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NATIVE KENTUCKY BALLADS / 094
The Frozen Creek Destruction

clippings transcribed by Steve Green


I stumbled on this ballad on the website of the Breathitt County Museum. Have never seen it elsewhere.

The Frozen Creek Destruction

1. Here I attempt to tell the story
That almost breaks this heart of mine
It happened on the fifth of July
In nineteen and thirty-nine.
The people lay in silent slumber,
Resting free from worldly strife,
A rushing cloudburst rent with thunder,
Destroyed their homes and took their lives.

2. At three o'clock that stormy morning,
While thunder, wind and water roared,
I heard the cries of a little maiden
As she was knocking at my door.
Please come and help me rescue mother
And my brothers and sisters, too;
They're floating off to die together,
Have Mercy, Lord, what shall I do?

3. Beyond control and without warning,
The current washed their homes away,
And when they saw their fate with yearning,
They cried for help, for mercy prayed.
With fear I heard their screams of horror,
And when daylight began to dawn
My heart was filled with grief and sorrow,
I saw my neighbors were all gone.

4. The current rolled great stones a distance,
Took bridges, roads and buildings too,
There was no way to form resistance,
I never knew what rain could do.
The CCC boys and Red Cross workers,
Soon on the scene began their aid,
They labored hard to move the debris,
And for the dead a search was made.

5. Now eighty-two were soon discovered,
Who with the wild waves had been drowned.
With ten more dear ones some covered,
Its sad they never could be found.
Now some were poor and some were needy,
And some had wealth and others fame;
With great respect each one was treated
With burial and services all the same.

6. On Frozen Creek, in Breathitt County,
That dear old home I love so well,
Is where the great destruction happened,
The story here I cannot tell.
Missing wives and weeping husbands,
And orphan children left to mourn,
No more on earth to meet their loved ones,
Because they never can return.

This flood occurred in 1939. I have found clippings in the New York Times, also some Jackson Times clippings from the Breathitt County site.The entire front page of the Jackson Times for July 6, 1939 was given over to flood coverage.

 


Last Update: August 26, 2011