Flash Floods of 1888: Intelligencer News, July 21
-from the Wheeling Intelligencer, July 21, 1888
THE LATER REPORTS SHOW
The Ruin and Desolation of the Fearful Flood.
Half of Triadelphia Is Swept Bodily Away
And a Seething River Pours Over Its Site.
Scenes Beggar Description East of Town.
FOURTEEN LIVES LOST
And the Fatalities May Increase to a Score.
The Worst Wreck at Triadelphia and Beyond.
A Thrilling Escape by a B. & O. Passenger Train.
A Woman's Awful Ride and Miraculous Rescue.
ESTIMATES OF SOME LOSSES
And Vivid Pictures of the Sad and Awful Sights.
Families Homeless and Without a Bite to Eat.
Tales, Seemingly Incredible, Which Leave Much to Tell.
How the Torrents Came Out of the Angry Skies.
The latest and most authentic reports from the localities where the storm was worst Thursday night show a state of [ ] scarcely guessed at before daylight yesterday. The worst scenes of desolation are to witnessed in those places not accessible the night of the storm. A personal visit to all the flood stricken sections of the vicinity by INTELLIGENCER reporters yesterday showed that as far as it was possible to cover the field the night before the accounts obtained, even from hearsay, were more nearly correct than was to be expected, considering the excitement and confusion which prevailed, and the wide are which suffered devastation.
But as was feared, the points not reached the night of the storm showed, if possible, a worse state of affairs than those that were accessible. The work of the fearful flood was but feebly portrayed yesterday. Indeed, language can at best but feebly portray the ruin and desolation east of the city from Elm Grove almost to West Alexander. The line of the Pittsburgh division of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad will have to be practically rebuilt from Elm Grove to the Pennsylvania State line. Six large and costly bridges were washed away, the track lifted from the road bed and twisted into all conceivable shapes, for miles at a stretch. At some places it is impossible to discern where the road bed has been while with the exception of only an occasional gap on high and solid ground the entire bed is badly washed.
THE LOSS OF LIFE.
Of course interest centers in the wreck of the Baltimore & Ohio bridge over Wheeling creek at Main street and the fatalities which, though there is a strange lack of definite knowledge concerning them, necessarily attended that disaster. This lack of definite knowledge is not so unexpected as it might seem when it is reflected that there were a number of picnic parties and excursions out of the city, some of the members of which have not yet returned. Persons whose friends have not turned up are at a loss to know whether they were out on one of these trains and are safe though cut off from the city, or went down into the seething flood. Others of those on the bridge were doubtless strangers in the city attracted by curiosity and their absence is not noticed. So far as can be definitely known there were four men and three boys not since heard from on the bridge when it went down. Of these but two are known, both boys, one the 13-year-old son of Daniel Ritchie and the other a 12-year-old boy named Eddie Hathaway. All the men had umbrellas over them and if they were known to any of those who say them they were not recognized.
The revised list of the persons who perished is as follows:
HERMAN STENZEL, milkman, drowned in his house on Caldwell's run.
MRS. BARBARA STENZEL, aged 65, widowed mother of Herman.
ANNA WINGERT, a niece of Mrs. Stenzel, visiting her lived at Miltonsburg, Ohio, aged 10.
ALICE WINGERT, a sisters of Anna Wingard, an inmate of the Stenzel household, employed as a domestic, aged 21.
MRS. THOMAS HOWLEY, and her four children, one boy and three girls, drowned in their house on Caldwell's run.
JOHN HOHMAN, drowned while attempting to rescue the Stenzel family with a raft.
MRS. JANE FEAY, and her daughters Alice and Belle, single, aged respectively 23 and 21, drowned at Triadelphia.
WILLIAM GASTON, of Point Mills; body recovered at Elm Grove.
It was reported that in addition to those here named, a family of three brothers and their father, named Bowman, were drowned near Point Mills, but this was fortunately untrue. There was also a report that the family of a man named Johnson, near Clinton, had lost their lives, but this could not be authenticated.
THE VOLUME OF WATER.
The volume of water that fell Thursday evening has been variously estimated, but conservative judges placed it at 8 inches in the city. When it is reflected that a rainfall of 2 inches is considered a heavy storm the immensity of [damaged film one line scratched out] by Mr. W. M. Dunlap on his premises at West Liberty, where the rain filled a tub to the depth of 6 inches, standing in an open field, though some of the water was seen to plash out.
At Triadelphia the rainfall was so terrible that Capt. W. A. McCoy, a well-known resident of that place, says that while he was walking through the rain with a child in his arms he noticed that child strangling, and had he not thrown his coat over its head he believe it would have drowned in the sheets of descending water.
A story is also told by Captain McCoy which as forcibly illustrated the terrific character of the rainfall. He went into a house to assist a woman out. When he entered there was about two inches of water on the road. As he come out three minutes later the water was up to his arm pits. The flood come down like an advancing wall.
When the Elm Grove train stopped just beyond the Woods run bridge, there was little water, but before the passengers could alight the cars were surrounded by water.
SOME OF THE LOSSES.
It is impossible to give anything like an estimate of the losses at this time. Those who suffered cannot themselves form an opinion of what their loss will be. The mud and debris is not cleared off their floors, and the wrecks of their houses have not been found. Then print a list of the losers would be, almost to print a directory of the county outside of Wheeling. The INTELLIGENCER yesterday printed a very good list of the main losses in the city, which needs no revision but some additions. Dr. John W. Morris's office on Twelfth street was flooded three feet deep, and he lost some valuable papers, including Masonic documents he cannot replace.
The main loser will be the B. & O. Railroad Company, which suffers damage variously estimated from $250,000 to $500,000. The latter is probably nearer the truth. The loss to the county, districts and State on the National and other roads, bridges, school houses and other public property will reach $60,000. The Elm Grove Company loses at least $10,000. Mr. Hutchinson, the Elm Grove merchant, and Mr. Kimmins, who owned the building in which his store was located, will lose jointly at least $5,000. W. T. Chambers & Co. lose $5,000. H. C. Hunter, brick manufacturer at Triadelphia, loses from $1,400 to $2,500 on house and brick yard. An indefinite list of similar estimates might be made, but in no case are the figures definite.
EXTENT AND CHARACTER.
The storm was not only unprecedented in volume and destructiveness; it was unique in its origin and character and presented much interest to the student of meteorological phenomena. Its area was about thirty miles in length by not more than ten in breadth that is to say, from a point a few miles beyond St. Clairsville, across the river, to West Alexander, beyond the Pennsylvania State line, and from Benwood, on the South, to Short Creek, on the North. That so great a volume of water fell over so wide an area in so short a time will probably be discredited by those who make a study of storms. The statement will doubtless be regarded as an exaggeration; but if the scientific weather observer could but see the trace of the work of destruction he would doubt no more.
