The weather has been on everyone’s mind lately because of the 45 days of 100 degree temperatures and no rain in sight. I decided to look at some newspaper articles from the 1800s to see what was happening with the weather in Central Texas. In 1884-1886 Texas was suffering from a severe drought. It was reported from Galveston, Texas to the Daily Inter Ocean newspaper in Chicago in early 1887 that “The fields are barren even of weeds, while strings of cattle almost too poor to stand up are traveling constantly in search of grass and water.” Boy, does that sound familiar.
Did you know that grasshopper plagues are also associated with droughts? I didn’t. Maybe Texas was in another drought in 1867. George Wilkins Kendall, a correspondent for the New Orleans Picayune, reported on November 21, 1867 in the Patriot newspaper in Harrisburg, PA, “In ten minutes time, from their first advent, the ground as I have already said was literally alive with them, in some places nearly over the shoes, and an onslaught upon okra, butterbeans, tomatoes and potato vines as well as many kinds of weeds was at once commenced.” It lasted twenty four hours and they traveled south to north. I would think it would be noisy and with no screens on the windows they would have been all over the house. Ewww! He also said, “they went through my wheat field faster than M’Cormicks.” I don’t even want to imagine what it must feel like to have your food source eaten by a bunch of grasshoppers.
Conrad and the settlers of Kendall County would have experienced both of these events. Anybody have a drought story to share?
“Another Storm of Grasshoppers.” Patriot, Harrisburg, PA, 21 November 1867. Print.
“Texas Drought a week of Expectancy and Disappointment Throughout the State.” Daily Inter Ocean, Chicago,
IL, 11 April 1887. Print.