LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
CAUGHT IN A BLIZZARD
The winter of 1869-70 was mild, with the exception of two or three storms, which were of the severest type of western blizzards. This and the preceding winter having been pleasant, these storms came unexpectedly, and in many cases caused extreme suffering. Some incidents of this kind are worthy of mention in this connection.
In January, S.G. Martin, with his daughter Lillie, and son Clay, were crossing the prairie from LeMars to Lyon County, with horses and wagon. While out on the open prairie, miles from the timber, a house or shelter of any kind, they were overtaken by the terrible storm of that month. The snow, driven by a terrific wind, came so thick and with such force as to completely blind man and beast, making it impossible for them to keep their course, or to proceed against the raging storm. The thermometer sank rapidly, the cold became extreme, and they seemed likely to all freeze. With great presence of mind, Mr. Martin, assisted by his son, unloaded some sacks of flour and grain, which he had with him, and stood them up in a circular form, covering the tops with blankets. He then unhitched the faithful, though powerless team, and tied them to the wagon, and with his son and daughter, crawled into the shelter they had so hastily made. Here they remained for two days and three nights, the wind howling; the snow blowing through the crevices, and packing around them so closely that they were unable to move. Who of us can comprehend the anguish of that father, when during the third night, after lying in that terrible situation for nearly sixty hours, without having food and suffering unutterable anguish from the cold, his daughter exclaimed, Father, I am freezing! Happily they lived through the night, and the next morning, the storm having ceased, they made their way to Doon. Here they were kindly and tenderly cared for by H.D. Rice and family, where, though badly frozen, they finally all recovered,
[The above was given from the pen of S.C. Hyde, in an historical write-up he made of Lyon County, by request of the Board of County Supervisors in 1872, soon after that never-to-be-forgotten incident occurred.]
In February 1872 there was a fearful blizzard lasting two full days and nights. Old Mr. Beunan, father-in-law to J. S. Howell, perished in this storm. He was found dead near the Illinois Central Railroad Bridge, now at George. Mr. Abbotts ox team was found after the storm, near where James Gillman house was afterward built and Mr. Abbott was found near Andrew Baileys place, with both his feet frozen perfectly solid. They were afterward amputated.
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