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The 1879 History of Jones County Iowa was transcribed by [an error occurred while processing this directive].

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FLOODS AND STORMS

Year

Date

Water


Year

Date

Water
1851June 73.751876July 4-53.50
1858August 14.501878October 8
(tornado)
.15
1863June 30
(hail storm)
1.001879July95.60
1865June 28-293.811879August 283.00

The first flood was June 7, 1851. After raining several hours, the water rose in the Maquoketa, overflowed its banks, and the low, flat lands on both sides of the river were inundated. Mr. Joseph Clark was, at that time, living in a log house on the bank of Kitty Creek, just north of Lot No. 41 of the original plat, and southeast of the house now occupied by Mr. August Grassmeyer, on the road to Dubuque. The water came into Mr. Clark's house and put the fire out in the fire-place, and floated the partly consumed wood around the room, and the family had to seek other quarters for safety. At this date, the Western Stage Company were running a daily line of mail-stages from Dubuque to Iowa City, and all passengers and the mails had to be transferred across the water in a rowboat. The town lot where Mr. W. H. Proctor's brick and stone store now is was all covered with several feet of water, and the flood at one time touched Main street in front of the Monticello House. The water that fell in the rain-gauge at this storm measured 3.75 inches.
The second flood occurred August 1, 1858. The water at this time was full as high as that of the one before mentioned. The west end of the then wooden bridge over the Maquoketa River gave way and dropped on the bank, and the planks of all three of the spans were floated down stream on their way to the Mississippi. The mail and passengers had to be transferred as heretofore, and were taken in at the foot of Main street, near Mr. Doxsee's residence, and landed at the foot of the sand-hill in East Monticello. Frequently, the through mail-bags and paper-sacks were enough to fill one boat load. There were six families living at East Monticello at this date, viz., Dewey, McDonald, Moulton, N. P. Starks, Houser and Eldridge, and they had to depend upon the ferry-boat for their mail and groceries for several days. A number of emigrant teams were water-bound, and had to board with the families, for a few days, on the east side. Total amount of water-fall, 4.50.
The third was June 28 and 29, 1865. At this storm, 3.80 inches of water fell in the two days, and the water in the river came into the third story of the East Monticello Flouring Mills. The wooden bridge on the Military road was only saved by anchoring it to the large cottonwood-trees above on the banks of the stream with ropes and chains. The planks of the second bridge did not escape the flood, but were swept down-stream by the water. The water was high enough to have run into the public cistern on Main street if the reservoir had been built there at that date. Monticello celebrated the 4th of July this year, and the committee had selected the bottom land on Kitty Creek, near the river, for the speaker's stand; but it was changed on account of the water to the vacant lots on the north side of town, where Mrs. Dr. Langwerthy now lives. The orator of the day, Mr. O. P. Shires, of Dubuque, was obliged, on account of the wash-out in the railroad, to come and return with a livery team. The approaches to the railway bridge north of town were washed away and damaged so that trains could not pass the bridge for several days.
The fourth was July 4 and 5, 1876. The rain commenced to fall at 9 o'clock P. M., and continued to rain for seven hours, although a large share of three and one-half inches of water-fall was landed in about three hours. The water only came up to the junction of First and East Locust streets, near Peterson's residence, but it came with such violence as to wash away the approaches to the railroad bridge over Kitty Creek, just above the falls, and taking out the wagon and foot bridge between the two falls, root and branch, flooding all the stockyards drowning several head of hogs for Mayor Wales and William Peterson. Both iron bridges over the Maquoketa stood their ground, although they were surrounded by an ocean of water, and were not reached for several days. The wooden bridge at the foot of First street, over the creek near Skelley's. was securely anchored to the heavy stone abutments, and stood the test admirably, although it was several feet under water for hours. The water had been as high in the creek and river during the past twenty years some six or eight times, but not as destructive to roads and bridges as at this overflow. All four of these rain-storms were accompanied by the most terrific thunder and lightning, and more or less wind, and everything trembled before the onward march of the storm.
The fifth flood was July 9, 1879. The rain began to fall a few minutes before midnight, previous to the morning of the 9th. A huge bank of clouds, accompanied with thunder and lightning, was piled up in the northwest, and the wind blowing a gentle breeze from the southwest for hours previous to the commencement of the rain; in fact, the whole of the previous day had shown unmistakable signs of the coming storm; and when the wind fiercely veered around to the northwest, the storm had fairly commenced-one huge storm-cloud passing over, only to be closely followed by another, fully charged with electricity and saturated with rain; and when it ceased raining at 10 A. M., fully 5.60 inches had been caught in the rain-gauge, making 1.10 inches more than have ever been measured before at one storm during the past thirty years. The water in the Maquoketa River and Kitty Creek overflowed the banks, and reached the highest water mark about noon of the same day. The water covered the lower creek bridge, both slaughter-houses and stockyards, and stood in the street opposite Mr. Peterson's stable. The water in the river came nearly up to Mr. Grassmeyer's lot at the foot of Main street, and was a little higher than the flood of 1876, but the water in the creek fell short of the mark for the same storm. But little damage was done to the roads and bridges in the township. The railroads were only slightly damaged, and were all in running order on the following day. No damage was done in town, beyond the filling of several cellars with water, and washing away the stockyards fences.
A hail-storm took place in 1863. The flood of hail on the afternoon of July 30 will be long remembered by the citizens of Monticello. For a week previous, the weather had been extremely warm and sultry, and the whole day had shown unmistakable indications of rain. About 4 o'clock P.M., a shower of rain struck the town, with a heavy wind from the west, and was followed in a few moments by a battering shower of hail. After destroying all the glass on the west side of the buildings, the wind veered around to the east, destroying also all glass in the north and east sides of most of the buildings in Monticello. The marks of the falling hail on the fences, buildings and trees were plainly visible for several years afterwards. When the storm passed over town, it was about two miles wide, and extended from East Monticello to Stony Creek, near the south line of the township, and all crops and shrubbery embraced within its limits were battered off close to the ground. Upward of five hundred lights of glass were smashed, and most of the families had to wait until Mr. Hickok sent to Dubuque for a new stock of glass. The writer lost 100 lights of glass from his dwelling-house, and there was not an inch square of dry floor in the building. The family had to seek shelter and safety for the time being in the cellar.
A thunder-storm occurred August 28, 1879. It was the most terrific storm of the kind experienced at Monticello during the last decade. It commenced a few minutes before midnight, and lasted for five hours, and during the whole of this time there was an incessant roar of the heaviest of thunder, one peal following another in such rapid succession that there was one continual crash of thunder, and the lightning was one continual flash of electric light. The whole town was illuminated brighter than the noonday sun. At the close of the storm three inches of water was measured in the rain-gauge. With one exception, this is the greatest rain-fall known in years. No very serious damage was done, neither by the electricity nor the water, in Monticello. A large shade-tree in front of H. H. Monroe's residence on North Cedar street was struck by the lightning; also Frank Whittemore's dwelling near by, and several telegraph poles in the south part of town and a dozen north of town. The telegraph office, in the Union Depot, was more or less damaged. Mr. Dickerson's house, two miles east of town, was struck and slightly damaged. The steeple of the Springer Memorial Church, Mr. Dirk's barn and C. E. Marvin's Crescent Creamery were struck and slightly damaged. Mr. Curtis Stone lost a stack of hay, just east of town. Mr. T. H. Bowen lost a large barn and contents, at Sand Springs, and a cow belonging to Mr. Lawrence, of Wayne Township, four miles south of Monticello, was killed. The water burst Mr. Shur's cistern in his new block on First street, and flooded his cellar. The water washed out the newly packed-in dirt from the water-works trenches, filled up all the cisterns and not a few wells in town.

