March 2023

Page A12 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A “DUNCAN STUART TODD KNEWWHAT WE NEEDED.THEY MADE IT SIMPLE IN HAVINGTHE TOTAL PACKAGE.” -THEWOOD MORTUARY PREPARATION ROOM Design + Equipment 720 - 583 - 1 886 SINCE 1991 their house. For four days, ten pigs, twenty chickens and the family shared the second floor. Ships at sea were not spared from the storm. The Navy reported 90 ships were “sunk, wrecked or badly damaged” in Maryland and Virginia. Sailors were clinging to the icy masts, and ships floundered under the weight of the snow or were overturned by the waves. New England recorded 16 ships damaged. In New York and New Jersey waters, the storm damaged more than 24 ships. Overall, nine ships were declared missing and six abandoned. The blizzard finally ended on Wednesday March 14, 1888. Dedicated workers began to open roads and dig out tracks. Food, though at high prices, came to relieve the hungry multitudes. One store owner, frustrated that he could not find help to shovel in front of his business, put up a sign reading, “Important! Expensive diamond ring lost under snow drift! Finders keepers! Start digging!” The cost to New York City alone was between $2.5 to $3 million (approximately $760 million today). The most important cost was in human lives. The estimate was that 400 lives were lost, 200 of them in New York City, 100 were lost at sea. The bodies were taken to a morgue and had to be identified before being released for burial. By the Friday after the storm the burials had begun, and hundreds were laid to rest. The gridlock of elevated trains led to plans to build city subway systems. Plans had been developed for an underground railway system years earlier, but plans had been stymied by politics and funding. Many of those affected across the East Coast were shocked that the burgeoning modern inventions and conveniences were all stymied by weather. It became sheer survival in the storm, just as past generations had to contend with. This is a cogent lesson we can still learn 135 years later. “But lo…there comes a storm and there is no railroad, no telegraph, no horse car, no milk, no delivery of food at the door. We starve in the midst of plenty…It warns us to be discreet and temperate in our boasting. It is only a snowstorm, but it has downed us.” —Hartford Courant editorial Observations “They bought a snow shovel, and they said by God they’d get through. They got stuck in a big drift a mile from home. One of them got the horse out and got on his back and the other took hold of the horse’s tail. They hadn’t got very far this way when the horse dropped dead.” —Connecticut workers trying to get home during the Blizzard John J. Meisinger was a hardware buyer for the E. Ridley and Sons Department Store in New York City. He bought 3,000 wooden snow shovels for the usually snowy New York winter. A reporter had heard this and humorously wrote about this large purchase. The mild winter prompted the newspaperman to call it “Meisinger’s Folly” by “Snow shovel John.” But in March 1888 there were snow-bearing storms sweeping across the Midwest, coming down fromCanada, heading towards the Northeast. The Army Signal Corps (predecessor to the National Weather Service) was also watching a southern storm with heavy rains, to see if these two storms would meet. They did. Sunday, March 11, brought dark ominous clouds. Sunday afternoon brought torrential rains to New York City and the winds became strong. The temperature quickly dropped below freezing and all that water turned to ice. A streetcar slipped off its tracks, and all movement became treacherous. By 10:00 PM, the rain had become snow and fell heavily. A blizzard is usually defined when the temperature is below 20 degrees with winds over 35 miles per hour. This storm had temperatures below zero and winds of 75-85 miles per hour. And it paralyzed the East Coast from Virginia to Maine. The Northeast populace were not novices to snowstorms and diligent workers were not deterred. A New York milkman, William Brubacker, arose to at 1:30 AM to begin his dairy deliveries. He was determined to fight the elements to serve his customers. He ferried to New Jersey, came back with his load, and began his route on horse and wagon at 5 AM. He had to climb through snowbanks to walkways and porches and dig out the milk boxes. At 10 AM, cold and exhausted, he stopped by a saloon for a few shots of whisky to help him carry on. Shortly after resuming his route, he realized that navigating the street was almost impossible and cruel to the horse. He turned and went home, where he stayed for the