Topic: Agriculture

Yuchi Farming

Although the Yuchi of today are cultivators of the soil, as they were in former times, the manner and method of agriculture has undergone many radical changes since the first contact with Europeans. The modification of this branch of their culture has been so thorough that we can only construct, from survivals and tradition, an idea of its former state. The villages were surrounded by fertile spaces, cleared of timber and other vegetation by burning in dry springtime. These spaces were converted into garden patches where vegetables were sown and tended as they grew up, by a daily but irregularly-timed cultivation. It is not now remembered whether particular parts of the arable ground were the personal property of the individuals or clans. Hawkins states, however, that both men and women labored together; the Yuchi differing in this respect from the Creeks. The old people and children found daily employment in acting as guardians over the growing crops, in driving away crows, blackbirds and other troublesome creatures. In general, the land of the tribe belonged to whosoever occupied or utilized it. The boundaries of fields, plantations and real estate holdings, where encroachment was likely to occur, were marked by upright comer stones with distinguishing signs on them to indicate the claim. A man would simply adopt some optional design or figure as his brand and make this his property mark....

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Washington County Its Towns, Resources, Etc.

Washington County lies on the western border of the state of Idaho, and about five hundred miles from the Pacific coast. It contains a large area of land suited to various purposes. It has a population of over five thousand people. Its inhabitants are, generally speaking, enterprising and thrifty people, many of them having settled here in the early 6o”s and have remained ever since. The early settler devoted himself to stock-raising and placer-mining, and he thought that was all the county was fit for. But as the county began settling up it was soon found that anything which grew in a temperate climate would grow here. Washington County is now considered to be a kingdom within itself, as it produces everything necessary for comfort and happiness. Its resources are so varied that it would be impossible to mention all of them in this connection. Agriculture and kindred industries are pursued more at present than anything else. This in the past has been confined largely to the raising of wheat and hay. But of late years our farmers have been planting large orchards and diversifying their products generally. Anywhere in the valleys all kind of grain, fruits and cereals can be successfully grown. Wherever Washington county fruit is exhibited it always carries away a premium. At a recent state fair held in Boise, Washington County carried off more premiums...

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Internal Improvements

In 1892 twenty thousand dollars was voted by congress for the improvement of Snake river, and one hundred thousand dollars for the Boise public building. The river and harbor appropriation bill, passed by congress in April, 1896, carried twenty-five thousand dollars for the improvement of the Clearwater River, and five thousand dollars for the Kootenai between Bonner’s ferry and the British boundary. The appropriation for the Boise public building was increased from one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to two hundred thousand dollars and a building site was selected which cost seventeen thousand and five hundred dollars. Of the special land grants to the state by the national government, aggregating over six hundred thousand acres, only one-sixth remained to be settled in 1897. Assessed Valuation of Property The total assessed valuation of the state in 1894, exclusive of railroad property, was $22,942,910, which was about fifteen per cent, less than that of the preceding year. The railroad assessment was about eight million dollars. The assessment of the main lines of all railroads for this year was fixed at six thousand and five hundred dollars a mile, including rolling stock; branch lines at five thousand dollars a mile, and narrow-gauges at four thousand dollars a mile. The assessment on telegraph lines was at the rate of fifty dollars a mile for poles and the first wire, and twelve dollars and...

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General Remarks About the Six Nations in 1890

The state and federal courts, as the former have recognized in several instances, should recognize the 64 “Indian common law title” of occupants of reservation lands, where such lands have been improved. They should assure such titles, as well as sales, devises, and descent, through courts of surrogate or other competent tribunals, wherever local Indian officials refuse just recognition of such titles or delay a just administration when conflicts arise. All statutes which offer the Indian a premium for dishonest dealing should be repealed, and the Indian should be held to his contracts to the extent of his personal holdings. All state laws which regulate marriage, punish adultery and kindred offenses should be available for the Indian complainant, and none of the Indian estates, once legally recognized as held in practical severalty, should hereafter be cambered by the claims of illegitimate offspring. The liquor laws should not only be maintained but enforced, with the deliberate purpose on the part of the American people to strengthen the Indian for his own sake and for the sake of the commonwealth into which he must, in due time, be fully adopted. The Titles To Indian Lands Independent of the pre-emption lien of the Ogden Land Company upon the lands of the Seneca Nation, and absolutely as respects the Onondaga, Tonawanda, and Tuscarora Senecas, the Indians already hold their lands substantially in severalty....

