The Chute Family: Special Events in History Project
Special Events in History Project: North America: The United States and Canada

Page Last Updated:      Friday, Aug 4, 2017

Links to TopicsLinks to Topics
The Age of Wonder and The Discovery of a New World
King Philip's War (1675-1676)
Candlemas Raid/Massacre
The Salem Witch Trials, Salem, Massachusetts, 1692
Queen Anne's War, 1702 – 1713
Lovewell's War/Dummer's War, 1721 - 1725/7
The French and Indian War, 1754–1763
The American Revolution, 1763-1775
The War of 1812
Mexican–American War, 1846-1848
The American Civil War, 1861-1866
North American Railway Expansion
The Great Fire of 1835, New York City
North American Westward Expansion
Spanish-American War: 1898
The Halifax Explosion of 1917
The Korean War (1950-1953)
The Cuban Missile Crisis 1961-1962
The Vietnam War
The Attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building, Oklahoma City, OK
The Attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 9/11/2001
Unspecified Military Activity
The Age of Wonder and The Discovery of a New WorldKing Philip's War (1675-1676)
  • Definitions: "Tithing Man". A position held in early Colonial America.
  • Definitions: "Fence Viewer". A position held in early Colonial America.
  • Anthony Chewte Assesses the Newly Discovered Tobacco Plant
  • An "Early Chute" experiments in planting the newly discovered potato. May have been James Chute, Jr. So, the next time you super-size your french fries, you'll know who to thank.


  • King Philip's War (1675-1676)
  • James Chute, Sr.

  • The Candlemas Raid/Massacre, January 25, 1692, York, MaineThe Salem Witch Trials, Salem, Massachusetts, 1692

    Candlemas Raid/Massacre
  • January 25, 1692, in which Peter Weare died. Peter was the immigrant ancestor of Joseph Elias Weare, husband of Charlotte Ann Chute, John Prior Weare, husband of Matilda Lovina Chute, and others.



  • The Salem Witch Trials, Salem, Massachusetts, 1692
  • The Reverend Nicholas Noyes. He was the uncle of Deacon John Cheney (married to Mary Chute), Hannah Cheney (married to Lionel Chute II) and Ichabod Cheney (married to Ann Chute).


  • Queen Anne's War (1702–1713)Lovewell's War/Dummer's War, 1721 - 1725/7

    Queen Anne's War (1702–1713)
  • The Stickney Family recorded that Andrew Stickney, husband of Elizabeth Chute Stickney, "was a soldier under Capt. Thomas Noyes of Newbury, 1708 [Mass. Archives], at the same time as his brother John". At that time, Queen Anne's War was "the second in a series of French and Indian Wars fought between France and England, later Great Britain, in North America for control of the continent." Specfically, in 1708, the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts "was raided by a party of French, Algonquin and Abenaki Indians". It is possible that Andrew was mobilized in defense of Haverhill.

  • Lovewell's War/Dummer's War, 1721 - 1725/7
  • Lieutenant Moses Banks, ancestor of many Banks' allied family members, fought in this war, which has been known by many different names: Lovewell's War, Lovell's War, Dummer's War, Second Indian War, Fourth Indian War.
  • The move by Thomas Chute to Windham was preceeded by the 1727 Treaty at Casco Bay which concluded this war, and is mentioned in his biography, presented to the Maine Historical Society in 1882. The biography, written by William Goold, can be read in Thomas Chute's Notes section.

  • The French and Indian War, 1754–1763The War of 1812

    The French and Indian War, 1754–1763
    The war was fought between the colonies of British America and New France, with both sides supported by military units from their parent countries of Great Britain and France, as well as Native American allies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians. Long in conflict, the metropole nations declared war on each other in 1756, escalating the war from a regional affair into an international conflict.
  • Deacon and Captain Richard Thurston, several of whose children married into the Chute family in Rowley, Massachusetts, was Captain of the 2nd Foot Company in Rowley in 1757. As he was also in a committee for the consideration of measures to prevent British importations, it is not known if he was involved in the French and Indian War, or preparing for the Revolutionary War.

