March Exits Like a Lion (Part V) in 1913

(08/14/2002)

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 4/8/1913.

Raging Floods Devastate Ohio Valley

Since the latter part of week before last the entire Ohio Valley has been in the grip of a flood of unprecedented and terrible proportions.  On Tuesday, March 25th there was registered only an ordinary stage of water in the Ohio at Parkersburg.  Heavy rains in all sections of the country drained by the Ohio caused that stream to swell rapidly until on Saturday March 29th, the flood had reached the unprecedented stage of 58.9.

Property loss running into the millions has been suffered.  This loss is scattered from the source of the Ohio to its mouth and along practically all of its tributaries.  This is especially true of Ohio for the Miami, Sciota and Muskingum rivers were raging torrents taking heavy toll of life and property.  Not many, if any, lives were lost in West Virginia but the property loss is great.

At Wheeling it is said that 10,000 were rendered homeless.  Practically the entire city of Huntington was underwater, thousands were driven from their homes, all railroad communication was suspended and hunger threatened a large part of the population.  Smaller cities like New Martinsville, Sistersville, Williamson, Ravenswood, and Point Pleasant were hard hit.  The greater part of Belleville and Millwood were wiped off the map and in proportion to their size they were as badly damaged as any towns on the river in this state.

At Parkersburg the property loss is enormous.  There the waters came up swiftly until that part of the city lying below the city building was a broad expanse of murky water.  Merchants and businessmen were unable to secure help to move their wares, and as a result a million dollars worth of property was ruined by the flood.  Monday evening the building of the Miller Furniture Company on Ann Street, collapsed, and following this, on Tuesday morning, the wholesale grocery of the C.C. Martin & Co. burned.  For a while it was thought that the entire section of city was in great danger of burning, but heroic work on the part of the fire and police departments confined the fire to a small area on the corner of Ann and Third Streets.

All railroads, telephones and telegraph wires, with the exception of one private wire of the Eureka Pipe Line Company to Pittsburg, were cut off and for several days the city was practically cut off from the world.  Telegraph and telephone wires are again and commission but at the time this was written no trains were running out of Parkersburg except for the B&O East. It will be some time before the O.R., B&O S.W., and L.K. roads are in condition to serve the public.  A mail service from Parkersburg up the Little Kanawha has been established by boats, but it will be some time before conditions are normal.  It is alleged that hundreds of sacks of mail were allowed to become inundated in the post office at Parkersburg, and much of the mail received at this place has been wringing wet.  No doubt much mail has been lost that will never be recovered.

Marietta probably suffered more than any other town along the river due to the fact that the city is built on low ground.  The entire city, nearly, was flooded and hundreds are homeless and in want.  The state and national government had extended aid, and relief funds are being solicited.


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