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Droughts in Mecklenburg County Before 1878

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The entire list is available in chronological order and by day of the month, to make anniversaries easier to discover.


  • October, 1830, Mines and Mills Affected by DroughtThe Miners’ and Farmers’ Journal (October 18, 1830) reported that a drought was severely felt in the area with the operations of water-powered grist mills suspended, as well as mills in mines.
  • June – July, 1835, Severe Drought – Brevard Davidson recorded in his diary that on his northeast Mecklenburg County farm on July 9, 1835 that there was a fine rain after a severe drought. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017)
  • Fall 1838-October, 1839, Year-Long Drought – Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary on March 15, 1839 that there was remarkable dry weather. There was not enough rain to raise the water courses since last fall. He wrote on June 17, 1839 that there was very dry weather and he had not been stopped by wet weather but half a day since March. He also wrote that the creek mills had stopped. On September 28th he wrote again about very dry weather and the water courses were said to be lower than they have ever been by some of the oldest men. His mill and creek are nearly stopped. On October 3rd he wrote that McDowell Creek has stopped running from his bridge up and the Catawba River has never been known to be as low. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856.Antebellum Books, 2017)
  • March- September, 1845, No Rain for Months, Dry Conditions for Seven MonthsThe Mecklenburg Jeffersonian(April 4, 1845) reported that that there had not been rain for a month. “The consequence is a cloud of dust almost dense enough to suffocate.” Brevard Davidson also wrote in his diary on March 29th, April 16th, May 12th and May 21stabout the dry conditions. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017). The Charlotte Journal (September 5, 1845) reported fine rains after a drought of the longest continuance in the recollection of the oldest inhabitants. The rain however was too late to do much good for the corn and there was fear of great distress in the country with word of food shortages. On April 25, 1845 The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian mentioned that no rain of any consequence had fallen for nearly two months. The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian (July 4, 1845) wrote that it was the severest drought in years and that there had not been enough rain to wet the ground since March 8. This drought affected the rest of North Carolina as well as other southern states. The drought resulted in total crop failure in the North Carolina Mountains and resulted in a demand for a railroad to Asheville because enough food could not get to the drought-stricken farms on the roads.
  • March-April, 1852, Four to Five Week Drought – Brevard Davidson diary entry on April 12, 1852 mentioned that it rained after a drought of four or five weeks. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017)
  • May 7, 1855, Drought in County – From The Diary of Mr. James Harvey Carson: Many portions of the county are still suffering from drought.
  • July- August, 1867, Thirty Two Days of Drought The Western Democrat (August 6, 1867) reported that there had been a drought for 32 days.
  • July 15-17, 1868, Drought for a Month The Western Democrat (July 21, 1868) reported that these were "the warmest days ever felt in this country." It also mentioned that this area had suffered from drought for the last month.
  • June- August, 1871, Nine Weeks without a Good Rain The Charlotte Democrat (August 22, 1871) reported that there had not been a good rain for nine weeks.