Saturday, August 6, 2016

Congressman Doughton, Whose Own Farm Was Flooded, Asks Congress for Federal Aid for Western N.C. Counties, 1916

“Congressman Doughton Asks for Federal Aid,” from the Statesville Landmark and reprinted on the front page of the Watauga Democrat, Boone, N.C., August 10, 1916

Congressman Doughton, who returned to Washington last week, after a few days at his home, introduced a resolution appropriating $300,000 for the flood sufferers in western North Carolina, the money to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of War. The Washington correspondent of the Greensboro News says:

Mr. Doughton decided to introduce the resolution after a conference between himself and Representatives Page and Webb. All three are of the opinion that something must be done to aid the people of the western part of the State and decided they would have the resolution introduced and use their influence to have it passed. They realize, however, that it is going to be a hard job to get such a measure through Congress, as Minority Leader Mann of Illinois is almost sure to make an objection, which would result in its defeat.

Mr. Doughton says it is impossible for anyone to estimate the damage done by the floods in his section of the State. He said it was so great and so far beyond the human imagination that the people have not yet been able to realize just what has happened. “I am not a drinking man” said Mr. Doughton, “and therefore do not know how a man feels when afflicted with delirium tremens, but what I saw in North Carolina is so appalling that I can easily believe that a man afflicted with this form of alcoholism might imagine anything. Whole farms have been wiped off the map with a single landslide. Hundreds of men who have been prosperous and happy citizens are now roaming about the country with no place to go and many of them declare they will not again return to their former homes. Hundreds and hundreds of acres of fertile land along the railroad that usually produced the finest crops in the land are today nothing more than worthless sand heaps. A few acres must be used for cultivation but the larger part of the lowlands will not be worth cultivating for many years if ever.”

Mr. Doughton himself lost heavily but he is a well-to-do man as values go in that section of the country. He is chiefly concerned for the poor fellows—those who rent land—who have nothing to do nor a place to lay their heads. Much of the rich lowlands of Mr. Doughton’s farm at Laurel Springs is totally ruined. Barns and outbuildings have been swept away, roads completely destroyed; not a bridge in the county and his 300-acre timothy hay crop covered in sand from three to four feet in depth.

His handsome home, located at the foot of the mountain and within a hundred yards of the stream which flows through his farm, was flooded with water and much of the furniture completely ruined.

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