On Saturday of the flood week Governor Cox issued a statement which showed the extent of the relief work being done. His report was a wonderful testimonial to the big hearts of the American people, who from every state in the Union had poured in food and supplies of every kind. At no time was there a lack of relief supplies for the people penned up by the floods. The only problem that had to be overcome was that of getting to the sufferers the abundant stores of food, clothing and medicine which the sympathetic people had provided.

Governor Cox said under date of March 29:

"The end of the week finds the state dazed and numbed in contemplation of the tremendous and widespread destruction in almost every section. The situation today assumed a few novel angles. It is becoming now a problem of food within our borders. A condition which demonstrates how impotent even a great state is when communication is severed with the outside world.

"Cincinnati, in the fullness of her bounty, shipped trainloads of supplies into the lower Miami Valley and the southeastern part of Indiana as well. Philanthropy displaced prudence, and to-night the Queen City of the West appeals to the state for assistance.

"Dayton and Zanesville, the two troublesome points so far as extension of relief was concerned, are in pretty fair shape. The Western food supply was tapped by way of Indianapolis. The Chicago Association of Commerce, at our request, established a base at Indianapolis so soon as railroad traffic was resumed between Dayton and the Indiana capital.


"Ten carloads of lime, five car tanks of gasoline and a trainload consisting of bread, vegetables and clothing, are on their way to Dayton now from that point. Lime is as needful now as food for the purposes of disinfection.

"The West is also supplying medical supplies, particularly antitoxin for the diphtheria outbreak. Dayton’s last appeal was for automobile trucks. It will be harder to meet this requisition than any previously made, but the appeal has gone by wire to Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo, Lima and Indianapolis.

"If the wonderful response that has come to every request up to this time is an index, then we ought to have 200 automobile trucks with drivers in Dayton Monday morning. These will be used for the purpose of distributing the food supply.

"The military organization has been of great service, and the week closes to-night with some measure of consolation in the thought that every section that has appealed to us has had hunger appeased. Colonel Zimmerman of the Eighth Regiment was sent at daylight from Dayton into Hamilton, and this afternoon he sends his official report, which is, indeed, a gruesome tale. Ninety-one bodies will be interred to-morrow. Two hundred horses were burned in the street. Two or three of the principal thoroughfares have been washed into ditches twenty feet deep.


"Hamilton will supply a real problem because we have reached it until now through Cincinnati. It has been impossible to get there from the north. With the Cincinnati supply diminishing down to the point of need and the Ohio flood situation cutting off communication from both the east and south, we doubtless face a crisis in dealing with the situation of Cincinnati and Hamilton.

"Secretary of War Garrison arrived at Dayton by automobile from Cincinnati. The sanitary conditions there are bad and at our request he has assumed sanitary charge of the city. Dr. Rupert Blue, who was of such service at San Francisco, assumed personal supervision of the work.

"The whole country is loud in its praise of John H. Patterson. His was the master mind at Dayton, and through the remarkable organization of the National Cash Register Company, which stretches out over the whole United States, he was enabled to be as potential as even the federal and state governments in the first forty-eight hours of the flood famine.

"The power of the military force finally bore into Zanesville. That situation developed the same degree of heroism exhibited elsewhere. Judge Adams, formerly of the Circuit Court, and now dean of the law school in the State University, reached his office at his home in Zanesville by horseback and on foot, and brought back to-day the first verbal report of the condition in the Muskingum Valley. Food expeditions from the north, east and west of Zanesville were successful, rendered so by the transportation of high-powered motor boats by train.


"Many of the Ohio manufacturing cities have never until now appreciated the lurking danger of a congested foreign population. Youngstown and Zanesville were under great apprehension for a considerable time because of the ominous muttering from the foreign sections. Food is the solution of the situation, and it has been met.

"Marietta entered the list of sorely stricken cities to-day. The water there has exceeded the 1884 stage and a goodly portion of the city is inundated. The relief commission for the time has provided for Marietta.

"The wire chief operator of the Bell Telephone Company, Ralph Jackson, reports to-night that an appeal has come from Portsmouth. Water in the Ohio is sixty-eight feet high and still rising. Report is that the business buildings are on fire. In Gallipolis the water is still rising. At last report it was sixty-two feet.

"The telephone building has caved in and communication put out of commission.

"All Ohio towns are wrapped in water to-night. Ripley, Pomeroy, Middleport and Gallipolis are heavy sufferers. New Richmond, Higginsport and seven little towns in Clermont County are in trouble.

"Arrangements were perfected to-night to tap the food supplies in the hills. Clothing will reach there the early part of the week. It is said that there is not a bridge standing over either the Muskingum or Miami Rivers.


"The loss at Columbus will be about 100 lives. The maximum at Dayton, as it appears now, will be 200. Hamilton will run about 150.

"It is suggested to-day that the Legislature recess for a week. That body, as the result of labors in the flood districts, is in no condition to transact business, and besides the state will need at least a week to reflect on the constructive legislative measures presented. No such emergency has ever presented itself to any American commonwealth. With that resourcefulness characteristic of the race, vast engineering projects are already discussed to change the course of rivers in several Ohio cities. Experience has taught a bitter lesson.

"Estimates have been made this afternoon with considerable care and it is the belief that property loss in the state will aggregate $300,000,000."


Back to Legacy