Annual report of the Board of Agriculture of the State of Ohio, p. 211-212 (1851)
Charcoal for Wheat
Jacob Vorhes, D. M. McKinley

There is not only decided evidence of a wish, but of an effort to improve the culture of this particular crop, and increase its product. It is the staple of the county, and the soil is admirably adapted to its culture. Deep ploughing is being resorted to by a greater number than heretofore; the drill is coming into use, and hundreds of our best farmers are eager to learn the best mode of improving and fertilizing their lands. The entire county is underlaid with limestone, and an abundance of timber yet remains to burn it. If it is found, by experiment or analyzation, that liming suits our soil, we will, in a few years, be as distinguished for our lime kilns and powdered fields, as some parts of Pennsylvania. Another means of improving the soil, that has been a subject of conversation during the past year, is with pulverized charcoal. Having no stone coal in this county, the blacksmiths have been supplied, since the first settlement of the country, with charcoal. Spots can therefore be pointed out, on almost every farm, where a coal pit has been burned, and you can scarcely talk with a farmer upon the subject, who does not say that, on such spots, the vegetation, to his knowledge, has been more luxuriant since his recollection, and that recollection reaches back to 20, 30, and even 40 years. My neighbor, Mr. Mathews, says a spot in his garden, which he cultivates, where the coal dust from a blacksmith shop was thrown, produces vegetables two weeks earlier, and finer ones than any ground he cultivates, no matter how thoroughly he manures and cultivates the balance. I have noticed a spot in my wheat field where a blacksmith shop stood 40 years ago, as producing finer wheat than any other part of the field; and a striking advantage is, that though the wheat is remarkably strong and vigorous in its growth upon this spot, it does not fall before maturing, as on other spots where old stables had stood, and the manure become, as the charcoal has, mingled with the soil.

These teachings of nature are before our eyes, and it remains to be seen whether we will improve them, by charcoaling our clay soils. If we engage in the process, we will not only benefit our agriculture, but aid the mechanic, by making a demand for corn and cob grinding mills, with which to pulverize the charcoal.