The late summer of 1786 had been ideal for the growing of pumpkins and corn in Pennsylvania. In fact, pumpkin patches in central Pennsylvania, especially around the Susquehanna Valley were brimming with pumpkins. The ground was moist from a wet summer and the soil somewhat saturated. Then in early October torrential rainfall caused the Susquehanna River to flood. Reports from that time stated the river was anywhere between six and 10 feet higher than normal. These flood waters washed away the usual debris, in addition to homes and unharvested crops like corn and pumpkins. Large numbers of pumpkins were seen floating down the river on October 5, 1786, and people of the time dubbed it the 'Great Pumpkin Flood.'
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