Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Reading tombstones? July 27, 2000

Are all you transcribers hard at work on the cemeteries you're elected
to read? We hope so.
Herbs as medicine seem to be making a comeback these past few years. I
dug out an old 1937 Herbalist Almanac which was given to me by the late
KaNella Renshaw. Herbs were popular then, too.

Here's a formula which will "increase the appetite and gently
stimulate digestion and elimination, as well as increase the metabolic

Gather wild yam root, juniper berries, bull nettle root, black cohosh,
gentian, Rocky Mountain grape root and Jamaica ginger. Grind these
botanicals fine. Place the entire amount in a gallon of
liquor--whiskey, rum, brandy or wine-- and allow to stand ten days.
This makes an ideal stimulant for woodsmen, trappers, hunters and the
aged. Two ounces a day should be sufficient. (I'm aged, so I suppose I
qualify for this; if two ounces helps, think what more might do!)

As a child I used to wonder about a yell the cheerleaders used to say:
"Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar--all for Crossville stand up
and holler!"

The other day I came across an interpretation of where "bit" came from.
For you youngsters, a "bit" is 12 1/2 cents, and it has been in use at
least since the 1600s. It may have come from the fact that early coins
were literally bits and pieces of larger coins. Remember, pirate stories
speaking of pieces of eights?
I was reading about the plagues of grasshoppers which have beset us down
through the years. Many Bible students think the locust plague mentioned
was really a plague of flying grasshoppers.

In the 1880s, grasshoppers clouded skies over Europe and America. The
insects piled three inches deep on railroad tracks, stopping trains as
wheels slithered and slipped on crushed grasshoppers.

In the 1930s, the Cliff Pritchard family left White County to make a
fortune in the Dakotas on a large claim up there. After several years,
they came back defeated by the whims of the weather. The final straw was
a plague of grasshoppers. The hoppers ate the clothes off the lines,
laces out of shoes and even the oak handles out of pitchforks and hoes.
The farm was totally stripped by the time the grasshoppers ate their
fill and moved on.
A note from Donna Stokes Massey, now of Godfrey, Ill., mentioning my
column on "The summer that wasn't." She remembers her dad [the late
Tommy Stokes] telling how the word had been handed down in their family
how his great-grandfather cut wheat in his overcoat that summer.
See you at the Genealogy Library on Wednesdays from 11 to 5.

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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley

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