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The Sovereign Remedy

Tobacco was probably first brought to the shores of England from Florida by Sir John Hawkins in 1565. Englishmen were growing it by the 1570’s, and after the return of the daring Sir Francis Drake to England with a large quantity of tobacco captured in the West Indies in 1586, the use of tobacco in England was increased substantially. By 1604 its consumption had become so extensive as to lead to the publication of King James’ “Counter Blast”, condemning the use of tobacco; nevertheless, six years later the amount brought into Great Britain was valued at £60,000. Some of the colonists were probably acquainted with tobacco before they landed at Jamestown and found the Indians cultivating and using it under the name of uppowoc or apooke. However, it was not until 1612 that its cultivation began among the English settlers, even in small patches. Previously their attention had been centered entirely on products that could be used for food. Captain John Smith wrote that none of the native crops were planted at first, not even tobacco. The story of tobacco in Virginia begins with the ingenious John Rolfe. He was one of the many Englishmen who had come to enjoy the fragrant aroma and taste of the imported Spanish tobacco; and upon his arrival at Jamestown in May, 1610, Rolfe found that tobacco could be obtained only by buying...

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The Tobacco Plantation: From Jamestown To The Blue Ridge

The cultivation of tobacco soon spread from John Rolfe’s garden to every available plot of ground within the fortified districts in Jamestown. By 1617 the value of tobacco was well known in every settlement or plantation in Virginia–Bermuda, Dale’s Gift, Henrico, Jamestown, Kecoughtan, and West and Shirley Hundreds–each under a commander. Governor Dale allowed its culture to be gradually extended until it absorbed the whole attention at West and Shirley Hundreds and Jamestown. The first general planting in the colony began at West and Shirley Hundreds where twenty-five men, commanded by a Captain Madison, were employed solely in planting...

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Management Of The Tobacco Crop

Cultivation practices during the early years at Jamestown appear to have been a combination of those used by the Indians and those of the farmers in England; modifications and new techniques were developed as the settlers became experienced planters. The early Jamestown settlers followed the Indian custom of planting the tobacco seed in hills as they did corn, although some probably followed the practice as described by Stevens and Liebault’s “Maison Rustique” or “The Country Farm”, published in London in 1606: For to sow it, you must make a hole in the earth with your finger and that as deep as your finger is long, then you must cast into the same hole ten or twelve seeds of the said Nicotiana together, and fill up the hole again: for it is so small, as that if you should put in but four or five seeds the earth would choake it: and if the time be dry, you must water the place easily some five days after: And when the herb is grown out of the earth, inasmuch as every seed will have put up his sprout and stalk, and that the small thready roots are entangled the one within the other, you must with a great knife make a composs within the earth in the places about this plot where they grow and take up the earth and all...

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Sale Of The Tobacco Leaf

Under the original plan of colonization the Virginia settlers were to pool their goods at the magazine, the general storehouse in Jamestown. All of the products produced by the settlers, and all goods imported into the colony were to be first brought to the magazine. In 1620 the London Company made plans to abolish the magazine and open the trade to the public. The colony was then forced to rely on peripatetic merchant ships which came irregularly. These casual traders dealt directly with the planters, going about from plantation to plantation collecting their cargo. These merchants were without agents in the colonies, and they relied solely upon the chance of selling their goods as they passed the various plantation wharves. They usually sold their goods on credit, expecting to collect their dues in tobacco on the return trip the next year. Occasionally the crops were small, or they discovered that most of the tobacco had been sold or seized by other traders, and consequently they were forced to wait another year to collect from their debtors. The planter soon discovered that he was in an equally precarious situation, and largely at the mercy of the merchant, for if he failed to sell on the terms offered, another ship might not come his way until the following year. The planter’s bargaining power was also hampered by his ignorance of market...

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Tobacco Production, Trend Of Prices, And Exports

When tobacco was first planted in Jamestown, Spanish tobacco was selling for eighteen shillings per pound. Virginia tobacco was inferior in quality, but it was assessed in England at ten shillings per pound. On the basis of these high prices the Virginia Company of London agreed to allow the Virginia planters three shillings per pound, in trade at the magazine in Jamestown, for the best grades. Even though it seemed that the London Company was getting the lions share, these prices proved to be very profitable for the colonists and the infant tobacco industry increased very rapidly. During the...

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Varieties of Tobacco

A complete story on the origin of the early varieties of tobacco would be a very significant contribution, since very little is known about them. Most writers agree that the tobacco cultivated by the English settlers was not the same “Nicotiana rustica” grown by the Indians, but “Nicotiana tabacum”, the type found growing in South America and the West Indies. The difference between these two types was profound, both in taste and size. The plant native to Virginia was small, growing to a height of only two or three feet, whereas “Nicotiana tabacum” grew from six to nine feet tall. As to taste, George Arents remarked, “the same difference in taste exists between these two species, as between a crab apple and an Albemarle pippin.” All during the colonial period tobacco was classified into two main varieties, Oronoco and sweet-scented. Oronoco had a large porous pointed leaf and was strong in taste. Sweet-scented was milder, the leaf was rounder and the fibers were finer. We are also told that sweet-scented grew mostly in the lower parts of Virginia, along the York and James rivers, and later on the Rappahannock and on the southside of the Potomac. Oronoco was generally planted up the Chesapeake Bay area and in the back settlements on the strong land along all the rivers. Oronoco is thought to have originated in the vicinity of the...

