Easter is a week away, April 20th, 2014. Over 100 years ago, Easter came early, March 23rd. It proved to be a day of great disaster across the Midwest United States. Tornadoes in Nebraska and in my family's case, what stands as Ohio's most devastating flood. The Great Flood of 1913 dealt its biggest damage in Columbus and Dayton. From The Columbus Evening Dispatch (at present, The Columbus Dispatch)
"At 8:20 Tuesday morning the government gauge at Mound street showed 21.9 feet, six-tenths higher than ever recorded in Columbus".
Nearly 100 people died in Columbus, with the Scioto River raging and overflowing into the westside. Over 4,500 buildings were either destroyed or damaged. The banks of the Scioto and Columbus as a city, would never be the same again.
The personal connection to this story is my 2nd great grandfather and grandmother, Christian Edward Eberts and Margaret Cecilia Leonard. It cannot always be easy to have an emotional connection to your ancestors past your own grandparents. The Eberts are a special case for me, the whole lot of them really. My grandmother, Mary Lou (Eberts) Rains, lost her mother, Helen Mary Smith, to tuberculosis only a few months before the age of two. Christian and Margaret cared for Mary Lou until she married my grandfather in 1948 (Harry Eberts, Mary Lou's father, is another topic, another day). My parents had a great deal of influence in terms of molding into the person I am today but there is no one I knowingly molded myself after, looked up too, or tried to please as much as my grandmother. So looking back at Christian and Margaret, bringing in, and raising one of the people of most impact in my life, I can only assume that they themselves were of the same quality.
Top Row Standing: Cecilia Josephine Eberts, William Howard Eberts, Mary Margaret Eberts, Harry John Eberts, Helen Eberts, Bernard Eberts
Sitting: Louis E. Eberts, Margaret Cecilia Leonard, Christian Edward Eberts, Uncle Red? (Christian had 5 brothers)
The Eberts Clan, pictured above, had there start on Thanksgiving Day, 1897. Christian and Margaret married in Saint Augustine Church of New Straitsville, Ohio. The couple moved around, to and from Columbus until they built their "big frame house" on Skidmore Street just south of Broad Street. Here is an excerpt from Mary Margaret (Eberts) Rudolph's, A Story of My Family (pictured above, Mary Lou's aunt)
"These were the happy years and we were located just a block away from Holy Family Church and School, where we all received our early training. Just three years after we were in our home the tragic flood of 1913 took place. We were all together, safe and free of the flood waters but the loss of lives and the damage that took place was all around us. Over a hundred persons lost their lives and many too had no home to return to or their homes were not liveable. Children we had gone to school with were among the casualties-- the numerous hearses that lined the street around the church impressed my memory so much that I have never forgotten (Blogger's Note- Mary would have been 7 at the time of the flood). Other memories too, of the refugees that filled our home and my Dad(Christian) running as fast as he could coming from the Furnance telling people to get to safety as the flood was coming. He made it home just before the swirling waters could overtake him. God had spared us from any loss."
The house on Skidmore was eventually bought by Holy Family Church. In a letter to the Pastor in regards to a "Founders Day", Louis E. Eberts had this to say about the flood of 1913,
"I have just had a thought about the house of "Eberts Hill." The kids called it that. I think it was the only house in the whole flooded area that had no water, even in the cellar. We had a house full of people, some of whom had been taken off their roofs on State Street. Just a block away or so away."
One of the worst weather events in Ohio's history were made at least a little better in part to Christian and Margaret Eberts. I know without a doubt they had an affect on my life. I can't end this post any better than Mary Rudolph ended her story, so here it is,
"Now as the years have gone past and we all have grown older, we be thankful to see the fruits of this love being passed on to the next generation. We hope too in their lives they share this happiness with their children in the years to come"