History of Monroe County
Source: State of Missouri,
Walter Williams, 1904
For every acre of farm land---of whatsoever character---in Monroe county there was an aggregate last year of $14.95 worth of farm products. Monroe is situated twenty miles west of the Mississippi river and is the third county north of the Missouri. Corn, cattle , horses, mules, hogs, and hay are the leading products. Aside from large contribution to material wealth, Monroe is an important factor in other, higher interests. Its schools rank among the best in Missouri. Literature and music are fostered. There is marked culture and the lustre of its intellectual products has gilded wider borders than the State. Mark Twain was born here.
POPULATION:---White, 18,108; colored, 1,608; American born, 19,483; foreign born, 233; total, 19,716. Farm homes owned 2,323; rented, 811; other homes owned, 694; rented, 582; total families, 4,410.
FINANCE:---County tax average 30 cents on one hundred dollars valuation; total assessed valuation. $7,172,439: assessment based upon one-third actual valuation; no county debt; no township debt.
TIMBER:---Originally one-half of the county was timbered with the various oaks, hickory, walnut, elm, ash, maple, and other less numerous varieties. One-half of the timber was found along the bottom lands of the streams. Here it was exceedingly dense and of immense individual growth. In the hills it was lighter, though of growth indicating fertility of soil beyond the ordinary. Timber in the bottoms has been removed; in the hills is yet found commercial quantities.
MINERALS:---Coal and limestone. Two veins of coal underlie the county. One is within a few
feet of the surface and is worked in numerous places. At Paris this vein is about eighteen inches thick. The deeper stratum is unworked. It is claimed to be about eight feet thick in some places. The annual production of coal for the county is approximately two thousand tons. Limestone for rough purposes is found abundantly along all streams.
LAND:---Monroe county contains 644 square miles of surface, 412,160 acres, of which 331,911 acres are in a high state of cultivation, devoted principally to corn. One-half the county is a high, level-lying prairie and the remainder is hill land. There are 3,217 farms, embracing on the average 126 acres each. By actual present selling prices, farms are estimated to represent an aggregate worth of $10,525,470. The prairie land soil is a dark alluvial composition, one to four feet in depth, over clay subsoil. Farms are generally well improved and bring an average price of $45 an acre. There are perhaps twenty-five farms finely improved, lying close to towns for which would be asked $75 to $90 an acre; and a like number of outlying farms to be had at $30. Three branches of Salt river break into the county from the north, northwest and south, respectively, and form near the eastern edge a confluence which leaves on a direct course for the Mississippi river. Bottoms along these river branches are from a few yards to half a mile in width. They unite in claiming one-fifth of the county area. The soil is alluvial, black, and fertile. The land occasionally overflows, but never suffers thereby. It is seldom found without some bluff land adjunct and hence may be had at $40 an acre. Three-tenths of Monroe county is rough timber land, ranging in price from $25 to $30 an acre. It is never too rough for pasture or fruit. Upon this character of land are found the best orchards of the county.
MANUFACTURES:---They are of a character incident to agricultureand stock raising. A great many sheep are raised, hence the location at Paris of a woolen mill of local capacity. A few flouring mills are also found.
TRANSPORTATION:---Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad crosses from east to west. The Burlington route also touches the county at the northeast corner.
SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL FUND:---Monroe county has a perpetual school fund of $125,000 loaned at six per cent interest. There are three high schools, at Paris, Monroe City and Madison. The first two are articulated with the State University.
CHURCHES:---All Christian denominations are represented. Christian and Baptist churches are strongest in membership. Indian Creek township is composed of Catholics.
TELEPHONE:---Every farm house has privilege of telephone connection with a subscription embracing almost the entire county.
NEWSPAPERS:---Paris Mercury, Paris Appeal; Monroe City: News, Democrat; Madison Times; Stoutsville Banner.