Havre, MT Cloudbursts Cause Great Flooding, June 1938



Havre, Mont. (AP) -- Nine persons drowned and a baby was missing Thursday night in cloudburst flood waters that surged into north central Montana rivers out of normally dry coulees and gulches. Farmers evacuated their homes in the valley flats of the Milk river, swollen by the coulee torrents. The towns of Malta and Harlem built bulwarks against the advancing flood stream.
Searchers found the bodies of eight flood victims in Gravelley coulee, near Laredo, 12 miles south of Havre. Homes and buildings in the coulee were carried from eight to ten miles by the sudden flood that trapped these victims. They were:
EMIL DE HAAN, his wife, and three of their daughters, aged 2, 5 and 8 years.
CHARLES PRATT, a farmer.
HERMAN WENDT and JAMES BROWN, Duluth, Minn., employed recently on DE HANN'S farm.
An infant, another daughter of the DE HAANS, still was missing.
A sister of DE HAAN was married in May to ANTHONY J. FOKKER, JR., of Amsterdam, Holland, son of the airplane designer. Another sister is MRS. ANDRE A. BRIESTER of Douglastown, Long Island, N. Y. FRED TILLGHMAN, 60, of Hogeland, a farm security worker, drowned near Zurich, 16 miles east of Havre.
Cloudbursts In Territory.
The floods in the Havre territory followed cloudbursts Wednesday night and continued hard rains Thursday. Butte and Livingston in southern Montana also were hit by heavy rains. Near Zurich a half mile section of the Great Northern railroad's main line track was washed out. A Great Northern bridge near Laredo was weakened by flood battering and the road stopped all service on its branch from Havre to Great Falls.
The first flood rolled thru Havre in a wall of water five feet high. Water was hip deep in some homes in the eastern section of Havre, a city of 16,000. The Milk river, at its highest level in ten years, washed over the northern part of Harlem. Malta, a town of 3,200, is build on the river flats about 60 miles below Harlem. The river was not yet near flood stage there, but a swift rise was expected.

The Nebraska State Journal Lincoln Nebraska 1938-06-24