On July 8, 1898 Yadkin Creek Flood took the lives of 13 men, women and children
Miss May Abrams Clarence Taff
Joshua Evans Flossie Taff
Luther Stough Miss Lulle Tucker & Her Infant Son
Mrs. William Stough Mrs. Martha Wood
Mrs. Flora Taff Floyd T. Wood
Raymond Taff Little Dew Drop Wood
In the valley above the little community, a dam would be forming where debris would be trapped against a railroad trestle. A large amount of water had fallen for the past few days and that morning a downpour of water from a summer storm would be more than the creek could handle. sending a 15′-20′ wall of water downstream to the community below. Many would survive and find shelter at higher ground, but three homes would see death and destruction.
In the first house, John Wood, who survived the flood after making it to land, would mourn the death of his wife Martha, age 26, and son Floyd T. Wood, 5 years, and little daughter Dew Drop Wood, age 14 months. John Wood remained in Steelville until his later years in life where he would be taken in and cared for by another couple. John would never remarry after this tragedy.
The second home belonged to William Stough. As the raging current washed the house from its foundation. William fought the dark waters to be rescued the next day where he was found sitting in a tree top. William Stough would also lose family members: his 23 year old wife, Idah; 23 year old brother, Luther; and three visitors from St. Louis, Mrs. Lulie Tucker, age 18, and her infant son; and Miss May Abrams, 10. William Stough would live out the remainder of his years in Steelville. He also wouldn’t remarry and told many stories about that awful night sharing a tree top full of snakes, praying daylight would come.
The flood waters claimed the lives of another happy family, Mrs. Flora Taff, 30; her two sons, Raymond, age 6; Clarence, age 4, along with baby sister Flossie of only two months. The only survivor was James Taff. He was caught in some timbers and rescued at daylight. The cold water was chilling and the loss of his family left him heartbroken. James Taff would later remarry and have two children.
About a mile and a half downstream, Joshua Evans, age 55, a worker at Midland, would drown while he lay sleeping in a bunkhouse with another worker.
The flood would claim the lives of 13 men, women and children. The town would be left without food and drinking water for days and most of downtown would be gone. More than $250,000 of damage would occur during this, the largest disaster and loss of life to take place in this part of the state. Rough times lay ahead for Steelville.