Eye-Witness Describes Flood-Ravaged Carrollton


After spending nearly a week in the flooded town of Carrollton I want to tell those who have friends or relatives there, that there has been no loss of life in Carrollton, and everyone at present is receiving the necessities of life, thanks to generous help from Lexington and other cities.

This is not to say that the resident of Carrollton have not suffered heavily.  The business district and many of the residences are flooded.  Tobacco warehouses and residences on High Street and other comparatively high places in the city are caring for the approximately 800 persons driven from homes, hotels and other buildings.

I went to Carrollton on business Monday, Jan. 18, going by way of Worthville.  Riding a mail truck from Worthville, I traveled through water 18 inches deep to get to the city.  Thereafter, water rose rapidly and I could not leave.  After 5 o'clock Wednesday afternoon there was no means of communication between Carrollton and the outside world.

As the water kept up its steady rise, persons were driven from the Richland and Carrollton Hotels, from business houses, and residences.  I was taken in at a residence on High Street.  All home and other buildings on higher ground were crowded with persons from the lower sections of the town.  However, everyone kept cheerful and worked heroically.

Especial praise is due the CCC boys located in the camp at Carrollton.  They waded through water day and night helping people from flooded houses. They did everything possible to make the conditions more bearable.

I saw one heroic rescue I want to tell about.  A house came floating down the river with the current racing and waves rolling two or three feet high. Three persons were hanging on the roof as it pitched and tossed in the waves.  Some men went out in a scow, tied onto the house, and helped the people in the boat.  Then, they pushed off and made their way to land as waves threatened to capsize the overloaded scow.

I want to say that the rescue workers have risked their lives and health repeatedly.  It was a common thing to see them - CCC boys and others - wading in the cold flood waters far above their waists, sometimes almost up to their chins.

Prestonville, located across the Kentucky River from Carrollton, was under 15 feet of water and every resident was compelled to evacuate.  The center of the bridge across the Kentucky between Carrollton and Prestonville was out of the waster, but the approaches were under water several feet deep.

Although we were warned that to attempt to cross it would be dangerous, E. L. Cassell, Louisville, a bank examiner; another Louisville bank examiner by the name of Fishback, and I started to leave Carrollton Sunday.  Although we traveled through water, we safely got to Easterly [sic] and Dividing Ridge.

Luckily Eagle Creek, which since has risen again, had gone down during the night and we were able to get through to Sanders, then to Sparta, and on to Owenton.  Coning through this way we learned that the Pan American train had been marooned at Worthville since Thursday.  Thirty three of the 48 passengers had been taken by boat Thursday to higher ground and had made their way to the highway and on to Owenton and Dry Ridge, where they caught a bus. Fifteen passengers would not leave  the train immediately.

I got from Owenton to Dry Ridge and then on into Lexington Monday night - I'm speaking of Monday night, Jan. 25 - I was relieved to receive word that my family was safe on a houseboat in the Shawnee district of Louisville.

Since last Wednesday afternoon I had known that my family was somewhere in the flooded area of Louisville.  They knew I was in the flood at Carrollton, but neither could get word to the other.  Last night my brother at Louisville got word through my niece at Chicago that my family had been forced out of our home at Broadway and 25th street in Louisville and had taken refuge on a houseboat, and were safe.  My niece phoned this information from Chicago to Lexington.  It was a roundabout way to get word after a week of waiting.

I'm now with my sister, Mrs. S. M. Johnson, and her family at 858 E. High street in Lexington and I will try to bring my family there.


By H. S. Tyler, in the Louisville Courier-Journal, along with this: “Editor's Note: This eye-witness story of Carrollton flood conditions was written for the Leader by a traveling representative of the Courier-Journal, who was marooned there for days and who was one of the first persons to get out of that flooded area.”