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The Florida agriculturist. [volume] (DeLand, Fla.) 1878-1911, July 03, 1878, Image 4

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■■■ ■ -
C. CODRINUm, Editor.
DeLAND, JULY 3, 1878.
The Letter From “ Z.”
The article which was written by
Z to the Jacksonville Evening Trav
eler gives a deplorable account of
the result attending the settlers in
that portion of the State. We have
repeatedly, in the old Agriculturist ,
shown the folly of bringing people to
a State where not only the seasons
are different from those they have
been accustomed to, hut an entirely
new system of agriculture must be
learned, without giving them instruc
tions by which they can make a liv
ing after they come here. What
does the land agent care about them
after he has sold the land? It
should he the duty of the State to
furnish the necessary instruction,
they should not he content with
showing inducements to settle here,
but teach the new people how to live
and this can only he done by telling
them what to grow, how to grow and
the time to plant. This is the ob
ject of our paper and it is the duty
of older settlers to tell how they
have managed since they came here
in the way of making a living. That
many have done so is an established
fact and it is the experiences of these
that we want. Z. tries to he face
tious at our expense, hut if he had
< ead other articles in the paper he
would have seen that our correspond
ents had given full instructions how
to plant cassava and there was no
further need of our doing so. If
any one is at a loss for instruction
we are always willing to furnish it,
and what we cannot give ourselves
our numerous readers are ready to
answer. In our articles of “ How to
Live in Florida ” we do not intend
to confine people to any certain plan,
or course of diet, we show them that
certain things can be done, as have
succeded in other places with climate
approximating to this, —draw atten
tion to them as a guide for others.
The dishonesty of agents is no new
thing to us, we have been battling
them for years, bnt the farmers them
selves are much to blame, they are
so easily persuaded to entrust their
goods to people whom they know
nothing about. We know several
people who have been victimized
again and again, hut are yet ready to
take up with the next plausible ad
venturer that oilers to act for them.
It looks to us as if farmers like to
be cheated, it gives them some
just cause of complaint.
We think Z. has been misinformed
about the land not producing any
thing for three years, we have seen
excellent sweet potato crops raised
the first year on the natural sod land,
rice and cow peas can also be grown
on it. The fact is people expect too
much from the country when they
come here. No one should come
without the means of living for a
year or two, unless they intend to
serve others for wages.
In what other part of the world
do people become land owners so
easily as they do in this ? In most
countries men without means are
servants for others who are able to
pay them wages, they may work for
years and he no better off than they
were at the start, the ownership of
land is far beyond their aspirations.
A person who comes here with 8100
can at once become a landed propri
etor of 160 acres for about sls, and
have enough left to erect a comfort
able log-house; but this is not
enough for him, he expects to start
off on a career of prosperity like
those who have been settled for
years. Ask any of the prosperous
farmers in the North or West how
long they have taken to become
what they are, the hardships they
have passed through, and how many
others they have seen fail alongside
of them, and see what the answer
will he. We were told by settlers
in Illinois so long baek as 1850 that
99 men out of every hundred never
remained on the places they origi
nally settled, but had to give them
up to mortgagees. We have men in
this State who have gone through
these vicissitudes in other states be
sides this. The editor of the Semi-
Tropical can throw some light on
this subject, if he is asked. A per
son without means, starting an orange
grove in Florida, should be prepared
to look forward to years of hard
work and hard fare. The reward is
in prospect. Let us see what that
reward may he. We have made a
point of investigating the profits
that have been derived from the old
bearing groves of the State for years
past, and in almost every case have
found that from SBOO to SI,OOO per
acre, per annum has been the income
of the grove. Some have given far
in excess of that, where special care
has been paid to the fertilizing and
the cleaniug of the trees. But there
the fact remains and can be vouched
for by the packers who have been
purchasing the fruit and by the books
of the owners. Is not this induce
ment enough for people to bear pri
vations for a limited time ? Will not
men without money have to bear suf
ferings in any other business they enter
into, without the prospect here
offered ? We are trying, however,
to mitigate these sufferings by show
ing them what they can grow to
make life more comfortable. Oranges
are not the only crop that can be
raised here, however, with large
profits, there are others equally good
and which bring more immeditae
returns which we intend to demon
Notes from Alachua.
Once more there is a movement to
resuscitate the scheme for a railroad
from Waldo through Ocala to Tampa.
