Peru, IN Flood, Mar 1913


Half of Indiana Town Under Water and Streets Inundated.


Will Shoot Looters Caught Red Handed - - Rescuers, Devote Themselves to Saving Lives and Caring for Suffering, Leaving Death List Problematical.

Peru, Ind., March 20 (Via Telephone to South Bend) - Vivid details of the disastrous flood which visited Peru, drowning scores of its inhabitants and rendering homeless more than half its population, were obtained late today when rescuers succeeded in propelling boats through the inundated streets. The facts established were:

Number of persons drowned estimated from 50 up to as high as 150, it being impossible to learn exactly because many bodies are hidden in houses still wholly submerged.

Number of persons homeless, 7,500.

Two hundred and twenty-five injured or sick survivors rescued and removed to a temporary hospital at Plymouth, Ind.

Property loss of $2,500,000.

Only two of the dead identified, Mrs. Rose Whittle and Mrs. Elsie Smith, tenants of what was known as "Walnut Row," composed of 12 frame cottages, where 12 families were drowned.

Winter quarters of a big circus [illegible] destroyed, about 500 valuable animals being drowned, including lions, bears, camels, elephants ponies, monkeys and a collection of birds.

To [illegible] [illegible]

Citizens finding lawlessness in every block of the city above water, organized a vigilance committee with orders to shoot looters.

Conditions tonight

Several thousand persons still marooned in the court house, hospital, factory buildings and other structures because the various relief parties sent from South Bend and other cities had not sufficient boats to carry them to the nearest dry land, three miles away.

Snow falling heavily and suffering [illegible] because of the lack of [illegible] facilities, city in darkness except for a scant supply of lanterns.

The city had no electric power and no drinking water supply.

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