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The Story of Johnstown. 


Story of Johnstown 



MAY 3 1ST, 1S89 


Editor Harrisburi; Ti;Ifi,r:uii ^. -- 

Pycratory Note by RE]'. JOHiX R. PAX TON, D. D.. of Nfzc Y.:<>-k 

IllustrateJ by 

Bapo.v de Gri.w.m, George Spiel, Coi.'ltal:s, A. Heuche, Victor Perard, 

G. E. Blrr .mJ. ALGLST BRUNO, rrom Original Designs, 

Sketches and Photographs 

harpisbl'rg. pa. 

Ja.mes ,\\. Place, Publisher 



Would h.irn-c l,p .>;,y Scu</ .- />,v:,- !hy y'llK- bUod: 
Make thy eyes, iikd stars, start Jro'n their spli.-r.-< 






A book on such a subject, written to give a plain statement 
of facts ami do something for a good cause, could have no intro- 
duction better than this letter from one of the eminent divines 
of the age : 


Nkw Yokk, A'.'T'. 4, iSSg. 
] ] i:>o_ . n,;rn:bui-. Pa. 

Mr />,.!>■ Sir . I ?ee by Governor Beaver's letter to the publit^her that yon 
propose to write a book 0!i the Johnstown Flood. It should be done at once, while 
the so-nts and incidents of those dreadful dajs are fresh and unfaded in our 

Let the stor\ of the awful calamity be put into endiirinL; type for future gene- 
rations It ranks among the great calamities of the world and deserves a place in 

I know no one better qualified for the task than \ourself. Having seen it with 
your own eves, now let your graphic pen tell the story for unborn generations. I 
sincereb- trust the \olume max soon come from the press and a copy of it lie on 
mv table Sincerely yours. 

John R r.^iXxoN 

If the volume merit the approval of the public, antl be the 
means of relieving distress, the author will be doubly rewarded 
for a labor which necessarily involved nianx paniful e.xperiences. 
••The Story of Johnstown" goes f.irth dedicated to ever\- man, 
woman and child ,vhose heart has felt f..r the sorrowini;. whose 
mite has been given to alleviate distress, and to whom the claims 
of a stricken commmiit\- can never appeal in vain. 


Any commercial interest that may ordinarih' attacli itself to 
a publication issued from our press does not belon,^; to this, vol- 
ume. The book was conceived in a spirit of profound s\'m- 
path\- lor a certain class of the survivors of the Johnstown flood, 
old and \'oun^', for whose benefit the profits will be sacredK' 
applied. 0\'er their future life on earth stretches a shadow 
darker than the leaden clouds which, on that fateful dav, swept 
their domestic circles with a storm of bitter grief, and over- 
whelmed their peaceful homes with disaster. 

To aid these sufierers any personal considerations must 
yield to the higher instincts of our humanity.' 

"No radian: pearl which crested furtune \\"t'ars, 
No gem that twinkling hangs in beauty's ears, 
Not the bright stars which nights blue arch adorn 
Nor rising sun that gilds the vernal morn 
Shines with such lustre as the tear that tlows 
* Down virtue's manl\' cheek for others' woes." 

This realistic and thrilling historv is issued with confidence 
that the benevolent end sought will be fullv attained through 
the generous response of the great English-speaking public. 

Harkisi;l"kg, Pa. Publishc;: 



Lake Conem-\l'gh. \\'ith \'il\vs of the Dam ^3 

Drikting to Death 60 

Wreck of the Dav Expkess 72 

Wreckage Along Stonv Creek 94 

Burning Debris at the Stone Bridge 106 

Ruins of St. John's Convent 132 

Scene Above the Railroad Bridge 14- 

SiTE of the Hl'LBERT H'USE i-o 

Scenes in the Morgues and P^rospect Graveyard - - 1S7 

Merchants and Doctors Who Perished 212 

Portraits of THE Fenn Family ... 230 

Distributing Supplies at Relief Stations 24S 

Wrecking Car Clearing Auav Debris 200 

General Hastings and Military HEADyUARTERS 272 

Wreckage on Lincoln Street 20S 

Portraits OF THE Flood Relief Co.MMissioN 316 

Portraits of Twelve L-.d!Es Whu Lo-t Their Lives 340 

View of Johnstown .^i-te:; the Flood 364 





Beyond the Allegheny Mountains a Century Ago — Picturesque Features — 
Nature's Lavish Beauties — Where Indians Roamed and Wild Beasts Lurked 
— Early White Settlers —Ebensburij, Beulah. Loretto — Curious Advertise- 
ment to Attract Immigration — Struggles and Privations — Father Gallitrin's 
Grand Work — His Extraordinary Career — Historic Meeting — A Nev; Name 
on the Map of Pennsylvania — First Beginnings of Cambria County. 


General Campbell's Application — Original Survey of the Site of the Coming 
Metropolis — Fac-Simile of the Return to the Land Office — Transfers and 
Changes of Property — r)uplicate of the First Patent — Arrival of Joseph 
Johns — Points in the Life of the Founder of the Town — Remosal to the 
Country — Hia Death and Burial — Laid to Rest in a Secluded Xook — Abo- 
riginal Remains — Pioneers of Civilization — Hopes and Aspirations. 


.•\ Charter for the " Town of Conemauch " — Primitive Enterprises — Serious 
Floods — Peter Levergood's Liberal Policy — The I'ennsylvania Canal and 
the Old Portage Railroad — Prominent Personages — Notable Landmarks — 
Adopting the Name of Johnstcwn — Churches and Schools — ^Modern Im- 
provements — Growth and Prosperity — From a Forest to a Community of 
Thirty Thousand Suuls 


Establishment of a Great Industry — Details of Its Organization — The Prime 
Mover in the Project — Difficulties and Failures — Changes of Management — 
Success and Steady Enlargement — Wonderful Output of Steel Rails — The 
Gautier Wire Mill — .Vn Immense Store— Endowing a Hospital .-ind Library 
— Brief Sketch of a Powerful Corporation which Gave Johnstown World- 
wide Reputation a.s a M.inufacturing Center. 


How an Artificial Created— ,V Feeder of the Pennsylvania Canal 
— Its Ruin and Restoration — The Fishing and Hunting Club— Charter and 
Subscribers— Their Wealth — .\ Beautiful Summer Resort — Imperfect Con- 
struction and Faulty Materia! — Millions of Tons of Water Burst the Barrier 
and Overwhelm the C-neinaush X'alley— The Fatal Break on the Last Day 
of May — Statements of E\e-Witnesses— .V \'isit to the Spot. 



VI. MARCH ur Tin; DliSTKOVHK 6i 

A Day of KuiuTeal Gloom- -Rush of Waters Down the Valley — John Baker's 
Heroic KiJe— Kava^es at South-Fork- -First Victim of the Flood— Shafers 
Fate — All Engineer's F^scape- -Railroaders ] )r. .« ned Sad Scenes Along the 
Route— The Viaduct Washed Auay- Miiv ral IViint Obliterated— The Hish 
Bridge Cone- A Perilous Journey— Terrible Loss of Life and Property at 
East Concmaut^h — Franklin Borough I'lunged into Mourning. 


.A Thrilling Episode — The Fated Lassenu' r Trains at Flasi Conemaugh — 
Hours of .Anxious Waiting — An F^ngineer's Shrill Warning — The Avalanche 
of Death — Hurrying to the Hills for Safety — Drowned and Carried .Away 
by the Flood — Vestibuled Coaches Burned — Kound-House Wiped Out — 
Locomotives Buried — How Two F'air (lirls Ferished — Statements of .Awe- 
Struck Survivors — .A Disaster Unparalleled in Railroad .-Vnnals. 


A Pretty Tov.n FMoiteJ Out of Existence — The Struggle for Life— Remark- 
able Rescue of a F'amily — A Frail Bridge and Its Solitary Occupant — One 
Taken and Two Saved — The Woolen Mill Partially Wrecked — Total De- 
struction of the Gautier Works — Three Hundred People Perish — Some of 
the Dead — An Aged Couple Go Down to Death Together — Ffappy Homes 
Desolated — .Affecting Details — Not a House Left in the Borough Proper. 


The Death-Dealing Wa\e Moving Onward — Its .Accelerated Speed and Re- 
sistless Power — Peculiarities of the Advancing Mass — Mowing Down En- 
tire Streets and Drowning the Inmates of Hundreds of Houses — Devasta- 
tion in Conemaugh Borough, John?to\\n, Kernville, Milhille and Cambria 
— Xo Warning and No Time to Fly — Miles of Wreckage — .\ppalling Loss 
of Life and Property — The Saddest Desolation Human Eyes Ever Beheld- 


The Dreadful Sights and Sounds of a Xight of Unutterable .\gony — Dying 
in the Rain and in the Darkness — Falling ISuildings and Crashing Wreck- 
age — Conflagration at the Railroad Bridge— Dead Bodies and Living Beings 
4 Consumed — Calcined B^nes and Roasted Flesh — Dramatic Episodes — -A 

Gruesome Spectacle Near Nineveh — Fleads, ,\rms and Legs Sticking Out 
of the Sand and Muck — Recitals that Surpass the Wildest Flights of Fiction 


Awakening to the Full Reality and Extent of the Devastation — What the 
Dawn of a New Day Disclosed — Miles of Barren Waste and Heaping Wreck- 
age — Walking Over and Crawling Under Squares and Streets of Chaos — 
Cellars Packed with L'irt and Stones and c'orpses — Landmarks \\'iped Out 
— A Survey of the Fragments that Buried .Veres of Johnstown, Conemaugh 
Borough and Kernville Fathoms Deep. 


Abundant i rovision in S' ,Matters--l'lacts of NVorship and Ministers 
— Sanctuaries Wiped Oft the Face ot the Fl.irth— Clergymen and their Fam- 
ilies Drowned — F~ire and I'lood Comliine to Destroy a Sacred Edifice — Pe- 


culiar Experience of the Sisters of Charity — A Rector and His Wife and 
Child Meet Death Locked in a Firm Embrace —Father D.ivins Zealous 
, Ser\ ices and Lamented End — The Wonderful Image of the \'irgin Mary. 


No Scarcitv of Mishaps and Wonderful I i,-liverances— All Xi'^^ht in Trees- 
Hurled Under the Stone Brid^'e — Six Da\s I'mged in the Debris — A Box- 
Car as an Ark of Safety — Landed on tl)e Telegraph Wires — Fraying in an 
■ Attic — Wedding Guests Wading — Floating Long Distances and Reaching 
Shore — People Alive whom Friends Stipposed to be Lost — Wrested from 
the Very Jaws of the Destroyer — Tales of Survivors that Stagger Credibility. 


Imitators of Jmi Bludso and Banty Tim not' Unknown — Numerous Gallant 
Rescues — A Negro Saves a Child — Families and Friends Taken off Float- 
ing Mouses — He Stayed to Sound the Warning — Boy Heroes — Faithful 
Dogs — Tramps with Generous Souls — Men and Women Who Stuck to the 
Post of Duty — Telegraphers Whose Services Deserve Unstinted Honor — 
Redeeming Traits Exemplified by a Host of Nature's True Nobility. 


Multitudes of Bodies to be Taken from the Debris and Interred — Improv- 
ised Morgues and Their Ghastly Tenants — .\gonizing Spectacles — Rough 
Boxes for Unshrouded Corpses — 0\cr the Hill to a Temporary Burial- 
Place — Hundreds Unidentified — Nineveh's Dismal Cargoe.s — Crazed by 
Grief — Final Removal to Grand \'iew — Coroner's Inquests — Where Sorrow 
Held Undisputed Sway — The Most Mournful Duty of thij Sur\ Ivors. 

XVI. so>;e of the mctims 213 

The Frightful Roll of the Lost— .\ Garland for Those Who Have Gone Be- 
fore — Well-Known People Cut Off — Ho« Professional Men, Merchants and 
Private Citizens Met an Untimel)' F"ate — Communities Fearfully Decimated 
— Cambria's Long List — Whole Families Blotted Out — F'amiliar F~igures 
Missing From Their .A.ccustomed Haunts — Terrible Gaps in Society and 
Business That Can Ne\er Again be Filled. 


Lamentable Scarcity of Children .\fter the Flood — Boys and Girls of Ten- 
der Years Drowned by Hundreds — D;,om of the Fenn Family — Prattlers 
whose Voices are Hushed Forever — The Light and Joy of Many House- 
holds Extinguished bv the Cruel Waters — Tiny Coffins — Buried with Her 
Doll — Little Folks who were Universal Favorites — The Saddest Feature of 
the Overwhelming Caiamity — Wh> Loving Htarts -Ached, 


Many Hungry People the Day .\fter the Flood — Children Cr\ ing for Bread 
— The Good Farmer Who Came with a Suppl>' of Milk — Extortionate 
Dealers Brought to Their Senses in Short Metre — Somerset Sends the First 
Car of Provisions on Sundav Morning — Wagon-Loads of Food from \i- 
toona — Senator fjuay's Welcome firaft — How I'amine was .\verted — .\ 
Troublesome Problem Solved Temporarily by I'r<.inipi Measures. 

cox 77-:. VIS. 



The Lawless F.lemeiit Ivampant — Repressing Robbery and Riot — A Gant: 
of Thieves— Organi.diii; lorthe Protection of Lifeand Propcrtv — .V Dicta- 
tor Appointed — Loafers and rruwltrs Shut i )ut — Workmen Enga^'ed to 
Clear Off the Wreckage— Pittshuruli ("nntractors al the Helm — .\ Horde.. f 
"Tin-Tas " Olticers — .Xniateur Photographers Shoveling Dirt — The Initial 
Steps Towards Kepairit.y the Rava>;es ol the Deluge. 


The Adjutant-General .-f Pennsyhania on the Ground— His Humble Meal 
and Tramp Proteire — (.'onsultin,' with the Sheriff and the l)Urt;ess — Troops 
Called Out — The Fourti-enth Re.^iment Dues Eftecti\e Service — ^■isit of 
Governor Beaver — Interesting Letters and Dispatches — The Stable .\s- 
sunies Entire Charge — The Board of Health .Actively ICngaged — \'ii,'orous 
Work in Clearing the Wreckage and Restoring the Ruined District. 


The World's Response to the .\ppeal for .\id — Civilized Nations Hasten to 
Succor the Distressed — Cities, Towns and Individuals Pour in Contribu- 
tions — Many Notable Ofiermgs — Associations. Societies and Churches 
Splendidly Represented — Generous Erin's Greeting — p'ood, Clothing and 
Shelter in Abundance — Noble Women A\'ho Were Ministering .Vn^els — .\ 
Stream of Charity Grand and Resistless as Niagara Itself. 


Prominent Gentlemen Selected to Distribute Millions of Dollars — Their 
High Character and Ability — How the Funds Were Handled for the Bene- 
fit of the Sufferers — .\ Board of Inquiry Established — Methods of Pro- 
cedure — Death rjf Judge Cummin — Five Thousand Claimants Assisted — 
DftHculties to be Surmriunted — Ktiicient Service of the Secretary — Closing 
the .-\ccounts — Record I'f an Enterprise Unrivalled in the .\nnalsof Time. 


Recitals of E)ifferent Survivors. Who Tell of What They Underwent and 
Witnessed — Trying Situation of a p'amily on Market Street. C'f Whose 
Home Not a Vestige Remained — In Water Up to the Neck — Homes Car- 
« ried Away and Neighbors Borne Down the Current — Ladies Whose Cour- 

age Did Not Falter in Time of Trial — What Two Citi^'ens Saw in Their 
Travels Over the District — Statements of What Many 7'eople F^ndured. 


Heart-Breaking Separations From Loved Ones — .\ Brother's .-^gony — How 
a Wife and Daughter Were Lust — .V Drtnvning Wife's LastJKiss — .V Faith- 
ful Lover's Vigil —.\tfection that Death Could not Su'odue — Relics of the 
Missing at .Alma Hall — \\'eird Collection of Souvenirs of the Disaster — 
Terrible Grief of a Si:rrov. ing Maiden — Fate of a Young Bride — .An .Aued 
Citizen's Sore Misiortim'-s — r>i-,tressing Occurrences of .Manv Kinds. 


An.Kious Friends in l,U:v = t of .N' and Dear Relati\'es Whom Death Had 
Claimed— Weeks and Month'; of Patient Search for Bodies — Haunting the 
Heaps of Debris and the Morgues — .V Devoted Si.ster and a P'aithful 



Brother— Comini; Great Distances on Mournful Errands — How Sonic 
Were Rewarded and Others Disappointed — A Feature of the Flood Which 
Developed Painful Surprises — Hopes and Fears of Earnest Watchers. 


Hosts uf l-i..._'us Sufferers Making Capital Out of Calamity — Impostors and 
Pretenders Unmasked — Two Rascals Receive Their Just Desert — Exag- 
gerations Exploded — A Mean Specimen of Mankind — Three Sisters Cheat- 
ed — Silver Lining to the Cloud — Xoble Conduct — Aftermath of the Delude 
— Bits of Driftwood that Reflect Various Qualities of Character — A \'a- 
rietv of Odds and Ends Rescued from the Wreck for the Public Benelit. 


The Destruction by the Mood Does Not Mean Perpetual Ruin — The First 
Signs of Reno\ation — Starting the Iron Works and Steel Mills — Invincible 
Determination of the Citizens — ]klen of Resolute Will Who Would Not De- 
sert the Old Home — Consolidating the FSorough Into a City — An Electric 
Railway— Spreading 0\er the Hills— The Xew Johnstown Will Be Grand- 
er and Greater Than the One Blotted Out by the Delude in 1SS9. 

APPENDIX — Lis.T OK Idlmihed \' 



Beyond the Allegheny Mountains a Centvrv Ado — Picturesque Features — Nature's 
Lavish Beauties — \\HEkE Indians Roamed and Wild Beasts Lukkeu — Early AVhite 
Settlers — Ebenseurg, Beulah; Loretto — Curious Advertisement to Attract Im- 
migration — Struggles and Privations — Father Gali.itzin's Grand Work — His 
Extraordinary C\kler — Historic Meeting — A New Name on the Mat oe Penn- 
sylvania — First Beginnings of Camekia Coumty. 

" My soul fantastic meafiiircf; troti 

O'er lairy tields; or luoiiriied alo(i>: llic gloom 
Of paihless uoods; or down llifcray-v stctp 
Hurl'd he.idlom;. ^":un ^vUll | tlu niantkd po..I, 
Or scaled the- cUti."— Vol sc. 

O BACK in imagination a centur\' nnd picture 
the region iiiimciliateh' bc\onil the chief 
mountain-range o[ Pennsyh'ania. Surelv 
the Spanish navigator's enraptured vision 
of the broad Pacific crjuld not have sur- 
passed the charming prosjiect. Nature lias 
scattered ideal beauties lavishly. Mills and 
dales, ra^•iu^JS and rivulets, frowning cliffs 
and wooded slopt-s dot the landscape thicklw 
Few whites have penetrated the dense wil- 
derness, the abode alone of wikl beasts or 
still v,ilde-r IIldian^. Although the eastern 
part of the State has been settled fur three 
generations, this romantic section continiRs almtjst unexpluied. W ithout a 
disturbing fear of the Caucasian intruder, -who is suon to dri\e him hence, the 
dusk}' bra\e in buckskin and nioci.asius roams at will. W'ohes and iianthers 

A PIONfctR Ca 


Jirowl iinniokstL'd. aiul straiv^c liirds tuittcr amid the branches of tlie trees. 
Lass and tnuit spurt in a myriad streams, whose Hnipid waters foam and dash 
o\cr rock}- beds on tlieir tireless march to the sea. E\crL;reens and tlov.ers 
bloom in secluded lo\eIiness, "wasting their sweetness on the desert air." 
Far as the can rt-acli tin- prime\"al forest ^\•a\■es in majestic grandeur, ap- 
parently destined to abide fore\er. Sneli is the counlr\ awaiting, in the sum- 
mer of i7'Sy, the precursors of ci\ilization t>n tlie western side of the Alleghen- 
ies, wliich seemed the boiuidary o[ human hopes and fears and wishes in the 
vast heritage the prodigal caprice of an English sovereign had \ested in a 
Quaker subject. 

l^irectly after the treaty eif Fort Stan\vi.\ in 176"^. which had so important 
a bearing upon the future of this Commonwealth, the heirs of William Penn 
quieted the titles to enormous blocks of land ••between the Alleghenv ]\Ionnt- 
ains and the Forks of tlie Ohio.'' Much of this patrimony was in Cumberland 
county, from which in 1771 Bedford was set off, embracing an area divided 
subse'iuently into W'estninrel.ind. Somerset, Indiana, Cambria, anil portions of 
r>lair and Mmitingdoii. Long prior to this period De Soto gazed upon the 
Mississippi and the French established themselves at Detroit. James Harrod 
and Daniel Boone haiJ founded colonies in Kentuck\', and Cincinnati boasted 
of a block-house. A struggling hamlet at Fort Dininesne vas to grow into 
the city of PittsburL;li. Washington had journexed to P'ort \enango, more 
than a hundred miles uji the Ohio — now the Allegheny — ri\'er in 1753. Rude 
trails led from Bedford to others that formed the sole means of communica- 
tion with Ohio and Michigan. Still the great West was practicall\- as little 
known as the heart of .Vfrica, sa\"e by adventurous Nimrods in pursuit of game, 
who cared nothing for the wonderful possibilities besetting tlieir rough path- 
way. It was contrary to the genius of the age that a district teeming with 
natural resources should remain undeveloped. Westward the star of empire 
was already speeding, introducing a new order of affairs as it moved toward 
the Occident. For the brighter era aliout to be ushered in the Ke_\ stone State 
is e[uite pirepared. The fiat goes forth, and the greas_\- Seneca and smoky On- 
ondaga give place to the intelliuent. aggressive pale-face. The tomahawk 
yields to the axe of the sturd\- farmer, the deer and the fox make wa\' for tlie 
sheep and the horse. Fields of golden grain, the log cabin and the plouiih 
succeed, the trackless wastes, the wigwam and the implements of the chase. 

