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Title:[Letter] 1818 Nov. 25, Franklin, Tennessee [to] John Overton, Nashville, Tennessee / R. McGavock: a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:McGavock, R.

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: November 25, 1818
Extent: 4p
Summary:This is a letter to John Overton from R. McGavock, dated November 25, 1818. McGavock has just found a place in the territory on the Missouri River in which to settle. He describes in great detail how good the alluvial land is for growing crops. McGavock describes the local wild foliage. McGavock writes that it is also perfect for livestock as there are many grassy meadows. He believes that the area will have a greater population than Tennessee because the farm land is so fertile. McGavock offers to act as agent to Overton and any others who want to invest in land in the territory.
Collection:Overton Papers

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Franklin November 25th 1878
Dear Judge,

with pleasure I take my seat, to communicate to you such information respecting this Country; as my limited observation has enabled me to obtain. On my first arrival in the Territory, I much confess that I was not very well pleased with the country; in consequence of the scarcity of timber. The land in the neighbourhood [neighborhood] of St Louis lies very handsomely & is quite rich, but in many places there are extensive tracts of country of entire meadow; without a solitary stick of timber__ yet to compensate for the want of timber, coal mines are abundant.

As I proceeded on up the Missouri , I became more & more pleased; until in fine, I have gotten to a Country, where I feel willing to stop; as I never expect to find a better. The land in the neighbourhood of this place, is beautifully situated & well timbered to a great distance . The soil is of the best quality & generally well watered__ the atmosphere pure & healthfull [healthful] . Every vegitable [vegetable] that is known to flourish in so northern a latitude, may be cultivated to advantage here. It is perhaps one of the best Countries, for the growth of wheat, that the eye of man ever beheld__ tobacco grows luxuriantly. More corn has been raised to the acre here (if my information be correct,) than can be raised in any part of west Tennessee _ Rye, oats, barley, buck-wheat, turnips, potatoes, &c [etcetera] are raised in great perfection. Cotton grows much better than could be expected, in a climate so far north; yeh it is said to be rather a precarious crop. The Missouri bottoms are mostly alluvion, or in other words made land; the soil from eight to ten feet deep_ the mean width, from three to four miles. The growth walnut, ash, cotton-wood [unclear: locust ], hack-berry, mullberry [mulberry] &c. The growth of

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the up land is principally a mixture of oak, walnut, hickory & ash_ The up-land produced much better wheat than the bottoms & every other crop equally well_ There is not an acre of ground any where near this, but what is beautifully situated for cultivation; in truth I never have seen a Country susceptible of so dense a population, & from the great influx of emigration, the time cannot be afar off; when it will be more thickly populated than any part of Tennessee. There is no Country upon the globe better adapted to the raising of stock; the truth is, as fine stock may be raised in this Country as on any part of the continent without ever costing the farmer a solitary cent. The woods & natural meadows are covered of all seasons with grass as high as a mans head; so that stock require no other food, except it is hogs & there is always a sufficiency of most to keep them fat_ salt springs abound throughout the Territory; so that they require no salt.

The Missouri is a beautiful stream, but runs with a rapid current; which renders the navigation up the river somewhat difficulty: though it is said by boatsmen who have navigated both the Missouri & Mississippi , that the navigation of the former is not more difficult than that of the latter, from the mouth of the Ohio up to St Louis. There are one or two steam boats now fitting out, to navigate the Missouri from its mouth to the mouth of the yealow tone a distance by water; of eighteen hundred miles. The town of Franklin, is handsomely situated on the north bank of the Missouri; by water, two hundred miles distance from its mouth. It is not more than eighteen months since this town was first laid off. of present there are upwards of two hundred buildings, two or three of which are of brick_ the number of inhabitants I have not been able to ascertain. Property has risen in this little Town, within the last twelve

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months, six or eight hundred per-cent Franklin, is the country town of Howard & situated in a few miles of Boons-lick . From the fertility of the surrounding country & from the rapid growth of the place; I think we may reasonably presume, that it will in a few years rival St Louis. It is a beautiful village, rising in the midst of a surrounding forest The bustleing [bustling] of a busy crowd, is now to be seen; where but a short time since were the haunts of savage beasts. with this weak effort of sublimity, I will conclude my description of the town of Franklin.

On my arrival here, the sales of public lands were progressing in this town & a great number of persons from the different states; were present attending the sales, among whome [whom] were Mr Leinty & Mr Bass from Nashville : they both purchased very largely. The land sold, from two to seven dollars per acre The sale closed on saturday last. This district & all the Country above this, yeh remains to be sold; which is infinitely the best part of the Territory. The district immediately above this, will be in market in January. This district will be sold some time between this & spring. If you have a mind to vest any of your funds, in the purchase of land in this Territory & can rely on me to make the selections & purchase for you_ you will please inform me, immediately on the receipt of this letter; to the end that I may acquaint myself with the Country between this & the sales & be enabled to make judicious selections._ you, or any of my friends in Tennessee who have funds, can render me an essential service; by enabling me to make the first payments & I am very sure that I can in like manner serve you. The great influx

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of emigration, must occasion the lands to increase in value daily. I am firmly of opinion, that money judiciously laid out in the purchase of lands in this Territory; would double itself in twelve months; probably in less time. I have nothing more to communicate at present, except that I am in good health & spirits. With sentiments of esteem I have the honor to remain,

Your most obedient friend,
R. McGavock
[added: M.G. [McGavock]
Nov 25th 1818]
Franklin [unclear: M T ]Nov 25
The Honble [Honorable] John Overton NashvilleWest Tennessee
[added: for Mail }] [added: P. S. [Post Script] The Legislature of this Territory, are now in session of St. Louis_ They have been little business before them, save petitions for new Counties. At present, they are engaged in defining what shall be the limits of this state; as they expect to be admitted into the Union at the next session of Congress. I believe it is contemplated, to draw a line due west from the mouth of the Ohio for the southern boundary_ which will be the Northern boundary, I am not able to say_ This County will be included.]

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