Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

Union Township Surface, Soil, etc.

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

The surface of this township is generally level, and considerable portions of it were originally oak openings and prairies. Along the streams and creeks, the surface is rolling and, in a few localities, somewhat hilly. The principal streams are Glade Run and Deer Creek, in the eastern part of the township, crossing it from north to south; Oak Run, which rises in the northwest part of the township, flows eastward, and thence southeast through London and the central portion of the township, and on through Oak Run Township and is a branch of Walnut Run, which rises a little south of the source of Oak Run, and courses in a southeast direction into Paint Township, leaving this township on the Elijah Peterson farm. The southern neck of this township is crossed from west to east by Walnut Run, a distance of about two and one-half miles. The southwest and western portions of the township are quite level. On the tributary of Walnut Run, are the head-waters of Oak Run, the surface is rolling; between said tributary and Oak Run is a large extent of very level and beautiful country, and also the same condition between Oak Run and Deer Creek. The most uneven and hilly locality, and in fact about the only portion which can with propriety be called hilly. Is the southern portion, along Oak Run and Walnut Run. The entire township possesses a rich, strong, and productive soil. The more level portions generally consist of a black loam, with here and there a small admixture of clay. The rolling and hilly portions are a clay and loam soil. Almost the entire township is especially adapted to grazing and the raising of stock, which has ever been a leading business with the most prominent farmers. Where the farmers have given attention to tiling and draining their land it produces abundant crops of wheat and corn, and during the last few years much attention has been given to draining the lands, and it is greatly increasing the productiveness and value of farms. From the above description of the course of the streams it will be clearly visible that the west and northwest portions of the township have the greatest elevation. In the building of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad, which passes in a northeasterly or southwesterly course through the center of the township, it was said that the highest altitude between Columbus and Cincinnati. is just west of William Cryder's residence. The Township is well watered, and good wells, with lasting water, are obtained from fifteen to forty feet below the surface. At the County Infirmary, which is located on this laud above spoken of, possessing such a high altitude they have flowing wells, and the water is impregnated very strongly with iron, and perhaps other minerals. Therefore, there must be extensive subterranean courses, which are supplied with water from some distant source of very high elevation, and this source, or somewhere along the subterranean course, before it reaches the surface at the infirmary, must be abundantly supplied with iron. The water appears to be of excellent quality and, without doubt, conducive to health. The variety of timber is about the same as in other portions of the county. On the more level portions, and in the oak openings, burr oak predominates, with some hickory and elm; in some wet portions elm rather predominates. In some places, and along the creek bottoms, were formerly found considerable walnut. On the more elevated lands, with clay soil, were white, black and red oak, hickory and ash, as the prevailing species. The prairies, as first occupied by the pioneers, were found with an exuberant growth of grass, which formed excellent pasturage for their stock, the grass often growing seven and eight feet in height. But late in the season, when it became very dry, it became as dangerous an element as in the early part of the season it was beneficial to the settler; for, often the grass would be set on fire, and burn and destroy everything of a destructible nature which lay in its course, and, when once started, with a brisk wind it would travel at railroad speed, and many a farmer had his buildings, grain and everything swept away by the burning element in a few minutes of time. Sometimes, by a combination of neighbors making a hard and continued fight with the fire, before it reached too near their homes, they would succeed in saving their property. But in the fall of the year it required a continued watchfulness and care on the part of the settlers to guard against these destructive fires.

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