Brief Sketch of a Country Neighborhood

Names Index

Chapter VII


This nine square miles of territory contains two hundred and fifty-two inhabitants, many more than it contained a few years ago, and it will support many more.  There is enough land uncultivated to support as many more.  Then, by proper management, the farmer could produce more on one acre than he does on two, and population is what we need to make a country neighborhood lively.  An increase of population, say twofold, would give us, instead of five months of free school, eight months.  A three-fold increase would give us ten months of school, as they have in our cities.  It would require more teachers is the reason the duration of the school would not increase in the same ration as the population.  Give us a more dense population and the church house pews will be filled on the Sabbath as country people have no where else to spend their evenings as city people have.  Our Sabbath schools, instead of being a drag, would be attractive to both old and young.  It may be seen, our population being twenty-seven to the square mile, that we have already above what is an average population of the United States, or the State of Tennessee, or the County of Bradley, but still there is room for more.  Some of the old countries have five hundred and seventeen to the square mile, and some have more.  This being the garden spot of the world of course would support a large number. Then where a man owns six hundred and forty acres let him sell seven farms of eighty acres each and he will still have all the land he needs.  These ideas may seem a little extravagant to some, but please think before you criticize.  I have no patience whatever with the optimistic doctrine that this is a chosen nation and that God will take care of it, neither do I wish to argue that this is a chosen neighborhood and that God will fee[d], clothe, and educate its inhabitants, but I do claim that any industrious, energetic man can do well here and there is no excuse for pauperism in a country settlement.  There is a great deal of talk about hard times, and while the towns and cities are overrun with laborers, unemployed working men, the uncultivated fields and hillside slopes of east Tennessee smilingly invite them hither to work for a company that never fails, and whose banks never break.  There is never a drought nor flood, never a grasshopper panic, hailstorm or cyclone, no contagious diseases, nothing to create a panic in this neighborhood.  Talk about class legislation, monopolies, trusts and corners, but there is no businessman any more certain of daily bread than the farmer of this little section.  If the weather is cold, the farmer already has a large pile of wood prepared.  If there happens to be a poor widow out of wood the neighbors go and haul it for her.  Then while the cities are establishing their charitable institutions for feeding the poor, why not send some of the honest ones to the country to earn bread by the sweat of their brow.  The farmers of this section talk of hard times ss they do everywhere, but they are evidently as independent a people that ever lived.


If I should covet anything, it would be a good country home in this community.