Captain Michael McGuire, jierhaps the lirst settler within the limits of 
Cambria ccuinty. located near the site of Loretto early in 1790. Me was fol- 
lowed b_\' Cornelius McGuire, Richard N'agle, William 1 )ot.-.on, Michael Rauer, 
James Alcorn. John Storm and Richard .Vshcraft. John Trux. Joliii Douglass. 
John B\rne and \\'iiiiam Meloy were later accessions. The infant settle- 
ment endured tlie privations and hardships incident to frontier life a hundred 
N'eara aL;o. Wretciied ho\-els, roofed \\ith bark and chinked \\ ith mud, aUorded 

//o.u£s /.\ r///: ir/f.nERXESs. 25 

poor protection against the rigors of a northern winter. Clothing was insntti- 
cient and food not to be obtained without incredible toil KoaiJs, mills, stores 
and markets were unknown. Savages liirkid in the thickets, eager to strike a 
blow at the detested in\-aders. Fenimore Cooper's ••noble Indian" was not 
the variet\' encountered b\' these immigrants. But the\' were of stalwart 
stock, full of pluck and energy, resolute and courageous, heroes without 
epaulettes, who boidh' severed the ties that boimd them to civilized life and 
undertook to make the untrodden wilds subservient to their interest antl hap- 
piness. The high purpose and patient entlurance of these leabhearted men — 
advance-guards of the better epoch just dawning — recei\ed their appropriate 
reward. ]\Iany of them acquired a competence, liN'ed to l>ring up their families 
comfortably, enjoyed the re-^pect attaching to honorable age, and at length 
descended to the tomb as shocks of wheat fully ripe for the harvest. 

l\Irs. Alcorn was carried off by the Indians, but Michael Rager reared 
twent\"-seven lust\' sons and daughters, and the McGuires populated a con- 
siderable jiortion of Allegheny tciwuship. John Storm built the first grist- 
mill, and a Welsh colon}-, headed b\- the Re\-. Kees Lloyd, in \-'j6 settled the 
ridge seven miles west of tl;e summit. The name of Cambria was applied to 
the new township as a reminder of the dear old home across the Atlantic. 
iNIr. Llo\d surveyed a town, which he called Ebensburg in compliment to his 
son Ellen. Dr. Benjamin Rush, the celebrated Pliiladelpliia phvsician and 
patriot, it is interesting to note, sold the lands to the pilgrims from Wales. A 
number of Welshmen also selected farms on Blacklick Creek, a tributar\- of 
the Conemaugh, and located the village of Beulah, t\\i3 miles west of Ebens- 
burg. An advertisement bearing the signature of MorL^an J. Rhees. printed 
in a Carlisle paper in May, 1797, is a curious illustrati'Ui ui the inducements 
the ••Cambrian Settlement'' had to offer. An e;\act cop}' sheds light upon 
b}'gone methods of marketing real estate : 

"This settlement, although in its infant state, offers considerable encouragement to 
Emigrants, and others, who have an enterprising spirit, and are willing for a few vears to 
undergo, and surmount diflicuities in the acquirement of Independence. 

"Several families are nov.- on the land, and many more have engaged to follow in the 
Spring, when a town namejd Beul.xh, one mile square, will be laid out ; 305 acres of which 
will be givL'n and sold for the sole benefit of the firsit settlers, viz : fcir public Building's 
Schools, a Librar}-, the encouragement of .Agriculture, and Manufacture, and ::oo acres in the 
settlement for the dissemination of Relisious knowled:.'e 

"Such institutions, it is presumed, must have a tendency to promote the welfare of the 
settlement, and be of public utility to the neighborhood in general — a neighborhood which 
the late Jtjhn Craig Miller, Hs.-j , did not he'-:itate to declare, would I'ecome in time. 'The 
Garden of I'ennsylvania.' The situation is certainly healthy, fertile and pleasant. The 
surveyor, J. Han is, Esq., ' that the spot on which the settlement is formed, consisting,' 
of 20,000 acres, is in quality good, and in general, sui^ciently level for cultivation : that most 
of the tracts (400 acres each i are altotrether tillable, that the whole is proper for pasture and 
wheat, alioundim; in meadow, which mav be watered bv numerous streams ' 


"Colonel Elliott asserts, 'that this land is peculiarly adapted to grass, and that it is f.t 
for any kind ct cultivation.' 

*' I'airick Cassiday, Esq., testifies, 'that at least one-fourth thereof will make meadow; 
that on an average it is level enough for farming ; that the hills are of the riches: soil, and 
that it abounds with durable snrint-s and runs, which are sufficiently large for water works.' 

■■ Many of the settlers, cow on the spot, confirm the above testimonies. The great weight 
of timber is the principal objection. The trees, however, are of the best quality, and consist 
of the bugar tree. Cherry, Whitt; Walnut. Hickory, Chestnut. Linn Beech, Poplar, .Ash. Oak. 
Cuucm'oer, Birch, and Hemlock cr Spruce. 

" The distance from navi;a'&ie streams, accordins to P. Cassiday, ii as follows ; From the 
Frankstown branch of the Juniata 13 miles, from the west branch of the Susquehanna 13 
miles, from the Clearfield Creek 14 miles, from Chest Creek 5 miles, and lying on the Ccne- 
maugh and Blacklick. v.-'nich em.pty into the Allegheny river. 

" The imagination may fieure to itself num.crous ad\antages arising from such a situation, 
but there are real ones to be expected from t'nis spot. It is on the Juniata road from Philadel- 
phia to Pittsburgh, about 230 miles from the former, .ind near So miles from the latter. This 
route to t'ne westward is likely to become the most public on account of its being more level and 
eo,ually near. It avoids the Sideling hi!!, the Tuscarora. the Shade and the Xorth mountains. 
The portaso from the Juniata to the Conemaugh is likewise the shortest between the Eastern 
and Western v.aters. This will of course cause it to be a natural deposit for stores, and it is 
not out of the scale of probability, but BEt;i..\H, being in the centre of a new settlement, will in 
time be a m.anufacturing town, a seat of justice, and a considera'ole mart for inland trade. 

" At present it is supposed that 5?-> f-jmilies may be supplied by different proprietors with 
farms, within a moderate distance of the town. Those who are anxious to have situa- 
tions in its vicinity may be suited by applying to Morgan J. R'nees, on the laud, cr to W. 
Griinths. No. 177 South Second street. Philadelphia, who wi!l either sell or grant improvement 
leases. Terms of payment will be rendered easy to the purchasers, and every possible 
encouragement will be given to ".l.e industrious labourer and mechanic. Sav, and grist mills will 
be imm.ediately erected ; and in the course of next summer public buildings and the cutting of 
roads will employ a .<ireat number of 'nands. all of whom, will have it in t'neir Dower to become 
proprietors of part of that soil, which they clear and cultivate. 

" Every purchaser of a tract or patent of about 400 acres, is entitled to one acre, or four 
lots, jS b}' 125 feet eac'n. in t'ne town. Professional men and mechanics, by 'ouilding a house 
wit'n a stone or brick ctiimney, and "Decoming residents before I'ne first day of October, 1707, 
shall have the same privilege. N"o ground rent on the lots will be required from those who 
purchase in the settlement, cr build in t'ne town, previous to that period. 

"Five hundred Lots of the above dimensions are now for sale, at ten dollars per lot. 
payable in cash or valuable boc'ks. The books are to form a public librarv in the town, for 
the use of the settlers, and ail the money arising from the sale, wiil 'ije laid out for the purposes 
above mentioned. 

" Indisputable titles will be given by the subscriber, as soon as the num'oer and situation 
of the lots are known, w'nic'n shall be determined by lottery on or 'oefore the first dav of 
October next ' 

Beula'i grew ranidlv for a season, maintained a chitrcli. and had a weeklv 
newspaper — T"/'-- \\\-sie>r. Sky — tl'.e parent of Cambria ioiirnalism. Like 
Jonah's t'ourd. it spran.s up in a ni'^'ht. as it v/ere, and die'I \-o;;nLr. dropping 
out of sigiit when Ebensburg was cliosen as the fountain of justice. Not a 
house or street is left to denote the pristine g!or'.- of this Petittsvivania edition 
of Golds:nit!:'s •• Deserted Ml'at/e'" or Ossian's faded Bniciutha. 



To a priest of foreiL;n linfai;e, the stor\- of whose career souiuls Hke a 
romance of tlie mieklle ag<;^'. Cambria owed nuich of its earh' importance. 
Clergymen figured jirominently at the outset of its existence, three estabhshing 
towns \-ears before the county was organized. The \\'elsh adhered to the faith 
of their ancestors, tlie German element \\as principall\- Amish in belief, and 
it was reser\ed for one zealous missionary to plant the Catholic religion on a 
firm basis. A remarkable man was _^ ^^ 

I ^s*s-< 


the Rev. Demetrius Augustine Gal- 
litzin. The son of a Russian prince 
of the liigliest rank, ^\ho married 
the daughter of a Fie'.b^Iar^hal un- 
der Frederick the Great, from in- 

fanc\' he held a commission in the 'w-\ ^f^* 

Russian army. Europe had been 
ravaged by incessant wars, the 
Frencli re\olution was about li> con- 
vulse the continent, and his parents 
decided that the \'oum;" Prince de 
Gallitzin should visit .\mcrica to "{^ 

gratify his desire to travel. With ^ ^ 

the Rev. Mr. Brosius he landfd at 

Baltimore in August. I y.-^;. A train ' 

of peculiar circumstances directed 
his mind to ecilesiastical studv. 


Renouncing his l.irilliant heirsliip, 

he'placed himself in tlie charge of the venerable Bishoji Carri^ill, completed a 
theological course, was ordained and labored a \ear or two in Mar\"land. 
Hearing of the settlements near the Alleghenies. he turned liis course thither 
'late in 17S9. Selecting a commanding location, he instituted Loretto and 
gathered around hira tliousands of faithful adherents. For fc^rty-two years he 
exercised pastoral functions, toiling tmremittingh' and spending a princelv 
fortune to further the cause for which he had sacrificed home and ease and 
luxury. Churches, scliools. a seminar\'. a college and a priesth' order were 
literall}' created throuurh his marvelous efforts. --.V Defence of Catholic Prin- 
ciples" — the ablest of published works — circulatt'd largelv in the United 
States and Europe. Disease pre\ented him from riding ou horseback in his 
declining years. Instead of usin'/ this as an excuse fiT idleness, he had a sled 
constructed, in which lie \isited e\-ery corner of his boundless parish. Two 
jtorses. one ridden \<\' a lad. drew this rustic conve\'ance, which held a bed on 
which the iliustriLiu.-- passenu'er sat or lay. Summer heats or wintr\- blasts did 
not deter the veteran herald of s.ah'ation from these fatiL^uing journe\'s. that he 
misht administer the consolations of religion to the sick, the sorrowini,' or the 


dying. A historic incident was the sidiject of a drawing, \shicli is exceed- 
ingh' rare. It depicts tlie meeting of p-atlur Gallitzin and Father Henry 
Lemki, whoni Bislicip Kenrick. of Philadelphia, had sent to assist the re\ered 
priest in liis unwearied labors. The event is best told in the language of heather 
Lemki, who labored assiunously in Cambria ctiuuly for hft)-one years and died 
on NoveniL'er 29th, i>S85 : 

" I rode across the country on horseback to Munster, where I stayed all night with Peter 
Collins. This was in the bci;innin.; of October, i:-^14. Xe\t morning Mr. Collins sent his 
son Thomas, a mere stripling, to guide me through the woods to Loretio, where I expected 
to meet Father Gallitzin. We went along quite a piece, when the boy pointed his finger at 
something ahead and shouted, ' There he comes I' Then I saw two horses drawing a kind of 
sleigh, with an rid man sitting on a bed. He had on the clerical garb, and I stopped my horse 
as we met and said ; 

■■ 'You are Father Gallitzin, the priest of this parish ?' 

■'' By the grace of G id. yes,' he answered. 

" 'Then,' I continued, ' I have a letter from Bishop Kenrick appointing me to assist you 
I am the Rev. Henry Lemki.' 

" Father Gallitzin greeted nie cordially, and asked whether I would go to Loretto or accom- 
pany him to celebrate mabS at the house of a member of his congregation, f.-ur miles away I 
turned and went with him. His conversation was most edifying, and we reached Loretto 
together in the evening 

The engraving portra\ s the scene with striking fidelity. The patriarch in 
the sleich wears the hat plaited for him by the good Sisters. His face e.\presse3 
the bene\olence his self-denying life exemplified, as old settlers lo\e to recall 
it. Father Lemki' s attitude betokens earnestness and gratification. The 
tedious journey had ended, and he beheld the man who \vas to be his trusted 
associate and spiritual adviser. The boy with outstretclied arm is Thomas 
Collins, of Beilefonte, the famous railway contractor and iron manuf,icti!rer, 
the embodiment of inte.Ljrity, sagacity and push. The urchin on the lead horse 
is Hugh McConnell. of Munster. father-in-law of 'Sipiire P.-irrish. of Gallit.zin. 
who survives at a goodh* a;,'e to repeat his reminiscences of the first pastor of 
Loretto. The Collins dog had followed his young master and was viewed sus- 
piciouslv b\- the watcliful canine guardian of Father Gallitzin. 

The demoted father died at Loretto on ^Lly 14th. 1S40, aged seventy, 
passing awa\' calnih' and serenely. He who might ha\e revelled in lordly 
halls was content to lotL'e thirty }ears in a humble cabin, practicing; the most 
rigid econonu' to feed the himi^ry. clothe the nakei-1 and minister to the dis- 
tressed. His transformation from a L;,'iy prmce to a devout ascetic might well 
compare with the con\'ersion of Paul, the astonishing chancre in St. Augustine, 
or the nvh'acle of <_;race which turned a drunken tinker into the immortal 
dreamer of --The Pilgrim's Prog'ress." Blessings i.if widows and orphans 
showered upon him, nor will the piotis example of G.dlitiiin cease to be 
cherished wiiile \-irtue and liumilit)' are enshrined in the affections of the race. 
He slumbers in t!ie chiircluard ot his Io\"ed Loretto, a unique stfjne monument 



marking his grave, which the care of the Brotherhood keeps green. His 
vestments are preserved at Kbensburg as precious mementoes. 

" Hi5 lift -.vas iientle: and tin.- tlcui.-i 
So luix'd in l,im Ih.u .N'ature mi^ht siand 
.All J 5.av to ai: the world: Tins w a^ a mj 

Along the Conemaugh W-illey, deeply and sublinielv grand in diversified 
scenery, small clearings be-an to appear. The untutored red men sought 
other retreats, and the closing years of the eighteenth centurv found the hi- 

'. ,^. 










habitants, who had just been annexed to the new countv of Somerset, plannin- 
for a separate judicial organization. Their dream was fulfilled bv the Act oi 
March 26th. 1604. which detached 670 square miles from Huntingdon and 
Somerset for this purpose. The spirit of progress had borne fruit, and 
thencefortli on the map oi i'enn's wide domain u as to be inscribed the name of 
Cambri.\ CoU-N'TV. 


Genekai, Campbell's Applicatk-jn — Original Sir\ tv of the Site of the Coming 
Metropolis — Fac-Simile of the Retcen tu the Land Office — Transfers and 
Changes of Property — Duplicate of the First Patent — Arrival of Joseph 
Johns — Points in the Life of the Founder of the Town — Removal to the 
Country — His Death and Burial — Laid to Rest in a Secludld Nook — Aboriginal 
Remains — Pioneers or Civilization — Hopes and Aspirations. 



returning; the 

A Draas^ht t 

kp-i^i I RIL 3rd, 1769, is a date never to be forgotten 
bv residents of Cambria county. On that 
dav General Charles Campbell, of Philadel- 
phia, filed an application in theLand Office, 
at Harrisbury. for a lot that was to become 
the birthplace of a prosperous community. 
The quaint old book recording the transac- 
tion spells the name •'Campble," and in- 
dexes the order as No. 1683. The tract lay 
at the junction of two streams, to \\ liich the 
names of Little Conemaugh Ki\er and Stony 
Creek had been given. United they formed 
the Big Coneinaugh. though all three were 
once included in the coniprehensi\'e title 
of Kiskiminetas River, into which they 
emptied. Thomas Smitli, deput\- of Sur- 

1 John Lukens, surveyed th.e Campbell and adjoining properties, 

former to tiie Land Office in these words : 

if a Tract of Land c.illeci Conemaugh Old Town ; situntc on the East side of 



Conemauph Creek, at the Mouth of Little Conemaiigh : between the Allegheny and Lanre! 
Hill ; in Cumberland County : Containing Two Hundred and Forty-Xine acres, and the Usual 
Allowance of Six P Cent for Roads : Surveyed the i;th Day of May 1770 for Charles 
Campble in pursuance of an Order No 1IJS3, Dated April 3rd : 17O9 

Now Bedford 
To John Lukens E";.] ; by Thomas Smith D S 

Surveyor General 
An exact fac-simile of this return, with the pencil draft of the plot accom- 
panj'ing it, is in- c~' 


4 rr, 

\lo\r:li.:'\ • 

serted herc-\\ith. 
The paper is dis- 
colored and fray- 
ed at the edges, 
while the writing 
is as legible as 
on the day it was 
penned by fin- 
gers long crum- 
bled into dust. 
Mr. Smith gain- 
ed distinction by 
compiling a val- 
uable legal man- 
ual. He was ele- 
vated to a judge- 
ship and wore 
the ermine cred- 
itably. The pat- 
ent for the tract 
was not granted 
until the Camp- 
bell land chang- 
ed hands repeat- 
edly. Who "were 
the various pro- 
prietors is men- 
t'oned in the doc- 
ument. It is re- 
corded in a mus- 
ty old volume original survey of jOHNbT.-w.N-, .made .n i;;.. 

in tlie Department of Internal Arfairs. A literal transcript reads thus : 
The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonv.-ealth of Pennsylvania. To all 



Jci'r^.yMaU c^ Mj^ ia^ i CjTll' 

/ ^ . / J 

vhom these Presents shall come Greeting 
Know ve That in Consideration of the 

;um of Fcrt^'-three Pounds 

venteen Shillings 


lawful money paid by James McClenachan into the Receiver General's ottice of this Common- 
wealth there is granted by tlie said Commonwealth unto the said James McClenachan, a Cer- 
tain Tract of Land called " Conemaii>;h Old Town " situate on the Kast side of Conemaui;h 
Creek at the mouth of Little Conemaugh between Allegany and Laurel Hills in Bedford 
county BeRinnini; at an Hickory at Hit; Conemaugh Creek, thence by a Mountain foot north 
thirty-four degrees Kast twenty-eit;ht Perches to an Ash Tree North seventy-one decrees East 
ninety Perches to a White oak north fort\-four degrees Kast forty-four Perches to a White oak 
North seventeen degrees East forty-tuo Perches to a White Oak and North forty-eight degrees 
West thirty perches to a Wild Cherrv Tree on the bank of little Conemaugh Creek (at the 
upper end of a small Island) thence down the same by the se\cral Course^ thereof two hun- 
dred and four perches to a Locust Tree ihence by a Mountain Foot North nineteen degrees 
West seventy-five Perches to a gum Tree North fourteen degrees East twenty-six Perches to an 
Hickory North fi\e degrees East twenty-two Perches to a Beech Tree north twenty-two degrees 
West thirt)- I'erches to an Hickory north four degrees West tweiitv-two I'erches to a White 
Oak and north fifty-one degrees West twenty-six l\'rches to an Hickory Tree on the bank of 
Big Conemaugh aforesaid thence up the same by the several Courses thereof four hundred and 
seventy Perches to the Place of Beginning Containing Two hundred and forty-nine acres and 
allowance of six P. cent for Roads <S:c. with the appurtenances (Which said Tract was Surveyed 
in pursuance of an application No it"<S3 Entered the 3d April 1760, by Charles Campbell who 
by deed dated 1st February ijbo. Conveyed the same to James Wilkins. who by deed dated 
31, October 17S3, Conveyed the same to John Johnson who by deed dated 24 September 17SJ, 
Conveyed the same to the said James McClenachan in fee) To ha\e and to hold the said Tract 
or Parcel of Land with the appurtenances unto the said James McClenachan and his Heirs, 
To of him the said James McClenachan his Heirs and Assigns forever free and clear of all 
Restrictions and Reservations as to Mines Royalties Quit Rents or otherwise Excepting in 
Reserving only the fifth part of all Gold and Silver ore fnr the use of this Commonwealth to 
be delivered at the Pits Mouth clear of all charges- 

In Witness whereof the Honorable Peter Miihlenberg Esqr. \'ice President of the Supreme 
Executive Council hath hereto set his Hand and caused this State Seal to be hereto affixed in 
Council this twenty-sixth day of April :n this year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred 
and eighty-eight, and of the Commonwealth the Twelfth. 

Attest Ch.a.. Biodle Secy P. Mi:nL.ENBtKCi [se.^l] 

Inrolled the loth d;:y of May J7SS 

The peculiar use of capitals and tlie ■■plentiful lack" of punctuation marks 
will be noted li_\- the reader. McClenachan sold to Joseph '^'ahns, or Johns, 
who is iisuall}' considered the first permanent settler in the vicinity. Born in 
Switzerland in 1750. he immigrated to America and worked in Lancaster 
countv. Pa. Thence lie went to Berlin, Somerset county, removing to the 
Campbell tract in 1791. He built a log dwelling on the Hats near Ston\' Creek. 
a short tfistance from wliere the store and house of Alderman Caldwell now 
stand. There lie liveil with his wife and four children for about sixteen \ears, 
when he mo\'ed to a farm he had purchased in ii^04 from John Sto\er. ei^ht 
miles tip the Sto\'stowu turnpike and owx^ mile of Davidville. In iSio he 
died and was buried on the farm. The gra\eyard is a fitting resting-place for 
one wlio. "after life's fitful fcN er, sleeps \\ell." A board fence encloses a plot 
tnirtv feet square, on tlie sumnnt of a hill commanding a superb view. The 
>un's ra\s ki'-s it in the morning and shine upon it the livelong day. Birds 


sing in the orchard that crowns the grassy slope. The dew and the rain water 
the soil, keeping the vegetation fresh and fragrant. In one corner shimbers 
the pioneer, his faithful wife by his side. Next lier lies Joseph, the only son 
who survived his parents. The graves of Joseph's wife and of a grandson 
complete the row, lLa\ing room for the Joseph Johns who occupies the pn-in- 

^/:^ ____ ,_ _^ ises to-day. Other grandchiklrcn 

f,fc^S-:^2^Hii:— lll^ are in the second row. with two un- 

■, .■;;^->'t.',^i„'.v. »,,.''/ ^''^VfTriJ^-^C. - '"^ Gerniantown in 1776, has one 
■ ♦iiiS's^ . -.=»;^ page written by Mr. Jolms in 1779. 

known sleepers at tlieir feet, laid 

.^^r/. '^}^?=^^^j-i--^-^ -,c '.'■';"■/ f^i: away during Stover's o\\nership of 

y(.J^ ^ .Vj^^>^^^^ ^- - ['■''' r i^^: the tract. It is a quiet, retired nook. 

'^■:^^- .^,--'--''\u-S'J-'l^^-^ suggesting Gray's -'Elegy'' to the 

■ /^.■'' /„.'." ,7'- ./t^^r'i^X.i^- '-■^■/; J;^i„^ reflecting mind. 

