Story of Wonderful Country (873)
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Title: Story of Wonderful Country (873)
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The Indian Prairie.
In this pamphlet our purpose is to present to the home-
builder a brief outline of the salient facts concerning the
Indian Prairies, De Soto County, Florida. We deal fairly
and conservatively with the subject of soil, climate, markets,
transportation, yield and profit. The object is to arouse
your interest so you will make a personal investigation, for
if you will do this you will be absolutely convinced of the
productivity of the soil, congeniality of the climate, the
superiority of manifold resources, and will admit it is the
fairest and most fruitful land in all the world. When a
homebuilder investigates Florida, he invests in Florida.
Whether he is a farmer, fruit grower, dairyman, stock
raiser, mechanic, merchant, manufacturer or investor, he
finds opportunity awaiting him on every hand.

Location and Area.
The land of the Matthew-Johnson Land Company
comprises an area of approximately 20,000 acres, and
is located in the eastern portion of DeSoto County. The
eastern boundary of this land is Lake Okeechobee and it
extends north and west from lake and river a distance of
several miles. A reference to the map will show it to be
practically in the heart of Florida, with a navigable water
front on both the east and south. This area is divided into
small tracts, each of which will afford contentment and
comfort to the owner.

Lake Okeechobee lies twenty-one feet above the level
of the ocean. The Indian Prairie is higher than the normal
level of the lake, and is not subject to inundation, except
a strip along the shore of the lake and along the river and
estuaries of the lake and river. The land rises in a gentle
slope from the shore bank with an increasing elevation of
about one to one and one-half feet to the mile, thus afford-
ing natural gravity drainage into the lake. The land is
covered in some places with grass, in other places with
palmetto, in others with isolated palm trees or small palm
groves, in other places there is a growth of pine and oak
trees. The timber area is smaller in comparison to the
whole, and the buyer can select either open prairie, or land
on which is growing palm, pine or oak trees.

The climate of Southern Florida is as nearly perfect
as nature can make it. It is a springtime season throughout
the year, with warmth during the winter calendar months,
and with summer calendar months cooled by balmy breezes
from lake and sea. Here there is neither intense cold nor
oppressive heat. It is this ideal climate that makes pos-
sible the tropical growth for which Florida is noted. It
permits the growing and maturing of vegetables while other
states are in the grasp of freezing winter, and it gives a
flavor to its fruit that is not equaled in any other American
state. It is the Florida climate that makes it possible for
the Florida soil to produce crops each year with a market
value ranging from $200 to $800 to the acre.

U. S. Weather Report, July 15, 1913.
Omaha.. .-...........----------.----...-----------------------...................----......100
St. Joseph ..-..........----------------------------............. --04
Kansas City ........----- ....---- ..---- --------------...................--......103
Jacksonville ........-------- ---... --.... .. --------------....... .................. 92
Tampa ----------...............-- ----- -------------- -------------........ --.......... 88

This tract of land contains within its boundaries all
the proven soils of Florida, including the muck of the low-
lands, the black hummock and sandy loam of the uplands.
Underneath the surface is the yellow and chocolate clay
that is Florida's guarantee of fertility. It will produce every
cereal, fruit and vegetable that is grown elsewhere in Flor-
ida, and this means practically every product of the soil that
does not require frost to mature.
The practical man needs no other evidence of the pro-
ductivity of the soil than proof that it will produce three
bumper crops every twelve months. It takes good soil to
do this. This soil does it. The muck soil of Florida is
similar to what in the North would be classed as valley, or
rather, first valley, and is a formation of silt deposited by
overflows. Hummock land is admittedly a favorite with
the native Floridan. It is dark, almost black, in color, and
is as good a producer as muck soil. It is more difficult,
however, to cultivate, being a harder formation. The hum-
mock land is usually covered with palm trees. The grass-
covered prairies is a sandy loam, and will produce both
citrus fruits and vegetables. After first plowing, it should
be sown to some such crop as velvet beans or cowpeas so as
to give the sod a chance to become mellow or pulverized.

The dwellers in Florida are 'blessed with the best of
health. Thousands of people from the North visit Florida
to regain physical vigor. The congenial, all-year temperate
climate is a benefit or cure to all pulmonary and kindred
diseases. There are no heat prostrations here and the Flor-
ida death rate is the lowest in proportion to population of
any state in the Union.

