Storms, Freshets, And Earthquakes.
ten feet, carried away the bridge at Holt's mill, and rushed forward towards the dam at Strathaven. J. Howard Lewes, hearing the noise of rushing waters, and fearing that a freshet might follow the rain, went to his paper-mill at midnight, and not long afterwards the waters of Crum Creek covered the lower of the building to the depth of three feet, but subsided without doing any serious injury save floating away several ricks of straw. The dam at Strathaven banked the torrent for a time, but it only augmented the power of the flood, for when the obstruction finally gave way a roaring mass of water came with a rush down towards Avondale. Neill Melloy, one of the operatives in John Greer & Co.'s mill at the latter place, had risen to smoke, and as the stars were shining brightly had walked to the hillside spring for a drink, when chancing to look up the creek he saw the flood approaching. Without a moment's delay he ran from house to house waking the slumbering inmates. Not a moment too soon, for the rushing water forced the foot-bridge away, uprooted trees, swept away the wool-house, poured into the mill and into the houses, from which the dwellers fled in their night clothing. In several cases women sleeping in the upper stories were lifted through the windows by Neill Melloy (who preserved his presence of mind), and passed to parties without, who bore them to places of safety. Over a dozen houses were flooded and greatly injured. Daybreak disclosed the fearful damage that had been wrought, and everywhere were strewn broken articles of household furniture, while clearly defined in places along the banks and on the houses were marks showing that the water had risen to the height of fifteen feet.
On the 9th of October following, the most violent rain-storm since 1843 swept over our county. Early in the evening of that day the wind blew heavily, increasing to such an extent that the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad dispatched no trains from Philadelphia southward after nine o'clock, although the storm ceased an hour before midnight. Chester Creek was swollen to a rushing torrent. From a short distance above Rockdale down to its mouth great damage was done. The dam at West Branch and Crozerville Mills broke, as did that at Glen Riddle, and much damage was done at J. B. Rhoads & Brother's mill at Llewellyn. The hurrying water forced its way into the lower floors and engine-rooms of Crozer's mills at Upland, and a carpenter-shop at No. 1 mill floated down the stream, accompanied with numerous articles of personal property which had been caught by the flood in its course. At Chester boats and shallops torn from their moorings were carried out into the river, and the yacht "White Wing" drifted down the Delaware. Along the line of the Chester Creek and Baltimore Central Railroad the damage was so great that for two days no trains passed over the road because of washouts and uprooted tree which lay upon the track. At Bridgewater an engine and tender was thrown from the road by a break in the track there, and between Chad's Ford and Brandywine Summit the road had so sunk that it was dangerous. A culvert east of the latter place was washed out, at Chad's Ford the railroad bridge was swept away, and and a short distance below Concord Station a small bridge was carried off, while another near by had so sunk that it could not be crossed until repaired. The lumber in the yard of Alexander Scott & Son at that place was strewn in every direction, while fences and trees were leveled to the earth. Three acres of corn belonging to George S. Cheyney was absolutely annihilated.
At Darby, Griswold's mill was partially inundated, which, with the coal that was washed from the wharf, occasioned a loss of over ten thousand dollars. A stable at the same place belonging to William D. R. Serrill was inundated, and two horses drowned. Some damage was sustained by J. Howard Lewis, at his paper-mill on Crum Creek, while at Morton a large unfinished stable belonging to Judge Morton was partly blown down, and much injury sustained at his brick-kilns, near by that station.
A terrible tornado swept over this county on Wednesday morning, Oct. 23, 1878, causing great destruction of property. At Media trees, fences, and barns were leveled with the earth, and a dwelling-house on State Street, near Jackson, being erected by Ralph Buckley, was blown down, and Mr. Buckley, who was in the building at the time, was buried in the ruins and seriously injured. The sheds of the Methodist Church in Middletown were torn away, and the lumber so broken that it was useful only as kindling, while in all parts of the county great damages marked the tracks of the storm. At Glen Riddle the wagon of James Howarth, the mail carrier, was thrown against a telegraph-pole just as he was entering the bridge over the West Chester Railroad, which prevented Howarth from being precipitated over an embankment nearly forty feet in height. The wagon was demolished.
In Chester the frame stable of the Hanley Hose Company was destroved; so was also the drill-hall of the Pennsylvania Military Academy, and a row of eight unfinished houses on Second and Norris Street were thrown down in a mass of ruins, as were some houses on Penn Street, above Sixth, then building. The roofs of St. Paul's, First and Second Presbyterian, Madison Street, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Churches were injured, as were Patterson's, Ledward's, Gartside's, Barton's, and Irving & Leiper's mills; Sanville's spar-shed, Cox's sash-factory, the sugar-refinery, and the engine-house and mould-lofts at Roach's ship-yard were blown entirely or partially off. In South Chester the front wall of a row of brick houses belonging to Mr. Kirkman was forced in, and the Democratic wigwam at that borough torn to piece. Over fifty houses in Chester, North and South Chester, and Upland were unroofed. The tide rose