Forests valued more than prairies
Early settlers called the area that is now southern Todd County "the barrens" because it was flat and grassy. Few trees grew there, except along streams. It was part of a large prairie ("barrens") that stretched across present-day Barren, Warren, Simpson, and Logan counties, and the southern parts of Todd, Christian, and Trigg counties (see map). These barrens were one of several areas of tallgrass prairie in Kentucky before the land was put under cultivation.
The northern part of Todd county was hilly and forested, with a little creek at the bottom of every ridge. Such land, though rough and rocky, was considered highly valuable by early settlers. The reasons are summarized in this passage, written a century ago:
These lands [the soils] were not rich, but there was an abundance of fine timber out of which to build houses and barns and construct Virginia rail fences; beautiful streams well stocked with the finest of game fish; an abundance of mast to fatten swine; the river and creek bottoms covered with a growth of succulent young cane upon which cattle could live all winter; and wild game of many varieties in great abundance.
No wonder the settlers from the wooded hills and valleys of Virginia preferred this section to the "Barren" lands, as the prairie lands before mentioned were called. These same "Barren" lands were then selling for twelve and one-half cents per acre, while the wooded lands were selling for eight times as much.
Source: A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities by E. Polk Johnson (Volume 3, p. 1444). Published in 1912 by the Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago and New York.)