The Indian Prairie shipper will have at his command
the choice of four water routes-one to the Gulf of Mexico
through the canal and the Caloosahatchie River, one
through canal to Miami, on the Atlantic Ocean, one through
canal to Fort Lauderdale on the Atlantic Ocean, in a few
weeks the fourth to the town of Okeechobee on the north
shore of Lake Okeechobee, where the Kissimmee Valley
branch of the East Coast Line will, we are informed, be
operating this year. This affords the shipper from our town
of Lakeport, the choice of either rail or water transportation
to the markets of the North and East, and is a guarantee that
growers of produce will never be compelled to pay exorbitant
freight rates. These waterways are public highways, as free
to traffic as a public road. The farmer is not even compelled
to haul his produce to the nearest town, for to facilitate
shipping, wharfs may be built along the lake or river front,
where boats will pick up freight and carry it to other ports.

Railroads -are operating almost at this property. The
Kissimmee Valley branch of the East Coast Line will, we are

informed, be running cars into the town of Okeechobee on
the north side of the lake early in 1914. This is but two
hours' across the lake from our town of Lakeport. The At-
lantic Coast Line is running into Sebring, about forty miles
northeast of Lakeport. It is announced that the Atlantic,
Okeechobee and Gulf, a trans-state railway, has been suc-
cessfully financed and will build from Fort Lauderdale or
Miami on the Atlantic to Tampa on the Gulf. It is un-
officially announced that the Seaboard Air Line is to be
extended from Charlotte Harbor on the Gulf Coast to Lake
Okeechobee. When these lines advance into new territory
every effort will be made to have them pass through Lake-
In the matter of marketing its fruits and vegetables, this
region is particularly fortunate. It is relatively close to the
population centers of the East, where live the greater num-
ber of non-producers. Florida is closer to New York City
than is the central West, and with the advantage of an all-
water route, can place its products on the Eastern markets
with greater profit to the grower than can the growers of
the central West, who must depend on rail shipment. This
advantage of markets and transportation, in addition to ad-
vantage of all-season growths, gives Florida a commanding
advantage that is permanent. Florida markets are expanding
with the increase of products in the state, and will, in time,
enter the Mississippi and Missouri valley region with its
vegetables and fruits.


The soil and climate of Southern Florida enables it to
produce with profit every staple cereal, fruit and vegetable
that grows in either the tropical or temperate zone, which
does not require cold weather to bring it to maturity. This
condition of soil and climate does not restrict Southern
Florida to annual crops, but gives in our section a grow-
ing season of about 248 days. It is this multiplied harvest
that piles up the profits on an acre of Florida land. It ac-
counts for the fact that a Florida acre, properly cultivated,
will give a net profit during a twelve months ten to twenty
times as great as can be had from an acre in less favored
localities. It is not altogether what Florida raises that
makes it superior, as it is the season during which it is
grown. It produces vegetables during the winter months
when other states are not competitors in the markets. This
gives the Florida farmer a big profit on his first crop. Then
when the season permits the farms in the West and North
to grow vegetables, the Florida farmer may turn his at-
tention to rice, tobacco, sugar cane and other tropical
staples in which there is little or no competition in the
United States. Then comes the fruit that grows only in
the tropics. There are many states that produce apples,
but it is only Southern Florida that produces the fine-
flavored grape fruit, avocado, mango, pineapples, per-
simmon, guava and kumquat. Northern Florida cannot
produce this rare fruit with a certainty of yield and flavor
any more than California can. More than anything else
it is the climate that makes Southern Florida the marvel
in production.

This land lies above the water level of Lake Okee-
chobee. The completion of the canals through the region
south of the lake will lower this body of water from four to
six feet. This will result in the water table of the sur-
rounding region being relatively lowered. There is a nar-

row strip along the shore of Lake Okeechobee and along
Fisheating River that will probably have to be drained.

Land Values.
Land values in Southern Florida reach as high as
$1,000 an acre. This high-priced land is not more fertile
than the greater portion of the Indian Prairies, but it has
been improved by cultivation, while this region has been
held as a vast range for cattle. It is the fact that this
$1,000-an-acre land is producing nearly that amount every
year that makes it worth the money. However, if the land
of the Indian Prairies is planted to tropical fruits, and is
given the same care and attention, it will, in our opinion,.
in a few years be producing equally as profitable crops,
and be worth as much or more per acre on the open mar-
ket. There are not many opportunities where an invest-
ment such as is offered here will, with a little labor,-give
such an enormous profit.