The dwellers in the valley of Woods run say the storm came from the north, the roar of the waters up the valley being heard before the rain began to fall. At Triadelphia, the people had their attention attracted by the roar of the storm off to the southwest before the rain began, and warned by the ominous noises, escaped to places of safety. At Bellaire the storm is said to have come from the southwest, while at Portland, on the Ohio side, up the river, the clouds came from the northwest.
The fact is the storm was four distinct storms which, each rivaling in volume past storms of magnitude, united into one and sent their combined floods upon the earth. Hence its volume and fury. The clouds could be seen from the city, with rifts cross-shaped between. The sun shone in the space thus left for a few minutes while the rain fell; then the dark banks of cloud rolled into one, and with a crash like that of artillery the storm broke and the floods came.
WHERE THE STORM WAS
And Where Ruin and Desolation Now Reigns Supreme. — Triadelphia's Awful Fate Sad Sights at Elm Grove and Between Two Stricken Villages The Homeless and the Dead.
Yesterday morning two representatives of the INTELLIGENCER drove out the national road as far as driving was practicable. Nothing but ocular demonstration can convey an idea of the misery and desolation to be seen along that drive. It was one succession of scenes of destruction. Even within the city limits the earth did not escape the scourge of the torrents. On McColloch street the road is badly washed, and the vineyards around the hill show great gullies from ten to twenty feet deep. On the west side of the Peninsula the swollen creek washed the gardens and fields badly, but on the north side, the fields where corns was growing luxuriantly were first swept clean as a floor, and then piled with logs and stones.
In Fulton earth and stones were piled several feet deep in the principal streets. At the Toll gate several men worked all day shoveling out the stuff piled up without making much impression. In front of the Thompson place another similar fill was seen. All along great holes and gullies were washed in the hill side, and the roads and fields below filled up with earth and rock.
At Leatherwood the first grave disaster was encountered.
THE RAILROAD DESTROYED.
Here, as noted yesterday, The Elm Grove railroad bridge over Woods' run was washed from its foundation and twisted out of shape before being set down near by, and a long section of railroad was lifted up bodily and carried across the pike, and lodged against the telegraph poles and the fence on the south side of the road. A house was twisted from its foundation and others damaged. A stable was swept down the valley and lodged near the bridge.
The force of the current as the swollen stream swept across this valley was terrific. Frank Walters lost a good deal of fine corn, and the field is buried beneath logs and stones. The water was several feet deep on the Steenrod bridge. The Elm Grove motor and car stands just beyond the Woods run gap, prevented from running east by bad washes on the track.
It will only be a few days till trains can run on both sides of the gap. A motor was started out as far as Stackyard hollow at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. There the passengers were taken in a large wagon to their destination. Before that the wagon was run by the company from the city station to the Park. The injury will be repaired as early as enterprise makes possible.
At Seibert's and the coal chute in the rear large piles of debris, among it huge logs and rocks, were left.
Mr. J. C. Brady's back yard was also made a dumping ground for the storm. All along there the pike showed the traces of having been temporarily a rag- [obliterated line on the microfilm] ed out on their beds deep and wide to the bed rock. At the Carter valley huge stones were left in the hollow by the hundreds of tons.
AT ELM GROVE.
Approaching Elm Grove, the ruin began to be understood. The wreck of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, elsewhere reported, was most impressive. The Chambers coal tipple was badly wrecked and nearly everything swept away from about it. The large dry goods and grocery store of W. C. Henderson was carried off its foundation and set down at some distance, broken in two and badly wrecked. The stock is ruined. Mr. Kimmins owns the building. Mr. Henderson had the porch swept from tin front of his new house near. The fences in the Grove to the left of the pike going out, and many of the houses and outbuildings, were swept out of sight. The creek changed its course, its old bed being piled full of huge rocks, forcing the water around it on both sides. Thornburg Bros.' undertaking establishment was badly wrecked.
All along the pike were strewn broken furniture, pieces of houses and stables, fencing in sections, railroad ties, huge rocks four horses could scarcely haul. All along the way the loose stone and earth was washed from the surface and the road was as hard and smooth as iron.
It is a wonder how the large frame school house at Elm Grove escaped, but escape it did. The waters roared around it with strength enough to wipe the railroad off the face of the earth, but by some strange freak of the flood it stood unharmed.
On the right of the road the houses beyond the Hutchinson store, being high on the slope, escaped, though the lawns were converted into raging seas. Grass and straw is pleated in the palings of the fences as neatly and smoothly as though by hand.
THE SADDEST SCENES.
At Elm Grove the body of William Gaston, the aged owner of that famous resort, Gaston's orchard, at Point Mills, was picked up. Just how he came to his death is not known. He was carried into the school house and prepared for burial. Squire Duncan viewed the remains in lieu of the Coroner.
Here also were brought the remains of the three Feay women, drowned at Triadelphia. These bodies were viewed by Squire W. J. Brown, and prepared for burial by the Thornburgh Bros.
The bodies reached the school house just as the INTELLIGENCER men passed. There were two weeping women following, and all around looked grave and awe stricken. The three women were buried at 3 p. m., after solemn and affecting services at the school house.
Here were heart numerous rumors of drownings, but fortunately none of them could be authenticated. A family named Johnson, living at Clinton, were said to be missing. This was denied. There was a rumor at first seeming credible, that Alfred Bowman and his son Elza were drowned, but they were afterwards found alive and well.
Besides the four named, there was one authentic case of loss of life, but who the unfortunate man was nobody knew. He was seen to go shooting past Elm Grove in the creek, clinging to a log, and his frantic cries for help rang in the ears of all. Nobody could succor him, and there is no room to hope that he escaped.
AN AWFUL EXPERIENCE.
The house of a man named Hill was swept away from Triadelphia with him and his wife in it. They sought shelter in the loft, and managed after awhile to break a hole in the roof, through which they crawled to the top and sat on the top of the rolling mass. The house was swept irresistibly down, crashing and rolling for two miles or more. Then it struck a tree, and the body of it stopped, the walls collapsing. Hill was swept off into the flood, but gained a place of safety. His wife was borne on upon the roof for some rods further. There, the floating roof lodged on a tree just opposite Henry Helfenbine's and Wm. Askew waded out to her and brought he to a safe refuge.
Yesterday the house, and, further down, its roof, were pointed out to the INTELLIGENCER reporters, and Capt. Askew told the story, modestly, as brave men do.
Below Elm Grove in the valley a little house was noticed with its sides bulging out, a total wreck. Here the storm caught Levi Smith and his family, but they managed to escape.
