PHYSICAL FEATURES AND RESROUCES.
Cass is one of the southwestern counties, being the second east of the Missouri River, and the third north of the State of Missouri. It is twenty-four miles square, containing an area of 368,640 acres. The entire county is on the "Missouri Slope," or within the area drained by tributaries of the Missouri River. The numerous streams drain the county completely, and diversify the character nd appearance of the surface. On almost every section of land in the county there is living water. The East Nishnabotany, Indian Creek, Turkey Creek and Seven Mile Creek afford good water powers.
The northeast corner of the county is about 920 feet above low water in the Mississippi River at Davenport. The surface is generally undulating prairie, but there is considerable timber along some of the streams; the area of timber land in the county being estimated at about 12,000 acres. It is pretty well distributed throughout the county. The soil partakes of the general character peculiar to that of the Missouri slope in Iowa, and is rich and productive. The valleys along the principal streams are wide and afford some of the finest farming lands in Iowa. The valley of the Nishnabotany is noted for its beauty and fertility, and some of the smaller streams into which it is subdivided in this county retain these characteristics. Almost the entire surface of the county is susceptible of the highest cultivation, and is adapted to all the cereals, grasses, and vegetables common to the latitude; It is also a fine stock-growing and grazing county.
The distribution of water is such that hundreds of locations can be found where both water and timber shelter can be had on the same farm for stock purposes. Kentucky blue grass, as well as other grasses, flourish well in Cass County. No county in the state, perhaps, can present greater inducements for this purpose than the favored County of Cass, which is sufficiently shown by the number of stock farmers already settled there, and the fact that they have all become wealthy, among whom may be mentioned John Hoply, Thomas Meredith, James Baxter, Oliver Mills, and many others. Every year there is an increased interest exhibited both in growing timber and hedges, as will be seen from the late statistics which will be found in this atlas. Osage orange hedging some years ago was thought to be a failure, but new systems and more care have proven it to be a complete success, and when brought into more general use will relieve very much the appearance of the prairies. There can be no question but that fruit growing can be successfully carried on in this county, as is demonstrated by some fine young archards of apples, pears, cherries, and other small fruits to be seen in different parts of the county. Fruit growing reuires more care and exsperience than the new settlers were disposed to devote to it, which is the reason that it has not had more attention, but as the county has increased in wealth and population it has been taken hold of, and now we have several good nurseries in the county. The county has good roads, and is famous for the number of its substantial bridges. As may be seen from the map of this county it is well supplied with school houses, which are neat and substantial, and are kept open at least three-fourths of the year.
The county has considerable stone suitable for building purposes. The dark brown sandstone quarried on the Nishnabotany River, near the town of Lewis, has been used quite extensively in this and in adjoining counties. Stone suitable for the manufacture of lime is also obtained in several localities. Mineral paint is also found in Edna Township; it is from one to three feet thick, and has been used to considerable extent. No coal beds have yet been discovered, and yet it is quite likely that deep mining may develop them, as the geological formations which are exposed overlie the coal formations.
The county has no public debt, nor has she had any for ten years or more. The rule in Cass is "to pay as they go." The population in 1866 was 2,479; in 1875, as will be seen in table of statistics, 10,552. Spring wheat harvested in 1874, 676,209 bushels; corn, 1,901,062 bushels. We merely cite a few figures to show the rapid and permanent growth of the county.
"A. T. Andreas Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa" Chicago: Andreas Atlas Co., 1875, pg. 487.