Hayward’s United States Gazetteer (1853) page 676

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the most remarkable floods ever known in this
mountainous region, and which was attended by
the awful calamity of the destruction of a whole
family, by an avalanche, or slide, from the moun-

These avalanches, as they are termed in Swit-
zerland, are produced by heavy rains ; they com-
mence, generally, near the highest limits of
vegetation on the mountains, which, on some of
them, is near their summits ; the slides widening
and deepening in their downward course, carrying
along all the trees, shrubbery, loose rocks and
earth, from their granite foundations. At this
time there were probably thousands of acres reft
from the sides of the mountain, and carried to
the valley in the Notch below.

The house inhabited by Captain Samuel Willey
and his family stood on the westerly side of the
road, in the Notch, and a few rods distant from
the high bluff, which rises with fearful rapidity to
the height of 2000 feet. Adjoining was a barn
and wood-house; in front was a beautiful little
meadow, covered with crops; and the Saco passed
along at the foot of the easterly precipice.

Nearly in range of the house, a slide from the
extreme point of the westerly hill came down, in
a deep and horrible mass, to within about five
rods of the dwelling, where its course appears to
have been checked by a large block of granite,
which, falling on a flat surface, backed the roll-
ing mass for a moment, until it separated into
two streams, one of which rushed down by the
north end of the house, crushing the barn, and
spreading itself over the meadow; the other
passing down on the south side, and swallowing
up the unfortunate beings who probably attempt-
ed to fly to a shelter, which, it is said, had been
erected a few rods distant. This shelter, what-
ever it might have been, was completely over-
whelmed ; rocks, weighing ten to fifty tons, being
scattered about the place, and indeed in every
direction, rendering escape utterly impossible.
The* house remained untouched, though large
stones and trunks of trees made fearful approaches-
to its walls; and the moving mass, which sep-
arated behind the building,
again united in its
The house alone could have been their
refuge from the horrible uproar around — the
only spot untouched by the crumbling and con-
suming power of the storm.

The family consisted of nine persons : Captain
Willey, his wife, five children, and two men, by
the names of Nickerson and Allen.

Travellers visiting this section of country, in
autumn, will be gratified with the rich and varied
beauties of autumnal foliage common in this
country, but more particularly so at the north,
and which is thus described by Dr. Dwight: —

“ The bosom of both ranges of mountains was
overspread, in all the inferior regions, by a mix-
ture of evergreens, with trees, whose leaves are
deciduous. The annual foliage had been already
changed by the frosts. Of the effects of this
change it is, perhaps, impossible for an inhabit-
ant of Great Britain, as I have been assured by
several foreigners, to form an adequate concep-
tion, without visiting an American forest. When
I was a youth, I remarked that Thomson had
entirely omitted, in his Seasons, this fine part of
autumnal imagery. Upon inquiring of an Eng-
lish gentleman the probable cause of the omission,
he informed me that no such scenery existed in
Great Britain. In this country it is often among
the most splendid beauties of nature. All the
leaves of trees, which are not evergreens, are, by
the first severe frost, changed from their verdure
towards the perfection of that color, which they
are capable of ultimately assuming, through yel-
low, orange, and red, to a pretty deep brown.
As the frost affects different trees, and the differ-
ent leaves of the same tree, in very different
degrees, a vast multitude of tinctures are com-
monly found on those of a single tree, and always
on those of a grove or forest. These colors, also,
in all their varieties, are generally full; and, in
many instances, are among the most exquisite
which are to be found in the regions of nature.
Different sorts of trees are susceptible of different
degrees of this beauty. Among them the maple
is preeminently distinguished, by the prodigious
varieties, the finish, beauty, and the intense lustre
of its hues, varying through all the dyes, be-
tween a rich green and the most perfect crim-
son, or, more definitely, the red of the prismatic

Visits to these mountains are annually in-
creasing. The roads and public houses on the
various routes to them are excellent; and the
scenery, in extent and variety, is of surpassing
beauty and grandeur.

The following apostrophe to Mount Washing
ton was written by an American poet: —

“ Thine is the summit where the clouds repose,

Or, eddying wildly, round thy cliffs are home ;

When Tempest mounts his rushing car, and throws
His billowy mist amid the thunder's home!

Far down the deep ravines the whirlwinds come,

And bow the forests as they sweep along;

While, roaring deeply from their rocky womb,

The storm comes forth, and, hurrying darkly on,

Amid the echoing peaks the revelry prolong !

* * * * *

“ Mount of the clouds ! when winter round thee throws
The hoary mantle of the dying year,

Sublime, amid thy canopy of snows,

Thy towers in bright magnificence appear!

'Tis then we view thee with a chilling fear,

Till summer robes thee in her tints of blue ;

When, lo! in softened grandeur, far, yet clear,

Thy battlements stand clothed in heaven's own hue,

To swell, as Freedom's home, on man's unbounded view!'


1. From Boston, via Portland, Me.—From Bos-
ton by railroad to Portland,
105 miles, and thence
by railroad to Gorham,
N. H., 91 miles. Dis-
tance from Boston,
196 miles. At this place a
hotel has been erected to accommodate visitors,
5 miles from the base of Mount Washington, and
a road has been laid out to the summit on the
north side of the mountain.

Another route from Portland is by railroad to
Gorham, Me., 10 miles, and thence by stage 8
miles, to the steamboat running across the Sebago
Lake and other small lakes and streams connect-
ed with it, to Bridgeton, a distance of 30 miles:
thence by stage to Fabyan's new house in Con-
way, 20 miles; thence to “ Old Crawford's,'' south
of the Notch, 24 miles; to the Willey House,
wfithin the Notch, 6 miles; and through it to
“ Tom Crawford's,'' 2 miles. From this place
Mount Washington is ascended from the south-
west, over the summits of Mounts Lafayette,
Franklin, and Monroe, as described in the fore-
going article. From Crawford's to the White
Mountain House, kept by Fabyan, the route con-
tinues by stage 4 miles, making the distance from
Boston, this way, 189 miles. The ascent to the

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