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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: October 6, 1870

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The Wealth of the South
(Column 02)
Summary: This article shows the great wealth that has poured into the South as a result of the 1869-70 cotton crop. The author illustrates how cotton drives foreign commerce, and how the money generated falls back into "lap of the South." Although radicalism seeks to hold the South back, cotton not only creates wealth for the South, but also for the rest of the country.
Origin of Article: Boston Post
Full Text of Article:

From the statement of the Southern cotton crop for 1869-70, something like a just idea of the rich resources of that great section of the country may be formed. Three hundred and twenty-five millions of dollars brought into an agricultural community by a single crop is an outstanding exhibit; yet it is by that very amount that the South is the richer for its past year's product of a single staple. Three-fourths of it goes abroad, to turn the great wheels of foreign commerce, and in turn to set in motion the national currents of our internal trade and industry. The country mainly effects its exchanges with foreign countries by means of cotton bills, and these the South supplies. The export of two and a quarter millions of bales gives employment to a large fleet of ocean vessels, which favorable legislation would make in the main our own. All this wealth flows back into the lap of the South, but it enriches factors, merchants, steam lines, railroads, and a large number of other beneficiaries on its way, and afterwards forms the basis of an active and immense trade with the other sections of the country--the importers and manufacturers of the East, and the agriculturalists of the West. All are interlocked with the good fortune of that favored section, so that when it makes a good cotton crop the rest reap the advantage equally.

All this is the very section of the country, so peaceful in its pursuits as to be able to raise such crops of ready money as these, which Radicalism insanely seeks to hold under the tyranny of secret and irresponsible governments, inspired and sustained from Washington, and bent on disfranchising, punishing, and degrading its population in hopes of advancing the basest party ends. -- Boston Post

The Terrible Virginia Freshet. Immense Destruction of Property
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper reports on one of the most destructive floods to ever hit the state of Virginia.

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The Freshet at Home
(Column 01)
Summary: This article reports the extensive damage done by a recent flood. The article lists the various mills, houses, crops and other things either totally destroyed or partially damaged. Also are a number of stories of deaths and narrow escapes. Areas mentioned include those surrounding North and South rivers, the Shenandoah River, and areas in Rockbridge County.
(Names in announcement: James Teabo, Charley Stafford, John Kennedy, John B. SchererJr., Mrs. Bolen, John Thurbert, William Hamilton, James Hamilton, Preston T. Burkholder, Philip O. Polmer, Henry Polmer, Trimble, Hogsett, Samuel Landes, John H. Argenbright, John A. Patterson, G. A. Hundley, John Shutterley, Samuel Cline, Col. William A. Anderson, William Moorman, S. H. McCue, Christian Cline, Thomas F. Hoy, Robert S. Harnsberger, James D. Craig, Mrs. Kerr, Henry A. Harner, James A. Patterson, Mrs. McCauley, Mrs. Ham, Abraham Mohler, George W. Berlin, William Dinkle, John F. Lewis)
Full Text of Article:

The following report of the terrible freshet in Staunton and vicinity is extracted from the Spectator:

Staunton. -- We will not attempt to give in detail the damages done -- we will mention only the chief, which, as before said, consisted of the destruction of bridges. The bridge on main street, at Bickle's shop, was destroyed. At this place, also, the water and gas pipes were broken, which had the effect of depriving, for a short time, those living East of that place, of water, and those living West, of gas. The West-enders groped in the darkness, but quaffed delicious water -- the East-enders would have "preferred darkness to light," not "because the deeds were evil," but because, like Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner," with "water, water, everywhere," they had "not a drop to drink."

