The ‘Big Snow' of 1830-31
Autumn had been cool with accumulating snow throughout the second half of November. Then on Christmas Eve of 1830, Illinois was hit by the first big snowfall of the season. As it turned out, the 6 or 7 inches of snow was but a precursor of the real havoc that awaited Illinois.
According to most accounts, the snow began in earnest on Dec. 30. An angry storm raged across the state. The vile weather continued in one form or another for about three months. By the time it finally concluded, the Illinois Intelligencer of Vandalia offered this view:
“The newspapers that reach us from every direction, are filled with accounts of severely cold weather, and immense falls of snow. In no part of the continent has this been felt more severely than in Illinois. We have had an extraordinary season. The cold has been intense and uninterrupted. The whole country has been blocked up with snowbanks, that have covered the earth since December. Several travelers have perished on the prairies near here. Such a winter has never been known in this region.”