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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: October 7, 1870

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Details of the Freshet. Immense Destruction of Property
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Summary: The paper gives an account of the damage done by the largest flood in memory to hit Augusta County.
(Names in announcement: James Teabo, Mrs. Bolin, George Thurber, Phil O. Palmer, Henry Palmer, Samuel Landes, G. A. Hundley, John Shutterle, J. H. Argenbright, Christian Cline, Thomas F. Hoy, Robert S. Harnsbarger, John Beam, Mrs. G. D. Patterson, J. D. Craig, Humphrey, John A. Patterson, Bailey Dunlap, Col. W. D. Anderson, William Moorman, S. H. McCue, William Blackwell, Henry A. Harner, Wonderlick, James A. Patterson, John K. Koiner, Mrs. Kerr, William Patterson, Sylvester Stover, Amos Scott, John F. Lewis, Charles Weaver, Mrs. McCauley, Mrs. Ham, George Myers, Sniteman, William Hamilton, James Hamilton, P. T. Burkholder, Henry Defenbaugh, Martin Yount, Job Turner, Bates, Adam Shuey, Christian Michael, Capt. Hogshead, George Sherman, Mr. Hopewell, J. W. Miller, William Milnes, Rev. A. P. Boude, Thomas Blakemore, McNutt, Alexander, Anderson)
Full Text of Article:

We made a local notice, in our last, of the heavy fall of rain and terrible freshet of Thursday last, but did not then imagine the damage anything like as great as it is.

The roads and bridges leading out of Staunton being impassable at that time we were unable to learn, even in the smallest degree, the extent of the damage outside of Staunton, but in the past few days, travel has been resumed in various directions, and we are enabled to learn and give some of the details of the damage done to our county people.

Of course our statement must be incomplete, and in some cases may be incorrect, but sufficient is given for our readers to form some idea of the immense damage done to Mills, Dwellings, Crops, &c., in this and adjoining counties.

The rain and freshet was general throughout the Valley, and in South-western and South-eastern Virginia.

The streams in this and adjoining counties were higher than can be remembered by the oldest citizens, and the damage to property consequently greater than was ever known before.

In Staunton no such a flood was ever known. The freshet of 1860, when the banks of the Creek, which runs in a southerly direction through the city, were overflown, and the water poured through the principal streets, did more damage to private property, while the freshet of Thursday last did far greater damage to public property.

We mentioned in our last the various bridges destroyed in Staunton, but, at that time, owing to the continued high state of the water, could not form any very correct idea of the damage done. Especially were we mistaken as to the damage done to the bridge and masonry in front of Bickle's shop, on Main Street, which is far greater than we supposed, and after an examination of all the damage done to public property, are satisfied that the cost, of replacing and repairing, to the Corporation, will not fall short of our estimate given before. The damage to private property, we are pleased to be able to state, is not so great as we had supposed.

We mentioned the fact of Mr. Jas. Teabo's narrow escape last week, but had not then learned of the two following incidents of the flood.

An old man caught in Mrs. Bolin's stables, on Spring Lane, remained in the loft during the flood. Although parties went to his rescue, yet he persisted in remaining, rather than risk the chances of getting out. Fortunately the stable was not carried off and he was not subjected to the watery element which he so dreaded.

Mr. Geo, Thurber, who remained in his house, just below Burke's Stables, longer than proper discretion dictated, was unable to get out. The rapid rise of the water forced him into the second story, from which he escaped to a tree and was rescued by his friends throwing him a rope.

All along Lewis' Creek we hear of damage to crops and fences. The Fair Grounds were submerged and slightly damaged but will be put in readiness, easily, for the Fair.

On Middle River the destruction was greater than any other stream in the County.

The Valley Mills, Phil O. Palmer's, at West View, were damaged considerably, the western end being forced out. The end of his Foundry moulding room was bursted out and many valuable patterns destroyed. Mr. Palmer's saw-mill was washed away and his dam broken, and at the same time the bridge across the Parkersburg road, and the private bridge leading from that road to Mr. Palmer's Foundry. His orchards were seriously damaged.

