Butler County, OH: Stories of the 1913 Flood

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Stories of the 1913 Flood * March 25, 1913 * along the Miami River
from the Butler County, OHGenWeb Site

YouTube video of the memories of a survivor of the 1913 Great Flood in Columbus Ohio

eCards including flood pictures

Archived discussions
1913 flood
OHButler-L Email List:

Flood of 1913 (Oct 26 1998)
Hamilton Flood - March 1913 (Jan 24 2000)
1913 Flood in Hamilton, (Aug 5 2000)

Miami Conservancy's History of the Flood Protection System

A Ramseyer Family Flood Story
by Kay McCullough, Feb 26, 2001

My honorary grandfather/uncle, Paul Ramseyer, b. 15 Nov 1906, survived the flood with his mother, two sisters and a brother. The surviving children were 16, 6, 4 and 2.

Paul's father, Christian Ramseyer, tied a rope to the door the night of the flood, to hold onto, and went out with Paul's older brothers, Walter, b. Oct 1894 and Roy, b. 15 Nov 1899, to check on the animals in the barn. Uncle Paul remembered that they watched as the lantern went out and the rope went slack....the darkness, the constant rain and the silence when the family at the house called out.

The bodies of the father and one son were found within a day or two; a few years later they found some bones and thought it might be the other son. I haven't been able to find any cemetery records yet. But we put March 1913 for their deaths. The last child, an infant boy named Christian, also died that week or soon after the flood, Paul said. I do not know if the mother delivered early or the baby had just been born and became sick because of the weather or the mother breaking down. Pearlena was the oldest surviving child at 16, but Paul became his mother's helper, the "man of the house" - at 6 years old.

Christian and Pearly May (Dondaro) Ramseyer, m. 10 Mar 1892, were the parents of eight children: Herbert, b. 8 Feb 1893, d. before 1894; Walter, above; Pearlena, b. 15 Nov 1896, d. circa 1989; Roy, above; Paul, d. 11 Aug 1994; Harris, b. 1908, d. 1985; Mary, b. 13 Nov 1910; and Christian, above.

I helped Uncle Paul research his family in the early 1990s.

Kay McCullough
Casper, Wyoming

The 1913 Flood:

Contributed by Kathleen Dewey, kdewey@sbcc.sbceo.k12.ca.us

My father (Robert Hynes) was 9 years old in 1913. His family lived in Dayton, but little Bobby and his older brother Mark were sent to stay with their grandparents (Richard and Catherine Hynes) in Overpeck while the family coped with conditions in Dayton. It is interesting to see the flood through the eyes of a child. The following is from Bobby's letter home on April 7, 1913:

My dear Mother,

We are all well where I am staying. I have just stopped playing with Billie. I am having a good time but I wish I would be home helping you and not playing. We had two families here during the flood. Oh! Mother - Mother how I wish I was home helping you because I know it is hard for you. Oh! Mother - Mother do come and take me back soon. I am very happy here but I would be more happy if I could help you. I am very well. I hope you are the same.

This morning we had a terrible scare. The telephone was burning. How is Dad? Is Mary at Mt. Notre Dame? Mother, is my piano gone? Oh, Mother, how can I thank you for sending me a post card? Grandma is washing now and Aunt Lil. Billie is building a house now and Arthur is reading a book. Oh! Mother send me word if my piano and bicycle are gone. Hamilton was worse than Dayton. Mother, do come and take me home and let me help you for I could be a lot of help to you if I wanted too. Miss Cary is coming for milk now and Billie is playing and Mark is waiting to write so I guess I will have to stop.

I remain as ever.
Bob Your Loving Son. Bye

The 1913 Flood: Hamilton, Ohio

by Mary Ellen Jones

My father told me a story of his mother's, Mildred Lewis Schrichte, of the day when the bridge was swept away.

Grandma Mildred worked at the Champion Paper Company at that time. It was a couple of blocks north of the bridge on the west bank of the Miami river.

She told the story that the company advised all the people who lived on the east side of town had better go across the river while the bridges were still open and that the city was considering blocking all travel across the river.

She and a group of other girls (paper sorters) left immediately and headed for Main street and the bridge. When they got there the men were putting the blockades in place but they allowed the group, about 15, to go across. She said that about halfway across they wished that they had not started. They ran all of the rest of the way and made it safely. She said that they stood around awhile and watched the trees and other debris coming down the river get dammed up by the bridge. They left after a little while and she headed home. She lived on South Second street about six or seven blocks south of Main (High) street. When her group got up to where the Courthouse is on High street they heard a loud roar and noise and as they turned around they saw the steel framework of the bridge being swept down the river. That group of girls from Champion was the last to cross the bridge about half an hour earlier.

It was several days before the river drained back to normal and the stranded, on both sides of the river, were able to cross, by boat. Later pontoon bridges served the city until the present High-Main street bridge was built.

My grandmother, Mildred Lewis Schrichte lived almost all of her life on the North End of Hamilton. She was born 27 September 1895 in Frankfort, Kentucky to Alice Glore and Dennis Lewis. After Dennis' death, Alice married Lorain Allgaier in Kentucky. The family moved to Hamilton around the turn of the century. Mildred married Ernest Schrichte 2 February 1916. She worked as a cook at the Paddock Club on N. Second and the 150 Club on High St. I remember her working at "Lou's" tavern on Fifth and Vine. She was active in the women's organizations at St. Stephen's church. She died 28 February 1978.

West End Pier, Great Bridge Wrecked by Flood at Hamilton, Ohio
(Click picture to enlarge)                          Paul Boyd writes:
"My grandmother, Myrtle McCormick Boyd, traveled by train from Indianapolis to Hamilton to help her mother clean up after the flood moved through their home on McGlynn St. She made the trip with her two boys, ages two and four. The note she wrote on the back of this postcard reads as follows: "Herschel, Paul and I crossed the river here in a row boat with a drunken man to row, during the flood." My father was the two year old Paul. She must have made it across safely as I am here."

Hamilton flood pictures

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