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similar in their habits to those of the present day, but were supposed to have been hornless ; one of them was about as large as the Asiatic species and the other about two-thirds as large. This White river fauna composed about thirtyfive species, all of them extinct forms and all restricted to this locality.
The fauna of the Niobrara is all extinct and more recent in age, belonging to the pliocene period, which in other countries contains more or less species identical with living ones.
But this fauna comprises more than thirty species, all of them new to science and not one of them identical with any living species. Over thirty species have been found along the Niobrara and Loup fork, and others may be looked for on more careful examination.
Among the carnivora were four species of wolves, one about the size of the large wolf of the plains, the others of smaller size; two cats, one intermediate in size between the panther and lynx, and the other nearly as large as the panther.
Among the rodentia was a porcupine about the size of the crested porcupine of Europe, and a small beaver about half the size of the living one. Of the ruminant there were some remarkable species : two species of deer about the size of the common red deer of this country, and four species of camel, one about the size of the common Bactrian camel, a second species two-thirds as large, and a third about the size of the llama of South America. The fourth species was closely allied to the living camel, but was of smaller size. Another species was more nearly allied to the mountain sheep, and another was ruminant-hogs like the Oreodon of White river. The solipedia were remarkably well represented, there being remains of not less than a dozen species of horses.
There were two species of the genus Equus; one of them, (E. excelsus) was about the size of the largest varieties of the living species; the other was smaller. · The remainder were of various sizes and forms ; one of them was not larger than a Newfoundland dog.
It is the law in animal development that groups reach their culminating period and decline. It would seem that during the later tertiary period the horse tribe reached its highest point of development, and that now it is on the decline. Among the pachyderms was a species of rhinoceros about the same size and apparently closely related to the living Indian rhinoceros, R. Indicus; a species of Mastodon much smaller than the one whose remains are so common in all parts of North America in the recent quaternary deposits.
The remains of the elephant occur in the Niobrara, which is remarkable for being a third larger than any other ever known, extinct or recent. In view of this fact Dr. Leidy named it Elephas imperator, the emperor of all the elephants.
There was also one species of turtle in this more recent deposit, and a species in the White river beds. The latter was exceedingly numerous in this great fresh water lake, for the specimens are scattered all over the country, many of them preserved with great perfection. We know that this was a purely fresh water lake, from the fact that itumerous species of fresh water and land shells of the genera Helir, Planorbis, Physa, Linnea, fc., are found in fine state of preservation. There are also some indistinct remains of fishes. From these two faunæ, as well as the fauna and flora of other formations of this valley, there are some instructive lessons to be learned.
The fauna of White river, although entirely extinct as to species, contained representations of some living genera. The greater part of the fauna of the Niobrara and Loup fork belonged to living genera, although every species was extinct, but the latter fauna is more closely allied to the living fauna of Asia than to any of our own continent.
Indeed, it seems to have a true oriental character, and it is shown clearly that, geologically speaking, our continent should be called the Old World instead of the eastern continent. There are several other instances derived from the study of the flora and fauna of the Missouri valley which go to show this fact.
In the great lignite - basin the molluscous remains, although extinct, have their living
representatives in China and Siam. The comparison of the flora of the Dakota group, cretaceous, shows the same relationship of age, and has been alluded to before. Again, these fossil remains
show that a tropical or sub-tropical climate prevailed throughout this western • country up to a very late period, at least to the close of the pliocene.
The prolific flora of the great lignite basin, which is supposed to be of miocene age, is at least şub-tropical, or similar to that of our Gulf States. There is a mingling of true tropical and temperate forms. One species of palm was found fossil on the Yellowstone, the leaf of which must have had a spread of twelve feet. At the present time the true palms are found only within the tropics. The faunæ of all these deposits at the different geological periods were tropical in their character, and from these we infer that a tropical climate prevailed over this country during their existence.
The fertility of the soil of the extended area described in this report is beyond a question. It is for the most part covered with a great thickness of the yellow marl, varying from a few feet to one hundred or more. From Omaha City to the mouth of Niobrara the country bordering on the Missouri is quite rugged, or one continued irregular series of rounded hills, as is shown in the following sketch:
These superficial deposits yield readily to atmospheric agencies, and these hills are formed by the myriads of temporary streams produced by rains. As we go further into the interior the surface is more undulating, yet the drainage is always excellent.
The superficial marl very readily abeorbs the rain, so that even the most level prairie is always sufficiently drained for all the purposes of agriculture. The counties of Washington, Dakota, Blackbird, Cumming, Dodge, Saunders, and portions of Sarpy, Douglas, Platte, Stanton, and Dixon, are underlaid by the sandstones of the Dakota group, and in consequence a large quantity of silica enters into the composition of the soil, and hence their great reputation in the production of wheat. The average quantity of wheat raised on an acre in the counties above mentioned is from twenty-five to thirty bushels; forty to fifty bushels not an uncommon yield.
