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Early history of Ozaukee County, Wisconsin

The great Indian scare,   pp. 5-12

Page 12

The Grejt Indian Scare
Gradually people began to realize that the only thing they had been
fleeing from was their own fear. They began to feel a little foolish, then
very foolish, about the whole thing. Many hated to admit to their true
reason for coming to Milwaukee. A typical scene between two "auslanders"
would run something like this:
"Wie gebts, August! What are you doing here? You didn't believe those
qilly stories about the Indians, did you?
"Naturlich, nein' Ich? Afraid of Indians? Nein, Herman, I chust cae
in to do a little shopping.
"So? But, August, why did you bring the cow?"
"Oh that? Vell, I brought it for--for the same reason you brought your
parlor melodeon."
Fortunately there is no record of anyone having been killed or injured
during the "Great Indian Scare," although it is sad to think of the horses
that were maimed or painfully winded. Pastor Graetz mentioned some premature
births, but did not say whether or not the babies survived. Certainly many
families must have sustained severe personal loss of their food rations for the
winter. So the big plot, if that is what it was, fell short of its mark. It
dd prove, however, that a few well-placed rumors, no matter how unfounded,
can send people into a crazy stampede.
But, of course, this happened exactly a century ago. Surely we have
progressed beyond the stage where wild, unfounded rumors could sen us into
a panic! We're far too sophisticated-.-or aze we? What if Communist agents
were to spread rumors of a gigantic fallout? So who's laughing?

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