Terrific rain, wind and hail storm hit Newton Co. in 1883
(Reprinted from the Georgia Enterprise, April 27, 1883) Perhaps the heaviest rain that ever fell in the same given time, in this section, was that of last Sunday night between the hours of midnight and day. We shall not attempt to paint the vivid lightning that cut in twain the darkness of the gloomy night, or describe the terrific peals of thunder that bellowed forth in angry fury from the four quarters of the earth. On Monday morning the effects of the rain, hail and wind the night before could be seen on all sides. The sidewalks of our city were like old fields dotted here and there with countless holes and gullies. All the creeks and branches in the county were swollen to an alarming extent, causing great damage to fences as well as washing some of the land beyond the power of cultivation of the present year. It is impossible to count the loss to the county at this time, as every one more or less, were financially injured to a certain extent. We give in detail a partial list of the damages reported:
All the foot bridges on Dried Indian Creek, from its head to mouth, were washed away. The wagon bridge, on Depots reet, alon standing the heavy waves that beat against it. The foundation of the railroad culvert was disfigured, and stones weighing more than a ton washed rods away. The dam and part of the race of Floyd’s mill were swept from their resting place and hardly a sign left to tell they ever had an existence there.
Norton & Meadors dam at their Distillery was torn to pieces, their fences, troughs, etc., carried off, and the still hosue filled with sand and water to the depth of three feet. Their pasture fences were also carried away.
M.W. Davis had his new fences around his residence borne off by the high water.
Dr. J.J. Dearing had eighteen or twenty head of sheep washed away. Some of them were found dead, having been drowned. Dr. Douglas had his fish pond dam washed away. Mrs. Bush had the glass broken from her windows and her orchards torn to pieces by the hail.
At Littleton Petty’s place, near the city, the fences were almost washed from hill to hill. Many branches run through his lands and all were higher than they were ever known to have been before.
A house on Judge P.E. Bank’s plantation, two miles from town, occupied by a colored man named Gus Henderson, was blown down and partly carried away by the terrific wind.
Mrs. E. Jones, who also lives about two miles from the city, had the top of her smoke house blown off.
Mr. Willie Shepherd’s place some eight miles from town, suffered severely from the storm. His barn, crib and several tenement houses were demolished. In one of the houses a family of colored people barely escaped being crushed to death by the falling timbers. A large oak tree fell directly across the house and tore the bed stead to pieces that the inmates had only vacated a few seconds before.
D. H. Roberts’ river bottom he had prepared to cultivate were seriously damaged and it is doubtful if he can get them ready again in time to make a crop.
Mann’s bridge, on South River, was moved, and had it not been for Messrs. Gus King, Harmon Harvey, mail-carrier Loyd and a few other live men, there would not be a piece of timber left. They caught and held the floating structure with heavy ropes, remaining up all of Monday night. It will require work and money to put the bridge in passable order.
The bridge over South River at Snapping Shoals is reported gone, and the bridge over Wild Cat creek at the same place has been swept away.
A large gin house on Mrs. Bryant’s plantation, nine miles from town, was torn to pieces and several mules and horses crippled, beside a wagon and buggy being crushed by the falling roof. At J.L.T. Costley’s and Mrs. Johnson’s the storm was very severe.
From every part of the county damage is reported but fortunately no lives were lost and no personal injuries have been reported.
It would require column after column to give even the names and a brief notice of all who were injured by the washing flood of last Sunday night. We have lived in this city 27 yearsand never before do we remember to have seen a rain so heavy or the creek and branches so high.
It will require months of labor and a large amount of money to place our city in the same elegant condition it was before this freshet came upon us.
Walton, Rockdale, Jasper, Butts, Henry and other counties around us have also suffered from the effects of this deluge.
Esquire Lazenby tells us that the storm in the neighborhood of Newborn was very severe. The top of Fred McCollough’s house was unroofed; Charlie Bailey had several out houses blown down; at Olin Pitts, all the buildings were demolished and his residence seriously damaged; at “Sane” Pitts’ out houses and fences were torn away. At Broughton’s the tornado was about one and a half mile wide and felled all the timber in its wake. We learn that the storm was more severe as it beat its way on into Morgan County.
Owing to the demand for our services in the office it has been impossible for us to go over the county and see the damage done, else we would be better prepared to give our readers a more accurate and interesting account of the unfortunate calamity that Providence has been proper to visit upon us.