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THE summer of 1835 was dry and remarkably pleasant, but the winter following was one of the severest seasons ever known in New England. It had many exceedingly cold days, and all the harbors from New York to Nova Scotia were thickly frozen over. Massachusetts bay was covered by the ice for a long distance from the shore. The first snow fell November 23, and from that time to the end of March snow storms came frequently, covering the earth to a great depth, and making excellent sleighing, which continued for twenty weeks.

December 6, Sunday, was a bitter, cold day, with a high wind from the northwest. The harbor of Salem, Mass., was then frozen over as far as Naugus head. An incident of that day was the loss of the crew of a small craft bearing the name Bianca, in sight of their own homes at Pond hollow in Truro, on Cape Cod. There were five of them, and they had been to Provincetown to ship their fish to Boston, for they were fishermen, and had started home this Sunday morning against the advice of older and wiser men. The sea was heavy, and the boat was capsized on the bar, all the men being drowned.

Wednesday, December 16, was the coldest day that had been experienced for many years, and taking the whole of the day it was the severest on record, being colder than either of the "Cold Fridays." The sun shone brightly, and a boisterous piercing wind prevailed throughout the day, rendering exposure to the open air scarcely endurable. At Salem, Mass., the temperature at six o'clock in the morning was eight degrees below zero. By nine o'clock it had risen three degrees, but immediately began to descend. At noon it was eight below, and two hours later twelve. During the next hour it rose about two degrees, but again descended, being at eight o'clock in the evening eighteen below. At Greenfield, Mass,, at noon on that day it was fifteen below. The next morning it was seven below, and by noon at-Salem it had risen to seven degrees above zero. Many fingers, noses and ears were frozen. An instance is recorded of a judge, who, upon entering the court-room immediately after returning from his morning ride on horseback, found that his ears were frozen. The drivers of the stages on the eastern route suffered much from frozen extremities. During the night many buildings were burned, probably on account of the great fires that were made to enable the people to keep warm, and there was such a demand for fuel that the price adlvanced to an extreme limit.

Through November and December there was that rare affliction, a. winter drought. The streams were so low that a considerable number of the manufacturing establishments were obliged to suspend operations, and many poor people were thus thrown out of employment in the middle of a hard winter. All wells were very low, and many dry. Water for domestic purposes was brought from a distance by teams. On Christmas night a slight thaw began, and fog and rain set in, which cleared the ice out of many harbors. The rain fell quite copiously in central Massachusetts, carrying off most of the snow which was on the ground. The springs were not much affected by it, however, the ground being too much frozen to permit the water to go through it.

The month of January was as severe as the preceding month had been. Many disasters to vessels on our coast occurred, and a number of lives were lost. Among the wrecks was that of the brig Regulator, bound from Smyrna to Boston, which ran on an island in Boston harbor. The foremast went by the deck, and the main top-mast followed, taking with it the head of the main-mast close to the rigging and the tops. It was low tide, and the sea broke over the decks, filling her with water. As the tide rose she beat over the island. Some of the crew were lost, but Captain Phelps and several others climbed into the rigging, and there remained until rescued by the crew of the brig Cervantes, after they had struggled five hours in the waves trying to reach the wreck. The survivors were all more or less frozen. The rescue was very opportune as the vessel was already submerged only the bowsprit and a few other projections being above water.

On February 21, the three months' run of cold weather in eastern Massachusetts was broken and another thaw set in. The snow was deep everywhere, in the woods and fields and highways. In most of the streets of Boston the snow and ice had accumulated to from three to four feet in depth, and in many of the narrow streets was even deeper. The roofs of buildings were heavily burdened with it, and they leaked like sieves. As the thaw came on, people were afraid their roofs would break with the weight of snow, and they hurried to relieve them. Cellars were inundated, sidewalks and streets were generally overflowed and impassable. The scene there was interesting. Axes, hatchets, spades, shovels and brooms were called into use to counteract the effects and avoid the inconvenience of a freshet. Young and old, large and small, black and white, rich and poor, people of all conditions and both sexes, with their various implements, from the ponderous pickaxe to the broom, were industriously delving and digging to open passages for the water in directions away from their own premises.

April 1, snow was four feet deep in the New Hampshire woods, and not a speck of bare ground was to be seen there on hill or in dale. The weather was still very cold.

Source: Historic Storms of New England by Sidney Perley, 1891

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