Lake Champlain froze completely on January 8th, 1887, missing by just two days the seventy-year record for earliest freeze.
“Saturday morning (January 8th) was the coldest of the season, the mercury registering 26 below zero – in the shade,” The Granville Sentinel reported on January 14th.
On January 9th, it was 18 below in Kingsbury and 24 below at West Hebron.
“Coal stoves, seal skins and overcoats are on requisition.”
At Granville, the cold was so severe that several steam pipes at the shirt factory froze and busted.
It was the start of a new work season on rivers, lakes and ponds.
“Ice harvesting is now in order. The ice is of a fine quality and very thick.”
January in Washington County had begun with cold and snow that made for great sleighing, but must have been uncomfortable for the Fort Ann convert that was baptized at South Bay on January 2nd, a day when it was 10 degrees below zero in Shushan.
“Good sleighing nowadays and a good many are enjoying it,” the Salem correspondent reported in The Granville Sentinel on January 7th. The weather was messy in Sandy Hill, now Hudson Falls, on New Year’s Day.
“New Year’s Day was a day of continuous storm, and the social festivities of the day were much interfered with thereby. … The storm of Friday night necessitated the placing of street cars on runners on Saturday morning, each one being driven by four horses.”
In Argyle it was 18 below zero on January 3rd and 4th.
“Some of our sporting men enjoyed a horse trot on the ice Tuesday,” the Dresden correspondent reported. “Report says that though the race was not exciting, considerable money changed hands.”
The Greenwich correspondent had second thoughts about outdoor recreation.
“We went to the toboggan slide the other day and found a doctor, and undertaker, and a grave digger present. It looked too dubious for us.”
Photo of Conifers in winter courtesy Wikimedia user Olga Ernst.