Boy, how I wish I had paid more attention to my daddy and granddaddy when they were telling me about the Tallapoosa River and the things it did in the years before I came along.
Granddaddy as born in 1882 and always lived within a mile or two from the river and daddy was born in 1903 and he lived within sight of the river for the first forty years of his life and less than a mile from the river the rest of his life. Granddaddy could tell you stories of things that happened on the river before there was any dams. Granddaddy knew very well the two dams in Tallassee and the slews we had before them. His daddy was a farmer not far from the river. He farmed at the end of a road that we now call Dean's Circle, which borders the river. He lost the land after borrowing seventy-five dollars to make a crop. It was a bad year and he couldn't raise the seventy-five dollars so he lost the farm. I was kinda like a lot of young people. I didn't take the time to stop and listen when they were telling of the things that happened to them when they were growing up. Granddaddy was still in his fifties when I was a little boy and, in his sixties, when I was a teenager and I really thought he was more ancient than he was. Anyone in their fifties and sixties don't seem old to me anymore. As we walked to the river to fish under the old bridge that went from mill to mill. My daddy would tell me about the high-water mark on the old boiler building, that old building has just about fallen in today and no one’s seems to be interested in the history that will be lost when the building does fall in. I took some pictures to show the younger ones in my family when I tell them about the great flood of 1919. I have lived to see the Tallapoosa River so far out of its banks that you had to have boats to go around the Milstead area up to about where GKN is now located. This area used to be the airport area.
In the first flood of the 1980s I remember farmers getting dead cattle out of trees. Yates Dam has always been an overflow dam and Thurlow had gates. When the gates are down it looks like Niagara Falls. I've seen Wallahatchee Creek out and up the road towards town, Louis Creek was just as bad. In Wetumpka water got up from the river on Highway 231 to the radio station. So far that people were riding boats all over the area and roads were washed out. Going from Milstead to Victory Land on a road that is seldom used anymore but at that time was the main road. The water got up high and washed a bridge out. Here lately I've seen about as much rain as I've seen a long time, probably as much as any February I can remember and I'm a pretty old fellow. How much rain did I see? Well, it rained so much that when I got to work the other morning our duck was trying to teach our Bantam chickens how to swim, two drowned. I went to Tractor Supply and tried to buy some life preservers for my chickens, they laughed at me. So don't believe them when they say they carry everything for the farm. About one third of my catfish drowned that day. To much water I guess. I worked with them all morning out in the rain and almost had a sun stroke. So you can see what kind of week I had. Let's wait and see what March and April brings.