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1937 Flood at Paducah, Kentucky
by Charlie Hall Jackson

"Morning, Jackson, think you can make the day?" "Guess so, but boy, it's cold and did you see the ice coming down? Had some trouble getting out this morning as water is over the road at the fill. Heard the latest? Report from up river said flood stage tonight, and also it will be six feet higher than 1913 flood."

This was the morning that the river was coming up with a rapid rate, the weather was cold and ice was forming in large cakes in the river causing concern about finishing a boat job, which was tied up on Owen's Island across from United Engineers Corp. at Paducah, Kentucky.

Going in to radio shack for reports, was informed that the river would rise over a foot an hour and to look for six feet higher than the thirteen (1913) flood.

On remembering that in thirteen the water was just in the shop about one inch deep, could picture what six feet of water would do to this flood of Paducah with this weather,

"Fellows, I guess we better lay off and go look to the family and home where you live in the lower part of the city. Now about a boat, the water must be over the street between here and town. No boat available here, as all life boats and yawls are in use now. Well, we will make it some how. See you in the morning." (but, we didn't),

All getting in an old Ford Coupe, started out for city which was about five miles away, being cut off at two places that was already covered with about two feet of water, had to detour in and out til arrived at shop,

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were trying to move the shop books upstairs, also other articles of value they wanted to save, not realizing that where they were standing water would be too deep to wade in morning and all that was left till then would not be saved,

Remembering the other flood and the need of rubber boots, I tried to buy two pair of hip ones, but only could find one pair and paid ten dollars for them, which we thought was a hold up till later,

On arriving back at shop with the only pair of boots in the family, held a meeting to decide what was best to do and how. We must have a boat, also cover the plate glass windows in front of office,

Securing a supply of large planks, proceeded to cover glass, found that while trying to drive the nails, they would freeze to the hands.

Sleet, snow, and rain would take turns to see which could do the most damage. Having covered all glass openings up to eight feet high, all retired inside for refreshments, which was hot whisky and rye bread. Felt little like going after the rest. Two agreed to carry all that was movable to second floor. I was to make a boat that would be sea worthy, but first where would we get the lumber and nails for such an undertaking. All lumber mills were shut down, hardware stores trying to do what they could to salvage any merchandise,

Looking the shop over, found two poplar, planks twelve inches wide, inch and one half thick that would do for sides. The next step was for the bottom planks. Going over to Petters Supply Co. found two crates that were of sugar pine used to crate copper sheets for shipment. Cleaned off concrete floor in front of shop for the task of boat building,

Would the hull have a flare or just vertical sides, decided on flare, as that type of hull will not tip over too easily. Wait, where are the nails? Turning shop upside down looking for nails, found about two pounds of various sizes, after looking at the small lot of nails, decided that this was going to take some close planning. Shaping the two sides, cutting the bottom planks to length, Laid out an explosion view of boat and then placed the nails where they would cover enough space that it would not leak after assembling. Had to find the nails later, and step in for more stability. Better hurry as we see water rise up to the river front side walk ... not much time to go on, The water had to rise about six feet to get to shop sidewalk before it would cause any worry, about five hours later boat was finished, all but one piece in front that was open to water. Nothing to do but let it go no more lumber. There were sheer in hull and would be sea worthy if front was not loaded to water line,

The water was now in shop and boat was floating. Was about nine p.m. Was glad that it was finished and would go home, bathe, eat, sleep and start out again in morning. Down on river front the current was strong, not letting much ice to form and gorge, but out in the city streets was another thing, but thinking that the boat could be pulled instead of rowed ... that no trouble would be met, how wrong we were. Slush ice would form in bow of boat, build up till you could not move it any further. Nothing to do but to carry it,

On coming back from Engineers Corp. that morning, left the Ford Coupe on Broadway near Third Street, knowing that water would be too deep there to move car, thought be wise thing to move to higher ground. Left boat in front of Police Station, going over to Broadway in front of Irvin Cobb Hotel. brake band froze up and car would not budge any -Further, hoping that it would be there in the morning, returned to boat and started the long pull for home, ice still heavy. Raining now, slow drizzle which froze on contact. The boat which was only twelve feet long and twelve inches deep was-now a large battle ship as carrying it was a task. Half way home decided to leave it with some friends till morning, so was on my way without that heavy burden on back, covered about quarter mile and it hit me that how will I get back after water rises all night? So back to boat and the old grind was now about where I didn't care if I had a boat or not.

