It was a hard time. Some were emigrants from the Dakotas to Missouri while others emigrated from Missouri to the Dakotas. They traveled back and forth hoping to find a place where the economy was better and the crops weren't failing. There were seven years of drought. I found Rose’s comments fascinating in light of the events of this past week. She writes as an adult, but her memories are from when she was seven. Maybe someone who knows the history better than I can comment. Rose writes:
In the seventh year a mysterious catastrophe was worldwide. All banks failed. From coast to coast the factories shut down and business ceased. This was a Panic.
It was not a depression. The year was 1893 when no one had heard of depressions. Everyone knew about Panics; there had been Panics in 1797, 1820, 1835, 1857, 1873. A Panic was nothing new to Grandpa (Pa Ingalls), he had seen them before; this one was no worse than usual, he said, and nothing like as bad as the wartime. ("On the Way Home" pp.1-2)
I know nothing about economics, but it made me wonder... here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve learned some things about fire management. Low level fires are actually supposed to burn every so often to clear the forest. If we suppress them, fuel piles up and sets the stage for a monster fire to devour the forest. Could it be that we’ve been suppressing a natural cycle of "Panics," setting the stage for a monster? Or am I out to lunch here?
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading. Is anyone else reading something you find fascinating? Enlightening? Useful? Just plain awful? Please leave a comment and share!