Weather-related articles, Dallas County, Texas

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(Updated March 26, 2004)




Unparalleled Heat - The Thermometer
Ranges from 108 to 114 in the


The Disease from a Medical Stand-point
Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and
Prevention - More than Half of All
Cases Fatal - Three Deaths.


     Sunday, July 30, 1876, will be long remembered as the hottest day ever known in Dallas, and for the first time in its history, a number of fatal cases of sunstroke took place. From eleven to four o'clock the mercury began to mount higher and higher until it reached, at one time, 114 degrees in the shade!  The oldest inhabitant does not remember to have ever experienced such weather.
     In addition to several cases which were fatal, many occurred in which the extreme heat entirely prostrated and exhausted persons.
     Among the deaths, thus far, are Mr. David L. Williams, a clerk of the Crutchfield House, who was found unconscious in his room and died about seven o'clock.
     Nat. Hogan, said to be from Vermont, but recently employed in the Planters' House in St. Louis.  He was taken ill in the morning and died in the afternoon about four o'clock.
     James Burke, a day laborer, with a family dependent upon him, who was in the employ of Mr. R. L. James, and lived in camp near where the Central switch crosses the ravine near the Lonergan?/Louergan? foundry, was found dead by his daughter who went to wake him up.
     A man by the name of George O'Brien, forty-five years of age, was found in an insensible condition near a boiler, not far from Parker's mill, and was sufficiently restored to be carried to the City Hospital.  He was shot in the head during the war, and his skull is supposed to have been fractured.

- August 5, 1876, Dallas Weekly Herald, p. 1, col. 4.
- O O O -


Old Inhabitants Tell in Their Own
Way About the



That Has Ever Occurred Since Dallas Has
Been a Spot on the Map -- The
Present Rise Outdone by
Long Odds.

