New Hanover County: sub-tropical region of North Carolina

PUBLISED UNDER THE AUSPICESOFThe Wilmington Chamber of Commerce


OfficersAdvertising CommitteeJames H. Chadbourn, Jr.PresidentM. C. S. NobleWalker TaylorFirst Vice-PresidentEdward S. TennentWm. E. WorthSecond Vice-PresidentThomas F. BagleyJames H. Chadbourn, Jr.John L. CantwellSecretary and TreasurerWalker TaylorWm. E. Worth

The Sub-tropical Region
of the Old North State

NEW HANOVER COUNTY is that long wedge-shaped strip of land in the extreme southern portion of the State lying between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. Smith's Island once formed the southern extremity of this narrow peninsula and its outlying shoals—the dangerous Frying-pan Shoals, extending many miles out to sea, made then, and still make Cape Fear, as its name implies, an object of dread to the storm-beaten navigator.


The mild and genial climate of this section attracted settlers early in the history of the State, and in 1728 the county was formed and named after the House of Hanover, then on the English throne. Its three nearest neighbors—Pender, Brunswick and Onslow Counties, were originally parts of New Hanover, and to this day their people, in feeling and affection, are loyal to the parent county, and Wilmington is, as ever, the leading commercial town, not only for New Hanover, but for her three progressive daughters as well.


New Hanover County lies south of 34 degrees north lattitude, is just half way between Maine and Florida, and is but two degrees farther north than the Bermuda Isles. Very near its eastern coast-line flows the wonderful Gulf Stream, carrying its marvelous wealth of heat and moisture to the far-off shores of Western Europe.

SCENE NEAR J. F. GARRELL'S FARM, just North-east of City Limits, Wilmington, N. C.


THE climate is exceptionally fine during the whole year, and always delights both summer and winter visitors. In winter it is tempered by its nearness to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, while in summer cool, southwest breezes blow almost uninterruptedly from the ocean but a few miles away. The coldest weather never lasts longer than two or three days at a time. A “cold snap,” which kills vegetation in the immediate section of Wilmington, is not confined to it alone, but always extends throughout the entire South. The lowest recorded temperature during the past twenty years was 9 degrees above zero in the month of January, 1884, when an ever-to-be-remembered blizzard extended over the whole South-land, destroying even many orange groves in Florida.

Finest Trucking Lands in the South

Our Advantages:

Climate Equable, Mean Tem. Spring, 63.0°; Summer, 78.3°; Autumn, 64.0°; Winter, 48.7°.

Soil Fertile. Strawberries, Lettuce, Celery and all root crops raised profitably.

Labor and fuel abundant and cheap.

No malignant diseases. Death rate abnormally low.

Close proximity to Gulf Stream.


YearTEMPERATURERAIN FALLAnnual Maximum TemperatureAnnual Minimum TemperatureDates of First Slight Frost in AutumnDates of Last Killing Frost in Spring
1871668064486417.0915.379.749.1751.37July 10,102Dec. 21,18Nov. 23Feb. 15
1872618163436212.2819.5614.4212.9259.63July 1-25,98Dec. 28,17Nov. 16March 29
1873628062486311.0615.9515.9914.3758.37July 18,96March 5,20Nov. 14March 18
1874647965486411.7712.7613.6414.3552.42June 9,98Jan. 16,19Nov. 2March 14
1875607762466211.3121.066.5310.6949.59July 18,102Feb. 10,15Oct. 17Feb. 22
1876607862476210.8028.6118.289.0466.73June 28,99Dec. 10,15Oct. 16April 19
1877597864486213.4927.2931.7211.1583.65June 2797Jan. 3,17Nov. 7May 1
July 4
187863776346629.5414.8115.2715.2154.83Aug 2,99Jan. 721Oct. 20April 7
Dec. 28
1879617764486312.4519.3911.268.0451.14July 12,103Jan. 4,15Nov. 2April 19
188064786250647.2924.9211.787.9251.91June 15,100Dec. 30,10Oct. 15April 10
1881607969486410.7220.877.9311.5051.02July 17,96Feb. 319Nov. 5March 28
1882637865516410.7619.9413.697.9052.29June 2894Dec. 8-9,17Nov. 15March 23
Aug., 6-7
1883607965526415.5820.7418.149.6464.00July 24,97Jan. 12-13,23Nov. 2March 23
1884607767506412.2225.8111.9312.7462.70July 13,94Jan 6,9Nov. 7March 4
1885607963486313.6818.2217.0911.5360.42July 2194Feb. 21,20Nov. 25March 7
Aug. 20
1886617765446210.0434.312.919.0756.43July 28,94Jan 12,12Nov. 8April 9
1887617862496311.0627.068.039.3251.47July 17-18,100Jan. 19,15Nov. 2March 22
1888617662476110.2514.1419.4311.3555.07July 12,96Jan. 19,20Oct. 15March 30
1889617763506311.9424.9410.7711.6659.31July 10,94Feb. 7,20Oct. 9Feb. 26
189062786254659.4918.9610.433.4541.33June 27,100Dec. 13,26Oct. 28April 20
189161786252637.3321.6412.086.9548.00June 27,95Dec. 1,23Oct. 18March 15
189260786347625.4620.777.069.5942.88July 28,96Dec. 28,22Oct. 26April 16
189363786548638.4317.828.038.4742.75July 897Jan. 16,13Oct. 30March 20
189464776550647.9116.3712.898.0145.18Aug. 9,95Dec. 2914Nov. 6March 31
1895607865446213.8714.319.518.5846.27June 1-3,100Feb. 810Oct. 10April 19
Normal,627864486311.0420.6212.6710.1454.35103Prepared by C. M STRONG, Observer in charge of the U. S. Weather Bureau, Wilmington, N. C.
Greatest,668169546517.0934.3130.2215.2183.65July 12
Least,59766243617.2912.762.913.4541.339 Jan., 6

RESIDENCE OF J. T. FOY, SCOTT'S HILL, N. C., 14 Miles from Wilmington, on the Line of the Wilmington, New Bern & Norfolk R. R.