From Elm Grove to Triadelphia the road was lined with horsemen and all sorts of vehicles. At the S bridge a gang of men were repairing the natural gas pipe and the foreman said it could not be told how bad the breaks were. Fourteen lengths were gone at one gap. At the S bridge but one length of pipe was gone. The damage was more or less general clear to the wells, but as the telephone wires were down, where the breaks were and how serious could not be told. At Sim Terrell's 400 feet of the pipe are gone. Both lines suffered. How long it will be before repairs can be finished cannot yet be even conjectured.
THE RUIN COMPLETE.
At Triadelphia and in the immediate vicinity the devastation is beyond description dreadful and complete. There was not a house in the village that did not suffer more or less damage. All were flooded, and about half of them carried away. Before reaching the village, Mr. H. C. Hunter was found trying to save a kiln of brick. He lost all but what he and his family had on, and what he could preserve of his damaged kiln. Mr. Martin Prettyman was working in his house, part of which lay some distance away on its side. In it were all the family had to [...] their supper, cooked but untasted, and their cooking stove. A stove was seen in a field remote from the nearest house. Everywhere people were working in houses where the floors were covered a foot deep with slimy mud.
The Western Union telegraph line, badly damaged all along the road, was ruined here. The company lost about 300 poles and in all about 40 miles of wire.
The old stone retaining wall along the pike at the west end of Triadelphia was washed away not a stone left. This wall was built where the National Government made the Cumberland road, and has stood the ravages of generation. The pike was badly washed there, also. A stable washed several rods s[...] nearly across the street at the far end of this wall. Where the big public school house was, and where a row of comfortable dwellings stood, the creek carved out of the rock a new channel, the old one being filled with earth and stones.
Captain William A. McCoy's double two-story frame building had the front swept out of it and sank several inches. On the opposite side of the road, next to the creek, H. C. Hunter's cottage, Taylor Foreman's cottage, Robert Armstrong's large frame house and stable, the six-roomed school house, a house belonging to A. W. Kelly, and in which Thomas Thornburgh, a painter employed at J. A. Holliday & Son's, in this city, lived, Prof. J. C. Frazier's residence, Gilbert Craft's house, Fred Bade's tenement house, J. W. Whissen's house, were all swept away. Craft's crashed against some trees and went to pieces. [entire line unreadable...] the houses. Mr. August Ebeling's piano was ruined, and the end washing out of one of his houses.
Capt. McCoy first noticed the storm's approach and got the neighbors up on the hill. Mrs. Matthews, an invalid, he carried from her house. Mrs. Armstrong, a lady over 80 years old and with a broken leg, was carried out by her son and a friend. Part of the old mill went.
A large tree in front of Capt. McCoy's house was pulled out by the roots. Others were prostrated or snapped off. At Thornburg's, a half mile beyond, the stone bridge on the pike was caved in. There were other bad caves in along the road. Superintendent J. C. Hervey worked like a Turk all day and made some places passable that would not have been.
IN NEED OF FOOD.
There were fifteen or sixteen families rendered homeless at Triadelphia. They are poor families, and lost all but what they had on. Their houses, clothing, money, victuals and furniture were a total loss. Many people went hungry yesterday. Finally Mr. W. A. Wilson visited the village, learned the state of affairs and came to the city to ask aid. He appealed to the relief committee which recently collected funds for the relief of Rowlesburg, to come to the rescue, and they responded promptly and liberally. An unexpected balance was devoted to purchasing provisions, and soon one of Speidel & Co.'s four horse wagons was sent out loaded with liberal donations of suitable provisions for immediate use.
To-day the County Commissioners will meet to take action in reference to the damaged roads and relief to the needy.
Perhaps the saddest case of all was the drownings of the three Feay women. Mrs. Jane Feay and her maiden daughters, Misses Alice and Belle, just above Triadelphia at the forks of the creek. They had succeeded in escaping from their house, which was in an exposed position, but were overtaken by the rushing flood and escaped. When found they were clinging to each other and to a tree.
On McGraw's run a railroad employe named Cheshire lost his house and all, including $170 of his hard earned savings. At Potomac, Hedges' house was washed away. Jones's mill, on Castlemon's run, which stood 60 years, is gone, foundations and all.
A DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
At Triadelphia, the INTELLIGENCER envoys met Mr. A. T. Hupp, of this city, who had come in from West Alexander.
George McCammon drove him as far as Crow's bridge, and from there he walked, crossing the creek on the hanging ties and rails or on the dangerous remnants of a wagon bridge, and occasionally fording. He reported the same scenes between Valley Grove and Triadelphia which were to be seen this side of the latter place. Detail is but repetition with altered names.
Mr. Hupp told of the destruction of Blaney's picnic grove. The fine sugar trees were all washed out by the roots but two or three, and the platforms and buildings carried off. But for the shelter afforded by the grove his house would have been destroyed.
Mr. Hupp also told of meeting two young ladies, Miss Bessie Higgins, daughter of T. H. Higgins, and Miss Dinger, sister of the hatters, who had walked in to Heimberger's from a house four miles beyond. They were part of a fishing party camped out in the woods. They took refuge in a house, and two young ladies named walked down yesterday morning, and wanted to try to come on in with Mr. Hupp, but he forbade.
Later Mr. Mike Dinger, who with other friends of the party were much alarmed for their safety, drove out as far as possible and walked the rest of the way. He brought the girls in with him, carrying them across the swollen streams. It was a difficult and dangerous way to travel, but they reached terra firma this side of the Thornburg bridge and drove into the city, glad to be home even at that cost.
Hon. W. M. Dunlap and two companions rode in from Valley Grove on horses last evening. Mr. Dunlap furnished much valuable information. Much of their road lay through cornfields, and theirs was a very adventurous ride.
THE HEMPFIELD RAILROAD.
The Road Literally wiped out of Existence for Miles Thrilling Experience of a Trail full of People A Miraculous Escape. The Incredible work of the Waters.
The damage done to the Wheeling & Pittsburgh division of the Baltimore & Ohio road cannot be pictured so as to convey anything like an adequate impression of it. From Elm Grove to West Alexander, a distance of eleven miles, there not a bridge left. Not only are all the bridges washed away, but in the majority of cases the abutments are nearly all gone too. At two or three places there is not a sign left to show where the abutments stood, and great holes forty feet wide have been washed in the banks where the abutments had been. Sections of track an eighth of a mile long were lifted body from the road bed and floated off, iron and tires held together by the spikes, and twisted into fantastic loops or wrapped about trees as if the heavy rails were ropes. Most of the track for the eleven miles is off of its bed, much of it in a condition which renders it unfit for use again. The road bed is badly washed at every point. Great gullies twenty feet deep and thirty wide were scooped out by the raging flood at short intervals on high banks that have stood the storms for years. There are stretches of miles where only occasional signs remain that there ever was a railroad there.
