Spring Blizzard of 1886
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"Tales told of bravery during ’88 blizzard,” by Irmarie Jones in her column “Just Plain Neighbors,” Greenfield Recorder.
On Sunday evening, March 11,  snow began to fall and continued without interruption until Tuesday noon, when the weather partially clouded over and it began to snow harder than ever, accompanied by a strong northeast wind, and finally subsided Wednesday morning. The news story said that at least 30 inches of snow fell, but, with the wind blowing in some places, it was 12 feet deep.
Jennie (Williams) Bardwell was the Gill mail carrier, making her deliveries on horseback. She left the Gill Center Post Office at 10 a.m. Monday morning.
“I arrived at Factory Village by 11 a.m. by my horse jumping through the drifts. I learned then that no team had passed that morning. I passed on up the hill, could not go through the swamp. The snow under my horse and my feet and that storm that beat against me was too severe. I turned my horse around, to come home, and as I knew I would not come back the way I went. I went to Riverside and took the other road which leads from Riverside to my house,” Bardwell told the reporter.
As she went past the [Riverside] cemetery, she held her shawl over her face. Her horse floundered and Newton Thomas came to her assistance.
“I was afraid Mr. Thomas would get hurt, for I could see him only once in a while and feared my horse would step on him, although I had to stop my horse every minute or two to let Mr. Thomas get ahead of us. My horse was covered with snow and icicles when I arrived at Factory Village, but all this does not express how severe, how awful it was, or how much I suffered in feelings. I was frightened,” recalled Bardwell.
The newspaper [March 19, 1888 edition] said her experience was one “many would have shrunk from.”