Aug 9th Sat Was mending most of the forenoon after doing
my chamber work This afternoon Helen & I have
been to Mothers found her quite sick with a cold
so that she could not speak aloud. Called for
Orinthia to carry her with us but she did not go
Brought her home with us at night Just as we
got to Mr Howards there came up a tempest &
we stoped untill it was over
Helen Angier Ames, aged 14, accompanied her Aunt Evelina this afternoon to the Gilmore farm, perhaps to see Evelina’s niece, Lavinia Gilmore, aged 19. The two young women were friends. The schoolteacher, Orinthia Foss, was invited to go along as well but declined. Instead, she joined Evelina and Helen on their return trip.
As she often did, Evelina went to visit her mother and family at the farm where she grew up. Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, aged 79, lived most of the time with her son Alson. She was usually in good health, but today she was “quite sick” with a summer cold and laryngitis. Illness seemed to be all around Evelina in these dog days of summer.
On their ride home, the women encountered a storm violent enough to make them stop off at the Howards’ house. The outburst was, in fact, part of a squall line that produced a tornado in Hartford, Connecticut. A “tempest,” Evelina called it, using a word that nowadays isn’t often heard in American English. Modern usage might describe the storm less poetically as a “weather event.”
*U.S. Tornado Early History, http://www.ustornadoes.com
One thought on “August 9, 1851”
On the other hand, television is very dramatic about “weather events” these days. In their attempts to grab our attention, they often present these “events” as unique, apocalyptic, and mostly likely caused by global warming. Reading old diaries gives me the impression that it was both hotter and colder in these parts in the days of Old Oliver, Evelina, and Thoreau, and that was before the dust bowl era, and definitely before almost any statement about dramatic weather could become a potentially political one. 😉