The Final Frontiers, 1880-1930: Settling the Southern by John Otto

By John Otto

An exam of the cost background of the alluvial bottomlands of the reduce Mississippi Valley from 1880 to 1930, this learn information how cotton-growers remodeled the swamplands of northwestern Mississippi, northeastern Louisiana, northeastern Arkansas, and southern Missouri into cotton fields. even if those alluvial bottomlands contained the richest cotton soils within the American South, cotton-growers within the Southern bottomlands confronted a number of environmental difficulties, together with dense forests, seasonal floods, water-logged soils, bad transportation, malarial fevers and bug pests. This interdisciplinary process makes use of fundamental and secondary assets from the fields of historical past, geography, sociology, agronomy, and ecology to fill a big hole in our wisdom of yankee environmental history.

Requiring workers to transparent and domesticate their lands, cotton-growers recruited black and white staff from the upland components of the Southern states. Growers additionally supported the levee districts which equipped enforcing embankments to carry the floodwaters in payment. Canals and drainage ditches have been developed to empty the lands, and native railways and graveled railways quickly ended the area's isolation. eventually, quinine and patent drugs would supply a few aid from the malarial fevers that stricken bottomland citizens, and advertisement poisons could strive against the neighborhood pests that attacked the cotton vegetation, together with the boll weevils which arrived within the early 20th century.

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In antebellum times, planters and farmers imported slave laborers to work on their bottomland estates. But in the postbellum years, agriculturalists had to recruit free laborers to work on their bottomland plantations and farms. Although some postbellum workers were hill country Whites who drifted into the bottomlands after the war, the majority of agricultural workers were Blacks who emigrated from the southeastern states. 11 Thanks to the influx of Black laborers after the war, the Black population of the Southern bottomlands grew from 148,691 in 1860 to 236,995 by 1880.

As an example, the Mississippi Delta, which possessed stronger levees and better rail service, added more residents than the Louisiana Delta, which had weaker levees and sketchier rail service. Between 1880 and 1900, the ten counties that lay within the Mississippi Delta added 105,348 Black and White residents, but the eight parishes that lay within the Louisiana Delta gained only 5,963 Black and White inhabitants. By 1900, the Louisiana Delta had a population density of only twenty people per square mile, whereas the Mississippi Delta had a density of thirty-six persons per square mile.

Louis market. The old M&LR railroad, however, offered Arkansas access to the Memphis market. Although the M&LR was devastated by the 1897 flood, this line became part of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf (C,O&G) system in 1899. Dubbed the Choctaw & Memphis (C&M), the old Little Rock to Memphis route continued to serve eastern Arkansas. Finally, the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis railway, which was leased to the St. 49 Although eastern Arkansas was well served by major railways, southeastern Missouri still offered a field for such local railroad entrepreneurs as Louis Houck.

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