  • The War of 1812
  • Colonel Francis Chute, son of Col. Thomas Chute and Mary Mayberry Chute, enlisted in the U.S. Army for the War of 1812, coming from the State of Maine.
  • The Chute Genealogies records Daniel Merrill Chute as having participated in the "American War" - the War of 1812. Maine at that time was a district of the State of Massachusetts.
  • Reverend Israel Potter, Sr., son of Joseph Potter and Zebudah Hayden Potter, was a "Captain of Militia" during the War of 1812. He also served in the Revolutionary War.
  • The Great Fire of 1835, New York CityMexican–American War, 1846-1848
    The Great Fire of 1835, New York City
  • Everett Chute was reported by William Edward Chute to have traveled extensively, and "was in New York City at the time of the great fire in December 1835" (William Edward Chute, page 106). This fire began in a warehouse located in the financial district of New York City on the night of 16 DEC 1835. Although few people were killed, as it was not a residential area, the fire was the largest fire ever seen in America at the time, and detroyed the city south of Wall Street. The glow from the fire could be seen as far south as Philadelphia. Fire fighting efforts were hampered by extremely cold temperatures which froze water in hydrants and hoses, and high winds. It was finally stopped when a detachment of U.S. Marines were able to bring gunpowder from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was used to detonate buildings along Wall Street to use as a fireblock. It was estimated that the damage to the city approximately 20 million dollars, an unheard of sum at the time. 23 of 26 New York based insurance companies went out of business from this disaster.


  • Mexican–American War, 1846-1848
  • Joseph Clement Chute, originally from Windham, Cumberland County, Maine, "enlisted in Captain Bradfute's Co. of Tennessee Volunteers and went into the Mexican War".
  • Jotham L. Jordan, son of Jeremiah Jordan (IV) and Ruth Chute Jordan, enlisted in the United States Army in 1844, also from Windham, Cumberland County, Maine, USA. According to William Edward Chute, he died in the "Mexican War".

  • North American Railway ExpansionNorth American Westward Expansion
    Gibson Railway/New Brunswick Railroad: 1866-1881
  • North American Railway Expansion

  • North American Westward Expansion
  • Palmer W. Chute was listed in first as Colonel and then as Lieutenant Colonel in two Returns from Military Posts sent to the Adjutant General, in JUL and then AUG of 1909, from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory.

  • Spanish-American War: 1898The Halifax Explosion of 1917
    Spanish-American War: 1898
  • Corporal George Greenleaf Chute, son of Robert Davis ("R.D.") Chute and Mariah Wallick Chute enlisted in the United States Army to serve in the Spanish-American War and was assigned the rank of Corporal. Although born in Illinois and eventually a resident of Oregon, whether he enlisted in Illinois or Washington State is unknown.

  • The Halifax Explosion of 1917
  • Chutes of Nova Scotia

  • The Korean War (1950-1953)The Cuban Missile Crisis 1961-1962
    The Korean War (1950-1953)
  • Ralph Edward Chute, Pfc. U.S. Marine Corps, [Service number 1160673], was killed in action by rocket & artillery fire on 12-10-1951 while serving as a Rifleman with Co. B of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division. Awards: Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Korean Service Medal with One Service Star, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
  • Master Sgt. Charles Henry Munn, Jr. of Maricopa County, Arizona, husband of Marilyn Kay Chute Munn, served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II and in Korea.
  • Platoon Sgt. Edward Lawrence Chute of Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA, son of Archie Pearl Chute and Viola Augusta Vick, served in the U.S. Army as Platoon Sergeant in Korea and in Vietnam.
  • Sergeant First Class (SFC) Izair Eugene ("Ike") Chute of Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA, son of Roy Edson Chute and Bertha Johnson Chute, served as Sergeant First Class (SFC) in the U.S. Army in the Korean War. The inscription on his memorial in Fort Snelling National Cemetery says that he served both in World War II and the Korean war. However, his only enlistment date recorded was 16 JAN 1951, which would have been after World War II had ended. More military records are needed.
  • Chute, Arthur Welton, son of Archie Pearl Chute and Viola Augusta Vick Chute. He enlisted, previously, in the United States Marine Corps on 7 AUG 1946 in Minnesota, USA and served until 18 MAR 1948. He enlisted a second time in the Korean War, and is buried in Section 9, Site 1257, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA.
  • Chute, MSgt Clarence Wellwood, son of Lester Hilton Chute and Edna Carruthers Chute. He enlisted, first, in the United States Air Force on 28 JUN 1951 in Maine, USA and served until 27 JUN 1955. He enlisted a second time in the Vietnam War, also in the Air Force and was released from service on 31 JAN 1976. He achieved the rank of Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force and is buried in Section PC Row 9 Site 4, Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine, USA.
  • Chute, Paul Edmund, son of Elbert Reynold Chute and Mary Bridget Burns Chute of Massachusetts, enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1951 - 1957 for the Korean War. According to his obituary, he received the Korean Service Metal with two Bronze Stars.
  • Arleigh Benjamin Chute, U.S. Army. Service dates are unknown; he was assigned as Private First Class, Battery B, IFLD Artillery Battalion. He died of cancer and is buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Francisco.
  • Roger Elmer Chute, U.S. Navy. Enlisted, U.S. Navy, Korean War, Torpedoman's Mate, Petty Officer 3rd Class on 18 APR 1951. He was released from service on 9 JUN 1952. He had served in the same role in World War II.
  • William Mortimer Chute, son of Henry Leo Augustus Chute and Georgia Florence Kittle Chute, enlisted in the U.S. Army on 11 FEB 1943, in New Jersey. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and also served in Korea and Vietnam.
  • Marion Cordell Chute, son of Donald Edward Chute and Cecil Eugena Herren Chute, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on 28 DEC 1953, in Illinois. He was a A2C (Airman Second Class) in the United States Air Force.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis 1961-1962
  • Russell Edward ("Rusty") Chute of Grafton, Massachusetts served in the United States Navy as a Boswains Mate 3c aboard the destroyer USS Rich, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1961-1962.

