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Past and Present
The Big Snow Storm


At the suggestion of a friend on whose judgement and taste I place great reliance I transcribe from the pages of the Christian Guardian, part of a published journal of a'series of Missionary Meetings, embracing an account of what we all used to oall “ Tiie Big Snow Storm.”

“Dear Brother,—Having a few moments leisure in passing through this town, I avail myself of it to transcribe and send you the fifth leaf of my Journal.

“Wednesday, Feb. 5—Should have gone on to Beverly; but I am laid up by the storm, which continues to rage with unabated fury. Brothers Ryerson and Jeffers, who had intended to start on their return to their families, are also unable to stir an inch. All our interior appointments, viz, Beverly, Bastard, and Crosby, will have to be neglected for this time (we will try and hold them in March); and it will be as much as we can do to get on Friday next to Waterloo.

"Thursday, Feb. 6.—Continued to snow and blow all the forenoon. The hope of getting to Waterloo was completely abandoned. The storm subsiding about noon, and hearing that-the Stage had come in from Brockville, from which place it had been a day and a-half in coming, (a distance of 12 miles,) we started out. There were three sleighs in all: a friend’s cutter, who had been weather-bound in Prescott since the meeting, and at whose house we aimed to get for dinner, a distance of 4 miles —he went before; next went the double team, which conveyed my three friends; and I brought up the rear. In this order the procession moved out of the town, First, we had the Stage track alone for about two miles; for the next mile and a-half it was a little better broken by a few sleighs lyhich had turned out for that purpose; but for the last half-mile or more to our friend’s house, the road was entirely broken by him, to the great endangerment of himself and lady, who was along, being entombed in the snow. Indeed, to describe the incidents of this four-miles’ journey would require a pen far more graphic than mine. The quantity of snow fallen is greater than has ever been known to fall at once by the oldest inhabitants: it cannot be less than three or four feet on the level—if indeed any level there is; it having blown all the time it was falling. The snow has assumed all manner of fanciful shapes and forms. Here the wind in a capricious humour has scooped out a hole to the ground; there it has piled it up like “Alps on Alpsa little further on, the snow by being driven into some hollow place, forms an almost bottomless ocean. Now, for a few rods we are making a little snail-like progress—there! horses are floundering over head and ears in. a snow bank, or groundless sea of snow, where, if they move at all, it is more a swim than any thing else—now we are fast—the horses are unable to “stir a peg”— turn out, boys, and break the road before them—he who has the longest legs and the leanest body is now the best off—but a mis-step, and away we go heels over head in the yielding mass. “Give me your hand, and help me up”—“but I am losing my balance too”—there we are, down together, and up the best way we can, and at it again! After this fashion we wallow on till, after much fatigue, and badly caulking one of the team horses which conveyed my brethren, we accomplished the journey to Mr. Heck’s in about two hours’ time. Here we are at a full stop. The stage has only gone one mile beyond this to-day, and that not in the road, (which in most places is drifted full from fence to fence,) but on the ice. After a substantial dinner, to which we were prepared to do ample justice, four of us went out to reconnoitre. Found the road impregnable. Made a detour to the ice; and concluded that something might be accomplished by the Stage track thereon. Resolve on this; but on returning to the house, the friend who brought my brethren refused to proceed, his horse’s foot continuing to bleed profusely. Br. Taylor and myself resolved to proceed, in hopes of getting to Brockville before bed-time. Find the stage track only leads a mile—make the attempt to push on to Maitland, a distance of two miles, without a road, still on the 2C€r—wallow 18* on a-half-mile—but finding our horse beaten off his legs, and the shades of night coming down upon us, we are fain to retrace our steps to the place where the stage came on the ice. Find a hospitable entertainment for the night with a friend, Mr. Snider. Spent the evening agreeably in religious conversation, and some hoarse attempts at singing.

"Friday, Feb. 7.—Rise betimes. Concert the mode of attack on the hither to-unsurmounted snow-banks between Mr. S’s and Maitland—2J- miles. First, our friend takes his oxen, and breaks down some of the most formidable banks. Then, he takes his able span of horses and sleigh, and goes before : my Br. Taylor rides with him; and I follow in his wake. But the process beggars all description; I therefore leave it undescribed.”

I am sorry that here my scrap of Journal runs out, as our troubles were not yet ended. Suffice it to say, that by dint of hard labor, and abusing the several “ path-masters” along the road, we got to Maitland—2J miles—for dinner—to Brock-ville about the middle of the afternoon—and to Yonge Mills, before bed time—perhaps 14 miles in all that day. Lodged in a dirty tavern. The next day turned out cold—we travelled all day and all night—floundering about because of the darkness—and got into Kingston about 2 A. M., more dead than alive. My fellow traveller and I had to pummel each other, to keep the breath of life in our bodies. We were in a poor state for preaching Missionary Sermons the next day, but we had to try it; and the people continued to put up with our efforts.


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