Snow, snow, snow…

We are in the midst of a blizzard here in Saint Paul, and throughout Minnesota.  I have lost count of how many inches of snow have fallen and how many miles per hour the wind is blowing.  At this point, I don’t even care.  I am safe and warm in my condominium with a batch of chili on the stove and a pan of johnny-cake just out of the oven.

Swift County is under a blizzard warning, and I can’t even imagine what it must be like out on the prairie.  I don’t know how you all do it today, much less how our great-great-grandparents who settled in Clontarf and Tara Townships in the late 1870s managed.  I know there are some fantastic stories and legends out there about Clontarf residents coping with the treacherous winter weather.  Please share these stories – leave a comment!

On the third of December 1883, Mr. McDermott made a special delivery to a Mrs. Forster (or Fortser?) – I don’t recognize the name.  Any ideas about who she was?  At any rate, she had quite an order…

  • 1 Mallard coat ($3.50)
  • 67 yards cotton flannel (($1.04)
  • 10 yards shirting ($1.25)
  • 4 spools (.20)
  • 5 rolls batten ((.85)
  • 1 shovel (($1.00)
  • 1 skirt (.75)
  • coffee (.50)
  • baking powder (.20)
  • sugar (.50)
  • prunes (.25)
  • kerosene oil (.08)
  • D apples (.25)
  • coffee pot (.40)
  • arithmetic (.50)
  • needles (.03)
  • 2 copy books (.20)
  • comb (.25)
  • soap (.25)

That’s quite a list!  Not sure what “D apples” are…dried apples?  This list looks a bit like it is for someone who is going to stay in for a while.  Maybe a blizzard was on its way to Clontarf?

Stay warm.


Filed under McDermott's General Store

5 responses to “Snow, snow, snow…

  1. Eileen

    Looks like Mrs. F. is sewing nightgowns for Christmas and perhaps someone is getting a new quilt? Or maybe she has multiple children in diapers…67 yards is a lot of flannel!

    Johnny Cake sounds nummy!

  2. Donna Chevalier

    My father, Alfred Ascheman, told of how fast a snowstorm would come up. He was driving a young set of colts to toughen them in for the spring. He came to Clontarf with them from his Dad’s farm (John Ascheman farm, northwest of Clontarf, then later this farm was sold to Becker). He had started home with them and before he got very far the storm hit and one couldn’t see anything. An older team would probably find their way home, but not the younger team. They kept trying to turn and go with the wind. Dad had to fight and get them turned several times along the way. He missed a turn and knew he had to hear their feet go over a plank crossing, when he did not hear it he turned them. He knew he had to go so far by seeing the tops of the telephone poles. He did make it home with them. The reason the snow storms, when they hit, were so fierce was that it was prairie and no trees anywhere to stop the wind once it started.

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