From January 1838 to June 1844, Zachariah Mills, the fourth State Librarian of Ohio, diligently logged the temperature and weather conditions in Columbus. Every day, morning, noon and night, he entered his observations into his ledger. Occasionally, he would include events of interest to him. On August 11, 1842, he declares the weather in Columbus to be “variable…but very pleasant,” with a daytime high of 82°, a low of 57°, and with a bit of fog in the morning. On that same day, thirteen members of the Ohio Senate and twenty-eight members of the Ohio House of Representatives, all Whigs, “resigned there [sic] Seats and left each House without a Quorum to do Business…an act that was never done in the United States before.”
Zachariah’s ledger is available now in Ohio Memory, where its 78 pages provide a look at life in Columbus, Ohio, that is entirely unique. For example, on April 29, 1838, he tells us that a “brilliant Aurora Borealis” was viewable at about 8:00 pm. On May 16 of that same year, the first stone for the foundation of the new State House building was delivered. And on September 22, 1842, former Vice President of the United States Richard M. Johnson, who served under President Martin Van Buren from 1837-1841, visited Columbus, leaving the following day “for the East.”
That Zachariah kept such records is amazing. That he left it for us is a blessing. We’re thrilled to present this rare and wonderful item for you to view online as part of Ohio Memory!
Thank you to Shannon Kupfer, Digital/Tangible Media Cataloger at the State Library of Ohio, for this week’s post!