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The Sun and the New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1920-1920, August 29, 1920, Section 4 Sunday Magazine, Image 51

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Waging Worldwide
War on Rats
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w t fi" B W JWi guard
FEARFUL of Che rapid spread of bu
bonic plague through tho different
Mediterranean countries and of the
many MM! that have recently occurred In
some of the cities of the United States which
Harder the Gulf of Mexico, the departments
of health of every seaboard city In tho
United States have begun a 6trlngent cam
paign toward the extermination of the. rat,
mat pestiferous rodent which indirectly Is
the cause of the dread disease. The crusade
also has bqen taken up In many inland sec
tions. Gov. Allen of Kansas Inaugurated one of
the greatest drives In the war against' tin
rodents when he proclaimed a "rat killing
week" beginning August 23 in the Interests
of health and food preservation. Aside from
spreading disease rats cost the nation hun
dreds of millions of dollars annually In food
and property destruction. Incident to Gov.
Allen's proclamation it was stated that In
Kansas alone $30,000,000 a year is lost In
fi odstuffl through the ravages of rats and
The war against the rat, however, is not
eonfined to this country; H is being waged
the world over.
Fighting the Pest in New York.
The Board of Health of New York city,
at the piers of which thousands of ships
from foreign ports dock- yearly, has for
some time been helping in the war on rats
on an extensive scale. The work carried on
here to prevent rats from getting into the
country, and to exterminate those which
are ulready in. typifies the wark that is go
ing on ' in other American cities.
Dr? Royal S. Copeland, Commissioner of
Health in tho metropolis, has recognized
thte. importance of ridding the country of
rats and in view of the recent outbreak of
plague In various parts of tho world, includ
ing some of the .Southern cities of the
United States, has begun a vigorous cam
paign that he believes will be successful In
preventing the dread disease from getting
a foothold In this country.
"The importance of exterminating rats
cannot be overestimated," he said. "In New
Orleans recently 10,000 of these rodents were
rounded up In one week and eight of them
were later found to be' plague carriers. A
single pest might be sufficient to bring end
less agony to many people, and our cam
paign Is toward the prevention of even one
such rat entering our city. The ravages
of the plague may be realized when it is
considered thit in one Southern city, where
there was a slight epidemic recently, out of
thirty-flve cases of plague brought to the
attention of the authorities thirty-two proved
"The bubonic plague Is caused by a para
sitic flea which thrives on the body of the
rat. This flea needs warmth, with the re
sult that when the rat dies the flea imme
diately seeks the first warm and living body
that Is at hand. In many cases this hap
pens to be the body of a human being.
The person, If infected, 'will die usually In
about forty-eight hours. The recent out
breaks of tho disease are the first of serious
moment that have, occurred since 1903, when
II raged In Russia and other Eastern regions.
"An excellent means we have found of
preventing rats from entering this country
is with the aid of a large round metal disk
which Is attached to the hawsers of all ships
before they dock. These disks psevent the
rats from finding a runway to the docks.
The fight against the rodents, however, is
really begun as soon as a ship leaves a coun
try whore the plague is prevalent, such as
the ports of Algeria, Tunis. Egypt and
others In the Orient. These measures are
taken to prevent rats getting aboard the
vessels. Then, during the voyage, the ship,
if It does not carry foodstuffs or other cargo
that Is liable to be damaged. Is thoroughly
fumigated with cyanide gas.
"As soon as the ship docks every hawser
Is equipped with one of the metal rat guards.
Besides this precaution we have made a
rule that the placing of gangplanks shall
go on only at the timo of the loading and
unloading of the vessel's cargo. But we go
even further than this. While the gang
planks are down during the unloading
guards are placed at either end to prevent
any stray rats from getting ashore. If,
despite these precautions, rats do happen
to get ashore, all of the docks are equipped
with up-to-date traps, which make the rats'
existence a short one. With these precau
tionary measures we feel confident that our
city will not be afflicted with even one case
of plague."
New York's Food Lots.