  • The Vietnam War: 1965-1973The Attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building, Oklahoma City, OK: 19 APR 1995
    The Vietnam War: 1965-1973
  • SSGT Brian Vernon Chute, USAF. Served as a GMG 3 (Gunner's Mate), in the US Navy, and a SSGT (Staff Sergeant) in the US Air Force, in both the Vietnam War and in the Persian Gulf War.
  • James Oren Chute. According to his obituary, he served in the US Army and Army Reserve for 31 years. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm
  • Robert Wayne Skarphol, Regiment: 39th Infantry. Son of Erwin Berton Skarphol and Jane Eldora Chute Skarphol. "Was killed March 8 in Vietnam. He was Sp/4 (Specialist, 4th Class). Was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medal. Also from the Republic of Vietnam, the Military Merit Medal and Gallantry Cross with Palm". Source - Jane Eldora Chute Skarphol, Aug 1, 1967.
  • Platoon Sgt. Edward Lawrence Chute of Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA, son of Archie Pearl Chute and Viola Augusta Vick, served in the U.S. Army as Platoon Sergeant in Korea and in Vietnam.
  • Sergeant Roger Roy Chute of Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA, also a son of Archie Pearl Chute and Viola Augusta Vick, served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant during the Vietnam War.
  • Chute, MSgt Clarence Wellwood, son of Lester Hilton Chute and Edna Carruthers Chute. He enlisted, first, in the United States Air Force on 28 JUN 1951 in Maine, USA and served until 27 JUN 1955 during the Korean War. He enlisted a second time in the Vietnam War, also in the Air Force and was released from service on 31 JAN 1976. He achieved the rank of Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force and is buried in Section PC Row 9 Site 4, Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine, USA.
  • Chute, SP5 Kenneth Harding, son of Ernest Francis Chute and Ann Agnes Harding Chute. He served as a SP (U.S. Army Specialist)5 in the Vietnam War and is buried in Section 59 Site 1947, Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Chute, Gordon Kenneth, son of Archie Pearl Chute and Viola Vick Chute. He enlisted on 10 May 1962 in Minnesota and was honorably dischaged from service on 7 Oct 1965. He served as a PFC, U.S. Army, in the Vietnam War and is buried in Section L, Site 2506, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA.
  • Chute, Sgt. Craig Kenneth, son of Kenneth Merton Chute and Virginia Sias Chute. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the spring of 1966 for a tour of duty in Viet Nam. He received numerous platoon honors, went on to be trained in an artillery division and served in Vietnam. Stateside, and recovering at Bethesda, he was reassigned to Camp LeJeune in North Carolina.
  • Chute, Robert ("Robbie") Francis Chute, son of Donald David Chute and Irene Popp Chute. He enlisted in the United States Navy on 8 Sep 1970 for a tour of duty in Viet Nam. His tour of duty ended on 30 Jul 1974.
  • William Mortimer Chute, son of Henry Leo Augustus Chute and Georgia Florence Kittle Chute, enlisted in the U.S. Army on 11 FEB 1943, in New Jersey. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and also served in Korea and Vietnam.
  • The headstone of Woodrow Wilson ("Woody") Chute, Jr., son of Woodrow Wilson Chute, Sr. and Julia Edna Steedly Chute, identifies him as a Staff Sargeant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. His dates of service are not known.
  • The Attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building, Oklahoma City, OK
  • SSG Allen Rae Chute. On April 19, 1995 SSG Chute was at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, arriving as one of the first officers on the scene approximately 21 minutes after the explosion occurred. During the first 15 hours he climbed through the 2nd and 3rd floors looking for survivors and assisted the Oklahoma City Fire Department. He and his partner recovered or accounted for approximately fourteen bodies and were instrumental in rescue efforts that were being mounted. He spent a total of seventeen days at the site and was present when the remainder of the building was demolished with explosives. For his actions during this historical event he received the Oklahoma City Medal of Valor

