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 ​​Portsmouth 1884 flood, Second Street in vicinity of the tin shop just to the right of the pole

Karen Sue Wikoff​ information and photo 

1907 flood Portsmouth Mill Street

1910 Flood wall with building

1884 flood Portsmouth

This is the photo of Peebles/Tilley Mansion that sat on the corner of 2nd and Washington. Mr. Peebles was killed by a street right in front of his home.

Karen Sue Wikoff information and picture


1907 flood showing Mill Street.  The building in the background on the right, might be the old school (Briggs or Second St. School) that stood at the corner of Chillicothe and 2nd. Streets. The location of the Massie School later on.

Railroad Depot Portsmouth, Ohio 1884 Flood

All rivers flowing southward into the Ohio River reached flood stage during March 14-17, 1907. More than 4 inches of rain fell across the southern third of Ohio during March 12-14, with the heaviest rain, 5 to 6 inches, in a band from Cincinnati eastward to Athens and Noble County. At Waverly, the Scioto River washed out every railroad leading into the city. Portsmouth was inundated by the flood, but with temperatures reaching 70 degrees on Sunday March 17th, “thousands took advantage of the fine weather to row about the city’s streets.”

1897 flood

March1907 flood

On the right is the post office and behind it is the 6th street Methodist Church

Senate Buffet in 400 block of Chillicothe Street

1907 flood Chillicothe street

December 1847 flood

Portsmouth 1884 flood showing Front Street

 Please email additions or corrections to hladvertising@hotmail.com.
Or mail to Waverly City Guide, 455 Hay Hollow Road, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

‎1884 Flood - 4th Street between Washington and Chillicothe Streets

‎1884 Flood - Corner of Market & Front Streets looking east

1884 Flood - Corner of Front & Market Streets looking west.

1884 flood February 13 Second Street, east of Court

1884 flood Second and Market streets

1884 flood & fire Market & Second

February 13, 1884 flood looking south from cemetery hill

     During the preceding month of January experienced the severest and most intense cold of the century. There were several heavy snow storms extending over a vast extent of territory, embracing New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Snow was reported four feet deep in the mountains, and it covered the hills and valleys of all the tributary streams of the Ohio River. The proverbial "January thaw'' did not come with its accustomed vigor. The weather moderated towards the close of the month at intervals, but before the great snow falls had been, converted into water and found their way to the channel of the river, they would be caught and locked in the icy embrace of returning cold in all of the small streams and rivulets.

     With the expiring days of January came mild, moderate weather, that began to start the ice gorges in the Allegheny, Monongahela, Youghiogheny, and in the interior of Ohio. There was less than the usual amount of damage at headwaters by the breaking of these gorges, by reason of all the headwater streams being well in bank, as was also the Ohio River to its mouth.

     FEBRUARY 4. Things began to look ominous for a repetition of 1883, though it was not a certainty. The weather was warm, and raining at Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Marietta, Pomory, Point Pleasant, Charleston, Gallipolis, Portsmouth, Boston Station on the Licking, Cincinnati, Madison, Evansville, Louisville and Cairo, but falling between Pittsburgh and Maysville.

     By February 5 the situation now began to be alarming indeed, all along the river. Heavy rains throughout its entire length, of twenty to thirty hours' duration, were beginning to tell. The weather was yet mild, and it was known that there was yet much snow in the mountains, and that the warm and heavy rains must not only melt it rapidly, but dissolve the ice covering the whole land area of the Valley and reaching far into the interior on both sides of the Ohio River, bringing every tributary stream to its highest point.

     By February 6th at Portsmouth, the river had risen to fifty feet six 9 inches, and was rising three inches an hour.

     THE FLOOD IN SCIOTO COUNTY ACCORDING TO AN EYEWITNESS: For sixteen miles up the Scioto Valley, the Ohio River spread over the low- lands, as far back as the Scioto Inn, a historic old landmark, dividing the line of Pike and Scioto counties.      