On one farm in Sarpy county, in 1866, three thousand two hundred bushels of wheat were raised, and the whole average was over thirty bushels per acre. In Burt county, on Omaha creek, Mr. George Smith's crop averaged forty-three and a half bushels per acre ; Mr. Dugan harvested twenty-four acres, averaging forty-four bushels. In this region the uplands seem to produce the best grain. Colonel Baird raised this year six acres of wheat that averaged thirty-three and one-third bushels; Mr. Cornelia has taken from an eleven-acre lot, this year, the ninth successive crop, and it averaged thirty-five bushels; Mr. Neil had twentytwo acres of wheat averaging forty-three bushels. A gentleman near Tekama, Burt county, hoed in three acres of wheat in 1866, and harvested fifty-one and two-third bushels per acre.
I have accumulated a mass of statistics in regard to the growth of wheat in this region, and I am convinced that twenty-five bushels per acre is a small yield, while forty to fifty bushels is not unusual. It is a curious fact that wheat raised in this district brings in the market at St. Louis eight to ten cents more per bushel than wheat exposed for sale from any other State.
The great severity of the climate in winter, and the absence of the thick covering of snow, renders it impossible to cultivate winter wheat, so that spring wheat is the only kind raised. Dixon, Cedar, and L'Eau Que Court counties are beginning to be settled, and good crops are produced; but the land is not as desirable, generally, as that further south.
The soil is thinner and drier; water is far less abundant as we proceed north.
ward. The basis formation of these counties is the chalky limestone of the Niobrara group, and the rocks furnish moderately good building stone, and it is converted into excellent lime. The eroded materials, also, are freely mingled with the soils of the river bottoms, adding much to their fertility.
Among the most fertile portions of the State are the bottom lands of the Missouri, as the Tekama and Dakota bottoms. These bottoms cover so large an area that they deserve especial mention here.
The Tekama bottom is about forty miles long, and will average five miles in width, and the luxuriance of the vegetation upon it attests most emphatically the richness of the soil. Good grass grows on it, which will yield two to four tons to the acre. Wheat and oats grow most abundantly, with comparatively little cultivation. Wheat has been raised here at the rate of fifty-two bushels by weight per acre. But the bottom is low for the most part, and must be somewbat unhealthy; for such an abundant vegetation-almost tropical in its luxuriance-cannot decay without sending forth into the atmosphere more or less malaria.
The water is not good in many places, though it is obtained by digging within a few feet of the surface. The soil, to a great depth, has been formed by the repeated overflow of the Missouri river, the water of which held in suspension the clays and marls of the cretaceous and tertiary formations further up the river, which are always impregnated with alkaline matters, and these have given something of their nature to these bottom soils, and these alkaline earths necessarily affect the water.
Above Decatur there is a second bottom, about two miles wide and eight or ten in length, which is owned by the Omaha Indians. This is a low bottom also, which is easily overflowed in high water, but possesses the same fertility with the Tekama bottom.
The next great bottom is the Dakota, upon which Dakota City is located. This is the most important, not only on account of size and fertility, but because it is several feet higher than the others, and is more healthy and seldom overflowed. The Missouri river at times makes its ravages upon it, removing many acres in a single season. The village of Omadi, which was formerly quite a flourishing town, located some distance from the channel and supposed to be safe, has been swept away.
All these bottoms, as well as the immense bottom of the Platte, contain some alkaline spots which are not usually productive. I am informed by an old farmer on the Platte bottom that the second crop is successful, and also that a coating of manure neutralizes the alkaline influence. This alkaline matter in
soil of the bottom is more or less impregnated with it.
When the water has stood for a time and dried away, a whitish efflorescence is left on the surface.
The valley of the Elkhorn and the valleys of its branches, Logan, Pebble, and Maple creeks, are among the most fertile and beautiful in the State, underlaid as they are for the most part by the soft, yielding sandstones of the Dakota group. The surface is gently rolling and undulating, giving to the landscape a somewhat monotonous but exceedingly beautiful appearance.
There is scarcely a foot of land in this great valley, covering an area of over one hundred miles in length and fifty to sixty in breadth, that is not susceptible of cultivation. But the great deficiency is a suitable supply of stone and fuel. In this whole valley there are but a few exposures of the basis rock, and these are very small.
On the Elkhorn, about eight miles above Pebble creek, there is an exposure of the limestones of the Niobrara division, and two lime-kilns are in operation burning lime, which finds, a ready market at Frémont, on the line of the Union Pacific railroad. On the Logan there is one exposure of the lignite bed seen
near Blackbird Hill, on the Missouri. It was discovered here by digging beneath the water level of the Logan, and is not over eighteen inches in thickness-a very impure material.
Our observations north of the Platte show plainly that there are no workable beds of coal in Nebraska. There are not probably a half dozen exposures of rock in the Elkhorn basin, and the fuel consists mainly of a narrow fringe of cottonwood along the streams. On the bluffs of the Elkhorn there are a few dwarf oaks, but not enough to furnish any permanent supply of wood for fuel or timber for the settlers.