WILMINGTON, N. C., the metropolis of the State, is situated on the banks of the Cape Fear River, thirty miles from its entrance to the sea, and eleven miles west from the seashore, in latitude 34° 14‵ N., longitude 77° 57‵ W., and at an elevation of 38 feet above sea-level. Next to the river a gently rolling surface, on which the city is located, permits of easy drainage to the river and the carrying off of all impurities from the soil.

The accompanying table covers the seasonal, annual mean and annual maximum and minimum temperatures, and seasonal and annual precipitation; also dates of first killing frost in autumn and last killing frost in spring, from 1871 to 1895, inclusive, taken from the records of the local U. S. Weather Bureau Office.

The equability of temperature and precipitation from year to year, and the freedom from excessive heat or cold, shows the adaptability of the climate toward the proper development of both animal and physical nature, and its suitability as a place of residence for mankind.

Its summer's heat and winter's cold are tempered by the ocean breezes, and its slight inland situation relieves it from the severe effects of the storms moving northeastward, either along the coast or inland along the mountain ranges. Within the history of the Weather Bureau, only two storms damaging to the city or its commerce have occurred locally within the past twenty-five years.


The average for the year for the city, from twenty-five years’ observations, is 63, the warmest year being 65 in 1890, and coolest 61 in 1888. The lowest recorded temperature was 9 above zero on January 6th, 1884, which year was one of the coldest on record in the United States. The coldest month of the year, January, has a normal temperature of 48, the highest mean recorded being 57 in 1890, and the lowest mean recorded being 39 in 1893. The average number of days for twenty-five years in which the minimum temperature reached 32 or below in January is only two. The maximum temperature recorded in any January was 80 on the 8th, 1890. On the 28th of January, 1876, a maximum of 76, and 28th, 1879, of 77 were recorded. The maximum temperature has averaged ten days above 60 in each January in the past twenty-two years. The average relative humidity for twenty-five years for January is only 74%, giving a comparatively


dry atmosphere, and in connection with the average daily cloudiness 5.0, and the number of days clear nine, partly cloudy eleven and cloudy eleven, gives a state of the atmosphere that can hardly be excelled elsewhere for all kinds of outdoor exercise and work, being comparatively free from interruptions by unsettled weather conditions. The average direction of the wind during January being on shore from the southwest and the northeast, tends greatly to alleviate the climate and cause small variations in the temperature daily, as compared with more inland localities. The wind velocities also are moderate, maximum winds equalling or exceeding 40 miles per hour having occurred only five times in January within the last twenty-five years.

The warmest month of the year, July, has a normal temperature of 80, the highest mean being 84 in 1875, and lowest mean 77 in 1890. The average number of days on which the temperature reached 90 or above, monthly, was nine. The maximum temperature on record, 103, occurred on the 12th of July, 1879, and minimum 58, on the 11th of July, 1890. During the past twenty-five years the maximum has attained 100 on only four dates in the month of July. The relative humidity of the month, 79% for the past twenty-five years, is only a moderate mean. The records of the office show that on the days with high maximum temperature it is the rule to have a humidity below the average, with winds during the heat of the afternoon, fresh to brisk, and generally on shore.

Owing to these conditions, a case of sunstroke or injury from heat exposure is very rare.

The average wind direction during July is southwest. The average cloudiness is about 4.0; clear days nine, fair fourteen, cloudy eight, for the past twenty-five years.


The precipitation covering rainfall and snowfall is greatest during August, with an average of 7.59 inches, and least in November, 2.60 inches. The normal rainfall for the year for a period of twenty-five years is 54.35 inches.

The heaviest seasonal rainfall occurring during the summer months, averaging 20.62 inches, in connection with the time of greatest heat, produces a luxuriant growth of vegetation, and affords abundant moisture to crops during the period most needed.


Commencing with April, a regular increase in rainfall occurs, reaching a maximum in August, then decreasing through the fall months, and increasing through the winter months until March closes. During the period of growth the rainfall usually falls in the form of refreshing showers, locally, and is seldom of long duration, thus preventing, except in isolated cases, drouthy conditions of any great duration.

The moderate rains of the early spring months are especially beneficial to truck and strawberry growers, the latter especially being usually secured in such an excellent condition as to bring the highest market value, on account of their cleanliness and full development.

Owing to the favorable climatic conditions, trucking has been rapidly on the increase, and is becoming one of the principal occupations of the people of the locality. The table of seasonal rainfall shows the reliance that can always be placed upon a sufficient rainfall during the growing months to fully develop the crops of this section.


