I saw in the paper where the weatherman said the records show the freeze of
Feb. 12, 1899 was the coldest weather Pensacola had on record. I had just
closed my school at Allentown in January a few days before and had returned
to Uncle Charlie Deen’s home, where I lived. We were having very pleasant
weather. The children had picked blooming flowers in the school yard, just
before school closed.
Saturday morning, Feb. 11, Mr. Crist’s sister had sent for me to spend
a few days with her. It was a pleasant day. The next morning, Feb. 12, when
we awoke, everything was white with snow and still snowing. It did not fall
in flakes. It was granulated. Looked something like granulated sugar. Everything
The Crist's had a very deep well, but the pump had to be thawed before they
could get water. (This Live Oak Park is the same place.) All we could do that
day was stay by the fire. Mr. Jack Bonifay was there at the time.
Monday morning, Mr. Crist took his fish net and, with Mr. Bonifay, walked
up the beach to a place called Bass Lake. It is where the first bridge on
U. S. 90 crosses the bay. Frozen fish were all along the beach. The fish in
the water had sunk to the bottom, as the top was frozen. Mr. Crist caught
a large number of different kinds of fish, and there they met Mr. Elmer Guernsey
and his brother Charley with a large number of fish in a boat, among which
were many red fish. Mr. Crist and Mr. Bonifay came home with a sack full of
fish, and shared them with the neighbors.
Mr. Guernsey lived several miles from the bay and had to for a creek. The
creek was frozen. They fixed the mules’ feet so they could walk on the
ice and drove them across the creek. The bay had an eighth of an inch of ice
all the way across from the Crist’s place and Floridatown to the other
At that time the woods were full of lightwood knots and other fat wood which
made very hot fires. Some of the houses were not built for cold weather, and
there would have been greater suffering without the plentiful wood free.