Rosalind Longwell

Rosalind Longwell

Death 14 Sep 1919 (aged 1–2)
Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA
Burial Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA
Plot Summit-Lot 191-Grave 3
Memorial ID 169897619 · View Source
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Rosalind Longwell was the two and one half year old daughter of Arthur M. and Katie Reagan Longwell.

(Posted courtesy of the Table Rock, Nebraska Historical Society.)

TABLE ROCK ARGUS, Table Rock, Nebraska. Oct. 3, 1919.

Dorr Tressler arrived from Corpus Christi yesterday. They found the bodies of all the family but the two children of Arthur. Arthur was washed away on Sunday, and did not get back to the city until Friday, and was in bad condition but will live. Fuller particulars next week.
This is the story as told by her father, Arthur Longwell, to his step-brother, Edwin Dorr Tressler

Table Rock Argus, Oct. 10, 1919.

Dorr Tressler in the Wilsonville Review gives the following account of the Corpus Christi flood, in which our former citizen, J. D. Longwell, lost his life, and his son, Arthur lost his wife and two children. The story is given as related by Arthur, one of the survivors of the disaster: Following is the story I got from the lips of my step-brother in Corpus Christi in regard to the tidal wave of September 14th.

When I left Wilsonville it was with the thought that all had perished, but on reaching Kansas City a telegram came from him saying, "Am the only one left", and then when I reached Corpus Christi and saw the desolation and havoc wrought by the storm I found that the press dispatches which we got in our northern papers had only given a part of it. The awful mess of it cannot be described; the pictures give but an inkling of the story. Of 900 homes nothing remains. Of all the North Beach property but three building remain, and they are skeletons and untenable. The city itself is 20,000 population and that part back from the bluff is damaged only by high wind; some buildings not being injured at all. With this preface I give Mr. Longwell's story as he gave it to me: "The storm started Sunday morning about 9 o'clock. We were all at home. My car was down town in a repair shop. The storm kept getting worse and a neighbor, Mrs. Mayfield phoned and told me to get a car and get out, so I phoned for one, giving name and a house number. Soon a car came and stopped across the street, and inquired for a number. These folks didn't know it, and told him it must be one of two houses across the street. Mayfield's or ours. The car then went to Mayfield's (their car having stalled and in the excitement it could not be started), and they called him to drive to the side of the house, where all, eleven in number; piled in and drove off in the car I had ordered.

We then decided to stay at home, thinking that it could not be worse then the 1916 storm. Just as we sat down to dinner the roof of the house north of us blew off and landed up against mine. Of course that scared my wife and she insisted on going to a neighbors house which was two story. We gathered up Jennie and Rosalind (six and two and one-half years) and left our house. Father said he would stay and look after things. We stayed down stairs in this other house until the water floated the beds, then we climbed to the attic. In a moment this roof blew off. My wife saw it lying in the water and concluded it would be a good raft, and she and Rosalind got onto it before I saw her. She called to Jennie to come, but it had gotten too far away; we were separated there, and I never saw her nor Rosalind again. This was about 5 o'clock. Jennie and I stayed in the attic until the house tipped over into the water. By that time the waves were running high- the soldiers who were in the storm and who had been overseas said the waves were higher on Neuces bay than any they saw on the Atlantic. The water was full of debris. I managed to get myself and Jennie onto a raft (anything was a raft that a person could ride) and we would ride a little while only to be turned over. Finally the raft went to pieces, but I kept the darling little girl with me for an hour or so and she never whimpered. After we had been thrown from another raft and I had got back onto it I saw her head near me and by grabbing her hair I managed to get her up with me. She said, "Daddy, I'm sleepy," and I placed her head on my knees. Just then the raft went over and we came up under it, and while under it I lost little Jennie. When I finally got out from under it I never saw her again. By this time all my clothing was gone. It was raining torrents, and with the terrible wind and waves and cold I thought I could not hold on much longer. After changing rafts a dozen times I finally got onto one with a neighbor, George Chalk. His encouragement is all that kept me from going to join the others, and with him I rode to shore, some time about three or four o'clock in the morning. Mr. Chalk gave me his trousers, and together we laid down on the ground and slept fitfully until daylight, when we started walking toward the sound of the White Point gas well.

(Where Mr. Longwell reached the shore was as near as we afterwards figured, twelve miles; he had been in the water nearly ten hours and his flesh was shrunken and joints swollen until walking was difficult) We became separated, I would walk a little ways and then lie down from exhaustion, only to have to move on when the big green flies stung me. Finally a farmer found me and took me to his house where I was sick for three days. When I got back to Corpus Christi I learned that my brother-in-law had found my wife's body, identified it, had it embalmed and buried in Neucestown, about ten miles west of Corpus Christi.