With the exception of the heavy snowfall of February 17th, 1896, amounting to 12.1 inches, no previous snowfall equaling 4 inches in amount is on record. The snowfall usually, when it occurs, not exceeding an inch in depth. Snow falls only during the months of December, January, February and March, and very rarely remains on the ground over twenty-four hours, usually disappearing as it falls. The heavy snowfall of February 17th, 1896, was such a rarity that the people crowded the streets to observe it, and old and staid merchants engaged in snowball. No such a previous fall is in the memory of the oldest inhabitant.


The average date of killing frosts—the earliest in fall, November 8th, the latest in spring, March 30th. Owing to the very favorable location of this locality, a damaging frost, which cannot be guarded against, is of very rare occurrence. With the Ocean on one side and the Cape Fear River and tributaries surrounding, danger to the trucking and strawberry interests is of the very slightest in the early spring, except in the case of the occurrence of a very severe freeze.



Thus it will be seen that the climate is well adapted to those suffering from weak lungs or other diseases incident to the intense cold of northern and western States. This section is remarkably free from malarial diseases. It is a well-known fact that such fevers as occur here, in the summer and autumn, are few in number, and by no means so fatal as those of the interior and more elevated portions of the country. The general healthfulness is indicated by the most vigorous and robust appearance of the population. By the use of driven wells cool water may be obtained in the greatest abundance free from surface contamination.


SUB-TROPICAL NATURE OF THE CLIMATE.—The best thermometer by which one may read the temperature of a section is its forest growth and vegetation. By this growth and vegetation nature shows to man that “annual mean” which, far above all others, is most reliable in every detail. Just south of New Hanover County, and but twenty-five miles south of Wilmington, is Smith's Island, called by one of North Carolina's most eminent geologists, the late Prof. Keer, “A little spot of Florida in North Carolina.” On this island, once a continuation of New Hanover (see map page 5), the palmetto of Florida, in all its tropical splendor, is a living witness to the wonderful influence of the near-by Gulf Stream's kindly warmth. But the wonder does not stop here. Way up on the Cape Fear River, ten miles above Wilmington, may still be seen other palmettoes,—not tall and stately like those on Smith's Island, at the mouth of the river, it is true, but there they are testifying to a mild climate and fertile soil so far north of what is generally thought to be the limit of their growth. Surely a land so highly favored as to soil and climate, and so near the great markets of the North, is all that can be desired for the most profitable truck farms on the Atlantic Coast anywhere north of Florida.


Many of those who read these pages will remember having learned as a school-boy that Wilmington was once the leading naval stores market of the world. Even to-day this statement lingers upon the pages of some not-up-to-date geographies.


The pine-tree of eastern North Carolina, however, no longer yields the great quantities of turpentine that it once did, and new industries are springing up in that land, where once the tar-kiln burned and the turpentine hand went from tree to tree “tending his crop of boxes.” As the trees became exhausted the owner of the soil was forced to turn his attention to other modes of making a living, new industries sprang up, and now upon the “pine barrens,” once deemed unfit for farming purposes, the truck farmer makes more clear money than the great land owner of a former generation ever made from his turpentine orchards. This change of industry was a possibility, depending largely upon the very fine character of the soil and the exceptionally fine climate.


The county is dotted with most comfortable school-houses, which are furnished with the best seats, blackboards, and other school apparatus. The schools are kept open during the full term required by law, and the school authorities of New Hanover County have ever been known as progressive and tireless workers in behalf of popular education. In the City of Wilmington, which is within easy reach of many of the truck farms, the school system embraces primary, grammar, and high school grades, to which the children of all citizens are admitted free of charge.


The finest road in the State runs from Wilmington to Wrightsville Sound, just nine miles east of this city. It passes through some of the best land of the county, is made of oyster shells, has no grades, and is practically free from curves. Realizing the importance of good roads, the County Commissioners have secured Legislative enactment authorizing the levying and collecting of a road tax. This tax, which is now being levied and collected annually, is applied to the building of a system of macadamized roads penetrating the remotest sections of the county.

The Board of Commissioners of New Hanover County are a liberal-hearted body of men, progressive in their ideas, and extend a hearty welcome to all intending settlers. The Board is composed of F. W. Foster, Chairman, Roger Moore, F. G. Dempsey, W. F. Alexander and Jordan Nixon.

Two of New Hanover County's Public School Houses.


The surface of the county is low, level and sandy. With the exception of a small quantity of swamp land bordering some of the streams, and here and there a sand-dune in the south central portion of the county, there is a fine clay sub-soil which serves to retain all of the fertilizers placed upon it. All of this land is easily tilled and, responding readily and liberally to intelligent cultivation, it yields abundant crops of early fruits and vegetables. A few years ago its value was not appreciated, but, to-day, in the Wilmington section are some of the finest truck farms in the South, and New Hanover County is rapidly becoming known as the leading trucking section of North Carolina.


The transportation facilities are very abundant and satisfactory. Three railroads run through the county, and but little of the most desirable land is more than five or six miles from some shipping point. The Wilmington, New Bern & Norfolk Railroad and the Atlantic Coast Line give quick transportation to the great markets of the North. The Wilmington Sea-coast Railroad from the Sound connects at Wilmington with both of the above lines of road. Time from Wilmington to northern markets is as follows:

From Wilmington to New York, fast freight, 36 hours

From Wilmington to New York, express, 24 hours

From Wilmington to Boston, fast freight, 60 hours

From Wilmington to Boston, express, 36 hours

Train of Refrigerator Cars being loaded with Strawberries.










