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Full text of "The Blue Ridge highlands in western North Carolina"






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Superior Fruit, Farming and Grazing Lands- 
Grand and Beautiful Scenery— Pure 
Air and Pure Water. 

J^V BETTER CLIMATE IjY THE WORLD 

FOR 



AND 



m ClIMAK OR COUNTRY THAT ERDfGS SURER RETURNS! 



1' O THE 



nmi\ FRUIT mm\ or stock raiser 

No Grasshoppers, Chinch Bugs^ Can- 
ker Worms or Musquitoes 



T O 



DESTROY CROPS OR PERSONAL COMFORT. 



GEEENVILLE, S. C. 

DAILY NEWS, F..A3IPHLET AND LAW "f^KESS 

1876. 



THE BL UE RIDGE HIGHLAJ^DS 



IN 



We^tei^il }[on\ Ciki'olii^k. 



,<«<«••>.•'««<'*«<'*« •'^t 



The Blue Ridge Highlands, 

As Dr. Gatchell has aptly expressed it, "projects like a promontory 
Vinto the planting region of the South, quite across the 35th parallel of 
/ latitude, below which it gradually sinks into the low country of South 

• Carolina and Georgia." Near the southwestern extremity of this 
' '' proniontory," in Macon and Jackson counties, North Carolina is the 
■ crteD.Hivo "plateau," or high undulating country, described in this 
- circuJar. It embraces an area of about 200,000 acres in the twocoun- 

• ties named, having an elevation of about 4,000 feet above tide water. 

The Climate 

> is not exceUed, if, indeed, it is equaled, in the United States, for 

H:ealth and comfort, while it is admirably 'adapted to general 

' eral farming, fruit growing and stock raising. The atmosphere is light 

and clear and pure. There is no fog except in cloudy weather ; the 

• sun always shining out as bright when it rises above the horizon as at 
»noonday. Yet we have regular showers during the summer season, 
-and a drouth to materially injure crops never occurs. The terapera- 
Uure is seldom above eighty in summer or below ten in winter, and has 

not been known to go above ninety or below zero. The snow fall is 
very light, only a few inches at most, and some winters none. The 
ground is rarely frozen more than two or three inches deep and but 
few days at a time. We have a remarkable absence of winds. 
Showers usually come up with barely enough breeze to rustle the 
leaves in the tree tops, and tall trees stand for years with trunks so 
nearly burned or rotted off that they seem hardly able to sustain their 
own weight. The elevation accounts for our cool summers and clear, 
pure atmosphere. Our mild winters are attributable to our southern 
latitude, nearness to the sea coast and to being generally surrounded 
by a low warm country, while the main chain of the AUeghenies 
breaks the cold storms from the north and west of us, so that they do 
not reach us with the same force and intensity that they have in the 
same latitude west of the Allegheny range. 

Health. 

Our pure light atmosphere, even temperature and pure water give 
health and vigor, and produce a hardy, long-lived race of people, such 
as can hardly be found elsewhere. Consumption, ague, yellow fever, 



THE BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS. 3 

and other diseases common to low countries of the North or South 
never originate here, and persons who come here suffering from such 
diseases ai;e almost invariably restored to health and vigor We quote 
the following li-om a ^pamphlet written by H. P. Gatchell, M.D. late 
editor of the Department of Climatology and Hygiene of the U. S 
Medical and Surgical Journal : 

" No other range of long settled countries can show so small a ratio of 
mortality as those that lie at the western base of the Blue Ridge from 
he Virginia line to the latitude of Atlanta, and it is remarkable that 
there is an appreciable diminution in the ratio of mortality as we pro- 
ceed south, due perhaps, to increasing uniformity of temperature 
XT ,1 ' n ' T n^^^^^ ^^ T^'Qg^Y^ to pulmonary diseases that Western 

iSorth Carolina aflords the greatest immunity. While out of every 
Uiousand deaths, nearly two hundred and fifty in the northern New 
±.ng and fetates, one hundred and fifty in Minnesota and California 
nearly one hundred in Kentucky and Tennessee, and fifty in Florida 
and Louisiana arc from consumption, only about thirty in the thou- 
sand are from that cause in Western North Carolina and'the neighbor- 
ing portions ot South Carolina and Georgia. 

