Muscatine County Iowa
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album, Muscatine County, Iowa, 1889, page 612
J.P. WALTON, formerly a reporter to the Smithsonian Institute, and now to the Signal Service of the War Department at Washington D. C., compiled this weather history from a record now in his possession ; commenced by the Hon. T. S. Parvin, now of Iowa City, on Jan.1, 1839, and continued by him until 1861, when the Rev. John Upford took charge of the instruments and made the records for two years. In the year 1863 they passed into the hands of J. P. Walton, who still retains them and continues taking observations. Thus we have at Muscatine a continuous record of three times a day, for more than fifty years. This is the oldest and most authentic record in the West, takem at one locality.
The autumn of 1837 was warm and pleasant. The river was high. Steamboats ran all the fall and brought settlers and provisions until winter set in, which was about the middle of December. The winter of 1837-38 was open and wet during the first half. The month of February and the first ten days of March were quite cold. The early settlers say that ice floated in the river nearly two months. The river colsed February 14, and good hauling lasted three weeks. It opened Maarch 24. The spring of 1838 was late in coming, but grass grew early and sufficient for cattle to live upon by the first of April. Weather dry during May and the first half of June. The river was high and steamboats were numerous, all loaded with immigrants. The summer and autumn were delightful. The crops were fine ; but the ague, which afflicted three-fourths of the settlers, interfered with their being gathered. The river was low in the fall ; boats scarce. Ice commenced running about the 20th of November, when the winter of 1838-39 commenced, which was not unusually severe, there being only eight to twelve inches of snow throughout the season. The river closed December 4 ; and opened on the first of March, 1839.
March, April, and May of 1839 were unusually pleasant, with sufficient rain for good crops. June was warm and quite damp. July and August dry and not excessively warm. September dry, with an early frost on the 12th. October warm, but quite wet ; there being fourteen rainy days during the month. On November 23, four inches of snow fell and winter set in. Ice commenced running on the 24th of December.
In the winter of 1839-40, the river closed January 15, and opened on the 29th of February. Thirty-three inches of snow fell during the winter ; but the weather was not excessively cold. The March and April of 1840 were dry ; river high, and spring early. May was a wet month with thirteen rainy days. June wet ; July August and September, cold. The thermometer did not reach 90 this season. October and November pleasant. Vegetation killed by a frost on the 24th of October. Winter commenced very moderately on the 1st of December.
The winter of 1840-41 was an average winter. The thermometer went below zero eleven times. River closed December 31, and opened March 1. March of 1841 was cool. April and May warm. June, July and August hot. Thermometer nineteen days above 90 degrees. September, October and November pleasant. A light frost September 11. A killing frost October 3. Winter began on November 26.
Thw winter 1841-42 was light. The thermometer touched zero only seven times during the winter. The river closed December 27, and opened February 28. March, April and May were moderately warm. June was cool ; July the same, but the thermometer reached 90 degrees eight times, it being quite changeable, ranging from 50 to 90 degrees. September and October warm. On the 15th of November, the longest winter on record commenced. December was steadily cold, with a mean of 21 degrees.
The winter of 1842-43 is known as the " long winter." DeJames Weed, an old settler, says it snowed on the 9th quite deep, and winter commenced that day. Stanton Printis, another old settler, left a record as follows : " November 17, snowed this morning four or five inches deep, a terrible strong wind from the northwest, and very cold." Parvin records ice commenced running in the river on the 18th. The river closed November 26 ; and opened on April 8, 1843. Ice formed three feet thick on the river. Snow was thirty inches deep in the woods during these five months. The thermometer was down to zero thirty-five days. Spring began on the 10th of April, but " came in earnest when it came." May was quite warm ; June moderate ; July and August hot--the thermometer 90 degrees twenty-two days ; September and October warm ; November moderate ; December warm, with a mean of 31 degrees.
The winter of 1843-44 was quite open. The river closed January 24 and opened February 23. The spring of 1844 was early. The summer was an average one. The autumn months excellent. The winter set in December 8, but the month of December was very moderate.
