Friday, March 8, 2013

Flood of 1913 - April 1

The Register-Leader, Tuesday, April 1, 1913

The Departing Flood

Lost from the rest of the world, surrounded and practically buried in the depths of the titanic overflow of two great rivers since last Thursday, Marietta, on this, the sixth day of the worst flood ever witnessed by the sturdy people of this historic city, rose like an island from a great sea to resume her place upon the stage of time.

These are gloomy hours.  Hearts are heavy.  Many, with all their worldly possessions crushed and ruined by the now departing flood, today, for the first time since the monster made prey of the beautiful city, gazed pitifully upon the remains of it all.  They hesitate.  Then one by one they make their way toward what has been left them by sheer fate, to strive for a new beginning.

Brick, mortar and debris mark the spot where once stood many a comfortable home.  These cases are not few.  Other homes left standing are but wrecks, weighted down with mud, slime, soaked furniture and clothing.  Such as these number into the thousands.

There is much to be done.  There is no room for the indolent.  The city must continue to be a center of prosperity, learning and society.  The blow has been a severe one - a blow not to be estimated in dollars and cents alone.  Marietta must recover, and that as speedily as possible.  Among us are few of the doubting Thomas kind.  The Almighty who does all things for the best has spared us strong and persevering men; many men who will not turn back at any odds.  They are men upon whom assurance can be placed.  Missions probably as great as the one they are now facing have not been performed by them.  But with that determination and confidence which has won for them many a hard battle in the past, they press forward with strong arms and brave hearts to replace that which has been lost.

Not in a day can normal times be realized.  It will take months to re-establish business and the former comforts of this modern city.  And so today, as in the beginning of the Pioneer city of the great Northwest, whose one hundred and twenty-fifth birthday anniversary we are soon to celebrate, all of us, with faith born of our ancestors, halt not at misfortune but set our eyes toward a reasonably near future which holds in store rest from our earnest toil and complete recovery, as well as the carrying out of contemplated improvements that will know no blotting out by flood.

In a sense this should be a day of thanksgiving.  We have much to be thankful for.  Lives of thousands of men, women and children were for many long and weary hours imperiled, but saved.  The people of the high and dry districts have been charitable and kind throughout our calamity.  Residents of bordering districts have likewise ministered to the homeless and destitute.  From farther away - the cities of Cambridge, Caldwell and Byesville - aid in the form of food, clothing and bedding has come by the wagon load.  And from the state has come, in response to the first call, a sum of money and the promise of more that will help to rebuild the devastated sections and care for the city's unfortunates.  Words of sympathy and cheer from throughout the nation are as beacons helping to stir us on with our burden of destruction, beyond the mountain of great expenditure and labor, where lies the realization of our fondest hopes and prayers.

Regular Editions

Since the water left the first floor of the Register-Leader building, a force of men has been working night and day to get the plant in working order.  The task is a big one, and today it is impossible to predict the time when the regular edition can be published.  Till that time, this typewritten paper will be issued daily.  People purchasing this edition should note that its price is fixed at three cents - anything more than that amount paid is a gratuity to the news-boy.  Of this three cents, one cent goes to the boy selling the paper; all profit over actual expense of printing will be turned over to the relief fund.  Taking advantage of the demand for the paper, some few boys, other than the ones sent out from the office, are speculating in papers and selling them at an advanced price.  Efforts are being made to keep the papers out of the hands of such boys.  Edition after edition is being printed.  After the present rush, an effort will be made to supply copies of this typewritten edition to those wishing them for souvenirs.

Word From the Governor

Congressman George White and Hon. D. B. Torpy this morning at 9:55 o'clock succeeded in getting into communication with Governor James Cox over the long distance wire of the Bell Telephone company, which was for official use only.  Congressman White first talked to the governor, telling him of the enormity of the loss and suffering in Marietta.  Congressman White said:  "Mr. Governor, our loss is worse than you can probably realize.  We had 20 feet of water over a wide section of our city, and fully 200 houses have toppled over.  We need money right now worse than anything else.  We also need bedding and tents."  In reply Governor Cox advised Mr. White that a state central committee had been organized, and that a representative of that body will be sent to this city tomorrow.  This representative will investigate the losses and needs here and a sum sufficient to cover the loss here will be appropriated by the state in due time.  The governor's business-like method of handling the situation is to be complimented.

Governor Cox told Mr. White that the representatives will go out from Columbus to other devastated sections of Ohio, which will fare the same as Marietta.  When told by Congressman White that Hon. D. B. Torpy was present, the governor expressed a desire to talk to him.  Mr. Torpy repeated Congressman White's appeal and added by telling the governor that Mr. Torpy's residence, at which the governor was a visitor during the campaign last fall, was under 3 feet of water.  Governor Cox aassured Mr. Torpy that Marietta will receive her share of state aid. He also said that cots and tents will be hurried from the capital city to Marietta tomorrow.  Governor Cox authorized Congressman White to provide some sort of ferry for the Muskingum river at this point as early as possible.  The governor said that the flood loss in Ohio will reach $300,000,000.  He said that many small towns in the central part of the state have been completely wiped out.