But the ratio of consumption generated in a country is not a test of 
Its relative capacity for promoting recovery when the disease is estab- 
ished The lowlands ot the South generate a much less ratio than 
the colder region of the North, and yet as the statistics of mortality in 
the army clearly show, they tend quite as much, if not more to pro- 
mote its progress when existing. Their hot, moist atmosphere by in- 
ducing debility and fever, hastens the progress of the disease. On the 
ot lier hand, the extreme cold of higher northern latitudes proves fatal 
by exhausting the small heat producing capacity of the consumptive 
A moderately cool and invigorating atmosphere has been found to be 
. oy lar the most f;ivorable. 

Altitude has come to be recognized as indispensable to any consid- 
erable proportion of recoveries. It is, perhaps, as important as any 
other conaitioii. Evidence of influence of altitude is furnished by the 
highlaiKls ot Peru. A large body of antartic water coming to the sur- 
face oft the coast of Peru, lowers the temperature ten degrees or more 
and envelopes the land during six months of the year in a chillin- 
mist, generating a ratio of consumption unknown elsewhere in the 
same latitude. It is the custom of the natives suffering from this for- 
midable disease to resort to the Andes, and of the government to 'send 
thither soldiers similarly affected, and there is testimony of competent 
physicians to the fact that not only most of those who are in the first 
stage of the disease recover, but that even those that have cavities in 
their lungs may be restored to comfortable health 

All altitude of much less than 2,000 feet in our latitude is of little 
seiwice, and as we approach the equator a still greater one is required "• 
Ihese conditions meet more fully in the section specified thaninanv 
other portion of the United States. While as a general rule as we 
approach the tropics, consumption diminishes, the inflamatorv affec 
tions of the pulmonary apparatus, bronchitis, pleurisy and pneumonii 
increase. But in this respect AVestern North Carolina is an exception 
Its exemption from bronchitis, pleurisy and pneumonia is as marked -i ■ 
It IS from consumption, affording it a decided advantage over New 
Mexico, the only region in the United States, except that of the Blue 
Kidge so far as existing data determine, with so small a ratio of deatln 
from the lattor disease. But the mortality from pleur isy in New Mex- 



4 THE BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS. 

ico is great, thus rendering the aggregate mortality from pulmonary 
diseases appreciably greater than in Western North Carolina." 

The people of the South have long appreciated the healthfulness of 
the Blue Ridge regions, and hundreds of the wealthier classes from the 
loM^ countries of North and South Carolina and Georgia annually re- 
sort to this country to escape the malarias of the summer season. 
Thousands more will come when they can get accommodations. 

The Surface of the Country 

Is varied from smooth level lands to rocky cliffs, steep hills and moun- 
tain peaks. One half or more is smooth and level enough for good 
farm lands and beautiful farms. Probably half of the balance could 
be cultivated, and will make good orchard and pasture land;^. The 
remainder is mostly too rough to be of much value for agricultural 
purposes, though much of it will furnish valuable timber and make 
good sheej) range. 

The Rocks 

Are of a granite formation — mostly quartz, feldspar and mica. Near 
the surface they are usually in a state of disintegration and decompo- 
sition. The greater portion of the land is free from stone to interfere 
with cultivation. There is, however, plenty of excellent rock in good 
shape and easily obtained for building purposes. The rougher por- 
tions of the country are often rocky, and some of the hill and moun- 
tain sides are bold cliffs of bare rock. 

Water. 

Strong and unfailing Springs of pure, cold, aoft water are abundant, 
i rom these Springs flow bright sparkling rills over clean pebbly beds, 
and uniting with others soon form large creeks, which furnish excellent 
and regular water powers, and an ample supply of the purest of water 
for all purposes. The speckled trout are very abundant in all these 
streams, and numbers of trout-ponds could "be made at very little 
expense. 