President, Wilmington, N. C.

August 31, 1896.

Dear Sir:—Replying to yours of the 21st, answer to which was delayed on account of absence, I beg to state that New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Providence, and the larger New England towns, Washington, Baltimore and Newark, are the leading markets to which truck is shipped from the Wilmington section. This season we forwarded shipments of berries and truck to Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburg and Buffalo, but the volume of business moving to said points was small. I believe, however, that it will rapidly increase.

In answer to the third question contained in your letter, would name strawberries, potatoes, asparagus, lettuce, peas, beans and radishes.

Answering question 4: freight schedule to New York 36 hours, express 24 hours; Boston freight schedule 60 hours, express 36 hours; Chicago freight 4 days, express 3 days.

Yours truly,

Train of Refrigerator Cars loaded with Strawberries. (See “Messenger” article.)


A resident of this county, who is one of the most practical and successful farmers of the State, says:

“The character of the land in the vicinity of Wilmington is of a light nature, but it has a solid clay sub-soil and is very easily cultivated. Strawberries grown in the vicinity of Wilmington are superior in quality to those produced in any other section of the State. They grow luxuriantly, are of the richest aroma and most delicious taste, and are shipped in large quantities to northern markets, yielding a fine profit to cultivators. The yield of asparagus is also large and profitable, and as for watermelons, cantaloupes and blackberries, the land seems to be particularly adapted to their cultivation, since the yield is in some cases simply amazing.


flourish also. They grow very freely, particularly the Concord and Niagara varieties, but the soil will produce without much labor any kind of grape that is grown in any part of North Carolina.

“As fine corn is produced here as upon any bottom land, and will yield as much to the acre. Upon six acres properly prepared, and which came under my own observation, the yield was magnificent, and those six acres will surely produce as abundantly as the famous corn lands of Hyde County.”


In addition to what has been written, it is desired to call attention to the following statements which have been kindly furnished us by resident truckers, and to state that they express the views of reliable, practical men, who are thoroughly conversant with the matters of which they treat, and whose knowledge has been obtained in that best of all schools, experience, and to add that in every respect they are entirely trustworthy. The following circular letter was sent out to many of our farmers, and we have printed some of the replies received, regretting that we have not space for all. The reader's attention is called to the perfectly candid statements about the soil, climate, labor, etc., especially is the attention called to the friendly tone used in speaking about new-comers.

SWEET POTATOES—Apple Orchard in the distance—J. T. FOY's Farm.

WILMINGTON, N. C., August 24th, 1896.

My Dear Sir:—It is the purpose of the Chamber of Commerce to publish an illustrated pamphlet advertising the advantages of the Wilmington section for trucking purposes.

You are cordially invited to help us in our effort to properly advertise our part of North Carolina, and thus attract to our midst a large body of desirable immigrants. You can help in two ways. First—Write us a letter giving any information relative to soil, climate, crops, labor, or anything else incident to good farming. Second—Answer as many as possible of the following questions, but we prefer a letter written in your own style. However, both will not be too much if you feel inclined to give us both the letter and the questions.

M. C. S. NOBLE, for Committee.


What is the nature of the soil? Sandy loam.

Has it a clay sub-soil? No. Is it easily cultivated? Yes, very.

Does it require much or little fertilizing? Little will do, but much is better for some crops.

Do you prepare your own fertilizers? Yes.

Do you buy much commercial fertilizers? No, very little.

What kind of fertilizers do you prepare? Lot manure and mud.

Is there any marl on your farm, and is its use profitable? Plenty, but never used it.

What kind of fertilizers—that is, home-made or any other—seem best suited to your soil? Some crops will do better to alternate.

What crops do you plant for shipment? Asparagus, radishes, potatoes.

Which crop do you plant the most of? Radishes, as I can ship in 30 to 35 days after planted.

Which is the most profitable? Some years one, and some another.

To which does your land seem specially adapted? To root crops.

How many plows, and how many hands do you work? One plow, four to six hands.

Peanut Field of J. T. FOY, Scott's Hill, on the line of the Wilmington, New Bern & Norfolk R. R.—near Wilmington, N. C.

How many crops of the same kind can you produce on the same land annually? From two to three.

How many different crops on the same land can you produce annually? Six. 1st asparagus, 2d radishes, 3d turnips, 4th beans, 5th cow peas, 6th turnips.

Does your land seem to bear well a succession of crops annually? Yes.

Do you have difficulty in procuring labor? No.

What is the daily pay of field hands? Thirty to forty cents.

Is the climate favorable for out-door work? Yes, all the year.

Which and how far is your nearest shipping point? Wilmington, N. C.

Could wind-mill power be used advantageously in pumping water for use in hot beds, &c.? Yes, if extensive operations and very light land. Otherwise they would not.

If Wilmington could be made the centre of a truck-raising section, could not the truckers obtain advantages over other points in freight rates, speed of trains, &c., and water transportation, and by more thorough organization get better prices? Yes.

I am convinced that winter truck farming in this section is in its infancy, and if properly carried on, a farmer can do all his work by June; after that, he can make two crops of hay, which will require no labor except cutting and curing, which is usually over with in time for his fall and winter crops.

Very truly,


What is the nature of the soil? Light sandy loam.

Has it a clay sub-soil? Mostly all the land, clay sub-soil.

Is it easily cultivated? Yes, very easy cultivated.

