Nashville and Vicinity Viewed Through Northern Spectacles

Mr. John C. Rorick, an intelligent citizen of Wauseon, O., was in Nashville a short time ago prospecting, and left with the remark to an acquaintance that he was pleased with the country and might return next fall to make this his home, being desirous of exchanging a cold for a mild climate. Since he returned he has published a letter in the Northwestern Republican, from which me make the following extract of local interest to us:

“After looking over Nashville, and talking with its business men, I have come to conclusion that it is not in a prosperous condition, financially. Real estate changes hands at fifty per cent of its value before the war, and buyers are hard to find at that. Farms in the vicinity are very low and rents moderate. An acquaintance informed me that he owned a good farm of seventy acres three miles from the city that he rents for two hundred dollars per annum. It was sold before the war for eleven thousand dollars. He paid after the war seven thousand dollars and thought it very cheap, but would sell it now for thirty-five hundred. The cause of these low prices I think can be easily explained. The consequences of the war have caused a new order of things. Men who were wealthy before the war, were bankrupted by it, and a new class have to the front who are doing business in a new way, and building up their fortunes on a new basis. Invested wealth formerly existed in slaves and plantations. It must now exit in manufactories, merchandise and farms. The monied value of the slaves has in effect been so much capital taken out of the country. The immense cost of the war has impoverished the people to just that extent. At the close the war the State of Tennessee occupied the position in a point of commercial prosperity, of a new State. A long time must of necessity elapse before the large plantations could be divided up, and arranged and improved into small paying farm, and mainly upon the farming prosperity must depend the accumulation of capital and the introduction of expensive manufactories. The slaves so recently freed, not accustomed to the management of business, are, as a mass, poorly fitted to build up a country and develop its wealth. The crops of the State last year were light, and considering all the circumstances it is remarkable that the country is as prosperous as it is. The larger and better class of people seem to have adapted themselves to the circumstances, and are applying themselves to business with an energy which foretells success. Farmers all of the State, not to be discouraged by the last year’s failure, are making extensive preparations for the coming season, with good prospects of success. All with whom I talked were anxious that men from the North should come here to settle. They realize that Northern capital and industry is needed to build up the country, and I have every reason to believe that all settlers from Northern or any Southern States will be gladly received and kindly treated. And further, I believe the State of Tennessee, with its soil adapted to the growth of almost every vegetable raised in a temperate zone; its inexhaustible minerals and wealth of timber; its fine climate and magnificent streams will speedily induce extensive settlement, and I prophecy that soon it will rank in agriculture among the very best States of the Union.”

Source: Nashville Union and American, April 16, 1875.


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