    "Talking about floods, you ought to have seen the rise in Dallas in '66."
    That's what the man on the street corner says, but what the man on the street corner knows about the rise of '66 must be very little, for at the time of that famous movement of the erratic Trinity there were only about 1000 people in Dallas, and you don't see many of them standing on the street corners nowadays.
    A News man inquired around among the citizens for information about the event, and he got a flood of information that was as wide as any the Trinity was ever guilty of, but it was all second-hand. Nearly everybody could tell all about the matter as it was told to him, but the reporter wanted it from first hands.
    Late in the day he sauntered over to the city calaboose where he found Capt. Marion Moon. Now Mr. Moon is very well known to the citizens generally and to offenders of the law particularly, as a policeman detailed to duty as guard at the calaboose, and in moments of leisure he can be induced to relate stories about early events in and around Dallas, he having resided in this vicinity ever since 1845, when he was a boy of some 15 years' growth. To Mr. Moon the reporter applied for flood news and found the old gentleman to retain a very clear recollection of all events connected with that occasion.
    "In 1866," said he, "Dallas had a population of probably 1000 people, maybe less, all of whom were housed in the immediate vicinity of the courthouse square, the land lying circumadjacent thereto being in use for agricultural purposes. It was in the month of May of that year that the great rise occurred. It had been raining for a month almost continually, just as it has been here during the past few days. The last storm began in the evening about 6 o'clock. There was an awful black cloud overhead, from which the water descended in torrents, and the flashes of lightning and the roar of thunder were sufficient to send terror to the hearts of the stoutest hearted of those old inhabitants. It was midnight when the rain ceased falling. I was living in the country about six miles north of the city then, and when the atmosphere cleared at midnight, so that I could go out and look around, I pulled on a pair of long boots that reached to my knees, and, stepping out of the door, found myself in water over the tops of my boots. As far as I could see over that level prairie was an expanse of water as level and undotted as the Gulf of Mexico. It was the heaviest rainfall I ever saw fall in my life. When the lightning would flash so that you could see a short distance before you, it looked as though the water was falling in sheets instead of drops.
    "The next day the river was at its highest. Several others with myself took a spirit level and measured its height and found it lacked only about six feet and a half of being as high as the courthouse square. Of course, right here in Dallas the banks of the river on the eastern side were never overlflown -- the square has always been above high water mark -- but for several days it looked like an island. At that time there was a big ravine that crossed what we now call Main street, just above where Martin street now is, and that ravine emptied into the river down near the Oak Cliff railroad. All that portion of the country near that ravine was flooded with back water, as well as the branch known as the Dallas or town branch. There were three roads entering the village then, one down where Main street now is, one about McKinney avenue and one about Ross avenue. For three days it was impossible to come in over what we will call the Main street or McKinney avenue roads without swimming the horses, though they could cross the Ross avenue road.
    "Just about where the belt line street car stables are now was a vast pond of water that it was out of the question entirely to attempt to cross, and through it this McKinney avenue road ran. Here a poor darkey was drowned. It was just a short time after the slaves had been set at liberty, but this fellow had been the property of Obadiah Knight, father of G. A. Knight of Dallas. He had been out to the Knight place to see his wife, and returning to the village, rode into the pond and was drowned with his mule.
    "That was the only fatality that resulted from the flood, though there was considerable damage to property, and many people were put to serious inconvenience. There was a family living across the river just beyond where P. S. Browder's place is now, named Beavers. In the middle of the night they found their premises flooded and all means of escape cut off. They cut a hole through the top of the house through which they made their exit, and there they stayed on the roof until a boat was dispatched in the morning to take them off.
    "It was very fortunate there were no houses in the lower part of the village where the back water came. If the same amount of water was to come down the river now it would cause a great loss in the Frogtown neighborhood, and in the vicinity of the ravine that empties in near the Oak Cliff bridge, because at that time there was enough water in those parts to demolish the most substantial kind of frame houses. There was 15 feet of water at the foot of McKinney avenue, and at Terry's old mill, down at the river, the water was up to the second-story; in fact we got out of the boats there into the top windows. There was a honey locust tree standing near the square where the old stone mill on Main street now is, and on that tree we blazed high water marks at different stages of the rise, but the tree was cut down when the mill was built. I do not apprehend any danger in the future to those sections I designated as liable to loss in time of flood, because I do not think the river will ever be so high again. The same amount of rain would not cause the same flood because the conditions of the country have since changed. A great deal of the land that was then hard, unbroken prairie, that allowed the water to drain off readily, so as to swell the river, has since been put under cultivation, so that a great deal of rainfall is absorbed into the ground and never reaches the river. Besides that much of the timber that formerly grew in the bottoms and obstructed the floods, tending to cause overflows, has since been cut down and the water flows more easily to its proper outlet.
    "Dallas will probably never see such another flood."
    Uncle Billy McDermott was sitting in his wagon yesterday smoking his pipe near the bridge watching the flood. Old Dallasites walking backward and forward talked with Uncle Billy about the long ago. Mr. McDermott has been in Dallas forty-two years and can speak by authority. He cannot tell much about the dates of the floods, but he was quite positive, after a careful investigation, that this flood is some eight or nine feet below the high water mark of that which occurred in 1866, and which is regarded as the highest. Uncle Billy pointed down to the railroad track crossing Commerce street near the new bridge, and he said that the flood of '66 came up near to that track, which would have put water about on a level with the floor of the present Commerce street bridge.
    Major John Henry Brown was asked his opinion as to the comparative rise in the river. He answered: "I settled in Dallas, July 17, 1871, and this is the highest water I have ever seen in the Trinity at Dallas."
    Do you know anything of the great flood in 1866?
    "I do, from the highest authority, though I was then in Mexico. Mr. John W. Swindells often showed me a mark at the foot of a mesquite tree, near the foot of Elm street, which he said marked the flood of 1866.
    When the bridge was built in 1871, its floor was placed four feet above that highest water mark. To-day, I made the measurement and at 3:30 p.m. the water was five and one-half to six feet below the mark of 1866. Allowing for the settling of the pillars and bridge it is safe to say that at that hour the water was at least four feet below the rise of 1866. But the river is still rising and may reach that hitherto unparalleled point. I assert emphatically that this is the highest rise since I came here in July, 1871."
    County Clerk Scott, who has bathed in the Trinity since he was 5 years old, viewed its golden waves roll by and said it lacked seven feet of being as high as the rise of 1866. "That," he proceeded, "was a rise and no mistake. It drowned on McKinney avenue a negro who had been a slave of Eps Knight's mother."
    Col. Seth Shepard, who has been taking a lot of evidence about the antics of the Trinity, says that there was a traditional flood -- a sort of small Noachan deluge -- in 1843 that was supposed to have been as high or higher than the flood of 1866.  Of the latter flood the evidence of the Rev. Mr. Young went to show that the top of the pier was only ten inches above high water mark.
    It is estimated that 2,500,000 bricks have been lost.
   The county commissioners' court yesterday instructed the sheriff to place a guard on the bridge at the foot of Commerce street to prevent the crowd from trusting their lives to a rickety concern. The order was promptly obeyed.
   The pumphouse seemed to be largely at the mercy of the waves, and it has been intimated that a proposition will be submitted to the council to-night to build another pumphouse on higher ground. At present it is estimated that it will take $10,000 to repair the damage that has resulted from blundering, or an undue appreciation of the magnitude of the Trinity river on a rise.
   The people of Frogtown were flooded out of their houses, and on Sumpter street to Ashland and up Ashland to Carter about fifty houses had to be vacated. On Sumpter street a colored woman about six feet broad wedged herself into a four-foot attic window. An acquaintance who came wading along asked here what she was doing and she replied, "Ise looking for de dove."
    The depression on Jackson street inhabited by colored people was under water all day, the Dallas cooperage company's factory was surrounded by water and many houses in the low districts were flooded.

- July 6, 1889, Dallas Morning News, p. 5.
- o o o -



Floods That Paralyzed The Old-
est Inhabitant.




Railroads Under Water and Tourists




Scenes Along the River Banks--
The Homeless and the Penniless
Provided for--The
Railroads and the Loss

Storm Notes Gathered by Times-Herald
Reporters-Heroic Deeds Recorded.
Interviews with Railroad Officials.
The River Falling Rapidly.

