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believed that the home market for domestic-grown cigar wrappers will once more make this branch of the tobacco industry as prosperous as the culture of the leaf in other States for other purposes.
The rise and progress of the yellow tobacco interest in the Piedmont regions of Virginia and North Carolina, and especially in the latter State, show one at the most abnormal developments in agriculture that the world has ever known. This leaf is mainly used for wrappers, chewing plugs, and also for making "fine cut" tobacco and cigarettes. About the year 1852, two brothers, Eli and Elisha Slade, owned farms which, in part, occupied poor ridge lying between two tributaries of the Dan river,
ulated in a definite manner. They succeeded, by this means, in giving to it a beautiful lemon-yellow color. Their neighbors caught the infection, and soon the tobacco from Caswell county began to arrest the attention of the tobacco dealers by reason of its superior beauty and sweetness. High prices were paid for it. During the Civil war very little of this high-grade tobacco was produced, but between 1870 and 1880 its production was revived, and it is not an exaggeration to say that it did more to build up the prosperity of North Carolina than all other agencies combined. Old fields, that had been abandoned because of their sterility, became the most profitable farming lands in the State. Poverty in the soil, for once, became the first principle of agriculture.
in Caswell county, North Carolina. Upon this ridge, during the year mentioned, they planted to
From Smithsonian Report, 1848.
The lands which grew the finest tobacco had light creamcolored soils, 93 per cent of which was siliceous matter. This porous, spongy, sandy earth, destitute of humus, and incapable of growing any crop without the most abundant application of manures, became the corner stone of a new agriculture. Tobacco was planted upon it, with the addition of a very small quantity of manure, from which the plant could derive sustenance until it approached maturity. When the manure became exhausted, the plant began to lose its vitality and take on every day a deeper yellowish tinge. Just before they were harvested, the plants turned to a beautiful color, like hickory leaves in autumn, and fields of tobacco at a distance looked more like those of small grain ready for the harvest than tobacco fields.
The sterilized spots, worn out and abandoned, grown up in bamboo briers, chinquapin bushes"0- 8- MAKINO 8PUIf Bo*-1
... . TOBACCO, 1700.
and sickly, scrubby pines, that in From an old poster. 1860 could with difficulty be sold for fifty cents per acre, were soon in demand at thirty to fifty dollars per acre. Old towns that had been well-nigh deserted because of the decay of agriculture in their vicinity, suddenly took on new life. New streets were laid out, great blocks of buildings were erected, railroads were constructed, and the constant going and coming of hustling business men made a transformation as great and almost as quick, and certainly as profitable, as would the discovery of gold mines. Indeed, the yellow-tobacco interests of North Carolina proved far more beneficial to the whole population than the finding of gold mines would have been. Gradually the planting extended, first westward from the Piedmont region to the steep ridges lying at the foot of the lofty mountains in Buncombe and other counties in western North Carolina. Many thriving towns were built up, hundreds of prosperous manufacturing establishments of cotton and tobacco followed in the wake of this new tobacco trade. In a few years the soils of the Champaign regions were tested for their capacity to grow this yellow tobacco, and the success with such soils opened a new district for its expansion and cultivation.
Then the culture extended still further westward over the mountains, to the sunny slopes of Unicoi, Greene and Washington counties in Tennessee, where its growth rescued many villages from decay and planted a prosperity in that region which it had never before enjoyed. Nor is its progress yet ended. North Georgia, western South Carolina, the white lands ^rr^T^: l of the Highland Rim in middle f Tennessee and Alabama, the | white, sandy and clayey soils of West Tennessee, and of the hill iregions of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, and the sides of the Ozark mountains in Missouri, Fig. 9. Making sNWF, 1700. may all be transformed from reFrom Fairhoit's Tobacco." gions of comparative poverty to regions of wealth, through the successful culture of yellow tobacco. Every year, new territory is being tested for the growth of this tobacco. The thin, sterile, white soils around Tullahoma, Tennessee, produced as fine yellow tobacco in 1896 as was produced in North Carolina, and this experiment opens a new field for its growth, embracing 500,000 acres in the center of Tennessee.
Scarcely less interesting is the history of the culture of the White Burley tobacco. This variety originated in Brown county, Ohio, upon the farm of George Webb, living near Higginsporc. In the spring of 1864, Mr Webb sowed the Bed Burley seed. The plants came up and grew with the usual appearance of healthy plants, except in one particular spot, where they had a whitish, sickly look, so much so that they were left in the bed for a time. In setting out his crop, however, Mr. Webb found that he lacked plants enough of a healthy character to finish his planting, so he drew the whitish looking ones and set them out. For two or three weeks the whitish plants grew but little, but after they became well rooted they advanced with great rapidity, retaining their creamy richness of color, and ripening two weeks earlier than any other plants in the field.
When cured by atmospheric influences, the same process used in curing the Red Burley, the underside of the cured leaves was of a whitish tinge, while the upper side was of a beautiful golden hue. Some of these plants, when cured, measured six feet in length, and were so handsome in
appearance, and the tissue of the leaves was so fine, that Mr. Webb placed them on exhibition in the Bodeman warehouse in Cincinnati. Intelligent buyers gave encouragement for its further cultivation, and the next year Mr. Webb, fortunately having saved some seed, planted ten acres of it, which yielded 11,000 pounds of tobacco, very handsome and silky, with all the characteristic coloring which the sample of the previous year displayed. When offered in the market it brought from twenty-five to forty-five cents per pound, and a premium of three hundred dollars, in addition, was awarded to the grower. From this "sport," which originated so unaccountably, there has been developed an impetus in tobacco culture in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky as great as in the yellow
tobacco regions of North Carolina and Virginia. This class or type of tobacco was found to be more suited for manufacturing purposes and to the tastes of the American tobacco chewers than any other. It is very mild, with a small content of nicotine, and its absorbent capacity is greater than that of any tobacco hitherto grown. For many years, the demand for it far exceeded the supply. The prices paid for the most trashy leaves exceeded the prices paid for the best crops of heavy shipping tobacco. It soon invaded the famous blue grass regions of Kentucky. Stock farms were converted into tobacco farms. Blue grass pastures that had been the ornaments of the farms and the pride and glory of many generations of stock breeders, were plowed up and planted in White Burley tobacco. Experiments were made in its culture, in every part of the tobacco-growing area of the United States, but it was soon found, as it was with the growth of yellow tobacco, that it may be produced in its perfection only upon the soils adapted to it. The blue limestone regions of Kentucky and the drift soils of southern Ohio have almost a monopoly of its culture, as the light, sandy regions and whitish, clayey districts have the monopoly of the growth of the yellow tobacco.
Within three hundred and seventy years the cultivation of tobacco has extended from the streets of Jamestown to every quarter of the globe. Population has moved westward, tobacco eastward. Of all the stimulants and narcotics used by man, it is probably the least injurious in its effects upon the human system. Yet it may be injurious, and often is, so much so that its culture and use has ever been bitterly contested. In spite of all this, tobacco grows on every land and is used by every people. From New England to Louisiana, from Virginia to the prairies of the West, from the