Friday, November 14, 2014

Babbitassit Falls from Petapawag


Yesterday's paddle down the Nashua River from Petapawag to East Pepperell brought me to where Babbitasset Falls once rushed towards the Nissitisset Hills seen behind the red building.  It was a feast, so to speak, of Native American (Nipmuc) place names.
Of course the falls are long gone with the Nashua's flow now being conveyed within a 13 foot diameter penstock to the hydro-electric generating station located more than a football field's length below the dam.  This photo shows the penstock as it looked on April 2012...
That penstock was made of wood staves and leaked like a sieve.  Recently, it was replaced and the newer steel model is tight as a drum.
With the entire flow of the river seemingly disappearing, there was hardly a drop to flow over the dam's flashboards...

The replacing of the penstock is shown in more detail by the company that did the job at this link (scroll down to Pepperell Penstock story)


My trip downriver was pleasant thanks to the Polar Vortex running fashionably late...

These strange blossoms caught my eye and were something I don't recall having seen before...

The sounds of duck hunting were in the air and both I and this fellow on horseback were sporting blaze orange...

When getting off the river, just before dark, I encountered a duck hunter landing his canoe who reported having had a successful hunt.

My small trash haul gathered hullside...

There were 13 recyclable containers (4 redeemable) and 15 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish.

Once home and looking online for Babbitasset info, I came across History of the Town of Groton: Including Pepperell and Shirley by Caleb Butler.  It was published in 1842 and contained a chapter entitled Remarkable Providences which referenced the church records of the Rev. Mr. Emerson.  One entry started "April 11, 1772, Isaac Corey was drowned" and went on "Mr. Isaac Corey, a man near sixty years of age, having ferried over two men across the Lancaster River (aka Nashua), against his own house, and returned almost to the shore, from whence he had set off, by some accident the canoe filled, he was immediately carried down the current (the river being very high and the water running exceeding swift) near two miles, during which he was seen by several, standing at one end of the canoe, up to his armpits in water, the other end just up out of the water; he was heard by many calling out for help, but none could get to him to relieve him.  The canoe was seen to pass over the falls about a mile below where he was seen last with the bottom up."
A later entry noted "August 2, 1772  The above Mr. Corey was found floating upon the water in the river, about a mile below where he was last seen."   A bad day at Babbitasset.

3 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

That's a very bad day at Babbitasset, but a great story.

George said...

Thanks for that link to the penstock repair website. There is a lot of very interesting projects there.

Suasco Al said...

I like the photo showing the guy working within the coffer dam with the river racing by him. Temperature 18 degrees F.