100 Years Ago in Suffield

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Selected from the pages of the Windsor Locks Journal and lightly annotated by Wendy Taylor of Kent Memorial Library.

September 3

The hail and wind storm of last Tuesday was one of the worst in the memory of the oldest inhabitants, and caused a loss of a quarter of a million dollars to part of the tobacco crop that was still in the fields. The storm gathered about two o’clock with black clouds in the northwestern sky. When it broke there was a high wind accompanied by hail in the southern and western portions of the town. The wind and the rain did considerable damage, but the most serious loss was where the hail cut the standing tobacco. It is estimated that of Suffield’s four thousand acres of tobacco, nearly one thousand acres was damaged to a greater or less extent. 

Hailstones as large as marble fell in great quantity in the area covered by the storm, which was about three miles in width and ten miles long. 

The tent-covered tobacco did not suffer so much damage. At the plant of the American Sumatra Tobacco Co. in West Suffield, the hail weighed down the tents, but the cloth held. 

The crop this year has turned out better than expected and was being sold at an average price of about fifty cents a pound. Some of that which was slightly cut will bring half price, and other fields were stripped so as not to be worth cutting and will be plowed under.

Coming at a time when it was believed the danger of hail was passed, the storm was of the most unusual character. Many farmers had hail insurance, and so were protected against a part of the loss.

The public schools will open for the fall term Monday, September 13. It is planned to close the schools during the three-day celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town.

A tobacco barn containing two acres of hanging tobacco was destroyed by fire early Monday morning, causing a loss of about $2,000. The barn was owned by Isadore Krackler of Suffield street just over the Suffield line in Feeding Hills. There was no insurance on the building or contents… The Feeding Hills fire department responded…and two-thirds of the tobacco barn was saved by the use of the chemical stream.

 The large frame dwelling owned by John F. Merrill on Bridge Street was totally destroyed by fire with part of its contents Tuesday morning about 2:30, causing a loss of about $7,000, partially covered by insurance. The house is outside of fire hydrant protection limits and could not be saved.

Miss Muriel Whitman, 9 years old daughter of Rev. Mr. Whitman, slipped from a tobacco wagon Saturday afternoon and broke her collarbone. She was carried to a nearby house and attended by Dr. William E. Caldwell.

September 10

Adam Pankowski, a Polish farmer of West Suffield, was seriously injured…while hanging tobacco for Frank Boneski. He is at the Springfield hospital. Pankowski was riding on a tobacco wagon and drove into a tobacco barn. He misjudged the distance from the top of the doorway. His head was caught between the two. The Springfield ambulance arrived half an hour later and he was taken to the hospital to undergo an operation.

September 17

No electric light or water money received by F. H. Reid, Collector, after 12 m. on Saturdays.

September 24

The selectmen and town clerk will be in session at the Town Hall building Saturday, from 9 a. m. to 8 p. m., for the purpose of admitting as electors all men and women on the list “to be made.”  Men and women who wish to be made are urged to come as early in the day as possible as there are about 500 names on the list. [The amendment for women’s suffrage was approved on August 18.]

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