Monday, December 20, 2010

Tornado and Flood - July 1875

The Marietta Register, August 5, 1875

July, 1875, was the wettest month in Marietta since 1851.  The fall of rain was 10-1/2 inches, and no other July in that time was over eight inches, which is the figure for 1868.  September, 1868, there was 10-1/3 inches, which is the greatest fall since 1851 for any month except July last.

The mean rain-fall for July, for 1851 to 1860 inclusive, was 3-4/5 inches; for 1861 to 1870 inclusive, was 4-3/4 inches; for 1870 to 1875 inclusive, was 7-1/6 inches.  July for nine years has been:

1867 - 5 inches
1868 - 6-1/2 inches
1869 - 5 inches
1870 - 6-1/3 inches
1871 - 5-1/3 inches
1872 - 7-1/3 inches
18[7]3 - 8 inches
1874 - 6 inches
1875 - 18-1/2 inches

The average annual rain-fall is from 40 to 50 inches.

The Tornado in Marietta

During the month of July there has not been many windstorms, although rain fell fifteen days and part of the time in torrents.  It was cloudy and perhaps sprinkled more days than this.  But last Thursday morning a young tornado came dashing across town about three o'clock, and cutting a swath a few rods wide. 

It struck the first chimneys and shade trees about Second and Washington, lighting into Mr. I. C. Fuller's fruit trees rather promiscuously.  In Mr. Harris's lot on Third, some fourteen trees lost their perpendicular.  At Mr. Iams' on Fourth,it toppled some chimneys.  On Fifth it tore down a great number of trees.  W. H. Buell will have more sunshine, and Col. Mills lost some chimney tops.  Indeed, by this time if the full count were made, not less than 200 trees were blown down and many of them ruined. 

The hurricane seemed to be hugging the ground, and it went pulling down over D. P. Adams' and peaked under the roof of the large wareroom of the Chair company, and quick as thought tossed it several hundred years, over lumber and lots, tearing it into patches and splinters.  Then the building, 40x125 feet and four stories high, went crashing down, story after story, on chairs and tables, stands and bedsteads.  The wreck was fearful.  Torrents of rain were descending, and long before workmen arrived, the stream, which by this time was one of no mean dimensions, bore upon its bosom new furniture with its windings into the river.

There was stored in this building about $30,000 worth of furniture.  The building was, so to speak, destroyed, and the furniture damaged badly; some of it ruined, while some was not much injured.  The loss to the Company can not fall under $10,000, but it is not likely to exceed this amount.  The Company will have to erect a new building, but its business will go on as though nothing had happened.

The tornado did not spend itself here.  It kept its direction and went pounding along.  By this time it must be about mid-way the Atlantic ocean.

At the County Infirmary it stepped on about 30 acres of corn and this farm as well as Mr. Charles Athey and others lost a great many fruit trees and corn.  We take leave of it here for the present, and hope to learn of no more destruction on the line of its march.

Flood Incidents

Prunty's grist mill, above the mouth of Moss Run, on Little Muskingum, was swept away Monday morning.

One of the houses that went down Monday belonged to J. S. Sprague and Charles Biszantz, and came from Newell's Run.

Mr. A. Morris' house, on Third street, was struck by lightning Sunday night.

Mackey's bridge, over Little Muskingum, a covered structure, was swept away.

The trestle of the M. P. & C. Ry. across Duck Creek at mouth of Kilwell's, entirely swept away.

Thomas Dowling, at mouth of Kilwell's, lost a dry house, milk house and other out houses.

D. Pape's loss will be heavy.

In the neighborhood of Robinson's mill the corn and hay is badly flooded.

The trestle on the Old Line just above Scott's, went down, and the train reached it about 9 o'clock, Monday night.  Conductor Rardin left the train and footed it to town, carrying passengers and the bullion on his back.

No mails after Sunday morning from the West until Wednesday night.

The county bridge at the mouth of Mill Creek, and Kline's bridge near Matamoras, are swept away.  Both in Grandview township.  Also the Monroe county bridge at the mouth of Clear Fork.

Mr. Charles Barnes lost a valuable barn standing in the edge of Matamoras.

Mr. Pool reports hay, corn and wheat terribly damaged in the upper part of the county.

Mill Creek reported two feet higher than it was ever known.

W. W. Rathbone went up to the neighborhood of Lowell in a carriage and came home Monday morning by water.  The rest follows as a matter of course.  There are no bridges left in that quarter.

Salem covered bridge moved a foot on its base.

Whipple Run bridge on the Plank road swung off and broke in two.

Two bridges in the neighborhood of F. G. Gitteau's, Turkey Run bridge and three on the Plank road are out.  Of these one is at Sultor's, one at Zumbro's and one near the George Wagner farm.

Salem bridge is off abutments at Moat's.  Kilmer bridge was caught at Salem.

Gilbert's machine shop on Fifteen was destroyed by the flood.

West of the Muskingum we learn that the Ormiston bridge in Barlow is out, an open structure.  The Brown's Mills covered bridge in Palmer is out.  The Watertown bridge escaped destruction, sustaining heavy damage.  The fine covered bridge at the forks of Wolf Creek, two miles from Waterford, is gone.

The Webber saw and grist mill on Mill Creek, in Grandview, was swept away, and a total loss to its owner, Luther Rice.

We learn that Mr. Gould, of Saline, Athens county, lost 5,000 barrels of salt by the flood.

In Newport township the house and store belonging to Sheriff Davenport was undermined and greatly damaged.

We learn that Isaac McCowan's storehouse near mouth of Moss Run, with goods, books and contents was swept away Sunday evening or Monday morning.  The building floated against some sycamore trees and was broken in pieces. Total loss.

From the Muskingum section we learn that Meigs Creek bridges are all gone as far as known.  The large bridge at the mouth went at daylight, Monday morning.  Three bridges on Olive Green gone.  Ludlow, Moscow Mills and Tunnel Mill bridge gone.  Dana farm bridges gone.  Thirty or forty feet of the large fill at mouth of Coal Run with stone culvert swept clean.  Ripley's Mill on Big Run, in Adams township, badly injured.  The large bridge at mouth of Wolf Creek gone, also the first bridge on the West Fork of Wolf Creek.  Grain of all kinds, lumber rails, skiffs and all sort of craft cover the streams in that locality.

From all parts of the county reports come, as far as received, of fearful destruction.  The County Commissioners are already informed of about thirty bridges, ranging from 30 to 80 feet in length, that will need repairing and rebuilding.  Culverts and fills are damaged or washed out.  Wheat, the county over, is about ruined.  Grass is ruined by the overflow.  Corn is down and potatoes are rotting.  This is no local calamity.  It extends from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, and affects the welfare of two million of people.  The loss of life happily has been rare.  Save this, no doubt the ravages of the storm and rain will equal any thing on record in this country.  Perils by flood seldom come in July and August, when the fields are groaning beneath their load of grain and vegetables.  Floods in a single stream are common, but a rainfall of nearly 11 inches in a great district like this, in the month of July, is unheard of.  Our items gathered here and there from this county seem to be repeated everywhere, so far as we can learn.

Killed By Lightning

Last Sunday evening, during the storm, Miss Rebecca Applin, a lady about 39 years of age, whose family live in the part of town known as Texas, went to the window, as we learn, to observe the storm, when lightning struck her and produced instant death.  Other members of the family felt the shock, but were not injured.

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