Johnson's New Railroad and
Township Copper-Plate Map of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri from the latest
and best authorities.
An 1854 description of Illinois by Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning states:
"The general surface of this State may be regarded as a gentle plain more or less rolling, inclined in the direction of the river. There are no mountains in its whole extent; the northern and extreme southern sections are somewhat broken and hilly. Some of the prairies are of vast extent, presenting the appearance of the ocean after a violent storm. There are some localities where very little timber is to be seen, and the prospect only bounded by the sky. In that portion north of Kaskaskia River the prairie country predominates; and it is computed that two-thirds of the State is covered with this class of land. Notwithstanding these lands are from thirty to one hundred feet higher than the bottom lands on the rivers, yet they are exceedingly fertile.
The vast railroad system projected, and which is now prosecuted with vigor, together with enlightened legislation, will soon rank this important star in the national galaxy among the most wealthy and populous of the Union; her lands in many sections having tripled in value within the past few years."
Pioneers began settling Missouri in the early 1820's. They followed the ancient Indian trade route referred to as the "Great Trail". The trail followed the great divide between the Missouri and the Mississippi watershed. Missouri was discovered to contain valuable coal reserves in the 1800's. The Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad was constructed during the 1850's. The line crossed the entire state from the Mississippi River to the Missouri. From that point Missouri towns grew rapidly.
This detailed map of the midwest states displays the railroad network of 1859 along with cities, towns, counties and waterways. It was published at that time by Alvin Jewett Johnson.