The winter of 1830 – 1831 was an eventful one in Mobile. A major freeze gripped the southeast in December and January. Temperatures in the city reached lows not seen in almost ten years, yet the amount of cotton bought and sold at the port was higher than ever. Looking at news reports from the country's established port cities, it is clear that Mobile was quickly becoming a significant destination for domestic shipping. Along with New Orleans, the port of Mobile had the advantage of access to the Gulf of Mexico as well as inland river routes. It's prominence as a port of commercial exchange developed slowly after Alabama gained statehood in 1819 but activity increased dramatically in the 1830's as the factory system expanded and the need for cotton increased. Mobile provided northern and international merchants access to cotton grown in the deep south as well as other local products.
JANUARY 1, 1831
Charleston Courier, Charleston, South Carolina
About thirty boats loaded with Cotton, are reported in the Mobile Patriot of the 26th ult.
JANUARY 5, 1831
The Evening Post, New York
There arrived at Mobile, within twenty-four hours previous to the 17th Dec. nineteen hundred bales of the new crop cotton, which gave an immediate start to business.
JANUARY 8, 1831
Mobile Commercial Register, Mobile
THE WEATHER – It is seldom that we have occasion to bestow a paragraph on this topic, but the degree of cold we have experienced for a day or two past, seems sufficiently remarkable to be recorded. The night before last the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer, having a northern exposure, fell 22 degrees below freezing point, and at 7 o’clock yesterday morning, it stood at 11 degrees above zero. This is within two degrees as cold as it was in February, 1822, when all the orange trees in this city and in New Orleans were destroyed.
JANUARY 10, 1831
Baltimore Patriot, Baltimore
MOBILE, Dec. 23—From the late rains our rivers are raised to an uncommon height. We understand that the Steam Boat Tuscumbia, discharged her freight the other day, on the highest point of the bluff at Montgomery, which is about forty feet above law water mark. Cotton is flowing in, in great abundance, and our wharves exhibit all the bustle and activity which usually pervade them in February and March --Register
JANUARY 21, 1831
Baltimore Patriot. Baltimore
A Mobile Report from January 1, 1831 --There has been a pretty active business in the cotton market for 2 – 3 days past. The sales have generally ranged from 8 and one half to 9 and one half cents.
JANUARY 24, 1831
Alexandria Gazette, Virginia
The last Mobile papers speak of the cold being greater than experienced in that city in many years, and within 2 degrees as cold as it was in February 1823, when all the oranges in that city were destroyed.
JANUARY 26, 1831
American, New York
Received at Mobile, up to January 8th, 21,218 bales of Cotton.