Whether or not it is genuine I cannot
predict. The failure of the Santa Fe
Canal project seems to have turned
the attention of some persons to the
railroad, and anew inspection of the
'ine has been going on during the past
week. For a considerable distance
the gradings are completed. The
sleepers were laid some years ago,and
have, been once since, if not oftener,
renewed. Progress on one occasion
w r ent so far as the laying of the rails,
but outside influences have #hvays
hither to defeated the project —another
instances of the many whose private
interests are of more importance than
the public good; for this road, if com
pleted to Tampa would open out a
fine section of country, and prove
much more advantageous to the State
than the canal or any other work of
the kind.
In my last letter I mentioned a plan
to be carried out in the fall by a gen
tleman in this county, for making
known to intending settlers from the
North the true state of affairs iu Flor
ida, and so counteracting some of the
evils which have been inflicted upon
many people by the exaggerated and
often untrue representations put forth
by land agents and others to sell the
lauds. I have been making further
inquiry into this matter, and with a
result that was to me rather startling.
Efforts to settle the waste lands of
the county are to he commended only
so far as they are consistent with
truth and realities. If made, as they
too often are, by unscrupulous
schemes, or by Alien who have no
practical knowledge whatever of the
subject, they lead to the disappoint
ment, sometimes the ruin, of immi
grants ; and ultimately will bring the
State into disrepute. Now, it would
he easy to find n|£ny instances w here
in order to sell the land warrants of
the Transit railroad, or to induce per
sons to purchase the public lands, it
has been represented that the advan
tages of Florida are so great that a
man may bring his family here with
out capital, rjjgfijd .only with a land
“float,'' and that first year he
will by a little industry reap an ample
livelihood out of the soil. My inquir
ies, suggested partly by the plan be
fore mentioned and partly by an arti
cle from the Agriculturist , to which
I must refer again, were made to as
certain the experience of some recent
settlers in this county. I give you
very briefly a few. No. 1 came here
two years ago, has expended $4,000,
with at present no return. No. 2,
been here fifteen months,spent $3,000,
no prospect of any return. No. 3
came in December last, has spent
SBOO, no return. No. 4 came in Jan
uary. has spent $1,100; no return.—
No. 5, a working man, sank all he had,
namely SSOO, lived last summer on
credit, has since earned enough as a
laboer to maintain him, but has had
nothing from the land. He has been
here two years nearly. No. 6 came
in December, and after spending some
S3OO or S4OO left last mouth, finding
it hopeless to expect to obtain a liv
ing out of the land for a long time.—
No. 7 came also in December, has
spent $2,200; no return. No. 8 has
lost all he possessed, owns now 40
acres of land, sees no prospect of any
return, and for some time past has
had no other bed for himself and w-ile
than a heap of straw in a dilapidated
log hut. No. 9 lost S7OO the’ffirst
year, himself and partner received
gross nearly SI,OOO the second year.
This, the third year, they have thus
far made nothing. No. 10, a working
man, who was induced to abandon a
good situation in the North to come
to L lorida, arrived in February. He
spent almost his last mouev in a land
“float,’ and has not been able to find
employment. With the help of
friends he has been saved from starva
tion ; but his wife as a result of disap
pointment and the ruin of her family,
has become hopelessly insane. I need
not multiply such illustrations, bnt
would merely add that they are taken
in the order I met with them, not se
lected. In one of my calls I found
myself in the home of a genuine
“cracker.” His wife told me that the
family had been living for some time
on berries, for their corn had run out,
and they had no money to buy more.
Last of money is a general com
plaint, it is true, but here it is appar
ently absolute. There is literally no
money in circulation, so far as I can
hear, and consequently recent visits
of the Revenue Collector have left
many persons without even the osten
sible means of living that they had
before. Many places of business
have been peremptorily closed, their
proprietors being unable to take out
a license, and I understand that in
some instances the arbitrary conduct
of the Collector will be likely to
lead to work for the lawyers. How
far this kind of thing is politic may
be a question for discussion else
In conversation with practical men
I find that some arrangement has
been afforded by an article quoted
in the Union of the 10th inst. from
the Florida AGRICULTURIST. Noth
in" is more natural than that our
friend at Volusia should like to air
his West India experiences, but lie
need not have traveled even to
Jamaica to prove that the popular
idea that flour is the staple of life is
a delusion. Surely the slender mate
rial that keeps togather the body and
soul of a colored man in Florida
would have served his purpose. But
it appears to people who have to live
on the soil, and not merely to sit in
an editor’s chair and write about it,
that friend Codrington altogether
misses his mark. He does not tell
the victim of the land warrant how
he is to live while his food is grow
ing ; and that time is not so short as
theorists suppose. Indeed lam told
that, the President of the Farmer’s
Society, which holds weekly meetings
at Waldo, has expressed the opinion,
derived from experience, that new
land cannot be got into reasonably
good order in less than three years-
I find that most others about here
agree with him, and from what I
have seen I certainly think he is
right. One person who had read the
Colonel’s instructions for living in
Florida, remarked, “ What is the use
of telling us to grow cassava ?