Prospective buyers are always anxious to know some
of the natural resources of the country and some of the
products in which it excels. We might easily exhaust our
available space in dealing with this one question, but to be
brief you will find:
Fertile Soil,
Wonderful Climate,
Perfect Drainage,
Water Transportation,
Winter Truck Gardening,
Earliest Vegetables,
Best Flavored Fruit,
Freedom from Killing Frosts,
Available Markets,
Grape-fruit and Oranges,
Mangoes and Avocadoes,
Limes and Lemons,
Pineapples and Persimmons,
Guavas and Kumquots,
Figs and Dates,
Pecans and Peaches,
Strawberries and Raspberries,
Loganberries and Blackberries,
Bananas and Plaintains,
Canteloupes and Watermelons,
Eggplant and Asparagus,
Celery and Cauliflower,
Peppers and Lettuce,
Onions and Tomatoes,
Irish Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes,
Rice and Sugar Cane,
Tobacco and Cotton,
Cassava and Sisal Hemp,
Alfalfa and Velvet Beans,
Successful Poultry,
Dairying and Stock Raising.

Stands Investigation.
There is no disputing the fact that Southern Florida is
holding the attention of the large majority of homebuilders.
This has been the rule for the past four years, and the tide of
land-buyers Florida-ward is stronger today than at any time
in the history of the state. If there was not real merit back
of Florida it could not remain a growing favorite for a
number of years, and the reason it has done so is simply
because those who visit Florida find it so much better than
represented that they are more than satisfied. Individuals
and delegations have visited this state for the avowed pur-

pose of reporting adversely on its merits, and instead of
doing so have been converted and are enthusiastic Florida
boosters. It is without doubt a fascinating country, and
one of its most fascinating features is that the people who
live here are enjoying good health, they take life easy,
they accumulate without great effort a goodly share of the
wealth of this world, and if they own a small farm they have
in it a guarantee of plenty for all time. It is an actual fact
that one acre of good Florida land, cultivated with care,
will give a yield in twelve months equal to the average ten
acres in the West and North. Of course, such a statement
sounds unreasonable, and probably you doubt its accuracy,
but visit Florida and you will doubt no more.

The land in Tropical America (Southern Florida) will
soon be owned by thousands whose individual holdings will
be small acreages. The area of Southern Florida is not
large. This region will support a dense population and the
land will be filled with a happy and prosperous people. No
other equal area in the United States will support in luxury
as great a population, and in no other part of the coun-
try will the joy of living be as great. This is a broad state-
ment to make, but it is justified by facts. In but a small
portion of the United States it is possible to grow three
crops on the same land in one year. This is one advantage
and shows plainly it is and ought to be a three-to-one fa-
vorite over the annual-crop region. Southern Florida grows
and markets winter vegetables. This is another advantage,
and is in proportion to the difference in price between win-
ter-grown vegetables and summer-grown vegetables, which
is considerable. Southern Florida is the one region in the
United States producing tropical fruits, such as grape fruit,
oranges, avocadoes, mangoes, pineapples and a variety of
other tropical products. It is true that California produces
oranges, but not of the quality of Southern Florida, and
cannot command the price on the market that the Florida
orange commands. In the temperate zone the apple is ad-
mittedly the best money-making fruit. The yield per tree
of the grape fruit and apple is nearly equal. Now, com-
pare the price of a single Florida grape fruit with that of
an apple, and the advantage is in favor of Florida in pro-
portion to the difference in the market price of the two
fruits. It is advantages like these that is attracting people
to Florida and holding them there.