A portion of the masonry on each side, supporting the bridge on Augusta street, near the American Hotel, yielded to the sapping of the stream, and a part of the flooring of the bridge fell at the same time into the stream. A number were standing upon the bridge at the time, though, fortunately, but one, Mr. James Teabo, was precipitated into the racing torrent beneath. It was like being thrown into the very jaws of death, for it was barely possible that his life might have been saved. But, to the relief of all, who were terrified and helpless spectators of his imminent peril, his life was saved, and he was rescued from the stream after being borne upon its swift and resistless current for half a mile. He fortunately caught hold of a plank and held to it till he was floated into the meadow where he could reach the ground with his feet. That plank saved his life. Whilst he was in the stream going like an arrow sped from the bow, Charley Stafford and John Kennedy, with a generous spirit which is commendable, but with a rashness bordering upon madness, plunged into the stream below the Virginia Hotel, with the view of trying to rescue him. There efforts at that part of the stream were, of course futile, and the wonder is, that they were not drowned. He was rescued by Jno. B. Scherer, Jr., and others in the lower part of Kayser's meadow. He was nearly exhausted when rescued. He was much hurt and is still confined to his bed.

The bridge near Burke's Livery Stable, as well as the bridges near the Railroad bridge, were swept away. The new bridge leading to the Fair Ground and the new bridge on Lewis street, were not destroyed. Great damage was done to the lots on the Creek below town.

The houses in Irish Alley were partially submerged. An old man, in Mrs. Bolen's stable, a part of which was washed away, remained there till the next day. Efforts were made to rescue him, but he was too much afraid of the water to accept any of the modes of relief proffered him. He preferred to take his chances in the stable, and as that portion of the stable was not washed away, he was saved and came out the next day.

Mr. John Thurbert was rescued by knocking a plank off the gable of his house, by which means he got upon a tree, and by having a rope attached to the tree, he was saved.

The Fair Grounds were submerged and suffered considerable damage. They will be repaired before the time fixed for the exhibition.

Lewis Creek did great damage to the farms, fencing, &c., along its course, as did Mill Creek, Christian's Creek, and, in fact, every other Creek in the county.

Such has been the destruction of Mills, and the more or less serious damage to those not wholly destroyed, but that little, if any, grinding can be done, at this time, in this county. This freshet has been as destructive to Mills as the torches of Sheridan's army of incendiaries.

Christian's Creek -- This stream swept off bridges, mills, fencing and crops. The dwelling house at Bushong's Mill, occupied by Mr. George Myers, with all its contents, was destroyed. Sniteman's Saw Mill was swept away, as was, also, Wm. Hamilton's Grist mill, with all its contents. In this Grist mill, James Hamilton had stored his wheat, all of which was lost. M. Preston T. Burkholder lost his whole crop of corn, and others on this stream suffered in a similar manner, though not to an equal extent.

Middle River -- The destruction on this river was very great. We have but partial accounts, but they serve to form some idea of the damage suffered. The property of Mr. Phillip O. Polmer at Valley Mills suffered greatly, though the new merchant mill was not destroyed. Both bridges at that point were swept away -- the bridge on the Parkersburg Turnpike, and the bridge leading from that road to Mr. Polmer's Foundry. The pillar of masonry in the middle of the stream, supporting the former, was washed away. The saw mill was destroyed, with forebay and foundry trunk, and a large rent made in the dam.

The West end of the Old Valley Mill was destroyed, and also the West end of the Foundry moulding room was burst out to give vent to the water. The damage in the loss of patterns cannot yet be ascertained. His watergaps were completely destroyed and his orchards nearly so.

Henry Polmer's Mil., at Spring Hill, with 8,000 bushels of wheat, and near a hundred barrels of flour, was destroyed; also his saw mill. Trimble & Hogsett's Mill was injured in dam and forebay, and about 10,000 feet of lumber carried away.

Samuel Landes's Mill was injured, and from 30 to 50 barrels of flour lost. His Saw Mill was much injured, and his dam broken.

John H. Argent lost his dwelling and furniture.

John A. Patterson lost all his fencing along the river, and a large quantity of wheat in his granary. His farm, like that of many others on that stream, was seriously damaged by washing.

Bailey Dunlap lost 86 acres of corn, and soil washed off to depth of plow.

