Bessie Tomlin Memorial Gravestone submitted by Jim Detty
Jim Detty wrote: On January 25, 1937 nearly 300 residents had taken shelter in Washington School due to the still rising flood waters. Among those was 26 year old Bessie Tomlin of 1143 11th Street, her three small children, her mother-in-law, and a neighbor. Mrs. Tomlin was also pregnant with her fourth child. Bessie’s husband, William, was an employee of the WPA and helping move furniture from the first floor of the Second Presbyterian Church trying to save what they could.
Howard H. Pack wrote: I met and talked with a very nice lady at Portsmouth Kroger. She told me, Mrs. Tomlin was her Niece. We were talking about the flood. She is a loving and caring person.
Scot Taylor wrote: Mrs. Parker is still living today with 6 children.
James Bergman wrote: If you watch the video “River Voices” Mrs. Parker does a brief interview as she weeps.
Jennifer Penley wrote: My mom and I were discussing the amazing fact that she was the only loss here in Portsmouth. In a time when there was no TV weather warnings like there are now. Hurricane Katrina killed how many and they were warned. However, I also think that people could see the river rising in LA but didn’t anticipate the levy’s breaking and it was more of a flash flood event. Although even one loss is too many, it’s a miracle there weren’t more.
Jim Detty wrote: Jennifer, you’re exactly right. In this case the death was a total accident and a tragic story. I’m pulling the story up now and trying to condense it down a little. BTW on the PPL website where residents are allowed to share memories on any topic they wish, Mrs. Parker (who still lives in Portsmouth as Scot said) has a video on there about this incident. However, either the video loads VERY slowly or my computer is acting up again, because haven’t had a chance to see it yet. Keep trying.
Dawn Sandoval wrote: thank you Jim for posting, this SHOULD have been taught in school at some point. I have said before, if I had to sit through “Ohio” history in 7th or 8th grade, then there should have been at least one year of “Local” history.
Bonnie Jett wrote: I think a lot of young people are missing out on a lot of city and family history because so many don’t want to listen to the “ramblings” of older people. If I were able, I would go to nursing homes and talk with the residents who are still able to remember. Their stories are fascinating.
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