284 tHARLES WlLKES in their lower sections are much swollen by the backing of their waters during the height of the Columbia and all their lower ground submerged. This puts an effectual bar to their being used for anything but pasturage, which is fine through- out the year, and used excepting in the season of the floods, when the cattle are driven to the high grounds. My knowledge of the agriculture of this territory, it will be well to mention, is derived from visits being made to the various settlements, except Fort Langley and Fort Hall. That of the Indians on the different islands in Puget Sound and the Admiralty Inlet consists of potatoes principally, which are ex- tremely fine and raised in great abundance, and now constitute a large portion of their food. At Nisqually the Hudson Bay Co. had fine crops of wheat, oats, peas, potatoes, and so forth. The wheat, it was supposed, would yield 15 bushels to the acre. The farm has been two years under cultivation, and is principally intended for a graz- ing farm and dairy. They have now 70 milch cows, and make butter, and so forth, to supply their contract with the Russians. The Cowlitz farm is also in the western section; the pro- duction of wheat is good, about 20 bushels to the acre; the ground, however, has just been brought under cultivation. They have here 600 acres, which are situated on the Cowlitz River, about 30 miles from the Columbia. The company is about to erect a saw and grist mill. This farm is finely situ- ated, and the harvest of 1841 produced 7,000 bushels of wheat. Several Canadians are also established here, who told me that they succeeded well with but little work. They have erected buildings, live comfortably, and work small farms of 50 acres. I was told that the stock on this farm does not thrive so well as elsewhere. There are no low prairie grounds on that side of the river in the vicinity, and it is too far for them to resort to the Kamass plains, a fine grazing country a few miles distant, where the wolves would make sad depredations with the increase if not well watched. The hilly portions of the country, although the soil in many parts is very good, yet it is so heavily timbered as to make it
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/292
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