Dr. Copeland then explained that the
structures along the waterfront, which are
often made of wood, unfortunately ofTer an
exceptional refuge for the rodents. In some
years when the War on rats was not on
mere than $1,000,000 worth of foodstuffa
along the New York docks has been de
stroyed by them. As a further means of
exterminating them the Department of
Health has solicited the cooperation of the
owners of docks and storehouses, and here
after these structures are to be built of
In view of the campaign that Is being
carried on in this country great Interest is
being shown by Ixith municipal health au
thorities and the United States Department
of Agriculture, which is doing research work
to help wipe out rats In a new device that
has Just been put Into operation In Great
Britain and which has ibeen found very ef
fective in killing off these pestiferous ro
dents. In England, as in America, for years
traps of every description have been used,
but the rats have refused to be caught.
It seems now, however, as if this heyday la'
rbout to pass. In Great Britain the war on
rats is being most successfully conducted
with the aid of poison gas. Already the
ftlclency of the gas machine abroad has
given rise to the belief that if an organized
campaign along similar lines Is carried ou.
in this country and other countries through
out the world the complete extermination of
the pests will be only a matter of a short
The mechanism of the gas machine Is elm
pie. It Is of a light and portable type, con
slating simply of a generator, a fan with
handle attached and a reversible tube.
In the process of charging ordinary rook
sulphur Is wrapped In a piece of dry paper,
which Is Ignited and placed In the generator.
Sulphurous fumes of a high strength are
produced, and these are driven by meane of
the fan along the tube, the mouth of which
is placed In the rat hole. At the first
demonstration held in England the fumes
Hlled most of the rats In the hole, only
those which were far away In the run be
ing able to escape, and they were killed toy
rn alert terrier.
Other Meant of Killing Rate.
Of earlier methods of rat destruction,
squill poison has generally been conceded
to have been among the best. Barium car
bonate was also found very effective, Inas
much as about two grains would kill a rat,
while fifteen grains are harmless to a
chicken and one hundred grains has no ef
fect on a dog. Strychnine is effective
against rats, but too dangerous for general
use. The same holds true of phosphorus
and arsenic.
Trained terriers play a part in poison
gas attacks on rats. They stand at hanil
ready to pounce on the victim as soon as
the fumes have driven him from his lair.
Sometimes as many as half a dozen stagger
out from one hole. Little Mr. Terrier then
starts to work. Nets also are used at the
mouth of the hole to capture the rodents
driven out by gas.
T. A. Clayton, an ex-soldier who had some
experience with gas machines during the
war, devised this gas machine for rat de
struction. He declares that two hundred
rats Is a conservative estimate of the average
number of the rodents on an ocean going
In England as well as America the farmer
are great sufferers from rats, which annu
ally consume enormous amounts of grain.
Valley Dwellers Give Mohawk Turnpike New Hold on Its Name
THE people of the Mohawk Valley are
"out "to fbmahawk the make believe
Indian who, foisted the name of 'On
ondaga Trail' onto the old Mohawk Turnpike,"
The historic road running from Schenectady
to Rome, . and to perpetuate the name
given the highway wiien it was built by the
State 120 years" ago. This movement re
i elves its greatest impetus from the recently
organized Mohawk Valley Historical Society
and has the support, too, of Col. Frederick
Stuart Greene of Albany, State Commis
sioner of Highways; Col. John W. Vrooman,
president of the Herkimer County Historical
Society: the. Rev. V. N. P: Bailey of the
Collegiate ReformefDutch Church of New
Vork; Dr. James Sullivan of Albany, State
historian; Nelson Greene of New York, a
nativeiurf trie? Mohawk,s Valley, who has
wrltterilmuch about Mts history, ' and many
The new historical society Itself represents
thirty or more organizations of kindred In
ti rests, Including several' chapters of the
Sons and Daughters of the American Revo
lution, it was organized largely through
the initiative of the Herkimer County His
torical Society at a meeting held August 6,
anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany, at
the Gen. Herkimer homestead, on the State
reservation, three miles east of Little Falls.
The federation of historians and patriotic
bodies was formed with the general purpose
of placing before the public In a more def
inite and extended manner the Mohawk
Valley's richness in history and beauty of
location. Its programme calls for the erec
tion of markers and monuments, preserva
tion of places having special historic in
terest and the further sifting of records to
clear up historical Incidents which are still
veiled In uncertainty.
