The Great Dayton Flood of 1913


Personal Accounts     Books/Booklets/Reports     Articles     Photographs/Postcards     Videos

 

Personal Accounts

 

Mrs. Kennard Brown
Mrs. Brown was 15 years old at the time of the flood.  Luckily, she was outside of the city at the time. This tells of her efforts to personally deliver food to relatives that were stranded in Dayton.

John Bush
John Bush writes to his son, Chuck, about his experiences during the 1913 flood

Alice Lingo Conger

 “March 23, 1913.  Easter Sunday.  Rained all morning.” That’s how Alice Lingo Conger began a diary that recorded Dayton’s most devastating natural disaster.

Margaret Cotterill
Jeff Moyer interviewed Mildred Cotterill on June 13, 1996 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mrs. Cotterill discusses her experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University.

Arthur Dilks
This is a letter written by Arthur Dilks, an employee of NCR, telling of his experiences during the flood. Courtesy of The NCR Archive at Dayton History

Mrs. Earl A. Frederick
Mrs. Frederick was working as a maid in the Fred Hornicks home on Pulaski St., when the flood hit.

Irene A. Hauer
Irene's mother became frantic during the flood, thinking that Irene's father had drowned.

C. Dale Hopkins

Jeff Moyer interviewed C. Dale Hopkins on December 11, 1995 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mr. Hopkins discusses his experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

Marceda Huffman
Jeff Moyer interviewed Marceda Huffman on July 19, 1996 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mrs. Huffman discusses her experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

Herbert E. S. Humbert
This is a letter written by Herbert E. S. Humbert, an employee of NCR, to John H. Patterson telling of his experiences during the flood. Courtesy of the NCR Archive at Dayton History

Harry Jeffrey

Jeff Moyer interviewed Harry Jeffrey on July 19, 1996 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mr. Jeffrey discusses his experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

Allan Long
Allan tells his friend, Louie, about his experiences during the 1913 flood. Courtesy of The NCR Archive at Dayton History.

Mrs. William Maag
A telephone pole was her lifeline during the 1913 flood.

Clarence C. Mauch
by Clarence C. Mauch
A personal account of Mauch's experience during the 1913 flood

Eleanor McCann
Jeff Moyer interviewed Eleanor McCann on June 6, 1996 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mrs. McCann discusses her experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

Kathy McDonough
Kathy's story of how she survived the flood when she was only 15 years old. 

Dr. Reeve
by Dr. J. C. Reeve 
This account was written by Dr. Reeve during the first days of the flood. It was written on old newspaper wrappers. Dr. Reeve's wife was ill and entirely blind at the time.  Her death, a month later, was caused in part by what she suffered during the flood.

Harry Rogers

by Harry Rogers Copyright 1962
Harry Roger's life as a child at the turn of the 20th century in downtown Dayton. His flood account is at the end of the story.
Permission to reprint this manuscript was given by William A. Rogers, Jr.

Mrs. Frank Seiler
A bride spent many hours thinking she was a widow.


Margaret Smell
This link takes you to an excerpt from the diary of Margaret Smell is from March of 1913 during her visit to Dayton, Ohio. In the diary she chronicles her eye witness account of the Dayton Flood and the aftermath of the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

Robert Smith
Jeff Moyer interviewed Robert Smith on July 19, 1996 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mr. Smith discusses his experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

Estella Strader
Estella was ten years old at the time of the flood and remembered how NCR used a fire hydrant to send messages to other cities.

Ethel Weeks
Jeff Moyer interviewed Ethel Weeks on June 6, 1996 for the 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood Survivors Oral History project. In the interview Mrs. Weeks discusses her experiences as a child during the flood. Courtesy of Wright State University

  

Books/Booklets/Reports
 

 

The 1913 Flood and How it Was Met by a Railroad
by Lewis S. Bigelow Copyright 1913
An online PDF file of the entire book with descriptions and photos of the impact of the 1913 flood on the Pennsylvania Lines in Ohio and Indiana and how it helped save the day, including the good people of Dayton. Courtesy of Open Library.

