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User / Frank C. Grace (Trig Photography) / Sets / The Willey House Landslide Site
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N 7 B 4.1K C 0 E Jul 19, 2018 F Aug 14, 2018
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For a great telling of the legend, have a listen to the New England Legends podcast, its short and sweet: ournewenglandlegends.com/podcast-47-ruth-colbath-a-woman-...

The Willey House at Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is associated principally with a tragedy of August 28, 1826, in which seven members of the Willey family and two other people died. Out of that event came a boost to the nascent tourism industry of the area.

The Willey House was originally known as Old Notch House and had been built in 1793. Ethan Crawford acquired it in 1823 for use as an inn to accommodate his growing business as a mountain guide, and in 1826 it was occupied by a family headed by Samuel J. Willey Jr.

The 1826 Disaster:
Northern New England experienced a drought in the summer of 1826, which ended with the arrival of a terrific storm on the evening of August 28. Flooding followed, with the valley at Crawford Notch being one place that suffered the consequences. All but two of the bridges on the turnpike that ran through the notch were destroyed, trees suffered a similar fate and the high sides of the valley were gouged by swollen streams and landslides. The Willey House was a scene of desolation due to the effects of an avalanche on a mountain behind it. The house, however, had survived in an island of calm because the surging debris split either side on a low ridge and then unified again beyond it.

Local residents, including Ethan Crawford and the Reverend Benjamin G. Willey, Samuel's brother, visited the house in the aftermath of the storm. It was empty, with signs that there may have been a rapid departure from it, such as unmade beds, clothes strewn around and ashes in the fireplace. There was an open bible on the table. A search of the devastated area over the next few days revealed the bodies of the Willey parents, two of their daughters and two hired hands; the remains of the other three Willey children were never found. Some livestock had also been killed, including those in a now-destroyed stable.

There followed various theories as to what had happened, the most likely of which is that the occupants abandoned the property as the avalanche approached but in doing so, in darkness, they unwittingly put themselves in the path of it around the point where the flow reunited.

SOURCE: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willey_House,_New_Hampshire

Tags:   Conway New Hampshire United States US Willey House landslide site White Mountains NH Crawford Notch Willey Family Old Notch House Ethan Crawford Samuel J. Willey flood flooding grave marker death Reverend Benjamin G. Willey tragedy grief lost new england new england legends legend tripping horror avalanche rocks earth Nikon D850