The winter of 1844-45 was light. The river closed December 27, and opened February 18. The thermometer went to zero but four times in the early part of December. The spring of 1845 was early. The summer long, with July hot. September and October warm. Frost the 12th of October. Winter set in November 23. December cold ; down to zero ten days.
The winter of 1845-46 was cold during the first month and moderate the last two. The river closed December 1 and opened January 20. The spring of 1846 opened early, but a light frost occurred on the 15th day of May. June cold. July and August warm. September, October and November pleasant. December warm.
Thw winter of 1846-47 commenced November 26, but did not end until the 17th of March, 1847. December was moderate. January cold, with 17 degrees below zero. February rather moderate. The river closed January 6, and opened March 19. March almost as cold as February. April, May and June cold and backward. July and August considerably below the average. September, October and November were warm for the season. A light frost on the 9th of October. December moderate, with a mean temperature of twenty-five degrees.
The winter of 1847-48 commenced November 26, and ended March 6. The river closed December 15 and opened February 16. The winter was mild, with but little cold weather. March and April of 1848 were about average months. May was warm. June, July, August and September cold. Thermometer was not above 85 degrees. Frost on 22d of September. October mild. November and December were cold.
The winter of 1848-49 commenced November 24, and ended February 20. The river closed December 15, and opened February 12. December had six days below zero. January eleven-- one day 24 below. February ten days. A cold, but not a long winter. The spring of 1849 was cold and backward. The thermometer down to 30 on the 1st of May. June, July and August cold. Highest thermometer during the year 89 degrees. Frost June 6. September, October and November delightful. The first frost October 8. December, steady cold weather.
The winter of 1849-50 began November 27, and ended February 23. River closed December 17, and opened February 19. January, 1850, quite moderate and wet. February, cold during the first part, and warm at the close. Eight inches of water fell. March and April backwards and showery. May backward and cold. June warm and pleasant. July and August warm and showery. September, October and November moderate ; with early frost on September 7. December pleasant with seven inches of snow on the ground. The last steamboat passed down on the 2d of the month. Ice running in the river on the 3d.
The winter of 1850-51 commenced November 28 and ended March 9. River colsed January 30 and opened the 21st of April. January, moderate with five inches of snow. February mild. First half of March snowy ; last half, mild. April moderate, with a hard snow ; on the 29th. A hard frost on the 5th of May. Light frost on the 24th. Twenty-one rainy days in June--fourteen and three-fourths inches of water fell. On the 8th of June the Mississippi River was higher than it had been since 1828. July cold and wet. Eight inches of water fell. August cold and rainy. Fourteen inches of water fell. On the night of the 10th 10.71 inches of water fell, which washed out bridges generally, and carried off houses along the creek. Four persons drowned while trying to escape from the flood. The was the final hard rain of the season.September about as warm as August, with a light frost on the 25th, and a hard frost on the 28th. Aurora borealis on the 29th. October pleasant and smoky. November 11th snow fell seven inches deep. The last boat of the season on December 12. Ice commenced running on the 13th. Winter began December 10, which closed the wet season of 1851--the wettest on record up to this time.
The winter of 1851-52 was cold during the last half of December and the whole month of January. February was mail and muddy. The river closed December 18, and opened February 24. First boat up March 5. Running ice on the 19th. The month cold. The average temperature 36 degrees. Ice 5 inches on the 31st. April backward. May warmer, frost on the 20th. June, July and August cold and dry. September warm and wet. The first frost on the 26th. October and November cold and wet. Ice commenced to run in the river November 19. November and December were not excessively cold.
The winter of 1852-53 was moderate.. There were not more than eight days in which the thermometer went below zero. The river closed December 19, and opened February 25. First boat March 7. March, April and May forward but subject to frost , the last of the 25th of May. June was remarkably hot, its mean temperature being 71 degrees. July cold ; mean temperature 68. August the same as June, with a mean of 71 degrees, but dry. The first frost September 10. October and November cold and dry. December moderate, with ice running on the 2d. There was an abundant harvest of grain and fruit this year.
