Excerpt from "A History of the Oranges"


Singularly free from devastation caused by atmospherical disturbances, the people plodded along complacently as far as that was permissible during the contentions with the Proprietors and minor irritations. Nearly ninety years were crops harvested in quantities, remunerative to the husbandman till a fateful June day, when the wrath of the elements was poured out upon the Mountain Society, laying waste property of value beyond computation and creating consternation the like of which had never been experienced.

New York newspapers did not mention the disaster till July 5, thirteen days afterward. The "gust," as it was called, appeared about four o'clock in the afternoon of June 22, 1756. Storm clouds soon after noon hovered over the community, indicating a thunder shower, expected at this season. Farmers were anticipating large crops from the acreage under cultivation, and fruit trees were laden with prospects of a goodly harvest. The cattle grazed contentedly in the meadow and elsewhere.

In an instant the swish and roar of the advancing wind admonished all within its sound that a shower of unusual violence was upon them Efforts were quickly made to secure portable property and livestock from contact with the threatening element. It advanced from the southwest and through the valley east of the First Mountain, its trail being over a mile and a half in length. The scene was dreadful to contemplate, as a wide line of destruction was marked on the landscape. Houses, barns, orchards, fences, corn fields, gardens and woodland all shared the same fate.

"Many large trees are broken down," says the New York Mercury, and "carried to an incredible distance from the place where they stood. Among them were Samuel Pierson's Barn and Mill House, Justice Crane's Barn and part of his House. Captain Amos Harrison's House and Barn, two Widows named Ward, their Houses and Barns, and a new House belonging to one Dodd, almost finished, was entirely blown away."

Undauntedly the men came from all sections, attracted not by idle curiosity and to comment upon the misery of it all, but armed with implements of toil. Work was needed to restore the property as far as possible to its normal condition.


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