Historian's Corner

Charlene Cole
Sandy Creek/Lacona Historian
Historian's Corner
December 27, 2017

Snow Storm

From the Watertown Daily Times

The winter of 1878-79 was one of the worst ever experienced. Paragraphs taken from the newspaper issues of that winter remind us that things now are not as bad as they might be.

The first paralyzing storm of the winter of 1878-79, struck this section about December 24th and just as has been true this past winter, was especially bad in the vicinity of Sandy Creek. An account contained in the newspaper telling of an award given by the passengers to Jacob Hermony conductor of a train snowbound at Sandy Creek, gives an impressive account of this first storm.

“The passengers of train number one, Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad on December 24th bound north from Rome and snowbound for six and a half days in the romantic and classical snow-clad Village of Sandy Creek, desire before leaving the fair and festive Lacona to express thanks to the hospitable and unselfish inhabitants of the Sandy Creek and Salisbury Houses who refuse to take undue advantage of their snow bound fellow creatures.”

Again, along the beginning of January, came the second big storm of the winter and in the column entitled “City” and “Vicinity” appeared an item: “The country roads are all blocked up again;” while another stated that “At daylight this morning, it was snowing so hard at Sandy Creek that people shaking hands could not recognize each other.”

People were stranded in various towns and the mail was brought to many of the villages on snowshoes. The business of government as well as trade was interfered with because of the storm and word was sent to the newspaper that “the supervisors of Pulaski walked to Oswego on snowshoes during the great storm;” while an article referring to Watertown said that “the weather interferes very materially with our country trade. An advance in the price of poultry is already noticeable and if the storm continues, other produce will likely take an upward movement.”


This was a telegraph item that came from Richland and was printed in the Watertown Daily Times on January 4th, 1879; for in that year there were some of the biggest and most general storms that ever affected the North Country. “The storm has not ceased. It has stormed for two days and two nights. Seventy-five passengers are here on the main line and their money is about exhausted. Provisions enough for the next 48 hours. Depth of snow on the level is about six feet.”

On January 6 the newspaper contained a paragraph stating that “Yesterday all the men around Richland were engaged in shoveling snow, where it had been shoveled up along the track, was 30 feet high.”

Judge Dewey sent a telegram from Richland where he was stranded which read, “Storm still raging and snow 10 feet deep. Seven engines and 100 passengers are snowed in here. Will be home on the first train. Have John plow the garden the first of May sure.”

Charlene Cole
Sandy Creek/Lacona Historian
1992 Harwood Drive
Sandy Creek, NY 13145
315-387-5456 x7
Office hours: Friday 9am to 2pm