Dear Mr. Robinson,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We located the article you mentioned in the “Affairs in Georgia” column of the "Savannah Morning News" for November 27, 1871. Some of the stories in the column seem true and others, like the children’s story, seem more “tongue in cheek,” especially since it was published in a Southern newspaper after the Civil War and the children are described as “two manumitted infants” ages of 11 and 9. You may be able to have a better sense of the tone of the story by reading additional columns in other editions of the paper, many of which are available online via the Georgia Historic Newspapers project of the University of Georgia. You may find other historic newspapers online via the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site, too.
You also may wish to contact the Georgia Historical Society, the Historic Savannah Foundation, and the Coastal Heritage Society in Savannah, Georgia, to see if they can offer you any additional insight or assistance.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
They may have been referring to the hook worm parasite.See the NOVA article, " How a worm gave the sough a bad name.