DAMAGE IN DETAIL
The first damage to the B. & O. track east of the city was at the Elm Grove bridge, just below Chambers coal works. Here the water swept around with irresistible force, lifting the track from its bed, and setting it down in the open ground adjoining carrying much of the bed with it. About 150 feet of the track was moved here.
The B. & O. bridge just east of the S bridge was carried around with the stream for fully an eighth of a mile, and left a heap of worthless rubbish. The cut just west of this was half filled with logs, gas pipes and other debris. Beyond the destroyed bridge the track is lifted off the road, some of it set on edge, some right side up and some upside down. Hundred of the ties have disappeared entirely and rails are so twisted as to be worth nothing except as old iron. The road bed will have to be rebuilt.
The bridge at the west end of Triadelphia is entirely gone, abutments and all, and the track is gone for 500 feet at both ends. The bed here is mere round topped ridge of earth.
At the Tornburg place, a half mile east of Triadelphia, the railroad bridge has been washed away as cleanly as if no bridge had ever been there. Not only this, but the creek has cut out for itself a new channel east of where the east abutment was. To bridge the stream now will cost half as much more as did the former bride. The stones of the abutment were carried down the raging stream like so many shingles, and heaped in great piles.
Beyond this, as far as West Alexander, all the bridges are destroyed. Some of them have the tracks and ties still hanging from abutment to abutment, others have nothing left. The road is gone, and where it ran on top of a high bank is now a gully, while several deep cuts are now filled even with the sides with stones and earth and logs and ties.
A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE
The B. & O. Company's Chicago-Philadelphia express train which left Wheeling at 6:20 p.m. on Thursday stands on the track at Triadelphia. The piece of road on which the cars are is about the only whole piece of track of equal length left. About the head of the engine is piled high logs, pieces of houses, furniture, grain in the shock, dead chickens and clay, the whole forming a sort of bulwark which shed the water from the cars. Had this fortress not been formed it is hard to say what effect the waters might have had.
The train ran through, the waters falling in a deluge from the heavens and sweeping in a flood across the track over the bridge at Elm Grove and the one and the west end of Triadelphia. The creek was above the rails on the bridges. On it sped a few rods, and steadily the water grew deeper.
At length the iron-nerved engineer became alarmed. He stopped the engine and cried, I will go no further. Through the swish of the descending torrents against the windows of the car there was audible a sullen crash and then a louder one.
The bridge below had given 'way two minutes after the train sped over it! The bridge ahead had followed close in two minutes the train would have been on it. A few minutes afterward the entire track forty feet in front of the engine was swept away, rails, ties and ballast, and the track behind the train did not last much longer. There it stood, a sleeping car, two daily coaches, a smoker, three baggage cars, two express cars and the engine, cut off from the main track, surrounded by swirling waters, threatened with destruction.
The passengers, many of them excursionists bound for Atlantic City and other eastern points, were variously affected. Those in the sleeper preserved their equanimity fairly well, but those in the day coaches, especially the ladies, were soon panic stricken, and it required strenuous efforts to prevent them from plunging headlong into the water.
A MEMORABLE NIGHT.
Some of the women insisted on leaving the cars, and they were assisted by the men in some cases to ground after the waters subsided, but were obliged to return, as the cars were about the only habitable places in the vicinity. It may be doubted if any of the passengers slept much in that novel situation. There were an unusually large number of passengers aboard, and among the number were three bridal couples. They received the sympathy and attention of everybody aboard.
It was of course impossible for the train to go forward or backward. Early yesterday morning a number of the men who were alone on the train started and walked into town. Friends of ladies who were aboard drove out from the city in carriages and wagons and brought them home. Later the Baltimore & Ohio officials sent out omnibuses for the passengers and wagons for the baggage, express matter and mail. They were brought into the city and sent east over the main line of the Baltimore & Ohio last evening. Among the express matter aboard were two car loads of raspberries from Barnesville consigned to Baltimore. These were shipped around the other way.It is safe to say that it will be at least a month before the roadbed can be repaired, the bridges rebuilt and the ties and rails replaced. Capt. J. A. Hunter, of Grafton, Road Master of the Fourth division, arrived in the city last night with a force of 125 men, and Arthur Sinsel, Superintendent of Bridges, is expected to arrive to-day with twenty-five carpenters. It is thought that a trestle can be erected over the creek at Main street in place of the one destroyed, and cars be run over it by Monday or Tuesday.
It is rather a coincidence that the division of the road which two weeks or less ago was relied on for all the eastern traffic which should have gone over the main division and Parkersburg branch is now entirely ruins, and its traffic sent East over the roads lately impassible.
Results of a tour by an Intelligencer Reporter over the Scene of Destruction The Loss of Life The Heartrending Details of the Calamity.
The accounts published in yesterday mornings INTELLIGENCER of the destruction wrought along the line of Caldwells run by the raging torrent were as full as it was possible to make them, the details having been gathered under great difficulty in the darkness of the night, and from persons so excited and distracted over the terrible ruin and loss of life, that they scarcely knew what they were saying, were found to be entirely inadequate when daylight came and showed only too plainly the full extent of the disaster.
From the mouth of the run back along its course into the country for a distance of over two miles, the scenes presented were one continuous panorama of confusion and terrible ruin, representing losses, both public and private, that in the aggregate will amount to thousands upon thousands of dollars.
To make anything like an approximate estimate of the loss is simply impossible. The scenes that were witnessed yesterday gave evidence of the frightful situation the people living along the track of the devouring torrent must have found themselves in as the roaring flood, with scarcely a moment's warning bore down on them a situation so awful that it beggars description.
A TOUR OF INSPECTION.
Early yesterday morning INTELLIGENCER made a tour on horseback from the mouth of the run back into the country so some distance beyond the toll gate, making careful inquiries as to the losses, with a view to forming some estimate, but everything was in such a chaotic condition that is was a matter of impossibility to form anything like a correct estimate.
The newspaper men were not the only ones who visited this path of ruin and devastation. The sight-seers began to flock to the place from all parts of the city at an early hour, and by 10 o'clock there were from two to three thousand people to be found viewing the desolation between the Eoff street bridge and the toll gate. Some were in their private conveyances, others had hired carriages and buggies, but the majority were on foot.
Those in vehicles had to leave them at McCulloch street if they made an inspection further on up the run, for beyond that point scarcely a vestige of the Fairmont pike was left. All the bridges were gone, and strewn along were enormous stones that had formed the abutments of the bridges, and which had been washed out and whirled along on the frightful current like so much cork. Mixed in with these stones were huge piles of debris, logs and parts of outhouses and stables, and over all was the slime and mud of the great flood.
