The Windam Frogs

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

On a cloudy night in July, 1758, the people of Windham, Connecticut, were

awakened by screams and shrill voices. Some sprang up and looked to the

priming of their muskets, for they were sure that the Indians were

coming; others vowed that the voices were those of witches or devils,

flying overhead; a few ran into the streets with knives and fire-arms,

while others fastened their windows and prayerfully shrank under the

bedclothes. A notorious reprobate was heard blubbering for a Bible, and a

lawyer offered half of all the money that he had made dishonestly to any

charity if his neighbors would guarantee to preserve his life until


All night the greatest alarm prevailed. At early dawn an armed party

climbed the hill to the eastward, and seeing no sign of Indians, or other

invaders, returned to give comfort to their friends. A contest for office

was waging at that period between two lawyers, Colonel Dyer and Mr.

Elderkin, and sundry of the people vowed that they had heard a

challenging yell of Colonel Dyer! Colonel Dyer! answered by a guttural

defiance of Elderkin, too! Elderkin, too! Next day the reason of it all

came out: A pond having been emptied by drought, the frogs that had lived

there emigrated by common consent to a ditch nearer the town, and on

arriving there had apparently fought for its possession, for many lay

dead on the bank. The night was still and the voices of the contestants

sounded clearly into the village, the piping of the smaller being

construed into Colonel Dyer, and the grumble of the bull-frogs into

Elderkin, too. The frog scare was a subject of pleasantry directed

against Windham for years afterward.