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Transportation of Tobacco To Market

In the early days of the colony the small ocean-going merchant vessel was the only method of transportation essential to marketing the tobacco crop. Such a small ship was able to anchor at many of the plantation wharves and load its cargo of tobacco. Next to fertility, the proximity to navigable water was the most important factor in influencing the planter in the selection of a tract of land. However, later expansion of the tobacco industry into the interior and the increase in the size of all ocean-going ships made some mode of transportation within the colony a necessity. When the ships could not get directly up to the wharf or enter shallow creeks on which many of the plantations were located, small boats called flats or shallops were used to transport the hogsheads to the anchored vessels. In 1633 the General Assembly provided that all tobacco had to be brought to one of the five warehouses–to be erected in specified localities–to be stored until sold. The planters objected immediately and petitioned the House of Burgesses to allow ships to come into every county, “where they will find at every man’s house a store convenient enough for theire ladinge, we beinge all seated by the Riverside.” The planters also complained that they had “… noe other means to export but by Boatinge.” Carrying the tobacco for long distances in...

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Origin And Development Of The Inspection System

Within a few years after Rolfe’s successful experiment in the cultivation of tobacco, it became necessary to inaugurate some means of improving the quality of the Virginia tobacco. Once it was discovered that tobacco could be successfully and profitably grown in Virginia, everyone wanted to grow it. Blacksmiths, carpenters, shipwrights, and even the minister frequently grew a patch of tobacco. Owing to inexperience in farming of any kind, plus the fact that the commercial production of tobacco was new even to most of the experienced farmers, much of the tobacco produced was of a very low quality. For centuries many planters seem to have placed quantity above quality in growing tobacco. Anyone could grow tobacco in certain quantities, but only a few could produce tobacco of superior quality. The first general inspection law in Virginia was passed in 1619 and provided that all tobacco offered for exchange at the magazine, the general storehouse in Jamestown, found to be very “mean” in quality by the magazine custodian was to be burnt. The magazine was abolished in 1620 and in 1623 this law was amended to provide for the appointment of sworn men in each settlement to condemn all bad tobacco. In 1630 an act was passed prohibiting the sale or acceptance of inferior tobacco in payment of debts. The commander of each plantation or settlement was authorized to appoint two...

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Tobacco Warehouses 1730-1800

In most instances the warehouses were private property, but they were always subject to the control of the legislature. Regulations regarding the location, erection, maintenance and operation as official places of inspection were set forth by special legislation. Owners of the land sites selected were ordered to build the warehouses and rent them to the inspectors. If the land owner refused to build, then the court could order the warehouse built at public expense. Just how many warehouses were built at public expense is difficult to determine, probably only a few, if any, were built in this manner. The rent which the proprietor received usually depended upon the number of hogsheads inspected at his warehouse, though the rates were regulated by the General Assembly. In 1712 the proprietors received twelve pence for the first day or the first three months and six pence every month thereafter per hogshead. In 1755 the owners received eight pence per hogshead. During the Revolution the rate was raised to four shillings, but was lowered to one shilling six pence after the cessation of hostilities. At the beginning of the nineteenth century rent per hogshead, including a year’s storage, was twenty-five cents. To keep pace with the movement of the tobacco industry, new warehouses were built and others discontinued from time to time. And by observing the warehouse movement it is possible to grasp...

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Agriculture of the Coastal Native Americans

Anthropological literature from Florida is awash with statements that presume the coastal peoples of Georgia and South Carolina were primarily fishermen, hunters and gatherers.  This may have been the case for many ethnic groups in the coastal regions of the Florida Peninsula, but was not true for many areas of the Georgia and South Carolina coast. The primary reason listed by René Goulaine de Laudonniére for not placing a French colony on the coast of the Florida Peninsula was that the soil was infertile and the climate, hot.  On the first voyage he had noticed that the coast was sparsely inhabited south of the May River, while from the river’s mouth, northward to the Jordan River (Savannah River?) he observed intensive cultivation of the land.  The first French colonies would have to be located in a region where they could initially buy surplus food from their indigenous neighbors then be able to feed themselves from their own agriculture. Less de Laudonniére’s observations being assessed as the unfounded interpretation of the landscape by a mariner, the experience of Spanish St. Augustine can be used as added proof.  The mission Indians and Spanish peons around St. Augustine were never able to feed the relative small population of St. Augustine.  Former FSU history professor, Theodore Corbitt, estimated that in 1740 St. Augustine had a population of 2,143 persons.  During the 1600s, its...

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