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Book Overview

The story of the rise and fall of the Hazard Powder Company

one of the largest gunpowder manufacturing facilities in the country in the 1800s, is told in detail from its inception to its death in a violent explosion, crisping employees and nearly destroying the nearby town of Hazardville.

Meet the Loomis Brothers

Neeland, Parkes, and Allen, tobacconists from Suffield, Connecticut, who, along with Allen Andrews Denslow, a businessman from New Haven, as they purchase nearly 500 acres of woodland bordering the Scantic River and build a small gunpowder mill.

Meet Augustus George Hazard

of the Rhode island Haszard's, as he reclaims the glory and social standing his father and grandfather had let slip from their branch of the family by purchasing the mill site and expanding it to rival that of the Duponts of Delaware.

Meet Robert Stuart Waddell

star witness for the government and disgruntled employee, as he helps dismantle the Dupont Empire.

Meet the Prickett's

émigrés from England, who successfully steer the powdermill through each crisis up until the final concussive explosion.

And finally

consider the employees as each meets their maker in explosion after explosion, with most being buried in nearly empty coffins.

About The Author

Author Image

Peter Floyd Sorenson

Peter Floyd Sorenson was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1957.

He moved with his parents and two sisters, Gail and Judy, to the small town of Sherman, Connecticut at age three. He spent his youth there before heading off to college in New Haven, Connecticut.

He currently (and for the foreseeable future) resides in the quiet town of Enfield, Connecticut, in a 1919 Colonial home with his wife Lyn and their dog Oscar.

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You're not just getting a great book but you're supporting the Hazardville Institute Conservancy Society in Hazardville, Connecticut. Augustus George Hazard donated land (at the corner of Hazard Avenue and North Maple Street) for the construction of the Hazardville Institute, an Italianate-style building that was used as a meeting space by the community and is currently undergoing a renaissance of its own.


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What Our Readers Say

  • "A must read for anyone who appreciates the lessons of history."

    - William Friday
    Enfield Historical Society
  • "This book expertly interweaves the stories of immigrants from England to the merchants of Savannah and peddlers and powdermen of Massachusetts and Connecticut."

    - Grace Jones
    Kingstown Rhode Island
  • "Not just a book about a gunpowder mill, it recalls the stories of the shared struggles of men and women from the 1700's through the early 1900's with racism, alcohol, prayer and powder as its canvas."

    - Jimmy Scanlon
    Nova Scotia

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