Yield: The great Saffordville floods of 1951
January 15, 2017
I've mentioned several times the Old Boar's Breakfast Club — some prefer to call it the Old Geezer's Breakfast Club — of which I'm a proud participating member. We (from 12 to 20 of us) meet, greet and eat every Wednesday morning at the old Toledo Township High School building in Saffordville, which is now used as a community building and supported by a minuscule township tax assessment.
After each breakfast, eaters drop a free-will offering into the cash jar and over time the group built up some funds.
Members agreed to buy new chairs for the dining area and extra tables and chairs for community functions. However, a few weeks ago the funds reached a point that we needed to open a checking account at a local bank.
The account name for the banking industry is officially The Saffordville Gentlemen's Club. That name got a grin from all the employees at the bank.
“To this day, out among the weeds, trees and undergrowth, remnants of Saffordville can still be found.”
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Most of the old geezers who attend are locals who grew up in the area and have an encyclopedic memory of community history. Hence, I've learned a lot about local history. I'll share some of it with you.
First, up until 1950 Saffordville was one of the thriving little Chase County communities. It had every kind of product and service that towns of that size sported in those days — bank, dining, boarding houses, blacksmith, etc. — plus it sat right on the east-west railroad tracks.
But, unfortunately for Saffordville, it also sat in the bottoms of the Cottonwood River, about a half-mile from the river proper. The devastating floods of 1951 inundated Saffordville for weeks and in the months that followed the community simply vanished.
Some salvageable homes were moved to higher ground or some clear to Emporia. The Methodist Church was moved to nearby Toledo where it still holds services. Many homes were also moved to Toledo.
After the demise of the town, one property owner purchased most of the land the town occupied at a sheriff's sale. To this day, out among the weeds, trees and undergrowth, remnants of Saffordville can still be found.
Today, only three homes and the school building comprise the entirety of Saffordville.
One local historian related an ironic story that happened in the immediate aftermath of the 1951 flood. Some of the local livestock was saved, but most drowned and the carcasses later were found for miles downstream.
However, one resident had a flock of sheep. In the days of the flood, all of the ewes in the flock were washed away and drowned. However, residents in a boat discovered the ram in the flock had swam to a tree and somehow found a toehold and perch high and dry from the flood waters.
With some difficulty, the locals managed to get the ram out of the tree and safely to higher ground. Alas, it wuz all for naught because, ironically, two weeks after he was rescued, the ram wuz struck and killed by lightning.
And, from my old friend Fuller B. Loney in Puyallup in the great state of Washington comes this list of witticisms:
My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations. I'm pretty sure she was hitting on me.
The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.
My 65-year kindergarten reunion is coming up soon and I'm worried about the 175 pounds I've gained since then.
The pretty pharmacist asked me my birth date again today. I've got an inkling she's going to get me something nice as a surprise for my birthday.
I can't understand why women are okay that there is an older women's clothing line named, "Sag Harbor."
I think it's pretty cool how Chinese people made a language entirely out of tattoos.
What is it about a car that makes people think we can't see them picking their noses?
Money can't buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!
The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married. Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T. Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single. The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.
Okay, I've still got room in this column for a few bumper snickers. Here's my favorite: "If dueling ever comes back, a whole lot of people will become a lot less offended."
Also, "Modern Education: Creating people smart enough to think they're smarter than everyone else."
And, this: "Modern politicians get a Certificate of Participation to make them feel better about losing."
And, finally, on this nasty, dreary, damp, sunless day, here's a thought about Christmas shopping. "Shopping with your spouse is akin to hunting with the game warden,"
'Nuf' said. Have a fantastic Christmas holiday. The very best wishes to you and yours.❖