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Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 7/20/2016 at 22:41:32

Dubuque Weekly Observer, Saturday Morning, July 15, 1854

Elkhorn, Jones County – July 11, 1854

Mr. Editor – Some remarks on the “affairs of things” in this region may not be without interest to the readers of the Observer. At this season, here is the place for enjoyment. I speak of this section because I am here. Of course, there are thousands of delightful locations, North and West from Dubuque, where a family might rusticate during July and August. They would find pleasant rooms, healthful food and pure air. There is a strong breeze all the time, and so cool is it at night, that one can always get his due allowance of sleep. For exercise you may walk and ride, or hoe and plough, as you fancy. Good horses can be procured at any time. As to the extras – books, music, etc., they may be provided by those who require them.

To give you some idea of the character of the country hereabouts, I will pen an item or two. The prairie is rolling, the timber scarce, water abundant. The prairie grass is thick and high. The grass does well with young stock, excepting horses. Timothy and clover grow finely, much better than in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northern Illinois. Many emigrants to the western states have occasion to note the absence of timber, but you may assure them there is timber enough for the necessary demands of the settler, and he can make a forest in five years, as may be inferred from the following data: Shading the window by which I write stand several cottonwoods. They were set six years ago when of three inch girth and ten inch height. There present girth is three feet and height forty to fifty feet. Locust from the seed, without any care, have in the same time attained to nineteen inches girth and twenty-five to thirty feet in height. In two years, from seed, the locust has a girth of nine inches and a height of twelve to fifteen feet, on this place. On two acres, there is a locust grove of five thousand trees. The seed, (three pints) cost seventy-five cents. They were planted in drills with corn. In the second year, they were ploughed and hoed once. There are frequent applications for these trees, at ten cents each. The locust is excellent for fencing and other purposes. The maple, Linn, ash, &c., grow well. The apple and the cherry are very successful. In the spring of this year, a neighbor set two pear which have grown twelve inches since that time and his apple trees have grown fifteen inches.

Corn with normal cultivation with plough, without any hoeing, gives between fifty to seventy-five bushels the acre, oats, fifty to eighty bushels, spring wheat, twenty to forty bushels.

This is one of the best countries in the world for stock farms, nowhere will the attention to the improvement of stock pay better. There are here some of the first specimens of Leicstershire and Snowdrop breed of hogs. With poor attention, they weight five hundred in eighteen months. The pigs at six weeks sell readily for ten dollars a pair.

Whoever doubts any of the above statement let him drive out here and judge from personal observation. On the road leading from Dubuque to Iowa City, and within forty miles of the former, he may be sure of an old fashioned welcome from General Crane the enterprising proprietor of “Elkhorn.”

I intended to say something on Jones County politics but must defer that until next.



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