Williamsburg, MA Mill River Dam Break and Flood Catastrophe, May 1874

Mill River Flood MASS 1874 Broken Dam.jpg Mill River Flood MASS 1874 Cove at Williamsburg.jpg Mill River Flood MASS 1874 Mill Ruins.jpg Mill River Flood MASS 1874 Ruined stone bridge.jpg Mill River Flood MASS 1874 Ruins of Dam.jpg Mill River Flood MASS 1874 Ruins.jpg HAYDENVILLE MASS DAM COLLAPSE MAY 1874

The small village of Leeds, between one and two miles distant, was the next place to suffer, and the scenes of Williamsburg and Haydensville were here repeated. A short distance below Leeds were two bridges, one of iron and one of stone, both nearly fifty feet above the bed of the stream. Here the greatest destruction appeared to have stopped, although all along the river, until it emptied into the Connecticut River, a short distance below Northampton, the banks are covered with all manner of debris, timber, trees, pianos, tables, chairs, and other furniture.
It is estimated that nearly one hundred buildings were destroyed, and the total loss is from one million to a million and a half of dollars, although, of course, it is impossible to accurately estimate the damage.
The saddest feature of the whole affair is the great loss of life. At first it was thought that not more than forty or fifty lives were lost, but a more careful canvass of the villages visited gives the total number of missing persons at nearly 120, as follows: At Williamsburg, 49, at Leeds 39, and at Haydenville, 34. There have between fifty and sixty dead bodies already recovered.
There were many narrow escapes. A butcher named Michael Hernigan was caught, horse wagon and all, and carried along until he managed to get into the top of a tree, and thus escaped. Thomas Finnessy was carried some two miles, floating on some timber, until he finally escaped. Ira Dunning was in like manner carried over half a mile. Chas. Brady, after riding in imminent peril for a mile, escaped to a tree. Dr. Johnson warned his wife in season to permit her escape in safety, but in trying to save his three children he was caught by the flood, and they all four perished in sight of the agonized wife and mother. The bodies recovered were terribly mangled, and many of them were stripped of every particle of clothing, but most of them were identified by friends, and the scene of the disaster has been visited by hundreds of people this afternoon.

Boston, May 16. -- The villages which are affected by the disaster are Williamsburg, Haydenville, Leeds and Florence, and are situated on Mill River, which is a tributary to the Connecticut River, running into the latter at Northampton. In the village of Williamsburg, Mill River divides into two branches, one of which has its rise in Goshen and the other at about the edge of Conway.
The large reservoirs are situated on the Goshen branch and one on the Conway branch containing a total depth of not less than six feet. The reservoir dams were regarded as substantially constructed being built by skillful engineers, in the most approved modern method and large sums of money were expended last year in putting them in what was supposed to be perfect order. The oldest dams is at least twenty-five years of age, and is on the Goshen Branch. It was most carefully rebuilt within the last two years. Above this was a new dam built last year. The dam on the Conway Branch is six or seven years old.
The mills on the stream reckoning from Williamsburg down to Northampton, were as follows: WM. THAYERS tool factory, 25 men; two button factories, total 30 hands, men and girls, corset woolen mills of HENRY JONES, employs about 50 hands; large brass works of HAYDER, GERE & Co., employ about 300 hands. It was formerly the property of the late Lieutenant Governor HAYDEN. Cotton mills of the HAYDEN Manufacturing Company, 5,000 spindles, employing about 80 hands; the Diamond Tobacco Works, employing 15 or 20 hands; the large brick mill of the Northampton Brush Co., employing about 60 or 75 hands; cotton factory of the Greenville Manufacturing Co., 5,000 spindles employing 75 to 80 hands; Northampton, formerly Bay State Cutlery Co., employing probably 200 hands; the CLEMESH & HAWKES Manufacturing Co., agricultural implements, employing 50 hands; International Screw & Nail Co., employing 75 hands, and the large basket factory of the WILLIAMS Manufacturing Co., employing about 100 hands; also the SKINNER Silk Mill, employing 50 or 60 hands.
Besides these there are some half dozen grist and saw mills, some of them of considerable capacity, which are within the range of the devastation.



Braulette Family- Leeds Villiage

Doing family research I have come to believe this was my great- grandfathers mother and his siblings. Also my dads cousin told me they lost family in the Flood.

I have my great grandfathers Romauld/Romeo parents as Louis Brouillette and Melanise Brault.

Also a baptism and delayed birth cert for a Joseph Brulette born July 13,1871 Florence, MA. to Louis Brulette and Melanise Breault.Father Shoemaker.
Godparents Regis Boissy and Marguerite Boisvert

In the 1880 Northampton Directory is has L. Brouitte Maple St. Florence listed under Boots and Shoes Made & Repaired on page 89.
My grandfather had other siblings that survived the flood 1 sister name unknown.4 brothers Phillip, Francis,Louis,and Joseph .
Any input on this
family would be appreciated.