     The TIMES-HERALD, Saturday afternoon, predicted that the Trinity was on the biggest bender in its history, at least within the recollection of the oldest inhabitant, and the "subsequent proceedings" demonstrated that fact. The great rainfall of the past week was general and the tributaries of the Trinity were swollen into good-sized streams, and in turn, emptied their torrents into the sluggish Trinity. At 6 o'clock Saturday evening, the rise became more noticeable and the dwellers on the banks on either side, and the officials of the different railroads became apprehensive of approaching danger. The river rose at the rate of 11 inches an hour, and at 11 o'clock Saturday night, the first signal of distress came from West Dallas. Mayor Connor, with commendable promptitude, sent the police and firemen to the relief of the distressed and the beleaguered families, and their household effects were removed to dry quarters.
     Yesterday morning, at early dawn, the banks of the river were lined with spectators. The sight which presented itself was a genuine surprise. The broad expanse of water (it was nearly two miles across) reminded one of the Father of Waters. Great logs and other debris floated down the river, and here and there, a boatman propelled his frail skiff from house to house and from shore to shore. The river had risen five feet during the night and the damage inflicted was almost appalling. The last train on the Dallas & Oak Cliff road crossed over at 4 a. m., and shortly after that hour, the road was submerged, and at 9 o'clock, all that was visible was the iron bridge which spans the channel of the river proper.
     The bridge at the foot of Commerce street was in danger, and a detachment of police kept back the crowd. The water was up even to the foot of the bridge, and the pike road leading to Oak Cliff was covered with water twenty feet deep. It reached to the tops of the telegraph poles. In West Dallas, the inhabitants suffered severely. One hundred houses were submerged, and their occupants were compelled to flee for their lives to the highlands. A number of them left their household goods and other effects in their homes. No time was lost, but many narrow escapes are recorded.
     At 9 o'clock, the brick yards near the Commerce street bridge were inundated and began to "cave in." The works of the New Pressed Brick Company, near the compress, were flooded and the compress itself, where 2000 bales of cotton are stored, shared the same fate. The backwater rose rapidly and the inhabitants, mostly negroes, along the west banks, from the foot of Commerce street, around to the Eureka Steam Laundry on Poydras street, were in a sorry plight. New cabins were flooded early in the engagement, and on the highlands, the dusky matrons and their [children] stood guard over the household goods and furniture, that is, those who were lucky enough to save their belongings. Many of the cabins were overturned, and only the roofs of their homes could be discerned in the distance. Many of the unfortunates were awakened in the night by the noise of rushing waters and barely escaped with their lives. Last evening, the homeless [negroes] were ordered taken to the skating rink by Mayor Connor, and the whites were established in boarding houses. The railroads suffered severely. The Oak Cliff trestle and roadbed was washed away, but the new one, now under course of construction, will be ten feet higher and a structure that will resist all attacks of the elements. The Santa Fe tracks were washed away for upwards of two miles and no trains were run on that road yesterday. The Houston and Texas Central did not escape the wrath of the angry waters. Passengers were transferred during the day, but the damage to the track compelled the officials to cease operations toward evening. The Texas Trunk was submerged, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, likewise. The trains are running over the Denton branch alone of the "Katy," and the passengers are transferred near the standpipe. The Texas & Pacific trains east came in on time over a clear track. The trestle on the west side of the bridge, however, was in a precarious condition and the passengers were transferred at that point. It is impossible at this writing to make an estimate of the loss sustained by the railroads, but it must necessarily foot away up in the thousands.
     The inhabitants of North Dallas did not escape. The brewery, the electric light works, and all buildings in that neighborhood, are flooded. Along on Cochran street and McKinney avenue, the backwater rose to a great height and hundreds of neat cottages are submerged. Many of the cottages are in the neighborhood of the brewery. Nearly all of these buildings were occupied by colored people, and they were fortunate in having taken the precaution to remove their household furniture beyond the flooded districts.
     The water reached the point at 2:30 this morning, it is understood, and remained at a standstill for several hours. At 8 o'clock, it had fallen four inches, and this was certainly joyful news to all interested.


     At 2 o'clock this afternoon, a TIMES-HERALD reporter called at the elevator and interrogated the affable bookkeeper. Said he: "The river has fallen ten inches since morning and the water is subsiding rapidly . It is keeps up its present lick, the railroad tracks will be above water by to-morrow. We are in luck. The water did not reach the wheat bins at all and the machinery is uninjured. Not a dollar's damage has been done to the property in any way."


     A TIMES-HERALD reporter made the rounds of the railroad offices this morning to ascertain the true condition of affairs. Assistant General Freight Agent J. M. Steere, of the Santa [Fe], said:
"The Santa Fe north is all o. k. We are running trains on schedule time. South, however, we are under water. Five hundred feet of trestle is gone. The bridge is intact and has not been damaged. The track is under water and we cannot form an estimate of the loss. Three hundred men are waiting for the water to go down to begin operations and repair the track. It will not take any great length of time to get it in shape after the high water disappears. I think to-morrow or Wednesday will find trains running on regular schedule time."
     George A. Quinlan, general superintendent of the Houston & Texas Central is in the city directing affairs. The roadbed and trestle work of the line are intact, but under water. The Trinity is not what annoys the Houston & Texas Central people. The water cut a channel through a field and submerged the roadbed. No. 4, it was thought, would depart last night, but Mr. Quinlan, while he had no doubt of the security of the track, decided to take no risks. If the water goes down, trains will make the regular trips to-morrow or Wednesday. The Houston & Texas Central north as a clear track.
     General Manager Mowry, of the Trunk, said: "All trains on our road have been abandoned. there is a washout three miles from the city, and another at King's Creek, as afar as heard from. The damage at King's creek will be repaired at once, and then we'll tackle the damaged road-bed near the city as soon as the water subsides. I cannot say when the running of trains will be resumed, but we will have all damages repaired without loss of time--by Wednesday, in all probability."
     The Texas & Pacific people sustained their greatest loss yesterday afternoon, by 300 feet of trestle on the West Dallas approach, to the railroad bridge, giving way. The pile driver, manned by a large force of workmen, have been busily engaged since last night repairing the break, and they are making good headway. C. P. Fegan, general traveling passenger agent, is confident that the damage will be repaired by night and the transfer of passengers will be an easy matter if it is decided inexpedient to run trains over the bridge trestle.
     Trainmaster J. L. McDowell, of Greenville, is in the city looking after the interests of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, said he: ""We are running trains on the Greenville branch and transferring at Cedar Springs. Bad washouts are reported on the Denton and Waxahachie divisions, and in many places, the road bed is under water. No trains are running on these lines. I can give no estimate of the damage sustained by the Missouri, Kansas & Texas. I understand that there are several bad washouts on the joint track (the Texas & Pacific and Missouri, Kansas & Texas), between Denton and Denison. We will repair all damage to our tracks inside of twenty-four hours after the water subsides."
     Many of the ticket offices were crowded with belated travelers to-day in quest of information regarding the running of trains, what length of time the would be compelled to remain over, etc. A number of them wanted their money back, while others rather enjoyed their experience.


