Centennial History Book
Then there were DISASTERS
by Dan McNickle
I was a lad of eight living at Grafton, Fillmore County, and my father, A. McNickle, owned a dray line at that place. I recall very vividly how father came to the schoolhouse in the north part of town and took my sister and myself home. We lived nearby. Then he returned to the school house and, loading the smaller children into his dray wagon, with a long rope tied behind for the older ones to hang onto, and with some of the business men of town acting as guards, he took them all safely home.
I remember that father said, when he got home, that the Fitzgerald boys, Jim and Ed, who had started home before the men got there, would never be able to reach their home, northwest of town, in the face of such a storm. But the "Luck of the Irish" must have been with them for Jim later became Judge James Fitzgerald of Omaha and Ed studied to become a doctor, but was called by death while still a young man.
After the storm, word began to come of the death and destruction caused by the storm. I remember that donations were taken up in schools all over the region to help the unfortunate victimes of the terrible storm.
Dan wrote this article for the Book IN ALL ITS FURY [The blizzard of 1888]
The morning dawned like a day in spring
With its gentle balmy air
The boys and girls trooped off to school
Their thoughts all free from care.
The snow began to softly fall
Great flakes of shimmering white
Covering all the country side
With a mantle of sheer delight.
When suddenly with the veering wind
A great dark cloud was seen
The air was filled with blinding snow
Where only a calm had been.
And many who went to school that day
Had reason throughout the years
To recall the saddened memories
That day so brought with fears.
But as the years have come and gone
Since that dark and tragic day
Time has a magic touch to lighten
The sorrows that come our way.
And now as we gather here again
In memory of a day gone by
We greet each other with a kindly word
With never a frown nor sigh.
So let's keep right on smiling
As each new day we greet
And help spread joy and gladness
Among all the friends we meet.
I’ve traveled through forty-six different states
In three foreign lands and Alaska
And I’m telling you now from the depths of my heart
That the place I like best is Nebraska.