Does it require much or little fertilizing? Moderate supply.

Do you prepare your own fertilizers? No.

Do you buy much commercial fertilizers? To no great extent.

What kind of fertilizers do you prepare? When prepare any, cotton seed meal and acid phosphate.

Lettuce Bed in Suburbs of Wilmington, N. C.—G. H. HUTAFF.

Is there any marl on your farm, and is its use profitable? Have marl on farm, but have never used any.

What kind of fertilizers—that is, home-made, or any other—seems best suited to your soil? All I have ever used seems to do well.

What crops do you plant for shipment? Lettuce, strawberries, beets, potatoes, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peas, beans, egg plants and squash.

What crop do you plant the most off? Potatoes, egg plants, tomatoes, cantaloupes and beets.

Which is the most profitable? Irish potatoes, egg plants and cantaloupe.

To which does your land seem specially adapted? To all vegetables ever have planted.

How many plows and how many hands do you work? Three plows and five hands.

How many crops of the same kind can you produce annually? Two of potatoes and two of beans.

How many different crops on same land can you produce annually? Potatoes and corn, and beans and corn.

Does your land seem to bear well a succession of crops annually? Always an average crop.

Do you have difficulty in procuring labor? No.

What is the daily pay of field hands? Women, forty cents; men, fifty to sixty cents.

Is the climate favorable for out-door work? Most favorable climate; no time lost except when it is raining.

How far is your nearest shipping point? From three-quarters to one and one-quarter miles.

If Wilmington could be made the centre of a truck-raising section, could not the truckers obtain advantages over other points in freight rates, speed of trains, etc., and by more thorough organization get better prices? Cannot say as to advantages over other sections; lower freight rates and quick transportation undoubtedly would be given to the truckers; as to thorough organization, it might be good, but do not see how it would make purchasers give better prices; truck is all perishable and cannot be held over for future delivery. Will say this much, that we have the climate and soil specially adapted to raising of truck, of most all kinds, too numerous to mention, also good transportation facilities to all points.



September, 1, 1896.

This Corn two months old.—Planted on land from which a good crop of Irish Potatoes has just been gathered.—F. M. FOY's Farm, Scott's Hill, near
Wilmington, N. C.

What is the nature of the soil? Loamy, with clay foundation.

Has it a clay sub-soil? Yes. Is it easily cultivated? Yes.

Does it require much or little fertilizing? Medium quantity.

Do you prepare your own fertilizers? A part.

Do you buy much commercial fertilizers? Some, not much.

What kind of fertilizers do you prepare? Stable manure, wood mould, &c., composted.

Is there any marl on your farm, and is its use profitable? I think there is some.

What kind of fertilizer—that is, home-made, or any other—seems best suited to your soil? Home-made.

What crops do you plant for shipment? Peas, beans, lettuce.

Which crop do you plant the most of? Peas.

Which is the most profitable? Lettuce.

To which does your land seem specially adapted? All garden truck.

How many plows, and how many hands do you work? Two plows and about six hands.

How many crops of the same kind can you produce on same land annually? Two.

How many different crops on same land can you produce annually? Two.

Does your land seem to bear well a succession of crops annually? Yes.

Do you have difficulty in procuring labor? No.

What is the daily pay of field hands? Fifty cents per day.

Is the climate favorable for out-door work? Yes.

Which and how far is your nearest shipping point? Wilmington, 7½ miles.

Could wind-mill power be used advantageously in pumping water for use in hot-beds, &c.? Yes.

If Wilmington could be made the centre of a truck-raising section, could not the truckers obtain advantages over other points in freight rates, speed of trains, &c., and by more thorough organization get better prices? I think so.

Answered by yours truly,


GLENOE STOCK FARM, near Wilmington—on the line of the Wilmington, New Bern & Norfolk R. R.



President Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington, N. C.

My Dear Sir:—It affords me pleasure to answer your letter of a recent date. Knowing that my reply is for publication, I desire to say in the outset that I have no farming lands to sell, even at exorbitant prices. In my opinion our climate is in no respect inferior to that of any other section. I think that I may safely say that there is not a month in the whole year in which a farmer may not with comfort and profit till the soil and attend to all the details of farming. To say that we never have any cold and disagreeable weather during the winter months would be misrepresenting the facts, but our cold snaps are of such short duration as not to materially retard growing crops or interfere with out-door work. A practical farmer from the rich lands of the West would at first sight pronounce our lands worthless. I am frank to admit that the general appearance of our piney woods land is not very pleasing to any one unacquainted with their real value, but where such lands have a good clay sub-soil, there are no soils in our South-land which yield more bountiful or more remunerative crops. I have had a long experience in farming in a general way, and in planting rice and other crops which require special methods of cultivation, and I am thoroughly convinced that there is no section in the South that will give better results under a systematic method of intensive farming than that around Wilmington. For only a few years have I turned my attention to truck farming exclusively, but I am well pleased with the result, and know of no business more profitable if properly conducted. For two months I have been shipping lettuce to the northern markets and receiving for it satisfactory prices. I am now replacing my lettuce beds with beets, tomatoes, egg-plants and other vegetables, which will mature and be sold in ample time to gather from the same land from two to three tons of good hay per acre. This grass is a spontaneous growth, and when cut in proper season, makes excellent hay. So that we can safely calculate on getting three crops from the same land during the same year. Radishes may be successfully raised without any protection from the cold, and mature for shipment by the first of April. Let me recapitulate, so that what I have said may not be misconstrued. Our climate is not faultless, but well adapted to the successful growing of cotton, corn, wheat, rice, Irish and sweet potatoes,

VIEW AT CAROLINA BEACH, one of Wilmington's Popular Resorts.

radishes, lettuce, beans, peas, asparagus, onions, strawberries, &c. The strawberry crop is very remunerative. My experiments with broom-corn and castor-oil beans have been limited but satisfactory, and I have no doubt but that either of them could be raised very profitably. The labor problem does not seriously affect our farming interests. Good field hands can be had without any trouble at from fifty to seventy-five cents a day, and in the culture and gathering of vegetables and small fruits women can be had at even less prices.