Mohawk Turnpike Gains First Attention.
Popular interest linked with the Impor
tance of the Mohawk turnpike, both as a
present day trunk line for motorists and a
hiEhway famed in history, impelled the or
ganization to bend its first efforts toward cor
recting what has beerf termed a grossly in
appropriate and misleading example of arbi
trary nomenclature. The leaders of the move
ment are confident that the name "Onondaga
Trail" will fade quickly in the light of the
highway's true history, and in fact declare
that public sentiment already has waxed
rtrong for "Old Mohawk Turnpike" as the
ucctpted and official designation!
Nelson Greene of New York has assisted
in the campaign to impress the approved
name on the public mind by setting forth
the rightful claim it gatns from history. "I
have just come across a recent map of New
York which carries on Its back an automo
bile route map of the State," says Mr.
Greene, in his historical sketch- of the Mo
hawk Turnpike. "To put it mildly, I was
astonished to find that the Mohawk Turn
pike was therein designated as the 'Onon
.Uga Troll,' a name which I had never seen
used in connection therewith and a name
vhich I believe is largely an Invention, thor
oughly inappropriate, and one which should
be abolished by the force of public opinion.
"Another remarkable feature of this map
I that various roads and highways, all over
tba State, are designated by tly; name 'Onon
daga Trail.' Others are called 'Iroquois
Trail' and 'Adirondack Trail,' these being
the only namaa used. The extreme lnap-
Historians Call Recent Appellation of "Onondaga Trail" a Gross Misnomer for Schenectady
Rome Highway Thirty Organizations Join in Stirring Public Sentiment
propriateness of this road naming is seen in
that there is an 'Adirondack Trail' shown
running from Yonkers to Port Chester in
the New York city metropolitan district!
Another 'Adirondack Trail' Is shown running
from Newburgh to Binghamton' Why
'Adirondack' when it runs through the Cats
kill section? One of the many 'Onondaga
Trails' is also shown running up the west
side of the Hudson from Nyack to New
burgh to Catsklll! Why 'Onondaga' when
it runs through an Algonquin Indian sec
tion? A Misleading Name.
"On the map I mention the 'Onondaga
Trail' name Is given te the entire New
York to Buffalo automobile highway. This
is an arbitrary and utterly misleading
naming of this route. As It is the most Im
portant motor car highway in the entire
world, such a stupid appellation is worthy
of some attention. This great turnpike ie
also weighted down with the additional
name of 'National Parks Transcontinental
"Imagine a motorist asking an Otsego
county farmer, 'Hey, mister, how do I get
to the Onondaga Trail-National Parks
Transcontinental Highway?' Instead of
'Which way to the Mohawk Turnpike?'
"This 'Onondaga Trail' la certainly a
weighty addition to the many historical
errors foisted upon the people of the Mo
hawk valley by enthusiastic but misin
formed people. This sort of arbitrary
nomenclature ought to be prohibited by
"Onondaga refers merely to one tribe of
the Iroquois Confederation, resident near
Syracuse at the time of the Revolution. To
give the New York to Buffalo Highway the
name of this one tribe Is ridiculous.
"Does the New York Central call Its rail
road from Albany to Syracuse the 'Onon
daga division?' Hardly It's the 'Mohawk
division,' as you will see by reference to Its
time table, and has been appropriately so
called since the road had Its present sub
divisions. 0
"Some historical and geographical writers
have seen fit to call the Albany to Buffalo
road the 'Iroquois Trail.' As a name for
this) route it is fitting, as the five nations
of the Iroquois Confederation were all lo
cated' directly on and along thla route, from
Scoharie on the Mohawk to the banks of
the Genesee River Mohawks, Oneldas, On
ondagaa, Cayugas, Senecaa.