Timber 

Of the most valuable kinds for building, manufacturing, fencing and 
fuel is plentiful. The trees are usually of moderate size, but large 
enough for good sawing timber. They are mostly of good straight 
growth, and the grain is straight, free and easily Avorked. In some 
localities — protected from the annual fires, which are put out to burn 
off the undergrowth for the benefit of the stock range— the trees grow 
to an immense size. The following varieties of trees are found upon 
the Highlands. Those placed first in the list are most abundant. Oak 
-—several varieties, Chesnut, Hickory, Tulip Tree or Poplar, White 
Pine, Sassafras, Black Gum, Black Locust, Hemlock — Spruce Pine of 
the South — Red Maple, Service tree. Magnolia, Table Mountain Pine, 
Yellow Pine, Flowering Dogwood, Black Cherry, Bird Cherry, Black 
Birch, Yellow Birch, Mountain xYsh, Crabtree, Willow, Silver Bell, 
Persimmon, Holley, Beech, Linn or Baswood, Red Cedar, White 
Ash, Buckeye. The most common 

Shrubs 

Are Rhododendrons, Kalmias, Azaleas, Clethra, Huckleberry, Haw 
Alder, Sumac, Witch Hazel, Calycanthus, Flowering Locust, 



THE BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS. 5 

The Soil 

Is generally fertile, fully as good as the average farm mih of tlie mid- 
dle aijd eastern States. It varies from sandy to clay loam, is mellow, 
usually Iree from stone and easily worked. There are extensive beds 
of muck and other fertilizmg material to enricli the boil when wanted. 

Productions. 

The crops best suited to our soil and climate are such as are adapted 
to the northern States. Fair crops of corn are raised of the northern 
varieties. Wheat is not mucli grown, but generally produces well 
Rye and Oats do well. All kinds of vegetables that grow in the North 
produce large crops of excellen t quality. For Irish Potatoes Cab- 
bages and Turnips no country can beat it in quantity or quality The 
grasses grow well, produce good ciops of hav and furnish good qreen 
pasturage nearl)^ the whole year. 

•For Fruit Growing, 

Especially for Apples, this country has no superior. Apples from the 
mountain districts of Western North Carolina are highly prized in the 
southern markets, and for size, flavor, beauty and keeping qualities are 
superior to those brought from the north. The trees are healthy, long 
lived and rarely fail to produce heavy crops of fruit annually 
There are apple trees on the Sugar Fork river, a few^ miles from us* 
that are said to be fifty years old, with stems 7 to 8 feet in circumfer- 
ence and still vigorous and bearing heavy annual crops of tine, fair 
fruit. Pears have not been much grown, but have usually produced 
well wherever they have had a chance. Plums, Cherries and small 
fruits all grow well. Peaches and Grapes produce good and regular 
crops, but upon our highest table lands the quality is not as good as 
upon the southern slope of the Blue Ridge, where they grow in their 
grow in their greatest perfection, and there are orchards and vineyards 
that have not failed to produce a good crop every year for twenty to 
thirty years. The late Nicholas Longworth, of 'Cincinnati, once said 
"Were I young again, on the slopes of tlie Blue Ridge, I would plant 
the vine and make my fortune." 

For Stock Raising 

This section of country is not excelled by any portion of tlie United 
States. The Summers are so cool that the gra&s never "burns" or dries 
up in the Summer season, and the Winters are so mild that vdth the 
time grasses we may have green pastures that will keep stock almost 
the entire Winter. It will cost but little to provide hay and other 
feed to take them through any cold spells or light snows' that would 
hinder grazing. Stock need no warm stable.^ here as in the north, but 
should have access to open sheds for falling weather. 

Sheep Raising 

Is much more pleasant and protitable here than at the north. Sheep 
are remarkably healthy and prolific, and with care in providing pas- 
tures, will usually do well the entire year without other feed, though 
it would be best always to have a supply of hay, turnips, etc., to feed 
during cold spell? and to fatten for market. 

Dairying. 

Our cheap and excellent grazing, cool summers and mild winters 
and lountiful supply of pure, cold, soft, Spring water, offer unsurpassed 



6 THE BLUE KIDGE HIGHLANIiRi. 

if not unequaled facilities for butter and cheese making. Butter made 
here by those who understand it, is not excelled by the famous Orange 
county butter of New York. 

Bees 

Do well and store a large amount of hone}' of tlie yer}' best quality. 
"White clover comes in" whenever the land is opened to tlie sun, so it 
is not likely that the destruction of the wild llowers by clearing will 
materially lessen the honey-making capacity of tlie country. 

