Many parts of Missouri, however, do not recommend themselves to the
immigrant because, however many advantages they offer in other
respects, they suffer for want of water.
Chariton County is rich in water. It is bounded on the west by the
Grand River, on the south by the Missouri River, and its eastern part
is watered by the Chariton River with its many tributary streams.
There are few counties in the state in which drainage can be effected
with such great facility as here. Unfortunately this has been disregarded
up until now, which of course is to be ascribed entirely to the old
slave regime and the slack routine of traditional Missouri land management.
Only a few somewhat intelligent German landlords,who are sensible enough
not to let themselves fall prey to the unfortunately easily contaminating
craze to own large tracts of land, but cultivate their few
acres carefully and well, have achieved outstanding success.
The number of inhabitants in the county is approximately 19,000,
which includes no fewer than 4000 Germans.
Brunswick, the county's main town and most promising city of the future,
thanks to its position on the Missouri River as well as on the west
branch of the Northern Missouri Railroad, is home to half of these German
It is a well-known fact that the German abroad, when he is isolated, relin
quishes his identity more easily that does the descendant of any other
nation. His great talent for assimilation, which, to be sure, has raised
Germany as an entity to its present high cutural level, leads him soon to
forget his Germanness when he does not come into daily contact with his
countrymen; and, just as the immigrant, like many of that sort (even many
educated Germans), has to turn his attention as soon as he comes into the
country towards de-Germanizing himself as quickly as possible in order all
the quicker to become Americanized, it is also a somewhat established fact
that, even in this regard, moderation is best and that, while one
adapts himself in business relationships to the American head for
business, he remains a German in social relationships. Those who, from
the outset and per force, want to become Americanized, usually do not
get far with it. In our county now, the German settler has the
incalculable advantage of German neighbors. While Germans are spread
throughout the whole county, there are three principal colonies where
the immigrant may encounter countrymen of every degree of education [who]
will accept him with open arms.
There may be many counties in the state that promise even as great and,
perhaps, even greater material advantages, but the newly-arrived,
ignorant of the customs and norms of the country, is advised to settle
down there where he finds German countrymen who [will] give him a helping
hand with counsel and deed and help him to get past the first difficulties
of settling in. To be sure, there is no longer an administrative district
in our county from which, as in the wilderness of the Far West, a head of
a family can acquire a quarter section (or 160 acres) for the low price,
guaranteed by the government, of $20; but were this still to be had, would
it not even so be advisable for the newcomer to begin his agricultural
occupation on such terrain? Only he who himself has experienced them can
appreciate the thousands of difficulties and sacrifices that accompany
such an undertaking.
Having now outlined the merits of Chariton County in general, we want to
touch on them more in particular, and, where it is advisable, to cite
specifics which in the final analysis are the most authoritative arguments.
The county contains three types of soil. The so-called "bottom land" that
stretches along the Missouri River, which can boldy take its place alongside
the best soil in the world in that latitude where fertility is concerned.
Somewhat further away from the river and running parallel to it is the
"bluff" or "hill land", and further still comes "prairie land."
That melons are sometimes raised on the bottom land that weigh up to
thirty pounds, and pumpkins [that weigh] up to eighty pounds; that maize
often reaches a height of sixteen feet; and that one finds turnips that
are eight inches in diameter, are facts that prove the extraordinary
fertility more emphatically and more manifestly than whole pages of
arguments. No farmer thinks about the tedious yet, in other parts of
the country, necessary process of fertilizing. Land that has been
under cultivation for 10-20 years already often shows no trace of a
decline in productivity.
We give trustworthy statistics concerning some of the principal crops In
Potatoes, bushels 200
Hemp, pounds 1500
These statistics, which hold strictly to the truth, demonstrate
sufficiently the sort of productivity that the soil is capable
of and to what even greater expectations one is entitled if,
just for once, the present primitive agriculture would be given
over to a rational and scientific system.
* One bushel = 8 3/4 Prussian Metzen
Above all else, a great future is at hand for the cultivation
of wheat. Most of the farmers who earlier devoted their land
to tobacco have turned away from that, preferring the :Steadily
requested and hard-cash producing wheat to the risky cultivation
of tobacco. There are farmers in the county who already have
harvested up to fifty bushels per acre; but these are exceptions
and more the result of extraordinarily propitious circumstances.
(Henry Gratjohn 1867.)
If, however, we ever come to the time [when] a more systematic agri
culture is promoted, then it would be an easy thing to turn everyone
of those quantities into an average. In order to do this, however,
we need immigration, and that preferably from Germany. We need hard-
working hands to join with us in order to make the richness of the
It would be too wide-ranging to list all of the agricultural products
in a row and to deal with [them] thoroughly; we want to touch briefly
on only a few [of them]. Few farmers have devoted themselves to the
cultivation of flax, despite the promising experiments that have been
made now and again by some. One acre produces between fifteen and
twenty bushels of flax seed, or, when flax and barley are sown
together, which often occurs, since God extends Gambrinus's realm
ever more, even in the West, so that one can harvest from ten to fifteen
bushels of flax seed and from 16-20 bushels of barley.
Sugar beets also, like Chinese sweet corn, will in time become one of
our principal products. The tests that have been made have turned out
brilliantly, quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The sugar beets
that have been grown in our county are not inferior in the least to the
European, while they surpass the latter significantly in quantity per
equivalent ground surface.
