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Something to Talk About

By Wethersfield Historical Society on January 26, 2011 2:15 PM

Hartford's own Mark Twain famously said, "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it."
   
A former Philosophy teacher of mine however disagreed with Twain's humorously intended remark.  His view was that  "Everybody talks about the weather precisely because they cannot do anything about it."  People like to complain.  And we particularly like to grumble about things that we have absolutely no control over.
   
Either way, I have spent a good amount of time, space, and words chattering on the meteorological history of Wethersfield.  Why?

Again Mark Twain:

"I reverently believe that the Maker who made us all makes everything in New England but the weather. I don't know who makes that, but I think it must be raw apprentices in the weather-clerk's factory who experiment and learn how, in New England, for board and clothes, and then are promoted to make weather for countries that require a good article, and will take their custom elsewhere if they don't get it.

"There is a sumptuous variety about the New England weather that compels the stranger's admiration -- and regret. The weather is always doing something there; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on the people to see how they will go. But it gets through more business in spring than in any other season.  In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours." (C)
   
 
136/24 seems like obvious hyperbole.
   
But then again, what are the odds or having, over a 275 year period of time: several floods, an earthquake, two fires, a pair of blizzards, an ice storm, a hurricane, and two tornadoes - all within a thirteen square mile area?  And those are just the ones that made this list.

Now that is something to talk about.

Endnotes:

I.    "Money for Floods" by Richard Shindell
II.     Stiles "The History of Ancient Wethersfield, Connecticut"
III.    Cotton Mather "Remarkable Providences"
IV.    Ibid
V.     Yankee Magazine, 09/2008
VI.    Connecticut Historical Collections
VII.    Goldstein, Mel, Dr. Mel's Climate Book
VIII.    Rev. Stephen Mix, "The Substance of Two Sermons Occasioned by a Terrible Earthquake in New England and othe parts of North America".
IX.    Sidney Perley, "Historic Storms of New England"
X.    Ibid
XI.    Ibid
XII.    Ibid
XIII.    Ibid
XIV.    Ibid
XV.    William D. Andrews, "The Literature of the 1727 Earthquake"
XVI.    Stiles, op cit
XVII.    Mix, op cit
XVIII.    Ibid
XIX.    Ibid
XX.    Early American Tornadoes, 1586-1870
XXI.    Goldstein, op cit
XXII.    Early American Tornadoes, op cit
XXIII.    J.L. Lewis in the Connecticut Courant and Weekly Intelligencer, 8/20/1787
XXIV.    Ibid
XXV.    Ibid
XXVI.    Ibid
XXVII.    Ibid
XXVIII.    Ibid
XXIX.    Ibid
XXX.    Ibid
XXXI.    Special acts and resolutions of the state of Connecticut, Volume 1 -
              books.google.com
XXXII.    wethersfieldct.com/docs/Preserve_America_Final_Report.pdf
XXXIII.    Connecticut Mirror, 8/6/1831 (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014094/)
XXXIV.    Stiles, op cit
XXXV.    Special acts and resolutions of the state of Connecticut, Volume 1 -
               books.google.com
XXXVI.    Wethersfieldct.com/docs/Preserve_America_Final_Report.pdf
XXXVII.    Ibid
XXXVIII.    http://wethersfieldct.com
XXXIX.    Diana Ross McCain "It Happened in Connecticut", Morris Book Publishing, 2008
XL.    Wethersfield Historical Society Archives
XLI.    McCain, op cit
XLII.    New York Times
XLIII.    Wethersfield Historical Society Archives
XLIV.    Ibid
XLV.    Ibid
XLVI.    Ibid
XLVII.    Ibid
XLVIII.    Ibid
XLIX.    Ibid
L.    Ibid
LI.    Ibid
LII.    Ibid
LIII.    Old Wethersfield Master Plan
LIV.    Connecticut: a guide to its roads, lore, and people Federal Writers' Project
LV.    Htfd Daily times 3/25/36
LVI.    Ibid
LVII.    ??
LVIII.    ibid
LIX.    Connecticut: a guide to its roads, lore, and people."  By Federal Writers' Project
LX.    http://hpi.wethersfieldct.com
LXI.    Vermont Be Dammed, Courant.com
LXII.    Ibid
LXIII.    http://www.ctmuseumquest.com/?page_id=567
LXIV.    Hartford Courant 9/22/1938
LXV.    Goldstein, op cit
LXVI.    http://www.geocities.com/hurricane/hurr1938.htm
LXVII.    Hartford Courant, 9/2/1938
LXVIII.    Ibid
LXIX.     Ibid
LXX.    ibid
LXXI.    Tryon Thomas, "Lady"
LXXII.      Wethersfield Historical Society: Letter from James T. Smith, 10/26/1883
LXXIII.    Lamb, Frank H., "Bood of Broadleaf Trees, 1939
LXXIV.    Hartford Times, 5/29/1953
LXXV.    Hartford Courant, 10/31/1997
LXXVI.    Ibid
LXXVII.    http://www.cslib.org/archives/Finding_Aids/RG005_035.html
LXXVIII.    Wethersfield Post, 12/20/1973
LXXIX.    Ibid
LXXX.    Ibid
LXXXI.    Ibid
LXXXII.    Ibid
LXXXIII.    Ibid
LXXXIV.    Ibid
LXXXV.    Ibid
LXXXVI.    Ibid
LXXXVII.    Manchestertalk.proboards.com
LXXXVIII.    Boxoffice Magazine 02/06/78
LXXXIX.    Hartford Courant 2/7/1978
XC.    Ibid
XCI.    Wethersfield Life, July, 2009
XCII.    Ibid
XCIII.    Ibid
XCIV.    Ibid
XCV.    Ibid
XCVI.    Ibid
XCVII.    Hartford Courant, 6/28/2009
XCVIII.    Wethersfield Life, op cit
XCIX.    Ibid
C.    Twain, Mark, "Speech on the Weather"

(Please click on the underlined name to go directly to that chapter or the WHS Website Home Page)

1. The 17th and 19th Century Floods
2. The 1727 Earthquake
3. The 1787 Tornado
4. The 1831 and 1834 Fires
5. The 1888 Blizzard
6. The 1936 Flood
7. The 1938 Hurricane
8. The 1973 Ice Storm
9. The 1978 Blizzard
10. The 2009 Tornado


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