MONTHLY AND ANNUAL QUANTITY OF RAIN AND SNOW
REDUCED TO WATER IN INCHES
YRSJANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDECTOT
18540.501.901.351.845.810.872.073.101.423.750.830.7224.16
18552.711.872.923.603.154.593.424.752.153.913.213.7940.07
18560.913.970.772.864.152.762.971.172.674.974.216.9938.40
18571.164.221.403.792.180.743.974.821.071.182.842.6530.02
18581.372.322.312.167.976.637.164.186.215.074.422.2752.07
18591.311.294.962.716.624.923.101.661.731.071.471.4732.30
18601.231.161.232.082.114.214.722.983.141.252.835.9632.90
18611.162.742.654.162.151.251.853.956.795.772.252.3637.08
18621.251.654.715.784.156.264.356.986.853.083.721.2750.05
18632.852.371.970.633.271.181.153.982.105.355.126.0536.02
18642.481.562.181.142.422.573.292.371.172.552.571.8325.83
18650.292.283.505.440.849.024.352.785.622.800.121.0038.04
18663.771.021.322.673.164.005.638.203.733.211.452.1540.31
18671.253.461.351.254.676.324.303.372.181.150.900.6530.85
18680.300.554.022.784.593.752.901.706.720.652.051.5830.78
18691.711.130.071.905.556.058.316.412.751.352.652.2540.13
18701.351.313.001.054.111.605.253.653.951.551.611.5429.97
18712.703.654.111.661.293.181.242.810.003.114.053.3231.12
18720.900.922.622.633.474.793.637.054.120.431.380.9332.87
18732.502.522.682.974.074.451.761.320.813.032.782.8331.72
18743.272.501.761.780.763.160.601.816.261.183.453.2229.75
18751.611.580.702.723.084.325.342.372.951.310.632.9529.56
18762.291.884.092.834.757.0010.455.748.621.242.640.7752.30
18772.100.326.543.403.708.742.236.751.476.213.842.6747.97
18780.481.352.942.795.965.022.163.076.303.820.661.1435.69
18790.511.211.711.083.495.308.666.943.630.935.290.000.00

The following table shows the monthly value of rain and melted snow reduced to water in inches and hundredths, number of days with thunder and lightning, foggy and hazy, for the year 1879:

1879RainNumber of Days RainySnowNumber of Days SnowyNumber of Days of Thunder and LightningNumber of Days FoggyNumber of Days Hazy
January0.5104.403008
February1.2126.505013
March1.7166.253323
April1.08400207
May3.498001116
June5.30600801
July8.66500710
August6.941000905
September3.63600505
October0.933001016
November5.2971.0014310
December0000000
Annual0000000
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