The winter of 1853-54 had but little snow all winter. January cold, eleven days down to zero. February milder. River closed December 31 and opened March 1. First boat the 5th. March, April and May warm and forward. The last frost on May 2. June, July, August and September hot and dry. Thirty-nine days with the thermometer 90 degrees in the shade. At one time there were twelve consecutive days above 90 degrees. October warm and the first frost on the 15th. November dry and pleasant. December mild. Ice began running on the 5th.
The winter of 1854-55 was a light winter. The latter part of February was cold with a deep snow. The river closed January 22 ; opened March 7. March was cold. April and May warm, with a frost that killed most of the fruit on the 6th of May. June, July and August moderate for the season. September pleasant. The first frost on the 27th. The river very low. The river became high of the 12th of October. Ice commenced running in the river December 12, and closed the 25th. Thirteen inches of snow on the ground.
In the winter of 1855-56, December, January and February, and the first half of March, were cold with ice two and one-half feet thick. River opened the 29th of March. April moderate. May warm. June and July warm. August cold with the river very low. A dry season but crops were good. First frost August 24. First half of October dry. The backward and early frost greatly damaged the corn crop. November unusually wet. No indian summer. December was cold and changeable. River closed December 6.
Winter of 1856-57--December cold and snowy. January cold ; mean for the month was 6 degrees. Nineteen days below. One day 30 degrees below. February more moderate with enough snow to block all the railroads. On the 7th, a heavy rain fell, which carried out bridges and did considerable damage. The river opened February 27. with a high stage of water. The first boat of the season on the 28th. The river above Muscatine did not open until the 22nd of March. Spring backward. April 30, not a green thing to be seen. The country was destitute for hay or straw ; cattle suffered for the want of it. Season a month later than usual. June 5 light frost. First strawberries on the 21st of June. July and August moderately warm. First frost October 14. A great deal of corn was frost-bitten. November wet and showery. Ice running the 19th. A steamboat on the 25th. The river closed the same day; opened the 30th. December mild and muddy. No ice in the river. Boats running nearly all the month.
The winter of 1857-58, mild. Boats ran all the month of January, and some of February. May was wet and farmers unable to plow. River very high. June hot and wet. July rainy and cold. August and September cold and wet. First frost on the 12th of September. Corn ripened well ; wheat and oats a failure. Ice commenced running on the 19th of November. The river closed suddenly on the 25th and opened on the 30th. December mild. Boats running very late ; the last one on the 28th.
Thw winter of 1858-59 was open and soft. The river closed January 7th and opened February 21. March mild. The spring about average. October and November very pleasant. A hard frost on the night of September 1 greatly injured the corn and buckwheat.
The winter of 1859-60 was well supplied with snow. January cold. February milder. The river closed December 8 and opened February 28. River low. First steamboat March 1. On the 20th of May hail covered the ground one inch deep. June 3 the Camanche tornado passed about thirty miles north of here. July was hot ; August and September pleasant, with a light frost on September 11. Severe frost October 11, which killed flowers and vegetation. Winter set in November 19, with snow that lasted all winter. December cold. River closed December 15.
Winter 1860-61. January cold. February moderate. River opened March 2. March cold. April and May seasonable. June, July and August hot; 100 degrees in the shade August 2, 4, and 7. September rainy. Frost on the 23rd of October. Winter commenced November 30. December mild. Eight inches of snow on the ground the 22d.
The winter of 1861-62 was a winter of deep snow. River closed December 28 and opened March 25. January had twelve days below zero, and forty-four inches of snow fell. February, twenty-three inches of snow and eleven days below zero. Winter ended March 6. Ninety-four inches of snow had fallen during that season and railroads were blocked up. The spring was not backward. June, July and August hot and dry. September, October and November warm. First frost October 10. Winter began November 25. December mild. River closed on the 7th and opened on the 12th. Clear of ice on the 13th.
