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The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]




(is generally 5. s.zc. as likewise through Massachussetts, and part of Connecticut, until it reaches the city of Middleton ; after wliich it runs a s, s. e. course to its mouth. The navigation of this beautiful river, which, like the Nile, fertilizes tiie lands through which it runs, is much obstructed by falls ; two of these are between New Hampshire and Vermont, the first are called the Fifteen-mile falls ; here the river is rapid for 20 miles : the second remarkable fall is at Walpole, formerly called the Great falls, but now called Bellows’ falls. Above these the breadth of the river is in some places 22, in other places not above 16 rods; the depth of the channel is about 25 feet, and commonly runs full of water. In September 1792, however, owing to the severe drought, the water of the river, it is said, “ passed within (he space of 12 feet wide, and 2| feet deep.” A large rock divides the stream into two channels, each about 90 feet wide ; when the river is low, the e. channel is dry, being crossed by a solid rock ; and the whole stream falls into the w. channel, where it is contracted to the breadth of 16 feet, and flows with astonishing rapidity. There are several pitches, one above another, in the length of half a mile, the largest of which is that where the rock divides the stream. A bridge of timber was projected over this fall by Colonel Hale, in the year 1784, 365 feet long, and supported in the middle by the island rock, and under it the highest floods pass without doing any injury; this is the only bridge on the river, but it is contemplated to erect another, SO miles above, at the middle bar of Agar falls, where the passage for the water, between the rocks, is 100 feet wide ; this will connect the towns of Lebanon in New Hampshire, and Hartford in Vermont ; as the former bridge connects Walpole in New Hampshire with Rockingham in Vermont. Notwithstanding the velocity of the current at Bellows’ falls, above described, the salmon pass up the river, and are taken many miles above, but the shad proceed no farther. On the steep sides of the island rock, at the fall, hang several arm chairs, secured by a counterpoise ; in these the fishermen sit to catch salmon with fishing nets. In the course of the river, through Massachusetts, are the falls at South Hadley, around which locks and canals were completed in 1795, by an enterprising company, incorporated for that purpose in 1792, by the legislature of Massachusetts. In Connecticut the river is obstructed by falls at Enfield, to render which navigable in boats, a company has been incorporated, and a sum of money raised by lottery, but nothing effectual is yet done. The

average descent of this river from Weathersfield in Vermont, 150 miles from its mouth, is two feet to a mile, according to the barometrical observations of J. Winthrop, Esq. made in 1786. The rivers or streams which fall into Connecticut river are numerous; such of them as are worthy of notice will be seen under their respective names. At its mouth is a bar of sand, which considerably obstructs the navigation ; it has 10 feet water on it at full tides, and the depth is the same to Middleton, from which the bar is 36 miles distant. Above Middleton there are some shoals which have only six feet water at high tide, and here the tide ebbs and flows about eight inches ; three miles above that city the river is contracted to about 40 rods in breadth, by two high mountains ; on almost every other part of the river the banks are low, and spread into fine extensive meadows. In the spring floods, which generally happen in May, these meadows are covered with water. At Hartford, the water sometimes rises 20 feet above the common surface of the river, and the water having no other outlet but the above mentioned strait, it is sometimes tw o or three weeks before it returns to its usual bed ; these floods add nothing to-the depth of water on the bar at the mouth of the river, as the bar lies too far off in the sound to be affected by them. This river is navigable to Hartford city upwards of 50 miles from its mouth, and the produce of the country for 200 miles above it, is brought thither in boats. The boats which are used in this business are flat-bottomed, long, and narrow, and of so light a make as to be portable in carts : before the construction of locks and canals on (his river, they were taken out at three different carrying places, all of which made 15 miles : it is expected that in a few years the obstructions will be all removed. Sturgeon, salmon, and shad, are caught in plenty in their season, from the mouth of the river upwards, excepting sturgeon, which do not ascend the upper falls; besides a variety of small fish, such as pike, carp, perch, &c. There is yet a strong expectation of opening a communication between this river and the Merrimack, through Sugar river, which runs into the Connecticut at Claremont in New Mampshire, and the Contoocook, which falls into tlie Merrimack at Boscawen. From this river were employed, in 1789, three brigs of 180 tons each, in the European trade ; and about 60 sail, from 60 to 150 tons, in the VV. India trade, besides a few fishermen, and 40 or 50 coasting vessels. The number has considerably increased since.)

(Connecticut, a stream in Long island, New

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