     Sheriff Henry Lewis and Police Officer H. M. Grizzle, had a narrow escape from drowning. The discharge of firearms in the treetops near West Dallas was interpreted as a signal of distress. The officers jumped into an old scow and attempted to paddle in the direction of the water-bound sufferers. Their boat ran athwart a telegraph wire and capsized. Lewis and his companion struck out boldly for a tree about eighty feet distant. Grizzle came very near sinking two other times, weakened by cold and exposure, but Lewis encouraged him to keep on, and finally, the two men reached the treetops and were saved. They were taken from their quarters by boatmen, and when dry land was reached, Mr. Grizzle was completely fagged out. He was taken to his home, and this morning is none the worse for his experience. Sheriff Lewis, after a change of clothing, returned to the river and remained until a late hour.


     Alderman Kivlen introduced the ordinance requiring saloons to close on Sunday. Yesterday, the alderman was approached by a wag who told him that a saloon was "wide open down the street," and anybody could get a drink who wanted it." The alderman declared vengeance on the law-breaker and started in haste to the saloon. He found it up to the door top in water, free to any who wanted it.
A West Dallas lady, washed out of her little new home, took a philosophical view of the loss. She said, "Yes, sir, my house is floating, my household goods are ruined; but, I can work and pay for more, just as I did for these."


     T. W. Howard and J. F. Andrice, of the second ward, near the trunk factory, called on the TIMES-HERALD to say that the report of police officers who were sent to rescue water-imprisoned families, was incorrect. The News related the officers went down and rescued Howard, et al; while Messrs. Howard, LeBuff and Andrice say the officers did not do anything of the kind, but left the people to get out as best they could, with the help of each other. The water was about eight feet deep in their houses, their effects were being damaged and life endangered, and there was no outside help; the officers (names unknown) refused to aid them, and even threatened to arrest them if they did not stop talking as if the officers should assist them. Jno. J. Conroy, the new alderman, sent a float and help to aid them in securing their effects.


