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And the rains came: Timeline for the days of 1913 flood

March 29, 2013
The Marietta Times

Easter Sunday, March 23-Winds ahead of a low-pressure system bring warm, moist air into the Ohio Valley. Temperatures rise from 30 degrees in the morning to 70 degrees that evening.

Monday, March 24-Storms move into the area, dropping record total rainfalls of 3 to 8 inches over areas of Ohio, Indiana and southern Illinois in less than 48 hours.

Tuesday, March 25-Ohio Gov. James Cox is alerted to severe flooding in communities throughout the state. Heavy rains continue over the Ohio Valley. Floodwaters rush into Ohio cities, including Dayton, Akron, Zanesville, Youngstown and Cleveland. Gov. Cox calls out the entire Ohio National Guard to assist in flooded districts.

Wednesday, March 26-Heavy rain continues over the Ohio Valley. Marietta residents awaken to homes and businesses surrounded by floodwaters. The Putnam and B&O Railroad bridges washed into the Muskingum. The McConnelsville-Malta bridge also washed away.

Thursday, March 27-Heavy rains begin to subside, replaced by some light snow and much colder temperatures.

Friday, March 28-Rivers continue to rise in Marietta.

Saturday, March 29-The flood crests in Marietta at a record of 58.7 feet by noon. An area of approximately 3.5 square miles of the city is flooded.

Sunday, March 30-Marietta Mayor Charles Leeper announces flood victims are "well-provided for, except for bread. We need 500 to 1,000 loaves at once."

A temporary flood relief committee, headed by B.F. Strecker, met at Marietta College that afternoon.

Leeper issues orders to police and National Guard members to "shoot to kill anyone found looting or attempting to steal anywhere in the city."

The text for Sunday services at the Methodist Episcopal Church is "And they all escaped safely to land."

Monday, March 31-Rivers falling slowly. By 2 p.m. the flood had dropped to around 51 feet.

Four carloads of provisions from Caldwell and Cambridge were at Whipple, awaiting transportation into Marietta.

The relief committee met at the Presbyterian Church where 25 people were assigned, one for each city precinct. Relief efforts would follow plans adopted during the San Francisco earthquake and fire.

Capt. Thomas Wilson requested clothing and bedding to be sent to the Marietta High School building.

"Please do not give clothing or goods to people soliciting at your door. Send your gifts to the established city center from which they will be distributed," Wilson wrote on a handbill.

Gov. Cox issues statement that Ohio had suffered an estimated $300 million loss from the disaster.

Tuesday, April 1-Martial law declared in Marietta. First contact with Gov. Cox made from the city at 9:55 a.m. when Congressman George White and the Honorable D.B.Torpy called the governor "over the long distance wire of the Bell Telephone Company, which was for official use only."

At 8 a.m. a fire broke out in a large area of Parkersburg. The blaze, which started in the C.C. Martin Wholesale Grocery House near the Belpre ferry, reportedly swept through a "wide section" of the city.

Twelve wagon loads of provisions arrived in Marietta from Cambridge.

Wednesday, April 2-Relief committee chairman B.F. Strecker makes an appeal to Marietta citizens for financial help.

An Ohio General Assembly committee sends legislative members to assess property losses throughout the state.

72 bodies were removed from the flood ruins in Columbus.

The Bellevue Hotel (now the Lafayette) was threatened by fire that broke out in a storeroom.

Thursday, April 3-River Gas Company workers restoring water-damaged gas mains in Marietta.

A carload of lime and chemicals ordered for "sanitary work" throughout the city.

National Guard Company E from Caldwell arrived in Marietta. Soldiers were transfered to the city's west side where they would "have complete charge."

Friday, April 4-High school classes expected to resume two weeks from Monday. Grade schools not expected to reopen until May 1.

Red Cross hospital established in the Historical Building of Marietta College. Two patients were recorded. One suffered from a sprained ankle, and the other had "a slight attack of the grip."

City council notified Marietta was in danger of typhoid fever if the streets were not cleaned up at once.

Saturday, April 5-Estimated 6,000 people being fed daily in Marietta by commissaries established at the high school and Marietta College.

Sunday, April 7-Reports received from the relief committee that 115 homes had been washed away, 50 were carried from their foundations, and 200 were uninhabitable-most in the city's east end and west side.

Saturday, April 19-Just past noon the first train since the flood crosses the B&O Railroad Bridge. A pontoon bridge, made of barges, has been constructed in place of the Putnam Bridge.

Source: National Weather Service records and March and April 1913 issues of the Marietta Daily Times, Marietta Register Leader and McConnelsville Register Herald.



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