For Midwesterners, the severe winter of 1892 was followed by the great drought of 1893. State Senator J. A. Brown of Chadbourn in Columbus County responded to a Chicago magazine article for inexpensive land in more hospitable climate. An excursion train brought several hundred Midwesterners to Columbus County, and out of that number 160 farmers stayed to form the Sunny South Colony. Over the next decade, 1897-1907, they raised one crop--strawberries. The first year 600 crates were shipped north and in 1907, 350,000 crates were shipped. This one crop brought in over $3 million in that decade.