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Background Information and Pictures from Filson Society, Louisville, Kentucky
Jeffersonville Indiana
Jeffersonville Indiana
    "In January 1937 one of the largest floods in American history inundated the Ohio River Valley. Many cities and towns on the Ohio and its tributaries were affected. Louisville and Southern Indiana were among those most devastated. Torrential rain together with some sleet and freezing rain fell from January 9 to January 23, raising the Ohio River to its highest recorded level. On January 23 the river at Louisville crested at 51.1 feet, and eventually reached 57.15 feet above flood stage on the upper gauge.
    Louisville's central and western neighborhoods and Jeffersonville and New Albany across the river were particularly hard hit. Sixty percent of Louisville was flooded and two-thirds of the city's population had to be evacuated. Basic services were lost or interrupted. The military and thousands of aid workers lent assistance. Clean up and recovery took months and some areas, such as Louisville's Shipping port and The Point neighborhoods, essentially disappeared."

January 28, 1937 - North Vernon Plain Dealer

All Refugees Are Being Clothed and Fed By Local Relief Organizations of Jennings County

    Three hundred and sixteen white people and one hundred and one colored people were received in this city Sunday night from Jeffersonville flood stricken area and are being housed and cared for at the former Civilian Conservation Corps camp here. Charles T. Butler, of Scipio, former officer in the United States Army Officers Reserve Corps is commanding officer in charge. All the work of the camp is being carried on by a corps of volunteer workers, men and women of the community.
    When word was received Sunday that North Vernon would be called upon to care for refugees, a group of citizens snapped into action and the work of organization for duty was started. The local Red Cross Chapter sent forth a general appeal and in every church an appeal was made for money contributions and for clothing and food. Churches were kept open throughout the day for reception of articles and for other work of preparation for the reception of flood sufferers that were to be cared for here. The following Red Cross Emergency Relief COmmittee was organized under Edson Beck, president of the local chapter and Mrs. Charles Weber secretary; the Rev. W. H. Dillard; transportation chairman, Lester Helm; housing chairman, Charles Webster; food, Kenneth Beatty; clothing and bedding, Mrs. C. E. Sandefur; survey for housing; C. O. Burger; publicity; Kenneth Smith; supervisor of cooking; George Fox; headquarters chairman, the Rev. W. Paul Marsh, the Rev. A. H. Mueller, C. E. Sandefur, Edson Beck, Mayor C. H. Long, Kathleen Dugan; hospital committee, Mrs. D. S. Thompson and Mrs. John Dieotte; personnel director, Charles Butler. Groups of workers volunteered their services for every department of work necessary and braved the elements throughout the day in getting together the necessary equipment for the camp cleaning, repairing, soliciting, telephoning, hauling and performing every duty necessary for the sheltering, feeding and caring for the unfortunate refugees.
    The abandoned CCC camp at the southeast edge of the city, became the scene of activity as groups of workers defied pouring rain and ankle deep snow and slush and rushed back and forth putting the place in order. The dormitory barracks were cleaned, stoves weere put up and fires built, cots received from the Army barracks] at Ft. Benjamin Harrison were installed and electric wiring was connected for light. The camp kitchen was opened and put in order and because of the lack of equipment and inability to get it quickly, a canvass of the city was made to get pans and buckets and jars and other equipment. The office building was opened and a telephone installed and communication established with groups and organizations throughout the county. An emergency hospital was established in the basement of the First Methodist Church and women volunteers arranged the rooms and remained on duty through the night.
    The refugees taken from partly submerged buildings in Jeffersonville, arrived here on a train of box cars that had been assembled by Baltimore and Ohio officials when an emergency call was received for trains to take people from the stricken city. Groups of refugees were left at Charlestown, Deputy, Lexington and Ostico, and about one thousand remained on the train and were taken to Seymour.
    School buses were used to take the refugees from the train to the camp. The groups of volunteer workers were organized so that every detail was carried out like clock work. The refugees were registered as they arrived at the camp. To relieve the hunger of little children chocolate candy bars were distributed immediately. White women and children were placed in one dormitory, white men in another; colored women and children in a third and colored men in a fourth. Cots were in place and blankets received from army headquarters during the day were distributed two to each person. Hot coffee and sweet rolls and milk were served to the hungry people and dry clothing was distributed to those who needed dry garments; and in just one hour and fifty-two minutes from the time the weary, bedraggled refugees arrived in this city, they had been fed and clothed and were in bed in dry, warm, buildings.
    Workers remained at the camp all night. In the morning a new force relieved most of those who had been on duty and an office force was assembled to take care of the detail of the institution. Sawdust hauled in truck loads and spread over the camp area, transformed the mud and slush into dry surface and the camp took on the appearance of a busy little settlement. Smiles and cheerfulness among the refugees relected their gratitude for comfortable housing.
    By Monday morning news of the refugee camp had spread though out the county and every township was represented in the caravan of trucks and buses that streamed in throughout the day bringing clothing, canned food, fresh eggs, milk and other things needed for the sustenance and comfort of the refugees.
    Persons also visited the camp looking for relatives or friends whom they wished to befriend and many were removed from the camp to homes in the city, in the country or in other cities. On Wednesday several persons from the Lawrenceburg flood area were brought to the camp.
    Although martial law was established throughout Southern Indiana the camp management and work is still being conducted by volunteer workers of the community, under the direction of Commanding Officer Butler. Members of the National Guard were stationed on the street here Tuesday afternoon but were removed from the city Wednesday.

