A BRIEF DIARY OF THE FLOOD
AN ACCOUNT OF FLOOD CONDITIONS IN GENERAL TOLD DAY BY DAY.
MONDAY, MARCH 24
Rising water reported throughout the Ohio Valley. Partial floods prevail and fears of damage entertained in many river towns. Rains heavy and continuous.
TUESDAY, MARCH 25
Levees give way at many points. Floods sweep Ohio and Indiana, isolating entire cities, causing enormous damage and great loss of life, and devastating large sections of country in all parts of both states. Floods also reported in Pennsylvania, Northern New York, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. Dayton, Ohio, reports large loss of life. Governor Cox of Ohio declares the disaster greatest in the state’s history. Many thousands homeless in Indiana and Ohio. Troops called out in several cities of both states.
Miami River Valley, Ohio, towns flooded include Dayton, Piqua, Troy, Sidney, Carrollton, Miamisburg, Hamilton and a dozen smaller towns.
Mad River Valley, West Liberty and Springfield flooded. Scioto River overflowed, inundating part of Columbus and many small communities.
Olentangy River floods Delaware, Ohio; Lima flooded by Ottawa River and Zanesville by the Muskingum.
Indianapolis flooded by White River; Peru, Ind., inundated and isolated, with immense damage reported. Fort Wayne, Logansport, Richmond and Shelbyville flooded. Marion, Ellwood, Broad Ripple, Lafayette, Rushville, Muncie and Noblesville reported partly under water. Terre Haute residence section flooded by Wabash River and Kokomo, Ind., by Wild Cat Creek.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26
Indiana flood reports grow in horror. Governor Ralston issues appeal for aid. Indianapolis and Peru suffer most of Indiana cities. President Wilson appeals to the nation to help flood sufferers in Ohio and Indiana. Early reports from Dayton indicated great loss of life. Thousands marooned in larger buildngs of flooded cities. Columbus, Cincinnati, Sidney, Tiffin, Delaware and other Ohio cities report many dead and damage immense. Flood at its height in both states. Generous response by people of the United States to appeals for aid, and relief trains started to Dayton and other flooded cities.
THURSDAY, MARCH 27
Later reports from Dayton, Ohio, indicate number of dead less than 200. Early reports of loss of life found to have been exaggerated by excitement and fear of sufferers, but damage total in all flooded cities enormous atid sufferings of homeless victims demand prompt relief. The United States Government sends medical officers and supplies to Dayton. Contributions to relief funds and supplies of food and clothing begin to pour into the stricken cities. Many refugees rescued by boats as waters begin to recede. First attention of relief parties given to the living. Many thrilling escapes from flood dangers. Martial law proclaimed in several cities. President Wilson reported ready to visit flooded territory.
FRIDAY, MARCH 28
Estimates of deaths in Dayton and other cities drop as flood recedes. Homeless in Dayton reported at 70,000 and property loss $50,000,000. Hundreds rescued as the falling of waters tells tragedy’s extent. Probabilities of a pestilence feared in many cities. River stage at Cincinnati 64 feet, nearing the record stage, and city faces worst flood in its history. Peru, Ind., and West Indianapolis under quarantine. Shawneetown and Cairo, Ill., threatened with flood. Twenty-four bodies recovered from flood at Peru, Ind. Martial law enforced by state troops at Dayton and curiosity-seekers forbidden to enter the city. Dayton authorities appeal for nurses, medicines, clothing and fuel. Communication with flooded cities re-established.
SATURDAY, MARCH 29
Bodies of 121 victims recovered at Dayton. Work of rebuilding shattered homes begins. Secretary of War Garrison at Dayton and reports to President Wilson on situation there, then left to inspect conditions and superintend the Government relief work at Cincinnati and Columbus. Lack of water supply causes suffering and sickness in Dayton. Thousands of homes submerged in Cincinnati and 15,000 persons homeless; river stage 67 feet. Homeless in all stricken cities being cared for by relief committees. Government health officer left at Dayton to prevent pestilence. Waters continue to recede at Dayton, but rising from Cincinnati to Cairo. Illinois troops ordered to Shawneetown. Dayton organizes force to clean up city.
SUNDAY, MARCH 30
Dayton reports relief required for 40,000 homeless; 15,000 houses in city require rebuilding. Waterworks open but pressure feeble owing to open pipes in wrecked houses. Columbus and other cities faced by problem of food supply. Cairo, Ill., threatened with flood; river stage 51.5 feet. Chicago regiment of Illinois National Guard ordered to Cairo to fight new floods. Many churches in the United States take up special collections to aid flood sufferers. People of Columbus, Dayton, Zanesville and other stricken cities cleaning up after receding waters. Columbus death list reported at 64; Dayton, 150; Hamilton, 50; Miamisburg, 50; Tiffin, 18; Chillicothe, 18; Middletown, 14; Fremont, 14; Piqua, 19; Harrison, 12; Zanesville, 10; Peru, Ind., 24; Brookville, 16; Fort Wayne, 6; Terre Haute, 4.
MONDAY, MARCH 31
Relief systematized in Dayton. Martial law to prevail during clean-up. Citizens’ relief committee, with John H. Patterson, president of the National Cash Register Company, as chairman, in charge of relief work. An emergency form of government to prevail during the period of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Other stricken cities in Ohio and Indiana recovering from disaster and repairing damages. Danger of flood in Cairo and other Illinois towns grows, but levees hold.
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© 2001, Lynn Waterman