Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas. Page: 128 of 1,110
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HISTORY OF DALLAS COUNTY.
exceptions, of course, as in the case of deep
wells sunk beneath the strata and where water
is found in gravel or in a stratum beneath
that of the limestone.
SOIL AND OTHER PHYSICAL FEATURES.
There is what is commonly, and most appropriately,
termed the "black strip" of soil,
about sixty miles in width, beginning at Red
river, the dividing line between Texas and
the Indian Territory, sweeping through Texas
and extending almost to the Gulf of Mexico,
and embraces the richest and most productive
soil in the State. Dallas couuty is largely in
this strip. While the surface consists in the
greater measure of rolling prairie most delightful
to the eye, especially when clothed
in spring time with fresh green verdure, it is
traversed by cross timbers that cluster on the
banks of the Trinity river, which flows diagonally
almost through its center, also on
smaller streams and ravines. The soil is of
that black, rich, loamy texture characteristic
of the most productive known to geologists,
and in some portions of the county it consists
of that black, waxy character most charmingly
adapted to almost every product known
to the Southern climate.
The rich, black soil sometimes extends to
the depth of four and five feet, and is said to
never diminish its strength in giving forth
produce like that of the sandy or clay-like
soil. On this the finest vegetation grows.
When this county was unsettled the wild
grass would grow to the height of an ordinary
man. It was proverbial that the hunter
would sometimes become lost in the grass,
and, straying off from his companions, entail
upon himself the greatest difficulty to find
his bearings. This grass was not entirely
over the county, but only in some sections.
A heavy mat of turf, however, was extended
over the entire surface of the soil, especially
on the prairies, and it was so strongly matted,
and the black, sticky soil so compact that it
was of the greatest difficulty to break it up so
as to make it arable for farming purposes. It
was, therefore, common to see the farmer in
primeval days of the county with from six to
eight yoke of oxen, or with from four to six
mules, hitched to a large plow, breaking up
his prairie lands, doing what was commonly
called "sodding;" but as the county became
more thickly populated and rains fell more
frequently, thereby moistening the surface,
this task of "sodding" became less irksome
-so much so that at the present period of
development it is common to see the farmer
seated on his sulky plow, with only two
horses, plowing this wild land; in other words,
sodding his new lands. This soil, once
thought to produce nothing with any certainty
but corn and cotton, has been found
to contain those elements and ingredients
productive of all kinds of small grains, and in
fact almost every kind of vegetation known
to the Southern climate.
There is but a small quantity of timber,
comparatively speaking, in the county, and
that is found as stated, clustering on the
streams, and, while not adapted for building
purposes, it affords great comfort and con
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Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas., book, 1892; Chicago, Illinois. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/m1/128/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Public Library.