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Alana Carico
Gladekids, 6, USA

The Flood

The Basin Creek Cove Flood
By: Alana Carico
Now at Basin Cove, the first settlement of our area, there is just one fourteen by sixteen foot cabin with two doors and no windows. The homes of several dozen families once covered the creekbanks, but no more. There has not been but that one small cabin resting on the land since July 15th, 1916. It only took eighteen hours for a simple way of life to be changed terribly.
Today's valley looks nothing like it used to back when the residents of Basin Creek Cove made their trips to buy the things they couldn't raise or make themselves. Acres of rye, corn, wheat, barley and buckwheat covered fields of flax used to make linen clothing. Many families kept bees for their supply of honey and made molasses from sugar cane. The families also raised beans, potatoes, pumpkins, and other vegetables; drying, canning, and pickling them for winter. Most families had at least one milk cow, and some others raised a few beef cattle. At the road, some goods that people had no use for (at least residents of Basin Creek Cove) were hauled off to markets, some even as far away as Mount Airy or Winston-Salem.
A resident of Basin Creek Cove discovered that a mason jar of clear liquid corn was worth much more than a basketful of the golden grain, and most definitely easier to carry.
Few deer lived around Basin Cove and black bears lived far back in the forest, so the residents ate raccoon, 'possum, squirrel, turkey, and a few more wild animals that lived close by. Their shoes were made from hides off of animals that the men of Basin Creek Cove had sewed together.
In 1916, fifty-two families lived down in Basin Creek Cove. Most families that didn't have eight or ten children weren't considered to have much of a family. But when the Scarlet fever hit this community, many families that had eight or ten children, had to bury four or more of them because of no way to help them get over the Scarlet fever. Many of Alleghany's families began in or near Basin Creek Cove.
Basin Creek Church was a log cabin with a doubled chimney in the middle. This church was said to be able to serve as a church for the residents of Basin Creek Cove for years to come. Back then school was only held four months out of the year, during this time the church was also used as a school building, which held about fifty students from grades 1st-12th. Only one teacher taught all grades for eight dollars a month, but she strongly encouraged the older, more intelligent students to help the younger ones with their lessons.
Early in the afternoon of that horrible Saturday in July, 1916, a brave Daddy of a family lead his wife and kids out of the cove because they "were going to get washed away." His oldest daughter had noticed the pouring rain wasn't letting up at all. As the older people of the family stumbled up the slick, washed away hills carrying the younger ones who couldn't fend for themselves, they could hear the dreadful cry of injured and terrified livestock. Whole acres of soggy, rain-soaked ground broke loose from the mountains extremely steep slopes ripping up huge trees and driving them toward the creek below. Mud, tree trunks and slabs of rock as large as the cabins they would destroy later on, rumbled horribly through the night.
In the pouring rain, a man walked home very fast from the work he had been handling in Virginia, but to only find that his house had been towed away by all the horrible rocks and tree trunks. His kid brother, wife and her mother had tried to ride out the storm, but had failed.
Three days later, a few survivors made their way down to Basin Cove, but all that was left was the church, one very strong cabin, and part of another cabin. This goes to show that the flood in Basin Creek Cove on Saturday, July 15th, 1916 turned out to be not only a flood, but a total washout that destroyed many homes and families.