Eda and John traveled throughout the south during the early years of their marriage. He drilled wells for water. Their children were born in West Point, Mississippi and Selma, Alabama. John I wrote a letter to the Decatur Review from Eutaw, Alabama in February of 1899 which was published in the Decatur paper.
The Decatur Review
Friday Morning, Feb. 17, 1899 Page 4
Source: www.ancestry.com Newspaper archives
Eutaw, Ala. Feb. 14, 1899
The Review being a regular visitor to me at this place and seeing a good many letters from farther south than this, I thought I would give the Macon county people a description of this country here.
We are just recovering from a sudden attack of a northern-type blizzard, the measure going sown to nine degrees below zero yesterday morning, being the coldest weather by eight degrees ever experienced in this country, according to the oldest settlers.
I am an old Macon county boy, being born and raised in Harristown township.
Eutaw is a beautiful little town of 600 inhabitants about seventy-five miles southwest from Birmingham and sixty-two miles northeast from Meridian, Miss, on the A. G. S. railroad. The soil in town is sandy with red clay subsoil and is excellent land when fertilized, but south and southwest from town two miles begins the celebrated prairie belt of Alabama, the finest cotton land in the United States. Land that has grown nothing but cotton for sixty years and not a shovelful of fertilizer and still makes a good crop, from 600 to 800 pounds of seed cotton to the bale. Of course, taking these lands as a whole, they will not produce that much, for there are spots in them, as in all other sections of the south, that will not produce anything. The best of these lands will produce from fifteen to twenty-five bales of cotton per acre, but would do better if they were fertilized.
These lands lay as pretty and look as good as Macon county lands and can be bought from $10 to $25 per acre and rent for from $1.50 to $2.50 per acres, so you see it is a better per cent on the amount invested than most Macon county lands.
Good pasture can be made here in a short time, also good hay grasses do well here and hay is in good demand at from $12.50 to $18 per ton.
All kinds of stock do well here and do not have to be fed so long through the winter. I have seen good hogs killed taken up from the woods and they had not see a grain of corn all fall. Some fine deer and turkeys are in the swamp and plenty of quail and rabbit. The climate is mild and healthful, about the same as through all the central south.
I would not advise any one to come here without some capital. I believe any one coming here with small capital and investing it prudently would realize quick and good returns. There is plenty of labor and good land and it needs some energy and eastern push to utilize it.
John I. Hawk