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DEPARTMEN^l Ol' <'



BOARD OF HOME MISSIONS OF THE PME38YTERIAN CHUR'.
IN THE U.S.A.



oirtn H. WiliOii, i'\iAJ., ^upc-n
Mis5 Anna B. T^, Assistant



fetwar ' "~.T:-Tr..i



6. ir/, \x









PRINCETON. N.J.



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MADE BY THE

DEPARTMENT OF CHURCH AND COUNTRY LIFE

OF THE!

BOARD OF HOME MISSIONS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
IN THE U. S. A.

Rev. Warren H. Wilson, Ph.D., Superintendent
Miss Anna B. Taft, Assistant

1 56 Fifth Avenue, New York City

The Field Work of this investigation was done by Rev. E. Fred Eastman
and Rev. Anton T. Boisen



a JMisisouri ^urtep



The Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United
States of America has been ministering to country parishes for more than
a century. It has sought farmers through forests and across deserts. It
has built innumerable little white churches on the country crossroads for
him to worship in. It has baptized his children, taught them, married
them and buried them. It has striven to save his soul — striven earnestly
and valiantly, sometimes heroically. But never until within this year
has it made a thorough, official and scientific study of the country com-
munity it has attempted to serve. It has done everything in its power
to pave the farmer's road to the Celestial City, but it has paid little atten-
tion to his road to the nearest village. It has given great sums to allevi-
ate poverty, but given little thought to the causes that make for poverty
— the American system of farm tenantry, the robbing of the soil of its
fertility and stripping the hillside of its trees. It has pictured the
beauties of heavenly mansions and taken no account of the buildings in
which men and women must spend their lives here and now. It has been
a faithful steward in caring for the Elysian fields, but it has allowed the
riches of blue grass and corn and wheat fields to be squandered with
prodigal hand. It has made a glorious and untiring fight to teach the
children God's word in the Bible, but it has left God's word in the rivers
and hills, the grass and the trees without prophet, witness or defender.
Hereafter it is going to know something about the communities it at-
tempts to serve — of what stuff they are made, what their needs and their
aspirations. It will take an interest in the everyday affairs of the farmer
— his crops and stock, his buildings and machinery, his roads and school,
his lodge and recreation. The spires of the little crossroad church will
still point to the skies, but its footstone will lie on the commonplace work
of the day. It will "preach the worth of the native earth," and it will
look upon American land as holy land to be guarded as a sacred trust from
the Almighty for His children of future generations.

METHOD

The survey of Adair, Sullivan and Knox counties, situated in northeast
Missouri, is one of the first attempts by any church at a detailed scientific
study of a rural community. It has covered three counties — Adair,
Sullivan and Knox — a total area of 1,719 square miles. The total popu-

3







FIG. I



lation of this territory is 53,701. The unit of the survey was the civil
township, chosen because it was the division already laid out, because
it was the basis of many of the Government statistics, and because it
made a fairly uniform geographical unit. Thirty-five townships in all
were covered. For each township the following information was sought:

1. Its Precise Location, Area and Topography.

2. Its Economic Conditions — Its natural resources, mineral and vege-
table; the character of its soil, its chief products, together with all the
surplus shipped out of corn, wheat, oats, hay and live stock; the size of
the farm, the percentage of owners, the wages and treatment paid to
agricultural laborers, the quality and care of farm machinery, the num-
ber of farmers who practise a scientific rotation of their crops, the number
engaged in stock feeding, stock breeding, dairying, fruit growing and
truck gardening, the number who drain the land, the number who use
commercial fertilizers, the percentage of increase in value of land and
its cause.

J. The Population — Of village and rural district, the inhabitants per
square mile, the proportion of old settlers, the condition of the popula-
tion, whether stationary, increasing or decreasing, and the cause; the
number and nationality of the foreign born, the number of native born
of foreign parents, and the number of illiterates.

4. The Social Mind — The number of railroads, the percentage of the
population who have telephones and rural free delivery, the character
and condition of the roads, the centers of informal meeting, the leaders of
public thought, the economic standards prevaiHng, the assemblies
attended by all in common, the difference in costumes, manners and
amusements, the types in which a consciousness of kind can be observed,
the average size of family, the total number of families, the number and
kind of business corporations and firms, and the membership and average
attendance of each and every lodge, secret order and club.

