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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas

"Early Records"

If you have ever kept a diary, you know what fun you can have in reading it later.  You recall events you had almost forgotten.  When the family argues about the date of a party or an outing, you bring out your diary and settle the matter.

Old diaries and letters tell us about early Wyandot times.  They contain records of the weather.  They reveal to us the activities and the thoughts of the writers.  In William Walker's diary are recorded the everyday happenings of a busy life.  It is of special interest to us.

Boys and girls went to school just as they do now.  They burst into the house after school with noise and laughter.  Men worked in the fields while their wives cared for the homes.  When children of the well-to-do grew older, they were sent away to school and remained for six months at a time.

Once a year the piano tuner made the round of towns and villages in the vicinity.  In Wyandot he spent the night in homes that had pianos in need of tuning.  An English optician visited the Cook family and fitted the residents with glasses.

The Wyandot people suffered from almost constant illness, according to these old records.  As doctors were scarce, the settlers learned ways of treating themselves and their families.  Wonder drugs were unknown, even to doctors.  As you can see from the dates on the old stones in the cemetery, many children and young persons died.  On his forty-sixth birthday William Walker noted with sadness that most of the friends of his youth were gone.

The diseases suffered by the settlers are for the most part unknown to us today.  In 1850 an epidemic of cholera spread across the United States.  Travelers on the river boats brought the disease from the East.  The President proclaimed a day of prayer and fasting throughout the country to ask God to spare people from this terrible plague.

One government agent for the Wyandots was also a doctor.  When his patients suffered from pleurisy, Dr. Hewitt ordered them bled.  If they became ill with cholera morbis or erisipelas, he dosed them with morphine, Dover's powders, charcoal, and a vile-tasting medicine known as blue mass.

Walker tried his own remedies for his ills.  Once when he was suffering from an ailment called pole evil, he boiled twelve potatoes and bathed his head in the warm potato water.  He said that the water helped his neck blister.

Village Fun

Return to Index for "The Story of Kansas City, Kansas" by Nellie McGuinn

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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