After the Deluge

by Packard Motor Car Company
How the Packard Motor Car Company came to Dayton's rescue following the flood that hit the city in 1913

Dayton - Being a Story of the Great Flood as Seen From the Delco Factory
Author unknown Copyright 1913
Describes the terrible damage caused by the flood that swept through Dayton during the week of March 24, 1913.

Great 1913 Flood, Dayton, Ohio
by Killian M. Kammerer Copyright 1913
A wonderful online PDF of the entire book, including pictures, that can be read online, courtesy of the Library of Congress and Open Library.

The Great Dayton Calamity
by Davis and Graser Copyright 1913
This booklet contains 24 pictures of the 1913 flood. A wonderful online PDF of the entire book, including pictures, that can be read online, courtesy of the Library of Congress and Open Library.

History of the Miami Flood Control Project
by C. A. Bock Copyright 1918
An online PDF file of the planning and execution of flood prevention works in progress at the time, including the five dams later built to protect Dayton and the Miami Valley. Courtesy of the Hathi Trust.

The Miami Conservancy Bulletin Volumes 1 & 2
by The Miami Conservancy District Copyright 1918-1920
An online PDF file of Volumes 1 & 2 (August 1918 to July 1920), covering the progress of building the dams to protect the Miami Valley from future floods. Courtesy of Hathi Trust.

The Miami Conservancy Bulletin Volumes 3 & 4
by The Miami Conservancy District Copyright 1920-1923
An online PDF file of Volumes 3 & 4 (August 1920 to April 1923), covering the progress of building the dams to protect the Miami Valley from future floods. Courtesy of Hathi Trust.

The Miami Valley and the 1913 Flood

by Arthur E. Morgan Copyright 1917
Written by the chief engineer of the Miami Conservancy District, this book includes the geology, settlement and flooding of the Miami Valley in 1913. A wonderful online PDF of the entire book, including pictures, that can be read online, courtesy of the Library of Congress and Open Library.

Pictorial History of the Great Dayton Flood
by Nellis R. Funk Copyright 1913
Flood facts and over 50 pages of photographs of the 1913 flood. A wonderful online PDF of the entire book, including pictures, that can be read online, courtesy of the Library of Congress and Open Library.

Report of General George H. Wood on the Dayton Flood of 1913
by General George H. Wood Copyright 1913
An overview of the military aspect of the Dayton flood, as reported by General Wood to Governor of Ohio, James M. Cox

Report of the Special Booard of Consulting Engineers to the Dayton Flood Prevention Committee May 26, 1914
by the Dayton Flood Prevention Committee Copyright 1914 
An online PDF of the report the Morgan Engineering Company made to the committee on how to best prevent future flooding of Dayton and other nearby cities. Courtesy of the Hathi Trust.

Story of the Miami Conservancy District
Compiled by C. N. Phillips, Office Engineer Copyright 1922
The story of how, after the 1913 flood, five dams were built to protect the Dayton area. The dams were completed on December 31, 1921.

A Time of Terror
by Allan Eckert Copyright 1965
This book is "A thrilling minute-by-minute narrative historical account of the great disastrous flood that struck Dayton, Ohio, in April, 1913", and considered by many to be the best telling of this fantastic event.
Our thanks to Allan W. Eckert for giving us permission to place the text of his great book onto the DHBO website.

Through Flood, Through Fire: Personal stories from survivors of the Dayton flood of 1913
by Curt Dalton Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved
Accounts of the 1913 flood taken from letters, diaries and other sources dated no later than 1914

 

  

Articles

1913 Flood Survivor Shares Frightening Tale
by Roz Young Copyright March 29, 1994
Harry P. Jeffrey's tale of surviving the flood when he was eleven years old.

1913 Flood: There Had Been Warnings 
by Benjamin Kline Copyright March 25, 1973
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1913 flood

1913 Memories Come Flooding Back
by Roz Young Copyright March 20, 1993
Roz prints a letter Amos Crow wrote to his parents shortly after the 1913 flood hit Dayton

A Boy is Born Under Difficulties
by Charles F. Sullivan Copyright 1944
A story of how Robert Denman was born in a cold house during the 1913 flood.

