It hovered like a spectre over the Pigeon creek
settlement for over ten years, and its fatal visitation and inroads among the Lincolns, Hankses, and Sparrows finally drove that contingent into Illinois
To this day the medical profession has never agreed upon any definite cause for the malady, nor have they in all their scientific wrangling determined exactly what the disease itself is. A physician, who has in his practice met a number of cases, describes the symptoms to be “a whitish coat on the tongue, burning sensation of the stomach, severe vomiting, obstinate constipation of the bowels, coolness of the extremities, great restlessness and jactitation, pulse rather small, somewhat more frequent than natural, and slightly chorded.
In the course of the disease the coat on the tongue becomes brownish and dark, the countenance dejected, and the prostration of the patient is great.
A fatal termination may take place in sixty hours, or life may be prolonged for a period of fourteen days. These are the symptoms of the disease in an acute form.
Sometimes it runs into the chronic form, or it may assume that form from the commencement, and after months or years the patient may finally die or recover only a partial degree of health.”
When the disease broke out in the Pigeon creek
region it not only took off the people, but it made sad havoc among the cattle.
One man testifies that he “lost four milch cows
and eleven calves in one week.”
This, in addition to the risk of losing his own life, was enough, he declared, to ruin him,