“Carroll County Was Richest in U.S.?”

Carroll County Times article for 17 April 1994

By Jay A. Graybeal

Sometime during my schooling at Manchester elementary a teacher told our class that Carroll county had the richest agricultural land in the nation. It was the kind of statement that impressed me and I filed it away with other childhood memories. The recent chance discovery of the following 75 year old Union Bridge Pilot article jogged my memory and piqued my interest:

Carroll County
Taking exception to a recent article in the Baltimore Star crediting Yolo county, Cal., with the record of any county in the United States as being the wealthiest, so far as per capita wealth is concerned, the citizens of Carroll county claim that honor themselves, and knowing The Star wants to be fair toward Carroll county, request equal prominence to the latter’s claims.

Carroll county has a population of 34,000. It is strictly an agricultural county and cannot boast of a single millionaire. Its people for the most part are hardy farmers. It has 20 banks and trust companies, and the resources of these banks (not including one recently organized, from which no reports have been received,) total $13,843,000. This gives Carroll a per capita wealth, as represented in the banks, of $412. The resources of the county thus is divided by 34,000 population as against 13,926 for Yolo county, which claims $474 per capita. Carroll county’s taxable basis in round numbers in $30,000,000. As to Liberty Bonds, the county has brought of the four issues, bonds to the value of $4,800,000, or a million more than Yolo county, which totaled $3,958,600. The banks of Yolo county have $7,112,854 on deposit. Carroll county banks have practically twice as much money on deposit as Yolo. It is evident that the good people of Yolo county, in compiling their statistics, entirely overlooked Carroll county. Yolo county nestles close to the city of Sacramento. Among its citizens are many very wealthy men, whose business is in Sacramento and who have sought suburban homes over the border line. –Balto. Star.

While Carroll Countians may not have held undisputed honors as the nation’s richest county, there can be no doubt that the local agrarian economy generated a high per capita wealth.
Photo Caption: Several family farms are visible in this photograph taken near Westminster in the 1870s. Historical Society of Carroll County. Gift of Mrs. Eleanor B. Hollenbach.