Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Easter Sunday Storm (March 23 1913)

Easter Sunday of 1913 Tragic Day in History of Calamities; Tornado Starts in Mexico; Ends in Record Breaking Floods in Middle States; Nation Great in Power to Help; Military and Naval Forces as Life Savers.

Spring came to the earth in 1913 and the northern half of the United States was in the grip of a snow storm. In some portions a blizzard wailed through the towns and cities and the hope of an early spring was blasted. But nature had still greater surprises for the people of the United States and a few days after spring officially was present the greatest tornado and rain and the greatest inland flood in the history of the country fell upon the people.

.....On Easter of 1913 the rains fell and weather wise persons looked at the skies.

All day the elements acted strangely. Late in the afternoon the tornado which gathered in the southwest, probably starting in Mexico, raced north and east. It struck smaller villages and towns in Colorado and Nebraska. It now is known that the wind played a queer trick. It appeared to hit the earth at one spot, bound into the clouds and pass over miles of territory, leaving buildings and crops and people unharmed.

What forces decided that the tornado sho uld hit the earth at Omaha, one of the proudest cities of the nation, cannot be known by men, but just at the city’s borders the winds came down and ripped a path through the thickly inhabited portion, taking rich and poor before its relentless fury.

In the states farther east the storm manifested itself in rain. Never was the earth so drenched. The ground was frozen and the waters rushed into the streams.

Telegraph lines were broken, railway trains stopped, bridges washed out and millions of people unaccustomed to seas or lakes found their homes in the midst of raging waters.

...Later, Peru, Ind. was reported under water and currents relentless in their force swept through the streets. Columbus, Ohio, Logansport, Ind., Terre Haute, Ind., which also was hit by the tornado, West Indianapolis, Marion, Ind., and a score of other communities were reported wholly or partly submerged.

All the customary activities of the people of Indiana and Ohio were abandoned. Railway service was abolished and trains with relief parties wandered about from one division to another seeking an approach to the stricken cities.

Now and then the train wo uld reach the limit and then the rescuers wo uld unload the cars and take to wagons and automobiles, to rafts or boats. These attempts to push on to the thousands marooned on roof tops and in trees were sometimes successf ul but more often a failure.

Not until Wednesday was the relief begun in a way that promised success. Life saving crews from the Ohio and Great Lakes were dispatched to the scene, their boats, cutters and power vessels of light craft being hastily loaded upon flat cars. The naval reserves of lake and river towns were ordered into the field and found service in the prairies and hill country far from the seas. The Culver Military Academy on Lake Maxinkuckee, Ind., where sons of wealthy men are educated and taught military and naval practices, turned out its sturdy young men.

Boats housed for the winter were ha uled to the railways and the boys with their military instructors left their studies to engage in the battle with the flood. In the swift currents and dangers of floating debris the training of the lads was shown to be of great service. They handled their cutters on the Wabash river and the Eel river in such a way that hundreds of men, women and children were soon taken from the tops of their houses, from top floors of office buildings and cared for in camps and other refuges. The Great Lakes Naval training station maintained at Lake Bluff, Ill., near Chicago by the federal government was directed to send a crew and cutters to the flood district and the boys and their experienced officers were taken in all haste by railway trains to the dreadf ul scene.

Nature on the night of Sunday, March 23, 1913 and the week following proved to modern men that they still are pigmies. Thousands of lives were taken and millions of property destroyed in a few short hours and for days, homes were beneath the muddy waters from deforested hills.

Never before was the United States so smitten by a calamity, nor one so wide spread as that which began on Monday of the fatal week. Omaha was the first large city to suffer. A tornado swept through the great metropolis wiping huts and mansions, factory buildings and other business structures from the face of the earth, leaving only a mass of debris and thousands of homeless people wandering about the hills, half clothed and suffering in the pitiless weather of that fatal night.

A the full accounting the Storm of 1913 with many pictures can be found here: Tragic Story of America's Greatest Disaster [pictures are before and after the text] by Marshall Everret Illustrated throughout with photographs, maps, diagrams and drawings {J. S. ZIEGLER Ccompany Chicago, Illinois, copyrighted 1912 by Henry Neil All Rights Reserved)and found here is the account of the Culver Military Boys part in the great storm of 1913

    MILITARY ACADEMY BOYS TO THE RESCUE YOUNG SAILORS AND SOLDIERS FROM CULVER SCHOOL ON LAKE MAXINKUCKEE HASTEN TO FLOOD DISTRICTS... Culver Naval and Military cadets, when they returned from their rescue work at Logansport, Ind., brought stories of the bravery of the shivering sufferers. Fifteen hundred persons were taken from flooded houses to places of safety by the cadets, who handled their cutters in the fierce currents of the Wabash, which made a river of every cross-street of the town.

    Fences and twisted masses of wires hampered the rescue, but the cadets proved equal to their heroic task...

An another account is found as: Story of the Great Flood and Cyclone DISASTERS America's Greatest Calamity; edited by Thomas H. Russell, A. M., LL. D. Author and Journalist Special Message of Spiritual Consolation Illustrated Throughout with Striking Photographs Showing Rescuers at Work and Many Pathetic Scenes copyright, 1913 by Thomas H. Morrison.

The Flood of Logansport is mentioned as such:
    Two-thirds of the city of Logansport was under water, some places to a depth of fifteen feet. There was only the death reported, but the property loss was great.

    Business was at a standstill and the attention of the people was turned to the work of relief and rescue. Four government life-saving boats, each manned by ten cadets from the Culver Military Academy, were sent to Logansport by special train to aid in the rescue work. Naval boats from the United States training station at Chicago also assisted in the work.

    Three thousand people were rendered homeless by the flood, which followed a rapid rise in the St. Joseph River on the night of March 25.

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