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Red river rises in lake Traverse, and flows northward, forming the western boundary of the state from Big Stone lake to the British possessions, a distance of 380 miles. It is
It is navigable from Breckenridge, at the mouth of the Bois de Sioux river, to Hudson's Bay; the Saskatchewan, a tributary of the Red river, is also said to be a navigable stream, thus promising an active commercial trade from this vast region when it shall have become settled up, via the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, which connects the navigable waters of the Red river with those of the Mississippi. Among the more important of the numerous small streams, are Rum river, valuable for lumbering; Vermillon river, furnishing extensive water power, and possessing some of the finest cascades in the United States; the Crow, Blue Earth, Root, Sauk, Le Sueur, Zumbro, Cottonwood, Long Prairie, Red Wood, Waraju, Pejuta Ziza, Mauja, Wakau, Buffalo, Wild Rice, Plum, Sand Hill, Clear Water, Red Lake, Thief Black, Red Cedar and Des Moines rivers ; the St. Louis river, a large stream flowing into Lake Superior, navigable for 20 miles from its lake outlet, and furnishing a water power at its falls said to be equal to that of the falls of the Mississippi at St. Anthony, and many others, besides all the innumerable hosts of first and secondary tributaries to all the larger streams."
The eastern boundary of the state is washed by lake Suporior for a distance of 167 miles. Along this shore are several fine harbors. The surface is thickly dotted with small lakes which contain the usual varieties of fish. The soil is well watered.
The minerals, as yet, have not attracted any great attention. Iron is abundant along the shores of lake Superior, and copper is found in small quantities. Coal and red-pipe clay are also found to a considerable extent.
The climate of Minnesota is remarkable for its healthfulness. Col. Hewitt, in writing of this in his work on the soil and climate of the state, says:
"The assertion that the climate of Minnesota is one of the healthiest in the world may be broadly and confidently made. It is sustained by the almost unanimous testimony of thousands of invalids who have sought its pure and bracing air, and recovered from consumption and other diseases after they have been
given up as hopeless by their home physicians; it is sustained by the experience of its inhabitants for twenty years; and it is sustained by the published statistics of mortality in the different states. Minnesota is entirely exempt from malaria, and consequently the numerous diseases known to arise from it, such as chills and fever, autumnal fevers, ague cake or enlarged spleen, enlargement of the liver, etc., dropsy, diseases of the kidneys, affections of the eye, and various bilious diseases and derangements of the stomach and bowels, although sometimes arising from other causes, are often due wholly to malarious agency, and are only temporarily relieved by medicine, because the patient is constantly exposed to the malarious influence which generates them. Enlargement of the liver and spleen is very common in southern and southwestern states. We are not only free from these ailments, but by coming to Minnesota, often without any medical treatment at all, patients speedily recover from this class of diseases; the miasmatic poison being soon eliminated from the system, and not being exposed to its further inception, the functions of health are gradually resumed. Diarrhoea and dysentery are not so prevalent as in warmer latitudes, and are of a milder type. Pneumonia and typhoid fever are very seldom met with, and then merely as sporadic cases. Diseases of an epidemic character have never been known to prevail here. “Even that dreadful scourge, diphtheria, which, like a destroying angel, swept through portions of the country, leaving desolation in its train, passed us by with scarce a grave to mark its course. The diseases common to infancy and childhood partake of the same mild character, and seldom prove fatal.' This is the language of Mrs. Colburn, an authoress, and the experience of physicans corroborates this opinion. That dreadful scourge of the human family, the cholera, is alike unknown here. During the summer of 1866, while hundreds were daily cut down by this visitation in New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and other places, and it prevailed to an alarming extent in Chicago, not a single case made its appearance in Minnesota. Another, and a very large class of invalids, who derive great benefit from the climate of Minnesota, are those whose systems have become relaxed, debilitated and broken down by over taxation of the mental and physical energies, dyspepsia, etc."
The soil of Minnesota is well adapted to agricultural pursuits, and Minnesota is regarded as the best wheat state in the union. The soil is of a dark, “calcareous, sandy loam, containing a various intermixture of clay, abounding in mineral salts and in organic ingredients, derived from the accumulation of decomposed vegetable matter for long ages of growth and decay.”
SOIL AND SURFACE.
Topography – Climate — Minerals
Soil and Productions.
THE STATE of Iowa has an area of 55,045 square miles and is situated between 40° 30' and 43° 30' N. latitude, and between 90° and 97° W. longitude. It is bounded on the north by Minnesota ; on the east by Wisconsin and Illinois, from which it is separated by the Mississippi river; on the south by Missouri, and on the west by Nebraska and Dakota territory.
