by the majority who have tackled the business. So, too, we have studiously avoided enumerating among the ordinary well-established and practical farm industries so important a matter as wine-making, for instance. Not because no wine is made in Leon County, but because Leon farmers generally know nothing about grape culture.
A half dozen or more vineyards in Leon, in the hands generally of Europeans, have yielded most satisfactory results.
Excellent grapes of numerous varieties are by these gentlemen successfully and profitably grown for market, and many thousand gallons of both red and white wine are annually produced by one of them. Nevertheless, wine-making is far from being one of the recognized resources of Leon County.
Hundreds of former visitors to Tallahassee can recall the native claret and sauterne served at the Leon to its guests, and testify to its excellence, as well as did the judges at Chicago last year when they awarded numerous prizes and diplomas to M. Dubois for the extensive and attractive display he made there from the sunny hillsides of San Louis and Andalusia vineyards in this county.
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What we have striven to accomplish in these pages and pictures is simply to introduce our beautiful and attractive surroundings exactly as they now are.
They are by no means as they once were, nor, indeed, as we hope and confidently expect they will be in the future; but we want help in the good work of pushing forward the development of things hereabouts. We want good earnest folks to come and assist us. Perhaps when fair-minded people come amongst us and grow familiar with the environment, their wonder will be, not that we have prospered no more of late years, but rather that through all the embarrassments and perplexities of political and social reconstruction and financial stringencies we have been so well preserved in conditions of well-doing.
So much, then, of these pages as treat of topics interesting to home-seekers of a practical farming turn of mind, are sent out with confident assurance that whatever representations they contain, the same are simply facts, touching which, and in further detail, people from every quarter are invited to inquire or inspect for themselves.
Of the general healthfulness of Leon County seventy years of civilized settlement render good account. Throughout that period of time, experience of differently conditioned and habituated people show a phenomenal freedom from prevalence of bronchial or pulmonary complaints. In the absence of hereditary tendencies towards weakness in the organs involved in that character of disease, appearances of such troubles are exceedingly rare, while it is recognized that rapid recovery and generally permanent relief from that class of ailments results to sufferers from elsewhere who seek asylum in Leon County airs.
Of that doctor-born class of distempers popularly termed "malarial" Leon County has quite a fashionable proportion, since the catalogue embraces usually every physical distraction that may arise from abused digestion and brutally overtaxed nerves, for
40


which two typical causes are injudicious eating and drinking. But that there prevails in the atmosphere of the beautiful, dry, sea-fanned hill-tops of Leon County an insidious miasmatic exhalation, winter or summer, that is poisonous and deleterious to human health, is as preposf-rous as that the breath of the Goddess Venus should smell of onions or small beer.
There are in Tallahassee and surrounding country gentlemen of the medical profession whose methods are as modern and whose physic is as noisome as otherwhere.
Climatic conditions are exceedingly equitable ; 150 Fahr. is the difference between mean winter and summer temperatures. The maximum summer temperature in Tallahassee has been 95 Fahr., but that only for an hour or two on a single day in exceptional years, while 190 Fahr. is the lowest register for years at a time. The season of storm and rain is not in winter. Sunshine and warm airs from the Mexican sea hard by are prevailing conditions then, with an occasional ugly drizzle, but without cold.
In summer the nights in the Leon hills are always cool, and cover is a necessity to health and comfort. With grass-grown surfaces everywhere, endless canopies of shade, and the regular pulsation of the Gulf monsoon, we feel justified in awarding the palm to Leon highlands, for delightful summer wear, over any Southern realm we wot of.
Educational matters are on a satisfactory footing. There are separate free schools for whites and negroes in every neighborhood in the county. The West Florida Seminary, a co-educational institute under State auspices, with primary, high school, and collegiate departments, is located at Tallahassee ; while in the city, as well as at several country centres, private schools with competent instructors are established.
Tallahassee has two commodious hotels, the Leon and St. James, and numbers of
41


regularly conducted boarding houses offering comfortable accommodations ; besides which, many families are accustomed during the winter season to furnish private boarding, etc.
Gas and artesian water-works, artificial ice, and horse cars are among the conveniences of the place, and an excellent fish-market is not to be forgotten. Well-supplied stocks of merchandise are to be found in all the usual lines.
The exceptionally enjoyable driveways over and around the picturesque country have fostered a livery that would be creditable to centres of greater importance, and the reciprocal relations of moderate charges and generous patronage have tended to make riding and driving an habitual and inexpensive pastime with every one.
The negroes of Leon County are, as a class, sober, law-abiding, amiable, working people. Under the crude methods of agricultural purpose that obtained in the South under the institution of slavery, these people became trained to a high state of industrial proficiency. The race is just as capable of being taught and directed now as then. Those earnest, fair-minded farmers in Leon County who themselves know how, experience no insurmountable difficulties in teaching colored laborers to perform satisfactory and skilful labor in field, orchard, garden, dairy, or elsewhere that docility, endurance, and ordinary intelligence are required.
Promise was given heretofore of saying something more of the facilities offered in the Tallahassee country for shooting and fishing.
Cultivated people with a taste for field sports, who come with their families and sojourn among our coverts, have found great favor among Leon County people, and have come to be specially considered by proprietary interest in the extension to them of invitation to shoot the preserves. Indeed, such game preserves as are kept are chieffy
42




