Putnam County, Illinois History and Genealogy
Citizens Help During the Flood of 1857
|Citizens Help During the Flood
The Ottawa free trader. (Ottawa, Ill.), February 28, 1857
Incidents of the Flood
We find the following in the Hennepin Tribune. Why don't the editor give the names of the noble "citizens" who so nobly turned out to rescue the drowning?
The river continued to rise until Saturday morning, when some of our citizens started up the river in a boat, for the purpose of rescuing any who might need their services. When they had proceeded about two miles, they discovered three men and a dog clinging to a log about three hundred yards from the river, in ten feet of water. It appears that they had attempted to escape on a raft, which they had built, to Hickory Ridge, but their craft had been rent asunder by the swift current which had driven their frail bark among the trees, where they had foundered.
They passed on to a cabin a short distance from these where they were arrested by the cried of several small children in a garret about three feet high and eighteen inches above the water, which was rising rapidly. One of these little fellows, peeping through the chinks of the cabin, asked "If he would drown."
"No, you're safe, you're safe!" exclaimed the man in the boat. The little fellow turning to his mother said "We won't drown, mother, the man says we won't!" This scene was too affecting to their kind-hearted rescuers; it touched their hearts and they gave vent to their sympathetic feelings in tears. They then went back to the spot where the men were clinging to the log and found them well nigh exhausted but still hanging with that tenacious grasp which we adhere to life when we contemplate the terrible prospect of immediate dissolution. They took them into their boat and landed them safe at this place.
In the evening of the same day, the same party embarked for Lomax's saw mill, on Bureau creek, about a mile from town, to which point they were compelled to break the ice in order to obtain a channel of sufficient width for their boat to pass. Before arriving at the mill they discovered Mr. Harris clinging to a small raft, who was on his return from Hickory Ridge, whither he had taken his cattle in order to save them from drowning. The poor man was so benumbed with cold that he could scarcely articulate thanks to his preservers. After taking him on board they proceeded to the mill and took on board as many persons as the boat could carry, who were in a drowning condition when the boat reached them. They made two trips to that place, and returned safety each time with their precious freight of men, women and children.