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Warren County Bicentennial

The Pottersville Fair, circa 1890

Severe Storm

On Aug 1, 1904 a very severe storm hit, Stony Creek getting the worst of the storm. One correspondent there describes it as the worst ever seen in that place. There was a rainfall of fourteen inches in four hours and the thunder and lightning was terrific. The storm broke about 4 o’clock, and a steady downpour of rain continued into the night, raising creeks and streams, many of which overflowed, the water rushing over lowlands and tumbling down mountainsides until meadows looked like lakes and trout streams like rivers. Two holes were washed out of the bank alongside the railroad tracks near Cameron's boarding house, just south of Thurman, but the vigilance of section hands prevented serious trouble.

At Stony Creek a dam gave away, and the rushing waters of swollen streams picked up piles of timber located at Hall's mill, just above the Collins house at Creek Centre, and carried heavy pieces down steam, knocking out the supports of the hotel and bumping into bridges along the way. The rear end of the hotel, being left without a foundation, turned turtle and slid into the creek, the front of the house being crushed like an eggshell. No lives were lost, but a guest at the hotel, Officer Quick, of the Sixty-seventh street station house in New York City, who, upon the advice of the police surgeon of his precinct, sought rest after a siege of pneumonia contracted during duty at the General Slocum disaster in East river, escaped from the hotel by jumping from the piazza at the second story. He made a hasty exit to the railroad station, remarking that he intended to get back to New York City, where the ground was still solid. Furniture, dishes, and hotel paraphernalia found their way into the rushing waters, and for miles along the shore Proprietor Collins' hotel goods could be seen.

West Stony Creek, ten miles distant from the Centre, was cut off from communication, three bridges having been carried away. George Thomson's barn was struck by lightning while he and four sons and a hired man were milking. There were nineteen cows in the barn. All of them were shocked and four were killed. One of the boys was caught under a cow as it fell and two of his ribs were broken. All the other men were shocked, one of them so badly that he was unconscious for some time. Luckily the barn was not set on fire.

When the hotel collapsed the lamps were still burning in the house, and the natives, who are experts with the gun, brought out their firearms and shot out the lights to prevent fire. The Stony Creek post office was also threatened with destruction, and Postmaster Smith took his stamps and money and moved across the street. The oldest resident of that section does not remember such an amount of water falling in such a short time.


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