New England Storm, Flood, and Shipwrecks, Apr 1852

The Storm of April, 1852.

The winter of 1851-52 was very severe. Snow came late in the season, thus making the spring backward. In New Hampshire, a great snow storm began on the fifteenth of April, and continued till the next day. Saturday, the seventeenth, was pleasant, with bright sunlight; but on the morning of the next day an easterly wind began to blow and drizzling rain to fall. The wind constantly increased in strength and the rain in volume until the water fell in torrents and a terrific gale was blowing. The storm continued until the next Tuesday night, and it was but a little less severe than the great storm of the year before, being productive of much damage to property and loss of life even as far south as Virginia.

This rain melted the snow that fell on the fifteenth, and the rain water together with the melted snow greatly swelled the streams, causing a freshet in many of them. The earth was saturated, almost beyond known precedent, and cellars were flooded everywhere. The Kennebec river in Maine was extremely high, the water being eight feet deep on the wharves at Hallowell, where it continued to rise until the morning of Friday, the twenty-third. The Saco river also overflowed it banks at its mouth. In New Hampshire, the water was over the bridges at Auburn village, and other places. The Nashua river reached its height on Tuesday, and caused much damage. The mills at Dover and Great Falls were stopped by the water, and the trains at Newmarket could not be run as the water was so high above the rails it extinguished the fires in the locomotives. The freshet was as high in Massachusetts as it was farther north, the water in some places being two feet above the Nashua and Lowell railroad two weeks after the storm. The Merrimac was never known to rise to high before; at Lowell and Lawrence all work in the mills having to be suspended on account of the flooding of the lower stories. Water ran eight feet above the dam at Lawrence, and the southern end of Andover bridge was swept away. Two houses were carried down the river on the twenty-second, and at Groveland people boarded them in boats, and saved the furniture. The roads near the mouth of the river were almost impassable and the wharves at Amesbury and Salisbury point were five or six feet under water. In most of the manufacturing towns in Worcester county the dams and bridges were swept away. In Winchendon twelve bridges were washed off, and every one of the nine bridges over Miller's river in that town was either carried away or rendered impassable. The freshet was also high in Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Connecticut river was very much flooded, and that part of the city of Hartford which lies east of Front street was completely inundated, the cellars and, in Charles and other low streets, the first floors of the houses being filled with water. At Jasonville, in Thompson, a woman was drowned.

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