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January 29th marks the 54th anniversary of the '57 Flood

 Main Street
Main Street, Hazard, KY - January 29, 1957

Read what others are saying about the granddaddy of all floods or share your own memories with us.  You can submit your comments at the bottom of this page. 

I was 17 at the time of the '57 flood so I  remember it very well.  We lived across the railroad tracks in the Lennent coal camp in Combs.  I remember me and a couple of my buddies up by the railroad bridge when one of my brothers came running up and told me to get home to move stuff out of the house.  The water was coming in and we didn't get very much out because the water came in fast.  We lost about everything.  The water got all the way up to the ceiling.  At the time I was working at night in a little movie theater three nights a week right across the tracks from our house, so I opened up and let people who were flooded out of their homes spend the night and wait for the flood waters to go down.  I remember that day, I met a guy who was stuck over in Combs who was driving a coal truck for Smiths Coal.  We became good friends forever.  His name was Paul Bailey.  My brothers still live in Combs--and to the woman from Florida, Ruby Frances, I remember you.  I used to hang out with your brother Joe.  His full name - John Franklin.  I'm sure you remember me and my brothers Don Lee Roy and Delemer.  Leonard Turner, Centerline, Michigan.

I was 8 years old.  My Daddy was Den D. Fairchild.  We lived in Allen Ky, where my Dad ran a gas station and garage, and we lived over top of the garage.  My daddy was so worried that the gas and oil, floating on top of the flood waters would be lit on fire by the men who were cruising around on the waters in small motor boats and row boats, and smoking cigarettes.  He even yelled at them out our window to put out their cigarettes and not throw them into the water.  We were trapped in the house and mom kept a fire built in the fireplace to keep us warm and also used it to cook on.  She had lots of canned food from our garden at the farm of my Grandfather.  I remember she fried corn bread and eggs for breakfast with bacon and cooked up a pot of greenbeans and potatoes for our dinner.  The water got up to the top step, before it finally crested and begin to recede.  My daddy lost every piece of equipment he owned, all his Bear wheel alignment machines and everything else including the wrecker and his personal vehicle. We were lucky children to have parents like ours. Daddy died when I was 10, and I have been afraid of high water and drowning ever since the "Flood."  Jan Rose Fairchild, Allen, KY, (Floyd County)

I remember the '57 fIood.  I lived in Wooton Kentucky at the time. We lived on a hill where the water couldn't get to us. I remember my Dad who worked in a mines above the house telling me to go to several homes to see if I could get the people to leave and come stay with us one family would not leave. We took in 2 families and a dog. I remember the next day my mother fixing breakfast for some of the miners who lived in Hazard and couldn't get home. I remember helping people clean up their homes the smell of the mud was awful. I graduated from Leslie County High School that May.  Betty Green Orberson, Jeffersonville Indiana

I was nine years old at the time and lived in Jacklot Hollow.  I was scared to death of floods and water and to this day when I look for a place to live, I make sure the river is a long way away from me.  My mother was Mary Minnich, my grandparents were Mahala and Ernest (Buck) Minnich of Jordon Street.  My other grandparents were Mort and Bessie Kemplin.  Grandpa Kemplin preached at the Rock Church sometimes.  We didn't lose our house, but we sure were afraid.  We had to move to the next house up the road as the river climbed higher.  It is one event in my life I will never forget.  We were there with Lead and Opal McIntosh and their kids Cloay Jane and Bessie McIntosh, along with Boo and Helen Hurd and their kids.  Everyone pulled their food together and they made wax candles for light.  Some of the men went around the mountain and got food, mostly beans, flour, cornmeal, cheese and some potatoes.  I will always remember this time in my life as a blessing and a curse.  It makes me fear the rivers and it makes me glad that I am alive today.  Tanny Minnich, Glencoe, KY

I was 10 and living about 4-5 miles south of Prestonsburg/Floyd County and well remember  our neighbor living below us coming in the wee hours of the morning and hollering at my dad that "he was surrounded by water"--a very scary time for a 10 yr old--and about 13 months later was the terrible bus accident less than a mile away.  Memories both good and bad are always coming back to me.  Carol (McGinnis) Hall, Magoffin County

I am the daughter of the -late Ade and Sinthian Williams. I live in Indiana, I remember the 57 flood.  My mom and Dad walked out of the hollow with us kid, I will never will forget  this flood.  The water went over the bridges.  Lois Baker, Short Branch, Knott County.

I was 8 years old and lived in pool room holler at Combs, Ky.  My dad was Boone Couch and mother was Katherine.  I remember sitting on the roof top watching the flood.  Elmer Couch, London, KY

To the family of Mack Hill who worked at the Hazard Clinic and was killed during the '57 Flood.  I also worked at the Hazard Clinic at that time and was in the boat when it went down with Mack and Ms. Bobbitt and myself.  We all climbed out of the windows over the Begley Drugstore to the boat.  The boat was overloaded and sank within a minute or two close to where we boarded.  Sorry, I cannot remember the name of the street where we went down.  Mack and I had talked all day long as we were trying to save as many records as possible.  Mack had been carrying all the heavy boxes of files upstairs.  He had warned us earlier that the flood was coming, but, we didn't take action until the water was already coming in.  Mack stayed to help Ms. Bobbitt in any way possible as he was a very loyal and faithful friend.  I shall always remember Mack with Love and Gratitude.  He was a Wonderful and Great Friend.  Sincerely, Doshia Sizemore Perkins, Tampa, Fl

I remember the day the water started rising.  I was working at the A&P Grocery store in Big Bottom.  I had to walk up over the hill to Oak Street where we lived.  My husband called and it took him all day to walk up the mountain and it took him all day to get home. We had no electricity or water for about 2 weeks. We used a grill to cook food along with the neighbors. They were Ken and Suzie Stivers.  He worked for L&N Railroad.  The water was so high you could only see the tops of the buildings on Main Street.  The buildings just seemed to float away.  I remember there was a person who drowned that had gone out into the water that was picking up salvage. It was a very frightening time.  When the water went down the A&P brought in trucks of food and those who had no money were given food free.  Much was given away.  It was a time long gone where neighbors took care of neighbors and a whole town became a family to take care of each other.  Marie Hall, Liberty Township, Ohio

When the '57 flood occurred I was in NY waiting to get out of the service, but I got all the details when I got home to West Liberty.  We moved away from Hazard (1951) when I was sixteen, but you can be sure that Hazard is still home and I enjoy this site and the old pictures. One of my best memories was playing a little league baseball game under the lights at Bomber park. That was the only game that we or any other team got to play under the lights.  When I get a chance to go back, the first thing I do is park the car and walk thru town and let my mind wonder. After that, I go out to the various coal camps that we lived in and walk around those.  Things have changed and many house have been gone for years.  I went back in April 2007 and did the same thing again.  I think it must be true that "the older you get, the more you want to go home". Raymond Moore, Lexington, KY

I remember the flood of '57.  My husband, Kelly Griffith-Air Force recruiter, and I lived next to my father-in-law, Harlan Griffith and his wife Mossie, on North Main in Walkertown.  My husband had to move the AF car to Harlan's house since it was on high ground. In addition, we had about 20 people spend the night at Harlan's house as he still had an old fashioned coal furnace.  I can still remember to this day houses, bathtubs and TVs floating down the river.  I still have fond memories of many of the good people of Hazard.  Irene Griffith, Cincinnati, Oh

I was nine years old at the time and lived in Jacklot Hollow.  I was scared to death of floods and water and to this day when I look for a place to live, I make sure the river is a long way away from me.  My mother was Mary Minnich , my grandparents were Mahala and Ernest (Buck) Minnich of Jordon Street.  My other grandparents were Mort and Bessie Kemplin.  Grandpa Kemplin preached at the Rock Church sometimes.  We didn't lose our house, but we sure were afraid.  We had to move to the next house up the road as the river climbed higher.  It is one event in my life I will never forget.  We were there with Opal McIntosh and their kids - Cloay Jane and Bessie McIntosh.  Also Boo and Helen Heard and their kids.  Everyone pulled their food together and they made wax candles for light..  Some of the men went around the mountain and got food, mostly beans, flour, cornmeal, cheese and some potatoes.  I will always remember this time in my life as a blessing and a curse.  It makes me fear the rivers and it makes me glad that I am alive today.  Tanny Minnich, Glencoe, KY

I remember I was a teenager and the '57 flood was so bad.  We went in to Krypton to help out at App Eversole's.  He and Mr. Eversole ran the post office.  It was a bad time for every one.  The National Guard came in to help clean up.  Louise Baker, Medina OH

I remember the '57 flood also.  My mom and dad walked me and my sister around the hills so we could see the flood and we were going to check on my uncle John Napier who lived in the Hazard yards.  We never made it and had to go back home.  I remember seeing houses and all kinds of furniture moving down the river.  My parents were Mollie and Josh Fugate.  We lived on Upper Second Creek.  It was really sad a lot of people lost their homes.  Edna McIntosh, Lafollette, TN

I do remember the flood in 1957.  We lived over on the yards.  Wow, sounds funny to say that.  I remember standing on the old swinging bridge and watching things go down the river.  My oldest sister, Janice, found a cage with about 20 live chickens in it.  She made a string and a coat hanger and caught the cage.  We laughed when she opened the cage and let all of them go free but later on most people on that hill caught them and we all had a fried chicken dinner.  If anyone remembers us, email me.  Would love to chat.  Take care and remember God loves you.  Brenda Tolson, Louisville, KY

I was sixteen at the time and lived in the defunct coal mining camp of Christopher, Ky (Now part of Hazard).  My grandfather Glover and my dad Herman were sitting in the living room with water completely surrounding the house, it was base board level.  Higjwau 15 was about l5 feet higher than the house - Do we carry the furniture up to the road or just pray it wont raise any higher?  We waited and we were lucky, the water never got into the house.  I have several b&w photos of the flood that I will try to get published in the paper when I visit Hazard.  Would like to hear from some old friends who attended Dilce Combs High School from 55-59. I joined the AF and didn't return to Hazard for over l5 years.  Jim F Gibson  Pipe Creek, TX

I was 12 years old at the time, we lived above the Livingston grade school.  The creeks up the hollows ran very fast due to the tremendous amount of rain.  The school had drainage pipes under the playground so the grounds could be expanded.  These all stopped up due to rocks and other things floating to them, which in turn washed a large part of the playground away as well as flooding the church basement along with the school basement.  It was storms, and a lot of rain, some local damage but nothing to compare to all those people down near the river in Viper, Hazard, etc.  I remember roads washing out in the number one camp where we lived, schools were closed, and power was out.  My parents, Delmas and Nancy Marshall, 5 brothers, J.D, Carl, Bill, Thomas, Ronald and Michael, spent a lot of happy years in Leatherwood and Delphia, KY.  My parents have since passed on, also my brother Carl.  The rest of us live from Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana.  We were very fortunate to have missed the terrible flooding.  We saw a lot good people help others out.  There is a special quality in those mountain folks.  I know, because I married one, my soul mate or 41
years, Barbara J Cornett.  We have 2 girls and 4 grandchildren.  God sure has been good to me.  Ronald Marshall, Apison, TN

I was 7 when the flood of '57 hit.  I lived with my grand parents, Roy & Margie Sizemore.  Lost my great grandparents that day.  Shorty Sizemore was my uncle.  If you remember them please contact me at (910)424-1145.  I went to lower Broadway elementary school.  Margeaux (Margo) Sizemore, Fayetteville NC

I was 5 years old living with my grandparents, Robert and Una Day, about 2 miles (going toward Hazard) from the Slemp post office.  My grandfather worked at Jewel Ridge Coal Company nd my grandmother took care of me, kept the house and worked around the farm.  Our home was owned by A. L. Miniard.  It was located near the edge of (I guess) Leatherwood Creek.  The only way in was to cross the creek in a vehicle or walk the swinging bridge.  I vividly remember the flood.  My grandparents, who later adopted me, placed a floodlight on the porch next to the creek to keep watch on the rising water.  It was during the night when the water came so near entering our home that my grandparents made the decision to move to higher ground.  The water was rising so quickly we had no time to gather anything.  Our first move was to the 1956 International pickup parked under a shed behind the house near the hill.  My grandfather put my grandmother and me into the cab.  He left us to secure what he could and turn the hogs loose.  I remember the truck rocking side to side when one of the hogs rubbed on the right running board.  The water continued to rise.  When it reached the truck, we moved the second time to a neighbor's house on top the hill behind us.  We stayed there until daylight.  When the water subsided we went back to the house.  The water left a lot of mud and silt.  As we walked toward the house, my grandmother sank to her knees.  It took two people to pull her free.  I don't know how high the water was in the house but everything was damaged.  I have my grandparents wedding certificate that was on the wall and an old trunk.  The water marks are still visible.  We drew our drinking water from a hand dug well about half way toward the back hill.  The flood left it filled with mud and silt.  I remember looking into the well while it was being cleaned out.  It seemed so deep.  My grandfather had 2 homemade trailers he used around the farm.  The flood washed both away.  Someone put in a foot log across the creek so we could get to the highway.  I remember how scared I was crossing over as we went to the Berean Baptist Church at Slemp to get a vaccination against typhoid fever.  When we got back home I became sick with a severe headache and spent a day or so in bed.  Carl Day of Whitesburg, (my great uncle) came to help clean up. I think he stayed long enough to get everything cleaned and helped move the house. The house was moved back to the foot of the hill and raised 8 to 10 feet above that flood level.  Garland Cornett of Slemp, (my biological father) died December 24, 2006.  I went back for his funeral.  I drove by the old house as I returned to Tennessee.  The sight of the house brought back a FLOOD of memories.  Thank you for sharing your stories.  Larry W. Day, Stewart, TN

I was living in Chicago at the time but the news was broadcast everywhere.  I still have Ralph Stanley's song about the flood, but I understand so much more now.  Charlie Fugate from Breathitt County now in Milwaukee, MI (74 years old).  Thanks to everyone for sharing your story.

