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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2010-11-14 12:49 pm

The Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888

I was searching old newspapers again, on one of my favorite sources, Chronicling America. Even though they have a limited number of states, the wesbite is a real treasure.

The Iola (KS) Register reported about the blizzard, which affected Dakota Territory, Minnesota and Nebraska, in its 27 Jan 1888 issue. Some of the scenes described reminded me of reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series of Little House books.

It was a sobering reminder that Wilder was truly writing about real life events. Historians call it the Schoolhouse Blizzard.

St. Paul, Minn., Jan 18 - Sarah Dolan, a school teacher of Goodwin, near Clear Lake, Dak., and Hugo Scheff, a farmer of Altamont, Dak., have been found frozen to death, and so far, four deaths have been reported in that section, but it is feared there were many more.

News reached Jamestown, Dak., of the freezing to death of M. A. Ryan, a farmer living near Windsor, where he had a claim. His body was found by a searching party near a haystack, about eight miles from Windsor. He had been in the stack and had come out, unbuttoned his coat and laid down on top of a snowdrift near the stack...His horse was found alive. He had matches in his pockets when found, and friends wonder why he did not set fire to the stack and warm up. Mrs. Ryan is nearly crazed...

It is reported that thirty-one schoolchildren are missing in Turner County [Minnesota]...

The death of Edwin Kylling, a farm boy of seventeen years, has just been reported from Canton, Dak. He went after hay and was caught by the blizzard.

Sioux Falls, Dak., Jan 18 - Henry V Bliss, a farmer near Montrose, next county, went to the barn to do chores. His wife put a light in the window to guide him back, but he never came.

G Grandstrom's body was found last night. He was driving home from this city and being overtaken by the storm unhitched the horses and then abandoned them. He finally fell in the snow and perished within twenty-five yards of his house.

Neligh, Neb., Jan 18 - A schoolteacher and eight children, names unknown, were lost in the storm in the northern part of Holt County.

Miss Louie Royce, teaching school near Foster, Neb., attempted to go from the schoolhouse to a farm house twenty rods away, with three children but lost her way in the storm and all laid down in the snow. The three children died during the night, but Miss Royce reached the house in the morning with both feet frozen, and they will have to be amputated.

Henry Keichhafer and son also lost their lives in the same place while trying to find some cattle. Their bodies were found within ten rods of a farmhouse lying side by side.