Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter of 1856

The Marietta Register, January 4, 1877

Editor Register:

The present cold "Snap" - ice and snow - reminds me of 1856.  I give you a few extracts from my diary of "linked sweetness" long drawn out for many years:

Jan. 1, 1856.  Thermometer at zero.  Gusts of snow.

Jan. 9, 1856.  16 degrees below zero.

Jan. 12, 1856.  Heaviest snow storm occurred to-day, known within the memory of the 'oldest inhabitant.'  Snow on the ground to the depth of 16 inches.  Deacon Adams pronounces it the heaviest here for the last 40 years; side walks blocked with snow and heavy gorges to be seen.  Thermometer ranged from zero to 18 degrees below during the week.  Sleighing fine.

Jan. 15, 1856.  The snow heaviest since 1818, which at that time occurred Feb. 2, and the depth of snow was 24 inches; followed by excessive cold weather.  The thermometer standing on the 10th of that month at 22 degrees below zero, followed by a great flood.  Snow now reported at Wheeling and Pittsburgh three feet.

Jan. 30, 1856.  Thermometer ranged to-day from 10 to 15 degrees below zero.  Snow has been on since Dec. 24th.

Feb. 4, 1856.  Thermometer 10 degrees below zero.

Feb. 5, 1856.  This morning, by G. M. Woodbridge's thermometer, 20 degrees below zero.  We have had six weeks' nice sleighing.

Feb. 13, 1856.  Thermometer 12 degrees below zero.

Feb. 22, 1856.  The 'Washington Guards' celebrated Washington's birth day on the ice on the Ohio river, in front of Woodbridge's corner, foot of Front street, in full dress parade.  Gen. Hildebrand proud as a 'Briton.'  Eleven steamers destroyed at Cincinnati to-day. Snow on ground for nine consecutive weeks - river crossable for teams eight weeks.

Feb. 28, 1856.  Ohio river commenced breaking up below the island at 9 o'clock.  Crowds of people flocked to the banks.  Steamboat bells rang out in joyful peals in anticipation of speedy liberation.  Bonfires on the banks.

March 8, 1856.  Seven steamers lying in the mouth of the Muskingum.

March 10, 1856.  Snowed to the depth of 4 inches.  Thermometer at 12 degrees below zero at 6 o'clock.  10 steamers in mooring, Iowa, Arctic, Messenger, Caledonia, Fremont, Argyle and others.  Lamartine's sail ice boat made a trial trip, with success, on the Muskingum river.

March 14, 1856.  Eleven steamers in port.  Ice - ice - snow - cold weather.

March 17, 1856.  17 steamers in port.  Ice again commenced running; 8 steamers left.  Caledonia pushed out, and when opposite Front street, a monster cake of ice cut her down when under full head of steam.  In five minutes she was on the bottom of the river; water over her boiler deck, aft half way to cabin.  Freighted with sugar &c., a mule, hot and cow swam out in the ice.  Insured for $12,000.

March 22, 1856.  The "Monongahela Bell" came down the river from McConnelsville - first steamer for 10 weeks.  The frost King has done immense damage from the Atlantic to the Pacific - as far south as Memphis.  The M. & C. R.R. completed to within 13 miles of Athens.  Beman Gates, one of its ruling spirits, returned to day, after an absence of 4 months.

J. S. S.

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