Our family lived in Hilton Camp when the '57 flood took place.  It was a scary time and many folks were in trouble after losing their homes.  I remember the building at the mouth of Darfork that stored a lot of food. (Don't remember the name).  It flooded and they had to carry all of the food off to a dump.  Local families found out where they had taken the food so they went and got it and they ate it for a long time.  It was a lot of canned foods.  I remember because we were one of the families that went and got the food.  We were not supposed to do it, but Mom sterilized all the cans and it didn't kill any of us.  Dana in Oxford, OH

I lived at Yellow Creek at the time of the 1957 flood.  I was 14 years old at the time, I lived with my Mother Delora Wilson Calhoun and my Brother Jim Calhoun, as my Dad had died in 1956.  Vicco was under water and my uncle Merth and Aunt Letitia Calhoun's house in Hazard next to the goose was almost under water.  It was sad as all our Christmas gifts were destroyed. and my first cousins Leo and Neal Combs who own the gulf oil and gas in Darfork was completely under water with new tires floating down the run away river.  I was only a teenager but that flood will always be a part of my life that I never ever forget.  Sue Calhoun, Sandusky

Looking for anyone who might have known Inez (Holden) Jones.  She is my great grandmother and I was told she died because of the 1957 flood.  Does anyone know Nancy (Sizemore) Cornett who was married to Georg, or any of the Cornett's in Logan WV. at that time.  I will be so grateful  Thank you.  Rita Cornette, Morganfield KY kanean@webtv.net

I had just turned 3 years old when the flood of '57 hit.  I lived on Main Street with my mother and father, Odell and Dolores Bowling.  My mother was in Mount Mary's Hospital.  She had just given birth to my new baby brother, Ronald Odell Bowling, on Jan. 25, 1957.  I remember my father outside talking with our neighbor Mr. Woods about the rising water.  My father then took me to another house on our street.  He sat me up on some boxes on the front porch and gave me a orange to eat while he helped the people who lived there carry furniture and everything else they wanted to try to save, to the upper story of the two story house.  My father worked as a engineer for H.A. Spaulding.  Their office was located in the Baker Building. He wasn't working at the time because they had let everyone off to prepare for the flood. The water was rising rapidly and we knew it was going to be bad.  My father took me to Lexington to stay with our friend that had an apartment there.  My mother was stranded at the hospital.  The hospital was up on a hill and was cut off by water.  They flew supplies in to them by helicopter.  I guess our house was one of the first to go under water since there was the river, Main Street, then our house.  We lost everything we had, the new layette for the baby, my toys, and all our clothes and personal possessions.  Just after the flood, my Grandfather, Leamon Bowling, came and got my Mom, my new baby brother, and me and took us where he lived in Virginia.  We stayed there about a week till my father could find us a place to live.  We then moved to across Crawford Mountain to First Creek.  We lived in a house beside Dayton Dunn's store.  I know I was only 3 but the fear I saw in all the adults faces will forever be etched in my mind.  Rita Bowling, LaFolletee, TN  

My family and I will never forget the flood of '57.  We lost everything we had in that flood except a small TV that floated on a mattress and when the water receded all that was left was destruction, mud and the TV.  We did not think the water was going to get as high as it did and we had to wade out during the night.  Johnny and I had 4 boys, ages 14 to 1 and I was expecting our daughter.  We were so fortunate to have best friends that took us in, Bobby and Bethel Benton, who lived in Walkertown out of the flood plain.  It was very difficult and we had to work to clean up and start completely over.  We had good folks in Hazard who found pictures of my children miles away after the flood and returned them to us!  I still fret when I see the news of any flood and I know what the people are feeling.  Our possessions were gone, but the love of our family and friends prevailed!  Hazard will always be our beloved home.  Pauline Calitri and Ernestine Calitri Brashear Berea, KY

I was in school on Town Mountain.  Mrs. Mable Jones was my teacher.  I was nine years old.  We were in school and I remember Mrs. Jones husband, O.C. Jones, coming to get her, of course we were glad to get out of school.  I remember the water being up as far as Hershel Smith's store going towards Town Mountain.  Then the bus wreck in Prestonsburg that took so many lives.  I remember the power plant a Lothair blowing up.  Seems like we were without electricity forever.  After everything was over and you went back down town and things that used to be were no longer there only mud.  It was strange but to me it seemed like in no time I could go into Fout's Drug store and buy a 5 cent ice cream cone. Hazard, Kentucky is strong and steadfast like the mountains that surrounds us and I will forever be proud to call Hazard my home.  Janet Gipson Martin, Owensboro, KY

I don't remember the flood (I was 2 years old) but heard many stories growing up.  My Grandparents (Marcus and Lucinda Smith) lived in Lothair.  When the water started rising they went over to my Great Grandparents house in Dwarf (Ode and Rhoda Smith).  They said my cousin got chickenpox so bad he almost died and Dr. Boggs made a house call over to Dwarf.  My Grandmother would speak often of all the things she lost or had damaged by the "big flood".  I think she mourned the loss of photographs over anything else.  Ronda Ghosh, Rochester, NY

I missed most of the segments on the Flood of '57 that was aired in the last week or so due to various appointments.  I would have really liked to have seen all the segments.  I remember the flood of '57.  I was living in Logan County, WV, and it was like nothing I had ever seen and I certainly hope I never do again.  There was a place above Logan called Rum Junction located above what was called Three Mile Curve and the rail road trestle located at the junction had a clearance of about 20 feet or more.  The river was right at the top of the trestle.  Do you recall a song that was recorded after that flood called "The Flood of 57?"   The Flood of '57 as it happened to be in KY, Old VA, and East Tennessee are just a few of the words in the song.  Ruth in Paintsville, KY

I had just turned 3 years old at the time.  My family and I lived up in Shucky Bean Holler.  My Dad and Mom sat up all night waiting for the water to go down as we all know it didn't.  There was 9 of us kids at home at the time.  Dad carried us
out on his back, one by one.  I remember it as if it were yesterday on Dad's shoulder's and my feet touching the water.  My Dad was 6 feet tall so you can imagine how high the water was.  Evelyn (Hurt) Beasley, Cincinnati, OH

I was 4 when the flood hit.  We lived on Highland Avenue.  I remember standing with my Mother, Della Wooton, and Grandmother, Mollie Wooton, on her back porch watching everything float down the river.  The one thing I remember most was a refrigerator.  It was a scary time for all.  Barbara Deaton, Hazard, KY

My brother Danny Combs was born in '57  I remember my mom talking a lot about that flood.  The good thing that came out of it was my brother Danny.  He passed away in 2003 and was a blessing to me and I will always and forever remember him.  God bless all that read this and remember Jesus loves all of you.  Keep the faith.  Sue (Combs) Vaughn, Leslie County, daughter of Jim & Ethel Combs.

I was 15 and lived at Lick Branch in Perry County. I saw a house going down the river at the mouth of Lick Branch.  The water was so high and over the road that you had to go around the side hill to get to Krypton.  Bill Sizemore, Louisville, KY

I remember the '57 flood very well.  I was coming home from Lowry Air force Base in Denver Colorado.  I had just finished Tech. school & was about to see my daughter for the first time.  For a while I didn't think I was going to make it home because of all the water but got through and my wife & child were BEAUTIFUL.  I'm so blessed I thought.  There is always something good.  Jerry Williams, Lexington, KY

I lived at Combs, Ky.,  in '57 and moved to Hazard in Feb.1957.  I was 9 years old.  I remember seeing a hog swimming down the river.  Mary Ann Lawson Smith, Hazard, KY

I did not live there at the time of the flood but my family, Arnold &Maude Stollings and my brother Rufus and his family did.  I heard a lot about it from them.  Stollings Begley, Loveland, OH

When my Daddy "HC Williams" of Ary, KY, was 17 years old at the time of this 1957 flood he walked all the way to Hazard to help with the clean up.  Bonita Williams Napier, Hardburly, KY

I wasn't in the flood but my grandmother, Josie Lewis, was.  She lived upstairs in an apartment in Martin, Ky.  I remember her telling how they brought boats to get her.  It was very scary she said.  God love all.  Edythe Spurlock, Floyd County, Martin, KY

Katherine and I lived behind the power company.  We saw the mine service burn and the power company blow up.  Everyone thought the end was there.  They all came running by my house and Katherine's house heading for the hills.  Lots and lots of people.  The water came across the highway and come up into the apple orchard of our Grandfather's old home place.  His name was Grant Combs.  Everyone called him Uncle Grant.  Katherine Cole and Bessie Combs, Frankfort, KY

I was 8 years old.  Our family live in Allais. We live where there used to be a apple orchard at the beginning of the driveway and at the end was our house.  My mom and dad worked at Hazard Laundry for Joe Goodlette and his family.  My mom and dad walked home around the mountain to get home that day.  Afterward dad helped clean up.  My parents were Sam and Hazel Bowling.  God Bless Hazard.  Mattie Bowling Goins, Hazard, KY

My Mom was pregnant with me and her and Dad lived in the Speck Cornett Apartments on East Main.  My grandmother called and asked my Mom do you have high water down there, on the radio it said Whitesburg is flooding.  Mom looked out and East Main was flooding, she had no idea.  About that time my Dad came through the door after going around in the woods to get to the apartment from work.   He said the water is on the first two steps we got to go.  Mom and Dad walked up the mouth of Liberty Street and up the mountain to my grandmother's house where she lived on Sunset Avenue (in the backwoods by the Catholic Church).  Mom said she stayed there two to three weeks and prayed the whole time that I would not be born because so many women was going into labor early and there was no electricity in the hospital.  Luckily Mom's prayers were answered I was born on March 4, 1957.  Mom said businesses were still cleaning up from the flood when I was born.  Karen Bowles, Hazard, KY

The water started to come up through one of the drains in the floor and started to run out the newsroom.  We really didn't think anything was going to happen so we moved the furniture up four or five feet and left the place.  That must have been around 10 0' clock.  By that afternoon the place had filled up and it was some kind of mess.  Paul McGraner, former WSGS & WKIC News Director

With the radio studios underwater, our only option to get back on the air was to walk to the transmitter which was in Walkertown.  People were depending on us because WSGS & WKIC was the only source for news about the flood.  With water everywhere, you couldn't drive to the site.  We walked over the hill and carried a record player, an amplifier, and a microphone.  We hooked into the transmitter and broadcast emergency messages as we watched the raging water.  Occasionally someone would come by and talk to us on the air.  I vividly remember seeing a mobile home going down the river.  I also remember going back to the studios after the water receded and seeing the baby grand piano upside down and mud up to the ceiling with records strewn around.  Jimmy Hall, WSGS/WKIC Announcer

I was employed at WSGS & WKIC five days after the 1957 flood.  I was working in Illinois when I took the job in Hazard.  The news at the time was that Hazard was wiped out and would never recover.  I arrived on a Sunday afternoon.  As we were driving into Hazard we were listening to WKIC and George Davis, the Singing Miner was on.  There were a lot of people driving through the area to see the flood damage and I remember George saying on the air, "now you people driving in here looking around just to see what's going on, you turn around and go back home.  We don't want you coming in here and enjoying our miseries."  When I came to work it was a challenge because the radio studios were in the basement of People's Bank and the bank had 18 inches of water on the main floor.  WSGS was broadcasting warnings about the flood when water starting coming into the basement of the bank.  They were warning other people but not accepting the warnings themselves.  All of the broadcast equipment was flooded and they set up a make shift studio at the transmitter site in Walkertown.  I immediately had a great respect for the people of Hazard and Perry County because they didn't have an attitude that they were washed out flooded out people.  They had an attitude that we've got work to do.  They were cleaning up.  I remember seeing people on Monday morning sweeping up the streets, getting rid of the mud, instead of crying about it, they were going to work.  I had a great admiration for the people of this area when I saw how they rebounded.  Art Grunewald, former WSGS & WKIC Station Manager.

We lived across the river in Wooten.  We rented from Mrs. Parks and my father and grandfather were both coalminers.  My dad was down in the field that had flooded when two army helicopters landed and my dad got aboard and showed them the way to Hazard . We did not know where he went for about 4 hours until it came over WKIC.  They asked if someone could come to Hazard and give Burnice Creech a ride back to Wooten.  We were so glad our dad was safe.  I was 8 years old  We saw houses, cars and livestock go down the river.  It was a bad time.  We were without a bridge for a long time. Arthur Wayne Creech,  Boswell Indiana

I don't remember the '57 flood but I heard my family speak of it often.  I was only 11 months old.  The man that was helping Ms. Bobbit, (Mack Hill) was my father.  Betty G. Combs, Hazard, KY

My twin, Richard and I were born on January 28, 1957, during the flood in Whitesburg, KY.  My father, Olma D. Sparks, M.D., was taking my mother, who was in labor with us twins, had to go through the torrential flood waters to Whitesburg hospital.  I talked to my older brother tonight, and he said that Dad ruined a '57 Mercury due to the flood.  My dad, who passed in 1993, said it was the worst flood eastern Kentucky had ever seen.  I have heard a lot of stories about this flood.  I cannot imagine how horrible it was to everyone involved in it.  All I know is that Richard, my twin, who died in 2005, and I are known in the family as the twins born in the flood.  Thanks to everyone writing on this website and letting me know what happened during that time.  My brother Ronnie, who lives in London, KY., said a special on this flood will be aired this week.  I shall get a copy since it is a part of my heritage.  God bless you all.  Sarah Sparks, Midwest City, OK

I was living on High St in the Burns Apts.  My father was a U.S. Marine Recruiter in Hazard during this time.  I just remember a lot of water.  Have some pictures of my dad with Ishmael Stacy in front of his service station after the flood.  Betty Thorpe, Christopher, KY

I was only 6 years old in 1957 but I can remember certain things about the "big flood."  I remember my dad, Eugene Wooton, driving down the road in his motor boat and moving neighbors out. I also remember staying in the Old Regular Baptist Church for days, the whole neighborhood seemed to end up there.  I will always have those memories.  Jennifer Wooton (Overbee), Airport Gardens

I was only 3 years old, but I have extremely vivid memories of the "57 flood.  I have had recurring nightmares for most of my life about this flood.  The sights, smells and terror are etched into my memory.  Nowadays, it is recognized that natural disasters have a lasting impact upon the individuals they affect.  Post traumatic stress disorder is very common, especially in children.  Just wondering how many in this area feel that these disasters had an impact on the way they viewed or view life in general, or if they have had nightmares and/or lasting anxiety.  I vaguely remember you George Oliver, and Paul "Baldy" was my beloved brother. (Sadly, he passed away in December of 2006.)  I will never forget how upset my mother was that he was out there on that bridge.  I don't think she knew he actually went into that raging water. Good thing!  Bless his heart, he was a dare-devil, but had the best heart of anyone I ever knew.  Good to see the Hayes family posting, and many others that I remember.  The main theme of these posts, surviving, is evident.  I think it reveals so much about the character of southeastern Kentucky natives and inhabitants.  I would like to wish the best to all my old friends, and family friends.  We are truly survivors.  Doris B Lewallen, Hazard, KY