maintained with a view of securing good, shooting to winter visitors who come to Tallahassee.
Quail are abundant throughout Middle Florida. The cover is generally heavy and it requires strong, windy dogs to work it. Extensive cornfields, ordinarily, in the lower places, bordered with sedgy hillsides, interspersed with copse, bramble patches, ditch and hedge rows, are prevailing conditions, with plenty of water for dogs. There are no fences in the county except wire ones about the pasture lands. Vehicles can turn out from highways at all points and drive in any direction for miles, unimpeded, thus enabling greatly extended areas to be gone over in given time. Livery men are well supplied with hunting outfits, arranged for hauling dogs and shooters, and the drivers are practical guides, familiar with the covert, etc.
The season of the year in which have been prepared the illustrations for this work has precluded the insertion of illustrations of the hunting field. But happy fortune enabled us, one day, to come upon a local disciple of Sir IzaakT. B. and his friend Richards, while on one of their predatory outings after bass in the deep pure waters of Ocheelocheewhen we scooped them in the act. It was around their camp fire under the magnolias that the real qualities of an Ocheelochee six-pound big mouth" impressed itself upon our soul. T. B. is an artist with a fish skillet.
When the quail season closes on the last day of February, the shooting at jack-snipe remains excellent for six weeks. Wide areas of snipe meadows occur in the lake valleys around Tallahassee. Bags counting well up into the hundred are not uncommon to a single gun..
Proximity and ready accessibility by rail of the Gulf coast, twenty-odd miles away offers an inexhaustible field for water-fowl shooting and sea fishing, both of which
44


sports involve there the taking of a variety and supply of fin and feather to be found nowhere else at that season. Comfortable hostelries at St. Mark's, New Port, Lanark, Carrabelle, and Appalachicola offer.
Transit east and west of Leon County by the Florida Central & Peninsular R. R., with widely diverging connections at either end, has for years made available to a majority of her people facilities for reaching markets on generally satisfactory terms. Circuitness of route from populous centres to Tallahassee has, however, somewhat militated against the regularity and extent of tourist travel and sojourn to the flowery capital. Subject of most determined congratulation in this connection has arisen within the year last past to the people of Leon County, in that William Clark, the great thread-spinning Scotchman, together with some associates, foreign and American, has found interest in parts hereabouts.
A syndicate of New York and Paisley, Scotland, by the investment of large capital in Leon, Wakulla, and Franklin county lands, have at once, as if by magic, converted the whole southern part of Leon and the coast country beyond into industrial centres of lumber manufacturing, production of naval stores, and awakened farm purpose. A thoroughly well built and equipped railroad of fifty milesCarrabelle, Tallahassee & Georgiasouthwest from Tallahassee to deep water in a grand harbor at Carrabelle, on St. James Island; the establishment of a line of steamships from that point to the several trunk-line connections at Mobile, Ala., with the erection of capacious mills, stores, and hotels along its line and the bluffy shore of the Mexican sea, have simply converted a wild, big game range into a busy, noisy, industrial territory, while the natives stood staring agape. The crowning glory, to Leon County, of these Scotchmen's scheme is to be realized immediately in the determined purpose of
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extending their railway line northward from Tallahassee, through the magnificent farm lands of North Leon, to the popular winter rendezvous of Thomasville, Georgia, connecting there with the Plant system of railways and hotel entertainment. The accomplishment of this achievement has for years been the crying need of Tallahassee, the one essential requisite to her establishment, as the most desirable and attractive point for winter visitation and sojourn, not only in Florida, but veritably in the entire Souththe one point where, high up amid dry, resinous waves of sea-fanned sunshine and ozone, exempt from chilly fogs of Atlantean influences, and alike sheltered from blizzardy tendencies by Appalachian barriers, tired and enfeebled mortals mav seek sanctuary and go forth again to usefulness and joy.
Among the pleasant things of life in Leon, whether for a winter visit or permanent abiding, is the prodigal grandeur and loveliness of floral surroundings. Amids bewildering wealth of ornamental plant life, roses, camellias, and jasmine here eclipse all competitors in luxuriance of growth and blossom.
The last group of illustrations is Bits among the Shrubberries," "Camellia Trees," is of plants twenty feet high, forty feet in circumference, maturing from ten thousand to fifteen thousand magnificent camellia japonica blossoms in a season. Rose vines climb to housetops and are decked with a profusion of bloom indescribably beautiful, and are far from being least attractive among the Features of the Hill Country of Florida."
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How to Get to Tallahassee:
FROM THE NORTHWEST,
Take any of the roads leading to St. Louis, Louisville, Evansville, or Cincinnati, and thence by the Louisville & Nashville to River Junction, where direct connection for Tallahassee is made via the Florida Central & Peninsular.
Or, after reaching Nashville, take the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis, the Western & Atlantic, the Central and the Georgia Southern & Florida to Lake City, and thence direct to Tallahassee. There are through sleepers on this route from Nashville to Lake City.
If coming from the Southwest take the roads leading to New Orleans, or Mobile, and thence the Louisville & Nashville to River Junction, thence the Florida Central & Peninsular to Tallahassee.
From Eastern points, take any of the roads leading to Washington, thence by the Southern Railway Co. to Columbia, South Carolina, and thence direct to Tallahassee by the Florida Central & Peninsular. This also is a through route with cars running between New York and Jacksonville without change.
By steamers from the East, go to Savannah by Ocean Steamship Co., and from Savannah to Tallahassee by the Florida Central & Peninsular,
Or take the Clyde steamers to Jacksonville, and thence to Tallahassee by the Florida Central & Peninsular,
Or the Mallory steamers to Fernandina or Brunswick, from which points there are connections direct to Tallahassee via the Florida Central & Peninsular.
Any information furnished by
W. O. AMES, Agent, Tallahassee, J. L. ADAMS, General Eastern Agent, 353 Broadway, New York, Dr. LOUIS BARKAN, Immigration Agent, 13 State Street, New York, W. G. COLEMAN, General Traveling Agent, 353 Broadway, New York. Send for maps, pamphlets, etc., to
A. O. Mac DONELL, General Passenger Agent, Jacksonville, Fla


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