The enduring human spirit (BOOK link added)

Jorand Soland's survival in a three-day arctic-like blizzard on the Sunburg prairie

The current winter has given central Minnesota and a greater portion of the upper Midwest a few rounds of blizzard-like snow storms. Such storms have been part of life since pioneers first settled the area in the mid-19th century.

Carolyn Mankell Sowinski, who grew up in Lake Andrew Township near the Norway Lake Parish churches, has written extensively about one of the major blizzards that wreaked havoc in central Minnesota: the blizzard of January 7, 1873.

In the fall of 2022, Sowinski published "The Great Storm" that provides great detail of the victims of that blizzard, both those who perished in it and those who were injured by the cold.

In Chapter 1, Mankell Sowinski provides a list of blizzards as follows in this excerpt, "For longtime settlers on the prairies of the Midwest, blizzards were nothing new. People dying in blizzards was nothing new. The winters of 1856-57, 1861-62 and 1866-67 were seasons of intense and deadly blizzards. Blizzards which lasted three days have not been unusual occurrences either."

"But the blizzard of January 7-9, 1873 stands out amongst blizzard lore due to its intensity and severity. Several reasons combined to bring death, loss and injury to the residents of the upper Midwest, including the southern, central and western counties of Minnesota."

Mankell Sowinski first wrote about this 1873 blizzard in her book, "Almost Saved, But Lost: the January 1873 Blizzard in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota" that focused on those who died in the county.

For the full story, which is as harrowing as a blizzard story can be, refer to the January 12 and February 2 issues of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper print editions.

The Voice encourages everyone to purchase their own copy of Mankell Sowinski's book The Great Storm, which you can find at Amazon by clicking here: The cost is just $25, and it is the best $25 you can spend in our humble opinion!


Reader Comments(0)