Hemp variety introduced

Agricultural interests were boosted in Mason county with the introduction, in the spring of 1853, of a new species of hemp, the seed for which was brought by L. Maltby from abroad.

“When I was in France in the summer of 1851,” wrote Mr. Maltby in a communication to the Maysville press, “I learned that there had been introduced there, the So-ma, or Chinese Hemp, which was found to yield much more than the Russian. It requires, however, longer and warmer seasons than those of France to mature the seed, and consequently the seed was raised in Algiers and imported into France to be sown for lint-as it gave a yield one-third greater than the Russian hemp.

“It occurring to me that if our seasons were too cold to mature the seed, it could easily be raised in the South and brought here to be sown and that the farmer would be amply compensated for the enhanced cost of the seed, in the increasing production of lint, I brought the seed to this country, and in the spring of ’52, Mr. C. A. Marshall and myself both planted the seed of it, and I sent some to Louisiana. Mr. M. succeeded in raising the seed here, finding it mature about three weeks later than the native plant. In Louisiana it was easily raised.

“This spring ( 1853) Captain Peyton J. Key, near this place (Washington) sowed about an acre with this seed. The hemp is now standing and is some two feet higher than the native hemp sown on the same day in an adjoining piece of ground. It will average nearly ten feet in height, stand thicker on the ground, and will not be ready to cut till next week (September 1 )-some ten days later than the hemp sown by the side of it. It is of light green, with a narrow leaf, of deep indentations. It promises to lint very heavily. As far as any comparison can be made with the old variety, in the present green state of both, some farmers think it will give double the lint. “The ground occupied by the hemp will be measured, and the production per acre carefully ascertained . . . and there is no doubt that its superiority is so decided as to render it a great acquisition to farmimg.”

Excerpted from page 204 of G. Glenn Clift History of Maysville and Mason County Ky