Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871


CHAPTER XIX.

FROM 1844 TO 1860.

The political canvass of 1844 was conducted in Augusta, as well as elsewhere, with nearly as much ardor as was displayed in 1840. The Whigs were active in their efforts to secure the election of Henry Clay, but failed of success.

A second newspaper was established in Staunton, in 1845, as the organ of the Democrats of the county. It was first called the Augusta Democrat, but the name was subsequently changed to Staunton Vindicator.

A stranger walking through the business portion of Staunton, would not imagine that the place was liable to be devastated by floods, there being no water course visible to the eye. Yet the town has several times suffered severely from that cause. The first occurrence of the sort of much consequence, was in the summer of 1846. The north branch of Lewisí creek (which runs under Central avenue) drains an extensive valley, or rather several valleys, northwest of town, but ordinarily is a very small rivulet. After an extraordinary down-fall of rain on the day referred to, however, a great tidal wave came down the course of the little stream, and overflowed and submerged all the lower part of the town, from Frederick street on the north and Lewis street on the west, filling cellars, entering many houses, and tearing great holes in the streets. The force of the current was so strong as to sweep down large flag-stones almost as if they were blocks of wood. In many places the water was waist deep. But no life was lost, and no house was moved from its foundation. One gentleman, however, came near being drowned. He was standing on the porch of a house which then stood at the corner of the jail lot, Augusta and Courthouse streets, and the supports of the porch being undermined, he was precipitated into the raging torrent and swept down to the channel of the creek in rear of the jail. There he was cast upon a pile of stones, from which he was rescued. Augusta street then extended south only to the creek, which was not bridged over.


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