I live in Leslie County on Polls Creek, I hadn't really heard a lot about this flood until my Uncle and Mom started talking about it the other night.  Chad Turner, Leslie County, KY

Flooding was always a big thing in my family.  My grandma, Maxine Miller, ran a post office in Airport Gardens at the time of the '57 flood I think.  She pasted away about a year ago.  I remember her talking about when the power plant blew up and you could see the lights from Darfork.  Also about the water splashing the floor under the house.  She lived in Darfork most of her life.  She ran the post office there until the new post office in Bulan was built.  She always knew by how much rain and how fast it came, if she was going to have to move the post office out or not.  I remember her talking about walking through the hills from Airport Gardens back to Darfork during those floods and then having to run the post office out of the trunk of her car.  I was there in the '77, one around '88 and the last I think was 2003.  We all have moved out of Darfork now and as hard as the times can be your heart is always home.  This is really some great information from first hand accounts.  All I can say is wow.  God bless you all.  Scott Feltner, Lexington, KY

My family lived in Lothair on what is now Apple Street so we were above the water.   I remember going to school that morning at Lothair Elementary and you could just see that the river was about to leave it banks.  It wasn't to much later that everyone went home because of the water. The river would eventually stop at the school wall.  My Mother, Grace Bingham Ewen, who was a teacher in Lothair stayed at the school because it was turned into a shelter.  When the Mine Service store caught on fire I was sacred to death.  The black smoke and fire seemed to be everywhere.  Later that night my brother, Bing and I were home with my father, Forrest Ewen when the power plant blew up when water got into the transformers.  All of Lothair was lit up like an arc welders torch.  It was the most eerie thing I can remember.  Dad had worked for the plant as a fireman so he kept us calm but I remember the sky being a pale blue. It was bright as day outside.  You could see across the river where people had taken shelter under the cliffs.  Mother was at school and when the plant went up.  She said the people in the school broke out the windows trying to get out and get away from the terrible light and sound from the plant.  Later when we added onto the house we found that the power surge from the power plant had melted some of the wires.  We were lucky that the house didn't burn down.  We were one of the few houses in the neighborhood which still had coal heat and we had a fire place.  The women cooked on the hearth in our living room and a lot of people staved at our house.  For me it was like a camping trip.  My sister's husband drove in from Ohio with a car load of food and I remember the Guard being there.  I think I saw my first real live helicopter fly into Lothair.  The flood was kind of a last straw for my Mother and Dad (Forrest Ewen).  They packed and moved to Lexington in 1959,  What a great place Lothair was to grow up.  I love the Hazard website.  George Ewen, Lexington KY

I finished Hazard High in 1956 and enlisted in the US Air Force and I was coming home, getting ready to go to France in January of '57. I could get as close as Corbin, Ky on the train.  I ran into a cab driver, a WW II veteran who gave me a break on the fare and brought me all the way to Hazard, on a lot of back roads I might say. I was standing on the old depot bridge with the Navy recruiter watching the North Fork rise a foot an hour. All the buildings on the river had gauges on the back of the building. It was a fearful time but the hard working people of Hazard and Perry County showed their true grit by just helping each other out. I must say I was never prouder of the mountain people than I was then.  My dad was H K Reynolds, an engineer on the good old L&N Railroad and he remembered the '37 flood. He was a 1st Lt. in the guard and helped feed the prisoners in Frankfort and I remember seeing some of the pictures. I only attended Hazard High for two years but I still call it home.  (Estill Huff is my brother in law and Pat Stacey is my niece.) Bob Reynolds, Richmond, KY

During the '57 flood I worked at the Bowman Methodist Church as secretary and youth worker.  We opened the door of the church and fed several people daily, and people spent the night who did not have a place to stay.  The lights were out in town.  Frances Pearlman and I went out in the dark of the night to gather food for people from those who could donate so the people could eat.  Red Cross helped.  We would sing hymns during the day for those who helped and those who were lonely.  Kathryn McAllister, Main Street, Hazard, KY

I remember the 1957 flood.  I was 15 years old at the time.  I am the son of Inos Stacy Davis and Ross Davis.  We lived on route 15 on Duane Mountain at the time of the flood.  To the best of my memory it must of rained seven or eight days straight.  Sam Combs and I were on Combs Highway and we watched it come up and wash a tavern right out into the flood waters.  We went right down on it when it went into the water.  We sure didn't stay on it long we got out real quick.  In reference to the one that was looking for the song "57 flood" my mom always told me that my uncle Ben Ritchie wrote the song. I don't know the words.  Billy Ross Davis, Dayton, Ohio

I was six years old at the time of the flood and I remember clearly the sadness and destruction.  My grandparents, Mae and Fred Cornett, lived in town on Arch Street and I lived right next door.  We weren't touched by the floodwaters, of course, being so high up, but I remember going to take food and clothes to someone she knew who lived near the river and had lost everything.  I clearly recall the thick rancid mud that lay thickly all over everything.  I remember my grandmother telling me that a fire was far easier to recover from than a flood.  Barbara Wilcher, St. Louis, Missouri

We lived on the hill in Lothair right a across form the Black Goal railroad bridge. I was in the eighth grade. I saw the houses across the river by the bridge wash out and many houses float down to the bridge and bust up.  I felt so bad knowing all the people that lost everything they had.  Lothair grade school was full of people displaced by the flood. We and a lot of people would go up in the mountain and get water from a spring. The National Guard flew in many things. No food, no water, no heat, no lights - it was rough for many people. We cooked on a open fire in the back yard. Our house was full of people displaced from Lothair bottom. When the power plant burned up that evening it lit as the noon day sun in Lothair. That was a bad time for a lot of people.  Everett Hall, Franklin IN

I remember the flood even though I was only 3 years old.  I turned 4 on Feb 12, 1957.  My grandparents, Roy and Harriet Grigsby lived at Hilton Camp.  I remember staying a someone's house up on the hill across the railroad tracks from their house and watching them wade the rising water to carry things out of the house.  I remember crying and begging to go and help them.  I moved with my parents, Roy Hurst and Bessie Grigsby, and my two brothers, Sam and Jim, to London, Ky the following August.  Would love to get an email from anyone who knows any of my family.  My cousins still in Perry County are Tim, Steve, and RT Barger, Fred and Lyndon Scaggs and Dan Begley.  Elizabeth Ann Grigsby, London, KY

I was raised on Cutshin Creek in Leslie County.  I was 4 years old and don't remember much.  We woke up that morning with dad and mom screaming that water was in the house.  I remember seeing chickens and a dog on a house that was washing away.  Edith Coots, Perry County (daughter of Tinsley and Taffie Coots)

I was not born at the time of the flood, but I can remember my father and mother talking about the time. It saddens me to think we as a town had to go and suffer through such a tragic time.  But you know at least in this area (eastern Kentucky) we pull together to help ourselves and our neighbors.  Thank you for letting me express my opinion.  Eddie in Cumberland, KY

I remember the flood of 1957.  I was 5 at that time and we lived at Combs next to a lumber yard.  We lost everything except our family.  Thank God for his blessings.  Doris Carter York, Richmond, KY

My memories of the flood are the stories I heard from my family.  I have pictures of the flood that they took. My grandparents were William "Bill" and Bertha York Kelly.  My Grandpa was jailer for many, many years. Grandma taught piano.  My mother was Dorothy Lee Kelly (Collins).  My Aunt Mabel ran the post office.  I was born in 1957 so the stories and pictures are all I have but they are more than enough. The tops of school buses were about all you could see in the flood.  I visited Hazard every summer as a child and I can't imagine how scared everyone was.  I do know they talked about it all through my childhood and every time it rained, I'd check the creek across from the (old) jailhouse, which is where we stayed.  Denise Shaulis, Youngstown, Ohio

I was just a young kid but I remember it well.  My Father tried to get things out of the house but we lost EVERYTHING except some family pictures. No Federal Aid at all.  It really irks me about Hurricane Katrina. Sad but they got billions from the government.  Gregory Wynn Hayes, Lebanon, Ohio

I was about two years when the '57 flood arrived on the scene so I don't have any real memories of it.  My Mom kept pictures of the flood in our family album...and my sister still has them to this day.  But I do know some of the people that have posted here and I want you to know the Hayes family (especially my older siblings) remembers most of you too and consider you all eternal friends.  I'm the youngest of Carl and Mildred Hayes. We lived in Walkertown behind the Texaco Station and our family moved to Ohio in 1971. Then..there's Ricky, Darryl, Wynn, Beverly, Gary and Ronnie. We are all doing well...considering our dear Mom (Mildred Hayes) passed away in 2006 at the age of 86. God bless all of you and we will always love the good people of Hazard, Kentucky. There is no place on earth like Hazard in our hearts and minds.  Johnny Hayes, Benton, KY

I was eight years old at the time. My dad worked at Cash Wholesale then. It later was called the Junction Bar and burned a few years ago.  We lived on Lotts Creek, out toward Bulan. The water was so high, you couldn't go any farther than Leslie curve. It was almost at the mouth of the holler. My dad would walk around the hill trying to get to work. I mean we had some high water.  Janice Combs Holbrook, West Liberty, KY

I am just 37 years old but I have heard my dad Lloyd Hill talk about it all the time he said he was in Storm King.  He said he saw garages coming down the river with cars on them and they would just roll off into the river, and he saw houses coming down the river and watch the sink.  Jamie Gayheart, Lotts Creek, KY

My name is Wayne Suttles and I was in the flood of '57 at the age of six and saw it up close from the back seat of my daddy's car, Jimmie L. Suttles as we drove next to the river that lead into Hazard.  I saw peoples homes, cars, live stock, trees, floating down the river. We lived in leatherwood Kentucky and had to leave our home as well fear of getting washed away. We packed up a few things and started driving unknowing where we where going. As a six year child this was a scary thing to see. We survived the floor without any damage to our home or loss of life. I've talked about it all my life and will never forget the day the waters came down the mountain like a bat out of hell. I'm 55 now and have lived in Southwest Florida for the last 30 years and have seen all kinds of hurricanes but was never as frightened as I was that day the flood waters headed toward Hazard. Like "911" I will never forget.  Wayne Suttles, North Port , Florida

To Virginia Peters, I remember you and your sister Loraine from Black Gold Coal Camp, Lothair, Ky.  I was in Indiana at the time of the '57 flood.  I was mad at my husband and remarked 'I'm going home to Lothair, come Hell or high water!'  Well we got the high water but I still went home not knowing if I would ride or swim. If you are still out there, Virginia, I believe we called you Ginney, let me hear from you.  Wanda Pelfrey Bradford, Inverness, FL

I lived in East McDowell in the back lane at the time.  The water was bank -to- bank.  I will never forget it.  My Mom and Dad, Arville & Caroline Tackett went to Martin to help out the people there.  It was pretty bad all around. Vershel L Tackett, Lakeland, FL

I was 18 years old and lived on Polls Creek in Leslie County at the time of the 1957 flood.  Water rose into several houses at the mouth of Polls Creek where it joins Cutshin Creek. My uncle Oley had a store there. He lived in the ground floor which was flooded.  We carried everything we could up to the second level but that which we could not carry up the stairs was soaked.  Further down Cutshin Creek where Highway KY 699 joins KY 80 was located the Smith Coal Community.  Several houses in that community were either damaged or washed away. A Stidham family lived in one of the houses that washed away.  Their 6 year old son was drowned.  I was in the search party that found the child.  His clothes had gotten tangled in some tree limbs and when the water subsided his little body was left hanging near the ground.  That was certainly a sad time in Leslie County as well as Perry County.  Schuyler Day, Kernersville, NC

I was 9 at the of the '57 flood. I lived at Allais (mouth of the Holiness Hollow) beside  George (Bear), Wallace (Doc), Frank (Dee Dee) and Curtis (Curt) Oliver.  I remember the water getting about 1 1/2 feet from our ceiling, which was level of the top of the kitchen cabinets.  I had 2 chipmunks that we kept in a bird cage.  We put them on top of the cabinets.  After the water went down the chipmunks were very much alive.  We turned them a loose and they high tailed it for higher and dryer ground never to be seen again.  I remember all the mud, the flood smell and the clean up.  It seemed like no time had passed, then came the '63 flood and mud, the flood smell and the clean up.  Sam Turner, St. Albans, WV

I was two years old during the 1957 flood and my father, Herman Maggard owned Maggard's Store in Lothair.  I can't remember very much, except that a lot of people came up to our house because we lived across the highway.  Daddy didn't believe the water was going to get as high as it did, he was stranded at Maggard's Store.  Someone had to come and get him in a boat. He climbed out through the second floor balcony.  I also remember that he had baskets and baskets of soap that was ruined.  He was not allowed to sell the soap, so we had soap in our basement for years. I thought I would never get to buy clean soap again.  I have seen many pictures of Daddy cleaning out the store, with many people helping him.  Martha Maggard Birdwhistell, Lawrenceburg, KY

I didn't live in Hazard during the 1957 flood, but my ancestors were from Perry County.  I do remember that year.  I was 10 years old and in the fourth grade at Pikeville City School when the flood hit Perry County.  Our school took up canned food, clothes, and some good toys and furniture to send to the flood stricken areas. I think that was the first disaster I can ever remember. I now visit Perry County at least once a year for the Combs Reunion and I always feel right at home. Seems like everyone looks out for each other.  Lynda Combs Gipson, Frankfort, KY

I was seven years old (almost) when the 1957 flood came.  At the time, we lived in Knott County, but mom's beauty shop (Daskum's) was in Vicco and it was flooded.  I remember helping to sweep water and mud from her shop and there's no smell like that of flood waters.  I remember mom being worried that we would get sick from having to clean the mess, but we survived and held our health in tact.  My brother and I thought it was cool to watch all the trash floating down the swollen river and he was heartbroken that he couldn't retrieve some of the many basketballs we watched float by!  A few years after the '57 flood, we moved back to Vicco where I still reside and am very thankful for the Carrs Fork Dam.  Linda Kay Kelly Chapman, Vicco, KY

Daddy, Finley Walters, was a Greyhound Bus driver.  He had arrived in Hazard, and was unable to return to Louisville.  He drove his bus and a couple other reserve busses to higher ground (the Coliseum).  He saved Greyhound Bus Lines a lot of money.  He slept in the busses (for heat), and would walk over to his sister-in-law and her husband (Lewis and Violet Wyrick who lived on Laurel Street) for his meals. We lived at Quicksand during those years.  Kathy Carter, Frankfort, KY

