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Published April 18, 2013, 06:05 PM

Moorhead pastor's journal, 132 years later, shows uncanny similarities to our winter

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We're in flood fighting mode because of our winter and spring. A Concordia English professor has stumbled on a timely piece of our past.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We're in flood fighting mode because of our winter and spring. A Concordia English professor has stumbled on a timely piece of our past.

132 years ago a Moorhead pastor journaled about the winter and spring of 1881.

As WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand tells us, the similarities to this year are eerie.

Jim Postema, Studying Journals: “Friday, April 15th, wind again south, ice in the river firm like winter.”

For Concordia Professor Jim Postema, it is a literature treasure trove.

Postema: “These are clean, considering 130-40 years old.”

Diaries written by one of Moorhead's first ministers, Presbyterian Pastor Oscar Elmer, a pioneer preacher who meticulously documented his life for 20 years, including what is known as the Long Winter, 1881.

Postema: “Sunday the 17th, the first it has not frozen at night.”

But what is so bizarre is, 132 years ago, the diary reads like the spring of 2013.

Postema: “Tues, April 19th, Cloudy and misty.”

Late snows, no melt, and an April that feels like January.

Postema: “The parallels are really interesting.”

And there is something the pioneers were experiencing back in 1881 all of us have been going through this winter and spring.

Postema: “The whole family a little dull and blue. Rainfall in the evening.”

The pictures from the flood of 1881 in Fargo Moorhead tell the story. These from the Island Park neighborhood, and near the downtown of both cities, according to the journal.

Postema: “Tuesday, Apr 19, cloudy and misty river rises two feet, today is the 18th.”

The spring of 1881 would be the measuring stick. It is when we first started keeping weather records and the Reverend Oscar Elmer, without knowing, would become this area's first historian, who wrote about winter and spring of 1881 that would repeat itself 132 years later.

Postema is transcribing the journals in hopes of publishing a book about the pastor and his writings.

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