Friday, September 21, 2007

Flood of 1937 Recalled

By Roger Linzy

(Editor's Note: Roger Linzy shared this recollection of the Cumberland River flood at Dycusburg in 1937. He died in Nov. 2005 at the age of 84.)

With the advent of the weekend Dycusburg and Crittenden County found themselves digging out of the snow and ice that marked the worst blizzard for the winter. A deluge of Thursday and until early Friday morning-hours brought in its wake cold and biting weather. Sleet fell practically all day Saturday bringing automobile traffic to a minimum and horses and mules could hardly maintain their footing.

Highway and mail traffic was at a standstill, no mail arriving. Flood warnings were being sounded throughout the entire Ohio valley. Flood waters reached devastating proportions. Especially is this true in and around Tolu, Dycusburg and the small inland town of Tiline. Suffering materialized from Dycusburg and Tiline. In Dycusburg refugees took cover wherever the same was offered as likewise did they in Tiline, most of the residents were given shelter in the homes of relatives and friends.

In all parts of the flood-stricken community, no communications existed between Marion and Paducah, all busses and trucks being stopped at Burna because of flooded conditions existing between there and the Cumberland river bridge. All railway traffic was paralyzed, being placed on sidings. All means of truck freight facilities were waterlocked at Paducah and Sturgis.

Cattle and stock were drowned by the score, having no chance whatsover to reach points of safety. Mr. Gus Graves owned the ferry at Dycusburg and allowed my father and three other men he thought to be experienced river men take the ferry barge and equipment across to the Tiline area and help farmers ferry cattle and other livestock to high ground. They worked several days and nights rescuing their animals. You could take a motor boat and travel from Dycusburg to Tiline by the road.

Marion was kept in touch with the outside world through the individual efforts of Lyle Winn, operator and owner of the radio station 9JEG and to this gentleman we cannot give too much credit — he remained at his post of duty for many trying hours relaying telephone messages to him by broadcasting that reached their destination that would not have otherwise done so.

The Cumberland river had surpassed by about four feet the 1913 crest — the highest ever known for this river. On the Ohio, from Elizabethtown, Ky., downward there were reports of suffering and many driven from their home. Louisville and Paducah apparently the most severely damaged due to the fact that the flood came in mid-winter. In one particular case individual truck operators and owners made a trip to Dycusburg over the most hazardous roads to meet a boat load of refugees that failed to appear. Towns up and down stream from Dycusburg were inundated by swollen creeks and the Cumberland River.

I was fifteen years old at this time and stayed at the river helping the merchants move their merchandise to safety and helped residents move out of floodwaters too. My cousin, Don Manus, traveled from Mexico, Ky. to Dycusburg down the road on ice skates and also helped in the evacuation from the floodwaters.

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