next four days. By Steven Palmer A young Vermont teacher, unfazed by the early snow, arrived at the classroom for lessons, and students joined him. As the school day went on, the teacher realized the snow was getting deeper, and was over the heads of some of the students, so he dismissed class early. Knowing he was responsible for their safety, the teacher tied a rope around his waist, then the waists of each student, from the oldest right down to the youngest. They walked the streets together, delivering each student safely home. Former United States Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York walked 25 blocks to the Courthouse that morning. When he arrived, the courthouse was vacant, everyone else had wisely stayed home. Conkling refused the expense of a cab to take him home and struggled back to his house on foot. He collapsed at the New York Club and was taken inside. He temporarily recovered but died a month later. Richard C. Reilly, a reporter for the New York Eagle, was sent out in the storm to find out about a tidal wave at Coney Island. He took a train and then had to walk a mile in deep snow to get there. He found damage but no tidal wave. He found a horse and sleigh to try to get back. He was found in a snowbank and died before regaining consciousness. P. T. Barnum kept the circus going in Madison Square Garden, to an audience of 100 people. He bellowed to the assembled, “The storm may be a great show, but I still have the greatest show on earth!” On Monday night the storm left New York and headed north. The Big Apple thought they had said goodbye to the storm, but it turned and by Tuesday morning it was back with force. The blizzard would dump four feet of snow in Albany, NY and Bennington, VT. New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Baltimore were all victims of the blizzard. Horse drawn streetcars in cities couldn’t operate. The New York Stock Exchange closed for two days. Edward Leonard of Springfield, MA bent down to pick up a cap from a snowdrift and found a young girl beneath it. He dug her out with his bare hands and found a warm building nearby. She survived. In Northfield, VT, with 4-degree temperatures, hundreds of cows froze to death. In Tidewater, VA, a farmer’s family watched the banks of a nearby river overflow and flood the ground floor of “The Great White Hurricane” Steven Palmer entered funeral service in 1971. He is an honors graduate of the New England Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences. He has been licensed on both coasts, he owned the Westcott Funeral Homes of Cottonwood and Camp Verde, AZ, where he remains active in operations. Steve offers his observations on current funeral service issues. He may be reached by mail at PO Box 352, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, by phone at (928)634-9566, by fax at (928)634-5156, by e-mail at or through his website at or on Facebook. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at FORT COLLINS,CO— The Center for Loss and Life Transition has announced the locations of Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s 2023 educational workshops. The content of these workshops helps participants understand their own grief, learn how to companion others in their grief, understand the natural complications of grief, and recognize the significance of how when words are inadequate have meaningful ceremonies. Sponsors include hospices, hospitals, universities, funeral homes, and a variety of community agencies. Workshop locations include: March 1, Atlanta, GA (virtual); March 7-8, CoAnnouncing Dr. AlanWolfelt’s 2023 Speaking Schedule Dr. AlanWolfelt lumbus, OH; April 4-5, Indianapolis, IN; April 6, Dayton, OH; April 18, Fort Collins, CO; May 2-3, Rochester, NY; May 9-10, Calgary, AB; May 10-11 Edmonton, AB; July 27-28, Northbrook, IL; September 6-7, Cleveland, OH; September 11, Las Vegas, NV; September 26-27, Location TBA; October 3-4, Omaha, NE; October 10-12, Cedar Rapids, IA; November 8, Las Vegas, NV; and November 29, Pittsburgh, PA (virtual). Dr. Alan Wolfelt has been recognized as one of North America’s leading death educators and grief counselors. He is known around the world for his compassionate messages of hope and healing as well as his companioning philosophy of grief care. Dr. Wolfelt speaks on grief-related topics, offers trainings for caregivers, and has written many bestselling books and other resources on grief for both caregivers and grieving people. For more information about these workshops or to explore sponsoring a program virtually or in your community, visit, call 970-226-6050, or email