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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.



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Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1860s to 1870s (Benchmark 3) - Challenges of settlement (Indicator 7) - Grasshoppers

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Showing 1 - 7 of 7 (results per page: 10 | 25 | 50)

A. W. Johnson and Isabella Johnson to Robert S. Wickizer

A. W. Johnson and Isabella Johnson to Robert S. Wickizer
Creator: Johnson, A. W.
Date: March 24, 1875
In this letter to his cousin, A. W. Johnson relates news from his homestead near Osage Mission, Neosho County. Johnson describes the grasshopper plague in vivid terms, and also mentions how the recent hard times in Kansas should not discourage emigration into the state. In fact, he goes so far as to state that now is the time to come, since land is cheap and the spring weather is "deliteful[sic]." Johnson also states, however, that the price of corn is high, and that high prices on goods make it difficult for him to support his family.

Grasshopper Relief proclamation

Grasshopper Relief proclamation
Creator: Osborn, Thomas Andrew, 1836-1898
Date: 1874
This proclamation was issued by Governor Thomas Osborn in response to the grasshopper plague that hit the state of Kansas in 1874. The grasshoppers had destroyed most of the farmers' crops, thus "threatening great suffering among the people." Osborn called for the state legislature to convene on September 15, 1874 to discuss the best plan of action.

Home Life in Early Days

Home Life in Early Days
Creator: Valentine, Martha
Date: February 23, 1908
In this reminiscence, Martha Valentine relates her experiences as a Kansas housewife during the early years of white settlement in Kansas. Valentine and her husband Daniel first came to Kansas in 1859 and eventually settled permanently in Peoria, Franklin County, in 1860. She describes how, in that same year, a severe drought hit Kansas and eleven months passed without rain. Her family suffered from the drought, having to subsist mostly on stored corn, small game animals, and wild vegetables. Many people in her neighborhood suffered during this time, sometimes requiring aid sent by Easterners. Copied from the Topeka Capitol, February 23, 1908.

John William Gardiner diary

John William Gardiner diary
Creator: Gardiner, John William, 1851-1917
Date: Between May 6, 1875 and June 25, 1875
John William Gardiner was born in or near Platte City, Missouri, in 1851. In March 1855, Gardiner and his family moved to the future site of Winchester, Jefferson County, in the newly opened Kansas Territory. During 1875, he taught school and simultaneously took classes in Leavenworth to obtain his teaching certificate. Many of the diary entries describe his teaching, weather, the grasshopper plague, and extracurricular activities such as singing and visiting friends.

"Mr. G. Hopper, Kansas"

"Mr. G. Hopper, Kansas"
Date: 1875
This humorous cartoon illustration depicts a grasshopper standing upright with a crutch, eye patch, and a sling holding his left arm. By his side is a small suitcase. The countryside in the background has been completely stripped of all greenery, with only tree trunks and twigs surviving. In 1874, Kansas was hit with a grasshopper plague that destroyed most of the farmers' crops.

The drouth

The drouth
Creator: Junction City Union
Date: August 1, 1874
This brief, unsigned article published in the Junction City Union presents the hardships Kansans faced during times of drought. Settlers looked to the skies for rain but were disappointed. According to the author, there had been storms that seemed likely to bring rain, but only a few scattered drops fell. Settlers' crops also suffered from the plague of grasshoppers that were eating what few crops had survived the drought.

The grasshoppers 1874

The grasshoppers 1874
Creator: Mail and Breeze (Topeka)
Date: September 22, 1899
In this brief article, A. Bailey of Mankato, Jewell County, reminisces about the grasshoppers invasion of 1874. Although that year proved to be a trying one for Kansas farmers, Bailey still rates 1874 as "the good old days."

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