New London County Historical Society, Inc.

11 Blinman Street, New London, CT 06320

Phone: 860-443-1209

110, 2010

Thunderstorms

By |October 1st, 2010|Hempstead Diary, Thunderstorms|Comments Off on Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms

[Oct. 1754] Saturd 5  fair. I was about home all day fitting up Cask for Cyder.  I Rid out to Crossman Lot to water the Cattle.  Thundr & Lightning in the night & a Storm of wind & Rain.

“Thunder and lightning” are fairly common with rain storms in this part of New England all through the summer and into the fall, as they were in Hempstead’s time.  What has changed is our perception of them.

Well into the eighteenth century, it was the thunder that was assumed to be the dangerous part of the combination.  When you think about an age without our capabilities to measure the transmission of sound and light, this makes sense.  If you have ever had a tree or pole near your house struck by lightning, you know that the noise of the thunder accompanying it is impressive—and simultaneous.  Looked at objectively, it does appear that the thunder is more important, since no harm came earlier from clearly visible lightning.

In the earlier parts of the diary Hempstead refers a couple of times to damage done by thunder and lightning.  When the meetinghouse was struck on August 31, 1735, he records “a Terable Clap of Thunder & Lightning […]

110, 2010

October Second Sunday ~ Search for the Northwest Passage with Anthony Brandt

By |October 1st, 2010|Events Blog|Comments Off on October Second Sunday ~ Search for the Northwest Passage with Anthony Brandt

Search for the Northwest Passage with Anthony Brandt

Anthony Brandt, editor of the National Geographic Adventure series and author of The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage, will be the speaker at the 10 October, Second Sunday lecture for the New London County Historical Society. Brandt’s book, published earlier this year, is a spell-binding read of the 19th-century search for a Northwest Passage from Europe to the Pacific.

The search for the fabled Northwest Passage was primarily carried out by the British Navy in the period following the Napoleonic Wars at a time when they seemed to believe they were invincible. The discovery of an all-water route to the Pacific above Canada became a goal for nineteenth-century British explorers that was equivalent to the search for the Holy Grail. Today we know how futile that search was as the passage was non-existent because the waters north of Canada were essentially icebound all year long, at least at that time. That didn’t prevent a parade of British mariners from challenging the ice in that incredibly hostile environment.

This summer, a team of archaeologists from Parks Canada set out to find some of the explorers’ sunken […]