Father's body had been found and identified by papers on him and by friends who made up the searching party, and was picked up, his body had been in the salt water too long to stand moving. As for Jennie and Rosalind, I guess they will be among the unidentified until Judgment Day. I lost everything; I haven't even a little picture left. My car was down town in a garage and is in pretty fair shape, except that it stood in five feet of salt water several hours.

Rosalind, her mother, sister Jennie and grandfather, James D. Longwell all lost their lives in the storm of September 14, 1919. Her mother and Rosalind were on a piece of roof which drifted away from where Arthur and Jennie were. What happened after that is uncertain, Katie was found and her body buried by her brother in Neucestown Cemetery. Her father and sister Jennie were together on other debris, after getting turned over several times, Jennie was lost, the father coming ashore twelve miles away. A farmer found him and being so sick he was there for three days before getting back. Katie's brother had identified her body and buried her in Neucestown Cemetery. The grandfather was identified by papers on his body and buried in this cemetery. By the time the father got back his little daughters were probably already buried in this mass grave. Their father said,"As for Jennie and Rosalind, I guess they will be among the unidentified until Judgment Day."

TABLE ROCK ARGUS, Table Rock, Nebr. Nov. 21, 1919.(pg.8)

Wilsonville, Nebr., Nov. 16, 1919. Dear Frank- In this letter I will try to give you further particulars about Mr. Longwell, as I know you are interested in knowing anything concerning him and the tragedy at Corpus Christi. It is probably wondered why no obituary was printed; I have wondered to, but I think it is because Art and I have both been too busy to fix it up, however, at another time after I get the date of a few events in his life will send you a short article in that form. From letters to me of recent date Art says: "Well, Dorr, the Red Cross are taking up all bodies that were not buried in cemeteries and bringing them to Rose Hill cemetery, so Friday they brought father's body in, and I bought a lot and he had services over his open grave, but they did not open his casket. If not otherwise directed they are burying them in a row clear across on the east side of the cemetery. They say the number will reach 1,500. The other day I was working on a young man from Portland (Texas) and he said he had helped bury a good many. I described my girls to him and he said he was confident he had buried Jennie himself. He described her ring and I believe it was her. He said she was buried in a steamer trunk two miles this side of White Point. So John Hill went over after her; he used to live beside us and said he could identify her. Well, he brought her back, but said he could not tell for sure. The box was nailed up and they wouldn't open it; we buried her beside grandpa, and we'll just have to hope it is her. The other little girl, of course, was never identified. I got four markers- one for each- and had their names and birth and death dates cut in, and across the top, 'Flood Victim'; I placed one for Rosalind, just as though she was buried there."

Arthur is now in Los Angeles where he expects to make his home.

I stood on their vacant lot where but two years before when I left them a happy family; his was a cozy bungalow and furnished as you, remembering Arthur and Pa, would imagine it would be-Pa's room striking you as that occupied by a Godly man, the tenor of the household being the same, with little children playing with him the one perhaps greatest pleasures of his being the love for children,-"for of such is the kingdom of heaven"; that is the way you would picture him, with little children, and he taught them about Jesus, the one he followed all his life; we know he is with them now and has earned the reward that was to be his for being faithful; and Arthur is a christian man, and the little family will all be together-some day. And as I stood on their lot that day, which was vacant but for the brick fireplace, which lay piled as the house tore away with the rushing waters, it seemed that away off toward White Point, and coming in over the rippling surface of Neuces Bay, were the sound of voices, and they were not the voices from terror and suffering; but those from a peaceful world where sorrow and suffering are unknown. Out into the bay, deposited by the fury of that storm of but a few days before, and as far as the eye could clearly see, were bedsteads, ruined automobiles and other articles which were in shallow water where water was now standing that had never before been, and this bay was full of debris, household furnishings and family records were destroyed which will never be found; and from this chaos,the after math of a terrible visitation, we have the memory of a man who was God's man; a man who in the years I have lived as a member of his family, was my ideal of these things that are worth while and that mean so much; in all those years I have never heard him utter one word that bordered on the vicious and unclean; his mouth was as clean as his heart. As a boy I used to step in his tracks in the snow; I wish I could follow his footsteps now. What I might say in this little tribute to Mr. Longwell, you would say, for you loved him too. He was one man you never heard a disparaging word said against-and what a joy it must have been to him to know he was living among so many friends. Dorr Tressler

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  • Created by: Luella Hinrichsen
  • Added: 13 Sep 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 169897619
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rosalind Longwell (1917–14 Sep 1919), Find A Grave Memorial no. 169897619, citing Rose Hill Memorial Park, Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Luella Hinrichsen (contributor 47218988) .