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Floods

Mississippi River floods were a way of life. Inundations, occurring over thousands of years, deposited the rich alluvial soil that nourished the cotton plant. The soil was so rich that Deltans said "even a fencepost will sprout leaves."

The floods also caused much hardship and loss for the plantation owners, farmers and tenants. "High water" sometimes stayed for weeks, spreading sickness and waste among humans and animals. Spring floods also occurred in the middle of the crucial planting season.

Drawing made from original photograph by Patorno and Coovert, 1890, Greenville. Harper's Weekly.
Drawing made from original photograph by Patorno and Coovert, 1890, Greenville. Harper's Weekly.
Refugees on the levee, 1912 flood. "Gas works be damed!!" Photo by Coovert No. 1450. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. Refugees on the levee, 1912 flood. "All I Saved Was the Bible" Photo by Coovert, Memphis No. 1457. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.

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"In Search of J.C. Coovert"
An illustrated lecture on the life and work of J.C. Coovert by Jane Adams and D. Gorton

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Cotton

Flood

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Sunny Side Plantation

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    "Market St. Landing 4/6/12" Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1432. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Negroes in Overflow District,." Photo by  Coovert, Memphis. No. 1459. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "High Water - April 6th 1912. Photo by Coovert No. 1428. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. "High Water" Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1461. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Camping on the Levee" Photo by Coovert, Memphis No. 1453. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. "A Home on the Levee" Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1454. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Run Around to Stop Seepage From Craw Fish Hole" Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1464. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "High Water - Stock on Mound" Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1465. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "High Water at Main & Mill Sts. April 1912." Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1439. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. "High Water at Main & Mill Sts. April 1912." Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1438. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Merchants Power Plant - 4/6/12" Photo by Coovert, Memphis No. 1433. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. "Memphis Gas Plant - 4-6-12: Photo by Coovert, memphis, No. 1424. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Looking North on Main St. " Photo Coovert, Memphis, No. 1409. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. "Boat Landing Main St. 4/7/12" Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1410. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Memphis Gas Works - Pumping Out Water - 4,000,000 Gallons in 24 Hours 4/17/12." Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1444. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection. "Memphis Gas Works - 4/17/12 - Pumping Out Water 700,000 Gallons in 24 Hours."  Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1443. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    High Water. April 8th 1912. Levee on Poplar St. Built by Memphis St. Railway." Photo by Coovert , Memphis, No. 1438. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "Mill St. Bridge 4/8/12." Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1431. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.
    "High Water Sho Is Hell," April 6th, 1912." Photo by Coovert, Memphis, No. 1437. Memphis/Shelby County Library Collection.