Lucy Crawford.

The history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket online

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In October there came to my house n family
from Portsmouth, who had hired a man to carry
them to Jefferson, in a coach, and it had begun
to snow before they arrived here, and they con-
cluded to jiMi up with me for tlie night, and had


it not been for this circumstance, they would
have had time to have finished their journey
that night. The next morning, as it continued
to snow, the man hired me to carry them the
rest of the way ; and the other returned home.
They sta3'-ed the next day, and the second morn-
ing, as it had done snowing, I harnessed up two
horses and put them on before a good yoke of
oxen and commenced my task, and when going
over Cherry Mountain, the snow was pkimb two
feet deep. We worked hard all day to get
twelve miles ; there I stayed over night, and the
next day I made out to get home again. This
snow all went off before winter and left us.

I had this fall engaged the Notch House, and
agreed to furnish it with such things as are
necessary for the comfort of travellers and their
horses. It is the case sometimes in the winter,
that if no one lived here, people, it seems, must
suffer with the cold, for the wind comes down
through the narrows of the Notch with such vio-
lence, that it requires two men to hold one man's
hair on, as I have heard them say. I have never
found it to blow so hard here as to equal this,
yet it has blown so hard as to take loaded sleighs
and carry them several rods to a stone Avail,
which was frozen down so firmly that it was
impenetrable, and there the sleigh stopped. I
heard a second-handed story from a clergyman,
that the wind was once known to blow so hard
here, that it took a log chain and carried it to
the distance of a mile or more ; but I do not tell
this aa a fact, only as a story which [3 told, and


perhaps believed by some credulous folks who
live at a distance and form strange ideas of this
place. At one time I was going down^ to the
Notch House, with a load of hay to an occupant
there; when going round the elbow of the Notch
there came a s;ust of wind and upset my load
towards the gulf. 1 instantly turned myself,
and placed my feet against the raihng on the
road, that was put there for the purpose of keep-
ing horses from running off, which if I had not
done, my load must have gone over a precipice
of an hundred feet, with the horses attached to
it, and I cannot say where I should have been.

Here I waited until the wind abated, and then
I put my shoulder under and righted it again,
and went on. At another time some young peo-
ple were going down here, and at or near the
top of a long hill, one of the company's horses
made a mis-step and fell. In the fall, by some
means or other, the horse entirely cleared him-
self of all his harness, and lay by the side of
the road, while they were permitted to pass by
and go a considerable distance by themselves,
and the horse stopped yet behind, which made
sport enough for the rest of the company for
some time.

This winter, 1S24, I bought hay at Jefferson,
ftnd carried it sixteen miles to furnish the Notch
place with it ; and I had been advised by my
friends, to build an addition to my house, which
I was at first, rather unwilling to do, owing to
my limited circumstances, not yet being extrica-
ted from my first obligations ; however, I rnm-


menced drawing lumber from Betlileliem, a dis-
tance of twelve miles, and this work, with draw-
ing hay, and other necessary business, occupied
my whole time for this winter. In the spring I
hired hands, and went industriously to work, and
soon had a frame, thirty-six by forty feet, two
stories high, and it was raised by thirteen hands.
This was thought to be sufficiently large to ac-
commodate all who would be likely to call upon
"US. During the summer and fall we had the
outside finished and painted. In July, we had a
number of excellent gentlemen, some of whom
were from the Southern States, to visit us, who
gave us an account of their manner of living
there, and a description of the country, man-
ners, &c., which Avas interesting ; and another
gentlemen, a painter, from a different part of the
country, who took some beautiful sketches of
the hills and likewise of the Notch, which
sketches, I presume, have been finished and
presented to the public.

In August, we had another party who ascend-
ed the Mountain, and while here the clouds
passed swiftly from under us and a rumbling
noise of thunder was heard, which excited a
clergyman, one of the party, wdio offered up a
very appropriate prayer to Almighty God, and
then we sung Old Hundred, in the lines set to
that tune.


