by Don Chaney

Don Chaney is the former mayor and a long-time resident of Crane.

Article #44
Taken from the Crane News, published April 4, 1999.


     Years ago, arthritis was a word we never heard.  It was rheumatism.  Sinus infection was catarrh.  By the way, there was a lot of them both.  We didn't hear cancer.  The word was tumor.  Antibiotics were unknown.  Therefore, when one got a bad case of pneumonia, he or she was a goner most of the time.  I was only three when a terrible influenza epidemic hit the country.  I heard terrible stories of the results.  The death toll was horrible.  Mustard plasters were used for chest colds. Kerosene then was called coal oil.  This on sugar was a standard remedy for sore throat.  Yes, I remember coal oil lamps and gas lights.  In Indiana, my dad pulled oil wells with a pair of "matched greys".  The horses were hitched to a rope which went up over a makeshift derrick and a pulley and pulled out the rods.  He backed them up to go again.  This was circa 1900.  The wells were connectd by a "rod line" to each from a big gas engine.  These engines would pop, pop, pop all night and day.  Later came the wooden derricks and the "walking beam".  For a long time, I remembered two of the big gas engines.  Now I can only remember the "Bessemer".  Some of these days, I will think of the other.  Would you believe that some of those shallow wells in Bridgeport, Illinois, where I was born are still pumping oil?

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