Parkersburg Fire Swept

Parkersburg's calamity has been doubled by a disastrous fire which is sweeping a wide section of the city today.  The fire broke out shortly before 8 o'clock this morning in the C. C. Martin wholesale grocery house in the lower part of the city near the Belpre ferry and spread rapidly to the Ohio River division depot.  From that structure the high winds spread the flames northward over Third street.  The last message from Parkersburg over the Bell telephone Company's wire was that the fire is beyond control, and that the city had summoned aid from Wheeling and other West Virginia cities.  It will be impossible to receive aid from Wheeling except by boat.  Parkersburg has no means of fighting the fire, owing to the flood which covered a good part of the burning section.  The loss of the Parkersburg fire will run into hundreds of thousands.  Among the losers are the Dana Grocery company, whose wholesale house is located on lower Third street.  Mr. John Dana, president of the company, is a brother of Charles S. Dana, of Marietta.  The Marietta Paint and Color Company also has a store in the fire swept section.  Mr. C. S. Dana has received no word from his brother in regard to the fire.

Relief Committee

At the meeting of the General Relief Committee held Monday afternoon, B. F. Strecker was elected president, W. V. Hayes secretary, and C. F. Speary, treasurer.  The following men were appointed on the various sub-committees.  Commissary and Housing Committee: J. V. McMillan, George Alexander, Capt. Thomas Wilson, W. E. Daker, Prof. Krocker, F. B. Wheeler and James H. Dye.  This committee has its headquarters in the College gymnasium, on College street, and in the Roberts' barn on the West Side.  Executive Committee:  B. F. Strecker, W. V. Hayes, C. F. Speary, W. W. Mills, D. B. Torpy, Charles Penrose and M. M. Rose.  The finance committee is the same as the executive, with the addition of Congressman George White.  The sanitation has been referred to Mayor Leeper, who is ex officio member of the Board of Health.  The General and Executive Committees will meet every day at 4 o'clock, in the Historical room of the College.  Otto Hostetter and David Okey have been appointed members of the general committee.

Bartlett and Vincent have both sent relief to the West Side.  W. S. Turner brought in the supplies from Vincent and W. C. Hobson the kind donations of the people of Bartlett.

Local News

The Bell Telephone company has established a pay station in the probate court office of the Court House, where they will receive and transmit messages.  It will be some time before the local phones are again in use. 

The reports in Cambridge concerning Marietta were very alarming.  It was said that Marietta had 70 feet of water, and that several were drowned.  Business was at once suspended there, and the Board of Trade has been in session ever since.  They assisted Marietta and Zanesville.  Several men gave $100 each to be sent to this city.

James F. Barr, former post master of Cambridge, C. R. French, son of the late F. F. French, of the Pennsylvania railroad, and William Miles, all of the Cambridge Board of Trade, arrived in the city at midnight Monday, with 12 wagon loads of provisions and clothing, sent from Cambridge and Byesville.  Mr. Barr held a meeting at Byesville Sunday afternoon, and this city also responded heartily, having a large carload of provisions ready inside of an hour.  These men will remain here and assist in the relief.

According to the gentlemen from Cambridge, a representative of the United States War department will reach Whipple at 10:30 this morning, and will be brought to this city in an automobile. 

After traveling fully 40 miles on foot, a resident of Beverly reached Marietta this morning.  He stated that fully 58 houses had been carried away there.  No loss of life had been reported.  Beverly's loss will be great.

New Martinsville's loss will reach several hundred thousands.  Many fine homes were carried down the Ohio from that place.  New Martinsville is situated upon very low ground.

A temporary ferry will be established between east and west Marietta as soon as possible.  Acting upon the advice of Governor Cox, Congressman White will make arrangements at once for either a pontoon bridge or a ferry boat.

Members of the street department this morning, as soon as the water started leaving the streets, began to clean up with brooms, shovels, and hose.  Help in addition to the regular force has been secured for this department.

Not a barn between the A. A. Middleswart farm at Gravel Bank and Belpre has been left standing by the flood.  Although the suffering has been intense, no loss of life has been reported in that section of Washington county.  The lost barns and their contents represent thousands of dollars.

The home of Mrs. Mary Jane Knox, located at the top of the Ohio River bank on Gilman avenue, was carried down the Ohio river by the flood, but favored by good fortune, the structure alighted on the farm of Mrs. Knox's brother, D. A. Scott, who resides six miles below this city.  None of its contents were lost.

The first train over the M. C. & C. road will leave the West Side tomorrow.  This train will make connections with the Ohio Central lines at Palos.

A report was current over the city that John Skipton, an aged man of the West Side, was drowned in the flood.  This report is untrue.