Assures Independence.
It is the natural ambition of every man and woman
to be independent of others-to be their own boss; to be
able to come when they please, to act as they please and
to go when they please without having to look at the clock
or gain the consent of someone "higher up." Those work-
ing on a salary find it difficult to accumulate a sufficient
sum to put them in that position. To this class we offer
the opportunity where you can become your own master
and acquire a competency. One good tract in the Indian
Prairies of Florida will make any thrifty, ambitious man
wealthy if he will cultivate it with the same care that is
being done by successful farmers and fruit-raisers in this
part of the state. You must bear in mind that there
is only one Florida, and that only a small part of Florida is
tropical in climate and produces tropical plants and fruits.
In the very nature of events, cheap Florida land is only of
the present. Other lands may be offered at reasonable
prices in the future, but there is no other region in the
United States that has the Florida advantages of soil and

Size of Tracts.
The land around Lakeport is placed on the market in
small tracts, and at prices and terms that are within the
reach of any man who has ambition and determination to
become independent of others. That this land is worth
more is evidenced by the fact that smaller, but improved,
land in the developed parts of DeSoto County is selling at
prices ranging to $1,000 an acre. That this land will in a
few years be producing as well and selling at similar high
prices is confidently predicted. Disinterested parties have
referred to the Indian Prairies as equal to the best land in
the state. It certainly possesses advantages for both the
home-builder with limited capital and the investor with
unlimited capital. In addition to its ideal location we desire
to call your attention to four primary conditions that are
essential to the development of any country, all of which
obtain here, viz.: First, soil; second, climate; third, trans-
portation; fourth, markets. With these four elements,
success cannot be prevented, except by reason of some
great unexpected calamity, which is no more probable here
than elsewhere.

The terms on which these tracts are being sold makes
it easy to meet payments and places it within the reach
of any man of moderate means or moderate salary. It is
more than probable that before you have completed
payment the land will have more than doubled in value.
But the money in this land is in buying it, paying for it,
improving it to a condition where it can be made to produce
from $200 to $800 an acre per year. Other land in
Florida is producing in this manner, and its.soil is no better
than the soil of the Indian Prairie. The climate, the sun-
shine, the rainfall and all natural conditions are the same,
and you can make your land as productive if you use the
same intelligent effort.

What Can Be Done on Ten Acres.
The following is taken from the Eleventh Biennial Re-
port of the Commissioner of Agriculture, State of Florida. It
shows what can be done on a tract of ten acres, taking
the average producing value of the entire state:
Page Kind of Product Average Producing
Value per Acre
260 Strawberries --------------------------------...............................$ 252.00
236 Onions -------- ---------------------------- 174.00
237 Lettuce ----------.................. 247.00
238 Celery .........----------............................--....... 727.00
241 Cabbage------------------- .----------------............................ 118.00
240 Irish Potatoes .-- --------.......................... 105.00
242 Tomatoes ...................... ..................---------------------------------- 156.00
244 Egg Plant ...............................---------------------------------................ 202.00
245 Cucumbers ------- ------------------------.............. 244.00
249 Beets --- - -------------------------------...............-- 118.00

Total ....................................................$2,343.00
Average value 10 different crops........................$ 234.00
As the climate of Southern Florida will allow three
crops a year on each acre, the average per acre
would be for the three crops..............................$ 702.00

The following strong boost for Florida is
by Vice-President J. E. Ingraham of the
Florida East Coast Railway in the com-
pany's advertising space in the Manufac-
turers' Record:
Between 1900 and 1910 the population of
the United States increased 21 per cent.
During the same period the population of
Florida increased 42.4 per cent.
Thus Florida's population increased twice
as rapidly as that of the entire country.
Its rate of increase was greater than
that of any other state east of the Missis-
sippi river.
The material advance of the state as il-
lustrated in the increase in agricultural
wealth was in keeping with this growth in
In the ten years, 1900 to 1910, the increase
in value of farm lands in the United States
was 118 per cent.
During the same period the gain in Flor-
ida was 203 per cent.
Between 1900 and 1910 the increase in the
value of farm buildings in the United States
was 77 per cent.
In the same time the gain in Florida was
144 per cent.
Prosperity begets prosperity. The mo-
mentum of growth swells with an accele-
rating pace.
"The Call of Florida" has been heard
throughout the land. The gain in its popu-
lation during the last ten years has been
merely the advance guard of the pioneers.
For every hundred persons who were
thinking of Florida ten years ago, a thou-
sand persons are now studying the state
with a view of making it their home.
In the past people thought of Florida
mainly for its. ideal climate, its outdoor
life amid flowers and palms in the months
when biting, blasting blizzards made life
unendurable in other sections.
Or they thought of it as a place which
could produce oranges and grapefruit.
Now they think of Florida not only for
these reasons, but also because they real-
ize that it possesses a variety of resources
which make possible the widest and most
profitable diversity of agriculture and
manufactures.-Tampa (Fla.) Tribune.