Arriving on edge of negro district which we had to pass to get home, noticed lots of negroes on porches, cats, dogs on fences all howwowing for somebody to move them, water was now about thirteen inches deep at that point with slush ice over it where you could Walk on some places without breaking thru,

Knowing that when we (boat and I) went thru that mess that there was going to be trouble, on leaving the shop, placed a 9MM German Luger Pistol in pocket and cursed the weight all time till this situation showed up, tied handkerchief thru trigger guard placed the Kerchief in mouth for we would never be able to get at it thru heavy coat covered with ice and icy gloves would be no help either getting boat on back, head inside started for home passing a few negroes asking to be moved, told them to walk as the ice would hold if staying close to fence and hold on to railing,

Some started out for a two story grocery about one and half blocks away, a little farther was a drunk negro standing on fence almost could reach us but not quite on passing he said he was going to reach the grocery and didn't give a dam how he got there, down comes beat gun on safety and all we had to do was reach for it in mouth which was done he was told that he stood a small chance of reaching there if he moved off fence seeing that he could end the wrong way trying that approach dropped off in side of fence heading towards grocery, again the old trudge toward home arriving just about wore out, no food since morning. Violet with Sam in arms was at door to greet me and was glad that I was there water was in yard and about eight inches below floor. Had fire in stove and coffee but no food cooked but had whisky which was drank like water (She didn't take of it). Moved her and Sam up to my mothers home just up the lot, her house was two feet higher than ours and I Knew that she would be better off there than at home, The water had now slowed down in rising which was a great help. Mother was not home yet or father either, Knowing that they left same time we did for home was worried. Started back to find them and heard her call just up the street a distance,

By now water was knee deep on side walk but ice held her up till she arrived to curb, on stepping over the curb ice gave way and she fell with both hands up to shoulders heavy coat dragging ice in her gollishers were both full of ice and water she had an umbrella which she used to get on her feet again by now ice was forming on clothes asking if she needed help was told to stay where I was at would make it O.K. She did. Was covered with ice and dern near frozen, asking where father was she didn't know so here we go again, going up street to back track him was told he stopped at Court House a few squares away, went back getting coffee from Mother and a blanket to use if the Father needed it, went to Court House and found him well contented let a few cuss words out and came back home, went to bed as it was near one a.m.

Getting up that morning found water just under floor boards and moved Vi and Sam to Mother's again, we had breakfast, what it was. And went back to see what could be done about the furniture, took all inside doors down placed them on across chairs and Kitchen table and window ledges, put Norge box on them (how I did it, I'll never Know) placed all things that I could on top closed doors and went to Vi.

Father came in meantime and was flonked out couldn't sleep at Court House, all rest rooms water was not running, sanitation was getting pretty rank, by now there were about three hundred people housed there and more coming all the time,

Getting our heads together deciding what was to be done came up with the movement of going to Court House, Mother and Father would not go so left them and took Vi and Sam over, arriving there in evening not Knowing the condition the place was in, Went down to first floor got some coffee as they had a Red Cross Kitchen set up there Knew the girl that was on duty talked with her and leaving got a drink of water out of fountain noticed that the water dropped to a meet trickle and Knew the pumps at water works had quit as flood had reached fires under boilers, begged a pitcher from girl fill it as I Knew that water would stop in a few minutes and that water fit to drink was going to be at a premium, gave it to Vi. Told her to keep close watch on pitcher don't give any body any water as we will need it later, after that found out there were no more water every one wanted a drink one girl put on a faint act trying to weed Vi out of a drink, Vi stood firm and the water lasted till morn with her and Sam using all. By then there were about five hundred people with negroes mixed in, but they would not let the negro in same part of building with whites there were some grumbling and we thought that they would use force to move in but was finally settled without force, The air was now unbearable people in halls used floor, steps were covered, the jailer was drunk never tried to set up any rest room or keep people from using halls.