The winter of 1862-63 was an open winter. Thermometer down to zero but twice in January and February. But little snow or rain. Spring early. Good feed by April 7. Light frost May 18. Cherries as large as peas but not damaged. June 2, frost killed cucumbers in many localities. June and July cold and dry. August warm and rainy, with a very light frost on the 30th. September 1, there was a frost which damaged the corn and fall crops in the Northwest, but it did not damage Muscatines. September 19, frost. Snow October 22. Ice commenced running in the river November 28. Last boat down the 27th. Ferry-boat went into winter quarters December 14. River closed the 18. Eight inches of heavy wet snow the 28th that broke in the roofs of several buildings.
The winter of 1863-64 was a winter of good sleighing. January cold and dry. February milder. The last teams crossed the ice on the river on the 24th. Ice started on the 25th ; stopped, started, and stopped again on the 26th, and went out the 27th. March cold and raw. Five inches of snow fell. First steamer up the 7th. April cold. Frost enough May 11 to look white on the grass. Last half of May hot. July 1 grass-crop short, but better than last year. Wheat excellent. Corn rather backward. Rye and Barley good. Potatoes looked well. Apples and grapes plentiful. July, August, September, and October very excellent weather. A frost September 19. A killing frost October 9. A light snow October 21. November cold, stormy and unpleasant. Ice ran on the 18th. Ferry-boat froze up on the 21st. River froze over the 24th. Ice broke up on the 25th. Boats commenced running on the 26th. December 1, the last boat down ; 9th, ice stopped running ; 12th, teams crossed on the ice. December 31, ice fifteen inches thick in the channel. The year 1864 was dry. Only 32.73 inches of water fell.
But little snow fell the winter of 1864-65. There was not enough at one time to make sleighing. The weather was not excessively cold. The last team crossed on the ice February 21, and wild ducks were flying. The ice started above the city on the 22d, but did not go out until March 1. March cold and backward. Wheat was sown until the middle of April. Grass not sufficient for cattle until the 25th. Frost did considerable damage. Last frost May 11. June warm, with plenty of rain. July and August cold. September warm. A light frost October 3. A killing frost October 29. Indian summer all through November. It rained but 1 day. Twenty-two days without a cloud. December cold but not stormy. Plenty of ice in the river. Ferry-boat laid up on the 11th. Ice stopped running the 13th. The year 1865 was dry and favorable ; but 33.71 inches of water fell.
The winter of 1865-66 was colder than the average. There were thirty-seven days of sleighing, and seventy-seven days of crossing on the ice. March 7, the ice on the river stopped, and went out on the 9th. March was cold and backward. The last snow disappeared on the 31st. Even by April 8 the ice of last winter still lay along the river banks. April 26, grass enough for cattle. May 5, the river at its highest. It was said to be only six inches below 1851. May 29, frost damaged corn and fruit. June and July warm. August and September pleasant. A light frost October 11. Killing frost on the 31st. November 28, the first appearance of winter. November 30, ice floating in the river. December 1, the last boat down. Ferry-boat laid up on the 17th, and the ice stopped running. December 27, teams crossed on the ice ; 31.94 inches of water fell during this year.
The winter of 1866-67 was moderate, with snow in January and February. Ice froze eighteen inches thick on the river. March cold. Last team crossed the river on the 21st. Ice started on the 29th, and stopped. March 30, migratory birds made their appearance fully one month later than usual. The ice went out on April 1. Ferry-boat " Decalion " made her first trip on the 6th. April 18, the first frog was singing. This was one of the latest springs on record. May 1, grass plenty in the sloughs for cattle ; 17th a light frost. June 29, the river as high as last season. July, August and September dry and pleasant. Light frost on the 10th of September. Killing frost October 20. October 31, the first white frost of the season. November 30, ice running in the river. This fall was one of the best ever known. Indian summer for nearly three months. December 1, the last boat up. Ferry-boat went into winter quarters on the 7th. River froze over on the 18th. On the 23d, teams crossed on the ice. A dry year. Amount of rainfall, 32.24 inches.
