During the antebellum period the county was, for the most part, rural and agricultural, with most of the county’s residents living on farms. The largest crop of any kind and the most important food crop was corn. County farmers produced 99,518 bushels in 1850. Farmers also grew 9,805 bushels of oats. The largest cash crop was cotton, but farmers produced just 790 bales in 1850. Livestock was also important to the county’s economy. The more than 20,000 hogs in the county were a major food source, as were the 10,000 cattle. During the 1850s arable production expanded much more rapidly than did the population of the county. By 1860 the corn crop had risen by 70 percent, increasing to 167,475 bushels, while the cotton crop was a little more than five times larger than the 1850 crop with production totalling 4,052 bales. Livestock production did not change so dramatically. The number of hogs and cattle in the county declined slightly, but sheep production grew from an 1850 total of 1,296 and 1,770 pounds of wool to 2,794 sheep and 7,408 pounds of wool by 1860.