  • The Attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 9/11/2001Unspecified Military Activity - (Non War Related)
    The Attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 9/11/2001
  • From the Pentagon

  • From New York City

  • From the Massachusetts Air Guard at Otis ANGB

  • Unspecified Military Activity
  • Colonel Samuel Warren Stickney, husband of Mary Hale, daughter of Joseph Hale and Eunice Chute, enlisted in the United States Army from 1821 through at least 1836, in Massachusetts. According to the History and Genealogy of the Jewetts of America, he was a "Captain of a Rifle Co., in Byfield; in 1831 Aide-de-Camp to Gen. Low; 1832 to 1834 Quartermaster of the Second Brigade; was appointed Brig. Major Oct., 1834, and became Colonel of a Regiment in the First Brigade in 1836." The U.S. Army, during those years, was involved in two areas of activity: fighting with First Nation tribes during the westward expansion, and strengthening seacoast defenses along the eastern seaboard of the United States. It seems most likely that Colonel Stickney would have been involved in military defense along the seaboard.
  • Melvin Douglas Chute was in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne after his highschool graduation in 1957. For more information on the 82nd Airborne in that time period, see Extended Service Record.
  • Roy Edison or Edson Chute was in the United Stastes Marine Corps from 1911-1915. There were no major wars during this period of time, but the Marine Corps itself was evolving from a well-run, tight unit that was created to protect United States naval interests, to one that also included aviation. They also were sent to small skirmishes, such as in Panama, but Roy Chute's activities in the Marine Corps are not known.
  • Raymond Michael Chute enlisted in the United States Navy on 27 OCT 1958. He was assigned to the USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692), the the lead ship of her class of destroyers. During the time of his assignment, they were deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf and the western portion of the Indian Ocean, before returning to the United States. His tour of duty ended on 8 SEP 1960.
  • Harold Franklin Chute, Sr., the son of Harold Leslie Chute and Beatrice Arlene Mitchell Chute, was born in Eastport, Washington County, Maine, USA and moved to Texas where he attended Freer High School, Duval County, Texas, USA. He enlisted in the United States Army on 16 MAY 1958, as a Private 2C. His tour of duty ended on 19 SEP 1961.
  • Robert Arnold Chute, the son of David Alvin Chute, Sr. and Amy Eleanor Phillips Chute, was born on 29 OCT 1936 in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as Commissaryman Seaman, U.S. Navy, USS DesMoines (CA-134) on 9 MAR 1954. According to his mother, he was killed in a car accident near Nice, France on April 29, 1961. He was returned home and buried in Linwood Cemetery, Haverhill, Massachusetts on May 11, 1961.

  • The American Revolution, 1775-1779

    At least one Chute may have been within hearing distance the first time “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” was spoken: Captain Daniel Chute of Newbury was reimbursed on April 15, 1777 “for losses at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.” The story behind that famous saying stemmed from the Americans being short of ammunition when they faced a much larger British army at Bunker Hill. (actually Breed’s Hill), north of Boston. In order not to waste an ounce of precious gunpowder, the men were ordered to hold their fire as the British advanced towards them, and only fire their muskets when the British were 40 or 50 feet away. The plan worked. “With magnificent discipline and courage, they waited . . . fired . . . and thus began the War for Independence.” At least 1,000 British troops were killed at the famous opening battle (although not the skirmish) of the Revolutionary War, “The Battle of Bunker Hill”.

    Most historians consider that earlier “skirmish” to be the confrontation of American “rebels” and British troops on April 19, 1775, the night of Paul Revere’s famous ride.

    "Chute, Daniel. Captain, order dated Newbury, April 15, 1777, signed by Amos Poor and payable to said Chute, for reimbursement for losses at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775."