The winter of 1867-68 was colder than the average. January and February had eighteen days below zero. But little snow. Ice twenty inches thick on the river. February 10, the thermometer was 32 degrees below zero--the lowest point on record. March 7, ice started out and stopped, and went out the 10th. First steamboat the 13th. Grass abundant by the 1st of April. May 3, a tornado that destroyed a number of buildings passed three miles north of the city. June and July hot. July had nineteen days 90 degrees above zero. It was the hottest July in thirty years. August moderate and dry. September wet with light frost on the 16th. A killing frost October 4th. The fall good until November 17. Winter began the 17th. November 14, a fine display of meteors was observed. Thirty were counted in fifteen minutes. December was cold. Ferry-boat laid up on the 8th. River closed the 19th, and opened the next day. Closed the second time the 25th. A few teams crossed on the 29th ; 43.14 inches water fell during this year.
The winter of 1868-69 was moderate, and with ten inches of snow in December. January and February mild. Ice started in the river on the 12th, and went out on the 15th. Migratory birds, the 16th. First boat the 20th. March 7, river closed. Ice went out the 23d, having been closed sixteen days. Horses crossed for seven days. April cold and backward. May seasonable. June and July cold and rainy, with severe floods. August but little better. September and October dry and fine. A light frost September 26th. A hard one October 13. November cold, wet and disagreeable, and fifteen inches of snow fell. Winter began the 12th. Ice running the 20th. Last boat December 3.
The winter of 1869-70 commenced in November. December was mild, with thermometer at zero but once. January mild. Zero but three times ; although there was an abundance of snow. River closed the 9th. February mild and dry. Ice started March 19 and stopped. March 18, teams crossed. March 22, ice went out.March 23 first boat. April 25, the river was three inches higher than in 1851. Spring forward. May 14, strawberries ripe. June intensely hot ;100 degrees in the shade on the 30th. Ten days with the thermometer 90 degrees above zero. July had eighteen days above 90 degrees, and four over 100 degrees. On the 19th, it was 102 1/2 degrees. August was quite moderate, having four and a half inches of rain-fall. September and October rainy. First frost October 12. November wet. December dry. Ice began to run on the 14th. Stopped the 21st. Teams crossed the 23d.
The winter of 1870-71 was moderate, with considerable snow. Crossing the river for two months. Ice started February 24th, and went out the 25th. First boat March 6. Plowing began March 2. A violent, steady, stiff gale on the 8th of April blew down and unroofed many buildings. Plenty of grass for cattle. The spring was forward. The last frost May 10. June moderate. July cold. August warm. A light frost of the 31st. A killing frost on September 29. October and half of November pleasant. Winter set in November 19. The river closed on the 30th. December cold, with seven stormy days, and ten inches of snow fell.
The winter of 1871-72 was a cold winter. January and February dry. Ice on the river thirty-three inches thick. March dry and very much like a winter month. Ice on the riover broke up on the 226th. There was not a day between Oct. 18, 1871, and March 27, 1872, that it did not freeze. The longest cold term on record at this place. The thermometer did not reach a higher point than 49 degrees above, or did not go lower than 14 degrees below zero. Plums and cherries in bloom April 30. Ten days later than last season. The summer season warm and rainy. Light frost September 2. Killing frost October 10. Ice began running and winter commenced November 13. Snow November 14. River closed the 30th. The first team crossed December 9.
The winter of 1872-73 was cold and severe, breaking up March 5. The ice went out on the 14th. April cold. May, June and July warm. August hot ; seventeen days above 90 degrees. On the 31st, 101 degrees. September pleasant. Light frost the 8th. October cold. Thermometer 17 degrees on the 31st, and a little ice floating on the river. November cold. Six severe snowstorms, with a fall of eight inches of snow during the month. River closed December 20.
