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MICHIGAN FOOD & BEES

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

THE "MICHIGAN RASH. " Among the troublesome enemies of the settler there was one that in the parlance of the day was called the Michigan rash. It was thus named because it was supposed to be indigenous to this part of the country. Some observing philanthropist has said that all the comfort a poor man took in this life, was to scratch himself when he itched. According to that statement there was a happy period in the early settlement of this State, for the pioneers did a great deal of scratching. Perhaps I ought to put on the "silken gloves of sentiment, " by way of caution, in treating this subject. The settlers used much modesty in referring to this cutaneous disease, calling it a "breaking out, " an "impurity of the blood, " a "rash, " and so on, while perhaps the person giving it those mild names, was really putting into practice the old, peculiar manner of scratching that used to belong to something worse than a "rash" I knew one man who, when he felt the "symptoms, "' seized his gun and put for the woods and did this often to break the chill. "—Compiler. I have known of a minister preaching while burning with fever. —Compiler. or "breaking out. " An amusing incident came under the writer's observation during this period of unpleasantness in our pioneer life. A gentleman from New York was visiting some friends in our settlement, and noticing the children scratching a great deal, asked the lady of the house the cause of it. She replied: "They have a breaking out that is called the Michigan rash. " To which he answered: "Oh, you call it the Michigan rash out here; but I see the children go through with the old motions as natural as life. Don't you think, madame, that brimstone and lard would cure it?" This fair hit amused the settler's wife, while it woke her to the real gist of the matter— that they were really enjoying the full benefit of the "seven year itch, " under the modest title of Michigan rash. Whole families, yes, whole neighborhoods, would have it at the same time.

Michigan


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