Yours truly,


Feb. 1, 1896.


SCOTT'S HILL, N. C., August 12, 1896.

MR. E. S. TENNENT, Wilmington, N. C.

Dear Sir:—The 11th of May, 1893, I commenced digging Irish potatoes and finished digging the last of May, and my yield was 220 bushels per acre. I put out sweet potatoes on the same land in June and made a good crop. Last year (1895) I made on this tract 185 bushels of Irish potatoes per acre, and the 8th of June planted it in corn and field peas. I gathered the corn in September and made a yield of 30 bushels per acre; also made a fine crop of peas and turned my hogs into them. This year I made 192 bushels of Irish potatoes per acre, and now have the same land planted in corn. (See Photo.)

The corn was planted on the 10th of June. This land has made from two to three crops every year for five years. I use barn-yard manure and some fertilizer for the potato crop, but don't use any manure for the crops that follow. The year 1895 and this year was too dry for the potato crop, or I would have made a better yield of potatoes; for the land is more fertile than when I started with it five years ago. You will notice I dug my potatoes early to get them on the market for the high prices. I am satisfied the yield would have been much more if I had let them mature. I made in the year 1892 on two and one-half acres of land over 11,000 marketable cantaloupes that brought me $490.

Yours truly,

F. M. FOY.



August 7, 1896.


Wilmington, N. C.

Dear Sir:—

At your request, I will give you a few figures as to my experience in farming.

Our land at Scott's Hill is not suitable for cotton, nor is ours considered a good grain country. This immediate section of North Carolina is the home of the peanut, and it is not unusual for a yield of from 50 to 60 bushels per acre to be made. I now have a field of Spanish peanuts that I think will produce more than 40 bushels per acre. Our melon crop is always a good one; I have received as much as $145.00 for the cantaloupes raised on a patch just a little more than one-half acre.

I plant about one and one-half acres in strawberries; and my receipts this season were $146.00, after deducting expense of freight and commissions. I might add this was considered a very poor season for berries. Of Irish potatoes I have raised 187 bushels per acre, and the sweet potato yield is from 300 to 400 bushels per acre. Can begin marketing Irish potatoes May 1st, and have this crop out of the way in time for a crop of sweets on the same land. I have made good crops of cabbage, turnips, onions and other vegetables. Pears, peaches and apples do well if attended to.

Yours truly,



Potato Field of W. B. CANADY—Strawberries in the background.


SCOTT'S HILL, N. C., August 6, 1896.


Wilmington, N. C.

Dear Sir:—

Replying to your request for some data in regard to my farm work, I beg to submit the following:

The land in and around Scott's Hill is of a light, loamy character, with clay sub-soil, requiring but little drainage, very easily worked and capable of a high degree of cultivation.

My first strawberries were planted in 1892. I was inexperienced, and only planted one-half acre; my net returns, after deducting all expenses, were $125.00. I used only home fertilizers.

In sweet potatoes I have raised 404 bushels of marketable potatoes per acre, after having first gathered a large crop of yellow rutabaga turnips from same land; price ranging from 40 cents to $1.00 per bushel for potatoes. Turnips were fed to cattle and not marketed. Used no commercial fertilizer, but large quantity of barn-yard manure. Began marketing sweet potatoes this season on August 5th, and got $1.50 per bushel. Have made on 40-acre field of peanuts an average of 50 bushels to the acre, price ranging from 50 cents to $1.00 per bushel.

Melons grow very easily with us and are prolific producers. I estimate my melon crop as worth about $50.00 per acre net.

Oats do well, and we can make very fair yield.

I commence cutting asparagus about 1st of March, and shipments last six weeks to two months; can make good crops, and find ready sale for same. I only plant corn for home use, and raise all my own pork. I market spring lambs by Easter Sunday, and get $2.00 to $2.50 per head; at no expense for feeding, simply let them run at large.

Trusting this information may be of some use to you, I remain,

Yours very truly,

J. T. FOY.



December 20, 1896.


Wilmington, N. C.

Dear Sir:—In answer to your letter of the 17th instant—will say I came to this part of the country September 18, 1896, visited Scott's Hill, looked over the Colony land carefully, and after several days spent in examining the country, decided to buy. The climate is healthy and invigorating, the soil fine and well fit for trucking, peanuts and fruit raising. The Sound is near-by, and abounds in fine fish, oysters and clams. It is with pleasure I speak well of all the people around here, who all received me very kindly, and I am sure they will everybody. Hoping my letter will induce people who are about to buy lands to settle here, I remain,

Yours respectfully,



Formerly of Freeport, Ill.


December 20, 1896.


Wilmington, N. C.