This summer, owing to the dampness of the
place on Mount Washington, where we built
stone cabins, we never but once afterwards slept
in them. I went to Portland and there bought
a marque — for which 1 paid twenty-two dollars
— sufficiently large for eighteen persons to sleep
under at a time ; and a sheet-iron stove, for
which I paid six dollars : and these I carried
on, or near the top ; and spreading our tent near
a spring of water which liv^es here. Our tent
with the tackling belonging to it, I had put up
in as small a compass as possible, and it weigheH
eighty pounds and over. I then took it on my
back and carried it almost the whole distance
myself; but as I had some visitors then going
up with me — one, who looked, and thought
he felt as stout as 1 was, kindly offered to assist
and relieve me, took my load, but could not
carry it far before he was satisfied with it. He
then laid it down and I took it again and con-
veyed it the remainder of the way : and on the
wav we cut a pole to stretch this round, and I
carried that up also. This, however, did not
last long, as the storms and wind are so violent
here that wq could not keep it in its place, and
it soon wore out. At the same time we car-


ried up a piece of sheet lead, wliich I had pur-
chased, eisfht or ten feet in length, seven inches
wide, and the thickne!?s of pasteboard ; this was
put round a roller, which 1 made for the pur-
pose, for the benefit of those who went up, and
wished to leave their names ; which they could
now do much quicker and easier, with an iron
pencil which I made, than they could carve
them with a chisel and hammer, on a rock.

Shortly after this, a gentleman from Boston
came, and went up the ihll without a guide, and
while on the summit of this majestic mountain,
he thought it a favorable occasion to reconsider
the doings of the meeting held at the same place,
on the 27th day of July last, by Thomas C.
Upham and others. He called a meeting for
the purpose, and as no other prominent person-
age seemed to offer, he was invited to take the
Chair, nemiiie coniradicute. He fully explained
the object of the meeting, to wit : To select a
suitable man to govern this mighty people. He
soon heard the name of the Hon. Jas. Kent,
Itea Chancellor of New York, called out from all
parts of this immense canopy, under which our
meeting was held. On taking the vote, it was
unanimously agreed to recommend him as a
candidate to fill the highest office in this re-
public. When he declared this vote, applause,
long and loud, rent the sky, the echo of which
still fills his ears. Believing the above nomina-
tion will be hailed with joy by those who wish
a virtuous man^ unused to intrigue, to rule over
us ; and who are hart-sick of cabal, political
juggling and roguery, he hereby published it to


the iialion, believing it his duty so to do. He
then returned home, well satisfied with the pro-
ceedings of the day ; an account of which he
published in the Album, and lefi. I have here
transcribed, to show how many difl'erent objects
are sought on these mountains.

September 10th, another party ascended the
Mountain; the day was clear and warm; they
found ice in great quantities from four to six
inches thick.

October 2d, Captain Partridge came with fifty-
two Cadets, and as I was gone from home, Lucy
managed and got along with them as well as
she could. It was not far from the middle of
the day when they arrived, and the Captain, as
he had been there before, took apart of them
and proceeded towards the camp that night, for
the purpose of having the next day before him
to make some barometrical observations, and the
others went the same afternoon down to view the
Notch and its wonders. Thence they returned
the same evening and stayed with us that night.
Lucy gave ihem all the beds she then had — which
was not enough to accommodate them. Some
slept on the floor and some slept in the barn,
and at one time, a number of them stacked
themselves up in a pile by the side of the fence,
in a bright moonshine ; but this was not a very
comfortable situation, for the bottom ones re-
moved their quarters and returned to the barn.
The next morning after breakfast, they took a
guide and went and met the Captain and his
party coming down the hill ; they, however,
went up, and back as far as the camp, and there


stayed that night, while the former party came
home, and the next morning they all came to-
gether again to breakfast. We had one room
half the bigness of the house, which we used as
a kitchen, a victualing room, a sitting room, and
when crowded, a sleeping room ; but we were a
little better off, at this time, having a cooking
stove in a wood-shed adjoining the house, but
this place w^as not large enough to do all the
work in, therefore we had to use the kitchen to
do the rest of the work in. Though suffering
all these inconveniences, Lucy never murmured
or complained, but bore them with patience, say-
ing there was an overruling Providence in all
these things, and that these, and some other dif-
ficulties, were to try us, and she would always
put some good construction on everything, and
view things on the bright side, and in this way
we got along, and lived peaceably together, with-
out any difficulty.

