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zens of the State, than in relation to this western Kansas soil. This soil has mingled with it very little vegetable mold or humus-that deposit of decayed vegetable matter which gives to the soil of eastern Kansas its dark color.

The attentive observer will notice a perceptible difference in this respect however, even at the extreme western State line, between the surface and the soil two feet below. In some localities, especially on bottom lands, the surface is quite dark, and gradually grows lighter as you penetrate the earth.

This is called by geologists, "The Bluff Formation," so named by Professor Swallow, because it forms a large proportion of the bluffs which are so conspicuous and unique in the scenery about Council Bluffs, Iowa, and in general all along the Missouri River bluffs above the mouth of the Kansas River. This formation occupies the surface of a considerable portion of western Iowa, extending east in the north part of the State a distance of forty or fifty miles. Its eastern limit seems to run in a southwesterly direction, and it forms the surface of nearly all the State of Nebraska, and of the western half of Kansas. It also underlies a good portion of eastern Kansas, but is here largely affected by the character of the subjacent rocks. This accounts for the fact, which has often been remarked with wonder, that the sub-soil in many places upon being thrown to the surface, and exposed to the action of the air and frost, produces as good crops as the surface soil.

Its analysis by the Missouri State Survey, gives, when dried at 212° Fahr., 77 per cent impalpable sand; 11 per cent alumina (clay); 34 per cent, lime; 5 per cent pottassa, magnesia and carbonic acid, and about 3 per cent of water and loss. This analysis proves its agricultural value; but that point is sufficiently demonstrated by long experience.

The best of crops grow upon this soil in Iowa and Nebraska, as I can personally testify. Its sand is so fine that no grit is perceptible to the touch, and those who cultivate it in Iowa, call it a fine light clay, but it has none of the physical characteristics of a stiff clay soil. It never bakes, is ready for cultivation in a few hours after a rain, and with deep plowing will keep crops in a thriving condition with very little rain.

As the reader well knows, it is not essential that a soil be black in order that it be productive. With the single exception of corn, as good crops are raised upon much of the red land of Virginia and Tennessee as is ever grown upon the blackest soils of Illinois or Kansas, and deep plowing is all that this red land needs for Indian corn.

Having seen the luxuriant crops that are grown in northwestern Iowa about Sioux City, upon the light colored soil which we have described, as well as the heavy crops upon newly cleared red lands of Virginia and Tennessee, I have learned not to condemn land until it is tried, whether its color be black, white or red.

In Kansas this soil has not been largely cultivated, (although it is held in high esteem by those western settlers who have tilled it,) because there are at least twenty million acres of rich black soil unoccupied in the State. But no man appreciates Kansas as he ought, until he realizes that it not only ranks pre-eminent as a grain producing and blue grass State, but that within its limits and within one or two days drive of its rich farms, are to be found the finest of pasture fields now open and easily accessible to the public. Here is free grazing upon the buffalo grass and winter grasses which grow on the rich soil we have just described. Not only this but with deep plowing, and deep and early drilling of the seed, this is to be the great winter wheat storehouse

of the nation. It is not too far north or south; its altitude gives it a superb harvesting season, while there is rain enough for growing the crop during the cool season, The admixture of lime and gypsum, with all this soil, is a matter of the utmost moment. That gypsum is almost universal, admits of little doubt, for it is seen in ledges in many places, and it is found crystalized in the form of thin semi-transparent sheets, wherever geologists have explored western Kansas. The blue-stem, a tall variety of prairie grass, chiefly used for hay in eastern Kansas, and which only grows on rich corn land, is rapidly extending westward upon this soil, and taking the place of buffalo grass.

Finally, the bottom lands of the Kansas and Arkansas Rivers, are largely made up of the wash of these western regions, and there is no better soil in the world than these valleys afford.


Many flowing sentences and well rounded periods have been framed in the endeavor to describe the climate of Kansas. It has been called "Arcadia,” but more frequently travelers who have been around the globe, and enraptured citizens who write to their friends in the East, call it an "Italian clime." In truth, it is neither Arcadia nor Italy-at least it is not one unbroken round of golden days and halcyon nights, but it is quite certain that there is no region in the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains, where there is more bright, sunshiny days than we have in Kansas. The winters are more mild than in the same latitude east of us, and the thermometer rarely sinks below zero. During midsummer the heat at noonday sometimes ranges for several days from 80 to 100 degrees, but the air is so dry and pure that one scarcely realizes the range of the mer

cury, while the nights are invariably cool and refreshing. Men work on buildings and in other exposed situations, with safety, at a temperature which would be fatal in the eastern States.

The soil is so fruitful that farmers never feel obliged to expose themselves to severe weather, summer or winter. Especially is our climate held in high esteem by those who escape to it from the extremes of northern frigidity, or from the torrid heats of southern latitudes.

It must not be forgotten that Kansas is a State of great extent and of various climate. Sometimes there are two or three inches of snow in the northeastern part of the State, which lays on the ground three or four days, and at the same time there will be no snow at all on the southern border of the State; at other times a light fall of snow may cover the State for a week, but there is no preparation made for sleighing, because there is rarely more than one such snow during a winter. Ice usually forms in December or January from four to eight inches in thickness, but rarely thicker than six inches, and two or three winters have occurred when no ice formed thick enough to store in ice houses. Farmers can plow during ten months of nearly every year in this State, and some years every month. I have seen masons laying stone and mortar during every month of the year, although not in every month in any one year, perhaps, because after building has generally ceased, and the hands are discharged and tools scattered, it is not customary to commence again until spring opens, which here occurs in February.

Still there are cold days here and people ought to come prepared for them; but there are also bitter cold days in Tennessee or Texas, and taking our average climate, it is mild and agreeable. Whenever, as during the past winter, it is very cold here, the

telegraph always announces that it is colder in the same latitude east, and much colder north of us. During the past winter, 1870-71, we had three considerable snow storms; the first six inches deep, of light snow, and each of the others about three inches deep. This was accompanied by almost continuous cold weather, sufficiently so to keep the ground covered with snow for four or five weeks. It has been, by far, the severest winter I ever experienced in the State, and it is the universal testimony of the "reliable old settlers" that the snow never before laid on the ground so long.

The extraordinary clearness of the atmosphere strikes all strangers as worthy of mention. Nonresidents can form no conception of this peculiarity of our climate, but one may here distinguish objects at a long distance, which could hardly be seen at all, if the same distance away in the east. The vision is thereby strengthened, and man's natural powers increased, giving greater zest to the pleasure with which one rides across our prairie swells.

The most disagreeable feature of our climate is the wind, but none complain of the cool breezes which healthfully agitate the atmosphere during the summer months. Besides, all prairie regions are subject to more winds than timbered countries. The winds are no more severe here than in other prairie States, and the groves and hedges, which may be speedily grown, will abate their force and break up their


One of the greatest blessings of our Kansas climate, is the cool nights which invariably follow even the hottest days. These nights are so well described by the Lawrence Daily Journal, that I quote as follows:

"The cool nights of Kansas refresh and invigo rate everything. No sooner does old Sol conclude to bathe his burning forehead in the sea of night,

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