Fayette County IAGenWeb    

Join Our Team


Fayette County Union & West Union Argo Gazette
West Union, Fayette, Iowa
Thursday, 19 Jun 1947
Page 1 & 12, column 3 & 5

click on a small image to open in a new window and full size photo
PHOTOS I-III: Three views of the Volga river overpowered its banks at Fayette last Friday are pictured by The Union camera. All views are south on highway No. 150, as waters began to recede from their high point. A Gateway truck had attempted to get through and was stalled just at the bend of the highway when The Union cameraman arrived.
PHOTO IV:  ... is of Clifford Burroughs corn field just off the south end of the west Auburn bridge where the Turkey submerged all but an acre of the 12-acre field in a scene typical of much bottom land in Iowa last week.
Five inches of rain which fell during the night last Thursday caused one of the worst flash floods m the history of the county as the usually placid Volga river overflowed its banks at Fayette. Families along the highways to West Union, Sumner and Lima evacuated their homes as the water rose with little warning during the night, giving them no; time to save furniture or personal items.

Almost as quickly as the river went up it dropped, reaching a peak at approximately 9 a.m. and receding to almost normal stage by noon. The Turkey was at flood stage too, but its rise was more gradual and damage was confined mainly to low lying fields. At 1:30 Friday morning Jim Briggs the Fayette city Marshall, noticed that cream cans in the yard of Rolland H. Moore, at the north end of the Volga river bridge, were floating around in water He immediately notified the Moore family and Mr. Moore took his wife and two small children, Dennis Leroy and Delorus, to the city hall.

He was gone only a few minutes and when he returned he waded in water up to his neck vainly trying to get back into the house. The water had reached a height of three and a half feet inside the house. Bedding, clothes, rugs and linen a total loss. Their barn and chicken coop, along with 125 chickens, were washed downstream and lost. Mr. Moore estimated the damage to be close to $3,500.

At the W. R. Hunt home on the Lima road the rising water wasn't noticed until the fire whistle blew and woke them. Mr. Hunt went to the barn where the water rose so rapidly that it had reached a three foot stage in twenty minutes. Seventeen baby pigs were floating around inside the barn and he undertook the task of lifting them up into the hay loft.

Everything happened so quickly that it is uncertain just how and what order things were done, Mr. Hunt stated. Water rose and poured into the house and reached a height of 15 inches inside. Dale Maxon, who works at the light plant, and Rolland Moore, who only a short time before evacuated his own home, arrived at the Hunt farm in a boat. Mrs. Hunt and a grandson, Barry Zbornik, who was staying with {them at the time, were helped into the boat and headed for higher ground. After traveling for only a short distance one of the oars broke and they were forced to tie the boat to, a telephone pole because the current was so strong that one oar was of little use.

The men then made their way to the barn and assisted Mr. Hunt in getting what livestock they could up into the hay loft. After a two hour battle the situation was fairly well in hand. Calves weighing close to three hundred pounds, pigs both large and small were hoisted up into the loft. The cattle were up to their necks in water and made their way out the door, with barely room to clear their heads at the top. The water ran through the yard with so much momentum that the cattle were washed across the road and into a fence. Some managed to clear the fence and make their way to higher ground, but two were lost, along with 500 chickens and chicken house. Hundreds of bushels of corn and oats were water soaked and it is feared that if the weather doesn't clear most of it will be a total loss.

Along highway l50 the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Marvin was also damaged by this flash flood. Water reached a height of two feet inside the house and the current which ran through, it swept furniture about as though-it was paper. The Marvins also - lost about 50 chickens and the chicken house was turned upside down.

They first noticed the rising water about 12:30 a. m. and Mrs. Marvin went to the basement to move her fruit. Then after looking at the chickens the water had. They left in a boat and were necessary to evacuate the premunable to return before 11 a. m. Miss Bernice Bonjour came to help in the clean up job after the water lowered.

Other homes damaged along this road were the home of Raymond Connor, Melvin Nading, Carl Masters and Glen Sherman.

Roy Bigelow assisted Kenneth Marquett at his farm home. The water there was almost to the house. The yard was under three feet of water and water stood three feet deep in the barn and hog house. Several pigs were lost, plus several hundred bushels of corn and oats.

Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Thomas, along the Sumner road on the west side of town, were notified of the rising water iabbut 3:30 by the shouts of a passing couple and barely had time to evacuate their home before the water came up over the front porch and then into the house itself. Only a few minutes were spent getting furniture out before the water reached a height of two and one half feet. They were assisted by Oakley Davis, Jim Davis and George Spatcher with a truck. Most of their prized possessions were lost, including picture's, a bible and linens.

Mr. a n d Mrs. Grant Davis were awakened when Mrs. Davis heard the roar and splash of water. Investigation showed that water was covering their front porch and would soon b e coming inside. The only furniture .which was evacuated before the water reached a height of two and' one half
feet was a stuffed chair and lounge.

The Grants had installed a new furnace in their home only a short while before and it was badly damaged and filled with mud. Other homes along the Sumner road which were damaged by water were the J.W. Burget and Harold Matt homes. David Wells lost 13 cattle which were in a pasture near the twin bridges. Water completely covered the highway between the twin bridges and some damage was done to the road.

MAYNARD — Volga river went on a rampage Thursday night following heavy rains, doing considerable damage to fields and gardens. The water lacked six inches of reaching the high mark of 1944.

Mr. and Mrs. Dale Hunt were compelled to vacate their homes as there were four inches of water in their house. Albert Buenneke, Mrs. Clara Butts and Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Pliester also were forced to leave their homes.

Considerable damage was done to the north iron bridge. John Thiele lost a two year old spotted pony when it was carried down stream and lodged in a tree.

LIMA—The flood of last Friday did a lot of damage to crops, fields and fences-. The most damage was a t Roy Bennington's just north of Lima, where a current came across near the buildings. One small building in the yard used for storage was swept away, their car was swept against the hen house and moved it from the foundation, garden was washed away and all fences laid flat. Just how much damage to the fields remain to be seen.

Seven bridges were washed out in Fayette county during last week's heavy rains, A.D. Finch, county engineer, said today. Over 100 bridge fills and culverts, were washed away also.

No estimate can be made at present as to the cost of rebuilding the bridges, he said. Two or three of the bridges were of the larger type, and all were old ones.

It will take about a week's work with six dragline outfits to repair the damage done, Finch said. The main job of this department now, he added, was to get the traffic going in damaged areas.

~ transcribed & submitted by Constance to Fayette county IAGenWeb


back to Fayette Home