Dear Sir:—I came to this country in December, about the 3d—visited Scott's Hill, looked over the Colony land carefully, and after several days spent in examining the country, decided to buy.

The climate is healthy and invigorating, the soil fine. I like the place and people very much; they are sociable and received me kindly.

Yours respectfully,


Formerly of Rockford, Ill.

February 10, 1897.


President Chamber of Commerce.

Dear Sir:—In answer to your request, will state that I planted one-half acre in strawberries in August. I began shipping in April, and shipped enough berries from this half acre to clear me $210.00; besides my sales in town amounted to $40.00. This year I planted same land in lettuce, under canvas; I have shipped first crop, which amounted to 110 barrels. I enclose a photo. of one of my beds of lettuce, taken December 28th. The same beds are planted in lettuce at present, it being a second crop. Beans will be planted the first of March, so that when the lettuce is off beans will come in as a third crop, under same canvas. A fine crop of hay will be harvested from this piece of land in August.

If the second crop of lettuce pays as well as the first, of which there is a fair prospect, I expect to realize a net profit of $400.00. This climate seems to suit lettuce, which we can produce to perfection, and we are told daily by Northern commission men that Wilmington lettuce is the best in the market. Our only drawback is the freight, which is 98 cents per barrel, which is about 2 cents per pound. I think the Truckers’ Association, recently organized, will help to remedy this. Hoping that this letter will give a small amount of the information you desire, I remain,

Yours respectfully,



A trucker near Wilmington sold, during the spring of 1896, from one-half an acre of land, $234.29 worth of strawberries. For one crate (32 quarts) he received $8.00, with which he bought 20 bushels of corn the following winter. This same farmer made, as he expressed it, “two and a half crops on the same piece of land.” He planted Irish potatoes in February, sweet potatoes in May, and strawberries in November, from which, it being their first year, he received only half a crop.

WILMINGTON, N. C., March 9, 1897.

MR. JAS. H. CHADBOURN, JR., President, City.

Dear Sir:—Answering your inquiry about the shipments of strawberries, lettuce, asparagus, radishes and other vegetables that are shipped from here in refrigerator cars. Being engaged in the ice business, my efforts to enlarge this business have brought me directly in contact with a great many men who produce large quantities of strawberries and vegetables, and I believe enables me to speak about these matters in an intelligent manner.

When I first came here, about eleven years ago, there was no such thing in use on any of the railroads as a refrigerator car, neither was there any ice bought by the shippers of vegetables from around this section. Five or six years ago, about the latter part of March and the early part of April, there was a demand for small quantities of ice for the shipment of radishes. Ten years ago there was no lettuce raised, either in the open fields or under cloth covers, for shipment to other markets. It was, in fact, difficult to get any good lettuce for home use during the winter months. Five years ago there was shipped from along the line of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, from this point, twenty-seven car loads of strawberries in refrigerator cars. That year the total shipment by freight, express and refrigerator cars was about 250,000 quarts.

During the season of 1896 there was shipped from along the line of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad 296 refrigerator car loads of strawberries, and a grand total by refrigerator cars, express and freight, over three million quarts. This shows an increase in five years of over 1,200% in the shipment of strawberries alone.

Five years ago lettuce was shipped only in a small way. This past year it is estimated that there were over 35,000 packages of lettuce shipped from this section. Five years ago the shipment of radishes was estimated to have been about 1,000 packages. This past year they are estimated to have exceeded 15,000 packages.

The increase within the last five years of the production of beans has been marvelous; likewise of Irish potatoes. Having been engaged for several years prior to entering this business in the handling of “green truck,” thereby being led to travel over large sections of different parts of the country where these vegetables are produced, I am convinced, by reason of the very mild climate and the light and well-adapted soil, that there is scarcely a section of the United States better adapted

to the cultivation of this class of truck for an early market than around this immediate section. Experiments have proven that nearly all root crops grow here to perfection, and that there are a great many vegetables that bring a good price in the Northern markets to which this soil is well adapted that are not cultivated at all. Experiments made here within the last year have proven, beyond question, that as fine celery can be raised in this immediate vicinity as is produced around Kalamazoo or any other section of the country. While a large increase in the production of strawberries alone must mean a large increase in the acreage, there yet remains in this immediate vicinity and along the line of this railroad thousands of acres of land that can be had at a reasonable price that is just as well adapted to the cultivation of strawberries, lettuce, radishes and all the early vegetables. The fact is, that the land that is best adapted to the cultivation of celery is scarcely cultivated at all. We have the climate, we have the soil, we have the rainfall at the season of the year when it is necessary to the rapid growth of these vegetables, and all that is needed to make this the richest and the most productive truck-raising section of the United States is the live, energetic system of farming that we find in the great West and Northwest. It may be of interest to any one who proposes engaging in the cultivation of strawberries to say, that from experiments made last year, we have proven conclusively that if the strawberries are perfectly sound and in good condition, that at a temperature of 40° they can be kept in exactly the same condition for a period of four weeks. I proved this to be so last year, by putting a crate of strawberries in our cold storage house, and kept it there for four weeks, when we took them out and found that a few of the over-ripe berries were slightly moulded; the balance of them were in perfect condition. The temperature of this house was from 40° to 42° during the four weeks. This, it seems to me, proves conclusively that if the berries are in first-class condition upon shipment from this territory in refrigerator cars, that they can, with perfect safety, be transported to markets that heretofore we have been unable to reach.

