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

New Haven, May 17. -- A man was picked up from a tree, upon which he had ridden six miles on the torrent, cheering and waving his coat. The poor fellow's mind was gone. No less than eight cases of insanity followed among those who have lost relatives and friends by this terrible calamity, and three were committed to the asylum in Northampton.
The gracious work of saving the dead for their burial began at noon yesterday. At Skinnersville the first pobies were picked up, dug from mud or taken with difficulty from overloaded ruins. All through the valley the work went on till night, and then men with lanterns, seeking their dead, stood guard. At Haydenville forty bodies were gathered by night; at Leeds forty-five. There had been in the afternoon gangs of plunderers promptly turned to workmen by no stinted threats. The people were ready to brain them with the first stone.
There were fewer dead at Florence and Northampton, one hundred and forty in all, and many more are certainly buried in the mud and rubbish that fill the valley with black heaps from Williamsburg to Northampton.
At Williamsburg a factory and twenty-seven houses were blotted out. At Haydensville a factory, a gas house, a cotton mill, a bank and one hundred buildings; at Leeds, a button factory and twenty-five buildings; at Skinnersville every house is gone, except Mr. Skinner's own. Such houses as are here set down as "gone" are utterly vanished and distributed in shreds -- not a piece over six feet long -- over miles of the country. The "Lickingwater River," as they call it, has been a sea, and is now a trickling stream, lost in miles of mud. The lake, hemmed in by defective masonry up among the Goshen hills, has done its work terribly.
It appears that serious doubts as to the safety of the reservoir have been entertained ever since it was built, nine years ago, though less the last year or two than in its early history. The gate keeper has several times expressed fears of his employers, calling special attention once to a point where a breach occurred, but the examiners always reported everything safe. The direct cause of the disaster, aside from general weakness of the dam, must remain a subject of speculation. Perhaps as satisfactory a theory as any is the one advanced by a man familiar with the case, that frosts had started the earth so that the water had found numerous little courses through it, which finally carried off the first mass of earth on Saturday morning, and at once precipitated the catastrophe.

Northampton, Mass., May 17. -- Just below Leeds, on which was a pretty lawn called Warner's Flat, a vast amount of debris was collected. A hundred men with ox teams and horses to move the heavy timbers began work early this morning. In the first half hour five bodies were found, and before noon thirty were unburied from that spot. The operatives from Williamsburg, whose lost ones had not been recovered, crowded the little carpenter shop into which the bodies were carried, and all were recognized, although some were disfigured almost past recognition.
Every few rods were wagons containing one, two and sometimes three coffined bodies, going to the cemetery, for in the universal bereavements interment followed swiftly after the recovery of the bodies, and funerals services, excepting in a few instances, were dispensed with. At Haydensville the bodies were laid out in the Congregational Church. Lying side by side were a mother and her children, near them a mother, her married daughter and her infant child. The dead of those whose the flood had left destitute were buried at the expense of the town.

Indiana Messenger Pennsylvania 1874-05-20

Continued

Comments

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.