Markets. 

The facilities for n^arketing our produce are good. We are in the 
lieart of the great cotton country of the south, about 250 miles from 
the sea coast at Charleston, Port Poyal or Savannah, and within easy 
reach of all the great cities and populous districts of the southern 
states. But a limited .portion of the south grows successfully the crops 
that are produced here. For the balance of their supplies they depend 
largely upon the north. And having the advantage tof freights in our 
favor, we find ready cash sale for our surplus at remunerative prices. 

Railroads. 

Our nearest Eailroad point is Walhalla, South Carolina, tlie present 
terminus of the Blue Ridge Railroad, thirty miles south of the High- 
lands. The Blue Ridge Railroad is soon to be completed via Rabun 
Gap and Franklin to Knoxville, Tennessee, and we shall then be but 
ten to fourteen miles from a Railroad station. This road via Rabun 
Gap will connect with the whole Railroad system of the south and 
the north-west, thus offering good railroad facilities. 

Wagon Roads. 

AVe have passable wagon roads to Walhalla, Franklin and various 
points on the Highlands. Good roads can be easily and cheaply made 
to all points on the Highlands and to the valley of the Tennessee at 
Rabun Gap or Franklin to reach the Railroad. 

Good carriage roads of easy grade can be made at little expense to 
the summit of all the highest mountain penks. 

Scenery. 

While Ave have here so large an area of line fertile firm lands, we 
yet have mountain scenery that for variety, grandeur and beauty has 
few rivals. There are a dozen mountain peaks within a radius of as 
inany miles, to the very summit of which one can easily and safely 
ride on horseback. From each of these peaks one gets a different view 
of a vast extent of country from the Smoky mountains on the north to 
the far off low lands of South Carolina and Georgia to the southward. 

A country clothed mostly with luxuriant forests, dotted with fertile 
clearings, diversified with lofty peaks and beautiful valleys, steep, 
rocky cliffs and gentle slopes. To the northward the mountains are 
high, bold and picturesque, but receding in more regular and gentle 
undulations to the southward until they finally sink into the level 
plains of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 

On the sides and almost to the very tops of these highest mountain 
peaks are beautiful coves and dells where gigantic forest trees stand 
guard over perrennial springs of purest, softest waters, which send their 
cooling rills down the mountain's side. Hundreds of these brooklets 



THK BLUK RUXii: HrOHLANDS. 7 

uniting form large creeks and even rivers on the Highlands almost 
4,000 feet above the sea. Leaping over precipices in their course to 
the valley below, these mountain rivers form grand waterfalls that are 
hardly surpassed by anything this side of Niagara or Yosemite. 

In these clear, cool waters the speckled trout— so tempting to the 
angler and the epicure— are found in great abundance. 

During the spring and summer the Khododendrons, Kalmias, Aza- 
leas, Dogwoods, Clethra, Silver Bell, and hundreds of other varieties 
of flowering trees, shrubs and plants of greatest beauty and fragrance, 
are an attractive feature of the landscape. ^ 

Altogether, we believe there are few localities in the United States 
with scenery combining so many attractive features as the Blue Ridge 
Highlands. 

Game. 

There are still some deer and wild turkeys. Rabbits and squirrels 
are plentiful. The ruffed grouse— called here pheasant— and the bob 
white — called here partridge — are abundant. 

Wild Animals. 

There is an occasional bear and a few wolves in the wildest moun- 
tain districts, but they seldom come near the settlements. There are 
some Wild Cats, but they seldom trouble domestic animals, and are 
easily trapped or poisoned. 

Snakes. 

AVe have seen no poisonous snakes here, except the rattle snake, and 
they are not so numerous as we find them on the western prairies and 
in some of the thickly settled districts of New York and Pennsylvania. 

Insects 

Are very scarce here, owing largely, as we suppose, to the great num- 
ber and variety of our birds. Musquitoes— that great pest of wooded 
countries generally, and low countries, everywhere — are never 
found "on these highlands. There are few flies to harm man or beast. 
Xo grasshoppers to injure the crops. No Chinch bugs, potato bugs or 
canker worms. There are some of the round-headed borers in neglected 
orchards, but we have examined dozens of neglected orcliards and 
failed to find the work of a single flat-headed borer. 