Henry Palmer's, Mt. Vernon Mill, at Spring Hill, with about 3,000 bushels of wheat and 100 barrels of flour, and his saw-mill, were swept off. A report has reached us that this Mill, or a portion of it (as some say it went off in sections,) lodged without being further broken to pieces, near the Wheatland Mills, some miles down the stream.

Sam'l Landes Mill was damaged, some 40 or 50 barrels of flour lost, his dam broken and saw-mill considerably injured.

The dam and forebay at Trimble and Hogsett's mill was damaged and 1000 feet of lumber carried away.

G. A. Hundley's mill had a portion of the foundation washed out, and the wheel, dam and forebay damaged, but its contents are uninjured.

John Shutterle's mill was overflowed in the basement, the forebay and part of the dam and his saw mill destroyed.

The dam at Trinity Point mills was

turning and fitting shop was destroyed.

J. H. Argenbright's dwelling house and furniture was carried away.

Christian Cline's mill, with about 4000 bushels of wheat, and his saw mill were swept away. The house of his miller, Jos. Cline, was carried away and landed about 3/4 of a mile below, in the field of Saml. D. Humbert.

Saml. Cline's mill, 6 miles below Staunton, on the McAdamized Road, was covered up with debris, with about 400 bushels of wheat. This wheat is said to be much damaged if not a total loss.

Thos. F. Hoy's saw mill, near Mt. Meridian, was destroyed.

Robt. S. Harnsbarger's saw mill and miller's house were swept away and his mill partially submerged but not damaged.

Scotts Ford mills, below Mt. Meridian gone--loss $5000.

Jno. Beam lost his dwelling and all its contents.

Mrs. G. D. Patterson lost her meat-house, smoke-house, barn and all her farming implements.

J. D. Craig at Mt. Meridian lost all his out-houses, stables, straw-ricks, some farming implements and about 500 bushels of corn. A dwelling on his place occupied by Mr. Humphrey, with all its furniture &c., was swept away.

Jno. A. Patterson lost a quantity of fencing and a large quantity of wheat in his granary.

Bailey Dunlap lost a quantity of corn and the corn crops of Col. W. D. Anderson, Wm. Moorman and S. H. McCue were washed away.

The following are the losses on South River as far as we can hear.

Stuart's distillery damaged, mill not injured.

Wm. Blackwell's Mill, 1 mile above Waynesboro, was submerged and in danger, but the dam gave way and relieved and probably saved it.

Henry A. Harner's chopping mill was carried away, but his saw-mill is left standing.

Wonderlick's saw-mill and a tenant's house with furniture &c., were destroyed.

Jas. A. Patterson lost his saw-mill and two houses.

Jno. K. Koiner lost his saw-mill, but his flouring mill was not injured.

Patrick's Mill was submerged, but not damaged--the dam is not believed to be broken.

Mrs. Kerr, a widow with nine children, lost her dwelling, granary and orchard.

Mr. Wm. Patterson, eight miles below Waynesboro, went out into his yard to remove a log which had washed against his dwelling, and was thrown into the main channel and was compelled to swim to the other side of the river to save his life.

Port Republic, Rockingham, we learn was at one time fifteen feet deep in water, and but few houses destroyed.

Sylvester Stover, Miller at Port Republic, and his wife and child were swept away in their dwelling and supposed to be lost.

Amos Scott lost 12 fine Horses.

The Mill of Hon. Jno. F. Lewis was not damaged. His house was surrounded by water two days. He saved his horses by taking them into his house.

Chas. Weaver lost his Mill, Chopping Mill, Dwelling and out houses on his premises.

At Weyer's Cave the dwelling of Mrs. McCauley, containing an aged woman, Mrs. Ham, was swept away. Mrs. McCauley, two daughters and two babes, two sons and two negro men saved themselves by getting into trees, where they remained during the night amid the storm and rain.

The damage to crops &c., along South River was very great.

We have heard of the destruction of the following property on Christian's Creek:

Bushong's mill badly damaged and dwelling house, occupied by Mr. Geo. Myers, with its contents, and saw mill swept away. Also a number of hogs and a buggy.