'f^'-%^i/%f''^-''''^^^^£^'^''^-'i^^'^'7_' The German family Bible, primed 

,.RA\tb o^ justtH jc^HSi A.-.I. wihE. The characters are rather in\ol\ed. 

and the penmanship is very small. The record gi\-es the dates of the birth of 
his two sons, one of whom died in 1796, and three daughters. The descend- 
ants of one daughter live in Indiana county, those of another are in Canada, 
and the famiu' of the third ha\e clustered near the homestead. The original 
transfer of the Campbell propert\- is recorded in Bedford county, from which 
Westmoreland was set otf in 1773. Somerset in 1795, and Cambria in 1^04. 
Tradition mentions several persons as actual residents of the neighborhood in 
1777. If so. their sojourn was probably cut short b_\' the Indians, stories of 
whose cruelt\' are abuntlant. and to Joseph Johns unquestionably belongs the 
honor dtie to the Thk, FiHNliKR r.r Johnstowx. 

An application on April 7th. 1769. secured lames Dougherty, of Pliila- 
delphia, the ne.xt tract west. c(-)ntaining 152 acres. Joining Campliell's. it was 
surve\ed at the same time by Deputy Smith, who sent in a plot with this 
official return : 

.\ Draught of a Tract of Land called the long Bottom on the West side of Conemaugh Creek 
about half a Miie Uelo'.v Ccnemauih Old Toun at the mouth, of [,iule Conemaugh ; on the op- 
posite side of the River in Brothers \'alley Township in the County of Bedford Containing One 
Hundred and Fiftv Two .\cres and the Usual .\llo\vance of Six p Cent for Roads Surveyed 
the 1 2th Dav of Mav 1770 for James Dougherty in pursuance of an Order Iiated .\pnl 7 171 19 
. To John Lukens Es-ir by Thomas Smith D, S 

Surxevor General 

The land, numberevi Order 2909. ran down the Conemaugh very close to 
the present line of tiie Pennsyh'inia Railroad, comiiri-^ing a good share of 
what is now Cambria Borovu'li. Xo patent issuei.1 until August '->th. 1S49. when 
the Ke\-. Williamina E. Sniitli. D. D. . an eminent Philadelphia divine, received 
the title on a warrant to accept. His name occurs frequently in connection 


with such transfers, indicntiui; ihai the learned Ddctcir of Divinity was not 
averse to specuhuions in real c-taie by which he could turn an honest pennx'. 
Tracf-s of an ahori^ villa-e were to be seen in the tan-li'd weeds and 
underbrush at the date of Johns' ad\ent. Conrad W'eiser, of hlerks ccnnit\-, 
'•Interpreter ot the I'loxince of Pennsylvania. " was probably tlu- hrst white 
ma:, to set foot upon th.e ruL^'-ed spot. Dispatched b_\ the British with pres- 
ents to the savages on the Ohio Ki\er, his part\- came to the ••Sliowonese 
Cabbins'' on An;.;ust J3rd. 174S. Stoppini; two tlays. they crossed what their 
leader sp)elled the ■■ Kiskeniineteos Creek." now Coneiiiaui;h l\i\er. Christian 
Frederick Post, a government messenger, landed at the Shawanese town of 
Kicker.apawling — identical with W'eiser' s --Cabbins" of the previous decade — 
on Xoveniber iitli, 175S. The coirect appellation is supposed to have been 
Kick-ke-kne-pa-lin, from a renowneii chief who took countless scalps and 
ranked high in the councils of the Six Nations. A famous warrior during the 
French Indian troubles in 1750-60. the collection of bark luits at the union of 
the f.vo streams properly commemorated the doughty fighter. For some reason 
his followers abandoned the place, notwithstanding excellent fishing and hunt- 
ing rendered it especially ?uital>le to their requirements. Probably this fact 
helped determine Joseph Johns to occupy the ground once tenanted b_\; a 
race fast disappearing from the earth. Certain it is that he quickly concci\ed 
tlie idea of laying out a town, which he intended to become the county seat 
and a bns}' hive of industr\'. What glowing visions of its grand future may 
ha\e flitted through the brain of the hardy pioneer, miles froni the nearest 
house, encompassed b_\' lofty hills and exposed to manifold perils \ Queen 
Zer:cb:a's faith in lier owt: Palnnra was less remarkable, so little is the 
world 'accustomed to seek the cot of an unpretending backwoodsman for a 
conspicuous example of far-seeing enterprise. 


•a^on-j^^^, 'Jc 




A Charter for the "Town of Conemai'gh " — Primitive Enterprises — Sesious Floods 
— Peter Levergoods Liberal Policy — The Pennsylvania Canal and the Old 
Portage Railroad — Prominent Personages — Notable Landmarks — Adopting the 
Name of Iohnstown — Churches and Schools — Modern Impro\ements — Growth 
AND Prosperity — From a Forest to a Community of Thirty Thousand Souls. 

Gone is the calun '.f vhe pi 
The hum of uidustrv salut' 
Thuusandi uf happy home 

i /cl|;5 ^■^\ - flats near^ the confluence of 

i /''''v- ■"■^ ' ' \ i Stonv Creek and the Cone- 

^ ' ' -t .- 

H ,■ ^^^. ... , •_ .,v a maugh possessed manifold ad- 

V, ,1^ ,J^'^ •:■'■' ^\ I vantages. Settlers crowded 

( , -.■ • ¥ % into the territor\-, which bore 

'■^' i """' . -r \ the favorite name of "The 

„ '"'^'^*" I I Conemaugh Country. ■' Peter 

S \^ v- ;* 5^ Goiighenor,Lud\\ ig \Mssinger 

jj _ \ .. .-^'-y- J and JohnFrancis were theearli- 

Jj -^Vf'" "~~ xW- \ est arrivals. Mr. Cover locat- 

% ^ ■■■ "'-^^ "; ed on the plateau east of the 

^ ': ,x / -J.; level grounds where a manu- 

[ -'■., :. :|-- ^ facturing center was to thri\-e. 

I S-; .;■■ j If the soil was not adapted to 

^ ? ,.., ... ..,-: j agriculture, minerals abounded 

I '■">■;?;';■■'■"";■/•!;:;■■" ; ■ ■^■■■■-■^-- J in the surrounding hills. The 

S r> T ^ outlook seemed so promising 

&________ _ ^ }, tliat, on Xovcmber 3. 1^0. j, 

Mr. Johns filed the charter of 
"the town of Conemaugh." The paper was drawn in jiropcr form, witnessed 
by Abraham Morrison, an attorney, who li\ed until 1S65, and duly recorded 


36 T/n: s TONY t '/•■ jo/fxs n > w.x. 

in Somerset. Tlie limits of the town extendeil from the Point eastward to 
Frankhn street. Ten streets, six alleys, one market sqiiaie and one hunched 
and forty-one lots were laid out. One acre was conveyed li.u- a huryiny; 
ground. A square on Main street, consisting of lots 49. 50, 51 and ^2, was set 
aside "for a County Court House and other jjublic huildinus." The cliarter 
then recites this important proviso : 

■■ .\11 that piece of ground, called the I'oint. laying between the said town and the junction 
of the two rivers or creeks aforesaid, shall be reserved for commons and public amusements 
for the use of the said town and its future inhabitants forever " 

Thus was the bark launched and an eai:er anticipation realized in part. 
Slowly the town advanced. .\bout 1S06 a small lorqe was elected, the adja- 
cent hills supphing the coal and ore to manufacture iron. Horses and mules 
transported the product to Pittsl)urL;h prior to the introduction of rafts and 
flat-boats. His failure to secure the court-house se\-erely disa'ppointed Johns. 
He sold out his entire claim, e.xclusive of lots desi^'ned for schools and 
churches, to Hartley & -Vnderson, of Bedford, and niove<l away in 1S07. The 
new owners effected some impro\ements and sold to William Holliday, 
founder of Hollidaysburi,'. who filled a larj,'e space in pioneer affairs. Holli- 
dav, in iSi i, sold to Peter Le\erL'ood, a nati\e of York county, who first came 
to Cambria in iSoo. Sellini; out. he returned to his native place for seven 
vears. The propert\- revertini; to him, owini; to the inability of the pur- 
chasers to meet the pa\meins, he removed once more to Concmaugh, where 
he spent the rest of his active life. The lot-holders were annually assessed 
one dollar each for ground-rent, which \\ as remitted b\- Mr. Le\ergood. fie 
displayed intense energN' in forwarding the common welfare. To encourage 
building he would sell lots at a nominal price, upon condition that they be 
fenced at once and occupied by a specified time. Dying in 1S61. at a patri- 
archal age. he had lived to behold tlie town of his adrjption progressive 
ancl iutluential. His remains were interred in the private burying-ground 
beside his home, on Stony Creek street, back of the electric-liuht plant. The 
stone that marked his gra\e was thrown down by the dreadful fl^jod that o\er- 
whelmed the Conemaugh \'alley this year. 

Jacob Levergood pursued the policy inaugurated b}' his father. He died 
a few \-ears since, leaving a w idc^w and several children, some of whom reside 
in the place their ancestors did so much to furtlur. Mrs. Le\ergood. who at- 
tained the goodl_\' age of 78 vears. retained mucli of her personal attracti\e- 
ness to the last. On the day of the Johnstown riood she was sitting in her 
daughter's home, near Stony Creek, with ^Mrs. I'.uck. an elderly lady, and 
some other members of the hous.-hoid. An alarm was heard and Mrs. Le\er- 
o-ood asked a '/oung lady t(.> ascertain its cause, saying. "I wonder is the 
matter." The latter left the apartment. Xe.\t moment the house was hoisted 
from its foundation, floated across Ston\- Creek and crushed to fragments. 

KfSE A.\D I'h 
Mrs. Buck was found ali\e in a tree on Sat 



ment. A c;rist-nnll ^sas erectud in 1S12, • 
venience uf tlie public " iNaac Proctor, 
keel-boat in iSib. on the banks of 
Stony Creek. The craft was to con- 
vey freight and passengers, wlien- 
ever the stage of water was favor- 
able, from Coneniaugh to I'itts- 
bnrgh. Mrs. Roberts, the daughter 
of Mr. Proctor and the oldest 
native resident at tl:e time of her 
decease, was drowned in the flood 
of iSbg. Iron forges were started, - ; 

giving employment to man\' men. 
By tlie Frankstown road, whicli 
opened ccjmmunication with the IV' 

east, pig metal was hauled o\ t r the 
mountains f(3r these forges. A turn- : 
pike from Pittsburtih to Iluntin.f- 
don was finished in 1S20. despite 
the opposition of people who he- ■■••;•••.'■. 

lievedif an irnpos^ibilitw Dr. Dio- 

:ocREss. 37 

urday. The following week, seated 
in her rocking-chair, her features 
but slightly altered, Mrs. Lev.r- 
good was discovered in Sand\\ale 
cemetery, wliither heaps of rubbish 
had been washed. The finding of 
the body in such a natural position 
and in such a spot invested ^[rs. 
Levergood's death with melancholv 
interest. Happily, Mrs. Caldwell, 
another ilaughter. possessed a pho- 
tograph of her mother, taken many 
years since. 

Local annals tell how. in iSciS 
and I, Sib, the vdlagers lied to the 
hills for safety from inundations 
which covered the low grounds. 
'■Coming e\ents cast their shad- 
ows before,' and these ma\- have 
been regarded as premonitions of 
the idtimate doom of the settle- 
greatly to the satisfaction and ci5n- 
an early merchant, built the first 

38 Tin: STORY Ol- JOJfXSTOUw. 

nj'sius Lardncr thought lie demonstrated tliat steamships could not cross 
the Athintic ; still they accomplished the trij). and the case of the thorou-hfare 
over the Alleghenies was similar. Commissioners ASere ajipointed in iSj i to 
explore a route for a canal from Harrisburg to Pittsbur-h. b\- \va\- of the Juniata 
and Conemaugh. Internal improvement received an unprecedented impetus 
at that period and in 1S2S work began in earnest on tlie ] 'ennsylvania Canal 
and the Allegheny Portage Railroad. Sylvester Welch, who put up the first 
foundry in Conemaugh about 1830. surveyed the line of the Portage Kailroad, 
thirty-six miles in length, with Hollidaysburg as its eastern terminus. A series 
of ten inclined planes, up which stationary engines drew the cars, surmounted 
the difficult grade and the road was ready for trains in the fall of 1S33. The 
Western Di\ision of the Pennsylvania Canal had been pushed expeditiouslv, 
and the first boat arrived at Conemaugh in 1.S30. William Cover, who remem- 
bers the event distinctly . gives a graphic account of the celebration in honor 
of the occasion. Cambria county had then se\en thousand inhabitants, most 
of whom assembled to grei't the vessel. \'arious obstacles delayed its comin-^^ 
for twenty-four hours past the scheduled time. The interval was spent in bois- 
terous hilarity, taxing the resources of the landlords se\-erely to meet the 
demand for stimulants. Captain Robert l^iclvworth commanded the boat, and 
the jubilee marked an important era in the histor\- of the embryo metropolis. 
The town, incorporated in 1S31 as Conemaugh. had a population of 700. An 
act of the legislature, approved April 14, 1S34, changed it to Johnstown, a 
name destined to be inseparably .issociated with a calamit\- unparalleled in 
the civilized world. 

The canal and railroad ga\e Johnstown a healtlu ad\ance. Lying just 
where ifwas necessary to connect tiiese arteries of traflic. a basin, depot, ^\-are- 
houses and the paraphernalia belonging to the terminus had to be pro\ ided. All 
this meant increased trade and iiopulation. and by 1S40 the hamlet had a 
round thousand souls. That yeai Hull Smith ope-ned a State tiank on ?ilain 
street, jieai the site of the Merchants' Hotel. The basin occupied se\-eral 
acres on Centre. Por.age and Railroad streets, the canal itself running through 
b_v the Pennsyhania Railroad station. Prominent transportation agents were 
Judge Evan Roberts, a grocer, representing D. Leech A: Co. ; Samuel Bracken, 
of the O' Conner Line ; John ji'linson, of the Independent ; John Royer. of the 
Pennsylvania ..V Ohio; Robert and S. D. Canan, ol Miller's Line; Henrv 
Kratzer, of the Unicin. and others engaged in carrvmg merchandise — princi- 
pally metal — from Jolmstow n to Pittsburgh. Of that gala.w of genial spirits S. 
D. Canan is the sole sur\ivor. General James Potts took charge of the collect- 
or's ofiice of the canal and railroad on January 12th, 1839. He journcved from 
Harrisburg b\- way of Carlisle. Chambersburg. Bedford, Somerset and Sto\s- 
town. His first lodging-pb'.ce in Johnstown v.-as the Renshaw House, corner 
of Locust and Clinton streets. Robert Linton conducted a ta\-ern on Main 


street lony; before the canal \sas projected. Another stood on the corner of 
Main and Franklin streets. Georije W. Kern, postinaster in iS^i.had the 
office in his drugstore on Clinton street. The JoIiusto-iK-n Doiwcrai, the 
first newspaper, was nshered into e.xistence in 1.^34. From Ebensburg the 
Sk\ was renio\ed in 1.S36. The L\uitrria Gd'.itlt- made its bow in 1S41 
and died vouhl;. as did the ."\V\'.v, the Moioilain Eiho and the Trar.scnj^:. 
More recent ventures were the [oluistoi^ni Trihinu-, a viE;orous afternoon daily ; 
the Dcmoiyal. a morning sheet ; the /•>(■.'> /Vtj-.u'. the organ of the Germans, and 
the Jh-ralJ. The great flood stopped the TrUniiic a couple of w-eeks and the 
Dciiu'crat a month, while the Hiiald has not been resuscitated. C. T. Schu- 
bert, editor of the I-'ific- Prcssr. lost his life. With his familv. except two bo\s 
who were in Coneniauuh borou£.'h, he sought refuge on the house-top. The 
building drifted to the South Side and back, anchoring with such violence that 
I^Ir. Schubert was tossed from the roof. Falling into the water, he was seen 
no more alive. The other members of the family were rescued, and his body 
was recc'Vered a day or two afterwards. 

Until 1S2S the ditterent branches of Christians worshiped together. The 
Presb\terians built a frame church in 1835, on the site of the brick edifice 
which now accommodates the congregation. Peter Levergood deeded th.e 
Methodists a lot for si.\ cents, the site of the present F'nited Brethren church, 
on which thev built a modest chapel, upwards of fifty years since. Their 
magnificent stone church on Franklin street is of a date comparatively recent. 
The Lutherans did not lag in the rear, the Catholics erected two spacious 
churches and a convent, and ultimately most of the leading denominations 
had comfortable edifices. A one-story frame on the corner of Market and 
Ches'tnut streets ser\'ed as the first school, succeeded in due course by siib- 
stantial bricks in different wards. Indeed, Johnstown ranked much above 
the avera;-;e in the number and character of its churches and schools. Modern 
improvements came gradually. Sidewalks, street railways, an efiicient fire- 
department, water-works, gas and electric light were supplied, tlie town keep- 
ing step in the onward march as the months and years rolled by. 

The cluster of towns of which Johnstown was the artery exjianded at a 
corresponding rate, enlarging their borders each season. Conemaugh Dor- 
oush. incorporated in 1^49. contained in the palmy days of the canal many of 
tlie shipping warehouses anci offices, and was divided into two wards. It lies 
east of Johnstown proper and is thickly settled some distance up Green Hdl. 
Prospect, on the hi.;h hill north, has hundreds of workmen's dwellings and a 
spacious school-building. Millvillewas incorporated in 1S5S. In it are the 
rolling-mills, foundries, machine shops, blast furnaces and other appurten- 
ances of the Cambria Iron Company, which built and owns the greater part ot 
the town. Cambria, on the western bank of the Conemaugh. was laid out in 
1S53 and incorjiorated in 1862. The comp,in\'s emplo} es constitute the 


THE STORY or JO//\S'TOll-\. 

bulk of the residents, and the borough had its (]iiota of cliurchcs, schools, 
stores and iinpro\ enients. KernN'ille, on the south shore of Stonv Creek, is 
a populous suburb. Wooilvale, the farthest east, was laid out in 1S64 h\ the 
Johnstown Manufacturing conijxuiy. and had three hundred snug houses. 
Cliemical works, a woolen factory, a tanneryand a t1oiirin<;-tuill. were its prom- 
inent industries. Nestling amid the hills, these towns formed a comniunit\' of 
30,000 people, distinguished for thrift and industry. The\- enjoved the com- 
forts of life in generous measure and looked forward to the future with cheer- 
ful confidence. This was Johnstown on the fateful morning of the last da\' of 
JMay, 1SS9. 






IN THE Project — Dn ficllties and Failcres — Changes of Management — Sucle>3 
AND Steady Enlargement — Wonderful Output ok Steel Rails — The Gautier 
Wire Mill — An Immense Store — Endowing a Hospital and Library — Brief Sketch 
of a Pow-erful Corporation which Gave Johnstown World-wide Reputation as a 
Manufacturing Center. 

on can hear the whir of the 
With measured lone and s!o 




HE REAL progress of Johnsto\sn dates from 
the buildiny; of the Camljria Iron Works in 
1S33. The Penns\lvania Railroad Iiad snper- 
bcded the primitive canal aiK.l tlic inclined planes, 
atiording' rapid transportation, and the iron man- 
ufacturers foresaw a great future for that indus- 
tr\. Coal, ore and limestone were plentiful. 
Bernizer & Burrell started a small forge across 
Ston\- Creek early in this century. The working 
of ores began in 1809. Four old-iashioned char- 
coal furnaces, ^\'ith thousands of acres of min- 
eral lands, formed the basis upon which the Cam- 
bria Iron Company was chartered in I'S^J. Cieo. 
S. King, an energetic merchant, who resided in 
Johnstown from 1S34 to 1S6S, -was the prin-'.e 
mover in organizing the corporation. Plis e.xer- 
were seconded b\' parties interested in large tracts of coal and mineral 
The prciiectors ilid not c .'Utribnte much ot the cash capital, \\hich ^^as 




42 THE STORY OF jo//.xsr<iirx. 

fixed at one million of dollars. Mr. Kintj. whose home is at Lcwistown. Fid- 
ton coimty, 111., describes minutely the steps which resulted in tlit; iron works 
tliat made the name of Johnstown ■•familiar as household words " in both 
hemispheres ; 

■' Owing to the depros.sed condition of all business from tht? compromise t.Trifl of 1S331, a 
great many of the people were out t.f employment, as u.Ji ps myself, I concluded that a means 
might be found to somewhat chan,<;e this condition throuuh the iron-ore deposits in the hills 
around Johnstown. After a search of several months I found, in 1S30 or 1S40, a deposit of 
ore, and thought it sufficient to justify the erection of a furnace to work it. For the reason 
that there was little or no money in circulation, my idea was to take the iron out of tlie ore and 
trade it for merchandise with which to pay the workinKiuen and enable them to live 

■■In the first undertaking I associated with me Mr. Da\ id Stew art and Messrs John K and 
\Vm. L. Shryock. We gave the name ■ Cambria ' to our furnace, which was on Laurel Run. 

three miles from Johnstown. This being 

before the day of stone coal for furnace 

use, we used charcoal for fuel. Our first 

iron was made in 1S41. .Vbout the latter 

^■w-^ "\ part of !S_(3 Dr. I'cter Shoenberger. of 

v'-^* -' ^ jl Pittsburgh, purchased the interest of David 

h Stewart, and in 1S4.) E'r. Shoenbereer and 

, -'f' myself purchased the interest of John K. 

^ '^ and \\m. L. Shryock, thereby becoming 

equal owners of Cambria Furnace. We 

) sold our pig iron at Fittsburgh 

,^^^i~~^-^ ^ / ■'From the tariff of 1.S42 better ti; 

^$^ \ I " -" resulted, which justified operattirs in going 

^,^ " ' "'"'%. '"'° ""-'^^ enterprises and increasing their 

^ .5. " §• business. Dr. Shoenberger and I built two 

~~ \ ^ more furnaces, Mill Creek and Ben's Creek 

^ \ ^ furnaces, about three miles from Tohns- 

\ town, in an opposite direction from Cam- 

bria Furnace In these enterprises John 
Bell was associated with us, remaining so 
for one or two years, when Dr Shoenber- 
* ger and I purchased his interest. 

