Year Without a Summer

In virtually every history of the Genesee Valley or of Western New York, the year 1816 is referred to as "The Year Without A Summer." During the month of May, ice formed half an inch thick, buds and flowers were killed, as was corn in the fields. In June ice, frost and snow were common. Orsamus Turner, in his history says: "One forenoon in June after the snow had dissipated the frosts, the fields and gardens looked like prairies that had been scorched with fire." July was much the same and people became frightened. In August the second planting of corn was so frozen that much of it had to be cut for fodder. The lack of food produced such a hardship that in many places people were forced to live on a diet of wild roots and herbs.