The winter of 1873-74 was long, moderately cold and plenty of snow. It began in October and lasted until the middle of March. Ice started March 10. First boat, March 11; had to break a way through the ice. April 5, good sleighing. May 18, a slight frost. June hot; nine days 90 degrees or more. On the 26th, 101 degrees. The 3d and 4th, 99 1/2 degrees. The 5th, 103 degrees ( the highest known range at this place ). The 25th, 100 degrees. August, hot; 100 1/2 degrees on the 11th. September, rainy ; 3.86 inches rain fell on the 13th. Light frost the 15th. Ice one-sixteenth inch thick October 12. Fall excellent. Winter began November 18. December, warm.
The winter of 1874-75 was early and soft at first. January was the coldest one on record, there being twenty-two days the thermometer was below zero. One day nineteen degrees below. The mean temperature was only 8.07 degrees, being 11.02 degrees colder than the average. February was as cold as January. Fifteen days to zero. March, milder. Ice went out on the 29th. First boat appeared April 5th. May 20, apples in bloom. Light frost the 21st. June, July and August quite cold, but two days up to 90 degrees. There was a heavy frost in some parts of Iowa on the 23d of August, but none here until September 18. Killing frost October 12. An excellent fall. River closed November 30.
In the winter 1875-76, December was very open. Ice broke up the 5th. Ferry-boat started the 6th, and ran ten days. The ice closed up the second time the 18th, and went out the 21st. Steamboat up January 7. Ferry-boat laid up the second time January 10. The river closed the third time February 3. February 10, the ice broke up. Winter gone, and not enough snow to start a sleigh. The ice-dealers had to go to Northern Iowa for ice. March, muddy and backward. Wheat all sown by April 30, and cherries in bloom. Light frost May 9. Light frost June 19. July warm and wet. A flood the 15th that did considerable damage ; 3.64 inches rain. August 11th, a beautiful meteoric display. Fifty meteors in forty-five minutes. The fall a good one. Winter commenced November 21. Ice in the river the 30th. It colsed December 5.
The winter of 1876-77 began early, and was cold with but little snow. December, cold. January very cold. Eighteen days down to zero. February very moderate. Ice in the river went out the 19th. Considerable wheat sown by February 20. Corn about half planted by May 19. The spring backward. In June 3 a storm of wind and hail visited this county, blowing down several buildings, and completely destroying by hail one fourth of the crops in the county. The summer was moderately warm. The fall very rainy and disagreeable. A light frost September 18. A killing frost November 1. The corn ripened middling well. Winter came in November 27. Ice in the river the 29th.
The winter of 1877-78 was a remarkably soft winter. Mud all winter. Only two or three days of good roads. Ice not more than six inches thick and that in still ponds. Dealers went north for ice. The season opened with a good spring. A hot July, eleven days above 90 degrees. On the 12th, 100 degrees. Alight frost September 11, and not a killing frost until October 19, which made and ripened one of the best crops Iowa has ever had.
Thw winter of 1878-79 commenced December 6. The river closed the 19th. Teams crossed on the 22d. The last team crossed March 4. Seventy days' crossing the ice. The ice went out on the 7th. March cold and backward. Ten inches of snow fell during the month. Wheat sown, but no grass. The spring months of 1879 were warm and dry ; with a frost on May 7 that damaged vegetation. The summer was moderately warm and productive, with an abundant crop of fruit. A killing frost on October 24. The first part of October was extremely warm, the thermometer up to 80 degrees for eleven days.
The winter of 1879-80 commenced on November 19 ; ice running in the river on the 24th, closed on December 18th, and started to run out on the 9th of January. Farmers plowed during the months of January and February ; both months were very warm and dry. March, April and May were wet and warm, and early June extremely hot and wet. with the Mississippi River the highest on record up to the 26th of June. July and August hot, a light frost on September 9, with a killing one on October 18.
The winter of 1880-81 commenced November 14. The river froze over on the 21st; the first team crossed over on the 29th. The winter months were cold with a heavy coating of snow on the ground ; followed by a heavy snow-fall pn March 2, that blocked all the railroads for four days. The ice started in the river of April 6, running out on the 14th, after being closed 142 days. May was warm ; June very wet, having 10.25 inches rainfall. July and August very dry and hot, with the thermometer 104. On the 11th of September amd the first part of October, was wet and hot, and the river reached its highest point on October 28 ; about one-half an inch higher than in June, 1880. November 1, vegetation not much hurt by the frost. November 9, killing frost.
