Floods Affecting North Carolina

  • Drowning at Cliffside
    Edgar Crosby, 11 Years Old, Met Sad End Friday Afternoon
    Published in the Charlotte Daily Observer, Charlotte, NC, 23 Jun 1907
    Special to The Observer. Caroleen, June 22 - Little Edgar Crosby was accidentally drowned Friday afternoon in the Cliffside pond, Mill No 2. He was a bright lad, 11 years old, and his mother, being a widow, renders the affair sadder still. Making a mistake while walking along the bank, he fell into water 12 feet deep and before he could be rescued he was drowned.
    The remains will be interred in the Providence Cemetery this afternoon.

  • Floods Submerge N Carolina Town
    Fayetteville, City of 12,000, Is Now Under Water
    Walls Sink in Augusta -- Frost Adds Suffering
    Published in the Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, 28 Aug 1908
    Fayetteville, NC, Aug 28 - This city, with a population of 12,000, located on Cape Fear river, was almost entirely submerged because of floods of last night and today. Three thousand persons are homeless.
    Walls Fall.
    Augusta, Ga, Aug 28 - The flood has apparently damaged the foundations of many buildings in the lower part of the city. Today the Central Grammer school collapsed, the walls of the National Biscuit building have fallen and the under-pinning of the Port Royal bridge is washed away.
    Cold Added.
    Throughout Georgia and the Carolinas the temperature today dropped near the frost point, adding much suffering to those homeless by the floods.

  • North Carolina Coastal Flooding
    Published in The New York Times, New York, NY, 5 Sep 1913
    Special to The New York Times. Raleigh, NC, Sept 4 - Twelve persons are known to have perished as a result of yesterday's floods and wind in Eastern North Carolina. Persons returning from the stricken districts say the death list may reach fifty.
    The mile-long bridge over the Pamilco River on the Norfolk Southern Railroad at Washington went down, and half a dozen tugboats, driven by the backing tide, sand when they struck the timbers. Two unknown men were drowned there. Two children were founded dead in a Washington house that had been washed away.
    Three dead were taken from Monk's warehouse at Farmville. These had been killed by falling bricks. They were McKinley Walker and Walter Bynum, lads of 12, and John Douglas, a negro helper. Twenty were injured, but not fatally.
    The property loss in Washington is estimated at $1,500,000, and in Beaufort at $3,500,000. Belhaven and Newbern both suffered heavily. Three persons are known to have been drowned in Newbern.
    The rivers are full of floating houses and the country districts are overrun with refugees. Every railroad train is held up. The destroyed Washington Bridge will interrupt traffic three weeks. Worse disaster was barely averted. An engineer on the Norfolk Southern ran his passenger train on the Pamlico Bridge, but saw the backing waters coming and moved off. The waters struck the bridge and swept it away.
    The entire property loss is to-night estimated at $25,000,000.
    The State will send relief trains to the stricken districts to-morrow.

  • Great Dam Broken by Flood Waters
    Collapse Lets Loose Torrent From Lake Toxaway on Surrounding Country
    Inhabitants Flee Homes
    North Carolina Valley in Path of Peril -- Power Plant Also in Jeopardy
    Published in The New York Times, New York, NY, 14 Aug 1916
    Asheville, NC, Aug 13 - The great dam at Lake Toxaway, weakened by the recent floods, broke this evening, sending a great wall of water down the valley toward western South Carolina. No lives had been reported lost at a late hour tonight, and warnings are believed to have enabled most persons in the path of the flood to reach safety.
    The lake, an artificial body of water covering 550 acres and an average depth of thirty feet, was reported almost entirely drained. The dam, an eighth of a mile long and fifty feet high, was completely destroyed. The town of Lake Toxaway suffered only minor damage.
    The released waters tonight were rushing through the Toxaway River Valley, a comparatively uninhabited section, toward the Chuga River in South Carolina. Anderson, Walhalla, Pickens, and Seneca Counties composed the territory immediately threatened, and warnings were telephoned to all places that could be reached. It was estimated that the flood would not reach Seneca before early tomorrow, and persons familiar with the territory believe the waters will spread out over the uninhabited country immediately south of Lake Toxaway and thus minimize the possiblity of extensive damage.
    Shortly before midnight the Seneca River, in South Carolina, through which the waters of Lake Toxaway will flow into the Savannah River, was normal near the town of Seneca, about forty miles southwest of Toxaway. It was feared serious damage would be done to crops along the Keowee River in Pickens and Oconee Counties, which are divided by the Keowee. Above Clemson College, SC, the Keowee and the Twelve-Mile Creek have a confluence, forming the Seneca. Damage is feared in this section where the country is relatively flat and thickly populated.
    Portman Shoals, where electric power for the city of Anderson is generated, tonight was the scene of great activity. Gangs were at work placing sandbags on the dam and power house and other preparations were under way to combat the force of the anticipated flood.
    Walhalla, Seneca, and Anderson are each several miles from the river, and there is no town of importance on its course.
    The lake was created in connection with a Summer resort and had a shore line of fifteen miles. The dam was constructed at a cost of about $50,000.

