CARTER COUNTY, ONE MAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, 1879 Contributed by Glen Haney The Athens Ohio newspaper EDITOR MESSENGER published on February 6, 1879 a Letter to the Editor that was quite unflattering of Carter County Kentucky. The letter was pinned under the name Mr. Rauffe. A month later, a reply was printed stating the point of view of a Carter County resident. The letter from the Carter County resident is important not only for is defense of Carter but also for it's historical references. Presented here are the two articles. The first letter from Mr. Rauffe has been abridged to cover the highlights only. Sadly, the name of the writer from the Carter County was not given. 2/6/1879 EDITOR MESSENGER The inhabitants of Carter County are long hunters or descendents of long hunters, are indolent, non-progressive and believe in doing "as dad does". A large percent cannot read or write. The western portion of the county is controlled by the notorious Underwoods. Horse stealing, in fact all kinds of stealing and murder are heard of weekly. Many of the school houses have not a board floor, chimney nor stove in them. It is probable that there are more revolvers, pistols, shotguns and rifles in Carter County than there are in all of southern Ohio. Upper Tygart Carter County, Ky. March 7th, 1879 EDITOR MESSENGER In your valuable paper of Feb 6th 1879 appears a letter purporting to be from Kentucky, in which numerous misrepresentations are made concerning Carter County, its citizens, churches, railroads, mills, mail, products, etc. This Athens County Mogul having commenced his communication and arranged his misrepresentations in such a promiscuous manner we fear our attempt at an answer that will prove of interest to your many readers will be in vain. According to Mr. Collins's History of Kentucky, Carter County, the eighty eighth erected in the state, was formed in 1838 and named in honor of W.G. Carter who for years was a State Senator. The county in 1870 comprised 283,093 acres of land, valued in 1870 at 4.25 per acre, on an average. The total valuation of the of taxable property found in Carter county in 1846 amounted to 498,856 at 1.15 per acre, valued in 1870 at 4.25 per acre on average, amounts to 1,585,083, an increase in 24 years of 1,101,177. Provided the census of Carter county was taken today, the taxable valuation of our county would thribble that of 1870 as our county has 30 odd miles of railroad completed through the center of the county and in a870 did not have one mile. Besides, one or two iron furnaces have been built since 1870, adding more wealth of our county. Soil, products, etc., Carter county has scarcely any lands not susceptible of cultivation. The western portion of the county is generally limestone and yields spontaneously, while the eastern portion presents fine bottoms averaging from one-fourth to one and a half miles in width. The bottoms afford a black sandy loam upon which are raised abundant crops of wheat, rye, oats, potatoes, and Indian corn. Also, tobacco grows in Carter county equally as large as as in the famous blue grass region.. The yield of Carter county in 1870 was as follows: 2,108 tons off hay, 325,041 bushels of corn, 24351, bushels of wheat, 96, 500 bushels of rye, 30,525 oats, and over 315, 125 of tobacco. Had also 1196 horses, 296 mules, 3725 head of cattle, 4330 head of hogs over 6 months old. CITIZENS The citizens of Carter county are all affable, kind and sociable, and nearly every state in the Union is here represented, and some of the foreign nations. Though the population as a general thing is made up of emigrants from Ohio, West and East Virginia, and the native born Kentuckian. REPRESENTATIVES, LAWYERS, PHYSICIANS Since Carter County was formed she has sent two Senators and twenty two Representatives, has now about one dozen good lawyers, five or six physicians with diplomas from the best medical schools of Ohio and New York. A number of good mechanics are found in Carter county as well as systematic farmers, and improvements are being made every year, and greater success attended. SCHOOLS We have in Kentucky a system of fine schools supported by public tax which affords every county and every district in the State, a five months school in each year. Carter County has fifty-five common school districts in which schools are taught five months during each year, and every white child between the ages of six and twenty years has the right to attend these schools free of charge. Our county and State expends annually seven thousand dollars in support of the fifty five common schools in our county and for a man to insert that two-thirds of our population cannot read or write is an untruth. With the exception of your town, Athens, it having its advantage of a college, we would risk all of the children and citizens of Carter can compete with Athens county or any other county in Southern Ohio, as regard the elements of plain English education. The school houses of Carter County are by no means what they should be, yet not one in the county is to be found minus door, floor, stove, and chimney. All the different religious denominations are well represented in Carter County except Atheists and Catholics. We have Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Newlights etc. The misrepresenting ajax further says there are no mills with belts found in Carter county probably had he remained longer he would have found one or two, viz: Iron Hills & Co.,Vincent Mills, Mt. Savage Mills, Ritchens Mills, M. Larens Mills, Stampers Mills, and many others not necessary to mention. MAILS, MURDERS, RAILROADS AND TELEGRAPHS etc Rauffe asserts that at Lee Post Office Athens County, more mail is received than in all Carter County. We cannot speak of what Lee receives, or her mail facilities, yet for this Carter County we can speak of her post offices and mails intelligently, having been connected with them for years. Carter County has the following post offices and mails: Grayson C. H. daily mail, Mt. Savage daily mail, Charlotte P.O. daily mail, Willard P.O. daily mail, Geigerville daily mail, deer Creek P.O. six mails per week, Forks of Tygart, Triweekly mail, Boone P.O. triweekly, Smokey Valley triweekly, Estill Flats triweekly, Olive Hill six mails per week, Upper Tygart six mails per week. RAILROADS There are two lines of railroads running in and through Carter county and connecting and affording us immediate connection with the Ohio river. These two lines are the Eastern Kentucky Rail Road and Lexington and Big sandy Rail Road, Eastern Division. Immense quantities of iron ore, staves, hoop-poles, tan bark, stone coal and lumber find an outlet to other ports through these railroad lines. The L. & B.S R.R., western Division, affording connection with the Chesapeake & Ohio at Huntington W. V., has been surveyed through our county, a distance of 40 miles and all are jubilant over the prospects of early completion, which will make our county the great center of two thoroughfares, crossing each other at Grayson, the county seat. From Grayson to Willard we have a telegraph connecting with all of the branches in the United States. So, one at a single glance, can see the absurdity of the assertion made that we were so far or remote from thoroughfares or civilization. As regard intemperance every district in the county has, by a large majority, voted it out of the county, and the local option now prevails, yet our people sometimes manage to get a few bitters to help along elections, yet I tell you one snort wont buy a vote in Carter county, by any means, it takes a gallon or so, my boy. We seldom see a shot gun, pistol or bowie knife in our county. Carter County politically, gives about one hundred Republican majority and has ever since the war. She sent about five hundred soldiers into the field to battle for the union.
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