Nellie Neukom to her husband Edward, away on business, and family in Pennsylvania:
“April 12, 1913, 10 A.M.
“My dearest Edward Mamma Tacy Evelene and all who belong to you all… Harriet gets ice—meat—(and things we can’t buy in the usual way) when she gets their supplies. Their auto & man to run it has to give service free six hours every day—And they need ‘Lawn’ for the house work yard et et these days. (For [naturally?] their house cleaning is done. We have such good and friendly neighbors & friends. Old Black Percy—is here part of every day and does all sorts fo jobs that help. He goes to the brewery & get the free ‘Lilly water‘ each day. That special water is usually sold in bottles! The water supply is perfectly safe from naturally filtered water away below the river bed–; but, there are so many leaks in the pipes that bad water leaks in & plenty goes out too! So the water must be boiled or we must carry the perfectly good ‘Lilly water’—(It is pumped direct from many feet below—the service surface—the underlaying gravel formation is a natural filter for all deep wells)—There was a big article in the News yesterday, about correcting the river, by Arthur Yiesler. Yesterday Mrs. Yiesler was here to return things she borrowed the day of the flood!! My I am thankful we were so well supplied—that 20 lbs of coffee came in handy—and other things too! Mrs. Fred Bruce (Racine) sent a Racine paper and they published the news Edward sent to Mrs. Bruce! There was shooting & some trouble night before last up above the Dayton View Bridge… The Martial Law is a great blessing & very necessary. The first few nights was like a battle! And—I heard the men howl and twice one night some one said—’I was only out for water!’ Edward said!—’Don’t sympathize that is only an excuse!’ You see fire would have added horror over here among the homes already over crowded. And, there was stealing & fire would have helped to steal more! There have been many dreadful things—Mrs. Neff saw them shoot down one man & drag him off in an auto or patrol. Always after the shooting one could hear the rush of the autos (filled with soldiers). One night they (soldiers) were in between all our houses in this block. The excitement has been intense and there have been [stoves on stoves?]. And, you would overflow with sympathy—Gasoline stoves unfit for use were in service. Tanks leaking & running down the pipes onto the floor—burners lit! I saw enough & could guess conditions when I did not see. Had all arranged in my mind if I’ve had to get out. The wheelbarrow to carry hatchet—saw—big iron kettle canned goods. That with plenty of matches could have been used as a camp outfit anywhere outside… Any way am thankful no fire came! And—that the fire engines all in commission & water in the pipes. Any man who had hauled a boat into the ‘Algonquin Hotel’ when the water was at the curb would have been considered crazy—But—’Farnum’ said they would have given anything to have a canoe in the upper floors when the water was up. So many were there for days and could not get out & no boats or canoes for a long time! So ‘In time of peace prepare for war.’ In case of flood have boats. In case of fire—wheelbarrows & camp outfits…
“…Everett has a big job on hand today to take photos of a ‘filing cabinet’ in the Arcade (About $15). He has orders ahead for the flood photos & will be busy this (Sat. P.M.) & Sunday. He intends to take a photo of that immense [log] on Monument Ave—(Left leaning on a window ledge) Edw. will tell about it. A lumber man wants the photo to show as a freak of the flood. There are letters from everywhere & I can’t manage to answer them… Lovingly—your own dear Nellie.”