Sniteman's saw mill was destroyed.

Wm. Hamilton's Grist mill was carried away with its contents.

Mr. Jas. Hamilton had his wheat stored in this mill.

P. T. Burkholder lost his entire crop of corn.

Henry Defenbaugh lost 3 horses and 6 cows.

Brew's mill, near New Hope was badly damaged.

Martin Yount's Fulling mill and Saw mill were washed away.

Nearly every farmer on the creek lost more or less corn in the shock.

Job. Turner lost about $800 or $1000 worth of corn.

Bates' Tilt hammer, Cabinet shop and several dwellings near by, on Meadow Run, near New Hope, were swept away, and Sites dam, in close proximity, was broken, but his mill not damaged.

The destruction of fences, spring houses, crops &c., on Meadow Run was very considerable. Mr. Adam Shuey and family were compelled to leave their dwelling for a time.

Christian Michael's saw-mill in North River Gap was washed away.

The Saw-mill of Capt. Hogshead, near Stribling Springs, we learn, was carried about one mile down the stream and landed without damaging it a great deal.

The house of Geo. Sherman, at Grattan's Mill, near Mt. Crawford, was carried away with all its furniture &c., and the mill badly damaged.

Collin's Mill, one mile this side of Greenville was damaged--a small portion of the foundation being taken from under it. This, we believe, is the only mill damaged in the South-western portion of the county.

The Forrer dam, on Mossy Creek, lately rebuilt, and supposed to be one of the most secure in the county, is torn out worse than by the former freshet in that stream.

The bridges on every road leading out of Staunton were nearly all destroyed for 15 or 20 miles. The only road bed seriously damaged is that of the Parkersburg Turnpike, which is badly washed in many places. It will probably take $4,000 or $5,000 to restore it to its former good condition.

As far as we can hear from the county, in every direction, in the proximity of streams and meadow branches there has been great loss or damage to crops, and where there were no streams and there was consequently no flood, the farmers are damaged by washing out of the seed in the ground and washing away of the soil. In many places whole fields have been ruined and we have heard of one or two farms in adjoining counties which have been washed literally into gullies.

Along North River, Rockingham, immense damage was done. All the bridges were swept away. The mills near Bridgewater were destroyed, and several buildings in the place, including the Masonic Temple, damaged. The dwelling of Mr. Hopewell on Hopewell's Island was carried away.--The large mill and factories and the dwelling of J. W. Miller at Riverton were destroyed. From Bridgewater to Port Republic the fields are a perfect waste.

Hon. Wm. Milnes lost his Forge, and all the buildings connected with it, at Shenandoah Iron Works, Page Co., and his Storehouse and stock of goods, and Rev. A. P. Boude and Messrs. Deacon & Mason lost their residences. The safe containing the books and papers of the company weighing 3 tons was carried ten miles and landed at New Port. Mr. Milnes' residence was above the overflow.

All along down the Shenandoah River we hear of immense losses of Dwellings, Mills, Barns, Crops, Fencing &c., and in a few instances the loss of life.

Thos. Blakemore, formerly of Rockingham, lost all his family (6 or 8) except himself and two small boys. The boys saved themselves by swimming out and he by clinging to a tree.

Harper's Ferry was inundated, the water running into the windows of the second stories. The flood came on this place in the night without a warning to the inhabitants and the loss of life, in consequence, was considerable. A gentleman just from there reports 47 drowned. Great damage was done to property. The bridge over the Shenandoah at this place and the Railroad bridge between Harper's Ferry and Hall Town were swept away.

On the Manassas Railroad between Strasburg and Manassas several bridges were carried away and travel by that route suspended.

From Lexington we learn that much damage has been on the Point in that place, and several houses swept off, among the number the houses, of Messrs. McNutt, Alexander and Anderson. But few mills were damaged in Rockbridge, though farms were badly washed and fences and crops carried away and also many bridges.

In the adjoining county of Albemarle, on the Rivanna River, the destruction was very great. Not a mill is left standing and there was immense loss of crops. Many lives were lost in this stream.