It is evident that the greater portion of the western half of the State of Nebraska must remain unsettled or be inhabited sparsely by a people devoted to pastoral pursuits. It is a well known fact that the same hills or other portions of the west'that appear the most sterile and most deficient in wood and water are the favorite resorts of the wild game, and that they become exceedingly fat. The short grasses which grow upon these supposed arid, sterile plains seem to suit the palates of the wild animals, and they find sufficient water at all seasons of the year. I would infer from this fact that it may yet become a fine stock-growing country, and, aided by the facilities to market which will be furnished by the Union Pacific railroad, I cannot but believe that some of the finest wool in America will one day reach the market from western Nebraska.
I should judge that peat beds will be found in great numbers along the Missouri north of the Platte, and in the valley of the Elkhorn and along the Platte. No effort has yet been made to search for them, and yet the indications are excellent.
The raising of timber, both on the upland and lowland north of the Platte, is proven a success beyond a doubt. The example of Mr. Griffin, west of Omaha,
on the highest land, and some experiments on the bottom land at Tekama, Burt . county, afford ample proof. Still so little has been done in the way of supplying
this country with living forests, that I again call attention to this most vital matter to the future prosperity of the State.
At Mr. Thomas's, near Tekama, twenty-four cottonwood trees, eight years old, average two feet and ten and one-eighth inches in circumference; sixteen locust trees, (Robinia pseudo acacia,) five years old from seed, carefully cultivated, averaged twenty-three inches in circumference; twenty-five locust trees, six years old, from seed, but planted on sod ground not cultivated, averaged seventeen and seventeen-twenty-fifths inches in circumference.
It will be seen by the above that cultivation of forest trees is as important to their success as to that of any of our annual crops. The cottonwood trees would each furnish one to two ties for a railroad, and the locusts good posts for a wire fence.
This question of the planting of forest trees is one of the most important that can demand the attention of the citizens of the State, and too much cannot be said in regard to it.
There is another question of importance to the west generally. While there are most abundant materials for the manufacture of brick all over the State, the fuel that is required to burn them forms a serious drawback, and it is an important matter to ascertain whether the making of pressed brick would not prove in this country a success. . The dryness of the atmosphere in this country is most favorable for the experiment. Mr. S. P. Reed, superintendent of construction on the Union Pacific railroad, a most intelligent and liberal-minded gentleman, tells me that he has made the experiment at Frémont, Dodge county, where he made 40,000 bricks in this way, and that his success was complete. This fact shows that a great obstacle is removed out of the way of the immediate settlement of a great portion of this State.
I would here say that the numerous successful experiments upon building
materials, and for other purposes, by this powerful and wealthy corporation, will be of incalculable value to the State, the future prosperity of which, it seems to me, will be very largely due to its energy and skill. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. V. HAYDEN,
United States Geologist. Hon. Jos. S. WILSON,
Commissioner of the General Land Office.
Observations accompanying annual report of 1867 of the Commissioner of the
General Land Office, on the precious metals. In presenting a brief sketch of the countries furnishing the present supplies of gold and silver, this republic, on account of the large quantities it annually contributes to the world's commerce, and the extent of the territory included within its auriferous districts, claims the first attention.
Its gold fields are divided into those of the Atlantic and of the Pacific slopes, sometimes designated respectively as the Appalachian and Sierra Nevada gold regions.
The Appalachian mountains rise in Lower Canada, south of the St. Lawrence, extending in a system of parallel ridges, in a southwesterly direction, about 1,300 miles, passing through the States of Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, into Alabama.
Skirting the eastern margin of this chain is a narrow belt of metamorphosed rocks of the lower palæozoic age in an undulating range of elevations, known in Vermont as the Green mountains, in New York as the Highlands, in Pennsylvania as the South mountains, and in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, generally as the Blue Ridge.
Apparently of the game.geological age, and running nearly parallel with this ridge, immediately to the southeast of it, lies the great auriferous belt of the Atlantic, varying in width from fifteen to seventy miles, containing gold in workable deposits in Lower Canada, in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and in a few isolated lumps and scales throughout the whole length of this mountain system. The predominating rock of this belt is talcose slate, passing into other varieties and alternating with formations of granite and syenite.
From 1830 until 1861 mining was regularly carried on in Virginia, and from $50,000 to $100,000 annually received at the mint from that State, the whole amount deposited up to the year 1866 being $1,570,182 82, the first deposit of $2,500 having been made in 1829. The gold belt in Virginia is from fifteen to twenty miles in width, and thus far developed chiefly in the counties of Fauquier, Culpeper, Orange, Spottsylvania, Louisa, Fluvanna, Goochland, Buckingham, Campbell, and Pittsylvania.
Gold was known to exist in North Carolina before the commencement of the present century, a good-sized nugget having been found in Cabarrus county in 1799, and another afterwards, weighing 28 pounds avoirdupois. In the same locality it is estimated that over a hundred pounds were collected prior to 1830, in pieces each over one pound in weight. In the adjoining counties lumps were found weighing from one to sixteen pounds. From 1804 to 1827 North Carolina furnished all the gold of the United States, amounting, according to the mint returns, to $110,000. Up to the year 1866 the State deposited at the mint_$9,278,627 67. The counties in which mining has been conducted are 'Rockingham, Guilford, Davidson, Rowan, Cabarrus,