History Matters: Flood's aftermath had residents anxious over fate of loved ones in 1912

100 Years Ago

Flood worries

Notices in the Times from Hanover:

"M.E. church preaching 10 a.m. Sunday school 11 a.m. Pastor Rev. Edward Cisrael.

Mrs. Maggie Moliman of Dorsey has returned to her home after spending a few days with her daughter Mrs. H. Reimsynder at Hanover.

On Sunday last Rev. Ralph Smith of Dorsey visited St. Mark's colored church at this place. The service was enjoyed by all. Both Rev. Smith and Rev. Haines, their pastor made very impressive remarks.

The flood of last week had several families here in great anxiety over relatives being in the flood district. Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dunkerly's son, Mr. Francis Dunkerly at Cumberland, Mr. and Mrs. John Winks and family have relatives at Harpers Ferry. So far they are reported safe."

A notice regarding that flood also appeared:

"Red Cross Committee Makes 1st Dist. Report.

The committee in charge of the 1st District Red Cross Drive met at the Parish House Monday afternoon and reported $270.00 in hand. "The Helping Hands" assisted in mending sorting and packing large numbers of garments that have been sent for flood sufferers. Mrs. Marian Davis is chairman in the 1st District, Miss Lucy Isaac, assistant chairman."

This Great Ohio Flood caused flooding in several states, including West Virginia and western Maryland. It was a late winter flood the result of many days of rain, snow and then warmer temperatures causing a vast amount of melting snow. In its aftermath thousands were left homeless, and 137 people died.

I had a friend who was a teenager living in Ohio during this flood and described to me escaping from her second story bedroom onto a rescue boat as houses were being swept away around her. But perhaps that harrowing experience prepared her for a future of being in harm's way. She would later work near a combat zone in World War II and she served a civilian tour of duty in Vietnam during the war.

As bad as the Ohio flood was, it was the Johnstown Flood of 1889 in Pennsylvania that is the more infamous, with 20 million tons of water flooding the area killing 2,200 people. It was the first large scale disaster where Clara Barton and the Red Cross were on scene to assist survivors. The relief workers were in the area for months.

75 Years Ago

Kisssss me baby

In a Time article that brought to light falsehoods of some barn yard tales was this tidbit:

"Around the barns of farms the banded milksnake is often found and killed because it is accused of stealing milk from cows. A snake has no lips so it cannot suck a cow, and if it were able the amount would not be noticed."

That one screams for graphics like a cartoon snake with pouting lips sporting bright red lipstick.

50 Years Ago

Progressive prayers

In the church notices:

"Bethel Baptist Plans Cottage Prayer Meetings"

"Members of the Bethel Baptist Church will be holding cottage prayer meetings Monday through Friday. These meetings are being held in preparation for the coming Revival Services to be held at the Church April 15-20. The first prayer meeting will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mead Jestes of Overlook Drive, after which the meeting will continue at another home."

Monkey motors: And in a large Moore's store ad various toys and play equipment were listed including a stroller for $16.87 and a high chair for $12.99.

There was also a picture of a swing set and a description: "Hedstrom 2 l/2 inch steel play gym set, 4 passenger lawn swing, 10 foot steel slide, 2 seater air-glide, with two sings and rings."

It sounds like the type of swing set my parents bought for us, but which later worked out great for my dad and his amateur mechanics. We kids monkeyed around on the swing set for a few years, after which, for the next 10 years, my father and his friends used it to help repair their cars. They'd throw a chain around that 2 and l/2 inch steel top pole and hoist out various errant car motors, so they could monkey around with them and coax them into behaving.

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