I was in the '57 flood.  I was 11 years old and lived on the bottom street in the Airport Gardens. We thought we were safe because the flood waters had never got high enough to get into our house at that time.  Mom had a cake in the oven and before we knew it we were wading out and the water was up to my knees.  I have twin brothers that were 2 years old and we had to carry them. My grandmother had to be carried out of the house. It was a scary time but God was with us through it all.  Peggy White Richie, Austin IN

"I, too, remember the 57 flood.  I was about 12 or 13 years old and a student at Walkertown Elementary.  We were dismissed from school early that morning and instead of going home, I stood and watched from the railroad tracks in Wabaco all the devastation.  Fuzz Barger and maybe George Oliver were there also.  My mother sent my brother to get me.  I remember thinking I am in big trouble for not going straight home from school, but this was a very exciting time for a child.  I saw houses come down the river and break into when they hit the bridge.  Our house was not close to the river at all so we were safe.  My dad had a coal cook stove stored in an outbuilding and he set it up in the kitchen and invited neighbors in to cook and eat.  Also, remember how muddy my bobbie socks got in that mud and had to scrub them on a scrub board to get them clean.  Will never forget the ' 57 flood and how devastating it was, but people helped each other in the clean up."  Loretta Statzer Dawson, Lexington, KY

"I remember the '57 flood also since I was 15 and lived in Walkertown by the Petrey Memorial Baptist Church.  We spent a lot of the day helping people move and when we went to help Ronnie Hayes' Family the water came up around us.  I couldn't swim then and still cant so it wasn't a nice experience.  The river had anything you could imagine floating by such as hogs, chickens, houses, sports gear, everything.  Then at night the power company flooded and a huge light show went of from the arcs.  The Pepsi Cola people had put their trucks in the Petrey Church lot.  No one looted them or anything.  I guess hillbillies aren't like Cajuns of today.  I left Hazard over two years later and the streets still had lots of dirt on them, but there was no FEMA.  It was, as it has always been, help yourself and your neighbors.  That will always overcome." Coleman "Ray" Gross, Prince George, VA

"I was working at Stiles Jewelry Store on Mail Street in Hazard when the '57 flood came.  Mr. Stiles kept walking down to the bridge at the end of the street to check how high the water was getting.  He came in around noon and told us to start packing.  We moved a lot of things to the rooms upstairs in the store.  The showcases were moved to the courthouse lawn.  We were working in water up to our knees by the time we finished.  Mr. & Mrs. Stiles took us, three employees, to their home for the night and gave us a great dinner.  I was living with my parents by the river, a short distance from the Blue Goose.  I think they now call it Mother Goose.  I knew the water had gotten our home, it had come so close many times.  I could not contact my parents.  Later that night I was trying to find them.  My friend, Cleo Young, who was a telephone operator, had been trying to locate me.  She told me my parents were at her brothers house.  The next morning I was able to get home.  My dad and friends were able to get all of our things out of our house except my piano.  I remember looking at our house and my piano setting on the porch with mud on it.  I sat down on the road and cried, but I got up and like all of us in Hazard we started to build our lives again.  We lived with my aunt and uncle for a month.  We moved back into our little house and my dad made it bigger and as always he watched the river when the rains came." Janice Napier Lovelace, Oak Ridge, TN

"In 1957 I was 10 years old and living on East Main Street in Hazard.  I saw a pig swim in our house, shot bottles with 22's and saw a big white house hit the Woodland Park bridge.  We had 5 feet of water in the Faulkner's Garage show room and over 100 cars and trucks were flooded.  What a mess.  I saw the power plant blow up in Lothair and there was a boat sent to take me and my sister to Baker Hill to stay with my aunt Dot Tayloe but when the boat arrived my dad said just leave the kids here and we didn't go.  The boat turned over at Falons garage and a man drowned.  Guess we were lucky.  The National Guard came in a gave us shots at the gym." Bernie Faulkner, Hazard, KY

"I remember well the '57 flood.  A friend of mine and neighbor went to the Main Street and took a boat at first to help clean out the mud and debree.  Then as we worked to help the people clean up they gave us so many different things for our charitable help. Mind you I was only ten yrs old but at those times everyone pulled together, old and young.  I got clothes, shoes, shells for my 22 to squirrel hunt, and so much more.  At that time I can remember at our house we only had pie pans to eat from and commodity powdered egg cans to drink from but the people who lost and had insurance saw that we had china from then on. Yep, we watched as the water got higher and higher and waited it out till the town was almost back to normal before we went back home.  I had to get a shot from Dr Boggs so I could be in town to work but small and strong, we all pulled Hazard out of that mess.  I was there only in 2005 and she still is Hazard to me.  Thanks to you all who were there and who are still moving ahead." Shelby C.Williams, Decatur TN

"I was eight years old when the 1957 flood come.  I lived with my dad, mom and younger sister on Defeated Creek in Letcher County.  I remember it very well.  I woke up early the next morning to the sound of a great roaring sound.  It was not day break yet.  I walked out onto our front porch to see where the roaring was coming from and looked out into the yard.  It was hard to see in the dark, but I knew it was the high water in the creek.  Our house was high on the hill from the creek.  I could not believe the water was nipping at our steps.  My father was in dismay.  We all were.  My grandmother and uncle were visiting us from Dayton, Ohio.  A couple of days later we tried to get out of the hollow, but could not get anywhere.  The water had gone down quiet a bit.  The water was still raging.  It washed out the main bridge across Linefork Creek.  We could not get out that way, so my father tried to go up the hollow and cross the mountain but the road was still covered in places and culverts washed out.  My uncle was attending Wright St. University at the time and desperately needed to return to Dayton.  My grandmother was more than ready to get out of there.  She had not seen this much water since the twenties, although she and my grandfather had lived on what is now known as The Lilly Woods in Letcher County.  My father went to our neighbor's house to ask Mr. Coy Ingram to help get my grandmother's car across Linefork creek.  He had a team of horses.  Coy hitched the team to my grandmother's car and pulled the car across the swollen creek with my grandmother Eula and uncle Jack in the car.  This was a rare sight that made all of our adrenalin rush.  The team of horses fought the current of the water very hard & swam to the other side with the car intact.  Grandmother and my uncle drove all the way home to Dayton, Ohio with the car completely wet, seats, floor and all.  This unique story will always be told in our family of Cornetts, Combs & Fultz.  We will never forget the flood and it's victims." Patty Bates, Whitesburg, KY

"The night of the '57 flood,  I was stranded in an apartment over Faulkner's Garage.  My family was stranded at their work places, so I was alone and also pregnant with my first child.  The nightmare of that time will never be forgotten." Lajena Barker, West Virginia

"I was 9 years old and lived in Vicco on Bible Avenue beside the river.  I remember walking from the bedroom to the living room.  When I stepped in to the living room, the water came up around my waist.  My mom, Oma Jent, grabbed me and headed for the front door and daddy, Chester Jent, was out on the porch in a boat and we climbed in and headed out of there.  I saw cats and animals in trees and I saw one preacher in a tree.  We had to send someone back for him, no room in the boat.  When the water went down, mud was 2 or 3 feet deep and dad and my brothers had to try to shovel it out.  The Red Cross gave us beds and what we had to have to survive until we could do better.  It sure was a scary time!  I for one will never forget the smell of the flood water."  Yvonne Maggard, Jackson, KY

"I was 10 at the time but we were lucky enough to live in the mountains above the flood waters.  But I can remember after the waters subsisted, several stores in town had to sell their wears for little or nothing because of the water damage.  There was also a song written about the flood, I cant remember who sang it, just that he was one of the old Bluegrass singers.  When I hear those sounds, it still takes me back home.  We moved to Oregon in 1957." Margaret Harmon Usher, Pound, VA

"At the time of the `57 flood I was stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico flying in B-36s.  I heard about the water rising on the Kentucky River by short wave radio.  I called my  parents, G.D. and Eva Ross Brashear and told them we were flying to the states  to do simulated bomb runs, a practice procedure to keep proficient.  I asked the navigator to fly over Hazard prior to making the bomb run on the radar site in Knoxville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, the sky was overcast and all we could see was a radar image of the area.  Later my parents told me they could hear the airplane overhead.  All of my high school and college memoirs were stored in a trunk in my parent's basement and were lost in the flood."  Eugene Brashear, Lexington, KY

"I was 11 years old at the time of the '57 flood.  I woke that morning and water was around our house.  My neighbor Newt Deeds house came floating down the river.  It hit the bridge at the Slemp Post Office and broke apart.  We lived by the railroad track on John & Needa Hillbert old place." Eugene Bailey, Slemp, KY

"It was like Armageddon.  Trees were being uprooted.  I was 21 at the time.  Me and my friend were on a small boat and she had dropped her money in the river and tried to jump in and get it.  I slapped her and told her she was crazy and pulled her back in the boat." Elizebeth in Buckhorn, KY

"We lived just downstream from the old Hazard airport and I can remember a plane floating by out house.  The water got in our basement so we were lucky and later the Red Cross brought a lot of goodies by like mops, brooms, food etc."  Charles Turner, Hazard, KY

"I was 9 years old when the 57 flood came, my brother was only 21 days old and the water covered up our house, we lost everything.  Every time the water got up from there on, I was scared to death, it is terrible to watch that muddy water cover the only home I'd ever known." Sherry Sizemore Smith, Airport Gardens, KY

"I recently read a book titled Gods got your number by Ken Gaub.  He told of an experience with the flood of 1957, at Hazard.  Does anyone remember this man?  He was a missionary."  David Scott, Bellecenter, Ohio

"I remember the flood very well and it brings bad memories to mind.  I was very scared that it was the end of the world." Patricia Huff Stacy, Jackson, KY

"My dad has a home movie of this flood, and of the town, I have watched it many times.  My father is Nick Gillespie, anyone that knew him or his family, I would love to hear from you.  He lives in Louisville now."  Bonnie Reeves, Oneonta, Alabama

"I was 18 at the time and lived in Airport Gardens.  I had gone through a lot of floods when living in Combs, Kentucky.  We had to move all the way to the railroad.  We lived in Sun Fire Bottom, right next to the river.  I will never forget it.  Been a long time."  Martha Jane Baker, in Illinois

"I was staying on Line Fork with my husband's parents (Bryan & Vestie Watts) in the '57 flood.  I was on a short vacation from where my husband and I lived in California.  That was such a scary time.  The water in the creek was up under the floor before it started to recede." Cleda Cornett Watts, Louisville, KY

"I also remember the '57 flood.  I was 11 years old.  We lived in the Lothair bottom in the coal houses.  I remember the transformer blowing up and burning the mine service building, it was scary.  We were cooking beans on the stove when the flood came. I remember my daddy, Lee Lewallen, waded in water up to his knees and grabbed him some beans.  We had just brought furniture and it was destroyed.  We stayed with my aunt and uncles.  We went to the school and got food and shots that day.  My sister, Shirley, lost everything she had.  My parents had to work like dogs getting the house back together. We had good people to help us out.  We lived by the Meltons, Carters and the Thomas family.  We went to the Lothair school.  I still live in Hazard and have seen more floods." Carol in Hazard, KY

"I don't remember anything about the 57 flood, simply because that is when I was born.  We lived in Airport Gardens at the time and Mom and Dad said the water was in the basement of the Hospital just a few streets in front of our house.  My parents are Eugene Stidham and Ann Stidham (Eversole).  We lost Dad in June of  2001 but we are all doing fine here in Lawrenceburg, KY.  I do remember the flood of '63, the flood waters reached our back yard there in Airport Gardens.  My brother, Danny, and I played in it until we got caught." Dennis Stidham, Lawrenceburg, KY

"I was living in Lothair down in the bottom in Tommy Bunton's house.  I had been out of the service almost a year.  Our furniture wasn't but a year old.  My then wife was carrying our second daughter at the tiem.  I was working for the Power Company.  We were busy trying to get things out of the way of the water.  We kept noticing that the water was coming up rapidly.  I knew that things at home were getting to the danger point.  So I went to Gain Stidham and asked to borrow a truck to go and check on things at home.  He let me use a stake body truck.  When I got there, you could look down the dead end street where we lived and the water was coming up the street.  My Aunt Ettie lived nearby and water was almost in her house.  My wife then helped me carry what we could out of that house although she couldn't lift much since she was pregnant.  What bothered me was the people who lived next door.  They laughed at us for moving our furniture.  We took what little we could get out of my sister in law's house, up to Lothair.  When I went back for another load, the water was up to the bumper of the truck.  The people across the street, who were laughing at us earlier, were working hard to get some stuff out but it was in vain because the water was coming up so fast.  I had to get back down to the Power Company.  It was three days before I got to leave and see my family.  We had to move out quite often.  But that was the worst thing I ever saw.  I sat at the Power Company and watched the houses just crumble up and lodge against each other.  It was real sad watching that.  I love it there.  I had a good time growing up there.  I lived on that river all my younger days.  We had good times in that river.  I would like to relive it again but we know it's not possible." Bill Ferguson, Okeana, OH

"I worked at the old hospital in Airport Gardens and lived at Lothair on the hill.  I was stranded at the hospital until the flood receded enough until I could get home. My mom lived in the Lothair bottom and everything she had was destroyed, but the house remained standing.  She stayed at my house until she could return to hers. The devastation was unbelievable. I will always keep that vision in my mind forever." Marie Morris in Florida

"I remember the '57 flood like it was yesterday.  I was around 13 years old and lived in Allais.  My Dad and Mom's house got flooded, water up to the roof line.  Lost nearly everything in the house.  I remember going out on the train bridge, the one that goes over to Wabaco, with Fuzz Barger and watching the houses come down the center of the river.  They were lined up behind each other in single formation.  We watched the houses hit the concrete bridge pillars, (the water was about 5 feet or so from the top of the bridge) and made such a roar that I can still hear it today.  On the downstream side of the bridge, all that came out was boards and debris that had been smashed as the house hit the bridge.  It was an awesome sight and I will never forget it.  Also we saw Paul (Baldy) Bowling swim out into the river and pull a hog  back to the banks.  What a swimmer!!!  There was all kinds of debris going down the center of the river and Baldy did it.  Baldy had the hog by the ears and the hog was squilling.  Then all the cleanup.  Mud everywhere in the house.  I'll always remember the '57 flood." George H. Oliver,  Benicia, Ca. (Bay Area)

