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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2009-02 > 1233590520

Subject: Re: [S-I] Worst weather? early SI settlers!
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2009 16:02:00 +0000 (UTC)
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Keith, unfortunately the early Scotch Irish didn't write much. It is very difficult to get a sense of what life was like, so anything people have is very precious indeed.

I think some early weather news came from the military, esp. during the French and Indian and then Revolution. I seem to recall bad winters about the time of the Revolution. Here is a PDF article that recounts the weather George experienced going from Mt. Vernon (south east of DC) to Pittsburgh in 1770. If you google for the article you can click on the HTML rendition instead of PDF:
These details were from George's diary. His records contain the names of many people as well.
Here is a website with some info on his diaries and his later much more detailed documenting of weather:

The diaries are in various hands. The website above details which is where. --- THey are now on line free at this website.
See more info here:

Right now northern Europe is experiencing harsh weather. Four inches of snow apparently has shut down Heathrow. However in the 16th century -- the 1500s and Queen ELizabeth's time, I have read that the Thames regularly iced over and people ice skated on it.

Some info here:

"In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Little Ice Age descended, and the Thames froze 22 times between 1608 and 1796. London has always been, and still is, a city of great outdoor street markets, and a tradition of Frost Fairs sprang up during this period; as soon as the ice set, the city shifted its revelry out onto the water. This is from 1716:

"The river has been frozen for almost two months and a town of tents has been erected upon it. There is a cook's tent where gentlemen come to dine every evening. There are tents that sell ale and tents that sell gingerbread. There are two printing presses and people can have their names printed on a card to keep for posterity. An ox has been roasted near the Hungerford Stairs by a descendant of the man who roasted an ox on the ice at the last Frost Fair in 1684. A woman selling apples has fallen through the ice and drowned and has been immortalized in a poem." "

Also this article on early 'little ice ages' and the freezing of the Thames:

"The first recorded Frost Fair on the Thames occurred during the winter of 1608, but others may have been held much earlier.

In the year 250 AD, the Thames was frozen hard for nine weeks, and in 923 AD the river iced over and wheeled traffic transported goods along its length for thirteen weeks.

The last Frost Fair held on the Thames was in the winter of 1814/15. The river rarely freezes over nowadays like it used to, due to natural warming at the end of the "little ice age." "

Happy Frost Fair!

Linda Merle

----- Original Message -----
From: "KM" <>
Sent: Monday, February 2, 2009 9:37:29 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [S-I] Worst weather? early SI settlers!

Does anyone have copies of letters sent by early settlers with description
of winter weather, as they wrote back home to loved ones? I imagine there
would be some tales of woe after the first winter here.
Up in Quebec north of Montreal where I grew up, and where my ancestors
arrived in 1823 to claim and homestead 100 acre grant in the bush, among the
swamps and lakes, there were times when my dad could drive a team of horses
off road, on top of the frozen crust atop of 6' of snow. Back then roads
were not plowed and winter roads were for sleighs only packed down and
sometimes rolled with a huge roller pulled behind a team of horses to help
build a solid frozen base. Spring time was treacherous as these winter roads
often crossed swamps or lakes to take shortcuts and avoid steep hills on the
summer road trail. keith

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