And our land is suitable not only for the growing of beets and sugar corn,
but also for processing the same in the county; the erection of a sugar
plant would have the best success, not only on account of favorable
lines of transportation-river and railway-, but also because of the
favorable climatic location.
Cultivation of fruit can be carried on very advantageously and with al
most undoubtable prospects for abundant profit. Climate and soil are
as if created for this. A fruit orchard, properly planted, would make
a wealthy man of its owner in the shortest time. Along with the ease
and negligible cost with which one can engage in this branch of
agriculture is also (and especially) to be counted the rapidity with
which trees reach their maximum productivity and the relatively long
duration that applies to those conditions. Apple trees, for example,
become productive at least four years earlier than in Germany and
remain so, circumstances allowing, for twenty-five up to fifty years.
How profitable a fruit orchard is when properly maintained is
illustrated in the following minimum calculation.
We want to take the average return from one apple tree at only two
barrels (10 bushels). The average price per barrel is 21/2 dollars.
One can usually plant forty trees on one cre of land. This, then,
would come to the pretty sum of two hundred dollars per acre per year.
And for that, as said, the outlay is neglible, the necessary work
insignificant, and the profit almost certain, because the apple harvest
almost never goes amiss.
With good cultivation and quite special attentiveness, the above
figures can easily be doubled. The cultivation of peaches is also
a lucrative business and is in no way second to that of other kinds
The bluff and hill districts provide an extremely productive field
for vintners. Until a few years ago, viniculture was considered a very
secondary branch of agriculture in western America. Since, however, German
influence has asserted itself more and more and Americans themselves have
seen that an expanded cultivation of grapes is the most effective
instrument for wiping out alcoholism, even the so-called "cold water"
American and tee-totaler has recognized the vanity and ineffectiveness
of the temperance and anti-alcohol movement [and the] cultivation of
wine-grapes in Missouri has risen to a significant height and is
obviously set to make up one of the principal sources of wealth in the
Some vineyards already exist in the county and their proprietors are
more than satisfied with the success that they have since achieved.
Apart from the [fact] that the land is extraordinarily cheap, it
possesses all the qualities that are necessary for a good quality
of grape. It is warm, frangible, dry, rich in alkaline-potash, soda,
lime, and magnesium. To be sure, the changes of weather here are, in
general, more sudden and the contrasts sharper than in the wine
regions of Germany; but experience teaches that this exerts no or
only very little influence on the thriving of grapes. Randohar and
Kabul, for example, produce the best grapes in the world, and yet
nowhere does one perhaps find so strong a contrast between the
searing heat of the day and the severe cold of the nights as right
there. That our county is an excellent locale for viniculture can a
lso be corroborated by the circumstance that in places where the hoe
and plow have not yet been employed, wild, native vines grow to
astonishing size and in abundance.
The following cost accounting will give an idea of the advantages
and profits from viniculture.
The total expenses of a vineyard-cultivating the soil, vines, pruning
the stocks, everything included, until it reaches full productivity
may perhaps amount to $200 per acre, the annual costs for maintenance
$50, ten percent interest on the initial costs make $20; consequently,
the total outlay for every year amounts to $70 per acre. A yearly
income, therefore, of $70 from each acre would pay the interest for
the first costs and the outlay for cultivation. Now, however, one
derives on the average at least 250 gallons of wine from one acre,
which is sold for the lowest average price of $1.60, producing a
yearly income of $400 and, therefore, realizes a net profit of $300.
This account is reckoned as modestly as possible and most of our
vintners have achieved much more gratifying results. When viniculture
is properly managed, then one can realize a net profit of $500 from
one acre with 400 gallons.
The advantages that can be earned from viniculture in our area,
according to this sanguine calculation, are too clearly obvious
to require further argument. What we need, simply, are people
who are knowledgeable vintners and who possess a little capital.
And even if this last should not be at hand, vintners are
nonetheless welcome to us. The majority of our citizens
who own vineyards, would hand out land under acceptable
conditions for this purpose, if only to encourage the
prosperity of the county.
Whoever settles on prairie land has the advantage in that
tilling the land is markedly easier and quicker than in the
bottom land, provided, of course, that one wants to buy
uncultivated land. There are examples enough of farmers
who paid off their entire land with their first wheat harvest,
and the scarcity of wood can easily be remedied on the prairie.
It does not take by far so many years to raise a good forest as
one perhaps supposes who is unacquainted with the fertility of
our land and the swiftness with which certain kinds of trees
grow. If one has, up to now, thought but little about planting
wood in a land which until recently has been blessed with a
superabundance of it, then the necessity to do so will become
acquainted with it in a few years. There are boundless forests
in our state, to be sure; but their misuse (and waste) is also
boundless. And since, up to now, no one has given any thought
to a regulated forestry, our descendants stand to be the losers
from that misuse. In order to remedy and to prevent the scarcity
of wood now, it is advisable that the settler take this important
step right from the beginning. The benefits of such an undertaking
are more than one. Aside [from the fact] that a pretty woods
significantly beautifies his farm and raises its value in like
degree, the farmer can support his livestock better and more
cheaply [with it].
Cattle breeding pays off handsomely on prairie land [and] scarcely
calls for supervision. Costs are almost negligible in the raising
of cattle, and of little account in the work [involved]. The prairie,
so long as it is not fenced in, is everyone's property, and everyone's
cattle can graze on it. When hay is harvested, one reaps what is needed
by way of winter fodder, which is very slight for the most part,
since our mild climate allows the cattle to fend for themselves
throughout most of the winter.