At day break told Vi was going to do something and for her to wait, she wouldn't do it said she was not going to stay another minute, loading her and Sam in boat went back to Mother's to see how they were doing, on way over saw a vacant two story house and told Vi., that was going to be our home till flood over, Found water about three inches at Mother's home, she had galoshes (nuts) Father didn't have any thing but shoes had his feet on table, told them to wait till I came back. Took a saw went to the vacant house sawed the side door facing into so as boat could get thru to stairs, (Door had little windows on each side). Looked and saw that the room above was O.K. went back got Vi and Sam then got father and mother had to take them out window couldn't get boat to door as water was not deep enough on porch (Pa no boots). Having assembled the family at the house that was to be my home for six weeks, carried bedding, food, and tried to get photos, but forgot them, used mop, broom cleaned the room up and carried coal up for heat and cooking and thought that we were set for the flood on going to bed that nite we forgot the water under us, damp floor after cleaning, ice was still in force but, on awaking in morn Sam (one year old) had bad cold in fact all of us were starting a cold. Father was the lowest, things were not looking so good as expected, Went to the grocery that the negroes were trying to get to which by now they have been moved to court house. Leaving the owner in charge up stairs, told him I would give him his books, scales, adding machine and some groceries if I could have some of the groceries explaining that he was going to lose them anyway the deal was made and moved several hundred pounds of canned goods, flour, lard, cracker-s, and eggs, by that time coal was needed went to Railroad shop yards hauled boat load of coal (Note how the boat played a large part). By now we were well fixed so was out moving negroes from low spots to higher places some were on table and still standing in water-. Some gave out and were setting up to their waist in water just couldn't stand (all this time the boat needed the front board yet. You had to put three people in boat so as it would ride level so could move only two at a time some were praying others were hysterical screaming just to scream, the water was coming up fast now as the water had covered the lowlands and no place to go now but up,

Things are now getting out of hand not enough boats for rescue work. You moved people just a little higher and they were thankful that they were out of the water. Some that had a little money offered money to be moved out to hills but we never had time, the school houses were overloaded and was scared that the flours would give way, picked a family up and had only time to place them in a negro school house and they were the only whites in it, told them I would be back later, but never got back and never knew what happened to them (wife, child and him) .

Glory Be: the TVA has arrived we will have plenty of boats now (how wrong they were) about fifty boats arrived and with them were the state militia, the Govenor had declared a state of emergency, everybody was to leave the flooded area,

By now looting was going on some were trying to get good others were just trying to get any thing that was of value.

Father had to leave for hospital was in bad fix with cold. Sam was in a very bad shape, also Vi. We decided she was to take Sam and go to Tennessee and have some dry place to Keep Sam. Vi was running high fever on arriving on hill out where we now live, I took Sam to first aid station to see if any Doctor was available, there were none, some twirp with a pair of skin tight slacks, said that the baby should have a mother, when I got all of the high pressure released she was as big as thimble as she was told things that I don't repeat again, They had buses that would take you to Mayfield twenty five miles south of Paducah. Vi and Sam were put on it and thinking of money for her I had just fifty cents, the father had left taking all my pay with him leaving me nothing, gave Vi that and wished her good luck and never saw her or Sam again for four weeks. Sam had pneumonia and liked to died. Vi was not much better off.

In taking Vi out of flood area passed a soldier on guard never thought about him, on going back to pick up boat and return to mother he was not going to let me pass. He was told that I had a mother in flood area and I was going back in, we had a few words and 1 went back in, by now ice was gone but still cold.

