Mississippi State Geologist Report

on the Agriculture and Geology
of Mississippi 1854

Of rice, the census returns give about 2,700,000 pounds, as the crop of Mississippi in 1849. It is very generally cultivated in the southeastern counties, rarely, however, beyond an acre or two on a farm, although there are some plantations of considerable extent, as on the tide-waters of the gulf, one of which was observed on Back Bay, a few miles in the rear of Mississippi City.

The Upland variety is chiefly cultivated, and is in some cases partially irrigated.

It is principally cleaned by pounding by hand. A mill was met with, however, in Marion County, where both the hulling and winnowing were very effectually performed by water-power, on a scale adequate to the wants of a considerable neighborhood. The flavor of the newly-prepared rice met with in those counties is much richer and sweeter than that which we ordinarily purchase.

The sugar-cane is cultivated to a limited extent in some portions of the State. By the census returns, it appears that the crop of 1849 was equal to 388 hogsheads, and about 18,000 gallons of molasses.

Molasses has been made as far north as latitude 330 40' north, in Chickasaw County, where an experiment of three years has encouraged the belief that sugar can be profitably produced there to the extent of the local demand.

Sugar has also been made in Hinds County on a small scale for experiment, and small patches of the cane become more common as we approach the sea-shore.

East of Pearl River, and south of Covington County, many of the most substantial planters make all the sugar and molasses required for their own use, and some to spare to their neighbors.

The cane is obviously becoming gradually acclimated, and may at no distant period be grown advantageously throughout the greater portion of the State, for home consumption.

The sugar-mills are, of course, rude, and of small dimensions, consisting, in fact, of little more than the rollers for grinding the cane, which are made of seasoned oak timber, and stand generally in the open air; a common shed suffices for a protection of the kettles, which are common iron ones, such as are used for stock.

There are two of these mills in Pike County, and as many in Amite, where molasses has been made. In Marion County there are some eighteen or twenty, and several in Perry.

Should the ravages of the army worm and the rot continue to increase, and the present price of cotton not be maintained, the period is not remote, perhaps, when the cane will, to considerable extent, supersede the cultivation of cotton on the river plantations as high up as Natchez or Vicksburg.

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