CEORC^E s. KING. "The tariff of 1845 depressed business, 

checking enterprise and breaking up much of the iron manufacturing then done in this coun- 
try. David Stewart, who -^vas formerly ar,sociated with me, had built Blacklick Furnace, about 
eight miles northwest from ]ohn=town, in Indiana county. Because of the reductions in duties 
Mr. Stewart, like manv others, became dissatisfied with the result of his enterprise, and we pur- 
chased it 

■'We then had four furnaces, which we kept alive and in operation during depressed times 
for some ^ ears, with little or no profit. la this situation it became a question as to what mo--e 
we could make in order to perpetuate the business. Dr. Shoenberger advocated the erection of 
a large foundry, to put our iron in the shape of castings, such as large sugar-kettles for the New 
Orleans market, these and other cisiin-s then seeming most in dem.ind, I advocated the erec- 
tion of a rolling-mill to manufacture railroad iron. Our ir^.-n was not adapted for bar-iron 
purposes, and in my opinion was not good for castings, as it was too hard, though in a wrought 
form I was satisfied that it was good for railroad iron, if properly worked and the result of a 


trial dtmonstrated thai I was ri^ht in this opinion. Finally we agreed to an effort in the direc- 
tion of organizing a company to erect a rolliiig-mili tor the manufacture of railroad iron. 

"I think it was in February, 1*52, when I left Johnstown to go eabt to get parties to 
become interested in 'he new enterprise. I went first to New York city, and tjeing un- 
acquainted there, I was placed at a disadvantage. Finding little encouragement in New York, 
I concluded to go to' Boston. My first efforts in Boston were not flattering. I was taken by a 
party to the oflice of an alleged laru'e and wealthy 'iron company,' and found the oihce grandly 
fitted up and well equipped with advertising material, pamphlets, circulars, etc., one of which 
was handed to me. It set forth that this 'iron company' represented a capital of 5500,000, 
and their works were said to be located near HoUidaysburg, Blair county, I'a., where they 
owned 200 acres of land and a furnace under construction I was aware before this that an 
attempt had been made to build a furnace, as mentioned in the pamphlet, and knew all about 
the matter so well that I got out of that oHice as soon as possible. 1 said nothing to them 
about m\ matter, nor did 1 tell them what I knew about theirs. 

"I next met Daniel Wilde, to whom I talked about the object I had in view. He called 
on me at the hotel, and proposed that we go and see Mr. John Hartshorn, a broker. We went 
to his office, I taking with me a schedule of the property Dr. Shoenberger and I intended to 
put into the business. We saw Mr. Hartshorn and acquainted him with the matter fully. 
Our proposition was that Dr. Shoenberger and I should put in our four furnaces, with tools, 
teams, all the firms property, except goods in stores and metal on hand, and twenty-five thous- 
and acres of land, all valued at 5300.000, of which we would retain in stock shares to the 
amount of 5100,000, the rest to be paid to us by the company. Mr. Hartshorn and Wilde 
agreed to get up the company within six months' time from date. I then wrote to Dr. Shoen- 
berger to come en to Boston, and on his reaching there he and I signed the articles of agree- 
ment as above stated. 

" Upon me was placed the duty of procuring the charter, and to efiect this as soon as pos- 
sible I went to Harrisburg In o\xx prior conversations no m,ention was made of the name of 
the companv to be Organized and the works to be built Of my own choice, and without con- 
sulting with Dr. Shoenberger or others, I gave the names 'Cambria Iron Company' and 
'Cambria Iron Works.' Our capital was placed at *i. 000, 000, and the works were to be 
located at, Cambria county, Pennsylvania. 

"When procuring the charter I found a general law existing that limited the quantity of 
land to be held by such an organization in one county. Our land not lying in accordance with 
this provision, I went to the Legislature, then in session, and procured the enactment of an 
additional section to the orii;inal law, permitting the holding of lands in more than one countv 
without limit as to quantity. This accomplished and the charter secured, I went to Philadel- 
phia and succeeded in procuring subscriptions of about 530,000 in stock on the part of some 
merchants with whom I had had business relations. 

"At the expiration of six months our Boston parties had not succeeded as expected, and 
were granted a limit of siv months !on.;er time to effect their purposes. They transferred their 
efforts to New York city, and called on Simeon Draper, whom I had tried to enlist in the 
matter before I went to Boston. Mr Draper became a subscriber to the stock, and vouched 
for some other subscribers, in all to the amount of $300,000. We then held a meeting to 
organize the company, resulting as follows: Dr. Peter Shoenberger, President; Simeon 
Draper, Treasurer ; Geo. W. Hodges, Secretary ; and G. S. King, General Manager, .\bout 
this time a change was made in the amount of stock shares to be retained by Dr. Shoenberser 
and myself, \ve taking S20o,oc«') instead of 5 100. 000 as first agreed on, leaving Sioo,ooo to be 
paid to us in money by the company. 

"I had before this time conditionally contracted with parties in Johnstown for land which 
I tho'aght most convenient and best adapted for locating the works. The company now being 


44 zy/A' sroA'Y of jo/rxsri'irx. 

organizt;d, 1 immecliatel\- secured it and bef;an to erect the r(>l!int;-mill. four hot-blast coke 
furnaces, and other buildings, also gradinu' for acoUeyarJ, etc. This was in February, 1S53, 
just one year after I went to New Vorl. and Boston to f;et up tlie company." 

Difficulties beset the company t<i a de.<;r<-'f that led to its suspension in 

1S54. Philadelphia creditors ajipointed a coniinittee to visit Johnstown and 

investigate. '1 he chainnaii was Daniel J. 

^*'^\y,.,i'\'''l]\ Morrell, a \i>un;,' merchant, who urged the 

f^^^ ' -'^/J'^^s^;*, investment of sulhcient funds to resume op- 

% e/ations. Acting upon liis advice, the nion- 

P e)' was tontrihuted and ^Matthew Newkirk 

g ' :' .,---*^ti-"s^.**«^x'(i elected president of tlu; company. Another 

^;<( ••-^,./ ■■''■^.^- f failure was tlie result in 1S35. Mr. Morrell 

\i, •■ ■' ' retained his faith in the final success of 

\ / ■ J the enterprise and formed a new company. 

: ■ _ \ Charles S. Wood, Richard D.Wood. Kd- 

> - : ward Y. To\vnscnd. George Trotter, ^vlat- 

/' . thew Newkirk and others joined with him 

^ •' ■ " ' %' 

..#-\ ■ ■ . . .■'; in the firm of Wood, Morrell \- Co., and 

y ' -\ ■.;■ ■ ■■■"•! 

•!^' • \ "' ', -"^s^ leased the works for Seven years. The con- 

'-■Jv •--- '^^l? cern was to be manai^ed hy Mr. Morrell, 

'V,. ,^ '•';^': ._-.._ :. ■^5''' who relinquisheil his business in Philadel- 

■;-;$;5:::>. . . , "x.-.^'^ phia and brought his family to Johnstown. 

, ■;?■-. ^:-ft-... "i From that hour sticcess was assured. For 

twenty-nine years ^ilr. Morrell' s vigilant 

HON DANIEL J. MORRLLu. management was continued, ending because 

of failing health in 18.^4. He was foremost in every good work, giving liber- 

all\- to help the poor and to promote worthy objects. Elected to Congress 

in 1 866, he served his constituents with signal al>ilit\-. On March 6th. 1S79, 

he was elected president of the 

American Iron and Steel .\sso- '^ 

elation, filling the position six --, ^ .^ i';;';' .''Li. =jl-ij;'"^\ " -' ■' 

years. His death in August, ...■•'' -~'?C5_j--^-^'^-.';Y '[■,"■: v'^^^'"!'''^ - 

18S5, remox'ed fro'n Johnstown ,.,.•■,",/ "![ ^i ?-. -■- ''l,?_ - -Ilt.-'-; ^ '' K' 

a man who had done more than ' ":."-.'..-. ' ':, /. /; ' ■ ' . ^ - .J 

any other to foster its manuiac- ■'^i-"'---v ; -J--/^ ...;\ .,-i-J> j < =-"// --"-;^ .. 1_^_ 

turing interests and utilize its ^'~''"^r^"'^i.^'^J^ -"'^'"^'^^''>-"- ~ ~ 
material wealth. Mrs. Morrell 


survived her husband about two 

\-ears. Both sleep in the Grand View cemetery, beneath an imposin'4 monu- 
ment. Their fine man>ion on ?vlain street is now tiie iMorrell In-litute. 

Under the new administration matters tO(..k a iliflerent turn, de,-,pite the 
financial depression of the ensuing Uvo years and the burning of the roiliuLr-miU 



ill June, iSij. A siiiu'le week sul'hced ti.i start tlie rolls aiul furnaces again, so 
i;reat ^\■as the vi^or displa\'ed. Tlie ■war hroaiK-ncd the ilekl, infusing fresh 
life into ever\' brancli i:if manufacturing. W'lu-n the lease expired in iStj2 the 
firm re-organized as the ••Cambria Iron Company." What is known as the 
Bessemer process caused a iri. inendotis awake-ning in the steel industry. 
The Cimbna conipan\- cumnieuceil the erection of Bessemer ^vorks in iJibij. 
and soM its first output of steel rails in Jul}', 1S71, at .si04 a ton. These were 
tlie si.xtli works of tliis descriinion in tlie United States, r.nd the\' have attaiiu il 
colossal proportions, increasing from a capacity of 150 tons of iron rails per 
-week to a daih' vield of tons 


of steel ingots. Cirades of steel of 
all kinds are turned out, from the 
softest wire stock to the hardest r 

spring. The a])pliances are the » '^^j f^ 

best that human ingenuity and mil- 1 " ~ '"^ ^ 

lions of capital can dcN'ise. The { 

compaiu' operates th:rt\-h\"e miles S '' ,. 

ot railroad tracks about its works. ^ \ -• '. v, J 

coal mines and coke ovens, and ^^$-' ' ' ' '"'' 

owns i.seMicars. Upwards of 7.000 

men were on the pay-rolls Last Ma\-. - , ^ 

when the memorable flood deso- ^ 

fated the Conem^autjh \'alley. In _'' ':,, 

1S77 a jKirtnersliip \\as formed with ' / 'g 

Dr. J. II. Gautier. of jersey City, ,; ,' 

as'-^'Tlie Gautier Steel Compan\'. 
Limited," to manufacture at Johns- 
town wire and siuulrv steel pro- John fulton. 
ducts. Enormous works were constructed a mile up the Little Conemaugh, 
consisting of a biick building, soo.x^oo feet, f(jr annealing ; a brick warehouse. 
373.\43 feet; a barli-w ire mill, 23''ix5ofeet ; merchant mill. 725x250 feet ; shops 
and offices. The Gautier mill manufactured w ire. shafting, springs, plough 
shares, ralie and harrow teeth and implement steel, aggregating 50,000 tons 
yearly. Natural gas ^^■as brought from Grapcville, forty miles west, in 1886, 
adding greatly to the efticienry and completeness of both the huge plants. 
The principal works are locateil upon a river plat at the base of Prospect Hill, 
extending along the Conemauch River and co\-erini; enou<;h <-;round to make 
a respectable farm. 

The company lias built eight luindred tenement houses, many of them on 
Prospect IliU. to rent to emiiloxes at reasonable rates. A b\'j: store, four 
stories hi^h, was built on Washington street, the site of Welcli's foundry, and 
5-tocke(l with an amazing variet\- of merchandise. West of it another line 


46 / HE < 1 OK y uF joii.\ s low x. 




■'' /■ 

' / . .- 
■ \ ■ 



f! ;^-v'^- 


^t-: I y 

■J r, -1 '. 
'■- ■; ■ 

■■■■■ .r. 

■ • ■ »■-;''■ " 

•■. • * ■ '\ 

■■ "j 




;.-: , 

h: -n^Vj- 


^^-'^STv'TOi : 


brick liniKlini; was put up for office purposes, furnishing (Quarters for the 
regiment of clerks, book-keepers and heatis of departments. Op[)Os;te stood 
the Cambria Lil)rar\. a gift to the citi/ens in iSsj. It was luted up ele;;anth-. 
had cemniodious readin•_'-ruonl^. and eiL;iit thousand \-olumesul standard books. 
In it a s_\'steni of eciucation \\a.^ begun in the winter of I^SI-J for the benefit 
of the \\x>rkuien. Competent instructors taught free clas'-es mechanical and 
freediand drawing, mining, mathematics, chemi>tr\. geoloi^v and political 
economy. A hospital was erected on Prospect Hill in I.>.S6. and this powerful 
corporation has shown by repeated deeds of liberality its wish to promote the 
general welfare. Mr. Ji>hn Fulton is the General Manager, and it is proper 
to remark that some of the most \aluable patents held bv the compan\- are 
the in\entionsof its own skilled empkiyes. \\'illiam Kellv. as far back as 
1.S57. made at the Cambria Ir>.i:i Works the initial e.vpenment m the manu- 
facture of pneumatic steel, anticipatin;.; IScssenier a number of \ears. George 
I-'ritK planned the three-hi:,li rollini; mill, which revolutionized steel-makinu. 
enabling railroads to pc-ri'Ct their tracks, to increase the speed of trains, uj 
treble the weight of their engines and to lay their lines to the remotest sections. 

,^ . u. 

■ • ,-T>-4!<ir^. 



'-J-'S X' '^-■"~ 

i^saagaai i 'inp i 



w— .ii^=.iftis;^^*of: 

■ =•■;-. ^i'f?=«-^ 




M :!«i. 


i;jS"iS»S'V,.-.>.J» ^. 'v * •>- ^ 



v^ Vl» 

1 ■-./ .!.,? ./' 


Lakfc Co.NK.M.^riiH. wiiif V'lLiv^ n<ri.\i .\i;iivi-. AM) lii;i,inv iHK Fatal 1)a.\i. 

ityl c=>> -^^ 

. V. 


How AN Artificial Lake was Created— A Feedek oh the Pennsvlvania Canal— Its Rvin 


Their Wealth —A Bfaltifi'L Slwimer Resort— Imperfect Construction and Faulty 
Material — Million- of Tons cf Water Burst the Barrier and Overwhelm the 



The an.sry iem[ji!.t wears its gloom, and still 

The deiuse dtei.t- tis ; the cnib.inkmciil yields 

Lies sunk and llallcned 'neath the sordid wav 

In one \i ild nionu-nt ruiritd."— Adapted. 

OMETIMES thesupplv of water for the canal ran short, 
the Conenuui,L;h and Stony Creek faihny; to meet the 
demand in dr\ seasons. Dams had been thro\\n 
across the streams at the outset, one at the eastern 
end of Johnstown and the other two miles up the 
creek. Yet business suffered more or less every 
\far from the dela\s scarcity of water rendered un- 
avoidable. Finalh- it was resohed to remedy the 
delect bv constrnctinL.' a reservoir c>ii a mountain 
branch of the Conemau'j,h to hold a vast i.[uantity of 
water in reserve. Engineers chose a ra\Tni' on the 
South Fork. t\\o miles south of its junction with the 
river and ten (;ast of Johnstown, as the picjptr place. 
THFi-ATXLRFSFRvo-R. ^^^^ Le,i,'isln t urc. ou Februar\ [Sth. 183(1. appro- 

priated thirtv thousand dollars towards the project. John Ililderbrand and 
David Hoover, of Johnstov.n. took the job of clearlui; the sround, wliich was 



Tf!E STORY Of /i '//XsY'i > IIW. 

heavily tiinlii;, il. Cicii. J. K. M.H.rlicad. <.f Pitt^hnr-h. and Ju.l-c H. 1!. 
Packer, ot Willianispnrt. brother nf Ciuvcrnur I'ack.r. were awaracd tlie con- 
tract to luiild the iL-i'ii. and Cdninicnced work in l^3.^- Additional apjiropna- 
tions were rciinired to finish the cnd.anknicnt. u hich strelclu-d across a deep 
t;ori;e three hundred ai>ovc the le\ l'1 o! Joiinslnwn and was not fnlly com- 
pleted nutd iS^v Certainly il was no tnthn-" aiduex cnicnt. costiny as it did 
several hnndred thousand dollars and creatini; the largest artihcial lake on the 
continent. From a thickness of two hundred and eiuhty feet at the hase the 
breastwork tapered to twenty feet at the crown. ninet\- feet high and one 
thonsand in len.i,'tii. The inner face of the dam was puddled with cla\ and 
rip-rapped with stone. Five waste-i.;ates in -iaiit pipes, laid under cuhertb ot 
solid masonrw could be retjulated from a tower to siiiit in or empt\- the water 
at will. Covering;- six hundred acres, the reservoir was calculated to hold hve 
liundred million cubic feet of water. This would hi! a canal ne<irl\ si.\ hun- 
tlred miler. Ion;,;. thirt\- teet wide and live feet deep ; or a row of barrels to 
i^irdle the earth. Subseipient events give these hgures special interest. 

The i'enn.-:-\lvania Railroad Conipan\, chartered in 1^4(1, purchased the 
canal and the Portage from the State in iSjj. Having no use for the reser- 
voir, the machinerv to operate the waste-gates stood idle, the tower burned, 
the water seeped into tlie ctilverts and the dam broke in i soj. tiooding the 
valley. LuckiK the water had been escaping so freel\- that tlie lake was ver> 
low and the damage slight. The canal had been abandoned and the dam was 
neglected for seventeen years, an aperture joo feet wide washed out of the 
centre. On Mav iqth, 1S79, the South-Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was 
incorporated bv a ccMiipany of Pittsburgh gentlemen. Judge Stowe. at the 
November term of the Common Pieas of .\.lleghen\- county, granted the appli- 
cation for a charter. The record specifies in Charter Book, volume XXI. 
page 2},2 : 
In the matter of the .\r! lic.\tios fur .\ 1 ^^^ ^.^ i\uii/ -•/' Ci^iunion Pic-us .\\'. i. <■/" .-V.'.V- 

Ch.\kt>:r f..'K IHE SouTH-F.'RR Fishing .anh ' ^.^^^^^ C.<!inty. X.' Dcr. T^rm, iS-Q 

Hunting Cut. of Pittsbirgh. 
7'<> ///<■ IL'iwrai-l.-, Ik^ J:'.i;.-> rf !iu- said Court 

The undersigned petitioners, Citizens of th-j Commonue.ilth of I'enn.svU ania. having asso- 
ciated our=;elves together under the proMsinns of the .Vet of .\ssembly entitled 'An 
Act for the Incorporation and rctrulaticn of certain C.rporations." approved April 20th. A D 
1S74. and havin,!^ made the foliowinj; Cerihicate of organisation a.s "The South-Fork Fishin- 
and Huntin-CIubof Pittsburch.- do respectfully pray your Honorable Court to approve the 
same and order the recording there.if and to declare that the undersigned persons and their 
associates and successors shall be a l)ody oirporate under said Articles of Association, m 
accordance with the above entitled .\ct of .Assembly, and we will ever pray, &c- 

C, A C\KPENTEK. Ho\v,u;n H,\rtlkn 

D- K. EewEK, 'Wm. S. Dcnn 


B r. Ruff A V. Hmlme... 


Al-LKGllENV ■" 1., SS. 

I'ersonally before me. the undersi;_'ned, came Howard Hartley, who beitv:; duly sworn savs 
that the statements in the t'ore^'oini; petition contained are true, as he venlx l>clie\es 

HOWAKP Haktlux 
Sworn to and subscribed belore me this 13th da\ of November, 1879 

Thus LEr.GKiT, Notary I'ublic [siiiL ] 
Due notice of publication in the C.>i,iin,i Cai^iu- and the /'"...'. both I'itlsburyh papers 

ClI.-iRTER Ob- IncOKI'"K.\TIoN. 

First. The name and title of this or.ganization shall be the South-Fork Fishing and Hu;m- 
in,s:; Club of rittsbur,gh. incorporated under and in pursuance of the provisions of an act of 
General Assembly of I'ennsylvania, approved April 29, it^74, entitled "An Act, etc ' 

St-cond. This association shall have for its object the protection and propagation of game 
and game fish, and the enforcement of all laws of this State against the unlawful killing or 
\\"ounding of the same. 

'J hii-ii. This association shall have its place of business in the citv of Pittsburgh, countv of 
Allegheny, State of Pennsy Ivania 

Foitrtli. This association shall, as such, exist perpetualh from the date of its incorporation. 
Fi/lh.. The capital stock of this association shall be ten thousand dollars, divided into 
one hundred shares of the value of one hundred dollars each 

.S'm/,;. The names and residences of the subscribers hereto, with the number and value 
of the shares held by each, are as follous ■ 

-^'""'^. K^-iuUiui'. ■ Shan J. ]'aliu-. 

P F. RutT Pittsburgh S $Soo 

F'. H. Sweet I'ittsburgh 2 200 

Chas. J. Clarke Pittsburgh 2 200 

Thomas Clarke Pittsburgh '.2 200 

\V. F. Fundenberg Pittsburgh 2 200 

Howard Hartley Pittsburgh 2 200 

H. .p. Yager Pittsburgh 2 200 

J.B.White Pittsburgh 2 200 

H. C. Prick Pittsburgh 6 600 

E. A. Meyers Pittsburgh 2 200 

C. C. Hussey Pittsburgh 2 200 

D, R. Euwer Allegheny 2 200 

C. A. Carpenter \llegheny 2 200 

\V. S. Dunn Pittsburgh 2 200 

W. L. McClintock Pittsburgh 2 200 

A. V, Holmes Pittsburgh 2 200 

.sV.-. ;;.''/. The number (jf the Direct(jrs shall be live and their names and residences for 
the tirst year are ; 1." C. Hussey, Pitisburuh : W. S. Dunn, Pittsburgh ; C, .V. Carpenter. Pitts- 
burgh . Howard Hartley, Pittsburgh : W. F. Fundenburg, Pittsburgh 

Ei^iitii The otiicers of this association selected for tl;e tirst vear, with their residences 
are as follows ; President, B, F, Kuft, Fittsburgh ; Secretary, F,. .\. Meyers. Pittsburgh : Treas- 
urer, W L McClintock. who are to serve until the ne\t annual electi.m. 

D. R. Et-WKR, H. C. Fki. K, \V. F. Flm.knberg, 

Howard H.sktlf.v, P, F, Riff, H. C. Vk,\oek, 

C .\.. CvF.PEXTtK. \Vm. S. Dt NN, A. V. HoL.MES. 


