« PreviousContinue »
nature, in May, 1792, the General Assembly of Connecticut passed an act appropriating “ 500,000 acres of land west of Pennsylvania, for the relief of the sufferers by fire.” The damage in each Town was assessed, and the amount of each person's loss in East-Haven was as follows: Amos Morris,
£1235 15 4
838 17 3
79 9 5
173 13 1 Mary Pardee,
134 14 0 Mary and Lydia Pardee, 40 8 4 Noah Tucker,
99 17 4
£4154 9 5 Equal to $13,848 24. They burnt eleven dwelling houses, nine barns and some other out buildings. Gurdon Bradley lost £66 00 00 in a sloop that was burnt. The enemy and the militia plundered the inhabitants of all they could carry off. The whole of this loss was collected by the Commissioners appointed for this
purpose, and the amount was £421 1. 4. The entire loss of East-Haven by this invasion, in property, was $15,251 79.
Natural History-Tornado and Curiosities.
THE Town of East-Haven contains about nine thousand acres of land. The soil is generally light and sandy; but capable of yielding good crops when properly cultivated. It is congenial to Indian Corn and Barley." In favourable seasons, potatoes do well. In some parts of the Town Rye succeeds, but is very subject to blast and rust. By good husbandry the lands may be made more productive; though unhappily there is very little good pasturage in the Town. There is very little clay, and some parts of the Town are encumbered and disfigured with rocks and ragged barren hills.
About the first Spring, or the head of Bloomary Brook, and the head of Clay-pit Brook, and along the intervale of Stoney River, good brick clay may be obtained. Some of the best land lies in the Fresh Meadows and Cove Swamp, which are now uncultivated and unproductive. Were those low lands drained, as they probably will be at some future period, they would be the most productive lands in the Town.
Along the sea-shore, there is a range of Granite rock of the purest kind, but it is not found in any other part of the Town. The Pond Rock and the ridge west of it are Green or W hinstone. The same kind of Rock
in detached eminences and ridges, in some other parts of the Town. Sand-stone of the secondary formation, commences on the Indian land north-east from the Cove, and running north, spreads through Dragon woods, and terminates on the Davenport farm. Another mass lies on the east side of the Fresh Meadows, and runs in a north-east direction to the north line of the town, on the half mile. The Green-stone, generally, on the surface, is in such a state of fracture, as to be nearly useless, except the smaller fragments, which make excellent gravel for roads. In some places the sand stone is in a state of decomposition. In the ridge north of Mullen Hill, Agates are found in abundance.
The plains appear to be composed of sand, coarse and fine, washed from the lands and vallies on the north, and accumulating gradually by some powerful operating cause. The salt marshes are founded upon a bottom of sand like that of the plains adjacent.
The Town is well supplied with water of an excellent quality. There are numerous Springs and some fine Rivulets ; while Stoney River and the Furnace Pond afford an inexhaustible supply of water of the best kind.
The Pond is about three miles long, and from one hundred yards to three hundred broad, and very deep.
The fisheries in the waters of East-Haven are excellent and valuable. In Quinipiack River, oysters are taken in vast quantities, and those of a superior quality are taken in the Cove and Stoney River.
Clams, black and white fish, abound in their season, White fish are used, in vast quantities, for manure.
The trade in oysters is carried to a great extent. From sixty to an hundred thousand bushels, are annually imported. These are opened, put up into small kegs, and dispersed all over the northern and western country, quite into
Canada. The amount of sales for this Town and vicinity is estimated at twenty-five thousand dollars during the fall and winter season. Ånd it sometimes probably exceeds that
A considerable number of the men are employed in the coasting, packet, and oyster trade. But this town has suffered exceedingly by the loss of active men at sea. Farming business occupies the attention of the principal part of the male population.
On the 8th October, 1797, great damage was done by a Tornado, which passed over the centre of the Town. The same week, the following account of it was published in a New Haven paper.
“On Sunday evening last, between six and seven o'clock, we experienced a violent gale of wind from the westward, attended with heavy rain and thunder. The damage done in this town was not great, compared with that done at EastHaven and Branford.
“ The roofs of some buildings were injured, the tops of chimneys blown off, and windows blown in, some trees and fences blown down, and a barn in the New Township removed from its foundation. At East-Haven the steeple of the meeting-house was blown down, which falling on the roof, broke through the side, where it fell, leaving only one rafter standing, and penetrating the floor, greatly damaged the seats.