     J. A. Williams, night watchman for the Oak Cliff railroad, was bitten by a rattlesnake, which climbed up the river bank. Williams drank copious draughts of whiskey and the poison was completely washed out of his system.
     Alderman Kivlen's cooperage works and several houses at the foot of Austin street, were submerged yesterday. The engine room was under water.
     The dairymen came over in boats yesterday, and to-day from Oak Cliff, and supplied their customers.
     J. W. Danforth, a T
IMES-HERALD subscriber, who resides at Oak Cliff, crossed the Texas & Pacific bridge and trestle work last night, walking on the hanging ties.
     Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Croce, who were married at Waco Wednesday, arrived from Fort Worth yesterday. They were transferred in the hand-car pressed into service by the Texas & Pacific officials.
     Among the flood sufferers are M. C. Dill, grocer at the foot of Lamar street; Barnett Gibbs' tenants in the same neighborhood; G. L. Bettrock, saloon keeper, Mosher's foundry and many others.
     Jesse Strong cut the North Dallas park dam yesterday morning, affording an outlet for the backwater.
     James O'Brien, of Sedalia, Mo., one of the largest cigar manufacturers in that state, came in Saturday, coming from Fort Worth, accompanied by Jule Wittstock, of Logan, Evans & Smith's and Jack Bird, a young tourist. The jolly trio put in their time, since, viewing the sights. They are water-bound and seem to like it. "Dallas is a great city," said Mr. O'Brien, "and I believe I could remain here for a month. This is my first visit and I am free to confess that I'm dead stuck on the town, and the flood, well, it beats the Mississippi. I am here now and propose to remain for several days. Dallas is good enough for me." Mr. O'Brien contemplates locating a branch of his establishment in Texas, and may decide upon Dallas.
     Milton Powell, of Kansas City, one of the best known hotel men in that section of the country, has leased the Oak Cliff hotel and his name is a guarantee that it will have a first class manager. Last season, he conducted the Sweet Springs hotel, at the fashionable summer resort of Missouri, which is thronged from June until September. Mr. Powell was an interested spectator on the river banks yesterday. He remarked, "this beats the 'Big Muddy' on a rampage all hollow."
     John Hoeny, of the Abilene Reporter, is in receipt of a telegram received at noon, reporting all that country for four or five miles west of Abilene under water, and no trains from the west have come in for three days.
     At the foot of Austin street, one can get a fair idea of the extent of the flood. The entire neighborhood in the ravine is under water, and it stands on the tracks of the elevated railroad six feet deep.
     All day long, the banks of the river have been strewn with wreckers, fishing out the logs and lumber and other articles of wreckage as the debris floats along. Other parties, in boats, visited their property in the flooded districts to ascertain the extent of their losses.
     At an early hour this morning, the report was current that two colored men were drowned in Happy Hollow. On investigation, it turned out that a colored man and his wife had occupied their little home too late to escape the general destruction, and at daylight, the structure came down about their ears. In an effort to save some little effects, the man was swept beyond his depth. He was rescued, and he triumphantly landed an old dilapidated hair trunk that might have done service in the ark. It seemed to be his principal concern. He knocked off the cover and took out a bundle of rags, carefully inclosed, in which was a snug bundle of greenbacks. This he pocketed, and, seizing the "old woman's" arm, he bolted off in search of high ground.
     The basement store rooms of Armstrong & Co., Crowdus Drug Co. and Scarff & O'Connor, on south side of Commerce street, are flooded, the latter firm having 500 bundles of newspaper under water.
     Mr. Wm. Donaldson, who was raised in and about Dallas, since 47 years ago, says the flood of '66 was two and a half feet higher than this, and one of hits disastrous results was the financial ruin of the proprietor of the old mill south of the grain elevator at Oak Cliff and Missouri, Kansas & Texas crossing, and the closing of the mill for business. It has stood there vacant ever since as a reminder of the highest water Dallas has ever known. Mr. Donaldson, Mr. Ballard and other sixty-sixers say they have landed out of skiffs into the windows of the second story of the old mill.
     The police of Dallas are creditable to the city, both as officers and men. One incident came to the notice of our reporter worthy of record. A man just south of the Texas and Pacific bridge, fell into the stream. He was fished out, and as he stood shivering, waiting for a conveyance, an officer stripped off his coat and, flinging it over the shoulders of the moistened citizen, remarked: "Here, I have no use for this and you have none just now."
     Another circumstance struck the reporter. An officer near the Oak Cliff station was soaking wet. "I have not had my clothes off in thirty-six hours," he said. A bystander, and evidently a friend, produced a pocket flask. "Take a swig," he remarked, "it will keep the life in you." "Much obliged," says Cop. "I won't touch it---this is bis; I'm on duty, so I'm let out." He did not "take a swig" as requested.
     A negro with a healthy specimen of the porcine genus under his arm was the observed of all observers just south of the bridge this morning. "Whar you got dat shote?" says a son of sunny Africa. "Cotched it swimmin' an' toke it in---its worf four dollars," was the grinning response.
     The hotels are crowded. A traveling man remarked this morning, "well, there's no kick coming to me. I'd rather be water bound here than any city in the world. Plenty to eat, lots to drink and all the fun I can stand up to. So, let old Trinity whoop 'em up. I'm happy." He was.
     P. J. Butler said to a T
IMES-HERALD reporters: My loss is 500,000 brick. I lost 1,000,000 last year, and am acclimated."
     The Waco base ball team came in from Fort Worth yesterday. On the West Dallas side of the river, they donned their uniforms and came across on the hand car, expecting to go direct to the grounds. A disappointment awaited them. The boys were on dress parade the remainder of the day. They returned to Waco this morning.
     Thousands of people were on the river banks yesterday, surveying the situation and offering consolation to the flood sufferers.
     Several saloons were submerged, which led a waggish individual to remark, "It's a shame to mix good whisky with a bad quality of water."
     The cellars of the buildings occupied by Armstrong and E. M. Tillman & Bro., on Commerce street, were flooded and considerable damage entailed.
     The Eureka Steam Laundry is a flood sufferer. The boilers in the engine room were submerged early in the engagement.
     The two brickyards on the Oak Cliff side, near the railroad track, are under water, and the proprietors suffered greatly in a financial way.
     Gabe Tourisell and Sam Green, two colored men, stood on the banks yesterday morning, and witnessed their humble homes floated away on the bosom of the tide.
     The river at Mill creek backed up into the park, flooding several small shanties. No great damage was done.
     Sanitary Officer Busbee reports many sad cases. One woman, Mrs. S. J. Green, said, with tears in her eyes: "We were living in a tent. My husband is bedridden--paralyzed and I am ill. All we had is gone." Mr. Busbee generously aided the poor woman, whose distress would have touched the stoniest heart.
     The police and sanitary officer never did better work in their lives. Those rescued were the families of Mrs. Perriott, Mr. Zuoint, Joseph Merritt, Mrs. Hace, Mrs. Gerard, Mr. La Beth, Mrs. Tepoe, Mr. Wymiller, Mr. La Buff, George Heefenstine, Dan Stein, Howard. A firm, who had a great deal of furniture let out in North Dallas, will lose about $1500.


     J. J. Casey, a boatman, came near losing his life. His frail boat ran against a telephone wire, and the occupants were thrown into the river. He managed to right his craft and made good time to the shore.
     "Say, mister, take me picter," remarked an urchin to the photographer who was taking the ferry this morning.
     "Too late," said the artist, as the boy slipped on a wet rail and went below the surface.
     Judge Charltan and a party of seven others started out in a dug-out from Oak Cliff at 8:30. At 10 o'clock, they were still struggling with the current when Captain Gooch, in a keel skiff, passed them and asked if they needed help. The judge declined assistance and Commodore Gooch kept on. He arrived in time to have his back photographed, and his beaming countenance can easily be recognized in one sketch.
     Good humor is the prevailing feature of the crowds at Oak Cliff, who surrounded the ferry landing, eagerly inquiring for friends at this side. There is no suffering or anxiety--and all are as jolly as if a rise in the Trinity was a "circus" gotten up for their special amusement.
     Miss Cowart, principal of the young ladies school, was the first lady who braved the swollen waters this morning. She came down to the landing with a lady companion and they smilingly took their seats in a skiff. Six gentlemen were in the boat. The frail craft put out into the stream, and it was seen that the boat was too heavily laden. They returned to the landing, and two gentlemen gallantly stepped ashore. The boat, with its precious freight, made the trip in just thirty minutes and the ladies were well pleased with their venture.

- April 28, 1890, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4. col. 2-4; p. 5, col. 3-4.
- o o o -



Furious Storm in the Vicinity
of Dallas Last Night.




Wide Swath of the Cyclone in the
East End.






The Storm Came From the Southwest and
Included Austin in Its Track -- Fort
Worth Lightly Touched -- Re-
lief Fund Needed.

