Thomas Cole made a sketch for this print during a trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire in October 1828. Cole wrote in his journal:
The sight of that deserted dwelling (the Willee House) standing with a little patch of green in the midst of that dread wilderness of desolation called to mind the horrors of that night (the 28th of August, 1826) when these mountains were deluged and rocks and trees were hurled from their high places down the steep channelled sides of the mountains—the whole family perished and yet had they remained in the house they would have been saved—though the slides rushed on either side they avoided it as though it had been a sacred place. A strange mystery hangs over the events of that night.
One other known copy of this print exists in the collection of the Library of Congress.