By Ann Middleton
The current drought and triple-digit temperatures here and elsewhere in the United States prompted a look at what the weather was like one hundred years ago. Throughout the month of July 1911 The Bossier Banner reported on weather conditions, not only in and around Bossier Parish, but across the United States and occasionally, world-wide.
The July 6, 1911 edition of The Bossier Banner noted the following: "Showers here yesterday and the day before, but we could stand more"; "Four deaths from heat Monday
were reported at Cincinnati, two at Louisville and one at St. Louis."; There were five deaths and dozens of prostrations caused by heat in New York last Sunday."; A woman, crazed by heat, killed her three children and then took her own life at Lockney, Texas, last Friday."; Five deaths, superinduced by heat, two drownings and a score of prostrations resulted Sunday from the third scorching day of the present heat wave in Chicago."; Seven men and women and eighteen babies were added to the death list of Chicago heat victims Monday. It was the hottest day of the year and the third hottest in the city's history."; "There were thirty-one cities in which the thermometer registered blood heat [98.6 degrees F.] or above on last Monday. Many prostrations and deaths were reported, the list of drownings in particular being long."; and the Haughton correspondent reported on Monday, July 3 that "Crops, especially corn, are suffering for lack of rain."
One week later, the paper reported more incidents resulting from the excessive heat: "Twelve deaths and many prostrations were reported at Chicago Monday. Five babies died from heat at Des Moines, Iowa." For the week ending Saturday there were 200 deaths from sunstroke in New York against the thirty-three from the same cause during the same week in 1910."; "Fifty persons, driven insane by intense heat, were being held Sunday in the Washington City asylum hospital for observation. Most of the patients will recover."; "There were nine deaths from heat in Philadelphia last Sunday; twenty prostrations and five deaths in New York, and seven deaths, two of them suicides caused from heat, in Pittsburg." On the other hand, Mr. J. F. Adair of Ivan reported that "he has the best prospects for a full corn crop he has ever had and that it has not suffered a day for lack of rain. He also added that his stand of cotton was good and that but very few boll weevils were to be seen in it. He is to be congratulated and we only wish every farmer in Bossier Parish could say the same." The correspondent from Ninock conveyed that "Seasonable rains have fallen the past week, which will benefit late corn, peas, potatoes, cane, alfalfa and other crops." Sligo's water was getting low and without rains enough to raise Red Chute it was feared that the rice crops would suffer. Other areas in South Bossier had showers enough for cotton and corn had already passed the stage where rain would do it good and farmers were hoping for dry, hot weather.
On July 18 the Plain Dealing correspondent submitted that two good rains had fallen there on Saturday, being the first to do any appreciable good since the drought set in.
By the time that the July 27th edition was published, things had begun to look better, at least in the United States. A drenching rain had fallen in more than a dozen states in the Corn Belt. The Bossier Banner heralded that a little too much rain had fallen in the Bossier Point area where it was hoped that a few days of sunshine would make the situation look more encouraging. The editor noted "Cool nights and pleasant days."
With any luck, July 2011 will end as comfortably as did July one hundred years ago.
For more history of Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. Also, visit www.bossierlibrary.org to link to the Historical Center's databases.
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