CONTRIBUTED BY LYNN HANDY
The following items
appeared in the Nebraska City
April 4, 1881. The
river at this point has been
steadily but slowly rising for the
past 24 hours. The ice is running
today but it is light mush ice so
the boats manage to cross (between
Nebraska and Iowa) without a great
deal of trouble.
April 7, 1881: The
river is coming up...over 100 men
and boys were along the banks
catching driftwood...people on the
east bank moved to the bluffs.
April 8: The bottoms
on both sides of the river were
under water. The steamer C.K. Peck
that had departed for Fort Benton,
MT, was unreported. Farms owned by
Daniel Gregg were fast being washed
April 9: Passengers
brought to Nebraska City by the
steamboat Lizzie Campbell were
unloaded only by cart as the water
ran deep on the landing. Fifty men
worked at M. U. Paynes farm on the
Iowa bottom to repair a broken dyke.
The brickyard of Prue, Driscoll and
Co. was entirely submerged.
April 11: A news
reporter took a trip on a skiff and
reported the lowlands inundated.
April 20: Fears were
held for the residents of Eastport
(the small Iowa town on the east
side of the river just across from
April 21: Percival was
an island. The News reporter
stationed in the courthouse belfry
said he could see nothing but a
waste of water.
April 22: Russell
Vaughn, Iowan, came to Nebraska City
to get help for his family and
livestock who were stranded on the
highest ground near their house,
which was flooded. The lower portion
of Hamburg was under water. East
Nebraska citizens moved into the
second stories of their houses.
April 25: Nate Pile,
who rowed the bottoms in a boat
reported seeing 40 families marooned
in their houses. They had moved to
the second floor and taken their
livestock with them. Persons had
climbed trees to escape the rushing
water. Many were stranded.
April 26: East
Nebraska City was deserted. Twenty
families were in danger in Otoe
Bottom on the east side of the river
8 miles south of Nebraska City.
Peter Freeze came to Nebraska City
from Hamburg to report a foot of
water in front of Hamburg's Opera
House Hotel. The bell in City Hall
rang out an alarm that they had a
call for help from Percival. People
were stranded without food or basic
needs and needed rescuing.
May 14: The final
flood report was in the paper and
from then on the river began
The article concluded:
Possibly the loss in the flood never
will be written. The river raised to
the highest point in the history of
Nebraska City and Fremont County and
its course was changed considerably
when the waters finally fell to
normal. The flood dropped out of the
news quickly, but never has the
Missouri been as high as it as in
April of 1881.
SHALL WE COMPARE?