Apparently not native to Nebraska, and not here all the time like now.
September 6, 1860
– Most of the settlement in Buffalo County was along the Wood River in the
present-day Gibbon, Shelton area. The Huntsman's Echo at Shelton
reported “that clouds of grasshoppers migrating south have for several days
been doing considerable damage…"
Late July, 1874
Saxon Colony in Schneider Township
– (written by an original colonist; they arrived late fall ‘73)
Prospering, good crops growing.
Spring wheat (the only kind then raised) had been harvested and a portion of
At the noon hour the sun was slightly darkened, much the same appearance as
precedes the coming of an eclipse; like a snow storm cloud moving in from
A member of the family going to the well at noon for fresh water returned,
hurriedly exclaiming, "come and see the grasshoppers and do look at the
Grasshoppers in great numbers were dropping from the air;
At the first as a hopper alighted a hen would dash forward and gobble it up;
Then without stirring from her tracks she would swallow another and another
until, her crop distended to an unusual size, she could hold no more.
Then when a hopper alighted near, the hen would cock her head to one side,
stretch out her neck and by her actions seem to say, "can I possibly hold
Efforts to save the crops – Used bedding and extra clothing to
cover garden crops like onions & tomatoes.
The hoppers would eat holes in the clothes or bedding and crawl under and
continue to eat the plants
Gathered dry hay and coarse litter and started smudge fires. Didn’t work.
Some went rushing through their fields with whips and cloths, to frighten
the hoppers but that didn’t work either.
The grasshoppers remained two days and disappeared as mysteriously as they
About the noon hour they arose as if in
answer to a command, and darkening the sun as on the day they came, flew
toward the south.
Natural inclination to visit neighbors, talk over the terrible
visitation and learn the extent of the grasshopper raid.
In the cool of the evening we started on such a visit to a neighbor. [end of
Drive very slow as the great swarms of hoppers which continually raised from
the ground as the team proceeded making it impossible to go faster than a
This neighbor was a man of a deep religious nature, had helped to organize a
church, was superintendent of the Sabbath school and until a schoolhouse was
erected his house had been used for religious services of various kinds.
He and his family took great pleasure in gardening and were very proud of
their garden, superior to any in the community.
We were met with such blasphemy and cursing because of the destruction
wrought by grasshoppers as to make the blood run cold and very soon all
thought of a friendly visit was abandoned and the team headed homeward.
This neighbor lived for a quarter of a century or more in our midst, loved,
honored and esteemed, no one more implicitly trusted both in public and
private matters and yet he never resumed his former church relations or had
further connection with a church organization.
The pastor of the church called a meeting of the members of the church to
pray for their brother, but the pastor himself forgetting the call, went
fishing and the meeting was not held.
Wood River Valley - The small crops of wheat and oats
About 2 P.M., on the bluffs north of Wood River, sun had a hazy appearance
and suddenly grasshoppers by the millions covered the ground.
The hoppers gathered in the corn fields till the stalks bent to the ground
beneath them and the sound of their feasting was like unto a herd of cattle
in a corn field.
No noticeable destruction of native grasses and plants and of leaves
on native trees but the destruction of cultivated plants and cultivated
trees and shrubs was complete.
Small fields of crops were entirely destroyed, while a large field of
corn--a half section or a section in a body--was often only injured by them
for a comparatively short distance on the outer edges, the center portion of
the field being uninjured.
Onions - Not only corn but some lost of their onion crop, for
the hoppers not only ate the onions but dug holes to get the last morsel of
the roots of the onions.
Onions from "black seed" had been found to be
a profitable crop, notwithstanding the large expense of the seed.
The onions grew best on sod breaking, and as there were no weeds in those
early days there was little labor in making the crop.
Such onions grew to good size and sold
readily for $1 a bushel.
Early potatoes made a fair crop
in the year 1874, although the hoppers destroyed all the tops.
Such potatoes were good eating but did not keep well during the winter.
These hoppers came from the north, remained over night and about noon the
next day disappeared towards the south as suddenly and mysteriously as they
These hoppers which came in the year 1874 laid no eggs,
Hoppers returned from the South. Many believed these were descendents of the
1874 hoppers, hatched farther south and returning to the home of their
Corn was far enough advanced that kernels had formed at the butt end of the
Destroyed the silk on the ears, thus preventing further fertilization of the
All corn harvested that year was ears having one or two inches of kernels on
the butt end.
Laid millions of eggs - in the hardest of ground, traveled roads
across the prairie.
The hoppers would dig a hole about one inch
in depth and deposit from forty to sixty eggs in a sort of egg-shaped sack
glued firmly together and shaped like the end of a finger
April, 1876 –
Eggs began to hatch, the ground was literally alive with little black
Instinct seemed to lead them to gather and feed on the fields of wheat and
Every possible effort was made to destroy them
Just when it appeared that every cultivated plant would be destroyed the
destruction of all crops would be complete, there came late in May a three
days' storm, rain and snow, freezing temperature, and as all prairie had
been burned over there was no protection for the young and tender hopper and
Carloads and trainloads of food and clothing contributed by
people of the eastern states
Went to settlers in Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas
Granges organized in Buffalo County in 1875.
During the grasshopper invasion the officers of the State Grange were active
in shipping many carloads of grain both for seed and as feed for farm teams
out into the state for the relief of drought sufferers.
Grain (for seed purposes) was purchased at grain elevators, a mixture
of the different varieties of wheat, oats and the like, and without being
cleaned as it came from the threshing machine and containing many kinds of
noxious weed seed
Shipped to the needy in all the newer portions of the state,
thus seeding, for all time to come, thousands of newly opened farms with
such noxious weeds.
No doubt the weed seeds, like the West Nile virus now, would have gotten
here sooner or later anyway.
Misc. - Odd Names
far etta) Beenblossom
(Kris t) Johnson (born in Norway)
(no last name)