April 23 – Middletown 366


The “Moodus Noises” Again Start Up

People Living Near by Jumped From Their Beds–Seemed Like Earthquake

Middletown, Conn., April 23.–The “Moodus noises” which occasionally have alarmed the inhabitants of the Connecticut River Valley in this neighborhood for 250 years, started again yesterday. The residents of Haddam jumped out of bed at 4 o’clock, when the rumbling noises began. The sound was similar to that of heavy thunder, but citizens who looked through their windows expecting to see an approaching storm were surprised to find the sky entirely clear.

Inquiry has failed to show any explosion occurred which would account for the disturbance. The only explanation is that it was the “Moodus noises,” about which there has been much discussion, and which are supposed to be connected with Mount Tom in East Haddam. The noise was also heard in Chester, several miles south, while on the opposite side of the Connecticut River, in Moodus, East Haddam, the phenomenon was even more distinct than on the Haddam side.

From the Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), Thursday, April 23, 1903.


Amy Archer-Gilligan passes away

“Sister” Amy Duggan Archer-Gilligan was born in Milton, Connecticut in October 1873. She was the eighth of ten children born to James Duggan and Mary Kennedy. Amy married her first husband James Archer in 1897 and in 1907 the couple to purchase their own residence in Windsor, Connecticut to open “Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm.” James Archer died in 1910, seemingly of natural causes. Amy had taken out an insurance policy under his name a few weeks before his death. She was able to keep the home running after his death.

Amy married her second husband Michael W. Gilligan in 1913. He died the next year under the official cause of “severe indigestion.” Amy forged Michael’s will before his death and his entire estate was left to her.

There were 60 deaths in the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm between the years of 1907 and 1917. When one apparently healthy man, Franklin R. Andrews, dropped dead on May 29, 1914, his sister became suspicious. She found that Amy had been asking her brother for money. She discovered that Amy Archer-Gilligan’s clients seemed to have a habit of dying after giving her large sums of money.

The bodies of her second husband, Franklin Andrews, and three other clients were exhumed. All five were found to have actually died by poisoning. Local merchants also testified that Amy bought large quantities of arsenic under the guise of “killing rats.”

She was convicted of murder on July 18, 1917 and later transferred to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown in 1924. She remained there until her death in 1962.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.


1914: Comer to Lead Arctic Trip

Noted Voyager Will Pilot Expedition for New York Museum

Middletown, Conn., April 3.–Captain George Comer, of East Haddam, a noted Arctic voyager, is arranging for a 16-month cruise to Repulse Bay, the head of navigation on Hudson Bay, in the interest of the Museum of Natural History, of New York City. The expedition is to be financed by Lincoln Ellsworth, a wealthy New York man.

Mr. Ellsworth’s son probably will sail with Captain Comer.

The museum will send four experts with the expedition, comprising a zoologist, a geologist, an ethnologist and an anthropologist. Captain Comer has made a number of trips to the Arctic region. Several of them have been with Anthony Fiala, explorer. The start will probably be made from New London, Conn.

From the Harrisburg Daily Independent (Harrisburg, Penn.), Friday, April 3, 1914.

March 17 – Middletown 366


Children May Not Have Body of Their Father

Middletown, Conn., March 17.–In a decision which looks far into the future Judge Curtiss S. Bacon of the Probate Court awarded to Wallace M. Tuttle and Lewis W. Tuttle the body of their brother, Willis M. Tuttle.

Judge Bacon’s decision is averse to Mrs. Katherine Stone Tuttle, whom Willis M. Tuttle divorced in October, 1900, and to their minor children, whom the divorce decree placed in their mother’s custody.

When Mr. Tuttle died his brothers buried him in his family plot at Indian Hill, Mrs. Tuttle and her children offering no objection. Later Mrs. Tuttle bought a lot in the cemetery, prepared a grave and got a permit to disinter her former husband’s remains. The disinterest was actually progressing under her direction when Mr. Tuttle’s brothers halted it by a court injunction.

The children joined their mother in the suit, claiming the right to their father’s body, which the law of Connecticut gives them.

From The Western Sentinel (Winston-Salem, N. C.), Tuesday, March 21, 1911.


Ready For Shad

Middletown, Conn., March 17.–Connecticut River shad should be available soon after April 20, this year, the legislature having shifted the date of the shad fishing season from May 1. The season will close June 10, in the future, instead of June 20. Residents in the heart of the shad district believe the yield this year should be a record one.

From The Evening News (Harrisburg, Pa.), Thursday, March 19, 1931.


1888: Remains of a Volcano

A Middletown, Conn., letter says: The recent discovery of the remains of a volcano near Mount Lamentation, the highest peak in the chain of Meriden hills, has excited the keenest interest in scientific circles. It has furnished a new key to the geological history of the Connecticut valley. The discovery was made by Prof. W. N. Davis, of Harvard university. He has been engaged in making an exhaustive study of the trap-rock of this state, and he made his happy discovery of volcanic ruins while searching for an entirely different class of geological phenomena.

Mount Lamentation has been visited by large numbers of people during the past few weeks. The various scientific associations of the state, and several geologists of national repute, have carefully examined the interesting curiosity. No volcanic cone or crater is still visible, but the phenomena of the place clearly indicates that in the triassic age violent explosive eruptions of a regular volcanic type were frequent. Geologists have long known that the trap-rock of the Connecticut valley came up in a molten condition and afterward solidified. This liquid mass sometimes solidified in fissures in the earth and sometimes overflowed the surface like lava streams, and was subsequently covered up by strata of sand stone.

Prof. Davis has discovered what is technically known as an ash-bed. It is a deposit formed when molten lava is thrown high into the air by violent explosions, and comes down in a confused mass, coarse and fine. In the triassic period when these eruptions occurred there must have been regular cones and craters of the usual type, but these have all been effaced. It is very probable that other ash-beds may exist in the range of Meriden hills. The geological history of this region has always afforded a rich field for scientific research, and the recent volcanic discovery has given a greater scientific boom to it.

From The Indiana Democrat (Indiana, Penn.), Feb. 16, 1888.