Two diaries, 150 years apart…


For Ebenezer, early December brought extremely cold days, followed by warm days that melted the snow from the fields. The cold weather was good for butchering the hogs.  They headed to the woodlot to cut wood for the sugarhouse and into the woods to hunt raccoons.  The spiffed up the kitchen with a new floor.  Christmas brought family home on the train from Lowell and Claremont as well as lots of visiting with the Loveland family on what is today known as River Road. Ebenezer began to fall ill in December and would continue to be ill for months to come.

For Alan, it was a foggy, warm December with flooding. They headed to Nichols farm to cut a Christmas Tree and harvest a bit of cilantro from the garden. Christmas brought family home on the train.

Ebenezer Brown, December 1873

Cold winter weather Ther 17 below & overcast and cold all day and very cold 6 Eve 10 below

Charles killed and dressed 45 nice turkies 366 lbs and sold them to Samuel Hutchinson and delivered them to him at his house this day p.m.

4 Continued warm weather, cloudy & foggy all day–a little smart showers of rain about 10 minutes long this p.m. The snow is fast going off on the fields about house. Charles & Wm are chopping at the door.

5 Cool & moderate weather–cloudy & windy. Charles & Wm prepared this morning for butchering the first hog but their cousins William Badger & Frank Loveland came here and they all took to target firing & hunting and had a good time in general until 8 pm when Wm & Frank returned to the river.

6 Cool & cloudy all day. Charles & William have been getting up sap wood. A number of big loads and have done a good business at that work.
Below: Logging on Bragg Hill

7 A cold sunny day. The boys went off into the field & woods and caught two raccoons–they went away and left by mistake the Barn door loose and the oxen got into the barn floor and hooked the fat cow that was in the stable and damaged her some.

I am unwell & not able to be out of doors–though I went to the barn and see to things a little.

8 cold weather –sunshine a while this a.m. cold, cloudy chilly south wind. Wm & Charles slaughtered the fat hog this morning–Charles worked at Mr. Booths p.m. on his new building at sawmill.

11 Cold cloudy a.m. warmer and snowing all the p.m. 3 in. Snow. Wm & Charles & William Badger went into the woods to hunt coons but found none.

12 Warm and cloudy snowing & raining. Charles & Wm are laying a new floor in the kitchen of white maple plained at Mr. Booths mill to take the place of the old rock maple floor laid by Asa Brown in 1836 which is much worn.

13 Warm and snowing & raining all day pretty much. Charles & William & Willie Badger are laying the kitchen floor– William went to the Plain this a.m. to mill etc

19 Ther 23 at early morn. Snows all the afternoon. Charles took logs to the sawmill this a.m. and brot home boards. He helped Mr Lewan with the oxen & sled to get his wood from Braggs lot this p.m.

20 Moderate weather. Charles went to plain to the P.O. this forenoon–p.m. he got up wood.

24 Charles met his brother William at the Norwich RR Station and his wife and Ellen from Claremont and brot them home.

25 Moderate weather sunshine a.m. Cloudy p.m. Brother William Hutchinson his wife and children visited here. Charles & William got up wood this a.m. and visited with Mr & Mrs H p.m.

26 Warm and cloudy. Snowing p.m. Charles & Wm are geting up wood. Ellen & Mary & Williams wife went this p.m. to Aaron Lovelands to visit there and at JLL [Loveland] their Grand Mothers & to stay 2 or 3 nights.

Below: Loveland Corner on River Road

27 Moderate weather–snowing most of the day and last night. C & Wm are geting up wood. Mr. Wm Brigham & wife visited here this eve.

28 Sunny cold & blustering. The girls Ellen & Mary & Wm wife are at the River & attending meeting [church] on the Plain today with their Uncle Wm Hutchinsons family. They came home this evening.

Below: “The Church on the Plain” was what we now know as the Norwich Congregational Church

30 Pleasant cold day–Charles and William have been getting up wood & drawing out Hemlock Bark–the girls & Stella went to the Plain to trade at Olds Store & visit their friends.

