Wednesday, January 27th, 1819
The ensuing sixteen miles brought me to the banks of Big Black River, a large and rapid stream, being the seventh river crossed in a distance of 130 miles; and all of which are ultimately united in this. I was ferried over in a canoe, and lodged a mile beyond, at a house seated at the intermediate points, where the river alluvion is terminated by calcareous rock. I here found myself in Wayne county, according to a late division of Lawrence, by the territorial legislature of Missouri. Agriculture forms the principal employment of the inhabitants along this stream, and its tributaries. A small proportion are mechanics, less merchants, and very few professional men. The soil and climate are considered favourable for the different species of our domesticated graminea. Wheat and corn are the surest, and most advantageous crops. Rye, oats, flax, and tobacco, are also cultivated, the latter partially; and cotton is also grown, but not as a market crop, merely for family convenience, and domestic consumption. The raising of cattle has also engrossed considerable attention in this section of country, and graziers have been well remunerated. St. Louis, St. Genevieve, Kaskaskia, and other distant markets, have drawn a part of their supplies from this quarter. This business, which was very inviting at first, having been carried to excess, has produced a natural reaction, and it is not now considered an object to drive their stock to remote markets.
Funding for the Schoolcraft Journey project on Unlock the Ozarks has been provided by the Missouri Humanities Council.