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Emma Nielson's Snowstorm Account, March 1888

Emma Nielson Student Exercise Book Page: Blizzard Account

Emma Nielson Student Exercise Book Page: Blizzard Account

Other, LHS_Neilson_SnowstormAccount
 
Document Description
Page from Emma Nielson's student journal describing the blizzard of March 11-13,1888.
 
Transcription
A Snow Storm
There was a very large snow storm which began March 11 at 9 O'clock and lasted until March 13 at 9:30 PM. It was so deep that some places they had to build tunnels and put lanterns to make it light inside. There were many sleighs and wagons that were stuck so they could not get out. I saw a man and as he was riding he broke his sleigh. The horse cars could not run. The village sent out snow ploughs and three of them were stuck down by the ice houses. Here in Lansingburgh they had to build a tunnel down by George St. Monday was to school.
 
Questions
When exactly did the snow storm occur?
What effect did the storm have on travel?
How did the residents attempt to travel through the snow?
Why did Emma Nielsen write this document?
 

Historical Context
Prior to the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, most immigrants into the United States came through Castle Garden. Castle Garden functioned as the first immigration center for the United States from 1855 until 1890. Peter Nielson came through Castle Garden as an immigrant from Denmark in 1870. He made his way through New York and settled in Lansingburgh. He was a tailor and eventually owned his own dry goods store. Along with his wife Martena, he raised five children including Emma.
The story of American immigration is complex and diverse. It is a story best told through multiple perspectives using the evidence left by those who experienced it. Emma Nielson was the daughter of immigrants from Denmark. Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1870 and Emma was born in 1876. The story of the Nielson family is not unlike many immigrants from the Northwestern European countries. However, when compared to the experiences of immigrants from Southeastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, the Nielson story is vastly different. A close look at the Nielson experience shows the relative ease in which this family immigrated and established a new life in the United States. Emma's student journal provides a glimpse into everyday life in Lansingburgh, New York. Her account of the Blizzard of 1888 shows a young girl's perspective regarding an extraordinary event.
 
 
Essential Question
What was life like for a child of an immigrant?
 
Check for Understanding
How did Emma feel about the blizzard?