What we want to know how is to grow
it, when to plant it, and how to get
it.” This is true. Probably not one
in ten of the new settlers ever heard
of cassava till they came to Florida.
What they want to be told is not
only what they ought to do but how
they are to do it. A lady whose
husband had bought a section of
land in the Lake region got into con
versation about the resources of the
county with one of the local “ crack
ers.” “Do you ever have mutton
here,” she inquired. “ Mutton ! mut
ton ! ” he answered, “ What’s that ? ”
Yet this ignorance of the native
Floridian as to the meaning of mut
ton is nothing more surprising than
that, say, a machinist from New
England, should not know how to
grow cassava or even sugar. There
is a vast difference between editorial
preaching and pine woods practice.
The shipment of produce this
year lrom Alachua has been vastly
less than it might have been, if there
were proper facilities for transporta
tion and sale. Large quantities of
vegetables have been allowed to rot
on the ground because of the risk of
sending them North. By sending an
agent to New York in the interests
of the transportation companies, an
effort has been made to show that
any want of success is due to the
farmers themselves, in bad selection
of their produce and bad packing.
But this is unjust. There are inex
perienced men no doubt among the
settlers, but there are also hundreds
of good practical men who thor
oughly understand their business.
And they all make the same com
plaint. Cheap and reliable means
of transportation and honest commis
sion agents at the other end would
tend largely to enrich the truck gai’-
deners of this county.
The Union published, two weeks
ago, an account of a disgraceful pro
ceeding on the part of certain per
sons calling themselves “ Regulat
ors,” at Gainesville. I regret to find
that the spirit which those proceed
ings indicated is very prevalent. It
is strong in Waldo no less than
in Gainesville, as any new set
tler, against whom either for political
reasons, or on account of his nation
ality, a prejudice may have been
excited, will find to his cost. —Z. in
Jacksonville Evening Traveler.
Things in General.
Orange City, Fla., 1
June, 1878. f
Editor Agriculturist.
Having, in common with many
others in this State, numerous letters
of inquiry from the North, East and
West, concerning fruit culture, I will,
with your permission, answer a few
of these questions through your col
umns, as doing business thus whole
sale is not as tiresome as answering
each separately.
Now none who have written me
seem to doubt the success of orange
growing, save they hear of marvell
ous greivances caused by the scale
bug. I will confess that when I
found them upon my newly set trees
I did feel a little disgusted, and per
haps discouraged; but with 6tudy
and experiment I found that the
dreaded scale insect was to be little
feared. Only search and destroy and
you will conquer. So do not let
the scale bug alarm—save to stir
you to eternal vigilance. But those
who arc looking towards this
State for a home desire to know
what they can grow with success and
profit while the slow growing orange
tree is maturing. A correspondent
from Lynn Mass, assures me that he
could influence many from his place
to settle in \ olusia county, could he
vouch for the success of the pine ap
ple and banana in this section. As
to climate, location, &c., he can speak
from the card, having spent a winter
in these parts. As to the first named
fruit it can be grown and perfected
here, with little care and slight pro
tection. The cost of that, should it
be done as at the North with glass,
would be, I am told, less than a cent
a plant. But they do not require
it; many in this place have thousands
planted out, and some are fruiting.
In a few weeks if anyone wants to
know the size, flavor, time of fruiting,
&c, write to Sturtevant Brothers, of
this place and you will get the infor
As to the banana, this correspon
dent wants to know if what we grow
here tastes like the West India fruit.
I will say it is so long since I tasted
one of these far fetched that I can
not tell. But will say this much,
what we ripen here are good and sale
able, and will fruit on suckers from
a year to eighteen months old. It
may not be the home of the banana,
but it will not miss fruiting any oft
ener than the apple and pear do north.
What northerns demand of us is a
surety that each and every year all
the semi-tropical fruits shall be a
success. Absurd—Nature does not
work like t hat anywhere, does she ?
As to grapes, figs, plums, straw
berries,fcc, they with suitable culture
are sure. The guava is tender, but
with a few nights protection will

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