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JIM: This town never fails to respond

Columbia came through for flood relief effort for Ohio and Indiana, with $102.72 raised after impassioned pleas by Eld. Z.T. WIlliams and Rev. J.H. Chandler at the Adair County Courthouse

By Jim

On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, a horrific rainstorm, accompanied at times by high winds, began churning across the eastern part of the United States, dumping several inches of rain on already waterlogged ground. Over a dozen states and virtually every stream east of the Mississippi River were affected to some extent, but Indiana and Ohio took the brunt of the storm. In those two states alone, hundreds drowned, tens of thousands were left homeless, many business houses were flooded or destroyed, and utilities were rendered useless.

A report out of Indianapolis datelined March 25th in regard to the situation in Dayton, Ohio, gives a glimpse of the destruction and distress in many places:

"The city is without electric lights, street car service or water service. It is impossible to estimate the damage. There is much suffering and the people are in need of food and clothing. All bridges have been swept away. There is no communication with the outside world. Many persons were caught in their homes with all avenues of escape cut off."

News didn't travel as quickly in those days, but by midweek, enough details had appeared in the daily papers to alert Adair Countians to the dire need of their northern neighbors, and the April 2nd edition of the News reported that on the evening of Sunday, March 30th, "there was an informal mass meeting at the courthouse to take steps to raise relief funds for the storm and flood sufferers."

Eld. Z.T. Williams and Rev. J.H. Chandler gave "stirring talks" (real stemwinders, apparently) and immediately thereafter, a collection was taken with the monies to be forwarded to the Red Cross for use where the need was greatest. Remarked the News, "The court auditorium was full of people and they were there for the purpose of giving." Perhaps many were reminded of Adair County's own tragic losses to flood not quite six years earlier, for give they did, in the sum of $102.72, the equivalent of about $2,350 in today's money.

The article also mentioned that when widespread flooding occurred in China "some years ago" (possibly a reference to the Huang He flood of 1887), Adair Countians contributed one hundred dollars toward relief efforts.

Observed the News, "This town never fails to respond when a calamity comes." Thankfully, some things never change. - JIM

This story was posted on 2013-04-14 16:22:06
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