from the Wheeling Intelligencer, Feb. 6, 1883 --
The big attraction of yesterday was the Ohio River. It was on one of its periodical highs and everything not securely fastened by numerous chains and ropes, went down before its resistless force with a boom. The heavy rains of Saturday were so general both up the valley and in the mountains that the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers were both filled so as to overflow their banks and every stream and creek between this point and Pittsburgh was swelled to an unusual height and in several localities, the reports announce, they did considerable damage to property. Sunday morning the river at this point was on a stand, with about nine feet in the channel, but in a few hours it commenced rising and continued doing so during the day; the rise during Sunday would average about six inches per hour.
At one o'clock yesterday morning the gauge marks on the wharf indicated a depth of 22 feet, and the ice was just commencing to come down. At 9 o'clock there was 28 feet of water, and as far as one could see all was ice. The river was full of big cakes that were continually piling up over each other. It was Alleghaney ice, and was from 12 to 16 inches in thickness, clear as crystal and firm as rock. Its long journey had served to break it all up. The immense cakes with their jagged edges were continually grinding and crashing together with a horrid seething sound, and int several places played havoc with the banks, while there floated by every now and then evidence of the destruction they had caused at points above, in the shape of barges, flats, ties, lumber, spars and parts of boats that had been crushed and ruined.
Wheeling creek was backed up far out into the country, doing a little damage to the banks and bottom lands. Several passengers coming in on the Hempfield were amused at a sign just this side of the tunnel, that rose out of the water covering the bottom lands. It bore the legend, "Lots for Sale Cheap." No one doubted it. All the streams hereabouts were similarly backed up. The P. W. & Ky extension stood the water and ice nobly. A few [ ] were lost by not being securely fastened. At the La Belle landing a little excitement was caused by a boy falling into the angry waters. A bank caved in under him. He was rescued, being only slightly bruised.
|Ft. In.||Ft. In.|
|1810 -- November.....||32||48|
|1832 -- February.....||33||48 11|
|1852 -- April.....||31 9||48|
|1860 -- April.....||26 7||43|
|1861 -- September.....||30||44 2|
|1863 -- March.....||31 4||41|
|1873 -- December.....||25 6||39 3|
|1874 -- January.....||22 4||38 8|
|1878 -- December.....||24 6||34 9|
|1881 -- February.....||23 4||38 8|
|1881 -- June.....||25 6||40 9|
At 6 P.M. there was a depth of 34 feet in the channel, and the river was rising slowly. At 2 o'clock this morning the marks showed a depth of about 37 feet, and the river was still rising. The ice had about disappeared, and the harsh grating sound was no long heard. The merchants on the east side of Main street, below Fourteenth were alarmed and having roused their clerks, were busy removing goods from their cellars. Main street was almost entirely filled with barrels and boxes.
Special dispatch to the Intelligencer.
Steubenville, O. February 5. The river is still rising with thirty three feet. No damage to property is reported in the vicinity, but fears are entertained that damage will result to-night from the continued rise in the river. Just below the city the Cleveland and Pittsburg railroad track is being damaged tonight. The embankment is rapidly washing away, and it is probably that no trains will be running to-morrow between this city and Mingo. The water works shut down tonight, and the Pan Handle railroad authorities were notified that they could no long supply their engines in this city. It is though that the river will be higher than in June, 1881.
The Intelligencer's Bellaire correspondent gives the following account of the state of affairs at the Glass City, caused by the big river and ice:
The banks were lined all day yesterday by people, watching the tumbling ice and the floating barges. Quite a number of empty barges were broken across the bridge piers, making some fine sights for the curious. Many of the spectators were not only curious, but anxious to know whether they would be forced to move out. The water was out along the creek banks and around the gas works, but the bridge over the creek was above water. The ferryboat was caught on the Benwood side and forced to make the best of it. The upper wharf boat kept its place; the lower one dropped below the stock house of the Aetna Glass house. The large fleet of barges left by the George Lyale tied to to the railroad bridge kept their place ill four o'clock, when the water rose above the ropes and the ice [ ]yed out the ropes. The fleet might have been saved with new lines, but none could be bought here or in Wheeling. The whole fleet went together, and with it a barge loaded with lumber. The Gould towboat came down as far as the ferry landing in the afternoon, and straightened some of the barges at the nail works. Earlier in the day some sand barges of Manly's were swept away.
PITTSBURGH, February 5. -- Dispatches to the Commercial Gazette from Rochester, Bridgewater and New Castle, Pa., report the river rising rapidly and threatening towns on the Ohio with inundation before morning. At Steubenville the water is over the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad tracks and travel is suspended. East Liverpool is partially submerged and a large number of families are compelled to forsake their homes. All the principal manufactories in the lower part of the town are under water and closed.
FAIRMONT, W. Va., February 5. -- River 5 feet, 4 inches and falling.
MORGANTOWN, W. Va., February 5 -- River 6 feet, 3 inches and rising; weather clear; mercury 28°.
PITTSBURGH, Pa., February 5. -- Allegheny now about 26 feet and falling; Monongahela at this point 25 feet, and at a stand.