Yours very truly,


A Few Clippings from “The Wilmington Messenger.”

More than $20,000 Worth of Strawberries Shipped to the Northern Markets from this Vicinity Yesterday.

The strawberry business is now booming. Mr. A. S. Maynard, Southern Agent of the California Fruit Transportation Company, informs us that the largest shipment of the season was made yesterday. Fifteen refrigerator cars left here on the Atlantic Coast Line, and carried 4,300 crates, picked up between here and Mount Olive. Besides this, 1,700 crates went by express and open freight. The whole shipment was 6,000 crates, or 192,000 quarts, worth, at the quotations wired the Messenger from New York last night, more than $20,000. The quotations for North Carolina berries are from 9 to 20 cents per quart. The berries shipped will average 10 cents per quart at the least calculation. Mr. Maynard is here looking after the business for the California Fruit Transportation Company, and is a guest of the Purcell. Mrs. Maynard is here with him. Mr. H. A. Thomas, General Manager of the Company, arrived here yesterday, and is stopping at the Purcell.—Messenger of May 1st, 1896.


Our truckers will no doubt be gratified to learn that the Canada markets are now opened for strawberries grown in our State along the Atlantic Coast Line. This intelligence will be all the more pleasing, as our own markets are fast declining. Mr. E. McN. Carr, who represents Messrs. J. J. Vipond & Co., of Montreal, Canada, is here, and yesterday he informed us that the Atlantic Coast Line, together with the California Fruit Transportation Company, has perfected arrangements for carrying refrigerator cars through to Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton and other Canadian cities, and has made rates for carload shipments to any one point, the minimum carload to consist of not less than 200 crates. The rate to Montreal will be $2.17 per crate, and deliveries will be made there in practically the same length of time as shipments to Boston.

The Southern Express Company will likewise give through rates to Montreal at $2.00 per crate. Mr. Carr last evening showed us telegraphic quotations from Messrs. J. J. Vipond & Co., stating that berries were in good demand in Montreal at 30 cents per quart. The average duty on berries shipped to Canada is about 2¼ cents per quart.—Messenger of May 1st, 1896.


Twenty Carloads Shipped from this Vicinity Yesterday—Largest Shipments Ever Made Along the Coast Line—They Represent $32,366.40 in Value.

Yesterday the shipments of strawberries from Wilmington and points along the Atlantic Coast Line reached the high-water mark, exceeding the highest shipment of any previous season. Mr. A. S. Maynard, Southern Agent of the California Fruit Transportation Company, tells us that twenty carloads were shipped, embracing 6,743 crates, or 215,776 quarts. At the average New York quotations, taking a figure 10 cents less than the maximum price, the value of this shipment is $32,366.40. Last season the largest shipment in any one day was 5,629 crates. Up to yesterday that was the greatest shipment ever made from along the Coast Line. Mr. Maynard tells us that he expects the shipment to-day will even exceed that of yesterday, and that he anticipates that Monday will witness greater shipments still.—Messenger of May 2d, 1896.

The shipments of strawberries yesterday were 25 carloads, 7,473 crates, 239,136 quarts. Value, $35,870.40. Cash value of past three days’ shipments, $88,536.80.—Messenger of May 3d, 1896.


A Revelation at Mr. Garrell's Fine Truck Farm—The Largest Lettuce-Grower in the South—A Carload of Lettuce Shipped Yesterday.

Mr. S. W. Westbrook, the clever representative of Messrs. Redfield & Son, of Philadelphia, drove some friends out to Mr. John F. Garrell's truck farm, at Sans Souci, yesterday, and invited the newspaper men to accompany them.

A Messenger representative who was in the party experienced a perfect revelation upon arriving at Mr. Garrell's place. He has sixty beds of lettuce under canvas, and covering an area of five acres; and the plants are of all sizes, and looking splendid. He also has fine beds of young beets, and a quantity of cabbages that are thriving well.

Our people have no idea of the extensiveness of Mr. Garrell's trucking business, and will be surprised to learn that he is the most extensive single individual grower of lettuce in the South. He has been making shipments of lettuce daily for some time, and on yesterday shipped to Messrs. Redfield & Co. a whole carload of elegantly headed lettuce. Up to date he has shipped 400 barrels; and we learn that he expects his shipments this season to reach from 8,000 to 10,000 barrels. The carload shipped on yesterday, we are informed, is the only one ever shipped by one man from North Carolina.

It is gratifying to note that Mr. Garrell has made a complete success of the trucking industry, and the Messenger wishes him continued good fortune. Mr. Walter Collins, a very clever gentleman, and an experienced trucker, is his superintendent.—Messenger, December 21st, 1896.

PALMETTO TREE on Smith's Island, at mouth of
Cape Fear River, North Carolina.

Where to Get Information

PERSONS wishing to get more definite information in regard to the trucking lands of New Hanover County will please write to any member of the Chamber of Commerce, whose names appear on the first page of this book. All letters of inquiry will be turned over to responsible citizens, who will answer promptly.

New Hanover County: sub-tropical region of North Carolina
New Hanover County : sub-tropical region of North Carolina. [Wilmington, N.C. : Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, 1897?] 43 p. : ill. ; 15 cm. Original held by New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, N.C.
Original Format
Local Identifier
North Carolina Room
Location of Original
New Hanover County Public Library
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