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Sandusky County Floods1847 Fremont Flood1883 Fremont Flood1883 Fremont Flood - Lucy E. Keeler Recollections1883 Fremont Flood from R.B.Hayes Diary1883 Bellevue FloodBellevue Sinkholes
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Ice Jam

1883 Flood, Fremont, Ohio

Excerpts from a full-page article in the Fremont Journal, February 9, 1883, provide a closer glimpse of the flood:

"At ten o'clock Saturday evening the streets were generally deserted and people had retired little dreaming of waking to find themselves surrounded by water. Soon after midnight the waters began to rise with terrible rapidity, and ice from miles up the river came rushing down. The banks were overflown, houses flooded, and by half past three Sunday morning the water came upon Front Street… Daylight revealed a horrible state of devastation. The river flowed with a mighty current through Front Street. Houses on the flats were flooded and those near the river half submerged."

"The waters fell very little Sunday and a little more on Monday, rising to nearly the previous height Monday night. Tuesday was colder and freezing and the waters lowered considerably. Tuesday evening it was out of the stores and Wednesday the water was all out of Front street and nearly all in the river channel through town, though the flats are still covered with two to five feet of water and ice. Front Street, as are nearly all the streets that were flooded, is packed with large cakes of ice which will probably remain there a long time. The greatest loss, as we have stated before, is at the homes of the poor and those in moderate circumstances. The Third Ward is in a terrible condition. it is simply indescribable. Huge cakes of ice are packed in and around scores of houses three feet in thickness and the whole is frozen in a solid mass. The condition will be terrible for weeks to come and cannot fail to result in want, sickness and death."

A detailed list of estimated losses by businesses is given, including one who "had a little snuff in his cellar, but his loss is not over $50."

"About 7:30 Sunday morning a freight train on the Lake Shore [and Michigan Southern] road went through the bridge over the river. The bridge appeared perfectly solid and the watchman gave the signal of all right. Just before the train reached the bridge he saw it shake and settle. He signaled the danger but it was too late to stop the train. The engineer and brakemen leaped off in safety but the fireman being unable to jump stuck to the engine. The bridge seemed to fall the moment the train touched it but the firemen pulled the throttle wide open and the locomotive and six cars passed over in safety while thirty-four empty cars went tumbling into the river. Only the east half of the bridge fell. The cars and broken bridge were swept down the stream. Some of them striking on the [Wheeling and Lake Erie] bridge below jammed it somewhat out of line but did no particular damage. One of the floating cars passed right through Geo. Barkhimer's house, demolishing it completely. Two of the cars are lying near Chas. H. Bell's residence and three are on the flats three miles down the river, while the others are strewn in fragments on the banks or were swept still farther down."

Flood damage was widespread beyond the river:
"Bellevue was visited by one of the most terrible and disastrous floods Saturday night and Sunday that was ever known in its history, the surrounding country being covered from eight to ten feet, and in some places nearly twenty feet deep. Many families were taken from their houses on rafts hastily constructed from sidewalks, many of them being taken out through second story windows. Several barns were flooded in so short a time that it was almost impossible to rescue the stock that was in them. There was no loss of life."

Residents were encouraged to help flood victims:
"Bring your contributions of provisions, clothing and fuel for the relief of the sufferers to the City Hall. Rubber boots were in immense demand, and Sunday morning nearly every pair in the city had been sold."

Livestock suffered as well:
"Captain Young had ten pigs drowned at his residence on the east side. A lost brindle cow and heifer is at Van Epps & Cox's mill, awaiting an owner."

And finally, some advice:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you lost nearly everything you had in the flood, don't spend what little money you have left for whisky."

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