Marion County has an area of 434 square miles, embracing 277,760 acres of magnificent lands, with a population of 30,000, and having a Mississippi River front of thirty miles. The river is crossed by two magnificent iron railroad bridges-one of which, in the northern part of the county, being over one mile in length, and the other, at Hannibal, in the southern part of the county, the center of six railway lines, including two main trunk roads-connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific.
The county lies full in the center of the great middle belt of the Union, reaching from ocean to ocean, which composes the great commercial, financial, railway and manufacturing centers; the great dairy, grazing, grain, and fruit districts; the great universities; the finest school systems; the densest and strongest population; the most advanced civilization, and the equable mean of latitude and climate for the American continent.
of Marion County is singularly beautiful, with its river front, partly of bold rugged bluffs, rising abruptly to a height of one hundred to two hundred and fifty feet, outlined by cliffs, crags and palisades, and abounding in dells, gorges, canons, glens, grottoes, caverns and ravines, crowned with a wealth of forest, whose drapery of green. and crimson and gold lends an indescribable charm to the landscape.
About forty per cent. of the county is open prairie, and the sixty per cent. originally timber is now half in cultivated farms, leaving thirty percent of the county in forest, and abounds with the finest springs.
is unsurpassed. Here is the happy mean between the extremes of southern heat and northern cold. The summer is long and pleasant, with dry, cool nights and breezy days. The winter is generally mild, dry and open, much of it like a northern Indian summer. An elevation of seven hundred feet above the tide, with no swamps or lagoons; the superb natural drainage of the county; the abundant pure gushing water from the numerous springs, and the prevailing life-inspiring west winds give as high measure of general health as may be found in America. The snow fall is usually light and rarely lies long. The annual rain fall is about thirty-seven inches, and the season admits of field labor ten months in a year.
in the bottoms and valleys is a very rich alluvial at from five to ten dollars per acre, and improved soil, from three to ten feet deep; is very pliable and farms from ten to forty dollars per acre, easily managed, produces enormously and is practically inexhaustible. The surface soil of the uplands is from one to three feet deep a dark, rich loam upon the prairies, and in the timber it is of a dark yellow and redish color which for productions ranks with the best soils in the west.
Underlying this county is the famous and ever fertile loess subsoil, which, by analysis, is found to be identical with the loess deposits of the Rhine and Nile valleys. It absorbs water readily and retains moisture to a remarkable degree. It is known to be among the best soils in the world for grain, grasses and fruits. Deep plowing and thorough cultivation is all that is required to make this land bloom with good farms.
The wheat fields of Marion County have for the last year shown the capabilities of this soil in a wonderful way. Many a field of wheat grown upon land that has been cultivated for forty successive years, without any kind of artificial manure has given from twenty to forty bushels per acre.
The production for the county for the year 1879 is estimated at eight hundred thousand bushels. Corn, however, is king of grains here, as blue grass is of grazing fields. Scores of corn fields have yielded ninety bushes of shelled corn to the acre.
This county annually produces from two and a half to three million bushels.
Other crops, such as oats, barley, rye, flax, broom corn, tobacco, hemp, sorghum, beans, peas, buckwheat, millet, Hungarian grass garden and field vegetables generally have a very luxuriant growth.
This county is well adapted to the growth of blue grass, timothy and clover making it a superb region for stock-raising, and it is estimated that not less than 1,600 car loads of fat cattle and swine, valued at $1,200,000, are annually exported from the county.
There is no finer sheep country in the West than the beautiful hills and rolling prairies of Marion County presents.
Horses and mules are largely raised for export. About 250 car loads find a ready market annually, Missouri being the largest mule-raising State in the Union.
This is the home of the fruit-grower. It lies in the fruit latitude, and has a superior fruit climate. The river bluffs are especially adapted to grape-growing.
The county debt is merely nominal and taxes very light, being a trifle over one per cent.
SCHOOL FACILITIES AND CHURCHES
Marion is one of the choice counties in the State of Missouri-now ranks as the fourth or fifth county in the State. It has sixty churches, sixty-five public schools and four colleges, and is rapidly advancing in everything that goes to make communities prosperous and happy.
This county has a permanent school fund of $50,000,the interest of which, together with a four mill tax, and the public fines and penalties, give ample support to the public school system.
PRICE OF LAND
Unimproved lands in this county can be purchased at from five to ten dollars per acre, and improved farms from ten to forty dollars per acre.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Palmyra, called the “City of Flowers,”-a beautiful place of 3,000 inhabitants-is the county seat of Marion County, and contains eleven churches, three colleges and several excellent public and private schools, a fine court house, two banks, two printing offices, two newspapers, two hotels, two railroad depots, two excellent flouring mills, a fine packing house, several important manufactories and numerous prosperous and successful business houses engaged in a large commercial and local trade. The business men are active, intelligent and energetic, and in some instances are rapidly accumulating handsome fortunes.
Hannibal, the largest city in Northeast Missouri, with a population of 15,000, stands in the center of a group of counties remarkable for fertility, natural advantages, enterprise and increasing trade.
Opposite are Pike and Adams Counties, in Illinois, connected by a wagon bridge and a ferry, with one hundred thousand acres of the richest garden estimated at eight hundred thousand bushels reclaimed from overflow by a substantial levee. It controls most of the trade of Ralls and Pike Counties, in Missouri, and other counties, giving it great facilities for wholesale and retail trade.
The city is beautifully situated in a remarkably picturesque locality, the mighty river washing its front and flowing at its feet, with hills in the background more beautiful and numerous than the imperial “City of the Seven Hills” could ever boast, forming an irregular amphitheater, while its salubrious air expands the lungs and gives activity, energy and longevity to its inhabitants. Its growth has been healthy, substantial and continued.
The assessed valuation of its property (less than two-thirds real value) is three million dollars. The rate of taxation (including school tax) is about one and a half per cent.
The town has ample educational facilities – six ward public schools, several private schools, one high school, and one academy; able and accomplished professors and teachers; value of public school property, $39,000.
There are thirteen churches, with ample accommodations for all.
The three flouring mills manufactured in 1879 175,000 barrels of flour.
One hundred and fifty thousand barrels of the best white lime known in the markets were manufactured here in the last year, one firm having nine patent kilns.
The lumber business in the numerous yards and planing mills is immense. Sales in 1879 amounted to over 125,000,000 feet. One mill and yard employ two hundred hands; another firm employ in their various departments three hundred and eighty-five men, and sold last year 30,000,000 feet of lumber.
The ice business is an important industry.
Hannibal has six railroads, running in all directions, five of which terminate here, the other being a through line from St. Louis to St. Paul.
Hannibal has new water works on the most approved plan furnishing water excellent in quality and abundant in quantity, having a reservoir with a capacity of a million and a half gallons; has ten and a half miles of pipe and seventy-five hydrants distributed throughout the city, with two steam fire engines affording most ample protection against fires, giving us as low insurance and water rates as are enjoyed by the large cities.
The streets and dwellings are well lighted with gas. Street cars on the principal streets. The business houses and many dwellings are supplied with telephone communication. A mercantile library and reading room has been established. Three daily and three weekly newspapers and a large job printing establishment are located here.
The climate is salubrious, alike free from the long winters of the North and the scorching summers of the South, and only six miles from our prosperous little city is one of the best health-giving mineral springs in America, with nearly four hundred acres of beautiful wooded grounds attached, which grounds are skirted with one mile of river front and one mile of railroad. It is just one hundred miles from St. Louis, and ere long it will be made a resort of prominence.