By 1874, the agricultural opportunities of the newly-founded state of Kansas had lured many settlers to the region, promising cheap land and abundant crops. The spring’s heavy rains only helped to further that notion, and by the first of July the state was eagerly looking ahead to a healthy harvest. But this particular year, a stark change in weather patterns and an unwelcome guest would soon change these settlers’ outlook.
As the month of July progressed, more and more counties began reporting an incredible invasion of locust, chinch bugs, and cut worms, until finally nearly every corner of the state had been touched. It was described as looking out into a field of summer greenery one day and waking up to a wintery desert the next. The locusts moved field to field like a black storm cloud, devastating any hope for crops in its path.
This left the young territory in a state of panic. The government would quickly have to act, rationing bread and monetary aid to counties needing it the most – notably the western and northwestern reaches of the state. Eventually the state issued a total of $73,000 in state relief bonds, a staggering number for the time period.
– Michael Selby
information found at http://www.kshs.org/research/topics/agriculture/grassphoppers1874.htm