31 Pleasant weather –not cold. I am not quite as well. The boys are getting up wood.

Alan Berolzheimer, December 2023

1 Mostly sunny and 33 degrees at 7 am. A mild day, up to 48. Starts to rain at 5 pm, raining and 40 degrees at 9 pm.

2 Very foggy and 38 at 8 am. Fog persists much of the day. Mild again, high of 43; still 40 degrees at 11 pm.

5 Overcast and 30 degrees at 8 am. Site work begins for our new garage, by Nat Cook of Thetford, a former student of Nancy’s (like Cedar Davidson, our contractor, and Travis Barker, who will plow for us this winter—a new generation of tradespeople!). Some sun but it feels cold, high of 34. At 10 pm it’s 28.

7 Mostly cloudy, 14 degrees at 8 am. Some sun but it’s a cold day, up to 30 in the sun. AT 9 pm it’s 24.

8 Down to 22 overnight. Overcast and 26 at 8 am. Some afternoon sun, high of 37. Wesley arrives from New York on the train. 31 degrees at 11 pm.

9 Overcast and 35 at 8 am. A mild day, up to 42 degrees. We bop around White RIver Junction. It’s still 42 at 10 pm.

10 Still 42 degrees, overcast at 9 am. Rain starts around 1 pm. Lauri arrives from Middlebury. We take a walk on Patrell Road in light rain. High of 47. Still raining and 46 at 9:30.

11 Light rain and 37 at 8 am. I watch the rain turn to snow at 10 and it all stops at noon. Wes and Lauri leave. My car gets inspected and snow tires today. 34 degrees at 10:30 pm.

12 Partly sunny, 25 degrees at 8 am. Nice afternoon sun and up to 41. I notice some cilantro still growing in the garden. Clear sky and 33 degrees at 9 pm.

13 Partly sunny, 34 degrees at 8 am. Some flurries, some heavy clouds, high at 41. At 10 pm it’s 28 degrees.

14 Sunny and cold, overnight low was 26. Despite good sun and 37 degrees, it feels cold. We get our Christmas tree at Nichols farm in Lyme. I harvest that small batch of cilantro. 28 degrees at 10:30.

15 Sunny and 27 at 8 am. Turns into a strangely warm day for mid-December, up to 54 degrees. 38 degrees at 10 pm.

16 Mostly sunny and 36 at 8 am. Another lovely mild day, up to 55. We have dinner at Jim and Becky’s house in Strafford. Clear night sky, 35 degrees at 10:30.

17 Gray, overcast, 37 degrees at 9 am. Rain starts midday, on and off. A full moon at 10;30, it’s 44 degrees, the day’s high.

18 Rainy and warm, 55 degrees at 8 am. Considerable flooding around the state, though mostly not as bad as in July. I see lots of standing water in fields along I-89 on my way to Burlington. Gets up to 61, and it turns out that many temperature records for this date are broken. Not raining and 44 degrees at 10 pm.

19 Mostly sunny, 37 degrees at 8 am. Asa arrives at 8:30. Turns mostly cloudy, high of 43. At 11 pm it’s 31 degrees.

20 Sunny and 26 at 8 am. Strong sun, gets up to 47 in the sun. 34 degrees at 10:30.

21 Happy Winter Solstice! Mostly sunny and 26 degrees at 8 am. Windy and cold, high of 38 in the sun. 20 degrees at 10:30.

22 Overnight low was 15 degrees, it’s 17 and sunny at 8 am. We heard loud coyotes last night, very close. Strong sun, a brisk day—up to 40 in the sun but not really Fred and Sharon take us to Cloudland Farm in Pomfret for dinner, our Christmas present! 22 degrees at 9:30.

23 Cloudy and 19 at 7:30 with the sun coming up. High of 34. I saw three bluebirds darting around this afternoon. 33 degrees at 9 pm.

24 Overcast, a bit of snow on the ground, 33 degrees at 8 am. High of 39. Zemora arrives. Christmas Eve dinner here with Fred, Sharon, and Eb; friends Jim and Becky from Strafford come later, after an evening church service. 36 degrees at 10:30.

25 Overcast and wet, 35 degrees at 8 am. Foggy. We walk up Houghton Hill in Thetford. No snow anywhere, and it’s totally socked in with fog at the top. High at 40 degrees. 39 at 11 pm.

26 Still very foggy, 37 degrees at 9 am. The fog mostly dissipates late morning, high of 42. Then the fog returns midday. 39 degrees at 11 pm.