     In the village of Sciotoville, six miles above Portsmouth, the center of the fire-brick industries of the county, with its population of three to five hundred, was almost completely submerged, and many of its handsome cottages over- turned or removed from their foundations. Coming to Portsmouth the picture is even more desolate and piteous. True, the farmer lost his growing crop, much stock, and many of the products of his farm, but the land was left, and in the economy of nature he has but to till the soil, and, like Job of old, his possessions will come back to him. But it is different in the city. We had suffered greatly by the flood of 1883, but we had the inherent strength to care for our distressed, and with a just local pride declined the many offers of our more fortunate neighbors, who were willing to share with us the burden of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and restoring the residences removed by the flood of that period. We did all this, and asked no outside aid. Following swiftly upon this unavoidable visitation came the financial reverses of 1883 in the furnace region, of which Portsmouth is the well conceded center. So heavy were the failures in the furnaces outlying, which largely drew their supplies from the manufactories and business houses of this city, that it was a serious shock in our commercial and monetary circles, not less than from a quarter of a million to half a million of dollars being tied up by the failures, besides the falling off in the trade and traffic of the city by their suspension thereafter. To this add the lethargy in the iron market, and the stoppage of projected railroad building consequent upon the general dullness of the country, the blowing out of the upper rolling mill, and other local disturbances in manufacturing circles, and we can see how will prepared our people were for the greatest flood of the century. For one week the waters gradually rose higher and higher, until one-story houses were either hidden from sight or swept away. Those who took refuge in second story buildings cried out at midnight for boats to take them from their rooms fist filling with the alien waters. The wrathful Scioto raised even higher than the Ohio, and our avenues run- running north and south were many feet deep in water, with a current that could not be stayed, and when the Scioto began to recede, the current changed, and the Ohio rushed north as resistless as the current of the Scioto had flowed south. Meantime houses were being swept away like stubble, or piled one upon another in one mass of ruin. Years of patient labor and hopeful resolve, which had combined to build and decorate, and furnish, and beautify happy homes, was as it had not been. Men built boats on the house tops, from floating timber, hoping to save clothing or bedding from the flood. The school-houses, engine-houses, churches, court-house and public halls, were crowded with the men and women of wealth, of moderate means, and of poverty. But the rising waters pitilessly climbed, inch by inch, until the engine- houses were abandoned, and the second floors of the public buildings were the only protection from the flood. Many moved their furniture and themselves, the third and fourth time, and finally had to abandon their property to save themselves. Those who lived in palaces took their cows on the high porches, to save their lives. Great barges were anchored in deep water at the corner of Second and Chillicothe Streets, the second highest ground in the city, on which horses and cows were confined, and the frightened neighing of the former and the pitiful lowing of the latter sounded weird-like and frightful through all the long hours of the fateful and eventful nights of anxiety. For nearly one week we were shut out from all communication with the outside world, both by mail and telegraph, and on Sunday morning.

    February 10, a disastrous conflagration swept away the telephone exchange, denying us even close communication among ourselves. Previous to this it had been a most valued adjunct in the work to relieving the suffering and hungry. Some of of our families had taken refuge in some of the empty cars on the Scioto Valley Railroad, on higher ground, and Friday night they were surrounded by water, and not until now could they communicate with the relief committee. The writer received a telephone message that they were without food, and had been for twenty-four hour, and the committees were promptly notified, and their wants were relieved. When the telephone exchange was destroyed we were even in a worse condition. We only knew the waters were rising, but what was coming we did not know, or if relief would come was problematical. Fortunately our condition was telegraphed from Lucasville, a village ten miles north, and soon relief began to pour in. Telegraphic communications were received at Sciotoville, six miles east. and brought to us by boat, and on Monday P. J. Weber came down from Gallipolis with the gratifying intelligence that the waters were receding. All day Monday, and Monday night, and until Tuesday night of the 12th of February, the river raised until it had readied sixth-six feet three inches, or forty seven inches higher than the flood of 1832, when it began to slowly re-cede, and as I write, on the night of the 23d. it is out of the city, but still covers the Scioto bottoms, and has covered them for three weeks. In conclusion, for I have exceeded the space tendered me. We fed nearly ten thousand homeless people here, besides succoring the villages of Sciotoville, Buena Vista, and Springville, and the rural population in the Ohio Valley above and below us and are now feeding nearly four thousand souls. Fully five hundred homes have been swept away or removed from their foundations. Our schools have not yet resumed. Our merchants, manufacturers and farmers have lost heavily, and the loss in Scioto county will reach not less than $1,250,000. But one business house was out of water, Fisher's drug store, corner Sixth and Chillicothe Streets, and the waves washed the iron plate of the door. There was less than half an acre of the city out of water, and only fifth-eight houses that were not inundated. Without fur? her substantial financial relief it will be impossible to replace the homes of the homeless. Several have died from exposure incident to the flood, and taking it all in all, it will be years before we recover our lost ground. With hearts grateful to those who came to our relief with food, clothing, blankets, tents, and money, I must close.

Portsmouth, Ohio February 1884 Flood
also 1847, 1897 and 1907 floods