Cu,,:,- cf .1:1. ;:u>:y. \'-'- 

Be it remembered that, on the Fifteenth day of November, A D i.S7o. before me. Ralph 



J, Richardson. F .order of Deeds, etc. in and for said Count)', personally came B F Ruff. 
Howard H.iitlev and A V Holmes and acknowledifed tlie fore^oini; instrument to be their act 
and deed tor the purposes therein set forth, and desired tliat the same mi,i.;ht be recorded 
as such- 

U'i!i\i ni\ hand and seal, the day and year aforesaid \ OFUCi.xL i 

K J Rl< lIAKnSON, / SE\!-. \ 

A'.r,.) ,/.7-. 
And new t.' -i'l! : November 17th. 1S79. tlic within petition and certificate of Organization 
having been presented in Open Court and due proof of the notice by publication re^juired by 
the Act of Assembly entitled " An Act to provide for the incorporation of certain Corporations." 
approved April 20th. i>74. ha\"ing been made and the said Certificate of Organization hav'ing 
been pierused and e.xamined b\ the undersigned Law Judge, and the same having been found to 
be in proper form and within the purposes named in the first class specified by the second 
section of said Act of Assembly, and the same appearing to be law ful and not injurious to the 
community, it is ordered and decreed that the said Charter is hereby approved and that, upon 
the recording of the same and this order, the subscribers thereto and their Associates and suc- 
cessors shall be a Corporation perpetually for the purposes and upon the terms therein stated. 

Edwin H. Stowe, 
Pre;i. jud^e C.'iiil Com. Phuis Xo. J. A!lc-g/u-nv Co.. Pn. 
Attest \ cotRT 1 



The aggregate wealth of the si.xty members of the chih foots tip dozens 
of millions. The capital stock was increased to S33. 000. in order to provide 
an attractive retreat for tlie owners and their friends. Could they but have 
foreseen the fate of their innocent project ! 

-A. finer location for a pleasure resort could not be desired. The labor of 
a force of men for two years w as expended in restoring and heightening the 
dam. increasing th.e basin to a sheet of water three miles long and one mile 
wide, of irregular oval shape. The task was completed and the 'water confined 
in iSSi. forming the beautiful Lake Conematigh. Along the top of the dam. 
thirty-fn'e feet in breadth and in the middle almost a liundred feet high, 
ran a dri\"e-'\\'ay. Si.xteen handsome cottages and a club-house of fortv- 
se\eii rgon;s were erecti;d on the .green slopes which bordered the shores of 

the lake. Claude 
Melnotte m i g h t 
have deri\ed in- 
spiration from the 
mountain ]i a r a - 
disc to trace new 
beauties in Lake 
A EAK.M MuL^r. OS LAk- CoHio for tlic Wil- 

ling ear of lair Pauline. The water was clear as Ponce de Leon's Fountain 
of Youth, and tlie air pure and bracing as the health-renewing o.;one 
of the CatskiUs. Tv.o steam yachts ploughed the basin of the lake, and ex- 
cur.^ions were frequent. Poating nn.l lishing parties irom Juhnstown enjoyed 


TI/i: SOlTfl-l-OKK IKIM 


the ,l; rand i,lri\e o\"cr the hiHs. The niemhets of the chih. ■\veakh\' coal and 
iron-men. spent a part ot their summers at the Ii;ijeni( retreat. None sup- 
posed tht- ula>s\' watir. smootli and phacid in the hriL;ht snnh'L;ht. liid a demon 
that slionld one day break loose and scatter tlotruction broadcast. .Vt the 
•worst, tl-,^ -.e who 1 1;. nr.dit of it at all b. -hexed \\m- l)urstin,i; of the dam xvoidd 
inereh' raise the Coneman;:;h a few feet ,and dainptn houses un the lowest 
grounds. To quiet an\' fears that might arise a committee of e.xperts was ap- 
pointed tn examine the dam. Hxerything looked strong and secure, although 
men cmjiloyed in repairing the break are authi>rit\- for the statement that 
stumps, sauil. loan"i. lea\es and straw ■were used to fill up the \'awnlng chasm. 
The committee inspected the work, the r>utside of which repealed no symj">torn.s 
of imprnper niateiials. and repurtetl it peifectly safe. A recommendation to 
stop some ugl_v leaks autl deepen the sluice-way — the only means of preventing 
the water from running o\er in case of \iolent rain — was carried out. People 
breathed more easil\- and the idea cif danger x\as lulled to sleep. 

Samuel Flenner, of .\d.ims township, -who li\'es one mile west of the 
reservoir. sa\s that the Fishing Club employeo a man named McKane, of 
PittsburL;h. to repair the tlam. Filling up about twent\-fn"e fi-et in depth for 
about 2iio feet in lenL;th, with sand and rottin lea\-es, he ga\'e up the job, 
when the Clul> finished it by throwing in soap-stone, hay. and other flims\- 

Fourteen feet below the crow n of the dam was the ordinar\" lieight uf the 
surface of the lake, a temjuiirar}- ri>e bringing it nccasioiially within eight feet of 
tile top. In June of i SS- a sutldeii flood swepit the Coneniaugli \'alle\', sub- 
merging the principal streets of Johnstown and causing serious alarm. Appre- 
honsions of e\ il from tlie dam were revived and intensified. The foundations 
werereported shaky and fresh le.iks appeared. Soon the scare subsided and 
nothing was done to strengtlien the dam, citizens remarking that the rumor was 
merel}' an incident of the annual freshets. The club had stocked the 1. ike with 
game and tlsli and did not care to open the waste-gates. e\en if this could ha\"e 
been done. South Fork ir> not a large stream, and tlie lealcagcs and the weirs 
prevented the water from getting abo\e tlie dam. which was not built to with- 
stand an o\'ertlow. 

The last week of May. iSSq, was notable in Central and Western Penn 
sylvania for an extraordinary rain-fall. Day after da\- the windows of Heaven 
were opened, swellinc; tlie creeks to raging torrents. The Conemau'_;h leaped 
its banks and covered Johnstown flats to tlie di-pth of tliree feet. South Fork 
attained the proportions of a river, raising L.d<e Conemangii to an unpre- 
cedenteil b.eiirht. Ste;idil\' the turbid waters crept upward, imtil the\- jionred 
over the top of the dam qw Frivlay afternoon. i\r.u-3i. The da\- was daik and. 
storm\". a fitting preiude to the dismal tra','ed\' that was to m.irk its dreadful 
close. The structure of mud and \\iw and boulders leaked furioush-. hone\" 


Tin-: s TOR y or jo/i.xs loii :x. 






combing the inconi;ruous mass. ThrouL;h tht; interstices of the masonry the 
angry -water forced it: way, each hour auguientini,' the numl)er and extent of 
its encroachmJnts. President Ehas J. Unger. of the Fishing Club, set a u'ang 
of Italians to throw dirt on the face of the bank, in :i vain attempt to stem tlie 
raging current. Mrs. Partington, seeking to drive back tlie ocean tide witli a 
hroom. was more effective. The lake rose constantly, and by noon the con- 
viction of imminent danger grew to a painful certainty. Warning messages 
were sent to the towns along the valiey, rehearsing the condition of the dam, 
but the}- passed unheeded. "The same tale had been heard so olten that its 
repetition was considered an idle fiction. 

Herbert Webber, an enipio\-e ot th.e club, noticed the water oozing fiom 
beneath the foundations about half-past twelve o'clock. Sv.iftly the under- 
mining went on, the knot of spectators standin'4 b\- pov.erles-, to avert the im- 
pending calan-iit\-. Pr; ciscl\- at 2:50 the central stones sank down, opening a 
great rent in the lower h ilf of the wall. Just at eight minutes pa^t throe 
o'clock the arched masonry tuppletl. 1 hen the v. all outward, as if 
splitting in tv,a;n. and th.e waters rushed forth madl_\-, carrying death and 
devastation in their reientles,-, march. The cata^troph.e men feared had come at 
last, in volume far e.xceediiiL' the gloomiest forebodings, and the most dis- 
astrous flood in American l.i.-itory was starting on itsav.ful iiii.-sion. Fifteen 


minmes suftl d to hnvcr the water fift\- feet ami tear a tremendous hole in the 
cnibaiikineiit. Niayara is a tniy rill in comparison with tin- hissirn:. seething. 
roariii.L,' a\alanche hurled upon the doomed valley with niercilLss fury. 

Geor-e Gramling owns saw and ,uTist-mills on Sand\ Run. which were 
operattd liy w aler Irom a dam. Tins broke at seven in the mornini;. wIiilIi 
led Mr. Ciranilin'.^ to think the hii; dam would yo also. lie and E. S. Gram- 
ling, Jacob G. Baum-ardner and Samuel Helman started about S o'clock for 
the lake. When they arrived the water was six feet from the top of the breast 
and rising about a foot per hour. Toward noon Mr. Gramliui; went home for 
dinner and returned in two hours. Crossing on the brid-e below the dam. he 
uent up to the top and walked on the bridge over tile waste-weir. The 
water was then running over the lowe>t portions of tiie crown hall wa_\ up Ins 
bootdeg. He remained until the breast broke and the water started down the 
valley. The water, as it tumbled into the stream below, gradually washed the 
embankment away until it was not more than half its original thickness. A 
short section in the middle of the dam gave way, increasing as the water.- 
swept throu-h until the gap was a hundred yards v.ide. Had this gap been 
made all at once at the hrst break the flood must have been even more disas- 
trous. It was fifteen minutes from the time the dam until the "reat 
bull: of the water was discharged, if Mr. Gramling' s estimate be correct, an.l 
it acc(.>rds c!osel_\- with others. 

Ex-Poor Director Korabaugh. whose farm adjoins tht; reservoir, stated : 
■In the morning it uas raining hard Thinking the water in the reservoir would rise to a 
great height, I went down to the breast. The water was then rising ten inches an hour A 
gang of Hun-anans was put to uork at the south side of the dam to make an openin.^. and did 
SHCceed in letting some water out. The embankment was hard to cut. and little headwav ua> 
made. The water continued to rise .\t one o'clock, when I visited the dam a second time, tlie 
water was runnint; o\er the breast I soon went home, returning; in an hour, .\bout three 
o'clock a break occured in the breast of the dam. and the whole mass ol water rushed \wth 
a tremendous roar down the valley. At the top the break was about three hundred feet wide 
and it sloped down to about two hundred, below which another break occurred about tuentv- 
fivefeet wide, thioutjh which the stream now runs I have been a resident of the reservoir 
neighborhood since 1S44 a^J know about the construction of the dam. When the State .<irst 
built it the breast was nude entirely of clay, packed in layers, backed with rip-raps of stone. 
The Railroad Company made no change in the dam When the Pittsburgh people got hold 
"of it they began to make some additions to the 1 hey hauled stone and patched up a 
break, and raised the breast and widened it with stone and earth. When Colonel Un-'er saw 
the condition of the dam— some time before it broke— he remarked that if it withstood this 
flood the association owning it would put it beyond all possibility of danger in the future. But 
it didn't hold, and when the Colonel saw it go he, realizing the awtul consequences of the 
break, became so ill that iie had to be assisted to the hotel ' 

-V Philadelphia civil engineer. John G. Parke, who was superintendinL; 
drainage impro\"enients at the lake. .■-aN s : 

■■ P"or several days prior to the breaking of the dam. storm after storm swept o\ er the 
mountains. Hording every creek and rivulet. The waters from these varied sources t!out.d 

5 6 THE s T( >A' ) ' ( '/■■ .A )nxs 70 1 1 w. 

into the lake, which I' jllv uas not able to stand the pressure On Friday niornin;^ I realized 
the danger that threatened and from that time every effort was made to prevent a flood, with- 
out avail. When I at last found that the dam was liound to qo. I starte{l out to tell the people. 
Py twelve o'clock everybody !n the Coneniaugh region ought to have known of the danger. 
Three hours later mv gravest fears were more than realized. It is an erroneous opinion that 
the dam burst. It simply iinn\J nvijy. The water gradually ate into the embankment until 
thcri' was nothing left but a frail bulwark of wood. This split asunder and sent the water 
hurling down the mountains ' 

Tii'.lythe dam had ■■iiio\L-d away." The sword nf Daniciclcs lcuikI not 
always hang snspL-ndud, ncitlicr A\as it icasonaMc to suppose that a dam 
unprovided with farihties to discliargc it's watcis would cntliiK.- perpetiialK". 
Had repairs followed the spring freshets vi I'^jr-S, or the waste-gates not 
been discarded, the sail story of the fatal d.mi at South Fork might have 
remained unwritten. But helpless captives used to he "butchered to make a 
Roiuan holida\"," and 50,000 li\es in Pennsvlvania were jeopardised ior eight 
years that a club of rich pleasure-seekers might fish and sail and revel in lu.xiir- 
ious ease during tl:e heated term. Frightful was the risk and terrible tiie 
penalty exacted. The courts will settle the question of the club's responsibility 
for the disaster^ suits, for dama^^es ha\ing been enteri'd. Alas ! for the thought- 
less selfishness of weak humanit\' ! Isaac G. Reed lias written : 

Maiiv ihoiis.-inri hiiMirui lives— 
EutLiiereJ husbaui;-, sLiii-hiuro.l Mnes. daughters, Metitin- sons. 

Hosts of martyred little ones 
(Worse Herod's aw ful crime) 
Sent t.j Heaven before their time: 

t-nvers bnrntarid sweetliearls drowned. 

Darlings lost bnt never found ' 
All the horrors that hell could wish. 
.* Such was tlie price that was paid lu: -li.ii ' 

.\ dam which vomited a llood 
Of water turnini; into blood ; 

A deafening, rumbiiny:, qroaninj; roar 

That ne'er \n as lieanl oif earth hefoi e ; 
A maddenini; whirl, a leap, a dash— 
And then a crush-and Ihen a crash— 

.\ wave that carried olT a town— 

A blow that knocked a city do» n. 
All the horrors that hell could wish. 
Such WHS 'he price that was pai.l f.u—ii>li ! 
,\n hour of flood, a nistht of n.ame, 
■" A week of woe without a name— 

A Week when sleep, wiili hope, Hed, 

While miserv hunted for its .lead ; 
A week of corpses bv the mile. 
One lonET, lon-.jweek, w illiout one smile. 

A week whose tale no ton:;ue can tell, 

A week .vithout a larallel ! 
All the horrors hell could wisli. 
Such was the price that paid i..r— li^,h ! 

From the very first the evidence against the constructors and niaintainers 
of the dam appeared strong. positi\e and convincing. Frequent examinations 
of the dam were made, but examinations without aiithorit\- b.ick of them 

Tin: S0UTH-1\>RK IKIM. -- 


to compc repairs. rebuili-iiiiL; or renKi\al anuuint to uothint;. The 
remains of tin- dam ha\e I't-cn examined li\ two expert i-ni'ineers. Mr. .V. ^F. 
Wellint,'ton and Mr. F. P. [Suit, the hitter a^soeiate editor of the /:"//;'.■>.', ■;■/■///,- 
-AVr^'j". both capable and disinterested judges. They ri-[iorted that the old dam 
used lor the abandoned can.d and the eniarjed dam were of earth onh . with n') 
■• heai t-w air ■ and only •• riji-rapped " on tin: sl.ipus. Such a cheap and care- 
less Construction for such a locality involved either dense i,L;n(.)rance or criminal 
carelessness, or both. These expert enL;iueers further sa\ that th.e 
should have been crowned in the middle, so that an\' o\ertl(.>w would iia\e 
been di\'ided and passed o\er the ends, while, in order to sa\e the 
'•,L;ame fish," sulticient sluice-wavs lor the escape of water were not made. 
The conclusions of these gentlemen are what miyht ha\e been expecteiJ. 
The legal proceedini^s and investigations which are ine\itable ought to 
he exhaustive. There is no doubt that this great reser\oir. high above the 
towns in the narrow \aileys. was a perpetual menace. If men were 
continually thinking of the perils they incur, the people of Johnstown couid 
not have siept. The terrible hazard hung o\er them niL;ht and daw The\' 
knew it. But the dam hiid not burst, thougfl often reported in danger, and 
they fell into thio habit of unconcern. It is now plain that such a risk should 
nc't liave been taken at all. I'nder the circumstances, a great reserxcir of 
water, so placed and so conhned. was such ,i menace to the li\es of man\' 
thousands of people that it should not have been tolerated for a da\-. It was 
thought safe. liut it was not safe. It was considered that no ordinar\ con- 
ditions tould make it break the dam. But extraordinai \ conditions will at 
times cxii^t. It was said — using the strongest guarantee which has been citetl 
— that in the jud-;ment uf the builders only a comiilsion of nature could 
destroy such a dam. Suppo'-e there shoukl be a conxulsion of nature ! Sup- 
pose that a waterspout should come, or an earthquake, was it reasonable that. 
for the sake cf a few people's boating and hsiiing a few weeks in the \'ear. an 
awilanche shouh.i be hung over the heads nf all the people in the valle\- below. 
rcad_\' to fall when nature sutlered seme unusual experience '■" The lake oimht 
not to ha\e been allowed in a situation sci related to the towns below. Tliat 
is the whole case. 

It was my fortune, alter witnessing the unspeakable hi.irrors at Juinis- 
town, to be the ttrst to tra\-erse the whole length and breailth of the devastated 
region, from the ruined, emptied Lake Conemaui;h to Nine\eh. The \ isit to 
the dam disclosed liow the w-ater had carved a liiudiwaN- for u>elf in its exhau-t- 
less rage. Buth wings of the dam ^vere standing intact, mute, lioarw moss- 
grown testimonies to the superior work bv the first contractors. Th> 
newer portions had gone, leaving- not .1 p.irticic ot refuse, so thoroii-;h was the 
destruction. Masons could not have taken out the stone passage-wa\s more 
cleanly. The proud lal-:e had d.windlei.l ti"i a thread winding amid the loose 


-.TORY OF jo/ixsmirx. 

stones and nmdih' diposits nf a petty brook. The cottaijes looketl upon a 
slim\'. oozing i;ull\ . no longer the silver expanse that had pkastid the eye two 
da\s before. Off on tlic hillsiiie the prett\- cottai;c of Cn\. I'n^er. the club- 
house and residences on both banks of the lake seemed to in\ ite the ijuests 
who did not come. The mountains with their early f.)liaL;t.\ the \-erdant lawns, 
the fiekls carp.ted in iireen and the :n\'i,i;oratinL,' atmosphere, w liich had regaled 
the mirthful thrones of feirmer vears. none were there to eujow Laughter 
echoed not along the lu-aks and slope--. Mcrr\' chiUlren were not pla\ ing on 
the banks. The cottages sent forth no souniis of re\elry. A raicged beiy. fish- 
ing in the "deep hole" below the dam. hooked a b.iss. Grass ant! weeds 
were alread\' springing up on the brink of the ugh' ca\ity. A delicate white 
flower, that had lifted i\\a\- a counterpane of damp leaves, peepi-d timidly 
from the foot of a witlierei.1 tree. Birds hopped liither and thither, and a single 
chipmunk frisked about the hideous gulf, blissfully unconscious of the mischief 
wrought by the unsparing despoiler. 




4. .": ^i 1 



^•-"\ -V- ^: 

Vtf V 

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\-^- ■ 



v'-v-^k ' ^ /^ / < '■■ 

I '■ - - i. ■■.■*.. -v ,8 •!"■■•' "s—.-;- " . 





x^jKTV-.^'af «pc:.;;".r3»a-i 

j)-'^ /- 6^' 



A l>w OF Funereal Gloom— Rush of Waters Down the Valley— John Baker's Heroic 
RiDt— Ravages at S- .uth-Fokk— First Victim of the Flood- Shafer's Fate— An En- 
gineer's Escape — Railroaders Drowned — Sad Scenes Along the Route — The \'ia- 
duct Washed Aww — Mineral Point Ouliterated — The FIigh Bridge Gone — A Per- 
ilous Journey — Terrible Loss of Life and Property at East Conemaugh — Franklin 
Borough Plunged into Mourninc., 

■■The ra-'ii 
Rolled a broad 5Uu«li 
And nature's self did 

the brink of tiijie 

FIEX THE fatal break in the dam occurred the 
skies wore a leaden hue. as if in mourniii-; 
for the region about to experience a diielul 
visitation. Cli'iuds of inky lilackness spread 
a funereal pall, \eiling the sun from mortal 
view. The atmosphere was damp and murky 
and the earth saturated with mciisture. Rain- 
drops glistened on e\ery leaf and blade of 
grass, nature's subsidy of tears over the ap- 
proaching horror. Swollen rivulets nuirmure'.l 
a solemn requiem, for the supreme 
had come to hurry thousands of unsuspecting 
souls into eternity. Unseen and disregarded, 
the E'lestroN-er shadowed the de\oted Cone- 
maugh Valley. read\' to strike the blow that sli.iuld cmivert it into one great 
charnel-house. Insatiate Death, hungry for his prey, awaited the signal to cat 
down the human harvest which niiL;ht glut even the grim re.ijnr. Whoksale 
casualties ha\e ncit been wanting; at anv period, but the niost appalling of 



■tF TUO BR \y 







them all was now to he appciuktl lo the drear\ list. Asia and Africa have been 
the scene of inundations attiniled with Iriulitiiil niortalit\-, the greatest of 
wllicll this continent was destined to dwarf into coinparatix e insi^'nificance. 
John Baker, a younj.; man of medium size, with an honest face and a bra\e 

heart, on I'nda\ atli moon mounted 
his liLirsc l.oo and rode up from 
South I'ork to see the dam. Dis- 
quieting rumors had circulated 
through the milling \ilagc. tw<3 and 
one-third milosnorlhward. where- the 
Fork unites with (\uiemaugh Creek. 
South Fcirk hai.1 risen in the fore- 
noon to the lloors of tweiUN' dwell- 
ings clustered along its east shore. 
The occupants took refuse with 
neighbors on the hii;her grounds. 
As Baker drew near tlu' dam he 
saw the central part collapse and 
tiie water pour otit furioiish. Not 
a moment was to be lost. Turning 
\v '^ : .'■ ■;. > li'^ heirse and lashing the gallant 

:,,, , .,-■-;.:., .;^y V atiimal into a herce ,i;a!lo{), lie rode 

back at a violent jiace. A short 
JOHN 84KKR. distance below the dam stood the 

farm-house of George Fisher. 
Young Baker's stiouts alarmed the inmates, who hasteneil to the liiU-side be- 
fore their home was borne off. The household of Fisher' s father, across the 
creek, fled in the same manner just in time to a\o!d a ^\ater^■ gra\"e. Farther 
down was a wooden biitlije. It \ani.-5he'd in a twinkling, fort\ minutes after the 
last passenger luaUlnxen o\cr tlie frail structure. George Lamb tilled a farm 
and lived in a frame Iiouse close to the road, on the \\e'st bank. He and his 
family got out and watched their residence join the Fisher buildings in the 
swirling cataract. The inter\-ening sjiace to the upper end of South h'ork. a 
hamlet of fifteen hundred peipulation. is principally woods, bold bluffs skirting 
the stream. Onward sped tl.e daring rider, the tempestuous deluge plunging 
and leaping beiund him. The houses not previouslv vacated were deserted 
inimediateh' as his frantic m^te of warnin.L; sounded in the ears of the startled 
dwellers on the bottom land. Tlie next instant tlie village sustained the 
shock of the inundation. Thirt\'-scven buildings tumbled or lloated awa\'. 
Thanks to John Baker's heroic eiulea\'ors. many lives were spared. Genuine 
heroes are pro\erbiailv ditiident. and here is the simple narrati\'e of this }'outii 
fill emulator of Paul Ke\ere. told me from his (jw n hi>s: 

MARC// o/' Till-: /u:siroy/-:r. a-. 