5. Education — Each school was taken up separately, and information
sought regarding its material, style, condition, seating facilities, furniture,
educational apparatus, heating and ventilatmg, lighting, water supply
and toilets; the size and appearance of the ground, the attempts at beauti-
fication, the playground facilities, the value of the property, the assessed
valuation of the district, the levy, the per capita expenditure, the length
of session, the efl&ciency of the school board, the closeness of the county
superintendent's supervision, the teacher's salary, qualifications and
tenure; the enumeration, enrollment, average attendance, number of
graduates, number going away to higher schools, number of defective
children, the organization of the school, the number of twentieth-century
subjects in the curriculum (elementary agriculture, manual training,
domestic science, music and drawing and physical culture); the Ubrary,

5



the number of volumes, the value, the increment and the character of
the selection; the number of entertainments a year, the other purposes
for which the building is used, and the need and practicability of consoli-
dation.

6. Recreation and Morals — The number and character and the per-
cent, of the comniunity taking part or interested in baseball games,
dances, motion picture shows, pool rooms, parks, theatres, bowling,
basketball, football, lecture courses, literary societies, home talent plays,
indoor gymnastics, Y. M. C. A., tennis, golf, cards, picnics, entertain-
ments, socials, fairs and Chautauquas. The moral conditions among
the luimarried, the age of marriage, the moral conditions among employed
men and women, the tendencies of the boys of the communities to cigar-
ettes and criminal practices, and finally w^hether or not the moral tone of
the community is improving or the reverse.

7. The Religious Conditions and Activities — Each and every church was
taken up separately and studied in great detail — in fact, too great detail
for the patience of those from whom the information was sought. The
questions covered the membership ten years ago, five years ago, and now,
male and female; number of services per month, attendance morning and
evening, male and female, and the purpose, membership and attend-
ance, male and female, of Sunday Schools, young people's societies,
women's societies and men's clubs; the value of the church property,
the amount of encumbrance, the salary of pastor, the church budget, the
material equipment, number of rooms, condition of furniture, appearance
of ground, kind of heating apparatus, and thirty questions, personal
and more or less impertinent, about the minister, his family, his life
insurance and his library. Then some questions about abandoned
churches, the number of people in a township who attend no church, the
institutions that tend to satisfy men outside the churches, the general
attitude of the community toward religion, and the prevalence and cause
of denominational strife.

8. Social Welfare — The public health, number of persons over eighty
years of age, the number of insane, defective, blind, neurotic and deaf
and dumb; the number of professional men, wealthy business men,
tradesmen, farmers, laborers and mechanics; the distribution of wealth
and the community improvements of the last five years.

p. Maps — For each township a map was drawn on the basis of a mile
to the inch, showing churches, schools, school districts, villages, towns,
stores, roads, primary and secondary, and railroads.

Just how to obtain all this information was no small jiroblcm. Some
of it could be collected at the county seats, from the books of the county
clerks, assessors and treasurers, from the reports of the superintendents
of schools, and from bankers, grain merchants and stock buyers. But

6




THE BEST COUNTY CHURCH IN SULLIVAN COUNTY

by far the greater part had to be obtained on the field by personal observa-
tion and by interviews with farmers, school teachers, ministers and
physicians.

The field work in the survey was completed in three months under
the direction of the Department of Church and Country Life by
Messrs. Anton T. Boisen and E. Fred Eastman. They worked under
the immediate direction of Rev. William C. Templeton, D. D., pastor
of the Presbyterian Church in Kirksville, and of Prof. Harold W.
Foght, of the State Normal School at Kirksville. President John R.
Kirk, of the Normal School, extended every courtesy to the field men
and gave them facilities for ofiice and desk work in the school.
Printing and photographic service of the school was put freely at
the disposal of the survey men, and their introduction to the three
counties under survey was greatly facilitated through the friendly
and generous help of the leaders and the friends of the Normal
School.

Both men found the crowds at the country stores not only interesting
as types of citizenship, but gold mines of information when properly
approached. Much difficulty was experienced in securing data for indi-
vidual organizations and institutions, because of the great lack of sys-
tematically kept records of these organizations and institutions. Not
lo per cent, of the churches could give accurate information concerning
their membership five and ten years ago, while many of them (and the
same is true of schools and commercial agencies) could make only esti-
mates of their present condition.

