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150 Years Ago This Month: March 1870

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Pest control is not usually an interesting topic but it is one of importance and necessity. While most people would rather not see them harmed their proximity to us is dangerous. However, while I have heard and seen most of the common types of rat trap I have never before come across the barrel trap.

To me the method that I found in the March 12th 1870 edition of the Cecil Whig invokes an image of a crazed inventor fed up with his rats’ ability to evade his common traps. And while I am sure my imagination is getting away with me and the true circumstances of its invention are routine, the thought of a man planning his revenge on his rats with this well thought out device is fascinating.

“How to Catch Rats.—The following is said to be a cheap and effective way to catch rats; Cover a common barrel with stiff, stout paper, tying the edge round the barrel; place a board so that the rats may have easy access to the top; sprinkle cheese parings or other feed for the rats on the paper for several days, until they begin to think that they have a right to their daily rations from this source; thenplace in the bottom of the barrel a piece of rock about six or seven inches high, filling with water until only enough of it projects above the water for one rat to lodge upon.

Now replace the paper first cutting a cross in the middle, and the first rat that comes on the barrel top goes through into the water, andclimbs on the rock. The paper comes back to its original position, and the second rat follows the first. Then begins a fight for the possession of the dry place on the stone, the noise of which attracts the others who share the same fate.”

Stop in and see us at the Historical Society of Cecil County on Main Street in Elkton to learn about this and many other topics. Access to the digital newspaper collection is free to members and is included in the $5 library fee for non-members.

We’re excited to announce this NEW event we’re hosting on Friday, April 17th from 7-10 p.m. at the Elkton VFW, and we invite you to join us for a Blast to the Past!

We’ll be featuring Music, Food, Raffle, Prizes, A Costume Contest and of course DANCING! We’re packing SO Much Fun into one night you just might wake up the next day wondering what decade you’re in!

Tickets are $25 per person and available via PayPal on our website:cecilhistory.org OR stop in at 135 E. Main Street to purchase tickets with cash or check. — Don’t hesitate, tickets are going FAST!

Proceeds from this event will benefit the wonderful work we do at the Historical Society to keep history alive in Cecil County.

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