    Source: Office of the Secretary of State, State of Massachusetts, Massachusetts soldiers and sailors of the revolutionary war, A compilation from the archives by Massachusetts. Vol. 3 CAAL - CORY. Wright and Potter Printing Co., State Printers in Boston, pages 464-465, "Chute" entries. 1896.



    The two Battles of Saratoga (New York) were fought on September 19 and October 7, 1777, and, according to Wikipedia, "marked the climax of the Saratoga campaign giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War. British General John Burgoyne led a large invasion army down from Canada; he was surrounded by American forces in upstate New York. Burgoyne fought two small battles to break out. They took place eighteen days apart on the same ground, 9 miles (14 km) south of Saratoga, New York. They both failed. Trapped by superior American forces, with no relief in sight, Burgoyne surrendered his entire army on October 17." The event is still commemorated by quilters who make use of the "Burgoyne Surrounded" pattern when making quilts. Thomas Walker served in the Revolutionary war, and was in several important battles – Saratoga, White Plains and Brandywine", according to the Farmer and Moore Gazetteer.



    Descent from Daniel Bissell, "The Spy", June 17, 1775

    The family of Daniel Bissell Bentley was proud to be descended from Daniel Bissell, who was identified in some sources as a "deserter" during the Revolutionary War. Later, it came to light that Bissell had only posed as a deserter in order to gather valuable intelligence for the American side. He served for a time in Benedict Arnold's unit, before delivering his intelligence to the Americans. Daniel Bissell Bentley>Daniel Bissell Bentley had two children who married into the Chute family.

    "Under the direct orders of General George Washington, Bissell posed as a deserter in the city of New York from August 14, 1781, to September 29, 1782. He realized that to get the information Washington needed, he would have to join the British Army: for 13 months, he served in the British Infantry Corps led by Benedict Arnold. Bissell memorized everything he was able to find out and then made his way back to friendly lines where he was placed under arrest until Washington verified his story. Sergeant Bissell was able to furnish valuable information including detailed maps he drew of the enemy's positions. He was to become the last recipient of the Badge of Military Merit in June 1783, one of only three awarded by Washington himself. The award was lost in a house fire in 1813."

    Sources: http://www.revwartalk.com/Spies/daniel-bissell.html


    War of 1812

    From the District of Maine, State of Massachusetts

    The Chute Genealogies records Daniel Merrill Chute as having participated in the "American War" - the War of 1812. Maine at that time was a district of the State of Massachusetts.

    "Daniel ... was one in Captain Kilburn's company of militia in the American War."

    Name: DANIEL CHUTE
    Company: RYERSON'S REG'T,MASSACHUSETTS MILITIA
    Rank - Induction: CORPORAL
    Rank - Discharge: CORPORAL
    Roll Box: 39 Roll Exct: 602

    Captain Stephen Morrell's Company, Liet Col E. Sherwin's Regiment
    From Sept 13 to Sept 24, 1814. Raised at Dearborn.

    Rank and NameRank and NameRank and Name
    Stephen Morrell, Captain
    Oliver Richardson, Lieutenant*
    Solomon Varney, Ensign

    John Penny, Jr., Sergeant
    Henry Bickford, Sergeant
    Moses Bickford, Sergeant
    Samuel Bickford, Sergeant
    Robert Whitehouse, Corporal
    Levi Wade, Corporal
    Samuel Bickford, Corporal
    Henry Richardson, Jr., Corporal*
    Joseph Howland, Musician
    Ezra Page, Musician
    Privates

    Blake, John
    Brooks, William
    Chote, James*
    Clark, Josiah
    Clark, Samuel
    Decker, William
    Ellis, Ebenezer*
    *Note: All connected with the James P. Chute-Clarissa Richardson McGrath family.
    Source: Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia: Called Out by the Governor of Massachusetts to Suppress a Threatened Invasion During the War of 1812-1814. Published by Brig. Genl. Gardner W. Pearson, The Adjutant General of Massachusetts. 1913. Wright & Potter Co., State Printers, 32 Derne Street, Boston. Page: 262


    The Halifax Disaster of 1917

    This is one of those rare historical events without a link to a specific Chute, which is not to say that Chutes were not impacted, but rather that no one with the surname of Chute is recorded as having died in this explosion. There may have been impacted Allied families, as yet unidentified, who were lost or injured on that day.

