Work never ended for settlers in the late 1800's. They fought to claim the land. Looking at a tree-filled plot, they imagined a blank canvas they could fill with full-grown crops, planted in straight lines packed to the horizon. It was optimism to see it in that landscape. They cleared it, planted and cared for the crops, and built their dreams upon the land.
Their optimism was tested in 1873 when Rocky Mountain locusts descended upon Minnesota fields. Commonly called grasshoppers or hoppers, with their first appearance they devastated crops. In Mary Vance Carney's book, "Minnesota, The Star of the North," the old farmers later recalled the locusts' arrival, saying, "Sunlight, shining on the outspread wings of the insects as they flew through the air, made the swarm look like a white cloud."
Gail Wawrzyniak is a North Carolina writer bringing together her love of art, history and writing.