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Historically Fort Bend:
Recalling Icy Cold Winters in the County


3rd Street, Rosenberg after ice storm, 12/20/1924;

3rd Street, Rosenberg after ice storm, 12/20/1924;

Mary Jones standing amidst ice covered trees, 12/21/1924;

Mary Jones standing amidst ice covered trees, 12/21/1924;

Ice Crash”, awnings at Pickard and Huggins Drugstore, Rosenberg, 12/20/1924.

Ice Crash”, awnings at Pickard and Huggins Drugstore, Rosenberg, 12/20/1924.

by Chris Godbold

Fort Bend County has had a mild winter so far but the past has not always been so kind. Jane Long told that Galveston Bay froze over in December 1821 while she waited on Bolivar Point for her husband James to return from Mexico. Presumably, the weather was just as brutal along the Brazos in what would become Fort Bend County though no one was there to record the wintry conditions.

In March of 1867, a freeze lasted a week. Two freezes with blizzard and sleet descended on the area in 1873, the last of which happened in April and killed crops across the county. The county had almost a total failure of crops that year with only 40 bales of cotton produced. N. D. Anderson described a freeze on January 8, 1886 that lasted a week. He had turkey for dinner the day of the freeze and the next morning it was frozen through and could not be cut. Attempts only resulted in portions of the meat chipping off. He also saw then a chunk of ice frozen from the water spout of a railroad water tank at Wallis. It reached down from the spout about 15 feet to the ground, was 10 feet wide at the bottom and came up to a point.1 In 1894, a big freeze resulted in the loss of many cattle; 84 alone were lost on the Twenty Six Ranch, owned by J. E. Dyer. The thermometer went all the way down to 3 degrees in 1899.

On December 19, 1924 the weather took one of those quick turns for which Texas is famous. Early the previous night temperatures were so warm that people went about in summer clothing but a freeze hit at 1:00 a.m. on the 19th. By the time daylight dawned everything was covered in ice and soon sleet began to fall, which continued throughout that day and on portions of the next two days. In places, the ice was more than a foot deep. Trees and shrubbery were broken and practically ruined. Telephone, telegraph and electric light wires and poles fell down cutting communication with the outside world. Folks intending to travel out of town for Christmas were unable to do so. Cattlemen were caught by surprise so many thousands of cattle were left exposed to the elements and lost their lives. Rosenberg was crippled badly without lights for several days but soon the Rosenberg Ice & Light Co. reestablished electric service to Richmond and Rosenberg. On the plus side, the additional moisture was a boon to farmers who hadn’t seen much rain for several months.

Snow and ice has occurred off and on throughout the years since even though Fort Bend County hasn’t seen much recently. I wonder what this year will bring?

  1. “Past Cold Weather,” The Rosenberg Herald (Rosenberg, TX), February 13, 1925.
Historical facts and photos courtesy of the Fort Bend County
Museum Association, Richmond, TX

Chris-Godbold-Sponsored-by-EZ-Floors

Recalling Icy Cold Winters in the County


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