    On the morning of December 6, 1917 a French munitions ship, the Mont Blanc, on its way east providing munitions supplies for combatants in the First World War collided with a Belgian Relief ship, the Imo, in the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia and caught fire. About twenty minutes after the initial collision, the Mont Blanc exploded. What no one knew was that the Mont Blanc's cargo hold was packed with high explosives to be used in World War I and that she was about to be escorted across the Atlantic by a military convoy.

    It was the largest man made explosion in history at that time, surpassed only by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima some thirty years later. The north end of Halifax adjacent to the explosion was simply wiped clean of everything: photographs after the blast reflect a bleak and barren landscape where buildings and roads and homes - and people - had once stood. Far beyond the barren wasteland were piles of wood and stone where once there had been buildings set further away from the shoreline. The ruins of collapsed schools, churches, factories and homes lay across the landscape as far as you could see.

    The huge explosion was heard and felt as far away as 225 miles; and the ground shook, homes shook, windows rattled, plaster cracked and glass broke as close as 100 miles away. The sound carried as far away as Boston, and would have been recognizable as a sonic boom, had anyone ever heard a sonic boom before (they hadn't, unless you counted thunder). What people heard was the sound of a superheated, supersonic air blast that killed 2,000 people outright, injured about 8,000 more and left anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 people homeless in December. The intense heat vaporized the water in the bay for a diameter of 20 feet around the Mont Blanc and caused a local tsunami that was also responsible for numerous deaths of people who hadn't died in the explosion. Because it was winter, many of the homes and offices which collapsed on top of stoves caught fire and couldn’t be extinguished – the city’s lone fire truck, “The Patricia” had been at the shore trying to put on the fire on the Mont Blanc. Some who had survived the blast and the tsunami died in these numerous building fires. And if all of that weren’t bad enough, a dangerous blizzard, hampering rescue and relief efforts, rolled up the eastern seaboard and hit Halifax that same night. Those caught under rubble died from exposure.

    At that time, Chutes for the most part resided in the Bear River, Truro and Digby areas. Along with everyone else, they would have heard and felt the initial explosion, and their homes and offices may have suffered some minor structural damage – but they wouldn’t have known what had caused the unexpected sonic boom and ground shaking until a short time later. Certainly they would have been as startled and uneasy at the boom and ground shaking as everyone else. Communication in Halifax itself was broken, but some wires had been sent before the explosion, warning that a munitions ship was on fire and was expected to explode. At least one train, originating in the United States and notified ahead of time, stopped well outside of Halifax, and managed to pass the news back home to Boston and New York, but was caught in the air blast. Its passengers did survive, but might not have been so lucky had they been any closer.

    News traveled fast, especially in Nova Scotia. Halifax was their province’s major port. Everyone would have known people living and working in Halifax, but initially, all they did know was that something horrible had happened there, but had no idea of the extent of it. Rumors spread as quickly as the legitimate news: one of the first rumors was that the Germans had crossed the Atlantic and bombed the harbor; terrifying everyone when they heard it. One of the very first relief trains carrying medical supplies and personnel had originated out of the Truro area and arrived the same afternoon, so Chutes may have been involved in contributing supplies for that first train: blankets, food, and whatever else they thought might be needed – at that point, all that anyone knew was that people might need medical aid. Almost immediately, the train was re-packed with the seriously injured and sent off to hospitals along the train’s route that hadn’t been damaged. As that first train departed Halifax, more accurate news went with them. The horror that had taken place in Halifax was front page news around the world in a matter of days.

    People all over Canada and the United States were involved in contributing supplies to Halifax in the aftermath. Boston’s aid was such that the people of Halifax gift the city of Boston with an annual Christmas Tree, even today. Chutes in Nova Scotia and Boston would have been called upon to contribute clothing, food and building supplies (i.e., all of the glass in the city had shattered and the people of Halifax had no protection against the winter cold) to people who were left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and an ongoing stream of medical supplies, bandages and disinfectants. Chutes might have also been involved in the rebuilding efforts afterwards; some of the homes that were salvageable but needed structural repairs were the first to require builders and carpenters and anyone that could help.

    Every Chute or Allied family member living in Nova Scotia on that day would have been impacted by the Halifax Disaster, in some fashion. If anyone recalls any family story of what took place on that day that has been passed down through the generations, please feel free to contribute your story to this section.

    For a multi-media presentation on the disaster, visit http://www.cbc.ca/halifaxexplosion/index.html.


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