Letter from CHARLES MARSH to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated January 13, 1859.
My dear Brother
When I wrote you on tuesday I supposed that--as is usually the case after so low a temperature--there would be a sudden rise of the thermometer & that the mean temp. of the day would be above that of monday, but this was not the case as you will see by my figures below.
As I wrote you, I was out half an hour at one time while coldest--(& more or less through the day)--trying in vain to induce my cup of mercury to congeal. Owing to the stillness of the air I suffer but little at the time & felt no inconvenience from its effects through the day, but yesterday & this morning my limbs & shoulders have felt rather older than their usual. My finger which I "burnt" in the cold iron was red & smarting thro. the day & yesterday has now regained its usual appearance & another days exercise out of doors in a reasonable temperature will "set all to rights" again.
I give you my minutes from friday morning to this morning to show the gradations of temperature.
A difference of 59.8 in daily means only 4 days apart is unusual, but you will see it above--from friday to tuesday nights. The highest observed height of the ther. last summer was +88.2 in june, which with -39 gives a range of 127.2 in about 7 months. There were unavoidably so many omissions in my journals for the warm months that I cannot determine the highest mean, but the highest recorded in July 1857 is +78.2 which I am confident is rather lower than the highest mean in june this year, but assuming it to be the same the difference between extreme means in about 7 months, is 103.2 Frost has been seen in each month except june. On the morning of July 1. corn bean & pumpkin leaves showed its effects slightly in some localities. Aug. 24 its effects were strongly marked, all the leaves on many vines being killed, & corn leaves
in many places being more or less injured. thermo. at 5 A.M. stood at +36.
You may vouch for the accuracy of the observations (foregoing) & I think for the correctness of the mercurial standard, as when the spirit thermo. (attached to the same frame) was below -40, the thin open glass cup of mercury suspended almost in contact with the instruments did not congeal. The standard reading -39 & Mr. Chapmans (also mercurial) distant 6 or 8 rods & elevated quite a no. of ft. above mine, stood at -38.
A mean of -25 which we enjoyed on the eleventh is below the mean of any other day which has come to my knowledge in this region the lowest mean recorded at Dartmouth (previous) being -23.3 Jan. 23. 1857.
Notwithstanding the thermo. ranged low at times in the summer the warmth of that part of the season I think was quite equal to the average of summers & the crops were very good.
Remember me kindly to Sister Caroline & to George. Your affectionate brother
References in this letter:
Charles Marsh (1821-1873), Marsh's youngest brother, maintained the family farm in Woodstock until his death. He and Marsh frequently corresponded about barometric pressure, precipitation, mountain heights, and other natural and meteorological phenomena