A large new house was removed from its foundation ; several dwelling houses were partly and others entirely unroofed. A number of barns met the same fate. Three large barns were entirely deinolished: the materials of which they were built were scattered in every direction. 'The town of Branford experienced nearly the same fate. Part of the roof of the meeting-house was blown off, and all the windows on the western side destroyed ; six or seven houses, a new store and several barns, unroofed, other barns blown down, the trees in several fine orchards laid prostrate. The height of the tornado continued but a few minutes. We have not learnt all the particulars of this disastrous gale, nor how far the storm extended.”
The same Tornado is described in Dwight's Travels, with the addition of several particulars to the above account.
« On Lord's day, October 8, 1797, in the afternoon, a Tornado, the commencement of which, so far as I was able to learn, was at Upper Salem in the County of Westchester and State of New York, passed over Ridgefield, in Con
necticut, and thence over Redding, Newtown, Huntington, Derby, Woodbridge, New Haven, East-Haven, Branford, Guilford, and Killingworth ; whence it directed its course over the Sound. At times it rose from the earth, and held its most furious career in a higher region of the atmosphere. Such was the fact at New Haven, where, although its force was great, it did not blow with sufficient strength to do any material damage. At Upper Salem, it destroyed orchards, groves, and buildings. At East-Haven it blew down the steeple of the Presbyterian Church, and ruined several other buildings. It left many marks of its violence also at Branford, and some other places ; while in others it did little or no mischief. This alternate rise and fall of a Tornado, I have not seen mentioned ; nor do I remember a storm of this kind, at so late a season, in any other instance.”
Another violent gale, called by some the Salt Storm, occurred on the 3d Sept. 1821. Light showers passed in the morning; it was somewhat misty through the day, with a light rain about 5 o'clock P. M. the wind rising about that hour, it having been all day about south and south-east.At 6 o'clock it became a gale, still increasing and blowing with dreadful violence until 11 o'clock, when it broke, and a calm succeeded. In this town very little rain fell ; but in the region about New-York, a vast quantity poured down. The sand and gravel, however, were scooped from the earth and dashed against every opposing object. A salt spray covered every thing within its reach, and mingling with the dirt then afloat, rendered the glass windows quite opaque, and formed a coat so firm, that it was not easily washed off.
The morning light disclosed a scene of mournful devastation, among the vegetable kingdom. Trees of every kind were stripped of their foliage, and also of their fruit. The small limbs upon the wind ward side were killed, and still exhibit the deadly properties of the storm ; and along the coast the fruit trees are rendered barren. Many small trees were destroyed. The shrubbery and the vegetation of the garden and the field, appeared as is common after a severe and early frost. The atmosphere was loaded with a very nauseous fetor. The buckwheat was completely destroyed ; the corn lay, prostrate, the leaves of which were whipped into small strings. The weather afterwards being very warm, the trees and living shrubbery put forth new leaves, and the fruit trees and the lilac were adorned with flowers.
The deadly effects of the salt on vegetation might be traced twelve or fifteen miles inland; but gradually diminishing according, to the distance from the shore. İt having been a very dry season in this town, and the ground being very hard, but few trees were overturned, compared with what took place a few miles north, where the ground was softer, and there great havoc was made among the tall timber.
A singular phenomenon of frequent occurrence is noticeable in this town, respecting the motion of thunder clouds proceeding from the west. The cloud advances over the harbour, and approaches Fort Hill, presenting a great, and in a dry season, a hopeful appearance of a refreshing rain. But presently it breaks, and then separates to the right and left; one part passing to the north of the village, and the other part passing down the harbour and across the southend of the town, pours down its refreshing streams upon the Sound. And sometimes no rain at all falls upon the plains east of the hill, and at other times only a sprinkling from the skirts of the cloud. Whether the bill
possesses a repulsive, or the water an attractive quality, that operates upon the cloud, is a question left to the wisdom of the reader to solve.
The town affords a few curiosities. On an island in Stoney River, there is a regular cavity cut into the Granite Rock, and called the Indian Well. It is from twenty-six to thirty-three inches diameter, and very smooth, especially the bottom of it. It is now about five feet in depth, but formerly it was deeper. When the dam below was built, some part of the rock was removed, and much injured its natural appearance. The water on both sides of the island passes through a narrow channel of Granite Rock. I have seen similar excavations in the beds of the Mohawk River below the Cohoes falls, which were evidently formed by sand and pebbles, set into action by the rotatory motion of the water. Such cavities are common near the falls of Rivers. The Indian well was, doubtless, produced by the attrition of the sand and pebbles which passed over this rock, it being then in or near the bed of the River. The bottom of the River was then from eight to twelve feet above the present high water mark, the valley on the north being once a considerable lake, and connected with the Furnace pond. A great change has evidently passed over the land and marsh in that vicinity. Stumps and the fragments of trees lie in the bed