"The first road into the Mohawk Valley
was probably made by Albany Hollanders
about 1661, following the Albany-Schenectady
Indian traM and conne:ting the two
settlements. Both Albany and Schenectady
were known aa Skan-ek-ta-de, 'the place
beyond the open plnsa' the pine woods on
the aand flats between Albany and Schenec
tady. Thla later became the celebrated Al
bany turnpike, a famous stage coach route
and a line closely approximating the New
York Central Railroad.
"For a long time following the Hollanders'
entrance into the valley the river was the
main transportation route. By 1725 the south Later It went on to the portage fort at
shore turnpike had been developed from present Rome; Until 1800 It was proba-
Schenectady to Fonda and probably by 1730 bly the main valley highway, just as it Is
this road was opened to present Mohawk, to-day, from Mohawk to Rome. The north
Historic Spots Along Old Mohawk Turnpike
Here are listed some of the many historic places and spots of scenic gran
deur along the famed old Mohawk Turnpike:
Indian Statue (site of old fort and
1 6 go Indian Massacre).
St. George's Church, Schenectady
Union College, Schenectady (1795).
Vrooman House, Schenectady ( 1680).
Gov. Yates House, Schenectady
( I73S)-
Sanders House, Scotia (1713).
Mabie House. Rotterdam (1680).
Yantapuchaberg Mountain, Rotter
dam (1,100 feet above Mohawk).
Guy Park, Amsterdam (1766); built
by Sir William Johnson for Col. Guy
Fort Johnson (1742); built by Sir
William Johnson.
Parsonage at Fort Hunter (171a);
site of Fort Hunter and lower Mohawk
Shrine at Auriesville (marks the mar
tyrdom of Jogues, 1646, Jesuit Mission
ary among Mohawks).
Old Court House, Fonda K 1836).
Butler House, Fonda (174-3).
The "Noses" Mohawk River.
Canajoharie Falls, Canajoharie.
The Van Alstine House, Canajoharie
Fort Frey, Palatine Bridge (1739).
Fort Klock, near St. Johnsville, site
of the battle of Klock' s Field (1780).
Indian Castle Church (1769); site of
the Great Castle of the Mohawks.
Gen. Herkimer Homestead (1764),
near Fall Hill.
The Little Falls Gorge.
First American Lock Canal at Little
Falls (1796).
Great Lock, Barge Canal, at Little
Falls highest in the world (4oyt feet)
at time of erection.
Marker, site of Gen. Herkimer's
birthplace (1738) South side road.
Fort Herkimer Church (1756); site of
Fort Herkimer.
Marker, site of Fort Dayton (1776),
Mirror Lake, Herkimer.
The Tory Spy House
place), Mohawk.
The Oneida Stone, Utica.
Whiteboro Settlement
Marker of the site of
camp before the Oriskany
gust 5, 1777).
Oriskany Battle Monument (August
6, 1777).
Site of Fort Schuyler, Rome f777,).
battle (Au-
shore pike attained its greatest Importance
In 1810, when the first bridge was built
across the Mohawk at Schenectady, thua
connecting the Albany and Mohawk turn
plkea. The name Albany turnpike was oc
casionally used also for the Mohawk River
When It Was the King's Highway.
"From 1864 to 1776 the north shore turn
pike was called 'King's Highway." After the
revolution it became the 'Mohawk Turnpike'
and has so remained ever since, with the
increasing addition now and then of the
word 'Old' 'Old Mohawk Turnpike.' It
never was called the 'Onondaga Trail' by
anybody anywhere, so far as the writer can
learn. Its name is natural, because the Mo
hawks dominated the river region up to its
headwaters and their villages generally lay
close to the river and its paralleling trails.
However, there's no use arguing the matter,
as names of rivers and highways are regu
lated by the people living on and along them,
and the people of the Mohawk Valley would
as soon call the Mohawk the 'Onondaga
River' as they would call the 'Old Mohawk
Turnpike' the 'Onondaga Trail.'
