Kate Workman

Young Kate Workman and her baby. They, and the third family member, Harry Workman, were swept away in the 1913 flood.

BRINKHAVEN -- One of my favorite aspects of doing the History Knox column is that these pieces often bring in responses, sometimes from those who know the story, other times from those who have heard it for the first time.

Once in a while, a column reaches someone who has further information.

Reader Carrie Howe has a couple of postcard photos in her family collection that relate to the Brinkhaven flood of 1913 that was recently discussed here. They both particularly relate to the tragic part of the event, where Harry and Kate Workman, and their child, were swept away in the flood which ripped away part of Brinkhaven on March 26, 1913.

As noted previously, Harry and Kate's bodies were found several days later after a local psychic advised the searchers to look in the mill race of the Thompson Mill.

Building Dam

Volunteers rush to build a temporary dam across the Thompson Mill water race in Brinkhaven, in hopes of finding the bodies of flood victims. 

One of Carrie's images shows the dam that volunteers built across the mill race, so that water could be pumped out. Before the water level was all the way down, searchers located the bodies of the young couple. The infant was never found.

This real photo postcard shows the process of building the dam with rocks. Some of the people are blurred in the image, because the search was more important than stopping to pose for a photographer.

Not everyone buys the psychic's guidance to the mill race.

Reader Irv Oslin says, "I smell a rat," and points out that someone with a basic knowledge of hydraulics -- not a common thing those days -- could have logically figured out where the bodies were most likely swept.

To date, I haven't been able to dig up any information about Old Gorum's expertise in fluid dynamics, so the rat is still grinning for now.

The other postcard Carrie has shared with us is poignant, because it is an actual image of Kate Workman and her baby. A photographer must have gotten access to a photograph, perhaps from family, then taken a picture of the picture to make this postcard. It came out very clearly, and one can see Kate's kind face in the picture, which must have been taken within the year.

How tragic to see this beautiful young mother, who could have had no idea the doom that awaited her and her family.

Stay tuned for another follow up to this story that will be coming soon!

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