Window to the Past
The Delphos Flood - 1913
By BOB HOLDGREVE
From Delphos Herald - March 25, 1913
Delphos people awoke to find several feet of water in their homes Tuesday morning.
Delphos was indeed a flood-stricken city Tuesday and many residents in the south, east and southwest parts of the city who went to bed at all Monday night, awakened Tuesday morning to find themselves closed in on all sides and the streets forming rivulets of rapid flowing water.
The water rose gradually during the night, but at about three o'clock the rise became suddenly rapid and many districts which were thought to be high and dry, were included in the flood stricken districts. The police station was besieged by telephone calls by people who were shut in and hoped to escape from the flood, where the situation had become most alarming.
Chief Kehres and Patrolman Wagoner were out early Tuesday morning and with other residents they used rigs and boats to assist the people from their homes.
The southern part of the city from the canal east, and from Cleveland street south was one broad expanse of water. In some instances the residences on South Washington street had from 5 to 6 feet of water over the floors.
Waterworks Park was completely flooded. On most of the streets crossing the Clover Leaf railroad the water extends to the tracks.
Jennings creek was the highest ever known. The water was over the bridge at the end of Ohio street and to the level of the Pennsylvania bridge just to the north. The Water at the Fisher stone quarry was several feet higher than the bank and the Clover Leaf tracks near the quarry were washed out for several hundred feet.
Several rescue parties were at work Tuesday afternoon and from 50 to 100 families have left their homes. Boats are being used to convey fuel and eatables to others.
All the locks between here and St. Marys are open and the canal is now a rapid flowing stream.
There was several feet of water in the basements of the Delphos Manufacturing company and much damage will be wrought to stock and machinery.
Mrs. P.R. Lochhead on East Suthoff street, who is confined to bed from an accident, was removed to the second floor of the residence, and is resting as comfortable as possible.
The operators at the local telephone exchange are the busiest people in Delphos. The calls have been incessant and the girls are taxed to their utmost. Patrons should not become provoked so readily when they are not answered as prompt as usual.
The lower floors of many residences have several feet of water on them and carpets and furniture will be greatly damaged.
The Ohio Electric, (Traction Line) had about two miles of track washed out near Monroeville, Ind. Traffic was completely abandoned, no cars being run through Delphos. About a dozen bridges are out on the C.H. & D., and every town on the railroad between Dayton and Delphos is suffering from the flood.
All the schools in the city save Jefferson High, were unable to hold sessions Tuesday.
The Herald is issued under great difficulties. There was no gas supply for heating the metal for our linotype.
Most of the country roads surrounding Delphos are impassible and few of the farmers are able to reach the city with rigs.
At Middle Point, half the residents are reported to be surrounded by water and the people are being rescued. There is 14 inches of water in the waiting room of the (traction line) station.
All the homes on the east side were empty of water Wednesday morning. The flooded houses had floors and furniture that were covered with a heavy coating of mud and in many cases, expensive furniture was swelled and warped.
There were no regular trains into Delphos Wednesday. The Pennsylvania was the only line running any trains, and there were turnarounds running between Chicago and Delphos.
The water in the Auglaize River was the highest ever known. Charles Meyers, whose home east of Delphos is near the river, sent an appeal to Delphos and he and his family were rescued. At the Meyers farm, four hogs were drowned and the horses stood in 18 inches of water all night.
There are no mail trains reaching Delphos and the city mail carriers are enjoying somewhat of a vacation.
Elida, Middle Point are reported as being badly flooded and the roads are practically impassable. The town of Cloverdale is completely flooded, most of the residents being unable to leave their homes and much livestock in surrounding country drowned.
Cloverdale people express their thanks to the people of Delphos and Muntana for the assistance they rendered last week, when that town was entirely under water. Delphos citizens ran a relief train to that town, carrying food supplies with them, and that the people appreciated the kindness expressed in the following which was received at this office for publication Tues.
Card of Thanks
We heartily express our thanks for the aid and assistance we received from the people of Delphos and Muntana.
Citizens of Cloverdale
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Black arrived here from Dayton about midnight Tuesday, and are guests of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. Koehl on East Fifth Street. Mr. and Mrs. Black were in the flood that devastated the Gem City last week and had terrible experiences during the three days that conditions were the worst.
Mr. Black was in the worst of the flood and fire district for several days, and was separated from his wife from Tuesday until Friday morning, knowing nothing of her whereabouts and whether she was in safety or among the flood victims.
On Friday morning, Mr. Black was enabled to leave the business section and began his search for his wife whom he had left at their boarding place when he started for work on Tuesday. After visiting the various relief stations, he located Mrs. Black near their home and the joy of their reunion was too great to express. Mrs. Black was rescued from the boarding house when the water had reached the second story and was taken in a boat to a nearby flat which was transferred into a relief station.
O.G. Schmelzer, of Delphos, who went to Dayton last Friday, returned to Delphos Tuesday afternoon. The waters of the flood had receded when he arrived, and he witnessed much of the work of recovering of bodies of the dead.
He called on friends while in that city and saw a number of former Delphos people who are located in the flood-stricken city. Among these were Mrs. Frank Meyers and Misses Anna and Ida Holdgreve. Their residence was not in the flooded area. Miss Phyllis Brickner, of Delphos, who is at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Skanks, 350 West Second Street, had an unpleasant experience. Their residence was surrounded by 13 feet of water and they were marooned there until Thursday, when a rescue party came.
Mr. Schmelzer says that the old log cabin, a landmark in the central part of Dayton, which is being preserved as the "oldest house in Dayton," withstood the flood. The building is about a story and a half, and was surrounded by from 8 to 10 feet of water.
The anxiety of Delphos relatives for the safety of Mrs. Sarah Sheeter and her family, who are residents of North Dayton, the worst flooded section, has been relieved in the arrival of a letter from Mrs. Sheeter to Mrs. Otto Sheeter of South Delphos, a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Sheeter. When the water began to rise, Mrs. Sheeter and family fled to the second story for refuge and spent 3 days and nights there. Nineteen people took refuge there until the waters receded and they could leave.
No word has been received by local relatives from Jacob Allemeier and family, former residents of Ft. Jennings, who are residents of North Dayton.
Miss Elizabeth Pohlmann of Delphos, is in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Dayton and it is presumed that she is safe and probably busily engaged in the hospital, caring for the unfortunate one.
Mrs. Louis King and Mrs. John Miller, whose homes were formerly in Dayton and who have many relatives there, have received word that all their immediate relatives are safe from the flood.
The trustees of Washington Township did an excellent and rapid work in placing in possible condition, township roads damaged by the flood. In many places, the roads were washed away so that they were impassable.
Early Wednesday morning, before the water had entirely receded from some of the roads, the trustees had a force of 30 men at work making repairs. By Saturday afternoon every piece of damaged road in the township had been placed in good condition and no trouble was experienced in operating a wagon or auto. The trustees are to be commended for the strict and prompt attention they have given to the duties of their offices.
More details of the flood can be read in Allen Echart's book and the Delphos Herald on microfilm at the Delphos Public Library.
Compiled by Robert Holdgreve
Delphos Historical Society
August 11, 2001 Delphos Herald Newspaper