A dark prophecy. A sudden storm. On the morning of July 22, 1811, the skies above Rutland County, Vermont opened and the rain began to fall. Over the next several hours, almost a foot of rain drove the Poultney River and her tributaries to unimaginable heights. As residents band together to save a house full of women and children trapped in the rising waters, some recall the apocalyptic words of a mad preacher years earlier and wonder if his dark vision has finally come true.All but forgotten today, the “Great Freshet” of 1811 was one of the most destructive floods in New England history. It cast a long shadow over the lives of countless families who lost their homes and livelihoods and stalled the forward progress of two prospering communities. This brief (40 page) history traces the events of the day and the lasting impact it had on the region, and and many of the individuals caught in the disaster.