Cleveland, OH Flood and Lifesaving Crew Drowning, May 1893

Furious Rain Storm.

By Associated Press.

CLEVELAND (O.), May 17.---A furious storm has raged here since Sunday night, and it still prevails. Nearly three and a half inches of rain has fallen. Many uncompleted houses, sheds and outbuildings were wrecked by the wind. The Cuyahuga river is over its banks. Great quantities of lumber were carried away into the lake. At noon railroad traffic was completely suspended. The trains were side tracked and are unable to move. Business is at a standstill, with no hopes of relief till it stops raining. Many miles of track are under water.

Weekly Gazette Stockman, Reno, NV 17 May 1893


CLEVELAND, May 17.----This afternoon a life saving crew started out to rescue two men in the staff when the lifeboat capsized and the entire crew, except one, was drowned. The crew was as follows: Geo. Wilson, Chester Symonds, John Johnson, George Lohr, Nicholas Servas, James Marks and Albert Culhor.

Weekly Gazette Stockman, Reno, NV 17 May 1893


The river runs through the manufacturing and lumber district of the city by a tortuous channel about five miles in length. Along it banks are the Valley and Cleveland and the Canton and Southern railways. Yesterday the water was away over the river's banks. The torrent was seeking the nearest way to the lake, and half a dozen lumberyards in its course could not bar the way. Whole piles of lumber were carried along on the stream and swept out into the lake or lodged against the abutments of bridges further down. Millions of feet of buildings material from the yards of the Cleveland Sawmill company, N. Mills & Co., M. Monroe and Fred Hempey & Co. is now on its way to Canada, and more of it still coming down the river.

The tracks of the valley and the Cleveland, Canton and Southern Railroad companies were submerged to the depth of 10 feet and all traffic was suspended as was work in a score of factories in the flooded district. Owing to shaky bridges traffic was suspended on all railroads running east.

In the afternoon while great crowds were watching the flood the first disaster happened here. Captain Stanley Flannigan and Michael Le Blonde were going down the river in a rowboat, which they used for peddling milk along the docks. When near the mouth of the stream one of Le Blonde's oars broke and the two men were quickly carried into the lake by the rushing stream and as it was evident that their frail craft could not live in the angry sea that was coming in from the north, preparations were quickly begun for their rescue by the lifesaving crew.


Seven men manned the lifeboat and they pulled away toward the east pier of the breakwater toward which point the boat containing Flannigan and Le Blonde had drifted. When the lifesavers were well out of the mouth of the river an oar broke and in an instant the corklike vessel was overturned and all the men were thrown into the water. Three of them succeeded in catching hold of the overturned lifeboat where they held on until they were rescued in a terribly exhausted condition.

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