  • "Dead Hole" in South Fork Takes Toll of Three Lives Result Fourth of July Frolic
    Alice and Floyd Matthews and Mrs Kimball Drowned at Spencer Mountain
    Girls Couldn't Swim
    Dragged Rescuer Down With Them; Three who Attempt Rescue Come Near Death
    Published in the Gastonia Daily Gazette, Gastonia, NC, 5 Jul 1927
    Floyd Matthews, aged 23; his sister, Alice Matthews, aged 21; and the latter's girl friend, Mrs May Kimball, aged 18, were drowned Monday afternoon at what is generally designated as the "dead hole" where a small creek empties into the South Fork River just in the eastern edge of the village of Spencer Mountain, this county. Frank Matthews, aged 19, brother of Floyd and Alice, Hyman Berger, Granville Conrad, and another young man whose name could not be learned, came near losing their lives in a futile effort to save the drowning trio.
    Floyd and Alice Matthews lived with their father, Mr James Matthews, at 1100 Rankin Avenue, while Mrs Kimball boarded at the home of Mr and Mrs J M Fletcher, 303 South Weldon Street. Mrs Fletcher is a sister of the Matthewses, and Mrs Kimball was a close personal friend of Alice Matthews. The trio, together with several others, were celebrating the Fourth with a picnic and swimming party at Spencer Mountain when the tragedy happened.

  • Water From Dam Break Kills Four
    Published in the York Daily Record, York, PA, 23 Feb 1976
    Asheville, NC - An earthen dam perched atop a mountain ruptured Sunday and sent a wall of water crashing into the Newfound community 1,600 feet below, killing four members of a family in their sleep.
    Water from the lake, carrying large boulders and trees with it, roared one mile down a ravine without warning about 2:30 am EST, crushing the house of Bud Ledbetter. Ledbetter, his wife, their 15-year-old son, Leslie, and 77-year-old Mrs Savannah Ledbetter were killed. Another son, Allen, 20 escaped injury.
    There were no other reports of injuries. Two National Guard helicopters were summoned to search for other possible victims, however, as there were reports campers may have been in the area 15 miles west of Asheville near the Buncombe-Haywood County line in the southwestern corner of the state.
    "It was just a big roaring sound, like a wind was coming up on us from far away," said Mrs Wayne King, whose house just across the road from the Ledbetters was left untouched.
    "It just kept getting louder and louder," she said. Mrs King and her husband and two young sons jumped into the family car and sat helplessly in their driveway honking the horn as the water rolled by 10 feet from their house.
    "It just came so sudden. We couldn't see anything. We just sat in the car until the water got down real low and then we all went in and started making phone calls," she said.
    The Kings were awakened by two friends who spotted a trickle of water on the road as they drove past the house.
    "We just grabbed our kids and got out," said Mrs King. "It's just by the grace of the good Lord that we're alive."
    Officials said a 15-foot-high, 50-foot-long section of the 75-foot long dam was ripped away following thunderstorms which dumped up to 1.75 inches of rain in the area. A preliminary inspection showed the bottom of the 12-year-old dam was waterlogged and shifted forward during the night, causing the upper level to topple over.
    "I assume that the reason for it was, either the way the dam is constructed or there was too much water in the dam," said Civil Preparedness Director William Perrigo. Later Sunday, officials evacuated about 100 homes before the dam, fearing the rest of the structure holding the three acre lake might give way. But residents were permitted to begin returning home after state dam safety engineers managed to open a drain valve on the lake, easing pressure on the 50-foot high dam.
    The National Weather Service said the chance of additional rain Sunday was slight.
    The Rev Jackie Collins, paster of Zion Hill Baptist Church, said the water "hit with such force that it ripped up four inches of asphalt with boulders the size of men just coming through."
    "The walls and roof of the Ledbetter home collapsed as the house was pushed off its foundation and washed away," he said.

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