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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy


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News Stories of Epidemics
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Asiatic Cholera




1882

Another boon for the bulls of the Chicago bucket shops was turned loose on Thursday. A "violent type of hog cholera" was reported from McLean county, which is near the center of the State of Illinois. This will put meat up a few points, and screw down the pressure on the poor in like proportion. The big corn crop is assurance of a big hog crop, and hence the necessity for Cholera to keep the price of meat from falling under the influence of supply and demand. A sham fly (?) was sent out in the wheat fields in the spring, but the harvests came uninjured. The hog slaughter will doubtless show that the cholera story is a canard*.
[1882 Aug 3 - Galveston News, Texas] (* transcriber note: canard = a false or unfounded report or story)

1888
Graves - From all over the county comes reports that the ground is full of seventeen-year locusts. The Rev. Mr. Graves, of this city, brought in a number yesterday and says that from one square foot of ground he took thirty of these insects, and that he has five acres of ground which seems to be as full of them as is the one foot. Others say the same and it seems very probable that in a short time these cicadae will be out in full force. We will probably soon hear the usual fairy tales of locusts poisoning fruit and vegetables, and killing children and cattle. But the truth is that they are perfectly harmless and except that they puncture the small limbs and little twigs of forest trees, thus causing many small limbs to die and injuring the appearance of the trees, they do not hurt. The male insect has the power of making a shrill, grating and very unpleasant noise, produced by the friction of peculiar organs situated on the underside of the abdomen, acted upon by powerful muscles. This noise is incessant during the short time that these cicadae stay. They have never been known to injure growing grain, and in fact are not locusts at all, but belong to the order, Hemiptera, and are more properly called the harvest fly. Isolated specimens are seen and heard every year, and occasionally circumstances are so favorable for their propagation that they come in immense numbers, as is apparently the case this year. These cicadae have long, stout bodies and wings, the latter membranous and transparent, while genuine locusts are a jumping orthopterous insect, greatly resembling the grasshopper, from which they are distinguished by the shortness of their antennae and by their having only three joints in each foot. This latter species was probably the kind eaten by John the Baptist with an entrée of wild honey, and not the seventeen-year locusts.
[Inter Ocean - 26 May 1888]




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