By Johhny D. Boggs
True-life tales of survival opposed to insurmountable odds, particularly in normal catastrophes, carry a undeniable fascination for us all. That negative Texas climate places the reader within the eye of the typhoon and on the crest of the flood.
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It was no use to ride further. I finally reached shelter, spent the night and returned to camp. 10 Similar stories were told elsewhere. Cattle walked off bluffs and fell to their deaths. Others got stuck in bogs or in ditches. Some crossed frozen lakes but crashed through the thin ice in the center of the lakes and drowned, froze to death, or were trampled. Carcasses filled the Cimarron, Arkansas, and Canadian Rivers. Wolves attacked many of the helpless animals. The deadliest trap, however, had been the drift fences that stretched across the Panhandle.
The Sixteenth Infantry Band of Fort Concho gave a benefit concert in San Angela. 50 was reportedly raised for the Ben Ficklin survivors. Although some settlers remained, the town of Ben Ficklin was history. Some survivors moved to Sherwood, southwest of San Angela, while others opted for San Angela, where jobs and free homesites could be found. San Angela also took in the county offices and post office. The September 16 Times noted: "Our streets have been lined with freight wagons, and vehicles of every description bringing people into San Angela to make their purchases.
Others moved away. Those who remained rebuilt, but the town never Page 12 came close to reaching its peak of 1875. Seeligson wrote of his hopes that the tragedy would serve as a warning, but no one seemed to listen. City officials tried to move the new Indianola to higher ground, perhaps three and a half miles above the bayou's mouth, but the money-conscious Morgan Steamship Line refused to cooperate, so the town remained in harm's way. A. Ogsbury, to move. Those who remained gambled that the hurricane of 1875 had been a "once-in-a-lifetime" storm.