The Board of Managers of the Woman's Home will not hold their scheduled meeting this week, but will meet later at the call of the president.

Of some fifty families rescued by the militiamen was a man who was carried down the Muskingum river on the roof of a house.  The patrol boat followed the house down the Ohio river two miles before overtaking it, and succeeded in rescuing the frantic man.

The condition of Mr. J. D. Lashley, of the West Side, who has been critically ill during the flood, remains critical.

The pump at the water works station was put to work this morning, and by nine o'clock there was 40 pounds of pressure in the mains.  This will increase as the lines are repaired.

Health Officer Dr. McGee issued a warning to all citizens this morning to boil all water used for drinking or cooking purposes.

John McKay and Moses Beaver, of Sistersville, arrived in the city this morning, bringing with them 70 tents and a large amount of provisions which were furnished by the citizens of that city.  They reported that the entire city of New Martinsville is under water.  Sistersville is supplying New Martinsville with 1000 loaves of bread daily.  Sistersville is the only place along the Ohio river where the Ohio River road tracks were not covered with water.  New Martinsville had 18 inches more than ever recorded before.

Brief Notes

Gas pipes are being pumped out by the River Gas Company, and in this way a gas being supplied most of their consumers.

A regular army officer reached the city this afternoon.  He had charge of the situation at Zanesville for several days.

The task of scrubbing off the streets is a big one, but the employees of the street department are progressing with wonderful rapidity.

A late report this afternoon says the fire at Parkersburg, mentioned on page 2, is under control.  No estimate of loss could be secured.

Three bodies had yesterday been removed from the wreckage at Zanesville.

A man whose name could not be learned is reported to have seen a floater while crossing the Muskingum in a boat this morning.

The oil refinery on the West Side is one of the heavy losers from the flood.  Tank after tank of valuable oil was carried away.  Damage to the plant is great.

The city's 125th birthday anniversary celebration has been called off.  Mr. C. S. Dana has notified Hon. L. Y Sherman, the speaker engaged.

Considerable damage is reported to have been done the new police signal system.

Several pieces of property in Williamstown were washed from their foundations, but none were carried away.

Quite a number of unsuccessful efforts have been made to break into residences outside the flooded districts during the flood.  People are warned to keep their houses well locked after nightfall.

A robber caught looting in Columbus was shot dead by an army officer.

The Times-Recorder, of Zanesville, one of the leading newspapers of Southeastern Ohio, has been printing its editions on wrapping paper.

The Ohio State Legislature has adjourned sine die.  This information came from Columbus by long distance telephone today.

One block was consumed by the fire at Parkersburg this morning, and while the conflagration is under control, several buildings are still burning at press hour.  The fire started when the C. C. Martin wholesale grocery collapsed, boxes of matches ignited, and in this way the building was set on fire.

Transportation to outside points will be opened Wednesday morning.  Captain Mitchell of the War Dept. was in the city today, and ordered the towboat Guyandotte to make daily runs between Marietta and Parkersburg, commencing Wednesday morning.  The boat will leave for Parkersburg at 9 A.M. and 3 P.M., returning at 7 A.M. and 1 P.M.  This boat will carry mail and relief supplies.  Only passengers having urgent business will be carried; these must first secure an order from Postmaster Ward or Mayor Leeper.

The first mail reached the city at noon today, coming by gasoline boat from Parkersburg.  Mail was sent back on this boat.  The second mail will leave Wednesday morning.  The carriers made their first collection this morning, and the first delivery this afternoon.

The Marietta Telephone company, thru the assistance of A. D. Stewart, of the Court Motor Co., has maintained 400 local phones during the water.  They now have connections with Warner, Caldwell, Cambridge, Lowell and Parkersburg thru Williamstown.  They will have good service in a few days.

The body of W. S. Pattin is at Ripley, W. Va., according to word received here today.  It will reach this city by boat the latter part of the week.

On the advice of Capt. Mitchell, Cong. White telegraphed the Secretary of War today for a government pontoon bridge, which will span the Muskingum at Washington street, if it is received.  A wire from Gov. Cox today stated that a carload of bedding was on its way to this city.

The Bell Telephone Co. will install an entire new system in Marietta.  About 40 men are now at work and 110 will arrive by boat from Wheeling tonight.  50 of these come from New York and will establish their own quarters.

It will be Thursday before the Pennsylvania will run a train into this city.  The O.R. will not be running for ten days.  The O. & L. K. and B. & O. are in bad condition and will not operate for several days.  The B. & O. S. W. from the east will enter Parkersburg Thursday.

Little or no information from the outside world could be obtained by the Register-Leader today in spite of repeated efforts.  Official messages only would be handled by the Bell Telephone Co., over whose lines the Register-Leader receives its regular Associated Press dispatches.  Late this afternoon the Register-Leader expects to receive its first wire news since Wednesday last.

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