September 23, 1909


Mr. and Mrs. Robert Miller and
Frank W. Hager Tell of Ad-
ventures in Great Monterrey
Flood and Hurricane.

Huddled with a score of Mexican refugees in a shack fourteen by sixteen feet for over thirty-one hours, while the wind blew with an average velocity of 100 miles an hour and the rain fell i n torrents, and standing during this time knee deep in water was the thrilling experience of Mrs. Robert Miller, a Kansas City bride of a few days on her honeymoon trip in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, during the recent hurricane and unprecedented floods there.

Mrs. Miller, who was Miss Anna Belle Schell, her husband, Robert Miller, and Frank W. Hager of Kansas City, who are interested in a big land grant, and John B. Demaras and Demosthenes Lapith of Kansas City, Kas., were the only white persons in that territory for several weeks. During nine days of that time the party, cut off by the floods from roads and communication with the outside world, killed goats and subsisted on goat flesh.

All reached Kansas City early yesterday morning, none the worse for their experience, and Mrs. Miller declares that she is ready to go again.

The party experienced delightful weather until they got well into Mexico. Then it began to rain. They began having trouble at Victoria in getting to Soto La Marina valley, their objective point, which is about eighteen miles from the Gulf of Mexico. they arrived at the village of Soto La Marina on August 27 after riding for some ten miles through water breast deep on the horses. The path was picked up by a native who several times had to swim with his horse.


On their arrival at Soto La Marina it became apparent that the town would be flooded by the rapidly rising river. It was raining heavily and the only refuge was on the hills west of the town. It would have been impossible to have returned to Victoria, so Mr. Miller and his party joined the native refugees. A quantity of food was hastily gathered and as the water began to fill the streets the inhabitants abandoned the town. The trip to the hills, about fourteen miles, was accomplished with difficulty. Frequently the horses would splash into holes and all of the riders were soaked to the skin.

"When we arrived at the shack near the junction of the Palma and the Sota La Marina river, which is the location of a proposed townsite, the rain was coming down in torrents, and the word torrent means just what the dictionary says it does down there," said Mr. Hager, one of the members of the party. "There were several adobe huts and to these the Mexican refugees hastened for shelter. Some joined us in the shack, which was built of up-ended logs with the chinks plastered with mud and a thatched roof, tied down with the native cord, formed of pieces of stringy bark.

"The way the house was tied together is about the only thing that saved us from the merciless wind and rain that night. It began to blow up about 11 p. m.


"Wind gauges at government stations broke after recording velocities of 124 miles an hour, and I believe that the wind traveled just a little faster where we were.

"There were a score of us in the shack. The water swept through from the hillside until we stood almost knee deep. We had no light nor fire. We had some tortillas which kept us alive. About 7 a. m. the wind died down and for half an hour there was a perfect calm.

"Suddenly with a shriek the wind turned from north to south and blew as strong or stronger from that direction. Of course there was no such thing as sleep. The natives prayed constantly and the women bemoaned their fate. We knew of course that we were in no immediate danger, but we were in constant fear of our little shelter being blown from off our heads. All that day and the next night the storm continued. About 6 a. m. the sun came out the greater part of our stay there.


"When the storm abated we began to look for food. Someone espied some goats on a hillside. We gave chase and an hour later had a nice goat roasting on a spit. That meal was the best I had eaten for some time.

"We were on a slight knoll, and after the meal we started to look around. We were practically surrounded by water, except for one outlet around an almost impassible mountainside dense with tropical verdure. We could do nothing but wait for these waters to subside. We slept on the ground. Saddles were our pillows. For nine days we lived the lives of savages, subsisting almost entirely on goat meat. I thought at one time I liked goat meat, but I got enough to do me the rest of my life.

"We finally made the start South. Natives went ahead and with knives and axes cut a path along the mountainside. A forty-mile ride under those circumstances was not the most enjoyable pastime in the world. When we arrived at Paddua there was but one hotel there, and it had one room which had been left with a roof.

"This room, of course, went to the bride and the bridegroom. The rest of us made ourselves comfortable on cots with the blue sky overhead.

"About midnight I was awakened by the patter of rain drops on my face. I was sleepy and pulled the blanket over my head and slept until I found myself resting in several inches of water. The rain ceased an hour or so later and after dumping the water out of the cots we all went back to sleep. It was much easier from there on home, as we found good accommodations at Tampico.


"One of the most remarkable things to us is the fact that although the five of us were wet to the skin for two weeks and slept out on the ground during the greater part of that time, not one of us felt any ill effects. We were chilly at times, it is true, but that wore off and not one of us caught the slightest cold or felt any inconvenience. I gained four pounds. Mr. Demaras gained eight pounds and the others in the party all put on some flesh.