The Standard received from our friend H. J. Conley, leading business man of Tullahoma, a few days ago a copy of an extra edition of the Southern Standard published by R. M. Reams giving the account of the flood of 1902 and also of the democratic primary election held March 28. The extra was printed Wednesday, April 2, 1902 and told of the flood which occurred on March 28, 1902, the day the democratic primary election of the county was being held which kept many votes from the polls, The article as it appears in the Standard extra, which was a two page, four column issue, is as follows:
The greatest calamity that has
ever befallen McMinnville and Warren County came on last Friday
afternoon and Friday night in the way of a terrible deluge of rain,
carrying death and destruction in a mad rush of waters. Five
people were drowned at the Woolen Mills, two and a half miles north of
town, and the property loss in the county will aggregate not less than a
half million dollars, probably more.
Four of the county's new iron bridges are gone, together with the wooden bridge at the mouth of Collins river built by Hon. Asa Faulkner, and which was turned over to the county some years ago. The bridges over Hickory Creek, over Barren Fork at McMinnville, and over Collins River at Lusk ford and at the Hennessee ford were lost. The two bridges on the upper Collins river, at Harrison's ferry and Martin's ferry are still standing. The loss to the county on bridges is from $15,00 to $20,000.
Wreck of Manufacturing Plants
The two centers of destruction are at the woolen mills, two and a half miles north of McMinnville, on Charles Creek, and for half a mile below the railroad bridge over Barren Fork at McMinnville. One can stand on the bridge now and see the wreck of the Annis Cotton Mills and nearly a dozen houses around it, the Falcon Flouring Mills, the city power house, and one of the county bridges.
Power House Lost
The McMinnville Electric Light and Water Works power house, a brick building, was destroyed. The boiler, engine, pumps and dynamo were not swept out, but they were considerably damaged. The loss to the town on this will be $5000 to $6.000.
Falcon Flouring Mills
The Falcon Flouring Mills, owned by Messrs. Walling and Faulkner, was totally obliterated, not a fragment of it remaining above the foundation stones, while many of those were swept to the bottom of the river. Estimated loss $10,000.
At the Annis Cotton Mills
The line around the Annis Cotton Mills building shows that the water reached to the window sills of the second story. The iron clad warehouse was swept away entirely, with about thirty bales of cotton. The one story brick office building was badly wrecked and some eight or ten dwelling houses around the factory were totally destroyed or badly wrecked. The loss to the Annis Mills Col, will be from $10,000 to $15,000. Some of the people owned their houses, which they lost with most of their household goods, and several families are left utterly destitute.
Five People Drowned
The saddest feature of the great
calamity was out at the Woolen Mills, where in addition to the great
property destruction, five people lost their lives. Mr. Henry
Madewell, who was trying to escape from the Mountain City Woolen Mills
on a rope, fell into the swirling waters and was drowned. He was
about 28 years of age and had been married about three months. His
body was recovered near the wheel house of the Mountain City Woolen
Mills Sunday morning.
Tennessee Woolen Mills
The loss and damage to the Tennessee Woolen Mills will aggregate $25,000 or more. The iron clad warehouse was entirely swept away, together with the dye house and picker building. One end of the new brick boiler room was washed out. The warehouse contained several thousand dollars worth of wool and warps. Most of the finished goods were in the brick store building and were not injured. There is also considerable damage to the main building, while the injury to the machinery from mud and water cannot yet be estimated. The Tennessee Woolen Mills is capitalized at $40,000 and this loss practically bankrupts the company. The mills will not be able to start up again without reorganization and the investment of new capital. Several residences and small building around the mills were wrecked.
Mountain City Woolen Mills
The damage to buildings at the Mountain City Woolen Mills was not very great. Two dwelling houses on the opposite side of the mills were wrecked. The dam was damaged to some extend, and the injury to goods and machinery from mud and water will foot several thousand dollars.
Losses at Yager
At Yager, four miles from town, on Charles Creek, J. A. Justice's mill and dam were totally destroyed, entailing a loss of $5000 to Mr. Justice. Gillem Miller lost a little store building with 100 bushels of corn. The new store building belong to E. N. Yager was moved several feet and considerably damage. McCollum & Rucker, who occupied it, lost about $400 on their stock of goods. Mr. Yager also lost a barn, blacksmith shop and granary. He estimated his loss at $1000.
Others Losses in County
Mr. J. Walling's roller mill on
Mountain Creek was totally destroyed. Loss $400. Gribble's,
Womack's and Goff's mills on Mountain Creek were destroyed, also Newby's
mill on Charles Creek, the old Wilson mill and Mrs. Davis's mill on
Barren Fork, Lawson's mill on Hickory Creek, Jack Barnes' mill on
Collins Rivers, and the old Griswold mill about a mile below McMinnville
on Barren Fork, owned by J. S. Burroughs.
Damage to Railroad
There was a big landslide in the
railroad cut near the red bridge on Main Street, also in the Marbury cut
near Collins river. The cut in town was cleared Sunday morning. A
construction train from Tullahoma reached here late Saturday evening,
with a few passengers. Also again on Sunday. On Monday a
large section of the big railroad fill near the Annis Cotton Mills
washed out, leaving the rails and ties for several feet beyond the west
end of the bridge suspended in the air, and stopping the further passage
Mr. J. Walling put a force at
work early Monday morning on the foundation of Falcon Flouring Mills,
which will be rebuilt as fast as men and money can do it. Much of
the machinery has already been recovered from the river and can be
repaired and used.
Rapid Rise and Fall of Waters
The water arose and fell with
astonishing rapidity. A great volume of water swept down Charles
Creek, destroying Justice's Mill about three o'clock in the afternoon.
In less than an hour the flood had reached the Woolen Mills and began
the destruction there. Mr. Bass, manager of the Tennessee Mills,
was in town when a telephone message announced the destruction at Yager.
Before he could reach the mill, the flood had destroyed $25,000 worth of
property there. About 5 o'clock a telephone message came from the
Mountain City Mills, saying they were surrounded by water, and asking
for help. Quite a number of men went out from town, but dry branch
was a roaring torrent and delayed them for some time. Mr. Clay Faulkner
and a number of his hands were imprisoned in this mill for hours,
the waters driving around it in such mad fury on all sides that it was
impossible for them either to escape or others reach them. The
water began to fall about dark, and all were gotten out of the mill
during the night. Back waters from Collins River again surrounded
the Mountain City Mills to the depth of several feet on Saturday
morning, but as there was no current to this, boats could be easily
The body of Henry Madewell was recovered Sunday morning, lodged against the wheel house of the Mountain City Woolen Mills. He was buried at the Faulkner graveyard Sunday afternoon. Diligent search has been made for the bodies of Mrs. Blevins and her three children, but none of them have yet been found.
There was no railroad mail in or
out of McMinnville between noon Friday and afternoon Tuesday, except a
few papers brought up on the work train from Tullahoma. The
telephone and telegraph wires were down in every direction. The
Western Union got wires to working Monday. The Postal lines had no
connection either way up to Tuesday night. The Cumberland
Telephone Co., is rapidly restoring its connections.
Committees were appointed in the Methodist, Christian and Cumberland Presbyterian Churches Sunday to receive and distribute contributions to those rendered destitute by the flood. There was a liberal response in cash, provisions and clothing on Monday and all the sufferers have been well provided for as to immediate wants.