Going to Mother for food the eggs were froze and we threw them away not knowing that they were all right, had bacon and beans instead, Mother was now with high fever (these things took about three days). Coal, had to gathered again back to hill for medicine for mother. Came out on hill at the police dept , for my pass and identification for boat, gun permit (I had a gun at all times, we all did water was still coming up, people that were on some high ground in flood area was scared now and I was offered fifty dollars for boat that was open at one end so you see how bad a boat was wanted all boats were seized and were put on bank and no one was to have one, some of the fellows tried to take my boat that was where the gun came in handy some didlt have a pistol but carried shot gun, if you didn't you lost your boat.

On arriving where boat was tied up found that some one had taken it, maybe the Coast Guard or Police, scouted around for about an hour found it impounded and had a few words trying to claim it, showing permit was told to be on my way and good luck.

Noticed that water was still rising but ice all gone and weather was getting warmer, thank goodness, passed the Ritz Hotel which was a four story modern building water was up to the second floor which was fifteen feet deep at that point, people was calling to be taken out as all the food and water (drinking) was gone and heat was a bitter problem didn't give them much notice as they were dry and was not hurting too bad,

Passed the Irvin Cobb Hotel noticed the liquor store still had the whiskey in window and on shelves, pulled boat in lobby and filled up with about thirty or forty fifths of whiskey, gin, rum, thinking that I could sell it later, but never sold a drop which you will see why later in time . Arrived home (the up stairs room which was now called home) Mrs. Jackson had a bad cold and coughed too much had to go back to Cobb Hotel and look some remedy for her found VICKS Salve and Nose drops but they did little good. The water by now was rising steady but with just an inch an hour, still cold and raining a misty down pour, pulled boat over to the grocery about four blocks away loaded up with food, water now was over the serving counter and had to hand to shelving to get to the canned goods. All flour, meats, bread had been covered with water and spoilt, arriving home found that about all eatable can goods ran about fifty percent that I brought back had shoe polish, floor wax and such, Knew that to go back again would be useless, in loading the boat found that the coal for the grate was low and had to go about two miles for more fuel. We had a pair of seven foot oars for the boat and could make about five miles an hour with them, arriving at coal pile, which was the I.C. Railroad's, loaded boat by hand till had all it would hold and returned to home.

By now it was dark all lights were out in the city we had a lantern remembering the last flood. The whiskey that was picked up at the Cobb Hotel was froze in a long cake of ice (that is the ice was around the bottles making a solid block, whisky in bottles was not froze) found that it had melted So took stock and found well supplied, had few drinks hot toddys went to bed (that is layed down on mattress and tried to sleep but sleep would not come Keep fire going and drank a few more drinks for some reason didn't feel the effects, tried reading but lantern was poor light, so slowly rocked and day dreamed. By now three days had passed and water was on the rise yet, noticing it going up on a large semi-trailer which was stalled in middle of street, cars were abandoned where ever they stopped, out of fuel or brake drums frozen up, we could see two or three hundred up and down the street, hot rods, trucks, and fine cars, Knowing that they were a total loss as far as salvage was concerned, Mrs. Jackson's cough was worse at day light had to get better help for her, she refused to leave for the higher ground, why I didn't know.

Cooked breakfast, of eggs bacon jelly coffee put on damp clothing (coat hat gloves and boots) we never pulled all clothes off, and was feeling that something had to be done about it they were damp and smelly, our skin was began to itch, took trip out to hill about three miles from home had a Dr. to prescribe for Mrs Jackson, filled the prescription and a long talk with friends that was forced from their home by police by now Paducah was off limits to all but those who had boat permits. That was about fifty people. They made a sad mistake letting the motor boats be used by some, as all that they did was loot, go up and down streets at high speed causing large waves to break windows, wash poles thru plate glass store fronts, in fact, did about $75,000.00 damage to glass alone, later they seen the light called all power boats in. Police was now stopping all boats arresting and grounding all who did not have permits,

Strolled down to landing dock, watched the people who had to leave all behind arriving to the dock with little but what they had on, women with little children in arms, haggard, red, dirty having stayed at some school or church for three days, no running water to clean with and some not having any thing to eat for two days, loading into buses headed for unknown places and people no clothing, money or friends, thank the Lord I was O.K. so far, hooked on stern of power boat was towed to Cobb Hotel pulled +or home with the medicine, on closer LOOK noticed that it was a narcotic, Knew that it was going to help the cough but how?

