Abstract

SYNOPSIS

Arkansas Territory was formed July 4, 1819, the State admitted June 15, 1836. Since that time much has been said of Arkansas's “slow train,” her swamp land, and mosquitoes; very little of her delightful climate or her abundant crops.

During the 60 years from 1819 to 1879 a fairly complete weather record was kept by Mr. William E. Woodruff and other early pioneers and published in the Territorial and early State newspapers.

From this record we find that extreme temperatures have been rare the coldest winter probably being 1820–21, though a lower temperature (−11°) was recorded in February, 1823. Dry spells have frequently damaged crops during the summer months, the year 1838 being long remembered because of its continued drought, but good years far outnumber bad ones. Few things of importance escaped the notice of Mr. Woodruff. We find a description of the first Territorial Christmas; the meteor shower in November, 1833; the low water of 1838; and even a flood on the Town Branch received mention.

Considerable additional information was obtained regarding early high-river stages, especially on the Arkansas. That this information is reliable is quite evident, from the minute description and pains-taking care with which Mr. Woodruff goes into the details of several floods, notably the one in June, 1833.

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