In the winter of 1S25, I bought brick for a
chimney, and had them to draw twenty-one
miles, which made quite a job of it ; the lumber
I had to draw from twelve to twenty miles.
This, with what other work I had to do, made a
good winter's work for me. The doors we had
made in the winter, and in the spring the joiner
came and finished his w^ork ; and then, the ma-
son and painter completed the rest, so that we
had a house for our summer company, which
increased yearly.

At this time we began to feel quite comforta-
ble, as we had a plenty of house room. This
room required a good deal of furniture to make


it any way decent, without extravag-ance, and we
we were obliged to buy such things as were
really necessary, which did not seem much like
getting out of debt, but still plunging in deeper
and deeper. Yet my creditors were so generous
as seldom or ever to call upon me, when I was
unprepared to meet them.

The first day of June, some gentlemen came,
and went up the mountains. They had rather a
fatiguing time of it, as we had not cleared the
path of windfalls, which had fallen the preceding
winter, and it was excessively warm in the
woods, the thermometer standing at 95 deg., and
on the summit at 60 deg. Heat so excessive is
seldom e:!fperienced here. INotwithstanding how-
ever, the extreme labor which we had to encoun-
ter, we felt ourselves amply rewarded by the
clouds which enveloped the summit. The clouds
on the top, occasionally broke away and gave us
beautiful views ; others appearing between the
mountains around us, now rolling up their sides,
and now descending into the valley beneath,
forming a magnificent prospect. As I have
made some extracts from the visitor's Album, I
will make a few more, to show the difference of
the weather, and the different descriptions giveri
by them, as they come in course, not all, but
only those which I think will be interesting for
those who have never been here,so that they can
form some idea of the place.

July 12th, two gentlemen and a small boy
came, and ascended the hill, unattended by a
guide ; they went within three quarters of a
mile of the top, when they were overtaken by a


thunder storm. One of them, with the boy,
returned to the camp, while the other persevered
and reached the summit. Mr. Hibbard, one
of the gentlemen spoken of, gives the following
account of his ascension:

**In the aforesaid excursion, I the said Hibbard, with
precipitancy, ascended the Mountain, and reached the
summit within three or four hundred feet, when I was
overtaken with a thick cloudy vapor, which rushed on
with awful majesty, unmolested in its course even by the
mountain itself, and so completely beclouded my way
that it was with difficulty I reached the summit. I then
concluded to descend to the camp, but was met by the
cloud, which shot forth vivid lightning all around me. It
was then dark, and I made my way for the tent, on the
summit ; and made myself as comfortable^as I could
through the night, but suffered some with cold."

The following lines were afterwards appended
by M. F. M. Waterford, Jr.:

*' Whoe'er thou art, go view the AVhite Mountains,
Their cloud cap't tops and chrystal fountains;
Ascend and breath the healthy mountain air.
And view the prospect spread so wide and fair —
Then view the Notch, my friend, return and tell,
Could you have spent your time and cash so well ? "

The evening before, the view was grand and

The same afternoon, a party from the Colum-
bian Academy, with their Instructor, Rev. S. R.
Hall, came, and at six o'clock in the evening set
out, intending to reach the camp that night, but
they were overtaken by the storm before men-
tioned ; and 1 make use of their language to
describe it.

*' The members of the Columbian Academy proceeded
at a very late hour, six o'clock, P. M., from E. A, Craw-


ford's, aud were overtaken with a severe thunder shower,
before we arrived at the first camp, three miles distant —
and there was darkness impenetrable. We were obUged
to camp in an old camp, wet, cold and uncomfortable, but
we took no cold; started at three o'clock, and arrived at
the other camp, where we obtained fire, and soon had a
comfortable breakfast. We then went towards the top of
Mount Washington, and found it covered with impene-
trable fog and clouds. We returned pleased but disap-