Back to the coal pile for more coal, I never Knew that a grate could use that much coal a night, Police were there at the coal supply arresting all that didn't have any permit, leaving with them for the hill they would say that they were leaving behind some mother or SICK relative was told to go and see if anybody was at that address on my way back, arriving there was greeted by faint cries pushing thru window found a bed ridden negro up in the ceiling. They had chopped a hole up there and shoved him up there on two boards for bed with the help of one old negro woman got him down and carried him to boat on front porch, had to hug him to carry and him sick had been for days. Lost my breakfast, but the poor fellow tried to show his gratitude, but how? Put him and the old lady in the Court House which was by now worse than a pig sty, how can people live in such filth?

Unloaded the coal left for Cobb Hotel to see what was what, found that the TVA had sent boats in from Alabama and were gathering all schools and churches carrying the people out to hill still cold slow drizzle now. The town was not being cleared out the Railroad would load a train up leave for Fulton, KY and also let folks off anywhere along the railroad that they said that they had friends, a refugee station was set up at Mayfield, Fulton, and Murray. Those that had no friends or Kin was put there for the time being, it's getting cold again and ice is getting heavy, won't it ever clear up?

The Red Cross is now here and they are a mess, on leaving their homes some of the folks went to the Red Cross asking for help, they received a mangey mattress, a blanket, was registered as passing out of the flood zone. What are they going to do with the mattress and blanket? Can't eat them. There is a very mannish woman who has a lot to do, but don't do it, in charge of the Red Cross. Folks that have plenty, they receive plenty of help; but the poor souls who are on their own get icy stares, we remember that.

The hill city is getting organized now had a fine dinner on the hill for free, wholesome food and cooked good, but I see lots people who look as if they are in a daze, still don't have their feet on ground yet.

Water: all who drink water must boil or add iodine to same (ever try that). Going to the store, Jackson (not our boat) Hi, gathered several gallons of distilled water, can't drink it as it tastes flat, So the whiskey, all's under control now, but wait how about coffee? We still will have to get the water from boat anyway, I now have two fifths of whiskey with me at all times, bread, milk, coal, oil is the King now, 

Back to home and found the medicine for the Mrs. Jackson has done wonders, the room is never dry and warm as water is about three feet below and impossible to dry out any part of our clothes.

Spent a wonderful day looking out window, if I don't do something soon I'll go nuts, Wonder how Vi and the kid is? No word yet, what did they buy with the fifty cents?

Went to Cobb Hotel, Chief of Fire Department running short wave Xmter (transmitter), About five watts, made friends spent most of day running the power supply, which is a small gas engine drive, (Note he don't drink) Plenty of food (Hot) which was cooked on coal oil stove by hotel cook. Few die hards still in hotel but the heat situation is telling on them, no heat, I begin to itch on legs and arms. Took a bath in whiskey (Rub down) felt better itch stopped.

Howdy, Sheriff, and Evening to you Lawyer Bryant, both who are half drunk nasty and needing a shave, that is who is in charge of our flooded City.

Jackson, I am making you a deputy here is a badge it's up to you to help and Keep order. NUTS, I am going home now see you later, thanks for the badge, rowing home looked up an alley noticed a horses head just out of the water. Can't see why any one would leave a poor beast in that condition, pulling up closer realized that I couldn't untie the halter on the rope as the horse might try and get in the boat so shot it in head better than drowning. Everybody thought that there was a fire on hearing the shot (that is the fire alarm) arriving home found that the medicine has run out for Mrs. Jackson and back to the hill for a refill, arriving found that it could not be refilled. Looked for Dr, found four playing checkers in vacant house which was being used as offices I just as well asked for pass to Ft. Knox gold vault, I will remember the brush off. Met a nurse who I went to school with, told her my troubles she filled the bottle. Hi.

