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Topography – Minerals — Climate - Soil and Productions - Ohio and In.


THE SURFACE, soil, climate and productions of the Great Northwest are matters that properly solicit attention in the first chapter of this work; for, to these phases of history more than to any. thing else is the prosperity of a country indebted. The soil of the vast tract of territory lying between the Ohio and Mississippi and Missouri rivers, in points of extent and fertility, has no equal — nothing that will compare with it on the earth. The beauty of its scenery and the value and extent of its productions challenge any other equal portion of the earth's surface, and the challenge will forever stand without an answer. The same re. mark applies with equal force and propriety to the climate of the Northwest. The general temperature, the length and quality of the winters, the healthfulness and mildness of the summers, are alike favorable to agricultural and animal growth and development. No where in the world are the various branches of agriculture more profitably pursued; no where on the earth has a more intelligent or energetic class of men been developed.

The numerous rivers, great and small, seem to have been outlined by the Almighty with a view to the promotion of commerce and manufacturing. The giant forests, the inexhaustable mineral deposits of coal, iron, lead, silver, etc., the boundless prairies, and the rolling woodlands, all combine in presenting a scene in nature without an equal for richness, marvellous in beauty, inspiring to mankınd. In directing attention to the principal features in the topography of the Northwest, we shall, for the most part, present them by states.


The great state of Ohio has an area of 39,964 square miles. The state is situated between 38° 32' and 42° N. latitude, and between 80° 30' and 84° 40' W. longitude. It is bounded on the north by Michigan ond lake Erie, on the east by Pennsylvania and West Virginia, on the south by West Virginia and Kentucky, and on the west by Indiana. Its extreme length from north to south is about 200 miles, and its width about 195 miles.

A level country, elevated about 1,000 feet above the level of the sea, occupies the center of the state, while the north central part of the state is crossed by a ridge of hills which divide the waters that flow into lake Erie from those that flow into the Ohio river. A second slope interrupts the Ohio slope in the south central part of the state, and from this ridge the lower part of the state is a fine rugged country, which rises into a range of bold hills along the Ohio river. There are some prairie lands in the center and northwest, and in the latter portion is a large tract of great fertility, called the Black Swamp, a considerable part of which is heavily timbered. Much of the country in the neighborhood of lake Erie is marshy.

As already mentioned, lake Erie forms the greater part of the northern boundary, and receives the waters of the Maumee, Sandusky, Huron and Cuyahoga. With the exception of the Maumee, which has its source in Indiana, all these streams rise in and flow through this state. The principal towns on the lake are Cleveland and Sandusky. Sandusky Bay extends, for about twenty miles, inland. The lake shore abounds with many good harbors, but the Maumee is the only river susceptible of navigation that flows into the lake from Ohio::

But we must not fail to speak of the great Ohio river which forms all the southern and a large portion of the eastern boundary of the state. This river touches Ohio for a distance of 470 miles, and is navigable for large steamers the whole of the distance. This river serves the commerce of the state in a remarkable degree, drawing to its current most of the commodities of the state for transportation.

The principal tributaries of the Ohio are the Muskingum, Scioto, Little Miami and Miami rivers. These vary in length from 11 0 to 200 miles. The first mentioned is navigable for a distance of 70 miles, by means of dams and locks; the others are not navigable at all.

Kelley's Island, and other smaller islands in the southwestern portion of Lake Erie belong to Ohio. These produce a fine quality of grapes.

The principal minerals of the state are coal and iron. However, lime and marble are found and worked in large quantities. Salt springs are numerous and valuable. Coal and iron are deposited in inexhaustible quantities, and the annual trade in these commodities in Ohio, amounts to millions of dollars.

The climate of Ohio is remarkably agreeable in the southern part of the state ; snow does not remain on the ground long at a time, but the climate of the northern portion of the state is more rigorous, and is similar to the climate of other portions of the lake region. Damaging droughts have occurred in Ohio, to the destruction of the crops, but happily these are not frequent.

The soil is extremely fertile, and there is but very little land that cannot be brought under profitable cultivation. The character of the soil has attracted within the borders of the state a fine population, and enterprises, commercial, manufacturing and financial, have sprung up which have become the wonder of the nation. All these owe their greatness to the value and fertility of the soil. Ohio is said to have grown more rapidly than any other state in the Union.

Sixty years ago, a vast forest covered almost the entire country between the Virginia line and Lake Erie. Now the same area is occupied by one of the most important states of the Union, possessing a population of nearly 3,000,000 souls, and ranking amongst the first members of the confederacy in her wealth and resources. Wine raising is now a very important interest along the Ohio River.

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