“Seven Weeks Sleighing in March” Smith?

seven weeks sleighing in march smith, newspaper

In 1900, various newspapers printed an editorial by Lora La Mance that was mostly about the common surname Smith, but also mentioned (at the end) a person in Pennsylvania with the unlikely given name “Seven Weeks Sleighing in March.” Here’s the relevant bit:

We must first explain that in the olden days it was the custom to speak of an unusually long spell of one kind of weather after this paradoxical manner, “five-weeks-rain-in-June,” “seven-weeks-frost-in-August,” etc. Of course it is an impossible thing to compress more than four and a a half weeks in a month. But the meaning was so many weeks of such and such kind of weather beginning in such a month. And now, after this long preamble, to return to our oddest of all odd given names. Something over 100 years ago a snowstorm in Pennsylvania set in about the first of March. A long spell of sleighing followed, traditional for years for the length of time that it lasted this late in the season. What did these parents do but name the baby boy that same along with the snowstorm, but Seven Weeks Sleighing in March Smith! My grandfather when a child knew this Smith of a singular name–then an oldish man–and heard the story of how he received his queer name. Grandfather said the man went by the name of Weeks usually, but if he chose to sign his name his initials were written S. W. S. I. M. Smith, in itself a unique distinction.

Lora La Mance was somewhat of a public figure back then, and her mother, Kezia, was from Pennsylvania. So I imagine this story came from maternal grandfather, Valentine Waltman, born in 1790. If Weeks was an “oldish man” when Valentine was a child, then Weeks would have been born sometime in the mid-1700s.

I can’t find any record of him so far, but I want to! Are there any Pennsylvania-based historians/genealogists out there who can verify the existence of Seven Weeks Sleighing in March Smith?

Source: La Mance, Lora S. “Fourteen Million Living Smiths.” Salt Lake Herald 22 Jul. 1900: 14.


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