Friday, September 14, 2007

Extreme weather

This afternoon's rain is such a surprise it's almost like snow! Today I was doing some historical research that led me (as it has many times lately) into genealogical sites. I found this item reposted from a 1995 genealogical society newsletter from Jefferson, Tennessee:

As we wander in the archives and wonder about our ancestors, here is another item of interest about our past. It is another aspect of the our ancestor quest. I am going to pass on a tidbit of Info 1816: The year without a summer.

As a result of the eruption of Mt. Tambour Volcano in Java 1815, 12,000 island residents lost their lives. The Volcano is also to blame for an unusual weather pattern the following year in North America, resulting in mass migrations of people trying to avoid the ensuing climatic changes.

The summer of 1816 was unusually cold, with killing frosts and even snowfall destroying crops throughout the United States. June and July were the coldest months, 19 states had snowfall in June! There were no fall harvests; animals and people starved; wild animals ravaged the frontier. Not understanding the meteorological causes, people blamed the wrath of God for their hardships. Some, destitute and despondent, committed suicide.

By 1817 the climate had returned to normal. However, many had moved to warmer parts of the country and numerous farmers left for the cities to go into industrial work.

If you have no explanation for why your ancestor may have migrated or you can not determine exactly when it happened just sometime around 1815-1820 consider that this event may have been the cause.

So I did a little more investigating and found out more about "The Year There Was No Summer."

I've also learned that there was an earthquake in Edenton in December-January 1811-12.

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