     About 6 o'clock yesterday evening, a sudden and remarkable change in the weather, in the vicinity of Dallas, set in. From almost a dead calm in atmospheric conditions and May-like in temperature, with the suddenness of a flash, the change came and a miniature hurricane sprang up from the south, veered alternately to the other three cardinal points of the compass within the time space of two minutes, forced the mercury indications down ten degrees almost as quickly, and then settled down to a strong blow from the southwest.
     The indications were good for an old-fashioned "norther," and the public felt that they were to get their first taste of winter weather.
The wind continued strong, with occasional fitful gusts, carrying clouds of dust and showers of small signs with them, up till 2 o'clock this morning, when it took on more force and approached to the magnitude of a cyclone.
     The change in this particular was almost as sudden as that of the early evening. There was a gigantic roar of thunder, a blinding flash or two of lightning, a deluge of rain, and then a rushing of enraged winds. One human life is known to have been lost, much suffering and inconvenience brought to scores of persons, and in some instances, material relief is badly needed, and calls for liberal responses of charity.
     No detailed estimate of the property loss is obtainable at this time, but it is safe to say that the damage in Dallas, the suburbs and the country immediately surrounding the city will approximate at least $100,000.


Work of the Winds in East Dallas and
Other Suburbs.

     The storm was particularly destructive in East Dallas. Beginning at the Central railroad in the vicinity of the old oil mills, its path, about 50 or a 100 yards wide, extended in a northeasterly direction.
     It commenced by demolishing small outhouses and fences, but gathering strength and fury as it proceeded. The vacant building, 758 Commerce street, was lifted off its foundations and a portion of the chimney sent whizzing through the roof of James McDerma's house next door, rudely disturbing the slumbers of the family by the clatter among the dishes.
     A house on the corner of Commerce and Duncan was violently wrenched and divested of the kitchen, which was set down in a neighboring yard.
     With some slight damage to the property en route, the cyclone crossed to Main street. The cottage, 796, occupied by J. T. Mixter, was so twisted, that the timbers collapsed. Andrew, the 12-year-old son of Mr. Mixter, and little Roy Seate, a 6-year-old orphan, whom the family had adopted, were sleeping together. When the debris was removed, the two boys were found pinned down to the bed, with little Roy lying across the breast of the other. The little fellow's neck was broken and skull fractured. Andrew was not hurt.

House where Roy Seate was killed.

     Next door to Mr. Mixter lived Robert Scott, a widower with six little daughters. Mr. Scott occupied the front room and his children, the rear one. When he felt the building move, he got up and went to see about the children. As he entered their room, the house collapsed, the weight of the timbers throwing him across the bed, which, in turn, gave way, and there they all lay in a heap. With the weight of the house on his back, Mr. Scott rose up and managed to get out with his family. His children escaped without injury, but he received serious injuries in the spine.
     Two cottages, 811 and 813, on the north side of Main street, were lifted from their foundations.
     The White House, 831 Main street, occupied by Mrs. Sallie Pipes and Mrs. Cummings, was turned partially around, and so twisted, that the doors and windows could not be opened. The two women were prisoners until outsiders liberated them. Mrs. Pipes' dishes were broken into small pieces. Mrs. Pipes says she was once in a cyclone at Pilot Point years ago.
     On Elm street, the three empty buildings owned by A. C. Ardrey, and formerly occupied as blacksmith and carriage makers' shops, were demolished. The two-story building just east of these shops was shaken and twisted and left in a tottering condition. Joe Norton, colored, runs the house, and it is a place for the gathering of the colored clans. It is said there were about 75 negroes in it when the storm struck it. But, nobody was hurt. One of the women here claimed to have been struck by a thunderbolt during the storm.
     In the rear of Joe Norton's, a small house was twisted into kindling wood. This was occupied by Joe Meanes, a colored blacksmith. Means managed to get his family safely out of the wreck.
     The cottage at 855 Main street was moved several feet, as was also the house of Mrs. Kirkham, a few doors east.
     The two-story building of Pat Connerty,. which was approaching completion, was twisted and wrenched in a manner it will be difficult to repair. Mr. Connerty has a builder's insurance policy on the building, but he did not know whether it held good against cyclones.
     The storm did considerable damage to the buildings of the Munger Gin company. The sheet-iron roof was lifted from a portion of the building, and the smoke stacks were tumbled down.
     Three freight cars on the Texas and Pacific track near Munger's had the roofs twisted off.
     The roof was blown off the Texas Storage company building, and the machinery stored therein exposed to the rain.
     The E. Van Winkle cotton gin factory also suffered by the storm, a portion of the roof being blown off.
     The house of Virgil Thompson, 117 Crutcher street, was blown down and the furniture demolished. Luckily, perhaps, for the family, there was nobody at home last night.
     East of Mr. Thompson's house, the storm deposited a quantity of planks, timbers, shingles and other debris of wrecked buildings, which it had carried for some distance.
     The vacant two-story house owned by Dr. Tremball, on the corner of Crutcher and Pauline streets, was badly wrecked as was also [a] two-story house adjoining on Pauline street, which is owned by Mr.. Crowley and occupied by G. Lee. Mr. Lee's furniture, and more particularly his dining room and kitchen things, were sadly broken.
     The culinary department was detached from Mr. Thomas' house, 136 Crutcher street.
     Dr. A. P. Smith's house, on the same street, was divested of the chimney. The house of Gus McDowell, on this street, was also slightly damaged.
     On Worth street, the gable was blown from Mrs. Feno's[?] home; the roof was lifted from Charlie Rowan's house, and the chimney was blown from Mrs. Oates' house.
     Mr. Ady's house, on Crutcher street, was thrown off its foundation.
     The rear end of Mr. Quinn's house, on Hill avenue, was carried away.
     The roof was lifted from the two-story house of Mrs. J. S. Roberts on Crutcher street.
     At the fair grounds, about 175 feet of fence was demolished, and the stables belonging to Mr. R. Powell, on the north side of Exposition hall, were demolished.
     At the East Dallas branch of the T
IMES HERALD, the back and side fence was blown down.
     The wires and poles of the Queen City street railway, on Elm street, at the branch, were badly damaged, some of the poles being broken squarely off by the force of the wind.
     The barn of A. Preston, on Williams street, was blown down, and the house of Mr. Page, corner of Commerce and Duncan streets, was blown from its foundation and moved about ten feet.
     The Catholic church, on Harwood street, was twisted on its foundation and slightly damaged in the roof.
     The chimney was blown from J. K. Strother's house on Haskell avenue. His barn was also blown away and his horse took advantage of the opportunity to escape. The barn and buggy house of Mr. Strother's next door neighbor were lifted up and carried away, leaving the horse and buggy standing in the rain.
     The smoke stack of the power house of the Dallas Rapid Transit railway, in South Dallas, was blown down.
     The electric light tower at the city park was blown down.
     Two cottages on Simpson street, occupied by Mr. Neys and J. W. Longacre, were given a lively shaking up, with some damages to dishes.
     The chimney of Mr. West's house on Worth street was demolished. The vacant two-story house next door to this was careened.
     The barn of Cornette Wheat, on Worth street, was demolished.
     The outhouses and chicken coops in Ed Holland's yard, on Worth street, were torn to pieces and blown in all directions and his chickens scattered.
     W. H. Crozier's barn, also on Worth street, was demolished.
     The premises of Major C. M. Wheat, in East Dallas, were divested of fences.
     When the storm was at its height, Mr. W. K. Homan, living on Crutcher street, told his family he thought they would be safer in the barn, on account of its being a low, one-story affair. They all, accordingly, started for the barn, but before they reached it, they saw it, by the light of a flash of lightning, rise into the air and disappear. They then returned to the house, which remained unshaken through the storm.
     The entire front was blown from Marks grocery store, corner Akard and Pocahontas streets.
     The Rothschild and Dreyfus homes on South Akard were partially unroofed, and in both houses, damage to some extent was done to the furniture by the rain.
     Mrs. Craycroft's residence on South Ervay street was unroofed, and the damage done by the rain, was quite extensive. Mrs. Craycroft had just completed the refurnishing of her residence at a large cost.
     The cyclone caused work for men employed in the glaciers' painters' and carpenters' branches of trade for this morning. There was a great demand for glass fitters and carpenters. One firm, alone, got forty orders for glass.
     The tolling of the fire bells this morning was caused by the storm crossing and tangling the live wires. The bells were not tolling the doleful requiem of a dead fireman.


