The Year Was 1825

Erie Canal, East Frankfort, N.Y. (postcard postmarked Oct. 1912)The year was 1825 and in Canada, a forest fire consumed an estimated 6,000 acres in the Miramichi District of New Brunswick. The fire is described in Twenty-seven Years in Canada West, or, The Experience of an Early Settler, by Samuel and Agnes Strickland (found in Early Canadiana Online) as follows:

“. . . the inhabitants along the river were suddenly surprised by an extraordinary roaring in the woods, resembling the crashing and detonation of loud and incessant thunder, while at the same instant the atmosphere became thickly darkened with smoke

“They had scarcely time to ascertain the cause of this awful phenomenon before all the surrounding woods appeared in one vast blaze, the flames ascending from one to two hundred feet above the tops of the loftiest trees; and the fire rolling forward with inconceivable celerity, presented the terribly sublime appearance of and impetuous flaming ocean. In less than an hour Douglas Town and Newcastle were in a blaze; many of the wretched inhabitants perished in the flames. More than a hundred miles of the Miramichi were laid waste, independent of the north-west branch, the Baltibag, and the Nappen settlements. From one to two hundred persons perished within immediate observation, while thrice that number were miserably burned or wounded, and at least two thousand were left destitute of the means of subsistence, and were thrown for a time on the humanity of the Province of New Brunswick. The number of lives that were lost in the woods could not at the time be ascertained, but it was thought few were left to tell the tale.

“Newcastle presented a fearful scene of ruin and devastation, only fourteen out of two hundred and fifty houses and stores remained standing.”

In areas around the Zuiderzee (now called IJsselmeer) in The Netherlands, water was the enemy as floods in the provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Gelderland, and Drente breached dikes claiming lives and devastating property. For a list of other disasters in this area, see the website, Historical Disasters in The Netherlands.
In England, history was made when the first passenger train ran on the Stockton & Darlington Railway on 27 September 1825 drawn by a steam engine. More than 500 people boarded the train to take part in this novel new experiment.

On the other side of the Atlantic, transportation history was also being made as the Erie Canal opened for business, with the first passage between Lake Erie and New York City on 26 October. The new canal launched waves of settlers seeking an easier way to travel to the West. 

That same year, work began on the Miami and Erie Canal, which would eventually run from Toledo to Cincinnati, connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River. 

In Georgia, the Treaty of Indian Springs ceded all of the lands that the Creek Indians had managed to keep following the Creek War and subsequent cessions in 1818 and 1821. Although the new president, John Quincy Adams, opposed the treaty, Governor George Troup of Georgia, pressed on and removal of the Creek Indians from their Georgia lands was completed by 1827. 

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2 thoughts on “The Year Was 1825

  1. You may be interested to know that my Great Great Great Grandfather was a master wheelwright in County Durham, England, who made some of the wheels for the carriages/trucks pulled on that first epic journey. He also rode on the historical first rail journey. Unfortunately, my Grandmother threw away the ticket he had had !!!!!

  2. I followed a link from this article, to Historical Disasters in Holland, and was fascinated to read of all the floods from broken dikes,( but not surprising,) but the big surprise was that Holland had a terrible famine from 1845 to 1848 caused by potato blight and cattle disease.
    It made me think of how the Irish still agonise about the famine which hit their country at the same time and for the same reason, and how they blame England for it. England gave seven million pounds of government money to help, and one million from private charity, but nothing went to Holland, so it is salutary to compare the two countries and the differences in memories by the peoples.

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