Settlements. 

The country is sparsely settled by a hardy, intelligent, kind and 
hospitable people. Their clearings are mostly small, but they usually 
raise a supply of corn and vegetables for their families. A few farm- 
ers are clearing up good farms, starting fine orchards, raising hay and 
stock, and making money. 

Cost of Living. 

People who wish to live economically can live well on less money 
liere tlian in any other country we have ever been in. Good plain 
board can be had in families at S2 00 to $3 00 per week. 

Labor. 

There are no colored people here. Good white laborers can be 
hired for fifty cents per day and board, or seventy-five cents without 



8 THE BUTE RTDGE RIGHLANDS. 

board. Carpenters, and meclianics generally, SI .50 per day. Good 
dome?tic help can be had for $1.00 per week. 

Building Material ^ 

For log houses can be had lor the cutting. Good while pine and 
poplar lumber can be had at the mills for $1.00 per hundred feet. 
Good stone for foundations, cellars, fireplaces, etc., are easily obtained. 
A brick kihi has been burned for chimney's, etc, 

PricG of Land. 

The price of good, unimproved liirm land is fri)m $1.50 to $3,00 per 
acre, some few choice pieces, well located, are lield higher, and some 
fair pieces can be bought for $1.00 per acre. Rougher lands, suitable 
for pasture, orcliard and wood lots, can be bouglit for 50 cents to $1.00 
per acre. The land is mostly owned by individuals, in tracts of fifty 
to two thousand acres, but most of it is for sale at the above named 
prices, except the small portion already occupied by settlers, and some 
of that will be sold with improvements at an additional price, suffi- 
cient to pay cost of improvements. The titles have mostly been ob- 
tained from the State and are perfect. 

Fencing. 

The price for splitting rails is fifty cents per 100, for hauling and 
laying fifty cents more, or $1,00 per 100 for rails laid up in fence. It 
takes about twenty rails to the rod for a good fence, making a cost of 
twenty cents per rod for a good rail fence. A good four-board fence 
can be built, with oak or chestnut posts, for fifty to sixty cents per rod. 

Clearing. 

To clear all the timber ofi' the land "would cost SC.OO to $12.00 per 
acre, but the undergrowth can be cleared off" and the large trees " dead- 
ened" for $1,50 to $3.00 per acre. The undergrowth can be grubbed, 
the large trees " deadened," and the ground prepared for the plow for 
$3.00 to $6.00 per acre. With the small growth thus cleared out and 
the large trees deadened, one, two or three annual crops may be grown, 
and the ground can then be seeded in grass and used for meadows and 
pasture until the roots are well rotted out, when it will cost but little 
to clear off the balance of the timber. 

Will People from the North be Well Received ? 

Or "will it be safe for them to come South," We are often asked the 
above questions, and would say in reply, it depends entirely upon 
yourself, what you come for and how you behave after you get here. 
Since the war the South has been over-run by a lot of " political .shy- 
sters" from the North, whose sole business was to get office and steal 
themselves rich. Unfortunately, too many have been successful, and 
tlie people of the South have contracted a righteous hatred for that 
class of immigrants, and do not strive to make their sojourn in the 
country pleasant or comfortable. But people coming here to engage in 
any honest, respectable pursuit, for pleasure or profit, it matters not 
what their opinion or previous condition, or where they are from — 
North or South, Europe, Asia or Africa — if they behave themselves as 
good citizens should in any country, they will be as well received, as 
kindly treated, and as safe from harm as in any spot in the " wide 
•world." 