Two Churches Wrecked and Many Dwell-
ings Damaged.

     The wind played destructive pranks with the western suburbs of Dallas. The whirl wind struck Oak Cliff from the southwest and traveled in an easterly direction. It left in its path, wrecked churches, houses, stores, fences and other outbuildings.
     Two churches -- the Oak Cliff Methodist and the Oak Cliff Christian -- are complete ruins.

Oak Cliff Methodist Church

     The Methodist church was struck on the southwest corner, on which side, stood the tower. This part of the structure was broken in two about half way up and the top part was completely turned over. Neighbors living near by, said that when the tower fell, the bell pealed forth in the most ominous sounds, caused by the hammer being swayed from side to side. As this reminder of church time struck the ground, it made a noise that could be heard for several miles. While the tower was undergoing the course of destruction, the other parts of the building were being demolished. The building was of a "T" shape and the south side was razed to the ground. The south walls were blown into the building and the roof fell in such manner as to make a wall on the south side for the north end of the building. The north end of the house of worship was blown from its foundation and wrenched out of shape. This morning, while the high wind was blowing, the walls, which remained standing, shook like an aspen leaf, and each moment, it looked as if they would fall.
     The building is a complete wreck and will, at once, be rebuilt. Rev. T. B. Reed is the pastor of this church, which was built in 1888 at a cost of $5000. The congregation was just getting out of its indebtedness and the members were congratulating each other on their good fortune when their house of God was destroyed.

Oak Cliff Christian Church

     The other church, the Oak Cliff Christian church, corner Ninth and Beckley streets, is also a complete ruin and will have to be rebuilt from the ground. This church did not share as hard a fate as the M. E. church. It was raised from its foundation and moved northward about 8 feet. The shock which it suffered by striking the ground caused the roof to become loose from the side and end walls, so that during the day, it seemed as if the whole structure would collapse. The church was built in 1892 at a cost of $1200.
     The home of W. J. Parchman, on Eighth street, which stands near the ruined Christian church, was blown from its foundation and out of shape, so that now, it is unsafe for occupancy. Almost every window light in the building was broken. The chimneys were blown down and the occupants rushed out into the street, clad only in their night clothes, but escaped injury. On the same premises, a corn crib was blown over. The damages on this house will amount to about $1200.
     A barn, worth $75, belonging to W. M. Crow, was completely demolished, as were, also, barns belonging to W. C. Griffith, Judge Anson Rainey, Thomas Hord, Judge Charlton, Dr. W. J. Thurman and Will Ford. The damage done to these barns will amount to about $1000.
     The dwelling of Frank Johnson, the butcher, was blown from its foundation.
     A queer freak of the cyclone was the way in which a rooster was killed. The chicken coop in which this rooster perched was struck by the wind and turned over. The rooster was blown about ten feet to the side of a barn, from which protruded a sharp hook. On this hook, the king of the barnyard was landed, and there died.
     The estimated damage done in Oak Cliff is about $10,000.
     No lives were lost and no one could be found who had suffered any injuries.


A Chance for the Exercise of Much-
Needed Charity.