" 1 am eii,'lueen years old and live with my father at Scuith Fork On the day of the llood 
the creek rose very high and people got scared about tlie dam After dinner I saddled Leo 
and rode up, for I wanted to know how things looked Just as I '^ot there I saw the middle 
drop out, and I knew the whole dam must i;o. I didn't stop a second, but turned my horse, and 
started back as fast as he could run I pulled out a r':d pocket-handkerchief and waved it in 
front of Leo, wiiich frightened him and he ran like lurv 1 shouted to Geor^^e Fisher's family, 
and they ran up the liiU. L-iokin^; liack, I s.iw the ilood tiariiiL: ilown like a bij; wave and 
Fisher's house carried otf I kept on to town, shoutini:; at tlie upper end to the people to tiy for 
their h'ves. I stopped near our place and yelled at the Lutts to come out of their house. Mv 
parents and sisters went up the hill back of the hotel, the water rising to the ceiling of the first 
story. I don't think I was two minutes ahead of the flood. It was a hard ride and I did my 
best to warn folks of the dan,;er ' 

Two hundred yards abo\'u the nunith ot the creek a railroad trestle led to 
SheriH Stineman's coal-niirn-. At its east end was a shantv. occupied h\ 
Michael Mann, an Eiiijlish miner, who dwelt alone. .\ column of smoke indi- 
cated that he was cookmif his trui:al nical when Baker's screams pierced the 
air. The water touched the door-siU and Maun looked out. Imitating; sinners 
in Noah's day. who declared it would not be much of a shower and refused to 
enter the ark. the Englishman paid no heed to the summons to flee. Clos- 
inj,' the door, his fate was quickly sealed. Within three minutes the tidal 
wa\e crushed the shanty and the long trestle. Ten da\s later a neighbor, 
walking on the track of the Pennsylvania Railr(.iad. noticed a strange object 
half-buried in the mud and bushes a few rods west of the old \'iaduct. Going 
closer, he recognized the dead boil\'of Michael Mann, denuded of clothing and 
so badh' decomposed it could not be lifted. The remains were dropped into 
a hole, dug beside theju. to repose until Gabriel's trump annoimces the final 
reckoning. Mann was generalK" st\"led ■• Reverend." from his haliit of e.vhortiiig 
occasionallv. His wife and f.vo sons survive him. Thus perished antl thus 
sleeps in a solitarv. unmarked grave, far from his home and kindred, the 
Firm X'ictlm of the Johnstown Flood. 

Four men were clearing out the rubbish projielled against the west end of 
Stineman's trestle b\' tlie turbulent creek. The revengeful column swooped 
upon them, engulfing Hov.ard Shafer in the act of climbing the steep bank his 
companions ascendeci. The body was found ne.\t dav and taken to the deso- 
late honie ■\vhere the sorrowing \\ idow lamented tier missing husband. The 
entire village manifested its s\'m|)ath\ by attending the funeral on Sunda\". 
Shafer was the second victim. 

The seething, fuming UK^nster gathered strength and volume at each stage 
of its inipetur>us stride. Stoiv s from the dam and bouldt r^^ from the bed of tlie 
Fork rolled down the ravine, a trough one-quarter of a mile wide, to the Cone- 
maugh. Trees snapped off as one might fell a mullein-stalk b\" a swish ot a 
cane. Ponderotis rocks were tossed like straws and the ground was scourei.l 
clear to the un\'lelding strata. Tb.e middle of the dam — a section three hundred 
feet in length — scriope<l out twn-thirils of its depth from tiie drive-wav, ,i 


■/■///■; STOA')' cr /o//.vs/<iirx. 

narrower -ap cxtcndin-' tu the hotloni of the Inundations. Bearing acres of 
trees, houses, brid-es. 1ol,'s. rocks and earth, tlie rushing mass resembled a 
huge wall bouadin- down the valley when it reached Conemaugh Creek. There 
it encountered the hi^h embankment and massive iron brid-e of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad. Tiie brid-e. thirt\-hve feet above low-water, ijuivercd and 
dropped out of sight, the w.mton element forcim; it one-eighth of a mde !//> 
the Conema\igh in its mad search for an outlet. Barns and outbuildings sailed 
in the same direction, returning as tiie tlood receded. Wilson's stable, with 
two mules, a horse and a cow. landed in rear of the station, a big tree 
under it and the animals unhurt. The water ms.- about hirtx -one feet, sub- 
merging the railroad tracks si.\ feet at the depot. The double house occupied 
bv thestation-ac;entand the foreman of the section-gang %\as deposited endwise 
in a gully. A daintv morsel was Patrick Roiirck's house, across the creek, 
with its furniture and one thousand dollars in bank bills. Of Stineman & 
Murphv's planing-mill. at the junction of the streams, only the boiler and 
bits of broken machinerx' remained. .\ patch of cellar-wall marked the site of 
the coal company's supply-store. Had an earthipiake swallowed them, the 
disappearance of the goods and superstructure could not ha\ e been more com- 
plete. Smaller buildings were dispersed promiscuously. Tlie mountain of 
water, not finding sufficient room between the hills tliat hemmed in the Cone- 
maugh, backed up both creeks. A grocery and a went voyaging 
on the Fork, stranding ninety roils above their starting-point. Three neat 
residences adjoining the planing-mill were totaUy obliterated and the gardens 
stripped bare of vegetation and soil. That the loss of life was not vastly 
greater is. indeed, surprising. 

.\ freit;ht train la\- side-tracked near the Inwer end of the bridge. Engi- 
neer It. M. Bennett heard 
the roar of the ad\ancing 
deluge and surmised that 
the dam had broken. Un- 
coupling the locomotive — 
\o. 1165 — and llinging the 
throttle open, he and Con- 
ductor S. W. Keltz en- 
' deavored t(j cross. Steam 
was lo\\' and the engine 
hardly stirred. On the 
switch leading to the jilan- 
ing-mill and cnal-mine an 
other freight \\ as pulling 
out. It reachetl the main track just as the iletached engine gr>t o\-er tlie 
liridi;e. Fift_\- yards further the uater struck Bennett's Idcomotixe. pitching 






-^_ .:^i>'-iJ^i:^^^ 




iic=; CROSSV-:^ the i;ridgk 

MARC// I)/-- T///-: /;/:-.sT7,V)r/:7,\ 6^^ 

the tender and In'nd wheels off the track. The en:,nneer aiid conductor 
sprani; to the cow-catcher and jumped on the caboose ot tlie preceding train, 
narrowly escapiu'^. They had a close call for h'£e. and tlieir adventure was de- 
cidedly excitinij;. 

In tlie calKHise <jl Kchzs train slept the hrenian and a hraken.ian. Tluinias 
Kelioc and J. Henderson. Ariuised b\- a loud cry, at the rear door tlu;v sank 
into the abyss. Kehoe's body, tlie liead stuck fast in tlie sand, was recovered 
near-by on Saturday and ^ent to Altoona for burial. Henderson's was not 
found for several days. The list of victims at South Fork, therefore, com- 
prises these four : 

Michael Mann, miner, a^ed 40 vears 

Howard Shater. laborer au'ed 11 

Thoraas Kehoe, fireman. 

J Henderson, brakeman 

The tracks for a mile west of the bridi^e were twisted into fantastic shapes 
and dumped aloui; the ri\'er-bed. Not a rail or tie was in place, except where 
dismantled freight cars had been shifted on I'riday forenoon. A train of 
loaded freights lodged against the blurf, tliree cars ali.ghting squareh' on the 
Portage track. The lady operator had a hurried scramble up the liill to avoid 
accompanying the telegraph-tower, a tritlinii' bite for the t;"reedy \\ave. Frag- 
ments of cars, wheels, axles and jiiles pf refuse littered the bank, while ragged 
gashes at short intervals SL-amed and scarred the road to the hard-pan far be- 
neath the surface. 

Who has not heard of the famous \'iaduct ?" Built in 1S31-2 for the 
Allegheny-Porta'..Ce Railroad, the arch was considered impregnable. Solomon 
W. Roberts, of Philadelphia, an accomplished enL;ineer. designed and superin- 
tended its construction as assistant of Sylvester Welch. In an address before 
the Historical Society of Penns\'lvania on .\pril fSth. iSyg. gi\ing his reminis- 
cences of the building of the Portage Railroad. !Mr. Roberts thus referred to 
the Viaduct : 

"When we reached the Horseshoe Mend of the Conemauch, about eijht miles from Johns- 
town, I was in charge of the locating party. The 
line was made to cross the stream and cut across 
the bend so as to save distance, v. hich made a hiuh 

bridge necessary. The Horseshoe bridse. or Cone- ::-"'^~ • '--r^y^'P^''~^'''-Ti!:^'-''?i^t 

maugh Viaduct, is still siandini:, and is used by the ». ,•-•'-' _ -' "■ ' ', ' ' '.J'^" 
Pennsvlvania Railroad Comr>.-:.nv as a part of its '— " , _ • ' • .• ' 

main line; and it is, I believe almost the onlv ;(-^",-. •'-'.--, , ' i -^a' •", : '. 
structure' of the old Portacre Railroad now in use '■»'■... •"e'^'j'"'-- \~:~^: ;':T'.^ 
It is a sulistantial and impusin,; piece of masonry. ' "---'•.'.'" i^ vC >^ '"'.r ]\ 

about severt> foot hi^h. and with a semi-circular ^ i~ ■ .'- "y>- -■':'_ ^':, . "fe \ 

arch of eighty feet The chief enijineer h,-id " •";.,■ --t^<,t"' 

prepared a plan for a bridge of two arches, each of j^^^ ,j,u viAutcr. 

fifty feet span, but afterward adopted the nlan of 
the present structure It -v.-is de-iL-ned lid its erer-ion ■-■,!; rrmtended bv iTie. The work 

55 Tf!E STOnV OF joii.xsrowx. 

done bv an honest Scotch stonemason nan>ed John Durno, who xvas afterward k.Ued by faUing 
from another high brid-e The arch is three and a-half feet thick at the springing Ime and 
three feet at the crown ; the arch stones are of light-colored sandstone and the backing of sili- 
cious limestone found near the spot. The sandstone was split from erratic blocks, often of 
great size \vhich were found Iving in the on the surface of the ground The contract 
price for the masonrv was 54^0 per perch of tv^ cubic fee., and the work was remark- 
ably well done The face stones were laid in mortar from the sihcious limestone, without the 
addition of anv sand. The cost of the Viaduct was about 555.000, and by building it a lateral 
bend of about 'two miles was avoided. The embankment at the end of the viaduct was sixty- 
four feet high," 

Here the Conemau^h turns abruptly, travclint; two miles to form an ox- 
bow a few yards across. Part of the waters streamed throUL;h the cut leading 
to the old bridge, which supported two steel tracks, the main body of the flood 
circling the tortuous channel. The arch reared its imposing curve seventy 
feet ab°ove the average hei-ht of the river, presumably beyond the grasp of the 
ravager. Precipitous hills contracted the channel and the foaming waters 
hcap^ed up as never before. They enveloped the Viaduct, which trembled and 
fell. An iron bed-plate, weighing twenty tons, floated forty rods and the com- 
pact stones laid in cement scattered like pebbles. Logs stranded in the 
topmost branches of trees and marks on the rocks proved that the waters had 
risen sevcity-mne ffct ! No wonder the staunch Viaduct, which the assaults of 
sixty years had not impaired, succumbed at last, John Armstrong was right 
in saving : 

" Wh-il not fade' The tower that loni; had stood 
The crash of thunder and the warring winds • « • • 
Now hangs in doubtful ruin, o er its hase ; 
And flinty pyramids and walls of biass 

Paddling an improvised raft of sticks and broken boards athwart the 
bridgelcss stream, the toilsome journey in the track of the flood was resumed. 
The^'railroad was amply elevated for two miles west of the Viadtict to sustain 
no damage. The brick station at Mineral Point loom ■<! up. but what of the 
pretty hamlet nestling at tl;e foot of the hills on the opposite side of the 
Conemaugh^ Thirty-two cosy abodes had ranged along a tongue of flat 
land, facing the creek and a street. A furniture factory and a planing-miU 
supplied work for the men. whose happy homes presented a picture of con- 
tentment and peace. The people had no thought c^f hazard, although the creek 
was so high that several families move.l out in the afternoon. On came the tur- 
bid waters, emitting a cloud of mist suggestive of the smoke of a burning forest 
or the dust of a whirlwind in the Sahara, They struck the house at the upper 
end of the row and it dissolved. One minute cleared away twenty-six dwell- 
ings and the gardens surrounding them. The planing-miU and factory 
vanished. Six buildin-s in the lower end of the village, one of them the 
school-house, which was jerked from its foundations, were left. A barren 
waste, destitute of soil as a block of granite, marked the site of what had 

MARC}! OF rni: IM'.srROVER. 67 

been an inviting spot. Dismal was the spectacle to those who knew Mineral 
Po'nt in its tranquil repose. Sixteen persons perished : 

Mrs. Catharine J. Byers, at;ed 46 

Mrs, Catharine Burkhart, aged 85. mother of Mrs. Byers. 

Mrs Phoebe Finlay, aged 5S 

Mrs. Magdalen Gromley, aged 45. 

Lily Gromley. aged 19. 

Mary Gromley, aged 16. 

J. A. Gromley, aged 14. 

David Gromley, aged 12. 

Edward E. Gromley, aged g. 

Emma B. Gromley, aged 5. 

Samuel Page, aged 40 

Mrs. Mary E. Page, aged 30. 

Harriet Page, aged 11 

Herman B. Page, aged 6, 

James Wilson, aged 33. 

S- S Kohler, night watchman at planing-mill. 

The bodies of Pai;e and Kohler were ruco\ered on Sunday and some of the 
others during the week. Wilson stayed to loosen his horses, which went 
down with him and the stable. Mrs. Burkhart lived with her daughter, the 
pair d\ing together. Christopher Gromle}' and one son contrived to junip 
from the roof as their house careened by the liank four miles below Mineral 
Point. The^- returned in three hours to rind the rest of the family dead. A 
flock of geese wandered in the rear of the Page lot as the writer viewed 
the scene. Two dogs howled disconsolately for the masters who should come 
no more, and a drenching rain added to the doleful forlornness. The clock in 
the railroad tower stopped at 3:41, fi.\ing the precise moment of the disaster. 
Mineral Point had felt in full measure the wrath of the destroyer. 

Enclosed b)" loft\' hills and rocky bluffs, the creek pursues its winding 
course four miles to East Conemaugh. Perpetual breaks interrupted m\' trip. 
For a mile the three tracks were piled on each other, a piece frequenth' lack- 
ing. A short distance east of the tunnel — a reminder of the Portage — the 
road-bed was annihilated, compelling an ascent by a rough patii to the de- 
serted line on the wooded hillside. Walking through the tlripping tunnel, 
which rarel_\' echoes the tread of human feet, and down the slope that once 
served as an incline up ^\hich cars were drawn by a stationar\' engine, Penn- 
sylvania railroad bridge No. 6 was missing. This splendid structure, known 
as the •■High Bridge," appeared solid enough to endure the severest test. 
But man's work is pun_\' in competition with the elements and the bridge yielded. 
The cijinfiany erected a gigantic trestle in five days, requiring si.\ hundred 
thousand feet of timber, and began pushing forward a stone arched bridge \\ ith 
characteristic expedition. 

The waters stripped the soil and trees from the banks, annexing them to 

68 rf!i: s roRV ( '/■ /< '//.\ > / ■ ^ /; w: 

theovcrwhflniiiiL; wciLlh: ot the crushiiiL;. t,'rimliii,u; iiias^. IKuises ficjin South 
Fork and Mineral Point \vt:rc knnckcil to pieces .mil tan-kil inuxtricably. 
Tlic coxerinLT of the walc-r-line of tlio Cambria Iron Conipan}' was cleared, 
exposing the pipes paralleling; the bed nf the ]'ortai;e, in its prime a marvel 
of cngineerin:; skill. Timbers framed and burlrd lifty years ai;:> were bared 
once more, ami one strap rail, rnsty and bent. \a\"idly recalled the initial 
da\s of railroadim;. The journey IkuI to be ccjntinued by creepim; o\cr the 
jagged rocks, at \vhose base the waters dashed noisih'. Chunks rif stone and 
loosened trees rolled down tiie hills at times, significant hints of the pi'rils 
environing the route. 

The engine and car that liroir^lu Assistant-Superintendent Tromp from 
Pittsburgh in the morniuL,' steiod on the onl\' jnece of track for mile>. the air- 
brakes holding them on the rails when the waters la\-ed the windo\vs of the 
coach. A mile ahead the creek curved arouml a rocky bend. The road-bed 
— an embankment twent}' feet higli — was a thing ef tlie past. Xo vestige of 
ballast, clay, rails or ties could be discovered. The^. fretting ^vaters 
turned the sharp cur\e with such \elocit\- that Jacob \\'. Griffin's house, 
sheltered by the perpendicular rock, -was scarceh' moistened. East Cone- 
mangh, a railroad town, ^\ith a round-liouse and the homes of two hundred 
eniploves. was built mainh' on the flat between t!ie creek and the sloping 
ground leading to the hills back of the \iilaL;e. Forty of these houses ranged 
on the north side of Front street. From Gritiiths the destruction was total 
to the west end of tlie street, with everything south to the creek. The brick 
round-house contained nine locomoti\es and twi-iit\' more in the xard. Build- 
ing and engines were in\"olved in the common ruin. The iiKnt-tlible force of 
the flood ma\' be conjectured from the fact that a locomotiw- boiler was carried 
two miles and deposited in Johnstown, across Conemaugh Creek. Think of 
this and wonder not at the carnival of ruin ! The angel of death shrouded 
the community in gloom f(jr these lost ones : 

John .Vtkinson, a^^'ed 72. 

Mrs. Matilda Eurk, aged 37. 

Mrs. Sarah Coy, aged 50. 

Newton G, Coy. aged 16. 

Alexander Kerr, aged 45. 

Mary Kerr, aged i. 

Mrs. Ellen McHugh, ai;ed 45. 

Gertrude McHugh, au'etl I'V 

J. S McHugh, aged 14 

Mrs McKirn. an aged woman. 

Mrs Zane. age unknown 

The forty buildings destro_\-ed included the Eagle Hotel. Philiji Shupe's 

store, Sheplierd's store, tlie post-ofiice. the railwav station and re'unii-house. 

the Central Hotel and pri\-ate resid.L-nce'S. None acquainted witli tlie site 

could ha\"e recognized Ea^t C. inem:u;g"h. Th^- current diig^ a new channel and 

MARCH oi- '////: J)Estko\'/:r. 69 

half tlie town hatl lin-a lilottfil out. Three p;isseni;er trains, belated by the hi.^h 
water, suffered fcartiilly. These and shatte'retl freii^iit ti'ains uc(-upied the sole 
rt inainm;^' pieces of traci-; from two miles aboxc Concmauyh to Johnstown sta- 
tion. Thirty wrecked locomotives were distributed oxer acres of territory, 
most of tliem planted ileeji in the nnid. 

The water scaled the opposite bank, on which Franklin borout;h ia 
located, ill their haste to describe tlie abrupt curve in the creek at the upper 
end of East Conemau:.;h. .\ child playing in his father's back-yard was 
sucked into the torrent. Twenty-eight homes joined the dreadful procession 
that liad attained alarming proportions from the constant additions of wreck- 
age. Frederick Xissley's dwelling was plucked from between two others, 
which passed imscathed. One of the two houses at the chemical works 
sustained little hurt, although the second was converted into toothpicks. 
Kindred and acquaintances moiu'ned the fate of seventeen persons : 

Mrs. Essie Keiper. aged 24. 

Ralph Keiper. a,i;ecl i. 

George Constable 

Mrs. Sarah E, Leech, wife of County Superintendent. 

Alice Leech, aged iS, d.aut;hter of County Superintendent. 

William :Mills 

Ida Loudenstein. 

Mrs. Christine Robina. aged 25. 

Eddie Robina. aged 2 

William Robina. aged S months. 

Peter Rubritz, aged 65. 

Mrs. Peter Rubritz. 

Maggie Rubritz, aged 20 

Dr. J. C. Wil?on. aged 53. 

Mrs. Wilson, aged 52. 

Solomon Eoyer. 

Miss Lizzie Devlin, niece of Dr. Wilson. 

Dr. Wilson's bod\- was found on Monday in the sand at the Baltimore & 
Ohio depot. Johnstown, two miles from his home, over the site of which the 
creek now flows. The same da\' !Mrs. Wilson's was foimd in Kernvdle. on 
the south-side of Stony Creek. Mrs. Leech was taken from the yard of the 
Cambria Iron\\"orks. below the Pennsylvania Railroad station, and her daugh- 
ter from a heap of rubl)ish al;>ove the chemical works. They were interred in 
the Cemetery at East ConemauL;h. Some of the others xvill not be heard of 
until the resurrection. 

John Keiper, fireman on the railroad, who lived at Franklin, lost his wife 
and child. He swam out and caui^ht a log, on which he drifted to the South 
Side of Johnstown. .Ml his clothing was torn off. 

Grace Knuff lived with Peter Ruliritz in Franklin borough. I^unning to 
an attic window as the house went down, she could not get out. She floated 



awav with the building and was saved at the chemical works. P'rank Trout, 
of East Conemaugh. was employed by the Johnson Company at Woodvalc 
He was on his way to work and the llood caught him at the ticket-gate of tlie 
Fair Grounds. He scrambled upon the ticket-oftice rouf and afterward got on a 
telephone pole, which was broken off. He clasped a second telephone pole 
and it was carried awa\-. Then he mounted a log, and was carried over 
the woolen-mill dam. Farther on he was caught between two logs and se- 
verely squeezed. Extricating himself, he mounted one of the logs, floated to the 
stone bridge in Johnstown and back to the Presbyterian Church. Thence he 
made his way to Alma Hall and was saved. 

East Conemaugh and Franklin, separated by a narrow stream, were not 
divided in mutual sorrow. 



r- U-; 

// ^ y^ 



A Thrilling Episode — The Fated Passenger Trains at East Conemaugh — Hours cp 
Anxious Waiting — An Engineer's Shrill Warning — The Avalanche of Death — 


Vestibuled Coaches Burned — Round-House Wiped Out — Locomotives Buried 
— How Two Fair Girls Perished — Statements of Awe-Struck Survivors — A Dis- 
aster Unparalleled in Railroad Annals. 

