The Year Without Summer Remembered in 1911


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 9/26/1911.

Year 1816 was Called Year Without Summer

The year 1816 was called the year without a summer, says the Magazines of American History.

As the springtime approached nothing in the weather indicated the return of seed time, much less of harvest.  Snows, heavy rains, and cold winds prevailed incessantly, and during the entire season the sun arose each morning as though in a cloud of smoke, red and rayless, shedding little warmth and setting at night as behind a thick cloud of vapor, hardly leaving a trace of having passed over the earth.  The frost never went off the ground until about the last of May.  The farmers planted their crops, but the seed would hardly sprout, and when at last it come to the surface there was not warmth enough to cause anything to grow.  During the month of June the young birds were frozen to death in their nests, and so great was their destruction that for at least three years after few birds visited the colder parts of the northern states.  The woods and forests seemed deserted by them.  Small fruit such as the juneberry ripened and rotted on the trees in the forests because of no birds to eat them.

Crops that required warmth, like corn, generally failed to mature, and only here and there in a few places that seemed especially protected did an ear ripen.  The people after repeated hopes of a change in the weather settled down in almost despair.  Large spots appeared on the face of the sun, such as seen through the smoky atmosphere, distinctly visible, with the naked eye; frosts prevailed every month the whole year and almost daily, and in the few places where corn ripened was the only supply of seed for the next year, and it was held at an exceedingly high figure with now and then an exception.