7



FINDINGS

The summary of the findings of the survey may be given under the
heads already described:

1. Location and Topography — As stated above, the total land area
covered was 1,719 square miles, located in northeast Missouri, as shown
in Fig. I.

Knox County is largely level and rolling prairie land and is the best
farming county of the three, Adair contains some prairie land, but is
mostly rolling and hilly and is the poorest farming land of the three.
Sullivan is mostly rolling and hilly, but has a good proportion of prairie
land; as farming land it is better than Adair, but not so good as Knox.

2. Economic Conditions — Table A, page g, shows the acreage of
each county and the money value of the surplus products shipped out in
1909, the latest statistics available. Only two townships, Ninevah and
Morrow, in Adair County, mine coal in any quantity; the rest of the land
is given up to farming and grazing:

Specialization in Farming — Corn, oats, hay, wheat, rye, tobacco and
garden vegetables are the chief products in the order named. The soil is
best suited for corn. By far the greater part of the grain is fed to the
stock and it is from the sale of stock that about 85 per cent, of the farmers
have their chief source of income. There is very little gardening or fruit
growing, except for home use. The surplus quantity of dairy products
shipped out looks large (Adair County, $112,231; Sullivan County,
$112,428; Knox County, $53,961), yet there are very few farms given
over exclusively to dairying. There is no creamery in the territory sur-
veyed. The breeding of thoroughbred stock is more common; there are
fourteen farms in Knox County devoted to this purpose. The equipment
of the farm varies largely with the location and size of the farms. The
large farms of the prairie land, as a rule, are well equipped with good
buildings and good machinery. Even here, however, the neglect of the
machinery is shameful, nearly half of it being allowed to stand out the
year around. The farm buildings of the hill country are not as good, as
a rule, and a larger percentage of the machinery is uncared for. In one
day's drive through a township of Adair County, of 53 houses passed 24
were unpainted. The rotation of crops is beginning to receive more
attention than formerly, but there are still very few farmers who practise
the rotation advised by the State Department of Agriculture. The small
farmers and the renters practise a short rotation, lea\'ing the ground
to rest but a short time between grain crops. Little commercial fertilizer
is used and only a few farms in each county have introduced tile drainage.

Tenure, Size and Value of Farms^PshoMi 85 per cent, of the farmers
own the farms they operate; the remaining 15 per cent, are tenants. The



TABLE (A)
ADAIR, SULLIVAN AND KNOX COUNTIES, MO. SUR-
PLUS PRODUCTS, 1909. MONEY VALUE



Live stock

Poultry and eggs

Apiary and cane

Farm crops

Vegetables

Fruit

Medicinal products

Nursery products

Wool and mohair

Dairy products

Forest products

Fish and game

Mine and quarry products

Mill products

Liquid products

Packing-house products. . .

Unclassified products

Total



Adair
570 Sq. Miles
367,000 Acres



$788,825

265,470

707

147,064

28,610

39,260

214

983

26,027

112,231

75,220

5,537

859,501

11,531

243

29,099

5,217



$2,395,739



Sullivan
656 Sq. Miles
418.000 Acres



$1,858,890

443,218

1,372

232,567

13,653

23,663

131

339

38,025

112,428

31,842

1,519

12,220

8,860

357

25,237

13,700



J,818,021



510 Sq. Miles
330,000 Acres



1,213,834

212,086

1,036

154,618

12,137

7,686

45

1,030

23,765

53,961

27,077

5,360

5,772

4,090

36

19,110

5,460



■,747,103



tables B and C show the percentage of the various classes of farms
operated by owners and the percentage operated by tenants.

The size of the farm varies from 20 acres to 3,300 acres, the larger farms,
as a rule, being in the level prairie land of Knox and Sullivan counties.
The average size per farm in Knox County was about 160 acres, in Adair
County about 100 acres, in Sullivan County about 147 acres. On the
whole the 1910 Census statement, that farms under 100 acres are decreas-
ing in number and those between 100 and 1,000 acres are increasing, holds
good here. Land is valued at $35 to $1,250 an acre, but the majority of
it would bring from $50 to $60 per acre. It is assessed at a fraction of
the actual value. Fig. II shows the actual value of an average prairie
farm compared with the assessed valuation.