■ When life is old, 

tie r.Tejot. Ihc heart wiH hold 

of thi,." 

JIIKILLING in the extreme was the wreck of the 
Day Express at East Conemaugh. The two sec- 
tions composing" this train eastward left Piitsbur<,'h 
at the usual hour on Friday morning, with a 
liberal complement of passent;ers. The swollen 
Conemaugh. whose banks the main line of the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad follows for fortv miles, looked 
threatening as it bore off numberless saw-lo^rs 
and masses of drift-wood. At Johnstown the 
streets were subm.erged and reports of landslides 
and washouts caused a delaw Proceeding to East 
Conemaugh. the sections were run on separate 
tracks, with a freight train between them. Other 
frei-.;hts occupied different positions near the depot 
and the mail train was placed in the rear of the first section of the express. 
Telegraph wires and poles had fallen and tlerinite information regarding the 
track could not be obtained bv the anxious railwav otf.cials. For a time the 
passengers sought to dispel their uneasiness b\' readim,' and chattino^. Three 

7 J 



\vcar_\- hcmrs pas-- '1. W'hisinis that the dam at Lake Concmaugh ini-ht 
break bkincheJ the taces of the stoutest. Assistaiit-Superinteiulent Tronip 
liad ,uone a euupie ot miles fai'ther. \\itli an eu^iine ami cciach, to ascertain the 
state of .ulaiis. Anoliur locom()ti\c. handletl hy Engineer Jolm Hess, was 
stationed a mile east of the exjui-ss train as a jirecaiuiiTn. K'aiii beat on the 
cars and the wind moaned distresstullw K.k h nir.nient seemed a short 
eternit\-, nor could the feeling of impending e\ il be shaken otf. Most of the 
passengers on the mail train \vere familiar with the country and knew the 
dangerous situation, should the reser\oir burst its bounds. Ihey left the 
train about noon, but the throu-h passengers stayed in the vestibuled parlor 
cars of the Day Express. At hi'-t the shrieks ol a locomotive whistle were 
heard, sounding like the wailings of a lost soul. The passengers rose from 
their seats instinctivelv. realizing that something serious had happened. A 
conductor or brakeman entered each coach and remarked quietly : 
■' Please step up on the hill-side as quickly as possible !" 

There was no time for explanatii >n and none was needed. No time for lin- 
gering farewell. last kiss and fond caress. Already the roar of advancing waters 
filled the air. Those who first reached the platform saw wrecked houses, broken 
bridges, trees and rocks borne on a tidal wave just turning the bend three hun- 
dred yards aw-a}'. Frantic e.xertions were made to escape to the protecting hills 
back of the station. An old mill-race. ne\er filled up, was in the way, with 
narrow planks for crossin<.;s. Some of the terrified passengers jinnped or fell 
into the waters and drowned, the delujije from the reservoir overtaking them as 
they floundered in the ditch. -'V few of those who could not lea\ e tlie train sur- 
vived ^\•ith painful bruises, a drenching and a paralyzing fright, the waters 
rising halt-way to th.e car-roofs. Several were caught in the deadly swirl as 
they tried to crawl under the vestibukd coaches of the second section, which 
lay on the inside track. It was the work of a miunent to envelop the tiains. 
The horror-stricken spectators b<;held a sIliIu unexampled in the history of 
railroading. An ominous cra.->h. and the round-house and nine heavy engines 
disappeared. E\erythin'_' in the line of the flood was displaced or swallowed 
up. Locomoti\ es were tossed asitie and their tenders spirited eitf. A baggage- 
car of the mail train broke its couplings and drifted out of view, while the rear 
carswiin<;" around at riuht angles to the track. A rulhnan coach rolled off and 
\vas crushed, a resident picking; up one of its gas lixtures next day at the lower 
end of \Vood\-ale. Mere pla_\-thinL,'s for the whirlpool, en^'ines and cars were 
hidden l>eneath timbers, brush and dirt. Slaked 1)\ the water, a cargo of 
lime on the train bctv.-een the sections of the express set two Pullman coaches 
blazing. Thus fire and liood coml.ined to lend fri'sh horrors to the onslaught. 
The coaches burned to the trucks. B\tive o'clock the torce of the torrent had 
subsided and an estimate of the carnage was attLinpted. Hardl\- a shred \\-a3 
saved from the trains, the passengers liaxing le'ft bag-au'e and -.irments in their 

WRECK or Tin: y;.,!' express. -- 

frenzied iliglit. Many had ncillicr hats nor wrap^. but this was scarcely tliou;^Iit 
of in the confusion ami excitement. Bitter lamentations for missing ones tem- 
pered the jo\'of the survivors over tlieirown safetv. Twent\'-two of their num- 
ber had been snatched away. Names and residences could not be lixed at once, 
nor was their identity positi\-ely established for ^\eeks. Elforts to obtain an 
accurate list resulted in the foHo\\Tni; : 

■Mrs. Fanny Tarbell and three children, Cleveland, O. 

Cyrus H Schick, Reading, I'a 

Miss Eliza Stinson, Norristoun, Pa 

John R. Day and daughter. Prcispect, Md. 

Andrew Ewing, Snow Shoe, Pa. 

Mrs Mary A. Swineford, aged lady, New Berlin, Pa. 

Mrs. Edward Swineford, St. Louis, Mo, 

Miss Jennie Paulson, Alleghen_\', Pa. 

Miss Elizabeth M. Bryan, Philadelphia. Pa. 

Mrs. J. F. King and Miss Anne M. Bates, Racine, Wis. 

Mrs. A. C. Christman, Beauregard, Miss. 

Mrs. J. B. Rainey, Kalamazoo, Mich. 

Christopher Meisel. Jersey City, N- J- 

John Ross, cripple, Xewark, N. J, 

Mrs. H. M. Smith and child, Osborn. O. 

F Phillip*, colored porter sleeping-car. 

Upon the first warning of the death-dealing wave. Engineer tless tied the 
whistle of his locomoti%e open, put on all steam and dashed towards East Cone- 
mauc^h. The whistle screamed and howled as if a tortured fiend possessed it, 
brin-^ing people to their doors in hot haste and enabling hundreds to flee to 
high ground ere their houses were engulfed. The brave engineer jumped from 
the iron steed barely in time to save his life b\' a hasty race beyond the invad- 
ino' waters. Next instant the flood swept the engine from the track, whirling and 
rolling it over and o\er. and embedded it in the dirt. J^\"ing bruised arid 
pummelled and disabled, pitiful %\ as its helplessness compatLd with its strength 
as it had stood upon the track in its burnished bravery of stcc 1 and brass, ready 
at the lever's touch to pluck big handfuls of power and lling them in fleec}' 
\-olumes to the skies. Silent was the whistle that had informed the passengers 
and citizens of the coming destruction. During the height of the flood the sound 
of locomotive whistles fr(^m the midst of the waters startled and surprised the 
fugitives huddled on the liill. Two engineers, with the ner\e t}-pical of their 
class, hatl stuck to their cabs. While awful wreck and dewistation environed 
them, the brazen throats pealed a elefiant note at inter\'als, the last time 
with exultant vigor as the waters were slowly recedimr. Locomoti\e 1309, a 
fifty-ton ei^ht-wheeler, stood in its place, smoke curling from its stack, steam 
issuing from tlie safet\'-valvc, and driftwovid heaped up to the top of the heatl 
liuht, the glass in which, by a rjueer fantasy of the tlood. \^-as not cracked. 
>iot far a\\a\' Locomotive 477, its tender tipped over and a mass of refuse 


surrounding it, headed the train ■which sustained the least damage. The 
iiiiglity arms were powerless and the fier}' bosom was chilled. Engineer 
Henr}-, who escaped to the hills, coidd not restrain a sigh at the sight of his 
giant pet, feeble and useless in the midst of a waste that so much needed the 
assistance of the strong to bring order out of chaos. 


- •a 

RAI RO^D R ^ F AT 1- \ C 

A representative of the Associated Press, who had occupied a seat in the 
second secticin. lucidly described some of the incidents that came under his 
own observation : 

"One gentleman, who was ill, had his berth made up and retired, althou.:;h advised not to 
do so. Sooa the cry came that the water in the reservoir had broken the barrier and was sweep- 
ing down the valley. Instantly there was a panic and a rush for the mountain-side. Children 
were carried and women assisted by a few who kept cool heads. It w as a race for life. There 
was seen the black head of the flood. With this in view, even the weak found w in>:s for their 
feet \o words can describe the terror that filled every breast at the power exhibited by the 
tiood. The round-house, locomotives and two-score dwellings were swept av.-av in a minute. 
The locomotive of one of the trains was struck by a house and demolished. Th'e side of another 
house stopped in front of a Iccomotive and served as a shield. The car of the mail train 
swung around in the rear of the second section of the express and turned over on its side. 
Three men were observed standing en it as it floated. Will they trust to it or the still upri-ht 
Pullman cars ? The couplins^s broke and the car moved oat upon thb waters .\s it would roU 


the men would shift their position ; the situntion was desperate and they were C'^'en up for lost 
Two or three men men seized ropes and ran along the mountain-side to sive them aid. The 
men escaped over some driftwood as their car was carried near the bank It is believed there 
were women and children inside the car. Of course they were drowned ' 

A Connecticut passen.i,'er on tlie 'second section, Mr. H. Wilniot, of Xew 
Ha\en, n-coimted his experience briefly : 

" When the conductor warned us. I rushed to where my wife and baby were. Graspinj» the 
child, I called to my wife to follow me. The water was like a huye wall, not five hundreil feet 
from us. Everybody jumped It was every man for himself and God for us all I ran with 
my child in my arms and my wife close behind. I came to a small creek that had become 
swollen, and jumped over that ; then I looked for my wife. When she got to the creek she 
hesitated at tirst. but a man behind her called out, ' lump, jump, for heaven's sake !' That 
determined her, and she jumped and cleared the creek. The water was then close upon us, but 
we succeeded in getting away. One of the ladies that was lost came from- the South. There 
were also two old ladies, both of whom were drowned I lost all my bagtrage, but am perfectly 
satisfied to let it go. Thank God, I have my wife and child I The way in which the water 
hurled that train to destruction was terrible." 

Particularly touchin;.; was tiie fate of Miss Paulson and Miss Br\'an, two 
clever, popular society f^irls. Both had attended a wedding at Pittsburgh the 
previous day and were on their way to New York. Thev wore graceful corsage 
bouquets of roses and presented some of the flowers to Cconductor Bell a few- 
minutes before the train was oxerwhelmed, for his kindness to them at Cone- 
niaugh. Miss Paulson was reading the novel entitled •• Miss Lou," and Miss 
Bryan was looking out ol the v.indow at the instant the alarm sounded. The 
two girls spran,;;' to the door, but turned back for their rubbers. Fatal decis- 
ion ! The cruel waters dashed over the car, bearing the fair maidens to their 
doom. Miss Bryan's remains were imearthed froiu the rubbish at the lower end 
of Johnstown and buried without having been identified. Trinkets taken from 
her person encouraged a hope that the tenant of the imknown grave was the 
missing girl. The body was raised and recognized b\' friends, who took it to 
Philadelphia. Strentious efforts failed to discover Miss Paulson for tive 
months. On Xovenit)er 4th. in a number of bodies of unknown dead disinter- 
red from Prospect Hill for removal to Grand-\'iew Cemetery, her body was 
identified by her brother and slupped to Pittsburgh. A passenger who sat in 
the scat behind the \oung ladies related these facts : 

"When the ru^h of water came Miss Paulson ami Miss Brvan did not get out as promptly 
as some of the others. They were followed by Miss Virginia Maloney, of Woodbury, X. J., 
and a female servant of Mr. E. H ilcCulIough, who, fearing they would not get to the hill which 
some of the passengers had already reached, ran back to one of the cars. From there the servant 
saw the flood catch'and carrv off both Miss Vaulson and Miss Brvan. Miss Maloney did not see 
the ladies swept away, and she and the servant were afterward rescued from the car, though they 
both had an almost miraculous escape. The conductor h;id shouted to all in the car to run and 
stop for nothing He picked up two children and noticed Miss Paulson and Miss Bryan search- 
ing for their overshoes and waterproofs He again called out, ' Don't wait for anything,' but the 
moments they lost prevented them from rt'aching the hill. He, with the children, escaped but a 

-jS TUF. STORY OF Ji>/f\srnivx. 

second or two aheadof the flood, wliich was at his heels After the watf-r had ^one down a search 
of the car was made, and it was found that both the waterproofs were inissini;. Miss Paulsons 
overshoes were also gone, but Miss Hryans were found 

Strange destiiu' '. Fr<,)in the festivities of ;i inarria'j:c-feast to the cold em- 
brace of death and an unknown grave. Then to he exhiiiiu-d nionth,s after- 
wards, recognized and consigned to a tondi budewed with tear:? and bedecked 
with flowers. 

Mr. \\"iniam Schrcder. of Newark, N. J., furnished graphic details: 

■■ The parlor car was tilled when I sot aboard the train, and a seat was assigned me in the 
sleeper at the rear. Amoni; the passengers were several ladies It was rainin.g hard, and we 
whiled awav the time reading or watching the river. Very few had any apprehension of 
danger, even after we had been detained at Conemaugh five hours The tracks where our 
train stopped were fully fourteen feet above the level of the river. .\ large number of freight 
and passenger cars and locomotives stood near us and strung up the road a considerable dis- 
tance. Such a possibility as the carrying a>vay of a train on the great Pennsylvania railroad 
was not seriously entertained by anybody. .About four o'clock, two colored porters went 
through the sleeper within a short time of each other, looking and acting rather e.vcited. I 
asked the first one what was the matter, and he replied that he did not know When the sec- 
ond one came along. I asked him if the reservoir had given way, and he answered that he 
thought it had. I put down my book, stepped out to the hind platform, and was horrified at the 
sight which met my gaze up the valley It seemed as though a forest was coming down upon 
us. A great wall of water was roaring and grinding, so thickly studded with trees from 
the mountain side that it resembled a gigantic avalanche. I lingered but a moment, for the 
mortal danger electrified me That instant I saw an engine lifted uodily otf the tracks and 
thrown backward into the whirlpool, houses crushed in the flash of an eye. and the noise re- 
sembling incessant thunder. I shouted to the ladies in the car, three of them alone, to tly for 
their lives, and helped them out Two others jumped the ditch, through which the water was 
running swiftly, but the third, a heavy lady, a iriissionary on her way to a foreign post, hesitated. 
That delay cost her life. While I holding out my hand and urging her to jump, the 
waters swept her into the torrent This same instant an engine was pitched from the track 
into the ditch at my feet. The water was about my knees as I clambered up the hill. Ten 
seconds later, when I looked back, it was surging and boiling ten feet deep over the track I had 
just left. The rush of waters lasted three-quarters of an hour. We stood spell-buund in 
the rain, beholding the ruin no human agency could avert, and then secured shelter until 
Saturday morning in a house high on the hill-side " 

John Ross, an elderly gentleman and helpless cripple, finding he blocked 
the way of a lady, threw himselt from the car steps to let her pass. jVs 
she descended to the ground he ga\'e her a plaintive, yearning look, which 
time nor distance is likely to erase, and exclaimed. •• God help you:" The 
water v.-as at hand. A trainman carried Ross a little way. bat had to drop him 
and run to avoid sharing his fate. The poor cripple had in him the stutf of 
which heroes are made. His bod_\' was recovered. The lady declined to give 
her name when describing' this n-'Liancholy episodic. 

Mrs. Elijah Halford. wife ot I'rcsidtnt Harrison's private secretary, and 
her daugfiter were returning to Washington from a visit to friends in Indian- 
apolis. The colored porter assisted the ladies in their tligdit from the car. 



I'or his timely services he was rewnnkd with a nice situatinn in the natiunal 
capital. The story that Mrs. Hallord was the lady for whuni Kcss drojijw .1 
from the car platform is mitriie. She was in aimthiT coach and knew nothin,; 
of the iilCldent. 

Mrs. M. J. Blaisdell. of I'elican Rapids. }»Iinn . diihhed --Th.: Minne-^nta 
Ijlizzard" frijm uettin:; a bill thron'.,'h Con^'ress in ten da\-s, was also liunnd 
for \\'asliini;ton. Xarratin'.^' her ad\ entnres next da\', she said : 

" I was anNioui to kno'.v if ijne of the lady passcnger=; who bcuged mu to \i.o out with her 
had escaped. I found three ladies in search of me, \Ve ail wfut to the improvised morc;ue 
together, but could not h!:d her there. The siL;ht was a distressinii one. The faces of those 
taken from the water were marked with bruises, caused by coming in contact with the debris. 
which covered not only the surface, but the depth of the flood. I have in my possession a 
little baby's shoe, which I found after the tlood had subsided, which I purpose treasuring as a 
relic. I had lost ever>thir.g but ray little satchel and lunch basket, to which I held on witli a 
grip born of desperation In the midst of my excitement I hoisted mv parasol over mv head, 
as it was raining hard. With this paraphernalia I landed in tlie ditch waist deep. My clothes 
were in a horrible condition from the mud and s-.nd with which they had become saturated 
during m) struL;_'!es in the water. .V chani,'e of clothini; was necessary and I asked fer tl;e 
loan of some, until those I had on could be wa-.hed and dried out. There was womlerlal 
stick-to'-ativenes3 in that mud. as it took five pails of water to rinse it out before being put to 
dry. I got a chance of garments, but they were sadly short for a person of mv stature, e\identlv 
being those of a i6-year-old .girl. In this costume I cut a quaint figure, but why be choice of 
dress under such dreadful circumstances '' Drenched to the skin, it was ' anv port in a storm ' 

" My quarters were chan.'ed from the house I first entered. About the stove were gath- 
ered all that could con\eniently stand around it. warming and drying themselves, and I had ti> 
go into another room and change my clothing, standing in water. I went back into the room 
and got a seat at the sio\e. Mrs. Halford and her daughter were among the company. At the 
time I did not know who she was, but subsequently she made herself known to me When I 
went into the outer room, to dress I threw off my large double black shawl It was not wet. as 
the parasol had protected my ^houlders from the rain. When I returned, some one had 
thrown it around Mrs. Halford She saw my condition and that I needed it. I did not like 
to take the warm shawl from her shoulders, for she was as pale as a corpse and almost dared 
from the terrible e\perience through which she had so recently passed She appeared cold 
and faint, but my own condition was such that I had m cover myself as best I could 

" The outside door of the house had a button on the inside and no latch ; thus, when anv 
one went out, the door would stand open and. therefore, the cold blew right on Mrs Halford. 
I tried to keep the door shut, but it was h.ird work Ho«e\-er, it was at least a place 
of shelter, and we were gratified that we escaped with our lises. At tv.o o'clock Saturday 
afternoon the team came and we began our journey of eighteen miles up the AUeghenv 
mountain toward Eben^bun; The mules looked tired and fai'ged out The roads were in a 
terrible conrlition in places from the deluge of rain. Ebensburg reached, it uas not long until 
wc were whirled to the gecdb. Mountain City." 

"Mrs.' Tarhell cltinc; tu her ciiildren. one of whom was clasped in her arms 
when the bodies were diiu' from the retiise abi.ive the railmail bridge at Jolm.--- 
t.-.AMi. Mr. Tarlell has sued tor hi.a\'\' daniacres, alle^'ing that holdini,' th-.- 
train at Cc>neniatii;h was a needless risk. 

Mrs. Mar\- .\. Swincford. of New li'jriin. V:\.. and her danshter-in-law m -t 


the same fate. The bod\- of the former was seen b\' two ladies, who stood on 
the high bank, near the railroad bridge at Johnstown, watching the workmen 
explode dynamite to clear off the wreckage. Probabl}' the concussion loosened 
the bod\', wiiich was almost concealed b_\' l>oards and rubbish. The younger 
Mrs. Swineford was not found for four months, when her body was taken from 
a cellar in ^filh'ille, 

Cyrus H. Schick, a prominent manufactiuer of Reading, was returning 
from a protracted tour in the west for the benefit of his health, with his wife 
and her sister, Miss Eliza Stinson. Xorrisiown. Mrs. Schick gave this account : 

"Our partv was comin<4 e.ast, t'lUed with joyful expfctation?; of meeting dear friends, from 
whom we had been separated for three months. Mr. Schick had telegraphed to Reading, an- 
nouncing our return We spoke a great deal ,,^r^- 
of our long trip and the great benefit which ^ ^ 
Mr. Schick's health had received byourtrav- ^ ^-- 
els in the west. When the train reached / 
Johnstown we found the whole town in e\- , » ^ i 
citement. One railroad track had already \ ^~ ^'^ \9 
been washed away by the flood, and the train /i( 
moved slowly to East Coneraaugh. We re- ^ ' "^ 
mained together in the Pullman coach and saw •" __ ^^ 
that the danger was very great. From the -~ ^ 
windows of the coach we saw the dood sweep s \ 
away the bridge between Conemaugh and ^ ^ 
Johnstown, and whirl the pieces m a thousand 

directions. When we heard the alarm, we x ' "~-" 

made an efiort to escape from the cars and tlee ^ ^ ^ ^i ~\^ 

for our lives When we got upon the plat- ^^ ^ .^^ 2x-~^^ """^ 

form, we saw that right in our way was a gully 
filled with watf-r Mr Schick and my sister 
were in such h^ste that they fell headlong 
in the gully. I saw my husband rise, but soon 
lost sight of him in the tumult The scene beg- 
gared description. Houses and persons were 


swept along in the flood. I saw that I would 

not be able to cross the gully and rushed back into the car, closed all the doors and found my- 
self to be the only occupant. This was my refuge and here I remained until midnight, when 
I was rescued and taker, to the house of Train Dispatcher Wiikinshaw, where I was verv kindlv 
cared for until the arrival of triends." 

Mr. Schick's body was not found for ten days, despite the most active work 
of his brother and business associates. Miss Stinson was recognized in a heap 
of two hundred unclaliU'^-d corpses about to be burietl on Prospect Hill, and 
taken to Xorristown for mternicnt. The Schick mansion had been decorated 
handsomely to welcome tiie return of the tra\elers, but the preparatiiins were in 
vain, for the master ot the luxurious home was conveyed to it in a coffin. 

