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Local History

When is Groundhog Day?

When is Groundhog Day?

There was controversy over the exact day groundhogs were to predict the next six weeks of weather in the 1920’s as discussed in the following article published in the Leader, February 13, 1925.

“There are those who contend that tomorrow, February 14, is Groundhog Day, in spite of the fact that February 2 also has numerous supporters. As a result, the groundhog really has two shots at forecasting the weather since there is an excellent chance that the sun will show his face for a brief moment on either February 2 or 14.

“One of the interesting incidents with Groundhog Day this year, if one recognizes February 2, was that the sky was completely overcast in Springfield throughout the day while in Joplin the sun shone for full half an hour. This puts the groundhog in a ticklish position, since he must provide Joplin with six weeks of winter and Springfield with warm weather.

“The following story clipped from the Crane Chronicle shows that there is a vast difference of opinion regarding Groundhog Day and that people are not above arguing over the myth:

“’Last Wednesday afternoon while we were running the Chronicle off the press, Mrs. S. T. Robinson called the office to prove to us that our Groundhog Day was the wrong one. It is a well-known fact that the Chronicle, being edited by a natural born hillbilly, has its Groundhog Day on the 14th, and it has caused no little argument. Mrs. Robinson says that we are surely wrong for she had seen a groundhog that afternoon wandering about the place. We maintain that the son-of-a-gun woke up a few hours too soon.’”

The controversy must have continued for some time as this letter to the editor was published two years earlier in the Leader Feb 18, 1922: “To the Leader: I will tell you all I know about Groundhog Day. February 14th was Groundhog Day all through my father and mother’s lifetime and about 50 or 60 years of my lifetime. I am now 81 years old. Will you please tell me the young man who found out February 14 was not Groundhog Day? I know he was a young man, for an old man never would have found it out. Martin Wolf, Rogersville, Mo.”

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