"The Mohawk River section la one of the
most Important historically and commer
cially In the United States possibly the
most vital spot in North America. Its
waters make the only link on the United
States Atlantic seaboard between those of
the Atlantic, '"and the great lakes a fact of
tremendous Import to our future transpor
tation, commerce and manufactures its
great railroads and Its famous motor high
way dally carry thousands through this
beautiful region where American history
was so largely made. It 1b vitally important
that the name of the valley or Its highways
should In no way be impaired or Its signifi
cance ruined. The name 'Mohawk Turnpike'
in itself Is a tabloid lesson In history, geog
raphy and transportation. Notice should be
served on map makers, automobile book
publishers, &o., that the name is the Mo
hawk Turnpike,' and nothing else.
"Imagine 'Fort Plain on the Onondaga
Trail,' 'Herkimer on the Onondaga Trail,'
'Canajoharie on the Onondaga Trail,' 'Sche
nectady on the Onondaga Trail,' 'Amsterdam
on the Onondaga Troll," Johnstown, three
miles from the Onondaga Trail," 'Little Falls
on the Onondaga Trail,' 'Utica on the Onon
daga Trail,' Ac.
"In a number of the valley towns situated
directly on the Mohawk Turnpike, the main
street of the place is merely a section of
this historic road- This Is true of Amster
dam, Fonda, Palatine Bridge, Nelliaton,
St. Johnsville, Little Falls and other towns.
The Inhabitants of these favored places will
doubtless be somewhat surprised to learn
that they are native Bona no longer of the
old Mohawk Turnpike, but that they have
been adopted by the so-called 'Onondaga
Trail,' according to Mr. Mapmakrr.
"Since the white occupation of the Hudson
Valley the New York-Albany road has been
known aa the 'Albany Road' or the 'Albany
Post Road,' by which name it Is generally
known to-day. From New York to Tarry-
town' It la known aa 'Broadway, and It
really la an extension of New York's moat
famous avenue.
"The portion of the New York-Buffalo
highway westward from Utica was called
the Oeneeee Road,' meaning the road to
the Genesee country, prior to and following
the Revolution, when thousands of emi
grants followed this road and peopled the
upper Mississippi Valley and the great
lakes region. The Albany Poat Rood, Mo
hawk Turnpike and river and the Genesee
rood the backbone of the State of New
North America.
"We have no general, comprehensive
name for the New York to Buffalo route
other than the New York to Buffalo high
way, but we have four names for four
sharply- defined sections of the same great
road - the backbone of the State of New
York. Thus we have from New York to Al
bany, 'Albany Post Road;' from Albany to
Schenectady, 'Albany Turnpike;' Schenec
tady to Rome, 'Mohawk Turnpike;' Rome
to Buffalo, 'Genesee Road' to Avon on the
Genesee river, and thence to Buffalo.
"Some people seem to have gone daft
ovei naming roads 'trails.' It should be
done with discretion and with strict regard
to history and. geography. At present It
seems to be frequently done without rhyme
or reason."
Plant Road Improvement!.
Col. Greene, State Commissioner of High
ways, haa offered to placard the whole
course from Schenectady to Rome with signs
bearing the inscription "Old Mohawk Turn
pike," providing a supply of such slgna be
given the Department of Maintenance. Plac
ing the signs, he explained, could ,be done
without expense to the State since there are
forces already available for the work. Ool.
Greene also haa promised his support In a
project to improve the turnpike. He out
lined a plan to widen the road wherever
practical, making It a two-line highway
twenty-four feet in width, with nine feet of
concrete on each side and six feet of bitu
men In the centre.
This, Col. Greene says, would coat no more
than a twenty-foot road, since the bitumen
already la in place and can be preserved
in the reconstruction. Col. Greene figures
that the rebuilt road would be as near acci
dent proof as is possible to make and would
last fifty years.
Stage Letter Writing
NE thing that I never could under
stand," aald a playgoer, 'la the
manner of writing and addressing
Mters on the stage. The hero's pen fairly
Hies across the page and when he comes to
address the envelope one sweep of the pen
from left to right suffices for that, though
the address thus produced must be one that
no post office clerk in the world could ever
"I suppose, of course, the purpose of thla
manner of letter writing la to give the air
of action, despatch; to avoid any sense of
lagging in the movement of the play; but
wquld It not be more realistic and striking
if It were done with a sufficient measure of
precision to make us feel that the letter and
the address could actually be read!"

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