Glover, VT Flood, Jun 1810


Vision of Great Benefit to Community Back of Strange Occurrence Century Ago.

Barton, Vt., April 1, (AP)--On certain present day maps of Vermont a pond is shown at the southeast corner of the town of Glover with this legend in very fine print: "Long Pond, drained in 1810." Behind this matter-of-fact statement is the story of a devastating flood.

It was neither heavy rains nor deep snow melting on the mountainsides that caused this floor. The residents brought it upon themselves. A vision of great benefit to their communities turned into a reality of disaster.

There had come to light a letter written by Rev. S. Edward Dwight in 1828 to the editor of the American Journal of Science describing a visit which he made in this region in 1828. This letter, subsequently printed, relates how Mr. Dwight went over the ground covered by the flood of 1810 and interviewed many persons who had seen it.

Long Pond, or LongLake as he terms it, lay a few miles south of the Canadian border on an elevation dividing the northern and southern waterbeds. Its outlet flowing south was a tributary of the Lamoille River. The pond was a mile and a half long and in some places 150 feet deep. Some 100 rods to the north and at a much lower level was Mud Lake, sending a stream northward which was one of the sources of the Barton River.

On this river the pioneers had built several saw and grist mills. In the summer when the water was low there was a lack of power. They conceived the idea of letting part of the water from Long Lake into Mud Lake and thus getting a more stable water supply.

About 100 men from Barton, Glover and adjoining towns set out on June 6, 1810, to carry out this project. It looked easy. There was only a small bank of earth to be removed to let the Long Lake water reach the edge of the sharp slope to the north. The soil was sandy with a firm layer of hardpan underneath. In a few hours a channel had been dug down to the hardpan.

Elated at their success, the men stood aside and watched the water flow in. Suddenly the channel went dry again. The water had seeped under the hardpan and struck a bed of quicksand. The ground along the shore began to give way and the hardpan was upheaved.

"Men who were there," wrote Mr. Dwight, "said that a convulsion shook the earth like a mighty earthquake and there was a noise, louder than the loudest thunder which was heard for many miles around."

The whole north shore of the lake was torn out and in a few hours the lake was emptied. A torrent of water, sand and rocks swept down the valley, digging a gorge in some places from 60 to 80 feet deep and a quarter of a mile wide. Hundreds of trees were unrooted and borne down on the crest of the flood. Mud Lake was filled up until it became a shallow pond. Mills along the river were swept away. Meadows were covered deep with mud and trees and swamps in the lowlands were filled.

"An inhabitant of Barton," says the letter, "told me that hearing the noise he looked upstream and saw the flood marching rapidly forward, opening itself a path through the valley and bearing a moving forest on its very top, so that those who were with him gave the alarm that the forest from Glover was coming down upon Barton. Near the church in Barton a field of 30 acres was covered with deposited timber to the height of 30 feet."

The dreath was shattered but Barton recovered. When Mr. Wright made his visit the people were talking of utilizing the dry bed of Long Lake for a highway between the hills. Today Barton is a town of 8000 population with widely diversified industries.

North Adams Transcript, North Adams, MA 1 Apr 1926