Volume 1


Fourth Edition Printed by the Clio Press Iowa City, Iowa 1920
Copyright 1917 by Clarence Ray Aurner

Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, submitted April, 2013


The storms of winter, unhindered by grove or fence or buildings, swept in fierce gales over the wide prairies. It was very unwise for men to venture far from home in such storms, and at times dangerous even to leave the shelter of the house to reach the stable where the cattle and horses were kept. In the blinding snow one might lose his way and never return to his family. To be perfectly safe a rope or line of some kind might be fastened from the cabin to the stable. To be caught on the open prairie was almost certain death.

The snow would begin to fall very gently, perhaps; and no one would suspect the terrible force behind it, or the bad days which were coming. But within a few hours the snow became finer; the wind rose and blew harder and harder from the northwest, for Iowa blizzards always came from the direction. The snow was tossed high in the air and packed by the wind in huge drifts so hard that a team could safely pass over a fence; a hedge row, a stack of hay, any object would cause a drift. Roads were full; for the storm lasted about three days before the gale lessened.

When the sun came up on the fourth day the glaring sundogs on either side showed the air filled with flaking frost; and there was one great gray cover over everything. The snow was not white. The strong wind had so stirred it up with dirt that it was even brown in places. But no one was interested in color, for roads must be broken. If they were fenced no attempt, perhaps, would be made to go through. The fence would be taken down or an opening made into the field. And if the snow did not settle under the warm rays of the sun, the field road would be used all winter.

To be shut off from the outside world in some prairie cabin in such a storm was sometimes the cause of much suffering. If the supply of food was low when the storm came or if the fuel was not plentiful, there might be danger and even death. A good neighbor would find out the needs of those about him and bring relief.

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