NEWPORT 1913 FLOOD
By Diana McMahan
The News Correspondent
Written on Sunday, March 25, 1979
Today, the Ohio River offers little threat to the homes of most Newport
residents, for new construction has been on higher ground. However, in
1913, the great flood practically covered the houses and store buildings close
to the river bank. This record flood of all time crested at 58.7 feet at
Marietta on March 29, 66 years ago.
The first eyewitness reports of damage in Newport came to Matamoras via the
Matamoras Relief Committee, a large group of citizens who had traveled down
river on the Brown Brothers’ boat, the Evelyn, checking on friends and
relatives as far as Marietta, and taking food, clothing and necessities to
those who had lost everything to the high water.
The great harm done to familiar landmarks shocked everyone on the boat,
although damage in Newport was not so great as was first reported. The
wide stretch of water from the West Virginia hills to the Ohio hills, with no
valley in sight, made all viewers lose their bearings.
SEEN FROM BOAT
Newport suffered considerably from the flood. The Reynolds’ home and the
Newport mill are gone, and Will Cook’s store swung around. Elson
Kirkbride’s Meat Market turned over, and the Post Office and store owned by
Will Gano is off foundation.” (Matamoras Enterprise, April 3, 1913.)
Other damage above and below Newport was just as devastating. “The O.R.
Track above Raven Rock is washed out for a mile or two. A.A. Stewart’s
Oil Well (sic) on the Hall farm, across the river from Raven Rock is all
upset. A house on Grape Island is all upset. Ex-Sheriff Obe Clark’s
old house on the bottom land is wrecked.
“At Bell’s Run, Lock’s blacksmith shop and several other buildings are
gone. A 25,000 barrel tank floated out of its bed, across the river from
Eureka and landed on the fill that is built around them. Several miles of
the O.R. track near St. Mary’s is washed out, and the trestle is also out.
Alvin Haskins’ two story house and wash house is turned over.
“At the Dana Run Bridge all the telephone and telegraph wires are down.
The old store house at Newell’s Run is gone and the new one badly
damaged. Barn and warehouse of F. B. Leonard are gone and the store is badly
Those reports that were exaggerated and in error were corrected by Mrs. William
Cook of Newport, whose husband had the store seen from the Evelyn as she went
past. Mrs. Cook wrote to the Enterprise, “The mill is still standing and
almost ready for business. William Cook’s store, I am happy to inform
you, would have taken 18 feet more water to have touched us. Loss of
merchandise and household goods in Newport is comparatively small, for three
fourths of Newport population is on high ground.”
Much news of Newport and the flooded residents arrived in Matamoras in the
column of Newport “Personals” published in the Enterprise. Identity of
the columnist is today unknown, but through the short paragraphs one can see
how the flood touched the lives of those in a small river town.
“Mr. George Bacheldor, who was floodbound in New York State, returned home
Will Conerty was flood ground in Parker, Pa.
Karcher has purchased the Hines property and is moving to higher ground.
“The Meat Market collapsed in the flood; it was the property of Mr. Bernard
“Mr. Sam Collett’s cottage was wrecked, also a small house belonging to the
“J.M. Cook’s Blacksmith shop which was on the bank was washed away.
“Mrs. A.S. Hassinger was flood bound in Columbus, Ohio.
“The old Strickling house went away in the flood and the old store room swung
off the foundation. Only one occupied house left in the flood, which was
the Charles Reynolds’ cottage above the mill.
‘The Drum property of Water Street left in the flood, but landed on a farm
“Mr. Luster Francis’ barn and other buildings left in the flood, but were
anchored before going far. Mr. Wesley Hoff lost his barn during the