All this made it difficult to get about, but the people in their eagerness to gaze on the scene of death and destruction climbed over these obstructions and waded through the run at the fordings.
The first inquiry of nearly all who visited this place was as to the number who had lost their lives; and having ascertained the truth of the frightful reports of drownings, they next wanted to have pointed out to them the site of the homes the dead had occupied.
TEN PEOPLE DROWNED HERE.
Ten people are known to have lost their lives between the toll house and the mouth of the run. They are Mrs. Thomas Howley and four children a boy and three girls.
Mrs. Barbara Stenzel, a widow aged about 65.
Misses Alice and Annie Wingert, of Miltonsburg, Ohio, aged 10 and 21 respectively, who were visiting Mrs. Stenzel, their aunt.
John Hohman, who lost his life while making a heroic effort to assist the Stenzels.
It was reported Thursday night and early yesterday morning that John Bowman, a well known resident of the run, was among the drowned, but before noon it was reported on good authority that he had been seen and talked to.
Diligent inquiries made as to any losses of life above the toll house failed to elicit any news of other deaths and it is believed that the ten named constitute the roster of the dead up Caldwell's run. Mr. Howley narrowly escaped the same sad fate that befell his family. At the time the waters began to surround his house he stepped out and went to the stable in the rear for the purpose of releasing a cow to that it might have a change for its life.
Howley expected that possibly his stable might be carried away, but it never occurred to him as at all likely that his house would go.
AN AWFUL EXPERIENCE.
He had released his cow and was about to wade back to his house when there was a roar and a torrent of water looking like a wall, and dashing up waves as high and threatening as those of the ocean came rushing down. There was a crash and his house melted away in the turbid flood before his very eyes. Scarcely had this occurred when he was sucked into the current. After a hard fight with the swift and cruel stream he managed to gain a footing on the bank one hundred yards below. He was taken in charge by friends, but he is in a half-crazed condition, and mourns for his loved ones in a truly pitiable manner. Howley formerly worked in the mill at Benwood, but of late he has been employed at LaBelle.
The farm houses occupied by the Hawleys and Stenzel's stood close together on the south side of the run, a short distance east of McCulloch street. The Hawley house went to pieces as soon as the first great wave struck it. The Stenzel house swung from its foundations and floated down about one hundred feet, where it lodged for a few seconds, then was lifted on another great swell that came from above and instantly crumbled.
It was while the house was lodged awaiting its complete destruction that Hohman attempted to go from his house to the assistance of the Stenzel's. He was the only one in his house excepting a little girl, whose name was not learned, whom he had called in out of the rain when it commenced, she having been passing at the time. It is supposed that he felt safe in leaving her in the house alone, as the building is a strongly constructed one and had bravely withstood the shock of the first swell, the only damage that was done being the carrying away of his kitchen, a small outbuilding.
Hohman's wife and small child were visiting friends in the country. Word was sent to them yesterday of the calamity that had befallen them.
The body of Alice Wingur was found in a lot of rubbish near the Eoff street crossing late Thursday night, and early yesterday morning the body of Mrs. Stenzel was recovered in another pile of broken timbers near the B. & O. shops.
Both bodies were taken to the establishment of Philip Zimmerman, where Coroner Schultz held inquests. James Fitzgerald, who witnessed the awful death these unfortunates met, gave his story practically as the circumstances related above, and a verdict was found in accordance therewith.
THE SUDDENNESS OF THE CHANGE.
The devastating stream that caused such sad havoc along the valley became such in less than one hour's time. From a quiet, sparking stream, rippling over rocks, it swelled to a mighty river from one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards wide and from ten to twenty feet in depth, that rushed to the river with an angry roar carrying almost everything before it. It seemed to touch and wash the base of the hills that line both sides of the narrow valley, while the waters appeared to have a peculiar swirling motion that licked up everything it touched.
Those who watched the torrent from safe points explain this appearance and much of the destruction in this manner. They saw that commencing at the bridge leading into Mt. Zion's cemetery and even further out it was almost invariably the case that the drift would clog under and on the bridge, thus forming a dam. The rise was so rapid that in no time there would be back of this dam an immense body of water. Suddenly there would be a snap, the bridge abutments and drift would disappear and the water would go out through the passage thus made, sucking everything that was movable after it. In places this suction was such that the hard pike road was left without an inch of the two or three feet of the macadamise of which is was composed. The cost to the county in repairing this, an important road, and replacing the bridges will be enormous, and is likely to result in the levying of an extra special tax.
DESTITUTE FAMILY A DESERVING CASE.
The people living along the run as far back as the Mt. Zion cemetery are for the most part working people with but small means and many mouths to feed. The cottages in which they live were with but few exceptions within reach of the angry waters, and the dwellings that were not more or less damaged were few and far between. There were other houses that were destroyed as were Howley's and Stenzel's, but the occupants were fortunate enough to escape with their lives. They save nothing else, however, and their present condition is one well meriting a kindly charity.
One of the most destitute of these cases is that of James Murrey and family. Murrey is a broad shouldered, honest Scotchman employed as a kiln-man at the Wheeling Pottery. He has been in this country but two years, and one year of that time has been spent here. His family consists of a wife and three children aged eleven, seven and two years. They lived in a house owned by a shoemaker named Henry Weidebusch which was practically washed entirely away, and with this went all the belongings of the Murrey family. All their clothes and bedding, their household utensils, their cooking stove, and the wife's sewing machine, recently secured and of inestimable value to the little family, were all swept away by the mad torrent, and the falling waters left not a trace of their possessions except the stove, which was swept away a distance of 200 yards.
It was a tearful tale that Mrs. Murrey told, and her distress awakened the sympathy of all who heard her. The family was offered temporary shelter by a family named Tate living near by. Last night several ladies made up a nice supply of clothing and bedding and sent it with a small sum of money to the poor wife. Her gratitude was of the deepest kind.
OTHER CASES OF DESTITUTION.
The Weidebusch family suffered greatly also, the husband losing his shop and tools and having his house practically ruined. Nearly all of their household belongings were washed away. They have no children to give them extra concern at this trying time.
Another pitiful case is that of Dan Vernon, an old man seventy years old, whose house was moved from its foundation and nearly everything it contained so soaked as to be ruined.
The market garden of Charles Grummley was wiped out of existence and a deposit of sand four inches deep left on the first floor of his house. The house of Christian French, a stone mason, though situated higher up on the side of the hill, was also made to suffer.
Anton Hatter, who recently built a fine two-story frame house at the corner of McColloch street and the pike, had nearly all of the stone foundation washed out, but fortunately was able to get props under in time to keep the house standing. His loss, however, will be considerable.
Lewis Koch, who works at the Spears Axle works, occupies a substantial brick that stands just east of where the Howley house stood. The water swept through here with more force than at many other points owing to the direction of the current, and the family had a most terrifying experience.
