ancestryink fisherman

Thursday, August 16, 2012

1940 Facts and More Weird Weather

Two brief items of note, today:

St. Augustine, Texas - 1940:

7.7 years of schooling.  That was the norm for folks in rural farming communities.

Think about that for a moment.  My father, who was single and living in New York City in 1943, would end up completing 18 years of school, after a brief interruption to serve in WWII.  Quite a difference. 

From 1940 Census website - Education 1940
The 1940 Census website and records are a lot of fun to search.  The home page of the census website contains a map of the U.S.  You can click on each individual state and find out a few fun facts about what was happening there in 1940.

Maine had the dubious honor of being the "toothpick capital of the world."

Visit the 1940 Census website, a section of's vast database.  I don't think you need to have a subscription to access some of the fun stuff.


Okay, I couldn't resist one more reference to extremely weird weather, lest you feel singularly plagued by our current weather patterns.

Remember how Spring normally arrives around ...oh... March or April??

Here are two entries excerpted from the diary of "Schoolmaster Joseph Tate," who was a citizen of Rollinsford, New Hampshire in the mid-late 1700's.  (Source:  Catalfo's:  "History of Rollinsford, New Hampshire."  (Most of his entries were records of deaths, you may notice.)

Thursday, May..1777.  Snowed almost all day...10 inches snow

Possible 10 inches of snow in May??

Clearly, this was followed by a lethal
thunderstorm.  Death by thunder...

A year earlier, another record of bizarrely unseasonable weather, noted by Schoolmaster Tate:

May 30, 1776 A severe frost  - ground frozen an inch deep

Okay, I know what you are thinking, and I had the same shadow of doubt cross my mind when I read this.  Should we question the memory or sanity of Mr. Tate??

I may be wrong about this, not being a dyed in the wool farmer, but when does corn appear in May?
Beans, sure.  They are an early season crop....but corn?  Possibly this corn was planted in the traditional way of using a corn stalk for a beanpole, and not for the eating kind.  I don't know about that.  At any rate, the report of this very late, hard frost is probably true.

We have been known to have snow still lingering in the dark hollows, in late April...

*Just a note:  Rollinsford, New Hampshire is just north of Portsmouth which places it at the very southernmost region of New Hampshire, nearly in Massachusetts. Rochester, NH, is a bit futher north, but not much.  So, we're not talking the chilly climes of the White Mountains, here.

History can be reassuring.  If you think you have "seen it all," and our lives and environment have been freakishly and forever altered, chances are - IT all happened before.  And yet,  here we are.

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