Inspiring suggestions as to the agricul-
tural future of the South appear in an in-
teresting article on another page of this is-
sue in which Ira H. Shoemaker, industrial
agent of the Delaware & Hudson Company,
records some impressions of a recent visit
in Holland. They are based upon the fact
that 12,000 square miles of territory are
supporting a population of 6,000,000. That
means an average of 500 inhabitants to the
square mile in a country which has demon-
strated better than any other like area the
tremendous results that can be obtained

from the reclamation of land. Holland has
really been saved from the sea, and, in the
saving, has been provided with thousands of
miles of canals which are used to their
limit in furthering agricultural and com-
mercial operations upon which the country
thrives. In reclamation of land in Holland
and its utilization is a splendid exhibit of .
the practical application .of the policy of
true conservation of resources. Mr. Shoe-
maker believes that some sections of the
United States offer advantages to Holland
farmers, and that the time is approaching
rapidly when more and more of these peo-
ple will come to this country.
In the South alone are opportunities for
farmers of the Holland stamp that can be
excelled nowhere else. For instance, there
are in the South vast areas of wet lands of
the richest character, aggregating 82,991
miles, or nearly seven times the area of
Holland. Most of these lands can be re-
claimed at an expenditure of about $10 to
$25 an acre, according to local conditions,
which, added to the original cost, would
mean about $30 to $50 an acre, though fully
reclaimed lands are easily worth $50 to $100
an acre, as compared with a price of from
$400 to $1000 an acre, at which lands are
held in Holland. Of these lands 29,000
square miles, more than twice the area of
Holland, lie in Florida, and 15,000 square
miles lie in Louisiafia, in which state al-
ready traffic upon a network of canals is
rapidly developing. In the fertility of these
lands, which in a comparatively short time
must be fully utilized with all the skill and
science of Holland's agriculture to meet the
demands of the country for foodstuffs, is
the opportunity for hundreds of thousands
of thrifty farmers not only from Holland,
but also from other European lands and
from this country. Dealing with the figures
of the 1910 census, Louisiana has only 36.5
persons to each square mile of the territory.
With a density of population equal to that
of Holland, it would have 22,704,500 inhabi-
tants. Florida has an average of 13.7 per-
sons to the square miles. With a density
equal to that of Holland's, Florida would
have 27,430,500 inhabitants, or only 5,049,-
843 less than the total population in the
945,088 square miles of the South in 1910.
It will be many years, of course, before
either of these states will have a population
as dense as that of Holland, but either of
them can support now a population double
that of Holland, and if such population
should have the traits of Hollanders, the de-
velopment of the South's agricultural re-
sources would be given tremendous im-
petus, to the advantage of the whole coun-
try. Manufacturers' Record, Baltimore,
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 1912.

227 Midland Building
Kansas City, Mo.

Can Buy One or More Tracts.
If a buyer desires to speculate in land, he can buy
two or more tracts and select the tracts adjoining. Many
persons are buying more than one tract, regardless of the
fact that a 20-acre Florida farm is more than one man
can properly cultivate.

Survey and Taxes.
This tract is to be surveyed so that the purchaser can
locate his property without difficulty. The Company also
also agrees to pay all taxes payable up to the date for the
delivery of the warranty.
The purchaser is allowed ninety days to make a per-
sonal inspection of his land.

How to Reach Lakeport.
Parties desiring to visit the property of the Matthew-
Johnson Land Company will find the most direct route
via Jacksonville, Florida, thence by the Atlantic Coast
Line to Fort Meyers, thence by boat to LaBelle where autos
will drive over to Lakeport or continue by boat to Lake
Okeechobee and up the coast to our town. The town of
Lakeport is one of the most commanding sites in the
region around Lake Okeechobee, and from Lakeport you
will be driven over the land. Before starting on the trip
we suggest that you write to the Matthew-Johnson Land
Company, so that a representative can meet you at
Fort Meyers and accompany you on the remainder of the
trip. When the East Coast Line establishes passenger
schedules into the town of Okeechobee on the north side of
Lake Okeechobee the route from Jacksonville will be over
the East Coast Line instead of the Atlantic Coast Line.
While this change in route will probably be made early in
1914, we cannot positively state the date, so we ask you
to inform us when you propose to start.

Matthew-Johnson Land Co.
Suite 318 R. A. Long Building

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