The Deluge

The Great Flood Reaches an Unprecedented High Water Mark.

Gloom, Destitution and appeals for Aid Throughout the Flooded Districts.

Louisville, Madison, Lawrenceburg, Evansville Thousands Homeless Terrible Scenes, Etc.



Special to the Sentinel - Madison, Ind., Feb. 14. The river rose about nine inches last night and still rising slowly. It has now eclipsed the floods of 1847-32, with prospects of coming still higher. It rained all last night and is still raining at this hour. We heard of a man named Smith dying at the Village of Brooksburgh [Indiana], eight miles above here, with the water at the edge of his bed. Your correspondent took a trip to Fulton [on the east side of Madison] yesterday, and indeed everything looks desolate. The houses which stand on Ohio street are almost completely submerged, the chimneys of some being all that is visible, while those on higher ground are deep in water. In one two-story frame house we saw the water almost up to the second story windows, and still the people had not yet moved, and the innocent little ones were playing on the upper floor near the windows, not dreaming of the danger they were in and that if a wind would rise, any moment the house might be thrown over, and the occupants plunged into the deep waters below.

Three houses floated away from Milton yesterday, Ben Morris' warehouse, Cassidy's wagon shop, Mrs. Glven's residence and Vawter's grocery. Thousands of people visited the city yesterday to view the greatest flood the Ohio Valley has ever known.

Farmers came in wagon loads, bringing whole families, while a great many came down from Vernon and North Vernon.

Mr. Dewese, of Trimble County, Kentucky, has 15,000 pounds of tobacco under water, which will be ruined. As he rain is still pouring down, the scene becomes more desolate and the situation more alarming.

The back waters have inundated a greater part of Springdale Cemetery and many graves are now under water while along the river men can be seen with forlorn faces and women crying, and they see the homes which they had toiled for years to pay for, now under water, and liable at any moment to float off, leaving them without shelter.

At Fulton the situation is unchanged. A meeting of the citizens was held at the City Hall last night to provide means of relief for those in distress, and Ward Committees were appointed to solicit subscriptions.

This morning the ferry-boat J. C. Abbott was chartered and used to carry bread and provisions to the sufferers at Fulton. People are now being gotten out of the tenement houses which the water is reaching and taken to other places for shelter. The steamer Hornet, from Carrollton, arrived this morning and departed again at noon. The Ella, with a large tow of empties, passed up at 12:30 this afternoon. Later The river is rising two inches per hour. Several houses have [floated] passed here.

Madison, Feb. 14. The situation here grows more appalling. The river rose six inches and a half last night, and reports just received from Carrolton say that the Kentucky River is pouring out a new flood and rising rapidly. It has rained here steadily and hard since 4 p. m. yesterday. The water is rising one and a half inches per hour. Milton, Ky., opposite Madison, is completely submerged; not a house is exempt from the overflow. Large cables are being used to anchor the buildings. The water is up to the second floor of many dwellings.

Fulton, the eastern suburb of this city [Madison], has been abandoned. All the front and extreme western section of the city is also abandoned. The back water and Crooked Creek have inundated the city on the north, and Springdale Cemetery is partially covered. It has rained hard until the present hour since last night More rain will cause Crooked Creek to deluge Walnut street and a large part of the town. The Hornet came up from Carrollton this morning for food for the sufferers there.

The provisions in the stores there are exhausted. Later The Western Hotel is destroyed, being considered dangerous for the people to remain on the second floor. It stopped raining at 1 o'clock, but still remains cloudy, warm and threatening, with occasional showers of wind from the south. The river is steadily increasing upon the city, rising at this hour at the rate of fully one inch an hour. No casualties, however, yet reported in the city, but the damage to property and destitution of the people must be great in any event.


Indiana State Sentinel, February 21, 1883