The winter of 1881-82 commenced November 18. December extremely warm and dry ; no ice in the river to interfere with navigation until the 30th. The ferry-boat run most of the month of January ; the ice stopped running on the 29th, and opened on February 6, with winter ended.The ferry-boat commenced to run on the 7th. The spring was very early ; cherries in blossom on the 26th of April, and damaged by frost on the 2d of May. A light frost on the 22d of June ; a hard one on the 1st. and 5th. The first light frost of autumn was on September 21. A killing one October 17. The corn-crop was very poor this season.
The winter of 1882-83 commenced November 25. The river closed on the 24th of December, and broke open on March 12. A long, hard, cold winter. April 28, cherries are in bloom. An early but cold spring. May cold, with a hard frost on the 22d--it doing much damage to fruit. The summer was cold, with a light frost on September 9, and a killing one on October 3. The corn drop is soft and short. Potatoes are good, and worth twenty-five or thirty cents a bushel. The autumn of 1883 was noted for its peculiar red sun-lights before sunrise and after sunset.
The winter of 1883-84 commenced November 17 ; held open, with farmers plowing, up to the 16th of December. The river closed on the 19th of January. February and March were very cold, with ice on the river twenty-six inches thick. The river opened March 23d. The summer months were cold ; and the latter part wet. September and October warm, with killing frost on October 23. The red sun-lights appeared again this autumn.
The winter of 1884-85 commenced November 23. The river closed December 22. December and January were cold and stormy. with heavy snowfalls. The thermometer fell to 34 1/2 degrees below zero--the coldest on record. February had seventeen days down to zero, with a snow-fall of twenty-four and one-half inches. Fifteen is the deepest on record for February. March cold and dry, with ice running out of the river on the 26th. April more moderate. May warm. Jume moderate. July hot and wet. August, September and October moderate, with a killing frost on October 8. The grasshoppers injured the crops greatly this year.
The winter of 1885-86 began December 4. The river closed on the 11th. December, January, February and March were cold and stormy. The ice started running in the river on March 17, and run out on the 18th. April dry, warm and early ; with light frost on 16 of May. June cold and dry. July and August, hot and dry. The river very low. September hot with several small rains. A killing frost October 1. This has been a very dry season, with a very short corn-crop.
The winter of 1886-87 began November 19, but was not swevere until December 1. The ice stopped running in the river on the 2d of December. Teams crossed on the 6th.. The winter months were cold, with plenty of snow ; March nore moderate. The ice run out og the river on the 7th of April. May and June were warm and dry. July dry and hot. The thermometer reached 104. August dry and hot. The thermometer went up to 102. The drought had impaired the corn-crop very much. Many of the fields looked as though they had been frost bitten. The drought for the past two seasons had destroyed about all the timothy-crop. The farmers have had to ship in hay, or go to the low bottoms and cut wild hay, for their stock. Timothy hay sold for $15 in the market ; wild hay from $8 to $10 per ton.
The winter of 1887-88 began November 19. The river froze over December 22. Teams crossed on the 27th. January and February, cold, with plenty of snow. The ice on the river twenty-one inches thick. March 16, the ice run out ; the spring months backward ; planting two weeks later ; then, as usual, a light frost on the 16th of May. The river stood, May 17, at 17 feet 4 1/2 inches above low-water mark--the highest point on record. According to a mark cut on the stone pier of the railroad bridge, at the mouth of Pappoose Creek, it was one and a half inches higher than in 1881, and two inches higher than 1880. July hot ; the thermometer up to 103. A killing frost September 28. The hay crop good. Corn heavy and well ripened. Potatoes abundant and good. Oats light and poor. October cold and dry. The winter of 1888-89 began December 6, and was very open during December.
The extreme range of the thermometer at Muscatine is 138 degrees, from 34 degrees below to 104 above.
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