"I was 7 at the time of the '57 flood.  We lived on the river in Woodland Park and had dog lots all over the river bank.  We ended up with all of the beagles and a boxer in our upstairs bathroom, where one gave birth in our bathtub with my mother's help.  I stepped off the roof and into a boat and went to Lewis, Elizo and Vera Faye Hopper's house on the hill.  There were many others there with us, at least the children...Boggs, Crafts, Williams.....We cooked on the fire place and watched the power plant blow up.  The little ones (us) thought it was exciting and the teenagers thought it was the end of the world, literally.  Of course, it all ended and we all recovered, as we strong Kentucky people do, but I can still remember the smell of that flood-mud.  My mother, Nola Begley, is still there and keeps me abreast of everything as it happens.  I have also looked forward to getting my copy of the Hazard Herald every week for many many years.  Visit home every few months if I can and love it." Laura Begley Thompson, Westerville, Ohio

"I was 11 years old I lived at Hell For Certain Creek in Leslie County.  My brother, drowned in the flood.  He had a car accident and ran off the road coming home from Hazard.  It took a week before we could get him to the cemetery to bury him because the water was everywhere.  All roads down at Dry Hill were covered.  We were lucky we lived in a hollow where we only had a creek to deal with.  Most of the homes around Dry Hill and Confluence were washed away.  Our grandparents home was washed off its foundation.  It was moved to higher ground after the flood.  My parents, Oscar and June Begley, said we were lucky we lived so far up the hollow.  So many families lost everything  so we should count our blessings."  Vivian Fields, Mt. Olive, NC

"I wasn't in the '57 flood, but my grandparents, Elmer and Theonia Stanfill were. They lived at the mouth of Darfork Holler.  The water was so high in their house that the freezer floated around in the kitchen and cracked the upper corner of one of the windows.  Gramma and Granpa had a warm house up in their garden, this is where they kept the food Gramma canned.  It was built into the side of the hill, and that is where they had to take shelter, just the two of them.  Thanks be to God they had someplace to retreat to, and that someplace was well stocked.  They had a spring up the hill above the garden which supplied them with water. After the flood receded, the task of cleaning up began.  They eventually got things back to normal, and as long as I could remember, I would look at that crack in the window and marvel at the fact the freezer (which continued to work for decades after) could float, and I ponder what it must have been like for my grandparents as they waited out the flood together.  I had a taste of what it was like during the flood of 1963. I was 11 years old then, and was there for that one." Frances Maxwell, Glendora, CA

"I was11 years old when the '57 flood came. We lived in the Leatherwood mining camp at the time of the flood.  I remember my dad and mom, Bige and Lena Williams, talking about the water was up to so many floors of the funeral home.  I'm thinking the third floor." Jeanette Williams Taulbee, Cookeville TN

"Although I didn't experience the '57 flood, I have heard many stories.  My mother was born at Our Lady of the Way in Martin on January 26, 1957.  At 3 days old, she was taken from the hospital in a boat.  My grandfather, Denver Baldridge, used to tell stories of delivering groceries, etc. to stranded people via boat.  He said that he would climb out of the attic window in order to get to the boat.  He recalled reaching up and touching the red lights as he traveled through town.  The stories he told were truly amazing." Mamie Robinson, Flatwoods, KY

"I lived in the Frog Town section of Glomawr in 1957 Married with three children and three guest from Indiana visiting at the time.  I can say it was a very scary time mostly because the water was under my house and almost to the county road.  I hope no one has to go through this again.  Hello to everyone in Glomawr, Lonnie Collins, Larry Crutcher and Vernon Stacy." Charles Cornett, Livingston, Texas

"I remember the '57 flood.  We lived on Combs Road.  The water got so high we had to go on Crawford Mountain.  There was a song about the flood.  It was called the '57 Flood.'  Sure wish I could find a tape of it.  I was 19 years old.  I saw a tavern go past our house.  It washed out from Lotts Creek, between two other buildings.  It was awful."  Jane Baker, Grayslake, IL

"I was 5 years old when the flood hit. My parents, Odell and Clara Smith and I lived at leatherwood #1 camp. My little brother, Gary Lynden Smith, was born Jan. 24th, 1957 at the 'new' Miners Memorial hospital in Hazard, and he and my mother were still in the hospital when the flood struck.  My father could not get to Hazard, and I remember the great concern in my family. My mother said she saw houses floating down the street past the hospital, and there was no power for lights or heat.  They put the babies with the mothers, and the National Guard brought food and blankets. My father, mother and little brother are all deceased now, but this memory is strong.  It is a pleasure to read the memories of others about this trying time." Lane Smith, Knoxville TN

"I lived up on the hill with my Mom and Dad, Ira and Una Cornett in Glomawr and we watched John Will Combs, Homer Hatfield's, and Turk Morgan's homes and stores go under from the water.  I remember helping the Red Cross give out clothes and food to several families.  I remember seeing the water halfway up the windows of Neal Mercer's home.  After it was all over I remember Eunice Richie gave a candy party for the kids that helped during the flood.  She is the mother of Frankie and Johnny Sizemore.  It was a terrible time for everyone affected." Janis (Cornett) Williams, Fruitland Park, FL

"I remember the flood very well.  We lived in Pike County on Beefhide Creek.  Although I was only 10 years old, I still remember the impact it had on our family.  I hope never to be that close to something so terrible again." Richard Caudill, Elkin, NC

"My mom, Besty Byrge, was 8 years old at the time.  She only spoke of the flood that year a few times, that is was the worst they had ever seen.  I know she still feels the pain of that time because the only details she ever gave us was the memory of her standing in tears watching them burn her dolls for fear of typhoid.  A horrible thing for an 8 year old little girl, and a tough memory." Melissa Enfusse, Hazard, KY

"I lived at Busy, KY when the '57 flood came."  Edith Colwell, Oakman, Alabama

"I was born January 10, 1957.  On January 29, 1957 - my Mom and Dad lived on Liberty Street in Hazard.  My parents are Elva Miles Brown and Raymond Ellis Brown of Whitesburg, KY, near Mayking Mall.  I now live in  Lexington, married and have 2 sons (Jason Myles Brown 20 of Cumberland, KY and Terrance Kolby Brown 16 of Lexington, KY.)  I visit the Hazard and Whitesburg area as often as I can.  I love the mountains and the people of Eastern Kentucky.  God Bless each and everyone there." Ted Brown, Lexington, KY

"I wasn't even born around this time, but I am sure my nanny and pappy remember it.  I survived the flood in 2002; it nearly washed us away, and I saw my neighbors being taken out in boats with nothing but what they were wearing.  That was very hard for a nineteen year old to see.  It makes no matter what year a flood hits, it's always hard to watch everything you've worked so hard for float away." Kaila Ann, Hindman, KY

"I was 13 years old when we had the '57 flood.  My parents are Estill and Hattie Huff.  My brothers name was Bobby.  We lived in the backwoods section in Hazard.  Mom and dad worked at the Mount Mary Hospital in the x-ray and the emergency room.  I remember the power plant lighting up the sky.  Like every one else, I thought the end of time was here.  We felt so sorry for those that lost so much." Pat Huff, Jackson, KY

 "My dad, Miller Cornett, was an engineer on the L & N Railroad.  He had a heart attack while out on the train, and they could not get back to Hazard until the next day.  When they did finally get back, the hospital had no heat or electricity.  He stayed at home for several days until utilities were restored.  I am happy to say that he recovered and lived until the flood of 1963 when the same thing happened.  He made it back to the hospital that time but died a few days later." John Cornett, Georgetown, KY

"I was married and living at Harveyton. First Creek is so high that it doesn't flood. I had been in town the day before and looking at the river remarked that if we had any more rain we would have a flood. Only a few times in my life have I heard rain like we had that night, and it reminded me of the '27 flood. The next morning, the only way we could get information was from WSAZ in Huntington. Frank took the truck and went to town and came back saying it was just awful. He had checked on my parents who lived on Baker Hill, but they were OK. They had been through these things before and  had the coal-oil lamps bought in '27. I still have one. I went to town the next day and when I came over Crawford Hill and saw the river valley, my thought was 'This is the land that God forgot.' EVERYTHING was covered with mud, the bridge to the airport was down, the power poles were bending or broken, the wires were just hanging. My Mother cooked breakfast every day at the Christian Church and I was over there some. The gas pressure was so low that cooking was very difficult, and it was a problem to find something to cook. One of the men drove down Troublesome and collected home-canned food for us. We kept power and water on First Creek, so my major contribution was to do the washing for friends--including diapers in those pre-Pampers days. On Friday there was a misty rain and I was really depressed driving back to First Creek, but when I crossed the Lotts Creek bridge, there were trucks as far as I could see, and they were all coming to help! Every imaginable kind of truck! It brought tears to my eyes. Does anyone want to reminisce about 1927?"  Ann Medaris, Hazard, KY

"I was 34 years old when the big flood of 1957 hit. The preacher had told us the Sunday before that the end of the world was coming soon, but I didn't pay no mind to that cause he said that every Sunday. But, when the water started to rise and the rain didn't let up, I began to think he might be right this time. The first sign that told me we were in big trouble was when the chicken coop washed away and all the chickens that were trapped inside drowned, which is a bad way to die, even for a chicken. I thought about building a raft and floating down the creek to Hyden to find help, but when I saw Mack Turner float by on a raft bouncing off rocks and trees out of control I decided not to do it cause I can't swim. I lived on Greasy Creek near Chappell, and while the water was rising my family and I sat on my porch watching trees and buildings float by. We were having a pretty good time trying to guess whose outhouse was floating by, cause there was a bunch of them in the water and I had been inside most of them. But pretty soon the water got up to the house so I took my wife and seven youngins up the hill to our little coal mine where we dug out our fuel for heat. The entrance to the mine was just like a waterfall door from the rain pouring off the side of the mountain, but when we got past that it was dry inside and we built a little fire for light and heat. I still wasn't convinced the end of the world was coming, but my wife at the time said she knew it was the end of time and she Baptized all the youngins kicking and screaming in our waterfall door, even though they were baptized when they were born. She said they were so mean she wanted to make sure they were saved. They were pretty mean, she was right about that. She tried to do me that way too, but I told her if God didn't want me the way I was, a little water wouldn't fix nothing. When the rain let up I went back down to the house and found that another house had washed up and lodged right beside my house. The new house belonged to Elmer Coots but when he saw it a couple days later he said I could keep it cause he couldn't figure out how to get it back up the creek to his property. He did take the stove and bed out of the house, though. So, I cut a door in both houses and built a little room connecting both houses, and when we got everything cleaned up it was actually a blessing in disguise cause we doubled the size of our house. We decided to have a few more youngins after that cause we had more space for them. But, I regret that my favorite dog Isabell washed away. She was the best friend I ever had. I hope she made it to high ground and some kind person took her in." Johnny Joe Johnson, Greasy Creek, Ky.

"I attended High School at M.C. Napier and worked part time in the meat department at the A&P in Hazard. I remember the flood very well, and the mess that was left afterward. Water got over the top of the shelves in the store, and everything had to be torn down and removed. I remember working a lot of hours cleaning up after the '57 flood. I was assisted by John Fitzpatrick, Eldridge Fugate and Stewart Whittaker." Bob Combs, London, KY

"I have just saw the pic of the flood of '57 and I think that is sad that many people lost their homes in the flood. My parents have told me about what had happened that day." Morris Burke, Wheelwright Ky

"In January 1957 I was 8 years old in Mrs. Euwing’s third grade class at Lothair Elem. School.   I had seen the river 'get up' before; at those times my family would go to the Dipsey Doodle Curve and see just how high the water was.  One time I remember walking with my aunt from a movie at the Virginia Theater to Maple St. It was necessary to go the long way down East Main St. because Brewer’s Hole was filled with water blocking Maple St.  So when there was talk of flooding in Jan. 1957 no one really believed how bad it would be.  My parents (Geno & Jean Bianchi) had enough intelligence to start moving our furniture to the upstairs part of our house early that morning, even though many of our neighbors thought they were crazy.  My dad took the motor out of the furnace just in case the water got in the basement.  He also stuffed feed sacks into the floor drain and covered that with a large stone so that the water would not back up through that drain into the basement.. This action he later regretted very much because he had to go into a basement full of cold January flood water to remove the rock and stuffing when the waters receded.  My family was lucky that we had room upstairs to move to. We offered our neighbors room also, but none took us up to move their belongings, but did help us move.  I remember my mom asking different people how high the water would have to get before the house would float off; the answer being, 'Your house has a chimney so it probably will be safe .'  Since we lived right next to the river and  thought that was the low point of the river bank, we had no idea there was a phenomenon such as “back water”.  That is we could see that the river was not over the banks at our house, but did not know that the water was surrounding us and cutting us off from higher ground.  Someone must have warned us about this, so we got in the car and left just in time. The water almost came into the car as we drove out. We had  relatives in Hazard, but not in Lothair at that time. However our neighbors were like family and were very kind to let us stay with them on “the hill”. We stayed with our next door neighbors son Lowell Speck Cornett.  This was a real treat for me to get to stay overnight (it became days) with Mikie & Speckie Cornett.  I think that there were probably 12 to 13 people that stayed with them during the flood. As the day of the flood went on and the water rose, there was much concern for the safety  of our relatives who lived in Hazard.  With no phone service, no water, (I do not know if there was electricity at that time), and no way to get out of Lothair, we were  isolated from the world.  The next day someone came to the house and said that Mine Service Co. was on fire and that it being next to the Standard Oil Bulk plant that all of Lothair would probably explode and burn.  Plans were made to get away from the fire and go higher  back into the hills, but I do remember walking out to the other end of the street in order to view the fire and see how bad it was. Later that night everyone was sitting around the fireplace after eating a meal cooked on the open fire in the living room.  The conversation was very interesting as everyone was reliving the days events and comparing what was happening to 1937 flood twenty years earlier, (I could not believe they could still remember that long ago, amazing).  That’s when all HELL broke loose on us or so we thought.  Some floating flood debris shorted out the transformers at the power plant, which was very close to the house and this terrible noise started. The night became day for what seem then as forever, everyone fell to their knees and started praying or hiding and yelling, having no earthly idea what was happening.  This moment will be forever burned into my mind. After that, I know we no longer had electricity any place in Perry County. That night was very upsetting to me and I remember that I slept with my Dad and Mom, all three of us in a Easy-Boy recliner, very close. The nest day the water starting receding and there was MUD everywhere.  Later that week my family moved in with my aunt Ernestine Perry at Foreseam, who lived right on the creek bank but her house suffered no water damage.  I remember all the trash in the trees and the damage to our home.  Even though our most  furniture was not affected, half our back yard and garage was washed away forever changing the river bank.  For  weeks we lived at Fourseam before we could move back home. My mom & aunt worked all day cleaning  and then washed late into the night in order to clean flood mud from clothes of other family members. The fear of this happening again, the pain of the typhoid vaccination I received, and the devastation that occurred to my community, and how everyone helped one another are my most important memories of the 57 flood. In 1963, the flood came again and this time my father was out of town and could not return.  My mother and I moved most of our furniture back up the stairs. Learning from our past flood experience we did not close off the basement drain this time, which was good because the water only came into our basement going no further." Chuck Bianchi