The old mill owned by David Montgomery was badly wrecked and an adjoining house occupied by his daughter Sarah E. Newman, was wrecked by the slime of the torrent.
HUCKSTERS LOSE GARDENS.
Michael Hillstine, a huckster had his garden swept away. George Paulis, worker in the Benwood plate mill, had his house badly damaged. C. H. Platts general store and stock was well soaked and much loss occasioned.
These are but some of the more serious and severe cases of loss and destruction. To name all who suffered would be but to print the names of all those living along the run.
C. H. Snediker, superintendent of the Fairmont pike, make quite an extensive trip yesterday. He said that from the toll gate to the foot of the hill it was all one complete wreck. Bridges, retaining walls, fences and a goodly part of the pike itself, fully two-thirds, are destroyed. Shocked wheat has been lost by the hundreds of bushels, and fields of corn are flat. He had also heard of some dozen head of stock being drowned.
DAMAGES TO GAS PIPES.
Piles in front of the toll gate is a pile of logs, parts of buildings and other debris jammed in together in an almost inextricable mass as high as the eaves of the house. This rubbish came from two directions down the run and down what is known as the left hand run. A short distance up this last named stream is the main pressure gauge of the line of the West Virginia Natural Gas Company that enters the city from the south. That gauge is buried beneath a pile of stones about ten feet deep, and a bad break in the main is reported to have occurred some distance further up.
LATE SCENES ON THE RUN.
Last evening a second trip was made to this district. The crowd of sightseers was found to have more than doubled in size and was so dense that one made his way forward with difficulty. Aid had been received by many from private sources and the Board of County Commissioners had had a representative through the settlement looking after wants. John Emmett the well-known baker, drove through the place early in the afternoon and distributed bread free to all who would take it.
One of the sights that attracted great attention was the large building used by the West Virginia Mining and Manufacturing Company as a stable. It was a complete wreck. Among those who suffered a loss they will feel keenly is John Cooper, formerly foreman of the old United engine, now blind, and contractor for taking care of the city's oil lamps. He had two old horses that he used in his work, and these are reported to have been lost.
The approaches to the Mt. Zion cemetery were all washed away, fencing about the place destroyed and a building used by the sexton was carried from its foundation for some distance. It was plain to be seen where the flood had swept through the place, and the impression still prevails that some graves were washed out and their contents sent whirling down the dreadful tide.
ALONG WOODS RUN.
The Quick Advance of the Destructive Wave and the Damage.
Woods run, the little stream that comes down by the Bethany pike and empties into Wheeling creek at Leatherwood, is noted for being one of the quickest and most treacherous streams in time of storm that there is in the county. It never responded more quickly to the influence of a rain fall than it did Thursday night. Evidence seems to point to the bursting of the storm cloud almost directly over its headwaters. There are a dozen people who testify that for fully fifteen minutes before a drop of rain fell at Frank Walters place there could be heard the terrifying roar of the ugly volume of water as it came rolling down the picturesque gulch through which the run flows.
Ten minutes before a drop of rain fell at Leatherwood the waters of the run had over-leaped the banks and were off the floor of the toll house on the pike, back of the Two-Mile House. Those who saw the waters come down say that they came like a wall or a vast breaker rolling in on the ocean's beach. Tossing on its foamy crest that curled forward so threateningly were logs and other things snatched up by the overpowering volume and hurled along to general destruction. By the time the rain commenced to fall at Leatherwood, the run had risen to above its highest mark and had commenced its work of costly destruction. The bridge beyond the toll house was thrown on its side and swept away into a field. Then the stone abutments were washed out and then the torrent commenced eating into the pike, composed of layer after layer of macadam till it was almost equal to a solid body of stone. It could not, however, withstand that force and melted away almost like so much ice in a summer's run. The bridge beyond that, just this side of Greggsville, was left hanging by a few timbers and will have to be rebuilt. The bridge at Greggsville has been propped up so that it can be crossed. From there up the run the principal damage is the washing done to the pike and to gardens. There is financial loss all along its course but the greatest damage was done in the first quarter of a mile off the National road at the finish of the course of the run, and where, like a race horse at the finish, it put forth its best efforts. The loss to the county on this pike will be found to be very heavy.
UP BOGGS RUN.
The Condition of Things There Farmers Lose Heavily Keltz Safe and Sound.
Boggs run was another torrent swept and devastated section visited by INTELLIGENCER couriers. Along the line of that pretty little stream were to be seen on every hand evidences of great damage having been done by the mighty rushing river into which the little stream was transformed Thursday night. Happily, however, the loss of property up this valley was not accompanied by a loss of life, as was the case up Caldwell's run.
It was reported Thursday night and so published in yesterday's issue, that one life had been extinguished in the whirl-pools of the destructive torrent that carried away nearly all the family landmarks up this run. Henry Keltz was the man reported lost, but the friends of this jolly old farmer will be glad to learn that he is not yet numbered among those that were. Soon after starting to ride up Boggs run, Keltz was encountered mounted on his horse, and out for sight-seeing trip himself. He laughed over the reports of his drowning and said that he had been forced to return to earth. That when he applied to St. Peter for admission, the guardian of the keys had told him he was too wet to enter, and that on going below the other doorkeeper had told him he was too wet to burn well.
The drowned horse and the buggy found near the mouth of this run, and supposed to have been Keltz's, turn out to have belonged to a Gypsy and his family, consisting of his wife and three children, who were encamped on the banks of the run, just above the school house. Their tent, a light buggy and blind horse were washed away and the man nearly perished in attempting to save the horse. The saved four other horses, fine looking animals, a covered wagon that was lodged against a tree, and thereby prevented from being swept away, a feather bed, a pot and kettle or two, and their dog a savage brute.
The road leading up Boggs run was one of the smoothest pike drives hereabouts, but now it is entirely ruined. Bridges are gone and great gullies have been washed in all directions. Trees have been uprooted and fields of corn washed out of the ground. Outhouses have been overturned and destroyed by the score, and there is not a farmer living up that valley but what is a heavy loser. Among those who have suffered from the damaged done their crops and buildings are the Messrs. Mason, Henry Spear, Anthony Spear, William Campbell, Lewis Steyman, Gus Smith, Leonhart Georkstetter and many others. Included in the losses of those gentlemen is considerable livestock. It will require hundred of dollars to put the Boggs run road in passable condition for vehicles.
OVER THE RIVER.
The Scene in Daylight — The Damage Nearly as Great as by the Flood of 1884 Sickening Details.
The blockade of earth and logs on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh road in Martins Ferry was removed late yesterday morning, and trains were run to Bridgeport, where passengers took lodging. The damage in Ætnaville was slight, only the upper park of town being flooded and a few cellars filled. Louis Frick finds his loss not so heavy as at first stated.
