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Blizzard of 1888

Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Porter of St. Paul, Nebraska, wrote to family members in the East of their experiences during the blizzard of January 12, 1888. William H. O'Gara's In All Its Fury, a history with reminiscences of the famous blizzard, included their descriptions of its impact.

Mr. Porter prefaced blizzard remarks in his January 23, 1888, letter with a description of his corn harvest that year and then remarked: "I suppose you have read all about the recent storm we have had in the west but you can't realize how they are unless you should witness one. On the 12th inst. there was one of the severest snow and wind storms broke upon us that the country has ever witnessed and without a minute's warning. The morning was dark, foggy or cloudy, with a little fine snow blowing from the south until about one o'clock the wind suddenly changed, (coming) from the north. It appeared as though the clouds had fallen to the ground and wind fiercely rolling them over the country. I had just gotten to town with a load of corn so I did not get back home till next day."

Mrs. T. C. Porter wrote in her accompanying letter how she and the children fared at home, alone during the blizzard: "Well, we are having tolerably pleasant weather now, but you just ought to have been here the 12 and 13 of this month to have seen a Nebraska storm in all its fury. It was near the middle of the day and I had just come in from feeding the hogs. Cass had gone to town when I looked out the window and the cats which were on the steps were whirling around like they were drunk or something, and clouds of snow were rolling along sweeping everything in the way. Well, I and the children were all in the house, but with nothing to burn, as it had been warm enough with but little fire. Well, toward evening I bundled up and got out to the crib for cobs and started for the house and the (wind) blew me over and over. At last I caught, and crawled to the house, dragging my cobs along. . . . I thought the house would surely blow over. It cracked the plastering upstairs badly. The house would rock like a cradle and the children were frightened nearly out of their wits and maybe their mother was, too. We have had lots of very cold weather this winter. . . . If it wasn't so awful cold here in the winter we could do very well but it just freezes the life almost out of a body."

(January 2001)


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