Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas. Page: 133 of 1,110
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HISTOR Y OF DALLAS COUNTY.
andl deep drainage valleys, unmarked by precipitate
cafions. It is transected at intervals
)by the larger streams, whose deep-cut valleys,
together with their side streams, make indentations
into the plain, but not sufficiently to
destroy the characteristic flatness of its wide
divides-remnants of the original plain, or
top)grapllic Inarine base level, which has not
been completely scored by its still youthful
dniinagre system. The altitude of the plain
is between G00 and 800 feet. The surface of
most of tlhe Black Prairie region is a deep
black clay soil, whicl when wet becomes excessively
tenacious, from which fact it is loc;lly
called t"black waxy." In general it is
the residuum of the underlying clays, and
contains an excess of lime, which, acting upon
the vegetation by complicated chemical
changes, causes the black color. It is excedvinlgly
productive, and nearly every foot
of its area is susceptible of a hIigh state of
cultivation, constituting one of the largest
cottiltious agricultural regions in the United
States. Large crops of cotton, corn, etc., are
annually raised upon its fertile lands; and if
there were facilities for proper transportation
it would soon be one of the leading districts
of our country.
'The 1Black Prairie is subdivided longituditinuly
into four parallel strips of country, differilg
slightly, and distinguishable only by
slight differnc1esi in topography and in tlle
underlying rocks. In the easternmlost of these
divisions north of the Brazos and Colorado
rivers, however, the sand is har(lly perceptible.
Immediately interior of this is located
the largest and most characteristic area
which is marked by the stiffest of the black
waxy calcareous clay soils. Upon digging
through this stratum, the subtructure is
found to consist of a light blue or yellow calcareous
clay, called by the residents "soapstone"
and "joint clay," from its jointed and
laminated structure. The surface, especially
of the high undrained divides, is also accom panied
in many places by minute depressions
known as "hog-wallows," which are producd
by the drying, cracking and disintegrating
character of these excessively calcareous clays
in poorly drained places. This, the main
portion of the Black Prairie, constitutes fully
two-thirds of its total area. The cities of
Greenville, Terrell, Corsicana and Kaufman
are situated near the border of the sandy and
black waxy strips. Manor, Clarksville,
Cooper, Taylor and Temple are all situated
in the main black waxy belt.
An outcrop of the l"white rock" or chalky
country, forming a narrow strip averaging
two miles in width, from Red river to the
Rio Grande, succeeds on the west the main
black waxy Strip. This chalk region is
marked by a topography more rounded and
deeper incised, but still void of the sharper
lines of stratification that characterize the
Grand Prairie region. It is usually treeless,
but occasionally marked by clumps of handsome
evergreens and oaks. The western edge
of tis chalky region, as seen at Oak Cliff,
near Dallas, at Sherman, Iillsboro and other
places, usually ends in an escarpment overlooking
a valley containing the minor Black
Prairie and Lower Cross Timber strips. It
is upon this chalk that the most prosperous
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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/m1/133/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Public Library.