THE BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS. 9 

**Why Has not the Blue Ridge Highlands been 
Settled Before?" 

This question is asked by our friends from the North. The reason 
why is easily explained. The people of the South have heretofore 
devoted themselves, almost exclusively, to producin^^ the trrcat southern 
staples, cotton, rice, sugar and tobacco. Land has been plenty, and 
that best suited to the growth of the above named staples was, of course, 
taken first. And not only the Blue Ridge Highlands, but millions of 
acres more of the best lands in the South for stock, fruit, grain and 
vegetables, with a climate that has no superior, are to-day unoccupied. 
The best of these lands lie along the Blue Ridge in Western Nortli 
Carolina, and the northern portion of South Carolina and Georgia. 
And while there is probably no other section with so nuich good land 
for sale, lying contiguous, and so many advantages combined for a 
first class settlement, yet much of what we have said of this particular 
section Avill apply to a large portion of the country within the above 
named range. The writer is a native of Western Kew York, has lived 
five years in Illinois and ten yesrs in Kansas, engaged in agricultural 
and horticultural pursuits, has traveled over most of the Northern and 
a considerable portion of the Southern States, has studied as carefully 
as possible the advantages of the different sections, and has located 
here for a home, satisfied that no other section of the United States 
now offers so many advantages for settlement, for the ftirmer, the fruit 
grower, the stock raiser, and others seeking rural homes for health, 
comfort and prosperity, as these beautiful table lands and sunny slopes 
of the Blue Ridge. 

The Town of Highlands. 

We are laying out the town of Highlands as a convenience for our 
settlement. It is not the intention to try to make it a commercial toiv!<, 
but a center for the surrounding country, where Avill be located our 
Post Office, Stores, Shops, School House, Churches, Hotels, &c. It is 
situated on a beautiful undulating sits on the main Franklin and Wal- 
halla road, 20 miles south east of Franklin and 30 miles north of 
Walhalla. It occupies a central position on the Highlands, and a point 
from which good carriage roads can easily be made to reach all point? 
on the Highlands, and all of the grandest scenery of the surrounding 
country. It is near the base of Stuley mountain, one of the grandest 
peaks of the Blue Ridge range From the center of the town site, it is 
about 1^ miles south-east to the top cf ''Stuley," 2;r miles south-east to 
"Fodderstack," 2 miles east to "Black Rock,'' U 'miles north-east to 
"Whiteside," 3 miles north to ''Short Off"," 6 miles north to "Ycllow 
Mountain," 4 miles north-west to the "Dry Fall" on the Sugar Fork. 
There are on the town site a goodly number of unfailing springs and 
streams of pure cold Avater. The largest stream — "Mill Creek" — has a 
fall which furnishes a good water poAver for mills and machinery. 

Small lots will be laid out in the centre of town for business pur- 
poses, the balance in 2'j acre and larger lots for residences for those who 
may wish to spend their summers here, or live near the school, church, 
post office, &c. These lots Avill be sold to actual settlers at very low 
rates, as we desire to have it occupied by good citizens. 

There are two small saw and grist mills near town, and we expect 
to have one built on the town site the coming season. We have a 
country store and post office, and will soon have a hotel and other con- 
veniences. It is our purpose to build up a first-class school, and have 
all the facilities for improvement, and social and religious privilege.?, 
that are found in the best neighborhoods of the North or South. 



10 THE BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS. 

How to Come. 

Persons coming from the Northwest, West, or Southwest, should 
come to Atlanta, Georgia, thence via Atlanta & Richmond Air Line 
Railroad to Seneca City. From the East and Northeast come to Rich- 
mond, and thence via A. & R. A. L. R R. to Seneca City, or come by 
fiteamer to Charleston, and thence by the South Carolina Railroad to 
Walhalla. Persons arriving at Seneca City can call on A. W. Thomp- 
son, livery stable, and get conveyance to the Highlands at the follow- 
ing rates : One person, $8.00 ; two, $10.00; three or more, $4.00 each. 
Fifty pounds of baggage alio »ved with each passenger. Or take the 
cars to Walhalla, nine miles nearer, and there call on W. A. Adding- 
ton & Co., livery stable, where they will get conveyance to the High- 
lands at the following rates : One person, $7.00 ; two persons, 68.00 ; 
thre or more, $3.00 each. 

Most of the people who arc locating here are from tlie North, but 
good citizens are welcomed from any part of the country. 

For further information, address, 

S. T. KELSEY, 

Highlands, Macon County, N. C. 



^ > # » « f» i 



Letter from General Clingman. 

New York, .Tune 12, 1867. 
To Wr,i. Frazier, Esq., President of the Aincriean Agricultural and Miner- 
al Land Company, New York : 

Dear Sir : The short period during which I expect to remain in 
this city, and the pressure of business engagements, will prevent my 
replying at length to your inquires in relation to the wes'tern part of 
North Carolina. 

