Events mark Camille's 40th anniversary

cover-woods-mill-signHardly a road or bridge was undamaged in Nelson County.

slideshow button.inddWhile others celebrate the 40th anniversary of seminal 1969 events like Woodstock, Nelson County pauses for a more somber remembrance: the hellish night of August 19-20, 1969, when Hurricane Camille dumped more than 27 inches of rain in five hours and slid mountains, flooded streams, and took the lives of 125 people

One of the first confirmed deaths was below Wintergreen, where a 40-mph debris flow slammed into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Hawes Ewing. At 10am Wednesday, August 19, some of the people involved in rescue and recovery, such as Dr. Bob Raynor, who worked on identifying the dead (eight were never identified), will gather at the historic marker at the bridge on 151. Author Earl Swift, who wrote The Tangierman's Lament, will interview survivors.

Throughout this year, Oakland-Nelson County Museum of History has sponsored Camille-related events. The last is at 7pm Thursday, August 20, at the Nelson County High School.

The program starts with a slide show of rarely seen photographs. Two survivors– Colleen Stevens Thompson, who was swept three-and-a-half miles down Muddy Creek and lost a child, and Curtis Matthews, who lost his home just south of Woods Mill– will recount their experiences.

The Fortune Family Singers will perform, and the Reverend John Gordon, then minister of Lovingston's Calvary Baptist Church who led the effort to recover the dead, will read the names of those who lost their lives, a list recently revised upward a notch to 125 and that includes whole families.

The event is free and open to the public. Nelson High is three miles south of Lovingston on U.S. 29.