Ironton, MO Severe Storms And Flooding, Jun 1957


Ironton, Mo., July 1. - (AP) - Flash floods and violent winds battered this valley area yesterday, leaving seven persons dead and extensive crop and property damage.
Coroner C. A. Howell estimated property damage at nearly a ? dollars.
Roads and miles of railroad tracks were blocked by landslides. The Red Cross reported 80 homes damaged or destroyed and 32 other buildings hit.
Fourteen fishermen spent a terror-filled night in trees.
ROBERT KITCHENS, 36, of nearby Graniteville, and his five children drowned in a deep ditch.
The children were ROBERT, JR., 8; ARTHUR NEWTON, 7; EVELYN ELAINE, 5; THOMAS, 3; and DENNIS RAY, 1.
MRS. JUANITA KITCHENS, 27, the mother, was hospitalized with severe shock.
ALBERT BATTERAL, 65, of Old Mines, drowned when a wall of water swept him under as he surveyed damage to his home.
The rain began late Saturday night and continued into the early hours yesterday. It caught the 1,200 residents of this town 100 miles southeast of St. Louis unprepared.
The KITCHENS family left their low-lying farm home when the storm hit. Their car stalled on Missouri Highway 21. ARTHUR WILSON, 44, Arcadia, offered to drive them to his home for the night.
"We just didn't get there," WILSON said sadly later. "We had been going through hubcap water for some time ... Suddenly we were in water which covered the car completely."
"I opened the door and tried to help MRS. KITCHENS out. But the current swept me away. I caught on to a tree but a log hit me and knocked me loose. I grabbed some driftwood but was carried some 300 or 400 yards. I saw MRS. KITCHENS pass me as I was holding on. I just saw her head as she slipped on by me."
Rescue parties in boats picked up MRS. KITCHENS and WILSON and recovered the six bodies.
The fishermen were caught by swiftly rising water at Grubville, 42 miles southwest of St. Louis. They climbed first to the tops of their cars, then were forced to take to the trees as the waters rose.
After nine hours in the trees, and unidentified man and woman heard their calls for help and a boat rescue was made.
In the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park, residents evacuated low-lying areas in advance of predictions that the Meramec River will crest today at the season's high of 30 feet.

The Terre Haute Tribune Indiana 1957-07-01