There has been an increase of a little over 100 per cent, in the value of
land in the last twelve years; the reasons for this increase are as follows:
(a) The higher prices for farm products, (b) The growing scarcity of
cheap lands in the far West has turned the attention of buyers toward
Missouri, (c) Missouri land up to fifteen years ago had been undervalued
in comparison with the neighboring States, Illinois and Iowa. This was
possibly due to the fact that she had been a slave State, and to the stigma
placed upon her by Jesse James and the Younger Brothers and expressed

9



TABLE (B)

HOW THE LAND IS HELD. BASED ON 499 FARMS IN
SULLIVAN COUNTY, MO. PRAIRIE TYPE— 414 FARMS



OPERATED BY OWNER



Acres
per Farm


Number


Per Cent, of
Total Number


Acreage


Per Cent, of
Total Acreage


Average Size


1-40

40- 80

80-160

160-240

-240


32

85

121

64

50


7.7
20.5
29.2
15.6
12.0


1,205

6,505

15,528

13,286

21,486


1.9
10.0
23.7
20.3
33.0


37
765
128
207
430




352


85.0


58,010







OPERATED BY TENANT



Acres
per Farm


Number


Per Cent, of
Total Number


Acreage


Per Cent, of

Total Acreage


Average Size


1-40

40- 80

80-160

160-240

-240


10
16
21
10
5


2.4

3.8
5.0
2.4
1.2


314
1,133
2,937
1,880
2,080


.4
1.8
4.5
2.8
3.1


31

71

139

188
416


i 62


14.8


8,344







in such phrases as "poor old Missouri." (d) Cheaper rates of interest.
(e) The generally low rate of taxation throughout the rural districts as
compared with neighboring States. (/) In Knox County the railroad
debt has been paid off.

The increased value of land has had some important effects, as follows:
(a) It has increased the wealth of the community, (b) It has increased
the rental, (c) Many small farmers have sold their farms and moved
to cheaper lands in the West, thus making: (d) A decrease of resident
owners, and (e) an increase in the size of farms, as the small farm was
usually absorbed by a larger one. (/) Land today will not bring a 6
per cent, rental. A $10,000 farm rents for $350 to $450.

Agricultural Laborers — Agricultural laborers receive from $20 to $30
and "keep" per month. The great majority of them are the neighbors
and the owners of the small farms who help for a few days in the busy
seasons of the year. They are always treated as equals; in fact, the diffi-
culty in securing them is so great that they are frequently shown con-
siderable deference.

3. Population — As stated above, the population of these three counties

10



TABLE [C]



BRUSHLAND TYPE— 85 FARMS



OPERATED BY OWNER



Acres
per Farm


Number


Per Cent, of
Total Number


Acreage


Per Cent, of
Total Acreage


Average Size


-40

40- 80

80-160

160-240

-240


13

24

23

6

3


15.3

28.2

27.0

7.0

3.5


466
1,746
3,027
1,200
1,070


.05
.19
.33
.13
.11


36

73

131

200

357




69


81.0


7,509







OPERATED BY TENANT



Acres
per Farm


Number


Per Cent, of
Total Number


Acreage


Per Cent, of
Total Acreage


Average Size


- 40

40- 80

80-160

160-240

-240


5

4
4
3


5.8
4.7
4.7
3.5


168
296
519
564




01
03
05
05


34

74
130

188












16


18.7


1,547















is 53,701. Of this number 35,495 live in the country, 5,551 live in 23
villages under 750 population, and the remaining 12,655 live in towns
of over 750 population. Throughout this report, where towns and vil-
lages are mentioned, the same standard will prevail — anything under
750 being called a village and anything over that a town. There are
20.5 inhabitants per square mile in the rural district. As a rule, the
towns have been increasing during the last ten years, but the population
of the rural districts has been decreasing at an alarming rate. The
increase in the towns has not kept pace with the decrease in the country.
In spite of the town increase the total population of these three counties
is 1,788 less than it was ten years ago. There are at least six reasons for
this : (a) Smaller families, (b) The increased use of farm machinery has
lessened the need of farm hands. One man can now do what once
required two or three, (c) The increased value of land has induced some
farmers (as a rule the owners of the small farm) to sell out and go to
cheaper lands in the West, (d) The younger generation has been
moving out to seek greater opportunities in towns and in the cheaper
lands of the West, (e) Many well-to-do farmers have been moving to
town to seek better social environment and educational facilities, (f)
The retiring farmers have been moving to town.