"I was 10 years old when the 1957 flood came.  I lived on the bottom street in Airport Gardens, called Gum St. I remember trying to help neighbors salvage what they could, but the waters came so fast that very little was saved. We took refuge in a little church upon the hill near the cemetery.  We laid bedding on the altar and this is where we slept for the next 5-6 days.  Our food came from cans, and the cooking was done on an old 'pot belly' stove. There was no electricity, and we used grease poured into bottles with rag wicks for light.  I vividly remember cleaning the mud from our homes.  We built fires in the old coal stoves to help dry them out. Our family was poor.  My dad was a coal miner that eked out a meager living for his family of 8.  I also recall the 1962 flood. It was like history being repeated.  We knew we had survived one flood, and by the help of God we could survive another." Johnny Lawson, Seymour, IN

"Oh yes I remember the 57 flood like it was yesterday, I was 5 at the time and lived at Indian Head just below Ajax & Bulan, my mom was in labor and couldn't get to the hospital and high water was every where, I remember hearing my dad and some more men talking about how they would have to carry her on a mattress through  the coal tipple that was near our house to escape the water's, It makes me shiver every time I think about that flood because I guess where my mom was in labor and everybody was trying to decide what to do, sneaked outside, anyway I did get close to that awful muddy water and seen a little red ball floating around in it, I remember I wanted that little ball so bad I was going to try and get it , but then I guess someone found me, God was watching over me I know. Anyway the water didn't make it all the way in the house, and my baby sister was born that night of the 57 flood, and everyone was ok. I will never forget that flood." Janice Neace Campbell  Indianapolis, IN

"I remember the flood of '57 as if it were yesterday. Evelyn, Edith,Campbell and  sisters plus others in our neighborhood from Bonnyman and Crawford climbed to the top of the hill above Combs road so we could get a better view of the houses and all the debree floating down the river. What a really fearful moment when you suddenly realize the power of a flood. We of course were not directly hit by the water because of our location, but I must say the fear is still inside my mind to this day. I was 19 at that time and the others were a year or two younger. I will become 65 on May 30. Every body stay safe and I miss those mountains every day." Betty Davidson Hewitt, Gainesville, FL

"I was only 10 at the time of the '57 flood. I lived with my parents in a little hollow called Big Branch near Viper and Vicco, KY. My parents were Edd and Hettie Deaton. They have both passed away but I remember the stories they used to tell me and how it was back then. Lots of them were amazing. There was so much they had to talk about and remember." Emma Lou Deaton (Congleton), Middletown, Ohio

"I, too, remember the 1957 flood. I lived on the end of Combs Street here in Hazard, on the hill above Bob Hayes garage. We sat on our front porch and watched as all the little houses along North Main Street washed away. We saw houses, out houses, cows, pigs, and even a horse go down the river. We had a new baby at our house and had no milk for her. My boyfriend (now my husband) went thru the mountain and found a small store open that had Carnation cream we could use for bottles for the baby. I worked at Scotts 10 cent store then and we had the job of cleaning up and trying to salvage what we could. Everyone had to take a typhoid shot if we worked in the mud. My heart still aches for all the people who had their homes in this mess. Thank God we haven't had another as bad." Beatrice Hall Miniard, Hazard, KY

"I was five years old in Jan, 1957, I lived at Chavies, Ky. I remember walking with my dad to the old Chavies grade school located on top of the hill at Chavies, I remember looking at all the water and boats, which were running over top of the stores, which were located in Chavies. I didn't know what to think. I was awed by all the water." Mary Engle, Hazard, KY

"We live on KY 28 in a corner of Breathitt County between Owsley and Perry. As we drove down the Ky 315 to watch them take Gertie Turner out of her hollow by boat, we noticed the water was rising fast--it was the backwater from the Middle Fork of the Ky River backing up Longs Creek. Before we could turn around, the water covered the highway. A man in hip boots waded through the water guiding our car back to where we could see the road.  Our baby, Steve, was just six weeks old and we had ordered extra cases of Carnation milk for our country grocery, Stamper's Grocery. We were then cut off from Jackson, Booneville, and Buckhorn by high waters for several days--without electricity. We were glad to share the baby's milk with babies of construction workers who had pulled their trailers up the Buckhorn hill. They had just begun work on the flood-control dam at Buckhorn. And Grandpa Ed Amis's house was one of those that washed away during the flood--they lived on the Middle Fork on the other side of Buckhorn. It was a wild time to say the least." Mary Stamper Morris Fork, KY

"I was about 10 weeks old, when the 57 flood hit. My Dad and Mom, lost almost everything they had. Dad and Mom, had just recently bought the house on the point, as you start up Turner Avenue, that's the first house of the left. The trailer, that we had lived in and that still contained most everything we had, washed away. Lost were Mom's silverware and my baby pictures and everything else. The 57 flood, I know only from the memories of my Dad and Mom and they are none pleasant. People looting and the city of Hazard, trying to stop my father, from going back into business. All the help, we got in the 57 flood, was one used flash light from the Red Cross. A friend of my father's told dad, he said, 'Earl, don't go up there, they will only embarace you and they are not going to help you'. Because my family was in the whiskey business and my father was from Breathitt Co., he recieved this treatment, so I have been told by many. Our family endured the flood. Dad got an SBA loan and my sister and I went on to graduate from HCC and both of us worked in Hazard. I hate all floods and disaster's and instead of being bitter, at how my Dad and Mom were treated, I instead feel compassion for those who have to go thru such things. In the 1984 and 89, I was able to help people in Letcher and Pike Counties, recover from the flood. I have no good memories from floods, other than the nice folks who helped us, in 63, 67, 74, 77. 84 and 89. We shall be eternally grateful for your help!"  John Earl Goff, Jr., Hazard, KY

"I remember the flood as if it were yesterday. My family lived in Hilton Mining Camp in Darfork, Ky. The water got up to our top step and we were very frightened. Our house was in the first row. My name was Dana Smith. I remember that mom killed a chicken and made chicken and dumplings. We all sat on the front porch and prayed that the water would go down. Our family was in no great danger, we could just go out back and go higher up the hill to a neighbors' house. We were sitting there and suddenly we heard this loud boom!!! and the water down and across from our house looked like a ball of fire. We could hear people screaming and yelling , but had no way of finding out what was happening.  We later learned that two elderly people had lost their lives that night in a house fire. It happened next door to the Presbyterian Church and M. C. Napier High School in Darfork. It was a longtime before things got back to normal around Hazard. I was 11 years old at the time." Dana Vaughn, Oxford, OH

"My family and I was living in Letcher County at that time. I was seven years old. I remember the flood very well. The roads were washed away. The only way you could get out of the hollow was to go up on mountain side and walk out." Terry  Caudill,  Viper, KY

"I was five years old and living in Allen when the 1957 flood occurred.  I had a newborn sister who was send home from Martin's Our Lady of the Way Hospital with my mother early due to the flood.  We stayed until the very last as the waters came up.  We went into the attic of my grandparents, Luther and Mamie Baldridge, hoping the waters would surely recede. When the water had reached with two steps of the attic, my father climbed onto the roof of the porch and caught the attention of people in boats searching for survivors. We left out of the attic window in a small boat.  While leaving, we temporarily got caught on the clothesline at Mama's. When we went through town, my father could reach up and touch the traffic light.  Thanks to some neighbors, the Lafferty's, who took us in for the week, we made it through the flood warm and safe. I lost all of my toys except for a little red rubber fire truck." Margarette Baldridge Mills, Ashland, KY

"I lived at Boonesborough, KY., on the Kentucky River near Winchester, KY." Alvin Manuel, Hodgenville, KY

"My memories of the 1957 flood are sketchy because I was so young at the time.  However, there are several things that really stand out in my mind.  We lived in an apartment overtop of what later became Taulbee's Music Store. This is located on High Street, across from the state office building, known as the 'food stamp' office.  I remember seeing houses float down the river, whole houses, not bit and pieces. The jail was located behind what is now the Community Trust Bank on Main Street, and I remember watching prisoner's come out onto the rooftop in what was later reported as attempted escape.  A police officer came out and herded the prisoners back inside. I also remember that my uncle, who was a teenager at the time, was scavenging the edges of the water and picking up items he found of interest.  He had a large cardboard box half full of things he had found and he told me I could pick out an item to keep. My mom had bought a new Singer sewing machine, and I found a green plastic storage box for Singer to keep attachments in. I wasn't old enough to read, but I recognized the word because it was on my mom's machine so I chose it and gave it to her.  She still has this box.  The other thing I remember is that, by whatever miracle, our house was the only one in the neighborhood with electricity.  My mom fixed breakfast, coffee, etc. and nobody else in the whole area had electricity.  As she flipped over the last egg and breakfast was complete, our power finally went off but, to this day, nobody can explain why we had power when nobody else did. After the flood, the government sent in several big, black helicopters which were landing and taking off from the parking lot across from the Perry County Health Department.  They brought in supplies so that everyone could be inoculated against typhoid fever." Sharon Thornsberry, Hazard, KY

"I was eight years old then and I don't remember much about it. I know we lost my brother and we found him on the bridge before it got high at Wolf Creek in Leslie County." Myrtle Stidham Wilson, Fairborn Ohio

"I was 7 when the flood of 1957 came and I lived on Mill Branch.  I remember standing on the swinging bridge watching all of the debris come down river.  There were lots of balls - basketball and other types of balls.  It was quite a sensation to watch the flood waters rush by."  Jo Stacy (Kurtz), Mocksville, NC

 "I was 8 years old at the time and I remember the '57 flood very well. My dads name is Charles Day Jr. Everybody in Hazard called him Jr. Day. His dad's name was Charlie Day. My mom's maiden name was Walker. We lived a long ways from the water. My dad took us to the train bridge. I remember being very close and seeing houses hit the bridge and the sky lighting up when the power lines blew up. We moved to Texas in 1963. The only time I went back was in 1972 when my grandma Day died. I have lots of ken folks with last names Walker and Day. The web site is www.thedayfam@.com. Look it up sometime. Have a blessed day." Donnie Day, Burleson, Texas

 "I was a teenager when the flood came. The water was up half way to the windows in our house. It destroyed everything we owned. I remember standing in front of Homer Hatfield's store in Glomawr when his store washed down the river. Turk Morgan's small store also washed away. Those were some rough days after the flood." Neal Mercer, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

 "I was 11 years old and I watched my grandparents home go down the river. We lived in Lothair on what used to be Black Gold Hill. I remember walking across the rail road bridge after the flood to go down the hill to get food. My grandparents home was washed away. They were Wes and Virgie Sparkman. My parents were Eugene and Edith Lewis. My mother passed away in 1997. We sure had real rough times back then. I am doing genealogy on my dads side of the family. I am the oldest of 8 kids. My brother Red is next. His name is really Herbert Charles Lewis but we all call him Red. Probably some one in Lothair remembers us. Email me." Wilma Lewis Jodrey, Hanover, Indiana

"I was in the first grade at lower Broadway in Hazard. Jimmy Maggard's father came and got us in his Pontiac to take us home. I lived across from Faulkner's Garage and we lived above our tire business. I remember it being dark and we cooked our food in the grate in my bedroom We cleaned our tubs and filled them with water. We all slept in my room. I enjoyed sleeping on the floor." Carol Collette Rutter, Cleveland, TN

"On January 29, 1957, the day of the flood, I turned 5 years old.  My mom had given birth to my brother on January 22 and we were staying at Big Laurel with my grandparents, Denver and Ella Jane Turner. I remember January 29, 1957 like it was yesterday. I lay in my grannie's big feather bed with my mom and newborn brother.  The rain pounded the tin roof so hard it sounded like the roof would come off.  We lay in the bed and listened.  My grandpa was out on the porch watching the water come up to the house.  He told us we would have to leave for higher ground so we got ready to leave.  He kept watching and the water reached the top step to the porch.  Before the water started to go over the porch and into the house, the water started to go down a little.  He decided we did not have to leave the house and watched the water gradually recede.  The next day, I sat on the porch and watched the tide go down.  For a little 5 year old girl, it was very exciting.  I saw many things wash by.  Finally, the water went down enough that my dad could come get us and take us home to Napier where we lived. Our swinging bridge was washed away; a tree had washed down the creek and taken the bridge out.  Without the bridge, we had no way to cross the creek to get to our house.  We went to the creek bank and I sat down on the ground and dad placed my baby brother in my arms.  He carried my mom across to the other side of the creek then he came back and got the baby.  After carrying the baby over to my mom, he came back and got me.  We walked to our house and saw the destruction for the first time.  It was heatbreaking to see all the outbuildings had washed away and there were large gaps where our cement steps had been. The front porch was covered in mud and it had to be scraped off so we could  get into the house. The worst was what we saw when we got inside the house.  Mud covered the floor, the sheet rock had fallen and the furniture was wet and covered with the sheet rock.  My mom put me up on the middle of the bed and placed my baby brother in my arms.  They got busy and cleaned up the mess.  My mom had just given birth but she worked like a man to get things back to normal.  Our well had washed away but there was a natural spring up on the mountain behind our house.  Mom and I climbed the mountain and she found the spring. I remember that she took a hoe and cleaned out the spring as it was full of leaves.  I watched cold, clear, mountain spring water appear as if by magic.  We carried bucket after bucket of water down the mountain. Dad had to rebuild the swinging bridge and until the bridge was built, he drove his truck through the creek.He cleaned out the well and he installed a water pump. I loved to pump water for mom when she washed clothes. Mom and Dad finally rebuilt everything and we got back to normal.  I remember that time as the happiest time of my childhood. I learned to work hard and that it took everyone working together to get things accomplished.  People came together and helped each other.  It was a good lesson for a 5 year old girl.  I had a lot of fun for a long time after the flood. The flood left a wonderful sandbar for me to play in and I also walked the creek bank and found lots of treasures that had washed down the creek and lodged in the sand.  I stored my treasures in my playhouse where I made mud pies and served them in broken dishes that I found in the sand. January 29, 1952 was my 5th birthday and the most memorable day of my life.  I have told many people my story over the years, but unless you experience a flood, you do not know what it is like.  It is a time of loss and heartbreak but it also brings people together." Shirley Miniard Bobo, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois

"I was born January 4th. 1957 in Sumter South Carolina. My parents were from Hazard and we moved back when I was only 13 months old. My grandparents an aunts an uncles still lived there so I grew up hearing about the flood." Jeannie (Couch) Sampson, Brookville, Ohio

"I was nine years old at the time of the '57 flood. My family lived near Wooton (or Lower Wooton as my Dad, Earl Wooton, called it). We lived on a house on a hill where the creek curved around so that we had a view from two sides of our house. To reach our home, one had to ford the creek, and one night after work (he worked at Bill Melton's service station at the time), Daddy couldn't cross the creek, but walked home leaving our car on the other side of the creek, actually quite a way from our house, but we could see the car. He walked over the swinging bridge and came home where we were stranded for the next month or so. A missionary family, the Bob Murr family, walked up the back of our hill in the middle of the night. They had waded nearly waist high through their house with their two small boys, Mark and Timmy, and were to be our house guests for the next month. The women were creative in meal planning and in keeping us children entertained. We somehow burned rags in pie pans of oil for light, plus the house had two fireplaces. One night, the two men, my Dad and Bob, decided we needed more supplies and so they treked over the mountain behind our house all the way to Hyden in the rain. It was hours and very late before they returned. I will never forget my Mom and Lillian's fears and prayers for their husbands that night. It was rainy, stormy, and they only had one flashlight with no extra batteries. Somehow, they slipped on the pathway of the mountain, got lost, lost their flashlight, but found their way home with supplies in the dark.We were never so happy to see them!  I also remember standing on the porch watching houses float down the river. When it was over, our little one-room schoolhouse was completely washed away, the Murr house was devastated. A telephone pole had gone in one side of it and exited the other. This was a time in my life that I will never forget, and when one tries to explain it to someone who has never seen a devastating flood, you realize that they can't possibly understand." Louise Wooton McKim, Kenova, West Virginia

"I was 6 years old when the flood came. We lived in Clay County - Bullskin, Ky. Our house washed away."  Ivalene

"I was 13 yrs old and was living with my parents, Benton and Lucy Mann at Lunah, Ky at the time. That is close to Guage and Springfork Ky. We lived on a 350 acre farm and when this flood came, we just had to sit and wait it out. The roads were washed out from our place in certain places all the way into Jackson. There was no school for quite a while. I remember seeing the creek rising and how exciting it looked to me, but I'm sure was frightening to my parents. We lived quite a ways from the creek, but this time it came almost to the house. I remember seeing it all over the field in the back of our house and how strange that seemed. My Dad would stand and watch out the back window at it just about all day. He kept an eye on it in case it started to come to close to the house. We would sit around the fire place and listen to the news on the radio give reports about the flood. I also remember the Jackson Times came and there were pictures in it of a bunch of children that had gotten drowned when a school bus had overturned in the waters. I don't remember where the accident happened, but it was a sad time for all in that area of the country." Ruth Mann Napier, Walled Lake, Michigan

"I was two years old and not worried but my dads store washed down the road. I turned 2 , two days after the flood. Dad always said it was a bad one!" Mary Belle Goff Westerfield, Walkertown, KY

"Larry Arrowood shares his memories of the '57 flood from Breathitt County. His comments are part of a book he's currently writing. Click here for the story

"Being from Chavies, Ky; some of my best memories are of the North Fork of the Ky river. This is where I learned to swim and to dive! Yes, dive. There were no diving boards only large boulders hanging out over the river. These large rocks worked just fine for diving. I remember the peace of sitting on a sandbar learning to load a fish hook with my teacher Dahlia Crawford. I remember having the fun of floating down river in a wooden boat with my brother Mark and the desperation of trying to get the thing 'back up' the river. I learned a lot of good lessons from that old river. I was seven years old when the 1957 flood came. I stood at the edge of the crest and looked out at my neighbors houses half covered with muddy water. I saw some people shooting their guns at the cans as they floated along, some were in boats. My mother hung flashlights from the ceiling and made beds and food for all who came. My stepfather was a coal miner and we had his mining lights that used carbide for fuel. I can still almost smell the stuff now. We were blessed to live at the top of what is today called Deaton Loop and the water didn't reach us. To a seven year old child this was the ultimate in disaster. The clean up brought a lot of people together. Everyone helped out." Linda Bailey Dunn 

"I was in 6th grade at Combs Grade School and I remember well the flood of 1957.  My Mom was cooking supper and we kept watching out the back door as the waters were coming closer and closer.  My Dad got in from work and tried to talk my Mom into leaving the house.  She kept telling him that the waters wouldn't get into the house. But shortly thereafter, the water was up the steps on the back and started to roll into the kitchen door. By the time my Dad convinced my Mom to leave the house, they had to wade in water up to their waist to escape. We were fortunate that we had family on the upper street who took us in, fed us and supported us in every way they could.  J. L. and Bessie had taken us in before in the flood of 1951 in Wooten.  They seemed to always be there when we needed them. When the waters subsided the next day, the reality finally hit us. Everything was ruined and the mud for very deep.  The platter of fried bologna my Mom had cooked for supper was on top of the refrigerator, and there was the print of an open Bible on the ceiling. The Red Cross replaced what furniture we needed to replace and they gave my Mom a used sewing machine, since she sewed for a lot of people to help feed our family. A nice family from Michigan came to see us after hearing about the devastation.  I think they gave my family some money.  Sure wish I knew who they were. I am sure we had their names then, but like the flood waters, the memories have also subsided. Thanks to whomever started this discussion.  It has been very interesting to hear of others' experiences." Rosalita Wilcox Wright Ringgold, GA

"I was only 10 at the time of the '57 flood.  I lived with my parents in a little hollow called Big Branch near Viper and Vicco, KY.  My parents were Edd and Hettie Deaton.  They have both passed away but I remember the stories they used to tell me and how it was back then.  Lots of them were amazing.  There was so much they had to talk about and remember." Lou Deaton (Congleton), Middletown, Ohio

"I was ten and I can remember a little about the flood. I think the Big Sandy got a lot higher at this time." Roger Osborne, Price and Wheelwright, KY

"I remember the '57 flood very well.  I was 18 at the time and attended Dilce Combs Memorial.  I lived at Happy and Carrs Fork was higher than I had ever seen.  The river had it backed up all the way to Acup.  Some friends and I walked the mountains all the way to Jeff to see what was happening.  It was something to behold.  There was nothing but water.  You could see the out cropping of the bridge that was Kentucky 15 and the tops of all the buildings.  It had rained all night, but I did not think that there would be that much water.  We also experienced a flood here in Scottsburg in the '90s.  It reminded me of 1957."  Carl Gene Lawson Jr. Scottsburg, IN 

"My Grandmother lived in Hazard.  I was 14 at that time.  I remember my mother helping people trying to save things and doing people's laundry. My nephew was born on the 26th at Airport Gardens hospital.  It was a sad time - so many lost evrything they had."  Mollie ( Stidham) Henry, Blue Diamond

"I was 15 at the time of the '57 flood.  We were living in Smith Coal Camp near Wooton, Ky.  I recall that at 10 minutes to 6 in the morning, on the 29th of January 1957, my dad, Bulan, my mom, Lecy, my 3 brothers, Bill Paul, Charles, Wayne and myself were standing on our front porch of our house watching three houses floating down the Cutchin Creek which was about 30 feet above flood levels.  I recall my mom saying that she thought she saw someone standing on the back porch of one of the houses floating by.  I can still vividly remember the pieces of wood flying high into the air when the first of the 3 houses hit the bridge that was located near Clyde Franks house.  Initially, there was no sound other than the roaring of the water, but a few seconds later came the cracking sound of the wood breaking up against the concrete bridge.  Later, we found out that Mr. Parks and his son had gone back into their house just as it was swept off it's foundation.  Mr. Parks was found about an hour later, clinging to a tree, and was rescued.  His son was found the next day down stream near Wooton and unfortunately did not survive.  It is one of those mornings that will remain with me the rest of my life."  Bulan Marion Davis Gainesville, VA

"At the time of the 1957 flood, I was Secretary to A. R. Barber, Sr., District Manager of Kentucky Power Company.  As the North Fork of the Kentucky River was raising, we were at work.  When we realized a disaster was in the making, the employees disbursed to check on homes and families.  I was living with my parents on North Main Street, and our house was flooded.  Four of the girls I worked with went home with our co-worker, Eunice Dixon who lived on Highland Avenue.  We would walk to the end of Eversole Street to look over the raising water.  The flood sounds were eerie; and the water didn't crest until after dark.  As we were standing in the Dixon yard, the sky lit up causing us to become terrified.  It was an unimaginable sight.  Later we learned that two oil circuit breakers, (massive devices used to generate electricity) at the Lothair Power Plant had been hit by floating logs; and all heck broke loose causing extensive damage.  Power poles throughout the area were knocked down by floating debris, substations were flooded, and the cumulative damage to electric service was massive.  At this time, few people had electric heat; but electricity is essential to run everything else.  Even if someone had their own water supply, they needed electricity to run the pump.  Electricity ran blowers on coal and gas furnaces, refrigerators, stoves, lights, etc.  During the first few days, our conditions were quite primitive without electricity.   My co-workers at Kentucky Power were wonderful people.  On January 30th, most everyone returned to work despite having personal flood damage.  The need to get electric service restored was urgent, and people were dedicated to their jobs.  It was January, and was cold.  Despite his home having flood water on the second floor, Mr. Barber coordinated activities to get the electric service restored.  Line crews from AEP companies in other states arrived to help.  There was no place for them to stay, and nowhere to eat.    It took a while to get minimal electric service restored.  The water plant was flooded; and because a new water plant was under construction, service was restored.  Grocery stores were flooded, so food was limited.  Since the Lothair Plant was flooded, we used the Power Company Office on High Street to feed line crews, National Guard, Red Cross workers, and anyone else.  All these people had to be taken care of, and everybody pitched in to help--from mopping floors and washing dishes to cleaning bathrooms.  At first we fixed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whatever we could get our hands on.  We gradually improved the menu as groceries became available.    Mr. Barber was  chairman of the local chapter of the Red Cross and sent me to work for the National Chairman of the American Red Cross who had set up at the Perry County Court House.  Retired U.S. Army General Jess S. Lindsay, as Kentucky Adjutant General, directed National Guard activities.  TV news was in the early stages; but national print media, such as Look and Life magazines, had reporters covering the story.    It was a time when people helped each other, shared what they had, and opened their homes.  Everyone who was in Hazard at the time has a story to tell.  So many people suffered personally and financially, but just bowed their necks and went to work rebuilding their lives.  It is amazing that such a tame little river can be the source of so much devastation."  Tommy G. Bailey, Hazard, KY

"I was five and would like someone to tell me things because I lost all my child hood memories and I think this is what took them SO PLEASE someone help me.  I am 50 years old now and I am still lost about it and would like some help, anyone?  Desperate!"  Wilma Lucilla Campbell, Hazard, KY

"I lived at Roxana, KY, when the flood of '57 came.  I was ten years old.  I'd never seen so much water in my life.  Roxana is a place near Whitesburg.  Here is my web page.  If you read this, please sign my guest book.  God bless you."  Pastor Bill Jones, Whitesburg, KY 

"I was six at the time of the flood.  We lived in the Faulkner Apartments over Faulkner's garage.  I remember watching the water rise to within two or three feet of the walkway.  Our front door faced the river.  Bernard Faulkner and I tried to lasso pigs floating down the river.  The night the power plant at Lothair blew I remember you could read a newspaper because he light from it was so bright.  We could see the Woodland Park bridge also and wondered if it would survive the water and everything that hit it.  The strangest thing I saw was a chicken coming down the river setting on an old red Coke Cola cooler.  The cooler was riding on some flooring. It came to the bridge went under the bridge, then came out the other side.  The chicken was still there on the cooler and floated on past us unharmed.  The day the flood finally receded we were cooking breakfast on an open fire and a national guard truck came by and hit a puddle splashing muddy water in our first hot meal in days.  The mud was everywhere and everyone was out washing it away.  It was an amazing site at how a river you could walk across in some places could rise so fast and so high.  I'll never forget it."  Ralph Sherman, Salem, Oregon

"I was ten years old and we lived on High Street.  I remember standing at the waters edge and seeing filing cabinets and desks floating down main street with pigs on top.  My Grandmother, Gertrude Speaks, and my Aunt Helen and Uncle Frank Hill's house was full of mud on Maple Street after the flood.  My Mother, Hazel Shepherd, has great photos taken of the flood."  Claudia Shepherd Purdom, Cynthiana, KY

"I was 9 years old at the time of the flood.  My father was the pastor of the First Baptist Church on Main Street in Hazard.  I remember being on the bridge that goes from Main Street to the lumber yard watching the water swirl under the bridge when all of the sudden the water lapped over the bridge!  I ran off the bridge scared to death.  That night, the power generators blew up and the sky lit up like daylight for about 5 seconds and then total darkness.  We had friends from the flood area staying with us, and had the tub full of water to use for cooking and drinking.  I also remember watching a roof float down the river with a dog on top of it.  As the water receded, the men found a huge catfish in the basement of the church.  I will never forget the experience."  Charles Barr, Monrovia, CA

"On January 29,1957, I was in my mothers womb at Mount St. Mary's Hospital awaiting my birth which came on February 4th after a lot of complications.  My mother, Sarah Hall, gave birth to me on Monday."  Bobby Hall, Middletown, Ohio

"I was born in Hardburley Kentucky (Perry County) and I will always remember that flood in 1957.  I was 13 years old then and I am 57 years old now."  Gloria Combs Welborn, Johnston South Carolina

"I was four when the flood came.  We lived in Lothair on Poplar Street what is now Apple.  We were on high ground and were safe from the water.  My uncle, Adrian Brashear and his family had to stay with us because they lived in the Power Company houses and they were flooded.  I remember the electricity going out and how the wires were on fire.  We held onto dish drain boards to keep from being shocked.  It was all frightening to us.  I remember the fire in the bottom and standing on the hill watching.  Later the National Guard came and that was the first time I had ever seen a helicopter."  Sue Ferguson Cruz, Louisiana

