Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy



History of Madison County


Darby Township Geology

From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883

Geologically considered, this township differs from many other portions of the county. There are no ores, and but few limestone ledges, and these are only found near the banks of Big Darby and below the water line; therefore, they are inexcessible, and of no practical value. Gravel is found in abundance near the streams and of the very best quality, from which some excellent gravel roads have been made. In nearly all of these gravel beds, some relics of a pre-historic race, or the North American Indians, have been found, such as human skeletons, stone hammers or axes, pestles, arrow-heads, etc., etc., and in one of these banks there were several skeletons found, lying in close proximity to each other, and by the side of each was found a piece of yellow ochre as large as a cocoa nut, supposed to have been placed there under the superstitious idea that it would be required as a war paint in fighting the battles of the other world. There is one peculiar freak that is comprised in the drift formation of the western portion of this township, that has quite recently been unearthed. In cutting an artificial drain through the only prairie lying west of the natural water-shed, and east of Little Darby, which is about two miles in length, quite broad at the upper end, but going down the prairie it is gradually contracted by the elevated lands and the timber until the latter finally closes in, obliterating the prairie, and forming a dense body of timber. In cutting this drain at that point where the timber came together, and for some distance below, large quantities of white limestone were found in blocks, scattered here and there, sometimes singly, and at others in close proximity, or lying one upon another; but, to convey a correct idea, they lay scattered in a promiscuous mass. These blocks were irregular in shape. but uniformly flat on either side, varying in thickness from three to ten or twelve inches. They were very soft and easily cut, when first removed, but soon hardened upon exposure. They were found from six inches under the soil, to as deep as the drain was made. Therefore, the extent of this deposit is not definitely known. Like many other portions of the county there are those old, time-worn bowlders, scattered here and there as monuments or reminders that it was once said, "the fountains of the great deep were broken up." They are not, however, as numerous here as in many other places, except at a few points on each side of Big Darby and near Sugar Run, where they have been deposited in considerable numbers.

The subsoil of the township is generally composed of clay and limestone gravel, sufficiently porous to admit of deep underdraining, and yet at the same time holding in solution. ready for plant. food, the application of home or commercial fertilizers. In conclusion, be it remembered that when all the facts that have been elicited in the preceding pages are once thoroughly understood and practically applied by the agriculturist, taking into consideration the altitude, climate, soil and subsoil, may we not safely venture a prediction that, in the near future, these Darby plains will rank first among the wheat-producing portions of the State?

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