Ashfield — Incidents

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      In the month of May, 1828, five individuals lost their lives by drowning in the pond a short distance west of the "Plain." They were Deacon David Lyon, aged sixty-three, and his son William, aged eighteen; Arnold Drake, aged twenty-eight, and two sons of Eli Gray, William and Robert, aged respectively fifteen and thirteen. They had gone to the pond together, with two others (who escaped), for the purpose of washing sheep, and, with the exception of Mr. Lyon, were frolicking a little way from the shore in a small log canoe, which was upset. Mr. Lyon, seeing the danger they were in, lost his life in attempting to save the others. Other casualties have occurred in the town.
      On Dec. 10, 1878, a great freshet swept over the Green-Mountain region of this State, caused by a powerful rain falling upon fifteen inches of newly-fallen snow. As evening came on the temperature rapidly grew warm, the thermometer rose 25° in two hours, and the melting snow, filled by the accumulated rainfall of the day, came down the hill-sides in torrents. At nine o'clock in the evening the "Great Pond" reservoir, in this town, on South River, gave way, immediately draining off the 75 acres of water that had there been held in check, thus precipitating a great flood into the valley below. The grist-mill of A. D. Flower and the tannery of L. C. Sanderson, at the centre village, were destroyed. At South Ashfield three dwelling-houses, two barns, and a blacksmith-shop were swept away on the instant that the flood reached them. In the southwest part of the town Darius Williams' reservoir broke away, carrying his large saw-mill to destruction. The roads and bridges here and throughout the region were greatly damaged. Through the valley, in the course of South River, the fields, fences, and bridges suffered almost total destruction.
      In June, 1830, a full-sized bear was captured and killed. He was discovered when crossing the road near the present residence of L. W. Goodwin, chased into a tree near by where Stephen Jackson lives, and soon made to smell powder.

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29 Jun 2005