For a great many years I have resided on the west side of the Blue 
Ridge, the range of mountains which divides the waters falling into 
the Atlantic from those descending to the Missisippi River, Having 
for more tlian sixteen years been a Representative or Senator in Con- 
gress from that region, I used in my canvasses to visit every part of it. 
I have also ascended the principal mountains for the purpose of meas- 
uring or observing them, while my fondness for geology and mineralogy 
has carried me into almost every valley. My general acquaintance, 
therefore, with this entire region, probably exceeds that of any other 
person. 

It may be regarded as an elevated table-land of more than two hun- 
dred miles in length, with an average breadth of fift}^ miles, and is 
crossed in different directions bj'^ manj'^ mountain chains. The height 
of the lower valleys may be stated as ranging from two thousand to 
twenty-five hundred feet above the level of the sea, while the principal 
mountain chains rise four thousand feet higher. This elevation, not- 
withstanding its southern latitude, gives it a delightful summer cli- 
mate. 

Mr. Wm, McDowell, who made observations for the Smithsonian 
Institute, at Asheville, for several years, informed me that the ther- 
mometer during the warmest summer weather did not rise above eighty- 
two degrees Fahrenheit. Even the climate of Switzerland is not equal 
to that of this region ; not only at Geneva, but in the high valley of 
Chamouny, I once found hotter weather than I ever experienced in 
this section ; while there, one is occasionally chilled in mid-summer by 



THE BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS. 11 

■cold blasts from the masses of snow on the higher Alp?. In western 
North Carolina, none of the mountains are high enough to bear snow 
in summer, yet the region is sufficiently elevated to afford a climate 
which is cool, dry, bracing and exceedingly exhilerating. No country 
is more healthy, being alike free from the diseases of miasmatic regions, 
as well as those common in rigorous or damp climates. 

What especially distinguishes this section from all other mountain 
regions that I have seen, is the general fertility of its soil. This is true 
not only with reference to its valleys, but also of its mountains. Their 
aides and even tops aro generally covered with a thick vegetable mould, 
on which the largest trees and grasses grow luxuriantly. At an eleva- 
tion of five thousand feet above the ocean, the grasses and weeds are so 
rank as to remind one of the swampy lands of the lower regions. On 
the tops, and for a considerable distance down the aides of the higher 
chains, there are several varieties of evergreen or ''winter grass," a« 
they are generally called there. These are so nutritious that cattle are 
kept in good condition on them all the winter. A friend of mine before 
the war kept four or five hundred horned cattle on one of these moun- 
tains, and with the exception that they were supplied with salt occa- 
sionally, they subsisted entirely, both in summer and winter, on those 
grasses. The older cattle, he assured me, soon learned to understand 
the effect of the seasons, and without being driven, they led the herds, 
in the spring, down sides of the mountains to obtain the young grasses 
that came up with the warm weather, and when these were destroyed 
by the autumn frosts they returned to the tops to get the evergreen veg- 
etation, and found shelter under the spreading branches of the balsam 
fir trees in stormy weather. I have seen in Play wood county a five 
year old horse that was said to have been foaled and reared entirely on 
the top of Balsam Mountain, and was then for the first time brought 
down to see cultivated land and eat food grown by the hand of man. 

Where the lands in this part of the State are placed under proper 
cultivation, they produce abundantly. On choice spots, more than one 
hundred bushels to the acre of Indian corn has frequently been obtain- 
ed, and this valuable grain is everywhere produced in sufficient quan- 
tity. Wheat, also, does well, while oats, rye and barley are particular- 
ly good. It is especially suited to the production of grasses, timothy, 
orchard and herds grass, or red top being usually preferred. Clover and 
blue grass grow well, but are not so good as in some counties having 
more lime in the soil. Last summer I went with Mr N W Woodfin over a 
mountain farm of his ; the land of which had originally cost him less 
than one dollar per acre. It had been cleared by cutting out the under- 
growth, and girdling the large timber so as to deaden it, and then put 
in grass, nearly t^venty years previously. It was covered over with 
a thick growth of timothy and orchard grass, much of which appeared 
as thick and as tall as a fair wheat field. In someplaces we found both 
of these grasses rising high enough, as we sat on our horses, for us to 
take the top of the stalks growing on each side, and cause them to meet 
above the withers of our horses. I never, in fact, saw better grass any- 
where than grew generally over this entire tract of twelve hundred 
acres. 

