History Nebraska Blog

Back in '67

"Children Barefoot in January," the headline read. This tale of an unusually mellow winter and its surprising economic results comes from "way back in '67" --1867, that is.

'The weather we are having. . .' said Dr. L. J. Abbott, one of the oldest inhabitants of this part of Nebraska, 'reminds me of the fall and winter of eighteen sixty-seven. That season was a remarkable one. There was no snow to speak of until March, and all winter, the weather was warm and comfortable. I remember seeing children playing barefooted in a sand-ridge on Christmas day.'

In those days there was a lawyer living in Fremont who was of a speculative turn of mind, and he took a contract in the fall to furnish the Union Pacific company a thousand cords of wood. He didn't have any money, but he bought some timber land over across the Elkhorn on time, and started a store here, buying the goods in Omaha on credit, and paid the woodchoppers in goods out of the store.'

"'In ordinary seasons his scheme would have worked, but the winter of 1867-68 was against him. There was no bridge across the Elkhorn and his intention was to cross the river on the ice. But the Elkhorn didn't freeze over solid enough to cross teams, and when he finally managed to make a crossing over the river the early spring rains had come and the low bottoms east of town became simply impassable.'

His cordwood was on the other side of the Elkhorn, the $4 or $5 a cord he was to get for it was in the hands of the railroad company, and the inability of the lawyer to make the two connect caused his financial ruin. He soon afterward left this part of the country.

Fremont Tri-Weekly, l892​

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