G.A. Hundley's Mill was seriously damaged having forebay, wheel, part of the dam, and part of the foundation washed away. Contents uninjured.

John Shutterley's Saw Mill was destroyed and his merchant mill flooded in lower story. His forebay and part of the dam destroyed.

The dam at Trinity Point Mills, which was so strong that it was thought that no freshet should affect it, was broken.

Keller's iron turning and fitting shop was destroyed.

The bridge at Samuel Cline's Mill was not swept away, though greatly damaged.

The corn crops of Col. Wm. A. Anderson, Wm. Moerman, and S.H. McCue were washed away.

Christian Cline's mill, supposed to have contained 4,000 bushels of wheat, was destroyed; also his saw mill. It is reported that his dwelling was also destroyed.

Thos. F. Hoy's Saw mill above Mt. Meridian was destroyed.

Robert S. Harnsberger's Saw mill, and also the dwelling occupied by his miller, were swept away. His large merchant mill was partially submerged, the stream swept from his fields about 600 bushels of corn.

Jas. D. Craig, at Mt. Meridian, suffered great loss. We are sorry to learn that he lost nearly everything except his dwelling occupied by himself and family. The dwelling on his place occupied by Mr. Humphrey, with its contents of furniture, &c., his stable, spring house, straw ricks, wheel drill, harness, &c., were swept away, besides about 500 bushels of corn.

South River -- The loss on this river was immense -- houses, bridges, fences, corn crops, &c., being swept away by the swollen volume and impetuous torrent.

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

Henry A. Harner lost his chopping mill and saw mill.

Wonderlick's saw mill, and the dwelling of his tenant with its contents, in which were included the furniture and clothing of the family, were destroyed.

Rippetoe's mill was destroyed.

James A Patterson's saw mill was swept away.

The bridge at the Forge, and several buildings belonging to the Mt. Vernon Iron Works Company, were destroyed.

At Weyer's Cave, the dwelling of Mrs. McCauley, with an aged woman, Mrs. Ham, in it was swept away. Her cries were heard as the house passed points lower down the river. The other occupants of the house, nine in number, Mrs. McCauley, two daughters with two babies, two sons and two negro men, were saved by getting on trees, on which they remained till the next day. During this time, whilst they were clinging for life to the trees which were swayed and shaken by the impetuous torrent beneath, they -- the innocent babies included -- were subjected through the darkness of the night to the "peltings of the pitiless storm" of rain which chilled them to the bone. "Ponder it, think of it."

An adventurous negro man took off his clothes and essayed to swim across the river to Abraham Mohler's, near Weyer's Cave; but finding that the current was too strong for him, and that he would probably be drowned, if he persisted in the attempt, he seized hold of and succeeded in climbing a tree, upon which, in his state of nudity, he remained until the next morning, when he succeeded in swimming safely to shore.

Some buildings we learn in Port Republic were destroyed, and others were partially submerged.

Miscellaneous -- On Mossy Creek, the Forrer dam, lately rebuilt, was broken, washing away the smith shop. On Moffett's branch, Captain Hogshead's saw mill washed away, an immense amount of fencing, corn in shuck, and land, seeded, the soil carried off to the depth of the plow. Long Glade was similarly visited, the bridge near Fulton's and one over Tanksley Draft creek, just put up, carried off.

North River in Rockbridge -- This river, like those in this county, was higher than ever before known. It swept off bridges and mills. At Bridgewater, the bridge across the river, and the mills of Geo. W. Berlin and Wm. Dinkle were destroyed, and a considerable part of that beautiful village was destroyed, there being a dozen or more houses either totally destroyed or greatly damaged.

Shenandoah River -- This river was much higher than ever before known, in some places 15 feet higher, and we understand that the destruction along its course was inconceivably great. Bridges, mills, houses, accompanied with loss of human lives, horses, cattle, corn, wheat, flour, &c., were swept away.

Hon. John F. Lewis's mill was not destroyed.

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