July 27th, four gentlemen came from different
parts of the country, and I went with them on
their excursion. We started, and staid over
night at the camp ; early the next morning we
went up Mount Washington, and there enjoyed
a noble prospect. On our way home, two of
them and myself determined to fish, and after
we had arrived to the right place, we turned out
and went to the river, while the other two pro-
ceeded towards home. Here we commenced
our work, and as fast as we could put in a hook,
the trout caught it. One of the party had three
hooks attached to his line, and frequently caught
three at a time ; but the bushes were so thick
here, that they would get tangled and pester
him. I told him I could beat him in taking
them ; for I could put in and take one at a time,
and get them faster than he could. He came to
the same conclusion, and accordingly took off all
his hooks but one. We had sport enough
until satisfied I could carry no more home, and
then we left off. We caught in a short time
one hundred and thirty-five trout — as many as I
could stow in my provision sack — then went
home, with a plenty of this kind of food to last
during their stay ; which was enjoyed with
. qual pleasure, as when we were taking them.


About this time a Botanist came, who was
making a collection of the plants of the White
Mountains, as he could obtain here some rare
ones, such as are not to be found elsewhere in
America. 1 accompanied him in some of his
tours around the mountains, and learned the dif-
ferent plants and names, and the different places
where they grew. He went three times up and
around the hills, and stayed some weeks with
us. In one of his excursions, lie was accom-
panied by three gentlemen and a guide ; and the
following description of the excursion was given
by one of the party :

'* Left Mr. Crawford's house at seven o'clock, A. M.,
and reached the summit at one o'clock, P. M. In the
afternoon we were governed by the Botanist and his
guide. We concluded to camp on the summit and accor-
dingly stowed ourselves away upon the moss on the lee
side of a rock, without fire or candles, shivering and
shaking in the mountain breeze, like asper leaves freezing
with cold — the thermometer standing, at sunrise, at 38°.
In the morning, two of them descended to the camp,
while the Botanist, in company with the other, coasted
along by Plue Pond and Mount Munroe, and descended
the mountain by the most villanous break-neck route of
the Amanoosuc. God help the poor wight who attempts
that route, as we did. And now, gentle reader, Heaven
bless you and preserve your goings forth, forevermore.
Good day."

On the 4th of July, 1825, I think it was, but
I may be mistaken in the exact time, although I
was not concerned in the affair which then took
place, a party from Jackson came up, on the
other side of the Hills, and after enjoying the
prospect as much as they chose, and using the
spirit which we had left there in bottles — which


I justified them in doing, but did not justify
them in carrying away the bottles, which be-
longed to mother — robbed the hills of the brass
plate, my sheet lead and every thing left there
by our friends — carrying all away. The lead, I
was told, was run into balls ; the bottles, of
course, were useful ; but what use they could
make of the brass, with the Latin inscription
thereon, I am not able to say. But one thing I
know, it discovered a thievish disposition to take
things which did not belong to them, and could
not do them any good — things which had been
placed there with care, and was expected to re-
main, and would undoubtedly have remained,
but for these mischievous persons, who did not
understand what belonged to good manners. I
have felt myself condemned for not prosecuting
them, as they ought to have been chastised and
dealt with in a manner according to their de-
serts. They were found out, and promised to
return the things they had purloined ; and that
was all they ever did about it; but the names
are known, and their deeds are registered.

In August, a gentleman came from Boston,
attended by his sister. She had made every
suitable preparation, before leaving home, and
was determined to ascend the Mountain — al-
though she had been tried to be discouraged on
her way, by all^ who knew her 'intentions, yet
she was not so easily turned — she did not mean
that there should be any thing lacking in a good
will. She desired Mrs. Crawford to go with
her, and as she had been, for a long time,
anxious to go, I consented; and in the afternoon,


