BIG FLOOD STRUCK HAMILTON IN 1899
The most destructive early day flood that hit Hamilton
was on the night of June 30, 1899. Mrs. Mary Looney was drowned, houses,
livestock, and other property washed away. According to the Herald of July
"In the afternoon about five o’clock a heavy rain
fell for about two hours continuously raising Pecan Creek until citizens
began to get uneasy. The rain then slackened, and the waters began to
subside. But the elements were preparing for another and a great downpour.
The black clouds, boiled up angrily in the darkness, lighting up the scene
every few seconds with a flash that dazzled the eye, accompanied with
frequent bursts of thunder, and this continued until nearly 12 o’clock.
By this time Pecan Creek was a raging river, bearing upon its turbid bosom
trees, bridges, houses, wagons, trunks, chairs, stoves, beds, fencing, and
everything moveable, leveling rock fences, rushing outside its banks,
swirling and tearing through the live oak thickets where the huge timbers
of the demolished bridges creaked and groaned and sometimes snapped like
pipestems or were smashed into splinters by the force of the current and
all the tremendous momentum of the drift wood that came down from above.
A new house built in the south part of town by W. J.
Whitley was washed down the creek and lodged on the H. R. Boynton block.
Mrs. Looney’s house stood about 100 yards further down
he creek. She lived alone, and refused to leave her home that night,
though urged by neighbors. John E. Taylor, member of a searching party,
found her body the next morning. She was buried at Gentrys Mill, where her
son Thomas J. Looney, lived.
Water stood 21 inches deep in H. R. Boynton’s
furniture store, and much of the stock, including furniture, mattresses,
mattings, etc. was damaged.
Water flowed like a river on the east side of the
square, flowing into Collier’s shoe shop, France Baker’s store, the
Journal-News office, and Durham’s store.
Back water in Johnson’s wagon yard almost drowned his
horse, and washed away wagons belonging to J. J. Durham and Him Barnes.
Rev. A. P. Smith had two horses and two calves washed
away, but he recovered one horse and one calf.
The bridge near Judge Main’s built that year in West
Hamilton was carried away and the foot bridge at Parson Smith’s went
E. E. [Erastus Ebebezer] Doggett’s new well curb was demolished and the
well filled with water and mud.
The bridge on the Hico road and the one north of the
Iron livery stable were destroyed, so that Hamilton was literally
The new mill was flooded and a wagon load of mill
machinery was washed away.
Water stood 15 inches deep in Sparkman & Baker’s
photograph gallery and 1,300 negatives were ruined.
J. J. [John Jefferson] Durham’s and A. M. Edmiston’s good on the
north side were slightly damaged.
Farms of Will Tippie, Squire Loyd, Lee Snell, and
Applewhite, below town, were badly damaged.
The next morning Misses Lizzie, Lottie, and Hattie
Boynton, attempting to drive across the creek just below the dam, had
their buggy bogged down and their horse sunk in a deep hole which the
flood had washed out. Miss Lizzie leaped into the water about waist deep
and floundered over to a large rock, on which she perched for safety.
Hattie sprang out the other side where the water was shallow and reached
safety. Lottie still held the reins. J. L. Spurlin and Will Standifer came
along and rescued them.
HAMILTON COUNTY NEWS, Vol. VIII, No. 7
THE CARLTON CITIZEN, Vol. 30, No. 23
Friday, June 24, 1938
W. F. Billingslea, Publisher, Hamilton