I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.
When I first saw this prompt I didn’t know what I would write about. I don’t recall any stories of my ancestors involving stormy weather. Then I decided to look at the newspapers. I found a story about an accident near Gosforth Railway station in which someone was killed in a storm, but eventually realised that was Gosforth near Durham, not the one in Westmorland, now Cumbria, where my ancestor Matthew Stewardson was living.
After that false start I tried again, this time finding a report of a severe storm which affected Kendal and the entire Lake District between Christmas and New Year at the end of 1908. As I’ve written previously Matthew and his family were living at Rainors Farm at Gosforth at this time.[2,3] and would have experience the storm that I found.
The newspaper report that there had been signs of a snow storm on Monday evening and between 2 and 3am Tuesday morning a powdery snow began to fall. It was accompanied by high winds which caused deep snow drifts. Snow blew under some front doors leaving a inch of snow on doormats.
There does not appear to have been any damage to speak of, and the roads remained open.
The report goes on to mention that the temperature remained around -7 degrees below freezing point throughout Tuesday, so nothing would have melted.
As a farming family the Stewardson’s may have had to go out to in the blizzard to check on the livestock. I do hope they did not have to stay out long.
Even if our ancestors are not mentioned in the newspapers they can still tell us about their lives.
Other posts about this family
- Westmorland Gazette. (1909) A Christmas Blizzard. Roads Blocked : Trains Snowed up. Severe Storm in Kendal and the Lake District. Westmorland Gazette. 02 January. p5e https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000399/19090102/135/0005: accessed 04 January 2022.
- Census records. England. Gosforth, Whitehaven, Cumberland. 31 March 1901. STEWARDSON, Matthew. RG13_Pc-4897_Fo-60_Pg-4. http://ancestry.co.uk
- Census records. Englamd. Whitehaven, Cumberland. 02 April 1991. STEWARDSON. Matthew. RG14PN31523 RG78PN1810 RD577 SD3 ED15 SN35. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 29 May 2010.