The Constantia Flood in 1897
Oswego County, NY

Contributed by KielyJo Malone, Town Editor of Constantia.

Spoken by Willie Gughan 
Christmas Eve, 1897 
Constantia, N.Y. 

A vast amount of rain had we in July, ' 97 , a moist and constant water
change between the earth and heaven; for what went up came down again,
and ten times more beside, And Scriba Creek did soon become, an ocean
wild and wide. 

Now Scriba Creek is a gentle stream and generally glides along. In a
harmless route, at a harmless gait, and singing a harmless song: but a creek is a creek and it's nothing else. And it wasn't designed to be a strong right
arm of the Mexican Gulf or the Mediteranean Sea. 

And so when it rained and rained and rained, and the waters came down
in a chunk, Old Scriba Creek to a river grew and it moved like a river drunk.
For it rose and it rose to Gayville, and it rose and it rose down here, and it
rose in about 4 minutes, enough for a good long year. 

And the bridges wewre knocked to pieces and the bulkheads were knocked
ker-slam. And it didn't care for the sawmill and it didn't care for the dam;
but it rose and it rose and spread and spread. It cut and it wore and tore. It
mopped up the dirt in the highways, it carried away the floor. 

It roared with a bull like fury. It plunged with a hull like wrath. It didn't
have any location, it didn't have any path. It was here, it was there, it was
everywhere. It conquered wherever it went. It scooped up thousands of
dollars and never gave back one cent. 

And the logs came down and trees came down. The rocks they were lived
along. With sawmills and barns and acres of farms, and banks that were
ancient and strong. And everything went before it that couldn't get outof the
way. And it crumbled to dust and distruction like the " wonderful one hoss
shay " 

If the rain hadn't come like a deluge, if the dam up at Gayville had held, if
the dam up at Carter's had stood there, if the volume of wet hadn't swelled :
in short, if the flood hadn't flooded, there wouldn't have been any flood, and
half  the town of Constantia had never been covered in mud. 

The moral of all this confusion is lost in confusion as great, you can charge
it all up to a cloud burst, gravitiation, poor timber or fate; but this much is
certainly certain, whatever solid or weak, on that day that Constantia was
flooded, the Universe sprang a leak. 

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Copyright © Sept.  2002 Kiely Malone
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