Storms, Freshets, And Earthquakes.
fortunately succeeded in reaching a place of safety. The county bridge was here destroyed.
In the meadow just above Upland, Mary Jackson, a colored woman, was with her husband gathering drift-wood when the flood rushed down upon her, and hesitating for a moment in which direction to flee, he was overwhelmed by the water and drowned. The Chester Flour- and Saw-Mills, then owned by Richard Flower, were much injured, and the bridge at that place was swept away and the abutment greatly damaged. William G. Flower, who was at the time lessee of his father's mill, was in the meadow when the waters rushed down upon him, and he was whirled along until he succeeded in catching a vine which was entwined around a large tree on the race bank, and by means of which he mounted into the branches, but the tree was torn up by the roots, and among drift-wood, timber, and trees he was carried down by the flood until he was lodged in a standing tree, to which he clung, although much exhausted, until the flood had in a measure abated, when Abner Wood bravely swam to him, carrying a rope, by means of which Mr. Flower was safely brought to shore.
At Chester the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad bridge was swept away, together with part of the western abutment; and the county bridge, at the present Third Street, was thrown from its place, but, as the superstructure was held by the chains on the eastern side, it did not prove a total loss. The pattern-house, with its contents, at Jacob G. Kitts' foundry, was floated away, as was the stone kitchen from William Kerlin's house, still standing on Third Street, near Penn, and the dwelling itself was much damaged, while a frame house and other outbuildings belonging to Mr. Kerlin were destroyed. The dwelling-house was occupied by William Benton, and all his household goods, his cart, dearborn, and other personal property were swept away. A bureau, containing his and his children's clothing, his watch, and all the money he had, was found floating at Pennsgrove, N. J., and was returned to Mr. Benton by the finder. It is reported that the water rose at Chester one foot a minute until it reached a point twenty-three feet higher than the ordinary high-water mark.
As stated before, the volume of water on the Brandywine was not greatly increased, although some damage was done on that stream. The branches of Beaver Creek, a feeder of the Brandywine, in Delaware County, being within the territory where the cloud-burst occurred, rose sufficiently to break the dam at the saw-mill of Reese Perkins, just above where the Delaware line, at the extreme southwestern line of Birmingham, joins Concord township. The loss, however, was not great. Harvey's Run, which empties into the Brandywine a short distance below Chad's Ford, rose sufficient to break the dam of Thomas Brinton's grist-mill and that of Joseph P. Harvey's saw-mill, but, so far as I have learned, very little damage other than that stated was sustained on that tributary.
Thirty-two county bridges were destroyed or seriously injured by the flood, while the individual losses on Darby Creek and its tributaries amounted to twenty thousand dollars; on Crum Creek, twenty-four thousand dollars; on Ridley, thirty-nine thousand dollars; and Chester Creek, one hundred and five thousand dollars.
On Saturday, July 8, 1853, a destructive hail-storm passed over the townships of Thornbury, Upper and Nether Providence, Springfield, Upper Darby, and Darby, leveling the crops to the earth, and producing other damage. At Media over a hundred lights were broken in the court-house windows, a large number of those at the Charter House and in private houses, while at Crook's (Bancroft's) upper factory nearly every pane of glass on the west side of the building was broken.
Thursday, Aug. 11, 1870, the most violent storm and freshet to that time since the notable one of August, 1843, occurred, and the destruction it occasioned in Delaware County reached a quarter of a million dollars. On Rocky Run, twenty-five feet of the breast of Humphrey Yearsley's flour-mill, in Middletown, was swept away, as was also that at James Pennell's mill, farther down the stream. The flood, swollen by the contributions from these dams, rushed down upon the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad bridge which spans the run above Wawa, and near Pennelton Station. The five o'clock train from West Chester reached the bridge just when the water was the most turbulent, and the structure gave way beneath the weight of the train, together with the pressure of the flood. The engine, baggage-car, and a passenger-car were thrown into the stream. Fortunately, George W. Evans, the engineer, noticing that the bridge seemed wavering, whistled "down brake," the headway of the train was in a measure arrested, and it so happened that the first passenger-car which contained about thirty persona, lingered for a few moments on the edge of the stream, just sufficient to permit the escape of the passengers, and then it plunged into the water. The fireman who sprang from the engine when the whistle sounded, escaped without injury, but the engineer, brakeman, and baggage-master were much hurt.
At Lenni the dam at the factory of Robert L. Martin was broken, not less than a hundred feet of the dam-breast being torn away, and the loosened waters deluged the first story of the mill, damaging machinery, ruining goods, and making great havoc as it rushed by. At Parkmount, near Lenni, a portion of the dam-breast at George Glodhill's mill also gave way. Chester Creek was filled with floating rubbish; lumber, logs, pig-styes, - the squeaking animals still in the pens, - buckets, tables, stools, and hundreds of other articles were borne off by the