308 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI while 64 percent of Tallahatchie County’s population was enslaved that same year. In Issaquena County, whites made up less than 8 percent of the population. The growing of cotton proved to be a tumultuous and unpredictable endeavor in the first half of the nineteenth century, even as it would be at other times in the Delta’s history. Before the levees, flooding often threatened to destroy an entire year’s labor and put a plantation in peril. Standing water, high temperatures, and extreme humidity made for disease-infested swamps that did not discriminate between slave and free, male and female, young and old. When times were rough and the cotton crop fell under assault from natural and human forces, the dreams of many a prosperous Delta could appear to be dashed. But when the white bolls of cotton stood tall in newly cleared fields, the promises of the Delta frontier were being realized. Fortunes changed from year to year. Over the long term, though, Delta-raised cotton generated huge profits. Throughout Mississippi, the average field hand produced roughly 3.5 bales of cotton around 1850. In the Delta, the average was 5.7 bales per field hand. (One bale of cotton weighs approximately 500 pounds.) The value of Delta land was a clear sign of the productivity and profitability of cotton. In 1860, the average cash value per acre of farmland WADE, INC. In June of 1909, Wade-Hobbs Hardware Company opened its doors in Greenwood. In 1917 WADE, Inc., expanded by opening a location in Clarksdale. Over the next 107 years, WADE, Inc., expanded operations to twelve cities within the State of Mississippi and is now in its fourth generation of family leadership. From selling wood stoves and mule harnesses in the beginning, to today with the statewide state-of-the-art satellite tower network for self-driving equipment, WADE, Inc., with its primary partner, John Deere Company, provides agricultural solutions for lawn and garden projects, large property owners, cattle operations, and substantial farming enterprises. PHOTOS COURTESY OF WADE, INC.