having every thing in readiness, at four o'clock,
we started. We rode to the woods, and, each
taking a cane, pursued our journey. We walk-
ed that night nearly six miles, and arrived at
the camp in good season, with a tolerable pros-
pect for the next day. Here all spent the night
well, and early in the morning left for the
Mountain ; but before we had got up fairly out
of the woods, there came on a fog, with a thick
mist of rain ; this was a great disappointment
to us. A council was held, and we agreed to
return to the camp, and there wait for another
day. We accordingly descended to the camp,
and spent the remainder of the day; in the
night it all cleared away, and the next morning,
in good season, we were on the summit. How
delightful ! Now the sun had risen, and as the
rain had laid the smoke, the air was perfectly
clear and warm — not a cloud nor a vapor to be
seen. We could look in every direction, and
view the works of Nature as they lay spread
before us — could see towns and villages in the
distance, and so clear was the atmosphere, that
we couid distinguish one house from another;
but should I attempt to describe the scenery, my
pen would fail, for want of language to express
my ideas of the grandeur of the place. The
butterfly was here, busily employed like our-
selves, but, perhaps, not in the same way. I
have here seen, seemingly, being a mile in the
air and a mile above vegetation, squirrels, and
mice, near the top of this hill, and large flocks
of ravens, ducks, pigeons, robins and various
other birds, fly over and around ; a flying squir-


ril was once caught here, and also was a rabbit ;
patridges are found in the vicinity ; and insects,
of various kinds. After staying a sufficient
length of time, we all started for home. Mrs.
Crawford went and returned, without any assis-
tance, excepting in descending what is called
Jacob's Ladder, where I assisted her a short dis-
tance. We arrived at the camp, and taking
some refreshment, proceeded home, where we
arrived about six o'clock. The ladies considered
themselves richly paid, for their trouble and
fatigue — walking nearly eighteen miles. This
was the second party of ladies which ascended
the mountains; never after this did we persuade
ladies to follow their example ; but discouraged
them whenever we could, endeavoring to pre-
vent them not to attempt it, as we thought it too
much of an undertaking ; but when they became
decided and must go, we did all we could to
assist them.

The appended extract gives a description of
the tour :

" The weather was tolerably clear, many clouds float-
ing about, but not so as to obscure the sun. The wind
blowing keen and very strong, prevented our stay longer
than half an hour, on the top. The view, of course, ia
very extensive, and presents a great sameness on every
side ; barren and bleak, innumerable hills, many ponds,
and the Green Mountains may be discerned in the more
distant view. The river Amanoosuc presents one of the
most pleasing objects, in its descent from Plue Pond,
forming a sheet of silver down the mountain, and windinor
its serpentined course in the valley. This, contrasted
with the deep shade of the pines and other trees, in some
degree, relieves the eye. Several small streams uniting
their waters with this river, soon make a sufficient body


for trout fishing — many trout of a small size being caught
in it. The weather improved on our descent, and after
amusing ourselves to our notice, we returned about six
o'clock, took supper and again rested all night in the
camp, and the next morning arrived at Mr. Crawford's to

I will omit making any more extracts, but
will insert fragments of the remaining Album,
(much being lost,) and return to what transpired
at home, according to my own knowledge. The
following is transcribed from the Album, being
written there in the handwritting of Dr. Park :

" August 27, 1S25, John Park, Mrs. Park, Louisa
Jane Park, John C. Park and Mary Ann Park, of Boston,
Mass., arrived at Mr. Crawford's, with the intention of
ascending Mount Washington. Unfortunately for us, Mr.
Crawford had left home, a few hours before we arrived,
for Lancaster, and was not expected to return until the
evening of the next day. Being limited as to time, and
the mountains appearing clear, except a little bluish
smoke, we determined to proceed on our visit ; on the
28th, at two o'clock, P. M., we set out, with a young
man for our guide, (Mr William Howe;) took the car-
riage down to the field about a mile and a half from the
house, where we were to enter the woods. In justice to
Mrs. Crawford, I must here mention, that besides all her
civilities, she added the very friendly offer to attend the
ladies to the top of the mountain, and expiessed the most
kind anxiety for them. After a walk, not very fatiguinnf,
and, to us, in many parts, romantic and pleaFant, we
arrived at the camp tw^enty minutes before seven. Here
Mr. Howe made us a roaring fire, prepared us supper,
and all of us, Sachems and Squaws, betook ourselves to
the apartmentments alloted to us. About midnight it
began to rain furiously, but as the clouds came from the
west we were still in hopes of a clear day. In the morn-
ing, clouds flying thick, but as blue sky was occasionally
visable, we concluded to ascend, and, after breakfast,
took our departure from the camp, tenminut- s pan feven.

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Online LibraryLucy CrawfordThe history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket → online text (page 5 of 13)