Back home and the coal again we still have food but need bread again, on having no money arrived on hill and asked how about some bread? No, none to be had. O.K., guess I can drink whiskey for a while, wait a minute did you say you had something to drink? a fifth changed hands and had five loaves of bread. We both were happy.

Realizing the power of the whiskey was now on the prowl for more of it went in Cobb bar again and loaded the boat till it was near swamped, (still the fire chief didn't drink) headed for home and stored the load, Knowing that it was the chief of exchange now money was not any good to you now.

Went home gave the medicine to Mrs. Jackson took a whiskey rub down left for hotel again, By now most every one was moved out and just the fire chief, a negro and an old man left, salvaged all that was worth any thing piling it in the radio room found we had lots of anything that was needed and a lot that was not. From that time on there was no one but the four at hotel for the duration of flood.

Went to shop to see how things was getting along and found that all doors had floated up and off of rollers every thing that could float had went down river, was heart SICK as I could have prevented most of that,

Noticed a boat running (motor) up and down in front of the shop went up the stairs and watched, he was trying flush out the office equipment through the window by causing large waves to go in window, waited for him to make the return trip and called that if he made another run I would shoot the bottom of boat out he stopped. There was a boat tied up in front of shop and he was quartered on it went over and told him if any more of that went on he would have to see me afterwards, no more waves Hi. I wonder if I would have shot him? You never can tell.

Fixed the doors so as no more would float away, leaving close to night back to Devils Island. Mrs. Jackson still bad way wonder why that she don't go to Tenn. to her sisters would have a better chance to get well, woke up in morning and found that rain was in the air, still cold light north winds which did no good to the morale of the few people that I met that day, same grind for coal and fresh water, after the stock Up went to the Cobb Hotel found that all people that was there were taken out to the hill and that left only the Fire Chief (acting) running the emergency relief station with nothing to do but listen for fire and distress calls, one colored fellow who was trying to stay in hotel and act as cook, they had a oil stove plenty of food but water was low,

Spent the day with the Fire Chief tried to dry out but had poor go of it no fire only a small oil heater and it was about all that it could do to Keep room warm, went down on first floor using boat raided the saloon secured a boat load of rum, whiskey and beer, which was welcome as my previous STOCK was running low as it was used to drink and bathe in. Offered some to Chief but he refused on the reason as he didn't use it.

Went out on hill and had a run in with the National Guard but had my card and permit and was O.K. Noticed that there was about fifty new oil cans lined up on side walk was informed that they held fresh water shipped in from Mayfield for the people that lived on the hill on taking one of them was told to put them back, for they were for the folks that lived around the hill, no telling them that they had a high fever and was not fixing to put them back as we were in the flood district and we drank fresh water same as others with one word and another left with water and mad squirt behind, you see we still carried guns. Being on hill thought that a visit to Mr. Jackson was in order so went to the George Roger School which was used for the hospital. Lord what a mess, white, black, male and female all mixed up in large room there were some signs of organization but not much, looked the father up, found that he was doing well but thin, had lost weight the few days that he had been there. Next bed to him was Mr. Oscar Evans who was well Known by me, he was laying on his back false teeth out, mouth open breathing in loud grasps wondering what was matter was told that he had a stroke, was not looking to pull thru that night he was dead,

Negro girl was told that she had to leave the hospital as she was not sick only visiting her mother, she went hysterical had to be tied up with force. Dr. gave her a shot on calming down she left screaming that she would never see her mother again, the ward by that time was in a fine mood but was not to long settling down, so back to Devil Isle,

Got a tow back to hotel and was glad. That is a long pull in row boat passed lots of floating chairs beds pictures some dead animals a few people were still in their homes but was being taken out against their will.

Arriving back at hotel found lots of boats tied up that were taken away from people that did not have a permit, a small boy was in the group on questioning him found that his mother and him was still up stairs at their home and was doing well and he had to have the boat for water and food that he could get, after a round with one of the American Legion guards let the boy have his boat and he left happy.

