Agricultural History Series
Agricultural History Series
 Missouri State University

Agriculture in Post-Civil War Missouri 

Holt County


Holt County, 1865

Holt County is located in the northwest corner of Missouri and was founded in 1841 in the Platte Purchase. George Meyer wrote in 1865, that Holt County soil was dark of color, fertile, and very productive. After the war, the average price of improved farms was about fifteen or twenty dollars per acre, and unimproved land was about five dollars per acre.  Chief products for this county were corn, oats, wheat, rye, barley, potatoes, and fruits of quite a variety. 

 Piston Grain Drill

The agricultural implements that were in use were generally of the best quality.  Mowers and reapers were used along with steel plows, gang plows, and corn planters. In 1858, an agricultural society was in existence but that was before the rebellion. By 1865, the time of Meyer's report, there was no agricultural society and none of the previous officers lived in the county. We are not sure whether these people moved away or were killed due to the war. Meyer's report however suggests that the population of Holt has done nothing but increased after the war.  It was up to speculation why the "higher class" vanished yet the population increased. 

Meyer reported that nine thousand hogs were produced in 1865, but that number was expected to decrease the following year. There were approximately eight thousand three hundred and thirty-three cattle in this region. Most cattle were raised for family consumption and no dairy cattle were raised as of yet. The number of horses for the county is one thousand four hundred and twenty-nine. "The rebellion monopolized the raising of horses so, if anything the number has decreased due to theft". Meyer went on to say that the railroad was not running through the county yet but was expected to run the full length of it in a very short time. Also he added that the county was full of schools and the state and community generously funded all of these schools.

Holt County 1869

Although grasshoppers ravaged Holt County that particular year, the county reported that this had been an extraordinary year. Many people moved into the county and thousands of acres were fenced. Also over thirty thousand hogs were sold for around sixteen dollars per head. All together with the cattle, sheep, mules and other stock sold for over a half million dollars. The report went on to say that with the many fruits sold this total soared over the million-dollar mark.

Next page.   Reference:   
  • Missouri Yearbook of Agriculture 1866  
  • Missouri Yearbook of Agriculture 1870 

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