Christian County History
Information taken directly from "The State of Missouri an Autobiography" 1904 by Walter Williams.
- Historical Photo Gallery, Pictures courtesy of the Pegram Collection Drury University.
Christian Co. 1904
Christian County is situated in the Ozark mountains of southwest Missouri ten miles south of Springfield. Its surface in the north and west comprise considerable plateau land, high and level, and elsewhere in the county is characterized by deep mountain gorges and corresponding cliffs.
Farmsof the countyare estimated to be worth, according to present market price, $3,112,266, and number 2,648 with an average size of 97.5 acres. The county contains 556 square miles or 355,840 acres of which 149,140 acres are in cultivation and past years surplus products amounted to $1,000 for each farm.
Tobacco, strawberries, and tomatoes of the fancy, as distinguished from staple, production but all grains, vegetables, and fruits of this latitude are raised. Railroad ties have long supplied ready money to farmers who choose to employ otherwise idle time.
POPULATION: - Total population, 16,939. Farm homes owned, 2,050; rented, 645; other homes owned, 338; rented, 422; total families, 3,455.
FINANCE: - County tax, 40 cents; school tax average, 64 cents; total assessed valuation, $3,315,010; assessed valuation percent of actual valuation, 66 and 2/3; county debt, $28,450; no township debt.
TIMBER: - Originally there was an unbroken forest of white oak, black oak, post oak, black-jack, and a few other species, but easily accessible commercial growth has been remove. Acreage timbered is 206,700, most of which is second, small growth. In the eastern and southern sections, however, are white oak and black oak marketable size. Creek bluffs are often crowned with cedar thickets, timers of fence-post size.
MINERALS: - One-fifth if the county shows mineral prospects, but a comparatively small portion has been developed. Lead and zinc are mined at Ozark. one mine output for the past year was 180 tons of lead. Iron evidence are abundant; no active mines. Fire and pottery clay are found; limestone is everywhere.
LANDS: - Most of the soils consist of a clay loam of varying depths under laid by a bright red clay subsoil. Creek and river bottom lands are of deep, sandy loam soil, rich in organic matter and will support annual grain crops for years without the use of fertilizers. Uplands are fertile according to the depth of the soil. In the west end there is land very valuable for general agricultural purposes, as is in between the vicinity of Nixa and Highlandville. Southern and extreme eastern parts are more broken and some level or undulating land is found in the east central part. All upland soils are gravel-laden and in places very stony. Grain and grass thrive. Large areas of upland soils seem well adapted to tobacco growing. Price of lands range from $5 to $50 an acre. maximum price is paid for the best bottoms, which range from $30 to $50, depending upon situation with reference to the market. Table lands in the west end between Ozark and Sparta, in the central district, and the prairie near Nixa are priced at $25 to $35. Best ridge lands, improved, are selling at $20 to $25. Hill lands, improved, $5 to $15. Unimproved land sells at $3 to 415, depending upon timber growth or soil.
TRANSPORTATION: - St. Louis and San Francisco main line crosses the northwest corner. The Chadwick branch opens the center of the county.
MINERAL SPRINGS: - There are springs at Reno and Eaudevie, in the southern part of the county. These waters possess medicinal properties and the towns are popular local resorts. Fishing and hunting are additional attractions of these vicinities.
TOWNS: - Ozark, county seat, population 830, has two flouring mills, a canning factory, and mineral reduction works. Billings, population 702, has a flouring mill, grain elevator, canning factory, creamery, and iron foundry; center for fruit and dairy region. Sparta, population 300, has a flouring mill, and a farming center. There is also; Nixa, Chadwick, Kenton, Riverdale, Griffin, Highlandville, McCracken, and Clever.
NEWSPAPERS: - Ozark Democrat, Christian County Republican; Sparta Leader, Billings Times. Post, Nixa News.