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Reflections of the Galveston Flood, TX 1900 By Edith Munger
Posted by: Lily M. (ID *****2616) Date: November 11, 2007 at 15:59:10
  of 788

This was written by my great grand mother. I'm interested in any info about relatves or friends. Also info about her daughter, my grandmother,
Marjorie C. Munger. Feel free to email me. Thanks you.

By Edith C. Munger

My home was at Galveston, Texas, an island in the Gulf of Mexico. In
May, 1900 my mother had just died of galloping consumption, and buried
in the family plot, down the island. Gradma Archer, my mother's mother
promised my mother to always keep her six children together and make a
home for us. My father was a lawyer, and a great lover of the
classics, fiction, and poetry. He had many valuable books with real
steel etchings which were his great delight, also translating Latin
and Greek. He was a brilliant man and a lawyer, but since Mama had
died, he seemed to drink more and more. Finally he started keeping
company with a woman, Alice S. Green. We all felt badly about it as no
one could take the place of our mother. However, this Alice was a very
brainy woman, a lawyer also, and Papa was no doubt attracted to hr by
her wonderful mind.

September 9th, 1900, my birthday! I jumped out of bed, and then
thought, oh, if only I could speak with my mother! A peculiar light
hung over the island. Papa walked in the front door. He had been away
all night. He said it was reported that the Gulf was island seven
blocks and that there was a bad storm raging all through the Gulf. We
lived on 35th Ave., a shell road leading straight through to the Gulf.
It wasn't long after Papa's arrival that the Gulf came roaring down
the shell road, great big breakers, dashing. The Gulf then seemed to
come in all at once with a loud roar. The water was four feet deep in
our yard. Papa called my brothers, Richard and Norman and all three
worked frenetically packing his books up the stairs to the second
story, as the water was then just coming into the house. Grandma was
heartbroken, thinking of all our lovely furniture, silver, imported
carpets being ruined. One heavy, high breaker dashed against our home
which seemed as though the house would collapse. Papa said, "Come, we
must get out of here immediately." Although we had a big home it was
in a direct line path for the water to come through.

Papa, Richard and Norman, my grown brothers, Arthur and Herold, who
were less than ten, Grandma and myself all dashed for the front door.
The house was rocking. Papa said it would go to pieces any minute.
Grandma was hysterical, so Papa grabbed her in his arms, Richard told
little Arthur to cling to his shoulders, Norman likewise told Harold
to cling to his back, and Papa, being a very powerful man, told me to
hold on to his back. We all let ourselves into the ocean then, for the
whole island was covered then, and breakers dashing all around us. The
La Batts, who lived in a mansion across the street, also a prominent
lawyer, and a close friend of Papa's beckoned to us from their second
story to come to their home. Grandma was more hysterical than ever,
and pleaded with Papa to take us there, saying we could never go any
further through the swift waters. Papa said no, that their home was
not a good location on the island, and that he was going to take us to
Tucker's estate, an old fashioned colonial mansion surrounded by oak
trees hundreds of years old. So we started on, the three men
struggling down the middle of the street, the men swimming, and
struggling to keep in the center of the road as Papa said this was the
safest course. Everything looked so strange, all the island immersed
in water. Grandma fainted after we had only made about two blocks
progress, and we had seven more blocks to swim, so Papa threw her up
over his back and told me I would have to hang on to him as hard as I
could, not to let go even if the waves dashed over me. My brothers
Richard and Norman were swimming along and so far getting along
alright with Arthur and Harold on their backs. Five more blocks we had
made, then a big breaker dashed all over us. This separated the men
swimming. Papa called and men all swam together again — Grandma was
just the same as a dead person, she was so exhausted. I had a terrible
time holding onto Papa, the current was so strong. Finally we reached
Tucker's and we all lay gasping upon their high terrace gallery. The
Tucker's home was called the "Blue-beard Mansion" as this Mr. Tucker
had had so many wives, and so many keys to his home, his last wife,
being his step-child. Mrs. Tucker's only friend was my mother. She had
two sons, Lewis and Baldwin, ages of my brother, Richard and Norman.
They picked Grandma up, poured whiskey down her, and by this time, the
wind was blowing so hard and the water roaring all around us so loud
it seemed as though we were out at sea in a terrible storm. We picked
the center room of this building, elevated about fifteen feet from
the ground. A mammoth mahogany table was in the middle of the room.
Papa said for all of us to crawl under this table and remain there
until the storm was over. The four grown boys got hammer and nails
too, tearing down the furniture, anything, and kept nailing boards in
other rooms trying to keep the wind out and the water, as each time a
tidal wave, just a big wall of water forty feet high, which would dash
over the house, and go along over the whole island. Papa had left us,
saying we were safe there and it was his duty to go and try to save
other lives. Room after room was torn off the building. We all knelt
under the table. There wasn't much of the building left. The four
grown boys came to us under the table and said all we can do now is to
pray, we may be swept into the ocean any minute. We all gathered
together under the table and prayed. I told the boys I heard a man
screaming outdoors, "Help, help." They said the remaining whole room
would be swept away if they even opened the door a little. I had
feeling it was Papa. Finally the others also heard the call "Help,
help," so they opened a small back door, and there was Papa, his leg
bleeding, the flesh hanging on around the bone. He had worked with a
doctor who lived on the corner near the Tucker's place and helped save
many lives during the night. Papa was exhausted, the boys dragged him
into the remaining whole room, and immediately Grandma began washing
the flesh, with a disinfectant, as we were sure he would have blood
poisoning. Papa said the water was going down, and the breakers were
not so bad now. The boys still had a time getting this small door
closed again, as the wind was still strong. We all could not believe
the miracle that happened, the water was going down, and that we would
not be lost. Mrs. Tucker, now that we knew we were saved began moaning
and wringing her hands, "Oh, my wonderful oak trees, they are ruined."
The next day, lumber, debris, dead people in the lumber, a beautiful
little five year old curly headed boy dead right at our door where we
had let Papa in, we could see nothing. These mammoth oak trees had
acted as a water break, and had gathered lumber, houses, etc., holding
all around the building where we were saved, higher than the house.

Martial law was declared. Most of the island was washed away. One
could go no place without an effort, for lumber, debris was piled up
all over the island. The La Batt home and forty people in it was
completely washed away at sea, so was our home, and many others.
Sister Helen was at Pearl Garnet's house on the mainland.

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