The following sketch of the soil, surface, minerals, etc. of Iowa is compiled from my History of the State of Iowa: The surface of the state of Iowa is remarkably uniform. There are no mountains, and yet but little of the surface is level or flat. “The whole state presents a succession of gentle elevations and depressions, with some bold and picturesque bluffs along the principal streams. The western portion of the state is generally more elevated than the eastern, the northwestern part being the highest. Nature could not have provided a more perfect system of drainage, and, at the same time, leave the country so completely adapted to all the purposes of agriculture."* The state is drained by two sys. tems of streams running at right angles with each other. The riv. ers that flow into the Mississippi run from the northwest to the southeast, while those of the other system flow toward the south
* Iowa Board of Immigration Pamphlet.
west, and empty into the Missouri. The former drain about three-fourths of the surface of the state; the latter, the remaining one-fourth. The watershed dividing the two systems of streains represents the highest portion of the state, and gradually descends as one follows its course from northwest to southeast.
" Low water mark in the Missouri river at Council Bluffs is about 425 feet above low water mark in the Mississippi at Davenport. At the crossing of the summit, or water-bed, 245 miles west of Dav. enport, the elevation is about 960 feet above the Mississippi. The Des Moines river, at the city of Des Moines, has an elevation of 227 feet above the Mississippi at Davenport, and is 198 feet lower than the Missouri at Council Bluffs. The elevation of the eastern border of the state at McGregor is about 624 feet above the level of the sea, while the bighest elevation in the northwest portion of the state is about 140 feet above the level of the sea." In addition to this grand watershed dividing the two great drainage systems of this state, there are smaller or tributary ridges or elevations between the various principal streams. These are called divides, and are quite as fertile and productive as the rich valleys or bottoms along the borders of the streams.
The entire eastern border of Iowa is washed by the Father of Waters, the largest river on the continent; and during the greater part of the year this stream is navigable for a large class of steam.
The principal rivers which flow through the interior of the state, east of the dividing ridge, are the Des Moines, Skunk, Iowa, Wapsipinicon, Maquoketa, Turkey and Upper Iowa. One of the largest rivers of the state is Red Cedar, which rises in Minnesota, and flowing in a southeasterly direction, joins its waters with the Iowa river in Louisa county, only about thirty miles from its mouth, that portion below the junction retaining the name of Iowa river, although it is really the smaller stream. The Des Moines is the largest river in the interior of the state; it rises in a group or chain of lakes in the state of Minnesota, not far from the Iowa border. The head waters of this stream are in two branches, known as east and west Des Moines. These, after flowing about seventy miles through the northern portion of the state, converge to their junction in the southern part of Humboldt county. The Des Moines receives a number of large tributaries, among which
are Raccoon and the Three Rivers (north, south and middle) on the west, and Boone river on the east. The Des Moines flows from northwest to southeast, not less than three hundred miles through Iowa, and drains over ten thousand square miles of territory. At an early day steamboats, at certain seasons of the year, navigated this river as far up as "Raccoon Forks,” and a large grant of land was made to the state by congress for the purpose of improving its navigation. The land was subsequently diverted to the construction of the Des Moines Valley Railroad. For a description of the rivers already named, which drain the eastern three-fourths of the state, we refer the reader to the map.
Crossing the great watershed we come to the Missouri and its tributaries. The Missouri river, forming a little over two-thirds of the length of the western boundary line, is navigable for large sized steamboats for a distance of nineteen hundred and fifty miles above the point (Sioux City) where it first touches the western border of the state. It is, therefore, a highway of vast importance to the great commercial interests of western Iowa.
The tributaries of the Missouri, which drain a vast extent of territory in the western part of Iowa, are important to commerce also. The Big Sioux river forms about seventy miles of the western boundary of the state, its general course being nearly north and south. It has also several important tributaries which drain the counties of Plymouth, Sioux, Lyon, Osceola and O'Brien. These counties are located in the northwestern part of the state. Among the most important of the streams flowing into the Big Sioux is the Rock river, traversing Lyon and Sioux counties. It is a beautiful stream, bordered by a pleasant and fruitful country. Being supported by living springs, it is capable of running considerable machinery. The Big Sioux river itself was, at one time, regarded as a navigable stream, but in later years iv3 use in this respect has been considered of no value. Not far below where the Big Sioux flows into the Missouri, we meet the mouth of the Floyd river. This is a small stream, but it flows through a rich, interesting tract of country.
Little Sioux river is one of the most important streams of northwestern Iowa. It rises in the vicinity of Spirit and Oko. boji lakes, near the Minnesota line, and meanders through various