11



CAN THEY AFFORD IT?



WHAT


THE AVERAGE FARM —






IS REALLY WORTH.






Liue Stock
$2000








Machinp.rijS40C






158 acres
^7900




WAS ASSESSED AT








$£400




$1603





IN 1910



IN 1911



WHAT THE AVERAGE COUNTRY FAMILY SPENDS

$771.00 j^BJ^EIiHiBSG^^HIHB

$I3.7S| ON ITS SCHOOL.

$6.00 1 ON ITS ROADS

$3.18 I ON ITS CHURCH.

(370 Jamilves in SulUvan Counttj, M\3sour\)



FIG. 11



12




WHERE FARMING IS MATURE



Of the present population about 90 per cent, of the families are old
settlers — that is, have resided fifteen years or more. Of these a small
proportion are foreign born, coming from Ireland or Germany some
twenty-five years ago. The newcomers are (a) the Italian and Hun-
garian miners who have come since the opening of the mines in Adair
County, and (b) American farmers from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Ken-
tucky. No language except English is spoken in business intercourse.
Probably 2 per cent, of the whites cannot read or write.

4. Social Mind — Means oj Communication — Six railroads touch
some part of these three counties — the Wabash, Omaha and Kansas City,
the Qunicy, Illinois and Kansas City, the Santa Fe, the Iowa and St. Louis,
the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and the Chicago, Milwaukee and
St. Paul. The local service on these roads is miserable, the usual schedule
being two slow trains each way per day. There are no trolleys or inter-
urbans. Practically all of the farmers have rural free delivery, and
about 83 per cent, of them have telephones. The latter have had an
important effect on the social life of the people; they have greatly
decreased the number of visits and calls between houses and have made
obsolete the good old custom of farmers' wives of taking their children
and their sewing and spending a day with some neighbor. Moreover, by
the present party-line system they have developed an unseemly interest
in other people's business. When the 'phone bell rings along a party line
it is a safe assumption that there will be an ear at almost every receiver
along the line. On the other hand, by making communication possible
at any time of day they have brought the farmers much nearer each

13



other and help to do away with the isolation toward which farm life
seems to tend.

The Roads — It is difficult to describe the roads of this territory in
proper English. There is not a mile or an inch of gravel or macadam
road in the length and breadth of these three counties. All are of dirt.
They are laid out after a fashion contrary to all human convenience —
along section lines and with entire disregard for the contour of the land.
To be sure, there is here and there a ridge road (glorious exception), but
as a rule the great majority of the roads cling to the section line with a
death grip. It is an absolute impossibiHty to travel, as these survey men
did, over nearly 1,000 miles of such roads, sliding down one hill and stall-
ing on the next, enduring breakdowns of bicycles and buggies, and come
to the end of the summer with unruffled tempers. In winter there are
sometimes weeks at a time when they are impassable. At such times the
Good Roads Movement is popular. But in the summer, when it is pos-
sible to drive over them at a speed of three and a half or four miles an
hour, the Good Roads Movement is forgotten. Aggravating the situa-
tion are the culverts, which are in wretched condition, and in many cases
positively dangerous. The county officers — surveyors and engineers —
are not to be blamed for this state of affairs. These men are doing the




WHERE THE ROAD SYSTEM BREAKS DOWN
14




THE WAY OF SALVATION



best they can with the means they have. The checkerboard plan on
which the roads are laid out must be charged to an earlier generation.
The present condition of neglect must be charged in part to the lack of
adequate government provision for the upkeep of roads, to the present
system of supervision by which it is said that $70 out of every hundred
is paid for salaries of surveyors, engineers and supervisors, and only
$30 left for actual improvement, and most of all to the lack of popular
sentiment strong enough to fight for anything better.

Centers of Informal Meeting — Which, being interpreted, means where
people meet to exchange greetings, ideas and gossip. The country stores,
the streets, restaurants, pool rooms and speak-easies of the villages and
towns, and occasionally the lodge halls, furnish such centers during the
week. On Sundays it is the custom for those at the church services to
remain after the benediction and chat informally for a few minutes in
the church building or upon the groimds. This is the meeting place,
too, of the young men and young women, who pair off at the close of the


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Online LibraryPresbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of Home MiA rural survey in Missouri → online text (page 1 of 3)