"I'm the granddaughter of George & Elsie McDaniel.  She was a Deaton.  I remember it very well and my grandparents took me to see the devastation.  It was so sad.  My grandparents and I could see people a few days later trying to save things and clean up.  My grandma would say, 'those poor people.  George we can help some way.'  She was always a granny to give lots of food to people and fresh water from our well to take to them.  So sad memories.  I was raised by a very loving family that was always there to help.  Hope some folks can remember my grandparents.  I was also in a flood in 1960 in Smithboro, Ky.  It got up into my house so I've also been there!  Thanks."  Shirley McDaniel Jones, Quartzsite, AZ

"My family and I lived at Ajax near Bulan, Ky.  The river backed up almost to our house.  Some friends and I walked down the mountain sides to the mouth of the creek and looked at the bridge near where Combs Tire Service was at that time.  We watched as houses, autos and other objects were gathering on the bridge.  Also a whiskey store had hit the bridge and some people were climbing out on the debris and rescuing the bottles.  Those are memories that like most of the people living in Perry County and Hazard will never forget."  Wilma Haley Brewer  Leslie County, KY

"I remember the '57 flood very well.  My husband, Marcus Combs, and I lived in Jeff, Ky.  The water got in most of our friends and neighbors houses, but would have had to raise about 6 inches more to get in ours.  We were very fortunate.  My parents, Etta and Miles Cook, lived in Vicco and they had no idea there was a flood in Jeff and Hazard.  The little river that ran through Vicco wasn't up any.  The water that flooded Jeff and on down through Hazard and other places came out of Viper.  If there had been a Carrs Fork Dam at that time, would it have helped Hazard and Jeff?  Vicco and Hazard has been flooded before from the river going through Vicco in the '30s.  I've heard my Mother and Father talk about it.  And the Dam would certainly have helped then."  Mary Rachel Cook Combs, Beaver Dam, KY

"I was 13 years old & going to school @ Combs Grade School.  They let us out of school early and it was scary riding on the bus from Combs to Airport Gardens.  We lived on the upper street by Ray Collins grocery.  The flood didn't bother us, but I remember helping some friends of mine who live on the lower street move some things out of their houses.  Needless to say, we were cold & wet but, everyone helped everyone else during that time.  My Dad (Rolan Eversole) worked in the mines @ Leatherwood.  I don't know how he got home, but he had left his truck somewhere and walked through the hills to get home.  That was a devastating time, but it proves that when people help each other, a disaster can be made a little better for those who lost the most.  I thank God it didn't affect us personally, and that I was able to help someone else.  Some one said in an earlier article, thank God for the Carr's Fork Dam.  Amen...Hopefully, that will never happen again."  Arnold Eversole, Airport Gardens, KY

"I was 11 years old, lived in Leatherwood, went to school at Leatherwood School.  Daddy was a coal miner at Jewel Ridge.  We lived about one-half mile on the main highway above the Slemp post office.  The creek ran behind our house, the railroad was above the creek.  We weren't affected as bad as Hazard but I can still remember cars and debris washing down that Black water creek.  I was too young to realize the awful affect it had on other residents.  But it was a sad time."  Barbara King Jones Bulle, Glasgow, KY (daughter of Dave E. King)    

"My sister was born on February 21st 1957.  I was one year old.  I remember my Mom telling me that the bridge was out and she couldn't get to the hospital when it was time for my sister to be born.  They did finally make it, but just barely. She was born in the old Hazard Hospital, same place I was.  It was later converted to a library.  I don't believe the building is even there anymore."  Llana Combs, Cincinnati, Ohio

"I was in Detroit Michigan at the time of the great flood.  I was married in Hazard on December. 26th 1956 and I had just gone north a few days before the flood came.  I was lucky to have missed it.  I am an old boy from Hardburly, KY."  Robert (Red Bob) Williams, Somerest, KY

"I was 10 years old & my daddy was a coal miner at jewel ridge.  We lived in a small community called Slemp just below Leatherwood and about 30 miles above Hazard.  It wasn't real bad up our way but bad enough."  Barbara King, Glasgow, KY

"My family lived in Leatherwood at the time of the 1957 flood and while our community was not affected by the flood waters, many of my classmates who lived along Leatherwood Creek lost everything.  Our high school basement was flooded, and the bridge to the school washed away.  I recall this as being a devastating time when people grouped together, as we always do, and got lives back in order."  Linda (Turner) Young  Dayton, Ohio

"I was 5 years old at the time of the 1957 flood.  I lived with my parents (Norman and Beulah Cornett) and my grandmother (Lizzie Cooksey) on Laurel Street.  Our house was not in the flood because we lived on a hill overlooking Hazard.  I remember being scared of the river because it kept rising so fast.  One of the memories that stands out in my mind is a phone call that my mother received from a woman and her urgent plea for help because the water was coming in her back door.  My father was a car salesman for Lee Crutchfield during this flood.  Our dining room became a storage for new bed linens, pillows, etc. that people sent in from Kentucky as well as other states.  I have a picture of my mother, along with Aileen Combs and others, of all the items that were sent. I'm not sure if this was through the Red Cross or the Business and Professional Women's Club.  We were so lucky that we were not 'physically' affected by the flood, however, we have all been emotionally effected by them." Betty Cornett Feagan, Lexington, KY

"I remember the flood of fifty seven very well.  My  wife Alma & I washed quilts, blankets and lots of clothes for Maxine & Bill Howard.  They lived in Lothair bottom." Coy Peters, Madison, IN

"I remember the '57 flood also.  I was 6 years old at the time.  I attended Hilton School that day, but school was let out early, so I walked home.  We lived in the house just across the bridge from where the post office is now at Darfork.  This house set on the ground at the time, it had not been raised as it is today.  I remember walking across the bridge and the water was hitting the bottom of the bridge, I felt so scared.  We kept going to a back room window every few minutes to see how much higher the river had raised since we had last looked.  My parents, Albert and Jean Del Pont began to try to move furniture out of the house to Mrs. Baker's house across the road.  I remember them discussing what needed to be saved the most as everything couldn't be moved.  Mommy told me to watch my little sister Kay, who was 4 years old at that time.  The water kept rising and rising until it was against the back of the house and still rising.  Mom gave me a box and asked me to go to the back room and put our shoes in the box.  I remember looking out the window as I tried to box up the shoes but now the river was almost up to the window sill.  I still haven't forgotten how scared I was when I looked out that window.  My family has poked fun at me over the years because Mommy says I boxed up mostly one shoe of each pair. After boxing the shoes up Daddy and Mommy picked my sister and me up and carried us out of the house.  The water by now was coming around the front of the house and creeping up the steps. For some reason they took the couch and put it on the porch banisters and I used the couch as a reference mark for gauging how much the water was rising, but I lost my reference mark when the couch floated off.  From Mrs. Bakers porch we stood and watched the river raise until all you could see was the chimney and a pig on the roof, which to this day we don't know how it got there.  As night fell, this was the last scene we saw.  The next morning, the water was gone and so was the pig.  I remember how hard Dad and Mom worked trying to scrub the mud away.  You could wash and wash the floor and while it was wet it looked clean, but as it began to dry the mud would seep back up thru the floor and then you scrubbed again. Another memory was going to Memorial Gym to take typhoid shots.  These were mandatory for anyone affected by the flood. This was a hard time and not the last time we experienced flooding, but Dad and Mom never gave up, they just got up, cleaned up, and fixed up, and began again.  Thanks, Daddy and Mommy."  Paula Napier, Hazard, KY

"According to Hazel Ward who at the time regularly fixed Pearl Bobbitt's hair, the lady Mack Hill was trying to save was Mrs. Bobbitt who worked in the Begley Building.  Mack used to pick her up and take her home every day.  She had been sick and Mack was concerned about her.  He took the boat to the Begley Building and climbed through a window and helped her into the boat.  He insisted she get a pillow to sit on.  When they got near Muncy's Service Station the boat capsized.  Mrs Bobbit hung on to the pillow and it supported her until she reached a light pole.  The pillow became water logged but she hung to the pole and was rescued.  Mack drowned and his body was found under the bridge near Muncy's.  I was at home between semesters at college when the flood came.  I was 19 years old.  I remember the tremendous ark in the sky when the water got around the power company at Lothair.  My family lived on Oakhurst Ave. and we had a house full of people.  I particularly remember Ed and Carolyn Watts and their two children, Betty and Henry stayed with us.  We cooked over an open grate with coal during this time.  Ed Watts at that time lived in Woodland Park and the water was up to the second floor in his house.  He was manager of Newberry's Dime Store."  Richard C. Ward, Lexington, KY

"I was 11 years old and lived in Combs when the flood of '57 came.  There was a picture in the paper of me and my sister standing on a house that had hit the bridge in Combs.  I have looked through all the pictures of the flood and cannot find it.  I think it was in the Hazard Herald.  Our house did not get washed away because we lived up on the hill.  Anyone out there remember me?"  Ruby Francis Mawby, Seminole, FL

"I was only 3 years old, but the '57 had a tremendous impact on my life.  I have vivid memories of Mom cooking dinner, nervously watching the river, waiting for Dad to come home from work, and wondering aloud if we should get out of there.  When Dad came home the water was pouring into our basement and had surrounded our house.  I remember being carried through the water in our yard. We had to cross the L&N train bridge to get to higher ground.  Someone covered my head up with a coat, but I will never forget peeking out to see houses, furniture, vehicles, animals on top of driftwood banging against that bridge.  It was nearly to the top when we crossed.  The water nearly covered our home before it crested.  This incident triggered something in me that I will never forget, 'Things are temporary!'  We lost everything.  My biggest concern was my toys, of course, at that age.  When we got back home our cat was in a tree in the yard, still alive, that was a bright spot to me. He was thrilled to see us, and very hungry.  It seemed to take months to get rid of that smell, and the mud.  We survived the '63 as well.  Thank God for Carr Fork Dam." Carol L. Allen, Wabaco, KY

"I wasn't around for the '57 flood but have heard my family talk about it many times.  My great aunt Lorraine Bush worked at the Telephone Company and I had an aunt and uncle living in Lothair bottom (Roberta and Homer Brotherton).  I have heard about the Mine Service and Standard Oil catching fire and Kentucky Power too.  It really was a terrible disaster from what I have heard but as is typical with the people in Hazard, they all pulled together and helped one another.  Hazard people just can't be beat."  Linda Brotherton Williams, Lexington, KY

"We lived in Lothair at the time in Tommy Buntion house in the bottom.  The house had five feet of water and destoryed most of our furniture. But I thanked God because it could have been much more."  Learlene Harvey Ferguson, Dunbar, West Virginia

"Yes, I very well remember the '57 and '63 Floods.  Just who could ever forget it.  I and my sister, Louise Stacy worked around the clock at General Telephone.  We along with others were frozen on the jobs and stayed there for 2 and 1/2 days before we could get home but fortunately we lived out of reach of the floods. We kept my Mother's sister and her family through all this trying time.  My Uncle walked from Blue Diamond Coal Company at Leatherwood, Ky, to Lothair to get to his family but found them safe at Charlie and Martha Patterson's.  Their names were Alonzo and Ruth Patterson.  So thankful to be alive."  June Patterson, Hazard, {Lothair, Ky)

"I lived in Lothair in a mine camp house next to the river.  I was 20 years old.  I went to Lothair school that night to get out of the high water.  Later that night the Power Company transformer blew up.  The night got light as day outside.  I was sure the end of time had come."  Jim Stepp, Franklin, Ohio

"We lived at Lothair and had 6 feet of water in the house.  We had put some things upon the dining room table, on the beds, etc., but they, of course, floated off.  During the afternoon, Mine Service Company caught fire and burned the shop there. That night water got into the transformers at the Power Company and it seemed as if the whole world lit up.  My mother was cooking beans and when we left the house, she just turned the stove off; when we returned the next day, there were beans all over the house.  We had no electricity, no gas and no water for about a week.  We were one of the 'lucky' ones though, as we had a ditch full of flood water in front of the house.  We very carefully scooped the 'clean' water from the top so as not to disturb the mud and used that water to wash the several inches of mud from the house. Many people were generous and I especially remember that Maureen Cole gave me two nice outfits to wear to work after this flood (all of my clothes were in the mud).  We inherited a dog and cat from this disaster and named the dog 'Driftwood' after thinking he probably had floated in on a log.  I also remember the Health Department giving typhoid shots at the Lothair School and everybody had to have one.  Many things are remembered on this anniversary of the great disaster."  Lois Reynolds Farler, London, Ohio

"My husband, Joe Duncan and his partner Howard Smith were the last business place on main street to receive flood water. The store sat on higher ground on Main Street than it looked.  It came in the front door and back about eight inches on the fountain.  Just enough to destroy.  I also had family flooded out of their home on East Main Street.  They walked up the hill to my house to stay--coming through a passageway onto the hill that no longer exists.  Later in the day we stood on the edge of the mountain at the end of Perry Avenue and looked over to see their home.  It was beside Lee's restaurant. You could not even see the roof.  It was completely submerged.  We went to my father's home on Lyttle Boulevard and cooked supper over an open grate he had in his living room.  The next afternoon I was able to leave town after the highway was clear to London, and I took a cousin who was a flood victim and my two year old son Bruce and we stayed with Joe's family for a week.  Everyone in that town was so nice to us.  I was invited to speak on their local radio station and appeal for help for Hazard after I told what I knew had happened in regard to the flood.  The people very generously did send items that were very much needed.  This is one experience I shall never forget.  Thank goodness for Carrs Fork dam now.  Perhaps we will never live through anything like this ever again.  I could write a book about what I remember  --the black, black night when we went to bed, and thinking about what we had been through and what we were facing the next day.  I feel we were fortunate and lucky to have survived even where we lived.  I know there are lots of people that lost everything they had.  The goodness in people all over the county did pour into Hazard and we are bigger and better than ever.  Those of us who are still living here thank God for holding us close to His arms even when it seemed so dark."  Elizabeth Snyder Duncan, Hazard, KY

"I was only two and my mother had taken me to Lexington.  She told me we weren't allowed back home for days because of the flood. We lived on the hill in Lothair at the time. She has some pictures my Uncles took wading through the flood."  Tim Hamilton, Cincinnati, OH

"I was a sophomore at M.C. Napier High School.  My family lived near Bulan in the Heiner Coal Camp.  My Dad, Earl Newell, was the founder and pastor of the Bulan Community Church on route 15 not far from the post office."  Dave Newell, Madison, Georgia

"I was in the '57 flood.  At that time I was living with Maxine and Bill Howard.  It was a bad year for all of us that was in it. If anyone out there knows me, I would like to hear from you."  Virginia Peters, Franklin, Ohio

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