    The local Red Cross officer has received lists of flood refugees who are being cared for in cities and towns outside the flood area. Lists have been received from Charlestown, Deputy, Lexington, Hanover, Scottsburg, Seymour, Ostico, Osgood, Napoleon, Kent and Milan.     Some of these places are sheltering refugees from Jeffersonville and New Albany and other groups are from Aurora and Lawrenceburg. The lists may be seen by anyone interested at the Red Cross headquarters in the City Hall. As soon as duplicate lists can be made they will be sent to the local refugee camp where they may be seen by anyone who is trying to locate relatives or friends who were among the flood sufferers.

Jennings County Responds to Call of Humanity
    The response of Jennings County people to the call for relief of suffering humanity reflects the love for each other that lives in the heart of every one of us and proves to the satisfaction of all that we can rise above petty differences and "That in the big things of life we are as one." Workers, straining every effort to help and serve, have labored and are laboring shoulder to shoulder, every difference, every grudge, every jealousy, every factional controversy forgotton, no one seeking glory, no one asking praise, but everyone humble in the realization of human frailty as we strive to alleviate the suffering of stricken fellowmen.
    To the most remote parts of the county the call for help for the relief of flood refugees penetrated with in a few hours and the response has been overwhelming, the poor and the prosperous each giving a share of their goods to help those have been overtaken by calamity. Men and women in this city braved a downpour of rain, and deep snowy slush to prepare a comfortable habitation for those who fled from the flood-stricken area and we will not rob them of their crown by publishing their names. Those who wish any temporary reward for their efforts may find it in the deeply grateful attitude of the refugees who cannot say enough for the treatment accorded them here.
    As we in Jennings County are doing, so are the people of every other community throughout the country responding to the appeal for help. From the Chief Executive of this Great Nation, through its protective forces, the army, the Navy and the Aviation Corps, and on through every unit of state, county, city, town and village government, a hand has been extended to the suffering people of the Ohio River flood area and the nation's resources are at the command of those in charge. The flood that swept away the homes and fortunes of so great a number of the people, has swept pettiness from the hearts of all and has left us with a prayer on our lips for our suffering brethern and a realization of our weakness and the debt of gratitude and reverence we owe Almighty God.

Money Needed For Rehabilitation of Flood Area of Ohio Valley
    The American Red Cross is asking contributions of money to swell the fund that will be needed for rehabilitation purposes in the area swept by the Ohio River flood. Edson Beck president of the Jennings County Chapter of the Red Cross says that communication from the national headquarters at Washington D. C., states that an enormous amount of money will be needed by the organization and that each chapter is asked to raise as large a sum as possible.     Mr. Beck states that more than $1500, already has been subscribed in Jennings County. Large contirbutions received are Union Bank & Trust Company $200.; First National Bank $200.; Saul and Leon Ades of the Superior Textile Company $200. Amount subscribed at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Sunday amounted to $112. Appeals made in the other churches in the city, Sunday, are bringing in contributions daily. The appeal for money has been made throughout the county and a fund is expected to be raised in each township.
    People of the city and county responded nobly to the calls made for clothing and food. Numerous calls for special articles were made Monday and Tuesday and response to each was received within a few hours, specified articles for use at the refugee camp being contributed. Clothing and canned goods, milk and eggs were hauled in from all parts of the county and the community continues to cooperate with the Red Cross in supplying the needs of the four hundred refugees from Jeffersonville who are being cared for in the CCC camp in this city.

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