October 1880 Snowstorm Began ‘The Snow Winter’

This photograph was taken in March 1881 of a train passing through snow-covered Minnesota in the worst snow season ever recorded there.

photo of a train passing through deep snow in Minnesota during winter of 1880-1881

Credit: Wikipedia

The snow season started with a storm in October 1880 and it just kept on snowing until March of 1881. It was one of the Midwest’s worst-ever snow seasons, with multiple blizzards and snow accumulation of more than 11 feet in some areas. Somewhat accurate details and many of the names of the townspeople who endured this long winter season of frequent blizzards can be found in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novel The Long Winter.

Here in New England, it’s hard to forget the 2011 Halloween nor’easter that slammed the area with so much snow, so early in the season, that it destroyed the most trees in the entire recorded history of Connecticut storms.

The following Ohio newspaper article reported that the storm that started in October 1880 was “the worst storm ever known in Southern Minnesota and Eastern Dakota and is still raging.”

The storm blocked passenger and freight trains “in snow drifts from ten to twelve feet deep and teams with provisions have been dispatched to their relief.”

Read the account of the start of the storm in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Disastrous [Snow] Storm, Plain Dealer newspaper article 18 October 1880

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 18 October 1880, page 1

Many people lost their lives in these terrible blizzards. Farmers had to burn their fences to keep warm. Read this 1922 newspaper article from the Milwaukee Journal that recounts how the autumn storm that began the winter of 1880-1881 claimed 70 lives on Lake Michigan: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/wlhba/articleView.asp?pg=1&orderby=&id=3670

Did you have any ancestors who survived “The Snow Winter?” Share with us in the comments.

GenealogyBank adding more newspapers

GenealogyBank adds newspapers from 8 States – bringing our modern newspapers in the America’s Obituaries section up to 1,144 titles.

Arkansas
Courier, The (Russellville, AR)
Obituaries: 08/23/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 08/20/2008 – Current

Hot Springs Village Voice (Hot Springs, AR)
Obituaries: 09/10/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 09/03/2008 – Current

Iowa
Ad Express & Daily Iowegian (Centerville, IA)
Death Notices: 01/02/2008 – 02/14/2008

Massachusetts
Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA)
Obituaries: 07/24/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 07/18/2008 – Current

Michigan
Ludington Daily News (Ludington, MI)
Obituaries: 06/11/1998 – Current
Death Notices: 02/05/1998 – Current

Mississippi
Delta Democrat Times (Greenville, MS)
Obituaries: 01/11/2002 – Current
Death Notices: 01/08/2002 – Current

North Carolina
Richmond County Daily Journal (Rockingham, NC)

Obituaries: 05/05/2003 – Current
Death Notices: 05/05/2003 – Current

Oklahoma
Duncan Banner, The (Duncan, OK)
Obituaries: 09/20/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 01/11/2008 – Current

Tennessee
Daily News Journal, The (Murfreesboro, TN)
Obituaries: 09/13/1999 – Current
Death Notices: 02/12/1999 – Current

Patty Barthell Myers, 1930-2008

Patty Barthell Myers died 9 October 2008, at the home of her daughter, Lucy Bonnington.

Her obituary (San Antonio Express-News (TX) – October 13, 2008; Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 Oct 2008) simply stated her “life’s work was genealogy.” Well said.

She was the author of numerous compiled genealogies and reference works including:
Female index to Genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England by James Savage. (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2008).

Ancestors and descendants of Lewis Ross Freeman with related families : based partially on the work of Freeman Worth Gardner and Willis Freeman. (Camden, ME: Penobscot Press, 1995).

Cargill/Cargile/Cargal of the south and southwest : descendants of Cornelius Cargill of Virginia, John Cargile of Virginia & North Carolina, John Cargile of Virginia & Georgia, Andrew J. & John Cargal of South Carolina & Georgia. (Camden, ME: Penobscot Press, 1997).

Descendants of Joseph Barthel and his wife, Christina Lutz : who came to America 1830 on the Romulus and who settled in Erie County, New York. (Author, 1991).

The Hughes family from Virginia to Oregon. (San Antonio, TX: Burke, 1999).

Her lengthy obituary concluded by saying: “Her life was an example of overcoming enormous challenges, and making a difference in the world, patiently, quietly–and then there was the occasional wild rumpus. “

Her late husband, A.J. Myers had been a POW at the “Hanoi Hilton” at the same time John McCain was there.

San Antonio Express-News (TX) - October 13, 2008
Reprinted with permission GenealogyBank
Patty [Florence] Barthell Myers died October 9th, at the home of her daughter in suburban Philadelphia, where she was living and receiving hospice care since August.


Born in Evanston, Illinois on June 6, 1930, Patty was the third of four children of Harriet Lyon and Edward East Barthell, Jr. She grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, spending summers on Lake Michigan. She graduated from New Trier High School with honors and attended Northwestern University in Evanston.

She met her first husband, Louis Harold Cargill, Jr. on Lake Michigan and they married on Patty’s birthday in 1951. They had 3 children, Lucy, James, and Lon Cargill. Lou died in 1985 and Patty returned to San Antonio. Lon died in January of 1985. Patty married Armand J. Myers in 1988. A.J. and Patty met in 1965 when he was flying fighter jet missions over North Vietnam. He was shot down June, 1966, and was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton for 6 years. When he was re-patriated, his Air Force sponsor was Patty’s husband, Lou. Patty and A.J. married in 1988. A.J. died in 2002.

Patty’s life’s work was genealogy. In 2007, she published her FEMALE INDEX TO GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST SETTLERS OF NEW ENGLAND, by James Savage,1860.

She is survived by her brother, John Peter Barthell of Sequim, WA, sister Polly Barthell Clark of Orlond Beach, FL, brother Edward East Barthell, III, of Appleton WI, cousin Charles Arthur Carroll, of Manhattan, and cousin Elizabeth (Betsy) Barthell of Overland Park, KS. She also leaves her daughter, Lucy, and her husband Mark Bonnington, of Malvern, PA, son James Eric Cargill of San Antonio, her grandchildren Colin Mark and Cara Ellen Bonington of Malvern, PA and John Shaw Lynch, of Williamsburg, VA and his sister Ashley Lynch Rodi, and God daughters Kemper and Edyn Rodi, of Newport Beach, CA, and sister-in-law, Sally Dulin Shaw of Mexico City.

Patty requested no memorial service. Her ashes will be scattered on Lake Michigan, the pink beaches of Bermuda, and the coast of Oregon.

Her life was an example of overcoming enormous challenges, and making a difference in the world, patiently, quietly–and then there was the occasional wild rumpus.

Friends may call at her home in Oakwell Farms, 15 Campden Circle, San Antonio, TX on Thursday, October 16th, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Donations may be made in her name to the nearest public library.
Copyright (c), 2008, San Antonio Express-News. All Rights Reserved.