Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Support Disaster Relief in Haiti

On January 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. 
Join recovery efforts mobilizing around the world to assist earthquake victims.  Your donation will help disaster victims rebuild their lives and their communities.  
I found these stories in the Lucas County Notes and Shakin' the Family Tree newsletter July-September 2006.  While I don't want to take away from what is happening in Haiti, I did want to take this time to remember another terrible disaster that many suffered from.
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, CA. and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 A.M. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.8

Chariton Patriot, April 26, 1906

Some of the former Chariton people, now residing in San Francisco have been heard from by their relatives here.  Mrs. Clave Bemiss, formerly Miss Daisy Crall, writes to her mother that she and her husband are practically destitute.  They escaped with their lives, but lost all their belongings, and are among the thousands of homeless people in the devastated city.  The letter of Mrs. Bemiss to her mother and a short note to Mrs. Curtis Clark from her granddaughter, Viola, are printed below:

Presidio, San Francisco, California - 
April 21, 1906

Dear Momma:  I expect you are simply wild wondering how we are.  We are alive and that is about all.  I sent you a message last night by a man going across to Oakland, for we can get no wire from here.  Nobody knows what the people have suffered here and are going through with now.  First the terrible earthquake came and shook nearly half of all the buildings in the city to the ground.  I will never forget it to my dying day.  The whole city was in panic and our hotel rocked so we had to hold ourselves in the bed to keep from being thrown out and killed.  Then the town caught on fire and the whole city is burned to the ground and people are homeless.  We are living in little tents and sleeping on the ground, and eating what the outside cities are sending us.  We lost every thing, of course, our hotel, trunks, and all were burned to the ground and we are homeless and without clothes.  God only know how we will ever get out.  Clave is so sick.  There were over one thousand people killed and burned to death, and we are mighty lucky that I got Clave out and saved our lives.   We had to walk about seven miles out here to the soldier's barracks to be taken care of.  We cannot find Nina but I know she is alive.  We have hunted but cannot find her.  The city is still burning, but they don't think it will reach here.  If it does we will have to go on boats and stay on the ocean.  Take care of yourself and dear old Grandma, don't worry, and pray that we will be saved.  Daisy.

(In 1906 the population of San Francisco was 410,00 and during the earthquake 3,000 people were killed and 300,000 were injured and left homeless.)

From Viola Clark, granddaughter of Mrs. Curtis Clark, 
dated April 20, 1906

Dear Grandma:  We are safe so far.  Walter had to leave his home, but was not hurt.  We have to stand in line to get provisions.  It is hard luck but thank God, we are safe; that is if the fire does not spread.  Viola

Chariton Sends Relief; taken from the Chariton Patriot, 
April 26, 1906

In response to an appeal for the San Francisco sufferers, sent to Mayor Connel by the citizens of Des Moines, the city council met monday night and voted a contribution of $100 for the city's general fund.  The council took this course instead of organizing to solicit from individuals.  The Patriot is informed that the board of supervisors will vote a like sum from the county fund.  Other contributions, so far as we have learned are ad follows:  Women's Relief Corps, $25; Lodge of Eagles, $25; Knights of Pythias, $10; M.E. Church, $10.

The Baptist people will contribute toward the relief fund, especially to Mr. and Mrs. Clave Bemiss.  Mrs. Bemiss was formerly Miss Daisy Crall of Chariton.  It is expected that all the Fraternal orders will be called upon to contribute to the relief of brother members and their families in the stricken coast cities.
His Earthquake Experience; taken from the Chariton Patriot, 
May 3, 1906

E.H. Lewis of the Patriot, is in receipt of the following letter from his brother, Charles, who was in Oakland, California at the time of the recent terrible quake:

Oakland, California April 28, 1906
My dear brother:  I have thought ever since the earthquake that I would write to you.  I mailed you some of the Oakland papers, and the reports of the disaster in the eastern papers have not been exaggerated.  It is doubtless the worst calamity that has ever befallen any part of the United States.
I was one of the most fortunate ones as I was living in Oakland at the time.  While the shock was felt just as much on this side of the bay as on the other, there was no fire here.
My room is an outside room on the third floor of a brick building.  I think I must have been awakened when the first shake came.  I jumped out of the bed and was shaken flat on the floor.  I caught hold of the window sill and got to my feet.  The chimneys and tops of near-by buildings were falling.  The plaster was falling off my room walls and ceiling and I expected bricks to fall through the ceiling every moment.  I was sure the building would go down.  I got on my shoes, grabbed my coat and hat and made a run.  I beat all in the house to the street.  I had on my hat, pajamas and shoes when I hit the street.  At tha,t I had on more than some others.
People were badly frightened.  I belong to that class.  Soon we thought it was all over.  I went back to my room, shook the plaster out of my clothes and went on the street again.  Our building had withstood the shock so well that I was surprised to see other buildings in ruins.  I saw some of the dead and many injured taken from the ruined buildings.
Ever since the earthquake, people have been pouring into Oakland from San Francisco.  Families became separated and the members do not know whether or not the others are alive.  The papers do not begin to tell of the terrible experiences of the people.  I went over to San Francisco on Saturday.  One cannot realize how complete the destruction is until he sees it.  There are ruins as far as you can see.  It's a "fright".  I leave for Denver tomorrow and will write you from there.  Your brother, Charles B. Lewis.

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