Irish potatoes, cabbages and turnips are grown in the greatest quan- 
tities, while no country excels this for fruits. Its apples, both in size 
and flavor, excel those that I have seen in any other part of the world;, 
while peaches, pears and grapes grow^abundantly. Besides the Catawba 
there are a great many other native grapes. One gentleman thinlcs he 
has obtained a hundred varieties of native grapes, some of which he 
considers superior to the Catawba. That this country is admirably 
adapted to the production of grapes and wine there can be no question. 



12 THE BLUE RIDGE HH^IILAXDS. 

The fact that varieties oi" grapes can be Kclected, iiiat ripen at dilierent 
periods of the autumn, will make the vintage longer tiian it is in Eu- 
rope, and tluis increase the amount of wine made. All kinds of live 
stock thrive in the country, though horses and liorned cattle have been 
more generally raised, because tliey require less care from the farmer. 
Sheep are very healthy, and grow Avell everywhere. As large sheep 
as I ever saw were some that were suliered to run in the woods, both in 
summer and winter, without being fed. Mr. \Voodfin also stated to me, 
ihii} lie could, from the stock of his farm above alluded to, at all peri- 
ods of the winter obtain good mutton and beef from the animals that 
were subsisted on the grass. P^ven when sheep are to be kept in large 
numbers, it is certain that they would do with half the feeding they re- 
quire during the long winters in New England, Snow seldom remains 
many days at a time, even on the mountain tops in North Carolina ; 
and when the grass is good, little is required in the form of hay or 
other food for the stock. 

The minerals of this region have hitherto been turned to very little 
account. There are some narrow belts of marble and lime-stone which 
furnish a sufficiency of lime for use, and from which good marble can 
be procured at certain points. The different ores of iron, of the best 
qualities, exist in great abundance in many places, and from them su- 
perior iron can be made. Large and promising veins of copper have 
been cut in several localities in Jackson county, and surface indications 
leave little doubt but that similar deposits will be found in other countieK. 
Gold has been profitably mined in the counties of Jackson, Macon and 
Cherokee, but less extensively than in the section east of the Blue 
Ridge. It is quite probable that good veins of this metal will, in time, 
be opened, and there is encouragement to search for lead and silver at 
several points. The barytes and clirome ores can be brought into use 
when tlie railroads are finished that have been provided for by the 
State. Though coal does not exist, its want will not be experienced for 
a long period, as the immense forests will supply fuel for a great num- 
ber of years, a,nd long before they can become exhausted, railroads 
will permeate all parts of the district, and will bring in supplies of this 
valuable mineral from localities not far distant. 

The country is everywhere intersected by bold and rapid streams,, 
and the supply therefore, of water power, is beyond Jiny demand that 
can ever exi-t for it. These streams, from the elevated valleys in which 
they are fii i collected, has a descent of not less than one thousand feet 
before the} i-scape into the State of Tennessee, and present at various 
points ther* iore, rapids and falls where the water can be conveniently 
used for manufacturing purposes. 

Though this region lacks the boldness and grandeur of the Alps, this 
deficiency is more than balanced by tlie fact that every part of it is 
susceptible of settlement and cultivation. The fact that the mountains 
as well as the valleys are covered by a luxuriant vegetation, gives to 
them a green and inviting appearance which renders many of the scenes 
peculiarly attractive to the beholder. The present population, though 
sparse, is quiet, industrious, intelligent and moral ; the negroes there not 
being numerous enough to constitute an important element in the whole 
society. I know of no country more inviting to industrious emigrants, 
when one considers its excellent climate, Avater and soil, its mining and 
manufacturing resources, and its cheap lands and good population. 
Very truly yours, T. L. CLINGMAN. 

We have arrangements by which parties from the Northeast can get 
tickets at reduced rates to Seneca Citv, by calling at the office of 
TILLMAN R. GAINES, 29 Broadway ,'N. Y., 3d fioor, room E, and 
stating that they wish to come to the Highlands. 



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