Sanderson, TX Flood, Jun 1965

The day the rain didn't stop in Sanderson, Texas
by Candace Cooksey Fulton, Brownwood Bulletin

We who call ourselves the Sanderson faithful, respectfully remember that most awful of days, June 11, 1965, the day of the Sanderson flood.

The day before it rained, 10 or 11 inches – maybe more. The rains fell all up the canyon, filling two dry creeks that met and thrashed down on our little no-stoplight town. The roiling water was as high or higher than some peoples' rooftops. The railroad tracks collapsed in the rushing waters, the wool house walls caved in, the bridges on either side of town washed out so there was no way out, and no way to communicate to the outside world what had happened.

Twenty six people drowned, twice that many homes destroyed. Two men have never been found. One victim, Jesus Marquez has the distinction in my memory of being the service station attendant who washed our car windshield the day our family arrived in town a little more than five years before.

We who knew Sanderson then, remember the flood well. Our lives are affected still, in ways we can hardly explain. We would never be so innocent again, because we know better than many, in so many ways, so much might be lost and none of it should be forgotten.

The names of the 26 who perished in those horrible flood waters are printed here. Note, please how in several cases several family members drowned. Michael Johnson, 12 at the time, whose father is one of the missing, was the only survivor of his family. The Johnson family were not permanent residents of Sanderson, and were just there temporarily.

Elida Berrera, Frank Barron Jr., Elosia Falcon, Jose Falcon, Manuel Falcon, Mario Falcon, Ricardo Falcon, Nicolas Flores, Mrs. Ethel Johnson, David Neil Johnson, Jo Ann Johnson, Lou Ann Johnson, Rose Ann Johnson, Paul Daniel Johnson, Francisco Lopez, Jaime Lopez, Martha Lopez, Tomas Lopez, A.F.Scott, Debra Sellers, Frankie Sellers, Jerry Sellers, Kenneth Sellers, George Wood and MISSING John Wesley Johnson Jr. and Jesus Marquez Jr.

Search for bodies went for weeks after June 11, 1965 flood

On a search for flood victims, Terrell County Sheriff Bill C. Cooksey returns to a helicopter piloted by Harvey Rogers. The dry creek where the helicopter is landed had flood waters 15 or more feet high the morning of the flood. Twenty six people drowned. One victim was found weeks later in Laredo, some 500 miles from Sanderson and two victims were never found.

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2012 8:27 pm | Updated: 5:00 pm, Mon Jun 18, 2012.

Texas Disasters: True Stories of Tragedy and Survival By Mike Cox,"Tragedy in Terrell County", page 177
Flash Floods in Texas By Jonathan Burnett, page 173