At Bridgeport everything is turned upside down in Kirkwood, and the chief topic of conversation is the disastrous storm. At the point where the run leaves the hollow and flows through the culvert, the road is washed a distance of 15 feet, and the water getting a good headway through this cut rushed into the front of James Claylands residence, occupied by James Quigly, tearing away the front room and leaving the rest of the house standing, but badly twisted. Mr. Quigly, his wife and eight children were eating supper at the time and the flood came so suddenly that they had barely time to escape from the house to the street. Their household goods were that were taken away were recovered from the stream with much difficulty. Everything on the lower floors were either lost or so badly damaged as to make them unfit to use. Mr. Claylands loss will amount to several hundred dollars, and Mr. Quigly's loss is $100.
A large twenty foot log lodged against the corner of Samuel Wrights house and served as a guard wall,
TURNING THE WATER AWAY
from his house, which otherwise might have been ruined.
John Shrodes had just filled his cellar with food, vegetables, etc., and everything was carried away. Joseph Ingram had just finished his work on a fine yard and grounds about his house, and now the place looks like a muddy river bottom. The water coming over the culvert filled the houses in its course to a dept of two feet in as many minutes, the people not having a moment’s warning in which to pull up carpets or set out furniture. John Donnelly lost a coop of valuable chickens, about thirty in number.
A stable belonging to Daniel Moore was washed down against the Mr. Faucett’s stable, a distance of seventy-five yards. The houses of Frank Barker and Oswald Schick were surrounded by drift wood and their cellars filled with water.
The run makes a turn in the rear of Mr. Schick’s house, and there the heavy body of water, boulders and logs were swept with full force across Whitely street and against the house owned by Mr. A. J. Baggs, tearing out the side of the foundation and letting the drift wood and mud into the cellar.
Whitely street is covered by huge boulders and logs that it will take days to remove. William Giffin’s pretty little frame is a total wreck and will have to be rebuilt. The dwelling was valued at $4,000. Mr. George Giffin’s yard which had
JUST BEEN CLEARED
of the rubbish of the last heavy rain was made the receptacle of a large portions of the boulders and logs that were brought down the run. A force of men were engaged in hauling it away yesterday, but the pile of debris is large that one day’s work would hardly be noticeable. Through Mr. Giffin’s yard the swollen stream found its way to Belmont Street, where nearly every house on the lowlands was completely surrounded with water and drift wood. The swift current with its heavy load of wood and stone crashed into the cooper shop near the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad and almost buried that structure from sight. The water came down here with such force that they pushed up the bank and over the railroad tracks to a height of twenty feet. The cooper shop was owned by William Campbell, of Martin’s Ferry, and is valued at $600. It will take days and weeks to remove the rubbish that surrounds and covers it.
The damage in and about Kirkwood will sum up several thousand dollars.
At West Wheeling the scene is far worse than at Bridgeport. Nothing like it has been known since the flood of 1863. The damage far surpasses that of the deluge of 1884, the railroad companies this time being
THE HEAVIEST LOSERS.
The little village cannot be reached by wagon road from either side, and passengers going east have to transferred around bridge No. 59.
Several hundred yards above town Moore’s run passes under the Cleveland & Pittsburgh road, under the wagon road and through the Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling trestle to the river. A few steps above flows the stream known as the Upper run. These two streams unite under the Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling railroad before going through the trestle. Moore’s run is a good sized stream and flows in a deep and wide bed. The water came bounding down the run in large volumes, spreading wider as it neared the river. A distance of several hundred yards up the run the pretty little frame houses of Dave Joint, Charles Tuttle, William Miller and Thomas Moore were caught in the raging current and tumbled and tossed about like chips until they came in contact with the stone arched bridge No. 60, on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad. The occupants had barely time to escape with their lives, and reached the hill just in time to see their homes and all their earthly possessions, save what they wore,
SWEPT AWAY LIKE THE WIND.
Yesterday the pile of logs, trees, boulders weighing several tons, pieces of houses, tin roof and drift wood, extended 300 feet across the creek bed and nearly to the top of the bridge, about forty feet high. This mass of debris is packed so tightly in against the bridge that it will be weeks before it can be removed. The water from the run, uniting with the stream above, made an excavation between the two railroads 200 feet square. The Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling culvert directly in front of these united streams was carried bodily out into the river fifty yards, and scattered promiscuously over the mouth of the run, so strong was the current. The track dropped and travel on that road was suspended. The Cleveland & Pittsburgh bridge just above it badly cracked and raised nearly two feet above the track, by the hundreds of tons of debris under it. The Wheeling Natural Gas Company’s pipes were laid bare and broken, and a force of men were repairing them yesterday.
Further down the track, just below West Wheeling, was bridge No. 59, on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad. It was a wide arch of stone, and the very thin-looking remnants of the abutments are all that is left of it to-day.
Whisky run, a good-sized stream, flows through under this bridge in a wide bed, and coming down from the steep hill beyond brought trees, heavy logs and stones with terrible swiftness against the bridge, which could not stand the force, and giving way, let the tracks fall fifty feet below. Directly under where the bridge stood are dozens of stones ten and fifteen feet long, tightly wedged in. A hundred men were at work yesterday removing these to make room for a temporary trestle, which the railroad company expect to have built to-day. Passengers were transferred over a board walk laid by the company down the hillside and across the creek bed, a distance of seventy-five feet. And the passengers seemed to take the situation good naturedly, and hustled through the passage-way with a cheerfulness that made everything pleasant.
A house owned by Mr. Wolf, a short distance up the run was carried, with all its contents, through the bridge into the river. Several houses further up the run were filled with rocks and timber, and the household goods were badly damaged.
The people of West Wheeling, seeing thousands of dollars damage at home, were more eager to learn something from Wheeling and other places, and while hundred visited the scene of the wreck there, as many went from the little village to other places.
Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling trains it is thought, will be running to-morrow and Cleveland & Pittsburgh trains to-day.
FIFTY HOUSES FLOODED.
At Wheeling Creek is an entirely different scene from that of any other place, the larger half of the place being covered with a thick, yellow mud, from two to four feet deep. Back of the coal tipple a little run flows down from the fill and follows the coal switch half way through the town to a culvert about two feet high. All the water from the two hills ran down into this little stream, and almost before the rain was over a raging body of mud and water passed through the coal tipple until it was carried away, and in an hour more the water was over six feet deep over the entire portion of the town below the hill. Fifty or sixty houses resting on posts were filled with mud and water. These houses are all one-story and occupied by miners of all nationalities, all of them poor. Everything they had was in their cellars or the houses, and not enough eatables could be found in the whole town yesterday to make one man a meal.
