Elmer Crozier Diary - Winter 1917-1918


  • Fri., Dec. 7-Began to snow.
  • Sat. Dec. 8-Snowed all day-14 inches of snow was on the level with heavy drifts in places. In front of the barn the snow was drifted 4 feet deep.
  • Sun., Dec. 9-River froze over, 8 below zero.
  • Mon., Dec. 10-14 below zero, travel on all pikes and wagon roads was blocked, the farmers used heavy drags to break the way.
  • Thurs. , Dec. 13-More snow with cold wave.
  • Fri., Dec. 14-Zero
  • Sat., Dec. 15-4 below zero.
  • Sun., Dec. 30-6 below zero, river still solid, one of the heaviest gorges of ice between Madison and Cincinnati that was ever known..


  • Sun., Jan. 5-Began to rain.
  • Jan. 6-Rained.
  • Mon., Jan. 7-River broke at night in front of Madison. Moved down about 300 yards and gorged.
  • Jan. 11-More snow followed by cold wave.
  • Jan. 2-12 below zero with high winds, much suffering among the poor classes on account of fuel being scarce and high due to the war, thermometer stood 2 below zero all day, 8 p. m. 6 below.
  • Jan. 12-The 7 a. m. passenger train out of Madison got as far as North Vernon where it had to stop on account of deep snow drifts. Coal was so scarce in Madison that the brave Rail Road men faced the gale of snow and wind and brought 5 cars of coal thru.
  • Sun. Jan. 13-Zero, wind stopped but many deep drifts were on the wagon roads, no trains in or out of Madison.
  • Mon. Jan. 14-Eighteen above zero, snowed hard all day, roads were again blocked, drags were again used, wind blew all night.
  • Tues. Jan. 15-16 above zero, heaviest drifts ever known, snow plows were used on the railroad for the first time in history on this section of the road. Snow on the level was knee deep on horses, all business at a stand still, drags were used on the roads. I had the road from my house to the Michigan Road dragged. It took six horses to pull thru.
  • Wed., Jan. 16-4 above zero, thermometers in Madison showed from 4 to 12 below due, no doubt, to the heavy ice gorges in the river.
  • Thurs., Jan. 17-6 below zero.
  • Fri., Jan. 18-4 below zero
  • Sat., Jan. 19-2 above.
  • Sun. Jan. 20-Zero
  • Mon. Jan. 21-6 below, temperature raised to 22 above, more snow fell to a depth of 20 inches on the level with drifts from 4 to 12 feet deep.
  • Tues., Jan. 22-12 above.
  • Wed., Jan. 23-2 above.
  • Thurs., Jan. 24-36 above.
  • Fri., Jan. 25-42 above, thawing fast.
  • Sat., Jan. 26-Rain.
  • Sun., Jan. 27-Sleet and colder.
  • Fri., Feb. 1-12 above, ice broke and passed out doing great damage to boats and barges, all floating crafts along the river were cut down by the tremendous ice gorges.
  • Sat., Feb. 2-6 above.
  • Sun. Feb. 3-30 above.
  • Mon., Feb. 4-Zero
  • Tues., Feb. 5-Zero, continues cold with snow until about the second week in March.
  • During this cold weather my wife and I with the children lived in two rooms. Wife and I slept on the couch and the three children, James, Minerva and William slept in one bed. The snow would drift in against the house so deep that at one time I had to climb out the window. It was so heavy against the door that it could not be opened. I kept my snow shovel hanging by the door after that and the first thing I would do when I opened the door was to shovel the snow out so we could get to the shed. Schools were all closed on account of the severe weather.

The winter of 1917-18 was one of the hardest ever known in this section of the country.

The field west of the house was covered with snow. It had rained and frozen on top of the snow and was hard enough to hold up a sled with five of us piled on. Mother, James William, Minerva and I would all get on the sled and slide down the field.

The snow was drifted over the top of the fence posts back in our pasture. James wanted to slide down the hill in the pasture. This I forbid him to do but boy-like he did it anyhow with the result that he landed down at the Glue Works and had to walk about five miles in order to get back home as the woods were so slick it was impossible to come back that way.

We had but 2 3/4 tons of coal the entire winter; there was several large pear trees on the place, these I cut and worked them into wood. With the coal and the wood from the pear trees. we managed to get along until the river opened up the last of February.