All boats were called and had to be re-listed and all were taken up that was used just to sightseer that cut down the boats in the flood zone to about fifteen or twenty, all T.V.A. and Coast Guard Boats had a police guard in each,

Mr. Jackson still bad, left next morn for hotel and had several looters under guard had been going in houses and taking what they could find, went out to the jail on hill which was a garage in back of a large house, put the fellows under guard had a drink of hot rum, on leaving there were a loud shot fired in the jail, rushing back in found that one of the Legion Guards had let his riot gun go off hitting the Chief of Police in feet after glancing off floor not hurt bad, but was put in hospital. The Chief was a fellow who weighed about 280 lbs., who later had trouble with income tax people and killed his self in Dawson Springs, Ky. Lost home, wife, and money, looks as if it didn't pay?

Same old grind now as all things were about under control, all that was of interest, was when will the water stop rising? It has been about three weeks of high water and Hell so far to go to and fro, from home, hotel, and shop, would see a power boat hung up on top of some car that was just under water the propeller would cut the top out of the car bend the propeller shaft putting the boat out of running, causing lots of cussing, later the Coast Guard had a small barge with a derrick on it lift the boats that were in the middle of street and place them near curb, that were only on the main streets of traffic. The cars would float down stream a little piece every time a power boat passed and my old Ford Coupe was now a block down from where it was parked, weather has let up and not as cold as Was So took a look over the city to see what damage there was,

Starting at the shop on river front found the shop was a mess as all the rolling doors had floated up and off the tracks and all floatable things were gone all glass was broken in doors, windows, books that were left down were a loss all belts that drove the machinery were sagging and some parted from dampness, pulled over to First and Broadway going up to Hotel, same mess all way up all plate glass gone every store had been looted of all articles that was left in them, telephone poles were thru windows, cross ties every where hung up where they could find a place to hang, shelving leaning over spilling their contents under water, desolet, silent and cold would meet a boat pass our hello's both of us would go our way wondering what the other was doing in the flood zone, the water was still rising but not too fast now. Everything seemed to be under some Kind of control now every now and then they would flush out a looter or no pass boat about ten or twelve of us still lived in the flood zone,

Went home after the long pull over the city tried to sleep but was too pooped to rest, Was that shot? there was another, yes. So put on the old wet clothes looked out from the porch, night was clear, no wind or rain shots were still being fired, there were somebody's home on fire, started for Hotel as fire barge (gas pump and one man to run it) arrived there about same time as tow boat, was told that Petter Supply was afire During all this time we had a bird Dog upstairs at shop and he was fed ever, other day and stood up fine six weeks of the upstairs home.

Water on stand now was hoping that this was all, but rain set in, and it rained all the time. Still no word from Vi and Sam, they had set up a phone service on hill but you had to be King to get any near to it. But no news (is) good news.

Back to the coal and water deal which was no longer a bad task now visited the Father again on leaving heard the woman that was a head of the Red Cross talking to her husband in Indianapolis, Ind. Telling him that when he came after her to bring the big car, she had lots to take home (wonder where she got it?). Several had died at hospital and was taken to Mayfield, Ky. being held there till water went down, our regular Fire Chief had died and that put the acting Chief at Cobb Hotel Chief. (He still didn't drink)

The thousands of people that were housed in schools, churches, two story houses anywhere that they could find a place that would take them, some had been separated and didn't Know where the other part of family were no clothes and no money, in strange locations with few friends and those were getting tired of their company, children sick old folks wore out,

Water has began to recede, a dog that has been on a floating gate for five weeks no food and would not let any one take it off was barking with a mournful sound, his sides showing ribs, a negro sticks his head out attic air vent calling for help, had stayed there all thru flood and now was weak from no food and water (had a little at start) had been drinking flood water that was drawn up by string with can on end. Was filthy stinky and half dead he hid so as to be left in home not knowing that it was going to be a six week stay, cow on second floor porch with hay and water it was doing O.K. a horse and pony both pals on Second floor porch. They had been taken up the stairs before too high water.

Another fire some one had left the lights on and they were trying to get the current on some of the lines and found that it could not be done. Three houses burnt. But who cared as they were a mess anyway.

Copyright 2002
Anna O. Jackson