Days of Fever and Ague

The health of the early community was generally good. About 1836, Lucius Lyon, writing to a friend, said: "I have not heard of a single case of sickness for ten months past, and we never have any other disease than fever and ague at any time."

But the fever and ague must have been a scourge for the first settlers here and in every pioneer community in Michigan. There were mosquito-breeding swamps right in the heart of the little community, and all about were forests, in which the water stood most of the year. And in those days quinine was not available, for it had been discovered as recently as 1820 by two Frenchmen and there was little, if any, in this country for many years thereafter. There was not much the pioneers could do to ward off the ague, nor any medical treatment of value when they had the "shakes."

And such things as screens were unthought of, so the flies had full sway, and at meal time one member of the family often wielded a fly brush so the others could eat in some semblance of comfort.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 16 January 2000