     The TIMES HERALD will start a relief fund for the cyclone sufferers with a contribution of $5. The charitably disposed people of Dallas are requested to contribute to the fund, especially for the relief of the family of Mr. Mixter, the guardian of Roy Seate, who was killed by the falling of the house in which he was asleep.
     Contributions to the T
IMES HERALD Relief Fund will be received by Mayor Connor at his office, from which place, all aid will be given.

- January 20, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald,
p. 1, col. 3-6; continued on p. 8, col. 1-3.
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Additional Particulars of the Ravages of
the Storm, Together With Inci-
dents! Reference to Two
Former Cyclones.

     The funeral of Roy Seets, the 6-year-old boy who was killed in the wreck of J. T. Mixter's home by the cyclone, Saturday morning, took place from the Nettie street M. E. church at 11 a. m. yesterday, and proceeded to Elam station, on the Texas and Pacific railroad, nine miles east of Dallas, where the little fellow was laid to sleep by the side of h is mother. The remains were followed to their last resting place by Mr. Green Seats, father of deceased, Mr. Mixter's family, and fifteen or twenty persons from the Nettie street M. E. church congregation.
     Mr. Seets was very much affected by the death of his little son, who was the only remaining member of his family.
     The cyclone cut a swath about fifty feet wide through the cedar brakes in the Cockrell addition in South Dallas. The trees were torn up by the roots and twisted into all manner of combinations of wreathes, designs and Christmas trees.
     The home of Tiny Beard in Oak Cliff was wrecked by the cyclone.
     The buildings wrecked and demolished by the cyclone on Saturday morning were visited and viewed by thousands of persons on yesterday.

Cyclone Reminiscences.

     City Detective Kirby, in conversation with a TIMES HERALD reporter, to-day, said that on the night of May 26, 1867, when he was a small boy living with his father on White Rock creek, a cyclone visited that vicinity, tearing up by the roots, some of the biggest trees in the creek bottom, and demolishing or carrying before it, everything in its path. Volney Caldwell lived in an old-fashioned double room house with a hall between, and with an ell to the rear. The family consisted of father, mother, seven children and an old negress servant. Two of the children were spending the night at a neighbor's. The cyclone demolished the house and killed everybody in it, except the old colored woman, who, without being inured in the slightest, was left in a posture of prayer to mark the place where the house formerly stood. Two of the children were found a few yards from the place, while the bodies of the father and mother were picked up 500 yards away. The bodies of the other children were found on an adjoining farm. The old negro woman, who believed the judgment day had arrived, continued several hours in the same position, and to pray, shout and sing, alternately.
     In the same neighborhood, Ben Prigmore's house was blown away and his little son killed.
     John Dixon's house was also destroyed.
     The year before the Caldwell cyclone, Cedar Hill experienced a blow almost as memorable. The store that furnished the dry goods, supplies, etc., for all that region, was located at Cedar Hill, and it was in the heavy iron safe in this store that the money, papers and valuables of the population of the country round about were deposited for safe keeping.
     Among a dozen or more buildings that were demolished by the cyclone, was this store, which was carried bodily off some distance. The track of the storm, for twenty miles, was marked by pieces of calico, straw hats, boots and shoes, coats and vests, millinery, gents furnishings and other haberdashery articles, which were identified as portions of the Cedar Hill stock of goods. But, the strangest part of the whole matter was what became of the safe. To this good day, no trace of it has ever been found. The most plausible explanation is that it struck the earth in a soft place somewhere, and by the force of the fall, buried itself out of sight, making itself as hard to find as are La Fitte's buried treasures.
     The history of cyclones in this county shows that they follow a regular path from southwest to northeast, and the cyclone of Saturday morning followed the general trend.

- January 22, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 1-2.
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Added March 26, 2004:



A Fearful Sunday in Texas -- The Snow Ex-
tended to Waco -- South of That Point
it Rained, Hailed, Northered,
and Did Everything.

     Every winter, Dallas has more or less snow-fall, but seldom so thick a carpet of it as that now on the ground. According to those who sit up late, nights, it began to snow at midnight Saturday, and as everybody knows, it continued to snow all day yesterday, without the slightest intermission, until night. But, as the ground was not frozen, the snow melted nearly as fast as it fell, otherwise, there is no telling how deep it would have been. After an intermission of several hours, it began to snow again in the night and kept it up until the middle of the forenoon.
     The snow is perhaps four inches deep on a level this morning. All the old sleighs and sleds in the country were pulled out of old sheds and barns and pressed into service this morning, and many new ones were hastily thrown together.
     Rabbit hunters are scouring the country in every direction and having lots of fun. The snow doesn't cut much figure with the jack rabbit, but it enables the hunter to keep following him.
     According to passengers on the Northbound trains this morning, the snow storm extended only about as far South as Waco, and the snow is about as deep, all the way to Waco, as it is here.
     Passengers on the Northbound "Red" Express train on the Santa Fe railroad, report, that at 1 o'clock this morning, they encountered such a fearful rainstorm, South of Temple, that they got out of their beds to see what was the matter.
     A dreadful norther prevailed on the Texas coast yesterday. At Galveston, the waves in the bay reared and pitched and beat themselves into mountains of foam; a steady, cold wind swept the deserted streets.
     This present storm started in a cold rain at San Antonio, and after going north, came back again, bringing all kinds of weather.
     Authorities are at variance as to how many years it has been since there was as deep a snow here, and the chances are that none of them are reliable, because they do not even agree as to how deep the present snow is.
     Mr. W. E. Parry says that in January, 1876, it snowed every day, for ten days. The ground was frozen to begin with, and all the snow remained on the ground, and as it snowed every day for ten days, it got pretty deep. He says Mr. Lawrence Knepfly sent all the way to New Albany, Ind., for a sleigh, and got it in time to have lots of fun before the snow melted.

- January 28, 1895, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3.
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