A Day of Horror
by Roz Young Copyright November 18, 1995
A man recalls his experiences during the 1913 flood when he was 11 years old.

Early Dayton, Flood Recalled in Reminiscence
by Mary L. Patterson Copyright 1972
Memories of early Dayton before and just after the flood that hit the city in 1913. The article appeared in four parts in the NCR Dayton newsletter from September 29 to November 10, 1972.

Even Famous Daytonians Didn't Escape Devastation
by Roz Young Copyright November 1, 1997
Orville and Bishop Milton Wright lost a number of personal items during the 1913 flood.

The Flood
by Mary E. Murphy Copyright 1962
Mary wrote a poem of the terrors people suffered during the flood.

Flood of Memories
by Roz Young Copyright March 23, 1996
Thyrza Brown Trant describes in a letter to a friend how Dayton suffered after the 1913 flood. 

The Floods and THE FLOOD
by Roz Young Copyright March 22, 2003
Roz recalls of how Dayton had plenty of warnings before the big flood of 1913

The Floods of Dayton, Ohio
by Charles F. Sullivan Copyright Unknown
A tale of several floods that have hit Dayton, including a personal account of the 1913 flood by Sullivan.

General George H. Wood Dies at Dayton Home
Copyright Journal Herald 1945
The obit for Gen. George H. Wood, native Daytonian well known for his efficient command of Dayton and Montgomery County during the 1913 flood. The article appeared in the Journal Herald on December 27, 1945.

I Remember Everything
by Dorothy Haug Copyright 1966
Mary Koellner talks about being trapped for three days in a second-floor office during the 1913 flood.

John H. Patterson - A Defense of the President of the National Cash Register Company

How Dayton turned to John H. Patterson for help during the 1913 flood. Article appeared in The Independent magazine, April 17, 1913

The Man on the Job at Dayton
by Edgar Allen Forbes Copyright 1913
The article on John H. Patterson's work during the 1913 Flood appeared in Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, May 8, 1913

Miami Conservancy District Court Report
by Colonel Edward Deeds Copyright 1944
Colonel Deeds was active in creating the Miami Conservancy and the building of the dams after the 1913 flood. This is his report on how, 25 years later, the dams were working fine and in perfect condition.
 
My Vision
by I. H. Ries Copyright 1913
A mournful poem about the flood that hit Dayton in 1913

The Ohio Flood of 1913 - Our First Great Relief Task
by Ernest P. Bicknell Copyright 1934
Tells of how the Red Cross was there for the citizens of Dayton during the 1913 flood. The article appeared in Red Cross Courier magazine September 1934

The Original Riverbed
by Charles F. Sullivan Copyright Unknown
How the rivers around and through Dayton were straightened in a effort to help control flooding.

Shall We Gather at the River
by Curt Dalton Copyright 2001
A history of the floods that swept through Dayton from 1805 to 1913. Article appeared in The Vincent Brothers Review Issue #20: Vol. VIII, No. 1.

Spring Brings Memories of 1913 Flood
by Roz Young Copyright March 22, 1979
Little tidbits of talk about the 1913 flood.

 

Photographs/Postcards
 

 After the Flood
   Images depicting the aftermath of the flood, after the waters receded, including flood debris and clean-up. The 365 photographs are from the Dayton Metro Library and are posted on Flickr.
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During the Flood
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mages showing the flood in action. The 205 photographs are from the Dayton Metro Library and are posted on Flickr.
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Flood Photographs and Postcards
Dayton History's collection contains over 2,000 photographs and postcards. Use the key word flood to find them.

Flood Postcards
This links to Dayton Metro Library's set of 61 postcards that is posted on Flickr.


Montgomery County Picture File of Flood Photographs
This links to 428 flood photographs from the Montgomery County Picture File, a collection of historical photographs held at the Dayton Metro Library and posted on Flickr.

 

 

Videos


The Osborn Story

A video on the history of the removal of the town of Osborn, Ohio, following the devastating 1913 Great Dayton Flood.