The cellars are filled up with thick yellow clay and everything in them destroyed. The screams of the women and children, when the waters began to hem them in on all sides, were heart-rending, and so unnerved the men that they were unable to save anything from destruction. There are at least fifty families who will lose from $50 to $100 in carpets, furniture and food. Yesterday men with scrapers and shovels could be seen throwing out the dirty mud which was nearly a foot deep on their floors. The town has the appearance of a filthy hog wallow, and the poor miners are compelled to wade in mud nearly to their waists, dig drains and remove the mud from the sidewalks. The little culvert would not carry off one-tenth of the water and it burst, letting a good portion through the railroad tracks. Several cars loaded with coal were dropped about ten feet, the track giving away underneath. Near the coal tipple is an acre of drift wood and boulders. The report that a child was drowned in the flood is untrue, as no lives were lost.
At Soap Town, a few miles above the coal works, the run flooded the pike to a depth of ten feet, and did some little damage to property. All along the creek bottom thousands of dollars worth of crops are lost.
Every little stream in the country rose high enough to do damage either to roads or property.
Belmont county will lose between $7,000 and $8,000 on bridges and a considerable amount on roads. Two bridges between Bellaire and Bridgeport are down and two costly ones on Glenn’s run are entirely gone.
The water spout Thursday evening was one of the severest that ever visited this section. The water came down in torrents for a few minutes and the creeks and runs all about here were wild and dangerous.
In Bellaire there was no little anxiety as the streets became flooded and Indian run and McMahon’s creek poured out. McMahon’s creek was filled with household goods of every kid, and cars from the B. & O. tracks were piled up in the debris that floated down. The farms and gardens along McMahon’s creek were devastated in less than an hour, and not less than twenty houses were flooded. Louis Kramer’s store at Quincy was washed away, including all the stock, and Jacob Long’s house and everything he had were carried away. At least four houses along the creek were swept away, together with their contents while the damage to farms and gardens cannot now be estimated.
The bridge over Indian run on Noble street, was completely undermined, and almost entirely washed away. A temporary fix was made so that the teams can still cross at that point; but the foundation will require several hundred dollars to make the necessary repairs.
The reservoir filled up and ran over flooding cellars and houses on the hill side. B. & O. gondolas game down the creek and into the river.
The nail works people were damaged considerably by the debris on their fields. Piles driven in the ground several feet on the new trestling on their ground were torn out.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE RAILROADS
On the St. Clairsville & Northern railroad twelve bridges are gone, and the road is practically a total wreck. It will be rebuilt at once.
On the Bellaire & St. Clairsville at Humphrey’s bridge, three-quarters of a mile from St. Clairsville, the road bed is gone and the rails wrapped about trees. There is a landslide on the Fawcett place sixty feet wide, with the trees still standing in the earth. At Echo, where the train was caught, two houses were washed away and one burst right in front of the engine.
A tree was seen to pass with two children in it. What became of them is not known. The tree struck another and rolled over. The children were in all probability drowned.
The house of John McGrath washed down and broke up just below the engine.
The coal works just completed by Troll Bros. and Joseph Butler were both ruined. The tipples were swept away and everything demolished. They were just ready to commence work.
The engine passed over a little water, and at last water swept over it with considerable drift wood. There were seven ladies and four men, besides the crew, aboard. A few of the men walked to town. Below this point near the creek the road turned bottom up. The only means of reaching St. Clairsville now is via Warnock's, on the Baltimore & Ohio.
There are eight slides on the Big Hill, out the St. Clairsville pike.
Beyond St. Clairsville the only damage was to crops and fences.
A heavy wind which accompanied the storm frightened the people there, and many took refuge in the cellar thinking another cyclone was coming.
THE COUNTY TO ACT AT ONCE
In Assisting and Repairing – The City Departments at Work – The Bridges.
A special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners has been called for 10 o’clock this morning for the purpose of taking action looking to some systematic relief to be extended to citizens who have lost their all, or else been seriously embarrassed by the severe calamity that has fallen on this county, and who are in need of material assistance. The Board will also try to arrange for the immediate repairing of county roads and rebuilding of walls, culverts and bridges that have been washed away.
The Board is to be commended for its promptitude in these important matters and there is really no doubt that what the members decide to do will meet with general approval by the taxpayers. The sooner the awful damage that has been done is repaired the sooner will prospects brighten and Ohio county’s old time prosperity return. In the rebuilding of the roads there will be employment for many who have been made destitute and a charge on the county.
The members of the Board did good work yesterday without waiting for the Board to meet. They went among the people of the flooded districts, made suitable inquiries and relieved many cases of actual want. Any parties desiring to contribute bread, meats, or any kind of eatables, bedding or clothing for the relief of the sufferers are requested to leave the same with Mr. Joseph Speidel, a member of the Board, at his place of business, who will see to its proper distribution.
A special meeting of the City Council was called for last night by Mayor Seabright, who did it, he says, at the request of President Gilleland, of the Second Branch, and some other citizens who thought the city should at once take action of some kind with reference to the damage that has been done. Mr. Gilleland was not present at the meeting, however, and as there was no proposition before the Council, and as no one seemed to know just what was desired to be done, nothing was done except to adjourn. There were eleven members of the Second Branch present and a quorum in the First. A regular meeting will be held next Tuesday night.
The Board of Public Works held a meeting last night at which the grave situation which confronts it was discussed pro and con. The Board is stinted for money be reason of the demands that have been made on its contingent funds by Council for work it was never contemplated the Board’s contingent fund should be called upon to pay. What money it has left in that fund will barely provide for the general cleaning of the streets and the repair bursted sewers that has been necessitated by the flood.
There is no provision for the rebuilding of the Chapline and Eoff street bridges over Caldwell’s run, and even if there was money with which to rebuild these structures it is a matter of doubt whether the courts would permit them to be rebuilt. There is now pending in the courts an injunction against the city obtained by the Caldwell estate, restraining it from repairing the Eoff street bridge in a permanent manner. It is the old question of the straightening of Caldwell’s run, and there is a fair prospect for a lively reopening of that matter.
Yesterday Superintendent Warden had a force of men at work on the Chapline street crossing, and by night had erected a temporary wooden bridge or trestling strong enough for the street cars to run over. He also had other gangs of men at work all over the city, cleaning up the debris washed down from the hills into the streets.
Superintendent Riddle, of the Water Works, managed to keep the 20-inch main at the Chapline street crossing intact and the lower part of the city was kept supplied with water.
Superintendent Dillon, of the Gas Works, had a big force of men at work and accomplished wonders in splicing the broken and washed away gas mains, so that the Eighth ward had gas last night.
The fire alarm wires were got into working shape again yesterday.
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