The James River was higher than ever been known before. The loss along its banks was immense. At Lynchburg the Orange House was damaged, and the R. R. bridges near by and the large county bridge near the Piedmont House and the two iron bridges on Southside R. R. below were carried away.

All the lower portion of the city was badly damaged--loss estimated at three quarters of a million.

Fifty or sixty persons lost their lives between Lynchburg and Richmond.

All of the lower portion of Richmond was submerged, the water being four feet deep in the old market, and ferries established in Main and other streets. The damage to that portion of the city was immense. It has been estimated at one million, but will probably exceed that amount.

Mayo's Bridge was swept away and the Danville R. R. bridge only saved by being heavily weighed down.

We hear the same news all along the Potomac.

At Alexandria and Washington the water was higher than ever before known, and the Railroad bridge between these places swept away. Travel however is not impeded by this.

From the above scattered data, which is all we have been able to obtain, owing to the delay in Mails and communication, some idea may be obtained of the immense destruction which has spread over many portions of our beloved old State, greater, by far, than the devastations of four years war.

Our people, however, have exhibited in the past a wonderful recuperative power.--They will not be downcast now, but will bow with humble resignation to the will of Heaven, and will still hope and strive for the best.

The Fair
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Summary: The paper asserts that everyone who has attended the Augusta County Fair has come away impressed at the quality of the food. They attribute this to the care that the ladies of the county put in to preparing it.
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Summary: Lists the names of people appointed as Directors and Visitors to State mental institutions.
(Names in announcement: Robert W. Burke, Reuben D. Hill, P. B. Hoge, Robert G. Bickle, William H. Peyton, David C. McGuffin, John B. Evans, James H. Blackley, Jacob Baylor, Samuel C. Harper, Joseph A. Waddell, Alex B. Cochran, William J. Nelson, J. B. Dorman, J. H. Wartman, Charles S. Roller, C. G. Merritt)
Full Text of Article:

Gov. Walker has made the following appointments of Directors and Visitors to the State Institutions at this place:

Directors of the Western Lunatic Asylum at Staunton.--Robert W. Burke, Reuben D. Hill, P.B. Hoge, Robert G. Bickle, Wm. H. Peyton, David C. McGullin, John B. Evans, James H. Blackley, Staunton; Jacob Baylor, Swoope's Depot, Augusta; Samuel C. Harper, Mount Sidney, Augusta.

Visitors to the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, at Staunton.--Joseph A. Waddell, Alex. B. Cochran, Wm. J. Nelson, Staunton; J.B. Dorman, Lexington; J.H. Wartman, Harrisonburg; Chas. S. Roller, Mount Sidney, Augusta; C.G. Merritt, Greensville, Augusta.

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[No Title]
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Summary: The City Council has been holding special meetings for the last several nights to gather information and take steps to repair damage done by the flood.
[No Title]
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Summary: William H. Gorman, street commissioner, has been overseeing emergency work on the bridges and roads leading from town. Communication with the county has been opened in all directions.
(Names in announcement: William H. Gorman)
[No Title]
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Summary: Dr. S. F. Coyner of Augusta has been appointed Clinical Assistant at Washington University, Baltimore. "Dr. Coyner has a fine reputation for a young physician."
(Names in announcement: Dr. S. F. Coyner)
[No Title]
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Summary: Daily stages now run between Staunton and Harrisonburg. Mr. Andrew, the agent, announces that passengers may go through to Baltimore or to Harper's Ferry.
(Names in announcement: Andrew)
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Summary: Three African American men were killed working on the C. and O. Railroad when an embankment in which they were digging collapsed upon them.
[No Title]
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Summary: A grand tournament will be held on the last day of the fair. A saddle-horse and equipment will be awarded to the victor. Knights from adjoining counties are invited to participate. A coronation will be held in the rotunda afterwards.
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Summary: Mrs. Susan McFall, wife of William McFall, died at Parnassus, Augusta County, on September 29th. She was 46 years old. "Mrs. McFall was a consistent member of the Lutheran Church, with which she connected herself some twenty years ago, and her quiet and gentle disposition won for her the esteem and friendship of all who knew her."
(Names in announcement: Susan McFall, William McFall)

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