History-Making Flood in 1918


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 3/14/1918.

Grantsville is Flooded
Highest Rise in History of the Little Kanawha

Grantsville was visited by the biggest flood in its history Wednesday night and Thursday morning when the Little Kanawha river rose to a height of forty feet, reaching its crest about three oclock this morning. A general rain which began in this valley and its tributaries at two oclock Wednesday morning and continued for twelve hours, almost incessantly, was the cause of this flood. This is the first high water that has compelled families to move out of the lower stories of their dwellings since 1898.

At five oclock Wednesday evening the river was rising at a rate of more than a foot an hour after having reached a height that exceeded the mark reached ___________is evident that many families must move upstairs. Those out of danger immediately resolved themselves into helpers and everything possible to minimize the loss to these people was done. Carpets removed, pianos and furniture raised, feed transferred, has lessened the loss. ________ families. However, the Grantsville Mill, of which C.A. Witt is owner, has sustained a loss of from $800 to_________feed, flour and fertilizer.

The Grantsville Lumber & Manufacturing Co. has sustained a loss of about $1200, we are informed by a member of that company. This includes a loss of lumber which the company had bought in the upper part of the valley.

Deems & Co. was compelled to move its feed to the upper story of the barn. The horses were taken out, as were the automobiles which were stored there. At 3 oclock today the water had abated enough to allow the barn to be occupied.

No great amount of harm was done to any of the private houses, as far as we can learn. This is very fortunate, as there were more than twenty houses in which the water covered the first floor.

Floods are usually accompanied by fires; but the only threatened conflagration here was immediately checked this morning. Fire broke out in the house next to Deems & Cos barn, and occupied by Jerome Francis. Water surrounded the house and it took only a few seconds to stop the flame.

The electrical storm which accompanied the rain Wednesday morning, burnt about half the telephones out, so we are entirely without communication with the most places in the county. Steer Creek was the highest ever known. At 3 oclock yesterday it was expected that the water would be four feet deep in the residence of R.J. Knotts. Dock Stump was compelled to move out yesterday morning.

We understand that the West Fork rose to an unprecidented height, and the water was in the residence of George Hays, at Arnoldsburg.

At Glenville at 9 o'clock last night, the river 32.9 feet high and rising. While we have no further grounds for the belief, we are sure that Main street was badly flooded.

At Creston the water was nearly to the top of the first story of the Parsons hotel.

At Elizabeth this evening at 3:30 the river was 22 feet high and falling. At this place the river is falling at the rate of only six inches an hour, and the rain _____________may lessen that rate.

Of the six mails to this place, the one from Smithville has made the only trip, it being the only mail to here since Tuesday.