The rescued passengers were dri\en to ICbensburg. whence the\- jour- 
neyed liy rail to Altoona. There the railroad company quartered them, with 

irjf£cA' OF T//K DAY EXPRESS. Si 

six bundrt-d others ditt'creiit trains, in the liotels. Telegraphic commu- 
nication was cut ott and the an.\iet\' C)f rehuives and friends for tiilings cannot 
be depicted. Meanwhile the grossest exaggerations circulated. Not until the 
wires coultj be restored to service were an.xieties relieved or ajipreliensions 
confirmed. Se\ en (->f the involuntar\' guests at Altoona had seemed passages 
for Kurope and others had pressing business engagements. How their plans 
were disarranged may be imagined. Mrs. George \V. Childs, of Pliiladelphia' 
and two or three distinguished ladies, were reported lost. Fortunateh' the 
limited train, on which the}' were going east, reached Altoona safely. It had 
been stopped belov.- South Fork in the forenoon, on account of a washout at 
Lilh's station. Tuwartis noon tlie f^ars of the station-master at South Fork 
induced him to urge the conductor to have the train pulled over the bridge. 
Orders from the train-dispatcher could not be liad. owing to breaks in the tele- 
graph lines, and the conductor at tlrst refused to assume the responsibilit}- of 
moving the train. Consenting at length, it was drawn up a mile, crossing the 
bridge at noon and getting to Altoona in the evening. This providential 
movement saved the Limited from sliaring the fate of the Day F-xpress. 

Mr. George, of Lill_\', who was on the first section, and eight others left 
East Conemaugh at 4:25, driving to Ebensburg. They had a bundle of dis- 
patches for friends of the passengers andbrouLrht the first news of the disaster 
to the county-seat. The citizens refused to credit the report that trains had 
been washed away, towns expunged as a child would wipe a pictured \'illage off 
a slate, miles of road-bed removed, the course of the Conemaugh diverted 
and hundreds of people si.\ept to destru.ction. It was too horrible to contem- 
plate such a calamity as possible in this age of steam and electricity. All night 
the telegraph operator. ?vliss I^lowl. kept sem.ling messages to accessible points 
— messages calculated to stir the public heart to its utmost depths, although 
half the sad truth was not known for days thereafter. 

The enormous resources of the ccinipany \\ere at once put into retpiisition 
to reopen the railroad. From South Fork to Sang Hollow, four miles west of 
Johnstown, the tracks and all the bridges except one were wiped out. In the 
gap above Johnstown the water seized tracks covered with trains, tore them to 
pieces and dispersed freight, buildings, cars and engines over miles of territory 
.\t East Conemaugh it altered the course of the ri\er and for two miles anni- 
hilated the road-bed itself. With the strange f.italit\- which niatie it every- 
where the attendant of the flood, fire swelled the fi iglitful damn^e. Thousands 
of men worked da\' and night. \et it was two weeks before trains could run 
through. Consider that tiie traffic of the strongest railroad corporation on 
earth, with unlimited men and mone\' at its disposal, was effectualh' blocked 
for thirteen days, and an idea can be formed of the character and magnitude 
of the ravages. 

.Articles belonging to the passengers of the I)a_\' Express were picked up 



in luhiistuwii and fifty niiks iKnvn the ri\cT. One trunk contained a soft braid 
t)f L^olden hair, several photographs, tender letters an(i a hah-do/.en rich dresses. 
Sonic of the hodiesof tlie mii-sin.^' were not reco\tre(L Three or fonr may liave 
been liurie^l anion^' the •■unknown." or burned at the railroad bridye. or 
floated out of nie.rtal siuht to be sei'n no more luuil the Judum^nt I )ay. The 
doom of the unfeirtunatc tra\elers. who came to a tragic end amid surround- 
ings peculiarly sad, must al\va\ s rank with the most pathetic and startlinu' 
episodes of a catastrophe unequalled in the nineteenth cen'"ur\". I^et some re- 
cording angel, like Uncle Toby's, drop a tear to their memory, or preserve 
them from Oblivion, the gaunt Philistine that sooner or later comiuers us all. 

» _.fii-;5^5aE3i=ii'c 






A Pretty Town Blotted Ol't of Existence — The Struggle for Life — Remarkable 
Rescve of a Family — A Frail Bridge and its Solitary Occupant — One Taken 
AND Two Saved — The Woolen Mill Partially Wrecked — Total Destruction of 
THE Gautier Works — Thsee Hundred PEorLE Perish — -Some of the Dead — An 
Aged Couple Go Down to Death Together — Happy Homes Desolated — Affecting 
Details — Not a House Left in the Borough Proper. 

" There came o'er ihe perturbed waves. 
Loud-crashins, terrible, a sound that made 
Either shore tremble, as if of a wind 
Impetuous, from con!lictin.rr vapor- sprung. 
That 'gainst some forest drivinic all hi> Mucht 
Plucks oti the brandies, beats them do«n and 
Afar; then, onward passing, proudly sweeps 
His whirlwind rai;.-."— Dante. 

a dozen 


E\"ENTY-THKEE lives and a million dollars 
in propcrtx' had been sacririct.'d to the devoiir- 
insf Moloch. Far trom appeasing him. this 
costh' orteriuL; merely whetted his ravenous 
appetite. The caiminatincr hnrror was to 
come at Johnstown and it^ suburbs. The 
hand takers, the e\-e dims and the heart throbs 
painfully over tlie t;rievous desolation. From 
East Conemauuh and Franklin, renewing; its 
energ\- at e\'erv >itp. the tlood swooped upon 
;■ .. W'oodvale. The valley narrowed and the 

water reared its trowniiiL;' cre-t lii'-:her asitad- 

inL,' the earth bare in its viutlictive passion. .An iron bridt^e am! 

dwellint;s. which dared dijpute its ri^ht ot \va\-, were contempt- 


uoiisly brushed aside. Nothing was ton small to escape its notice or too large 
for it to attack. Locomotives turned sdincrsaults, and liouses played leap- 
frog in the bosom ot the merciless current, \vhicli churned them into battered 
iron and splintered wood to stre-.s' its trail with wreckage. IIa\oc ruled the 
lioiir and chaos was monarcli of the daw 

Three lunuhcd jileasant houK'-. sheltered the eleven hundred residents of 
Wood^•alc, bordering Franklin on the south and spreading o\-er the tlats from 
Conemaugh Creek to a commanding liill on the northwest. ^faple avenue, tlie 
principal thoroughfare, was lined ^vith pretty Imnies and Lra\ersed bystreet 
cars. An iron briilge on the northern end communicated with East Cone- 
maugh. On this bridge Burgess bloward C. E\ans, 1 )r. l)uncan ami a half- 
dozen neighbors were discussing the hiL;h ^\ater. which had led to the closing 
of the local factories at noon. The roar of the tlnod tearing tlow n the creek 
arrested their attC'Ution. They understood intaiti\ely that the South-I^ork 
dam had burst, and ran to rescue tiieir families. The Ihugess sprinted three 
squares with the speed of a racer who realizes that the preservation of his 
loved ones depends upon his tleetness. • As he rushed into his house on Beach 
street tlie oldest boy. a lad of ten summers, called from up-stairs : 
" Oh, papa, the bridge is comin'^ down ullh lots of stuff ' " 

The lather seized three of tlie youn-est of his seven children. Mrs. E\-ans 
grablied up two. the oldest two trotted behind and the part}- scampered by the 
rear door for tlte hill across the railroad track. The waters were almost at their 
heels and delay meant death. One of the liabies dropped from the father's 
arms on the track, but a woman caught it uji and the tli-ht continued. A rod 
from the font of the hill another fell. Mr. Evans depositeil his load on the 
bank, ran back for tlte little fellow and wadeil safeh' to the shore. hie was 
the only one of the group on the liritlge wdiose entire family escaped. Dr. 
Duncan lost his ^vife. and each of the others was soreh' bereft. Mrs. Diui- 
can's body was buried among the imknown. A published description lecl her 
husband to disinter the remains, designatetl b\- a certain luuiiber. fie iden- 
tified his wife by the clothing and the hair, and she was laid' to rest in the 

An extensive woolen mill, employing three hiuulred girls, stood near the 
center of the borough. .Vgainst its solid brick w-alls the waters charged sav- 
agely. Thousands of terns of flotsam, accumulated on the ^va\■ from Lake 
Conemaugh. dealt the mill a staggering blow. It was an unc(]ual battle, and 
the upper e;id of the building surrendered with a terrific crash. Fortunatel_\- 
the girls had quit work at twehe o'clock and vacated the premises. The 
logs, troths, houses and rulibish we.lged in a lump, savint,' two-thirds of the 
mill and the flouring mill beside it from total extinction. The resentful waters 
splashed the third story, but coulil not budge the impenetrable mass which 
checked tlieir ferocious assault. 

U-00/U:iLE ,]y.\lHlL.\TKD. 85 

Sup-^i intendent Jolm GrulKT. his brother Lewis. W'atclimaii Coldabau:,'h. 
and anotlicr whdsc name was not learned \'.ere in the woolen mill. As portions 
of the mill were swept away the men retreated to the southern part. \M;cn 
first warned the\- were on tlie second floor, and before they had time to i;aia 
the stairwaeit was washrd awa}'. compelling: them to lemain where they were. 


^A .:' ■ '^ ;•• '^•' ''■-' 


\ • 


■/ ■ ''■■:'\'^^i^L:^^:^-^>^.^^ 

:'^':C ■'■: 

, ~ 

■■ -- • '•..■■ ■'''': ':■ /'.'.S^ 





in constant peril. Two dauLjliters of Gust McIIugh, the engineer, of East 
Coneniaiigh — Ettie and Cora — were saved at the mill bv these active men, 
who threw a rope to them as they approachei.l on the driftwood and pulled 
them in throtigh a window. 

In front of the wooien mill an iron bridge spanned the railroad tracks, the 
ends resting on stone piers of medium size. Wooden approaches on stout 
trestles connected it with either side, affording a con\enient foot-way for per- 
sons desiring to cross the \'alley. Dreaming not of danger, forty or titty people 
leaned on the railings to observe the rising waters, which had inundated the 
flats. The chrads of smoke-like mist and the noise of crunching houses 
admonished them to seek the hills with the utmost dispatch. Councilman 
B. F. Quigg was the last to cross. TIk; deluge cut down the approaclies at a 
stroke, feeding them to the surging billow. D\- an c.xtraordinar}' freak the 
iron span was spared, a skeleton network of rods and braces fluttering in 


/•///." .v7.)A'J' OF JO//\S7\)U-X. 

niiJ-air. Bridyxs many times liea\'icr had nourished tlic denioHsher, }'et this 
frail blructm-L-. built with no thoiiL;ht that a lloui.1 would (_\ cr try to Jay i: low, 
emerged iuih.iviu( <1. Upon it jierched .i unw illiny witness of the 
inevitable plunge ol many a doomed victim. \\"ho lie was nobod\- knew, as he 
crept otf in tlie darkness alter tlie waters retri-ated. liu]insuued there lor 
hours, K'-bmsoa L ruaoc on ii's ue^ert isl.uid was not more isolated. Arour.d 

him the hea\'ing torrent hissed and fretted. Xo living.,' tliint,' was visible in the 
deepening twilight, for the town had glided away. Solitary as the Ancient 
Mariner, "on a wide wide sea." 

'■ So lonclv ' that GotI himscif 

George Bailey, a 3'outh named Fittinger, and Ida Loudcnstein, of Frank- 
lin, took refuge on a pile of pig-iron which had lain fur vears close to the 
bridge above the wire mill. The girl was borne otf. but tlie two men retained 
their places on the metal bars all ni^ht. The liridge was snuifed out at a 
breath and tlie waters surrounded the iuvoluntar}' prisoners, whose suspense 
must have been intolerable. 

Nerved by despair, about sixty persons clutched the cars of a freight 
train against whicli tluy had lieen driven, opp.. site the wire-mills. They re- 



taincd their hold until the swL-lling tide overturned ihc cars. looseniuL; 
their :_;'rasp and drowninL, all hut nine of the hapless untortunates. Ani.^iii; 
the rescued \\-ere workniv'n. two yoinii; tiirls and a hii\-. Tlirir escajie from the 
fate^that o\XTtook their companions was one ol the surprises of a flood mark- 
ed h\' niany curious features. 

Tlic Gautier Wire .Mills and Steel Works, pint of them in Woodvale and 
part in Concmaugh Borough, wxrc .soon licked up. the si.\ or cif^ht immense 


departments furnishing a morNul of which the il(.)o.l made speedy work. Tl 
demolition was complete, not one lirick tarr_\-im,' ahove the stone foundations 
Heaps of sand entombed what machinery the ruthless wati-rs did not thrust 
from its moorin-s and grind to powtler. Lart^'e rolls of barbed wire entangled 
with the rubbish and wound tightly about scores of the four hundred men. wo- 
men and children who by this time were fighting for life in the turgid current. 
Held in the inllexible gvlp of the wire, fastene.l liy timbers, or sinking from 
exhaustion. _\xmng and old met death in forms unutterahh- hi.rrdile. Clinging 
to logs or fragments of buildings, some ran foul of obstructiijus ^\llich crushed 
titem into distorted, shapeless corpses. C)thers swam or Hoated long distances 
only to be pulled under at last. Chililren were wrenched from the arms of 
agonized parents, wlio perished in their turn, .\cconling to the closest enume- 


ratitin, \\'oo(i\aIe lost tlirt-e Iiundrcti and fourteen of its one thousand and 
forty-lliree inhabitants. The victims inchidcd the following: 

William Bt-ck, wife and two sons 
» Kate and Minnie Bracken. 

. Mrs, Martha F.rennen and t'ne children. 

Mrs Mollie Burkhart and three children. 

Peter Broun and five children 

Mrs, Georse E. Barbour and three children 

James Baker, wife and baby. 

Edward Barker, wife and two children. 

Frank Bowman, wife and two children 

Mrs. Mary T'lrennen and four children 

Alfred Blair, wife and four children 

Mrs, Xancy Barley, mother-in-lau and child. 

John .\ and \V. M Conrad. 

Mrs, Aaron Davi? and three children 

Mrs. Ellen Early and dau:rhter, 

Mrs. Sarah Eldridtze and dau,i;luer, 

Evan B. Evan=. wife and dauijhtcr,^, 

Mrs, Mary A. Eck and two children, 

Mrs. M. Foster and daughter 

Mrs George Geddes and two children. 

\V, E. Hoopes, wife and two children 

Mrs. Mary E Heidenthall and six children. 

Thomas Jones and three children 

Richard Jones, wife and three children 

Mrs. Josephine Johns ard three children 

Mary J , Joseph. Anna. Ernest, Harry an,! James Mayhew 

Lizzie and Ivobert Milkr, 

Mrs, Robert X Xi\on tnd three children 

Mrs H 0>ler and child 

Joseph L I'otter. wife and dau.^hter. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Reynolds and daui.;hter 

James M. Rosensteel, wife, daughter and son. 

Mrs. Mary Ream and three children. 

Joseph Schry and wife 

Mrs. Gotthold Sechmann^. daughter and son. 

Mrs, Alice Smith and two chddren 

Joseph Sch.-fpfier. wife and two d.iui.;hters 

Mrs John Sn_\derand four children. 

Mrs Mau';.;ie Smith and four children, 

John W. Stafft, wife and three children. 

Mrs John C, Tucker and two dau'.;hter3- 

Edward M Thomas and \ufe 

Edward Thomas, wife and ti\e children. 

William Tross, wife and si\ children 

E, Vincent and wife 

\'ery sad was the case of John Snyder. Crazed b}- .grief, on the last Sat- 
iirda\' evening in Jul\' he went to IJ.uitley i.\; Frohniser's store, in Johnsto-wn, to 


purchase a revolver. Turning as if to go out, after leaving the counter he fired 
four shots, one of them taking ellect in his right temple, causing instant death. 
Tlie people in the store crowded around the prostr.Ue form, luit the spirit had 
fled^and John Sn\'der a corpse. The poor fellow had lost his wife and fi.iur 
children by the deluge. He went to Ohio but could nut stay away from the 
scene of his sorrow. Keturning a week befure the fatal act that ended his 
career, he tried to work. The excitenicnt was too much for him to bear. 
Thoughts of his lobt family dwelt with him night and day, and reason ga\e 
way beneath the strain. He was thirty-five years old, an industrious working- 
man and a member of the Conemaugh fire company. A world of traged\' is 
comprised in his mournful experience. 

Joseph Schry and wife, aged respectivel}- S6 and 76 years, were the oldest 
couple in the borough. Dwelling happilv for six decades and meeting the 
same fate, not se\ered even by death, aptly might they apipropriate the well- 
known words of Burns : 

"John Aiuier^on, mvio.John 

We cl.imb the hili Ihc.-iiher; 
And moiiy a caiitv .l.iv. John, 

We've had wi' ainthe. ; 
Now we maun totter fh«vn, John, 

But hand in hand we'll so. 
And sleep thcgither at the foot, 


Mrs. Alice Smith's youngest child was a baby of six weeks. Dozens of 
children in the above list ranged in age froni three months to twelve or four-- 
teen years. Youth and innocence, decrepitude and depravity, mingled in one 
common tomb. 

The bodies of E\an B. Evans, his wife and his daughter ha\e not been 
found. Thomas Robinson, a brother-in-la-\v. who was in the E\ans house at 
the time, was also drowned. His boily was recovered at the ^filhille hose- 
house. A boarder named Held got out of the house at the compau}' store in 
Johnstown. The mother and daughter were alive at that point. He begged 
Mrs. E\'ans to lea\e the house with him, Init she refu=.ed ami the daughter 
■sv'ould not go without her. Mr. Held got on a roof that was sweeping b\'. 
A moment later the gas tanks heaved up and smashed the house. Held 
went to tlie stone bridge and was rescued. Thomas T. Davis and wife, a son- 
in-law and daughter, who lived a sh.ort distance above the Evans home on 
Maple avenue, saved themsehes b\- running to the hill. .V tramp who had 
been given bread at a house next door, helped Mrs. Dav is carry her three chil. 
dren, Mr. Davis being away. The Davises went to Ebensl)urg, where their 
bov of three years tlied. Mrs. Davis, with womanly forethought, locked tlie 
door of lier house when ^he deserted it. She still has the key — all of the house is left. 

R. G. Wickersham and a friend were riding their horses about town to 
take a view of the liigh water. Ha\'ing reached Woodvale, the'," were about to 


purcliasc a revolver. Turning as if to go out, after leaving the counter he fired 
four sluits, one of them taking effect in his right temple, causing instant death. 
Tlie people in the store crowded around the prostrate form, hut the spirit had 
fled^and John Snv'der was a corpse. The poor fellow had lost his \\ ife and four 
children by the deluge. He went to Oliio but could not stay a\say from the 
scene of his sorrow. Returning a \\ eek before the fatal act that ended his 
career, lie tried to work. The excitement was too much for him to bear. 
Thoughts of his lost family dwelt with him ni^ht and day. and reason ga\e 
way beneath the strain. He was thirty-tive years okl, an industrious ^\orking- 
man and a member of the Conemaugh fire company. A world of tragedy is 
comprised in his mournful experience. 

Joseph Schrv and wife, aged respectively Sh and 76 years, were the oldest 
couple in the borough. Dwelling; happil}' fur >ix decades and meeting the 
same fate, not severed even by death, aptly might they ap>propriate the well- 
known words of Burns : 

"John .\iuierM.n, my io. John 

We clnmh tlie hi'.i thcgiihcr; 
And inori\' a c.iiUy >l.a\ , John, 

We've wi' anithei ; 
Now we m.lun loiter down, John, 

But hand in h.ind we'll j;o, 
And sleep thegither at the foot, 

John Anderson, my jo." 

Mrs. .Vlice Smith's youngest child was a baby of six weeks. Dozens of 
children in the above list ranged in age from three months to twelve or four-' 
teen years. Youth and innocence, decrepitude and depra\'ity. mingled in one 
common tomb. 

The bodies of Evan B. Evans, his v.ife and his daughter have not been 
found. Thomas Robinson, a brother-indaw. ^^ho was in the Evans house at 
tlie time, was also rlrowned. His body was reco\'ered at the Millville hose- 
house. A boarder named Held got out of the house at the compan}- store in 
Johnstown. The moiher and d.iughtcr were alive at that point. He begged 
Mrs. Evans to lea\e the housi- with him, but she relused and the daughter 
■would not go without her. Mr. Held got on a rouf that was sweeping by. 
A moment later the gas tanks heaved up and smashed the house. Held 
went to the stone bridge and w as rescued. Thomas T. Da\is and wife, a son- 
in-law and daughter, v.ho lived a short distance abo\e the Evans home on 
Tvlaple avenue, saved themselves b\' running to the hill. .V tramp who had 
been gi\en bread at a house next door, helped Mrs. Da\is carry her three chil. 
dren, Nfr. LXavis being awa\'. The Daviscs went to Ebensburg, where their 
bov of three years died. Mrs. Davis, with womanl}' forethou'.;ht, locked the 
door of her house T.\hen jhe deserttd it. She still has the key — all of the house 
that is left. 

R. G. Wickershani and a friend were riding their horses about town to 
take a view of the hiL;h water. Ha\-in,L; reached Woodvale, the\' were about to 


■J' OF fi)//.\s7-(>u:\-. 

return, when Mr. Wicker^ham's horse reiused l.i cross ihe submeri;ed bri(l;.;e. 
Ilis frit-iid reached Contm.uii^h Dnroii^h. hut conciiidei.1 to put his liorse \\\ a 

stable in Woodvalc and wade to the liiU, [V'fi't 



he had prueeeded far the 
water began to rise rapidly. 
Wickershani to a tel- 
egrajili jxTJe and climbed to 
the top. In a few moments 
the great bod\'of "water car- 
ried a\\ay the jiole. Its 
tenant, win.) deemed 
himself secure in his loft\- 
retreat, was ilrowned. 

The body of a woman, 
supposed to ha\e been a 
^ resident of \\'ood\"ale, was 
- toimd in a tree below Sang 
,1: 1Io1K:av. two days after the 
'^ Hood. Her face was dis- 
i colored and her clothing 
i hanging in rags. Wedged 
,', between a hea\\- branch 
', and the trunk of the tree. 

^ J '>?' twelve feet abo\c the 
■* ' - ground, her removal was a 

'■'-- ^•■^^'^--\.. task of some difficult\'. 

The remains -were put in a 
plain coffm ami buried at 
Aaron Davis stro\e heroicalh' to save his fainilw Twice pushed tinder 
water b}' heavy timbers, he swain from the attic of his house, grasped two of 
his children and managed to land on ihe hill below the Point in Jcihnsto\\!i. 
His wife and three children \vere drowned. Four aiu'ils from his blacksmith 
shop, planted deep in the sand eiiihty rods dciv.n the street, sum up \\hat 
remained of his propert\-. 

A fair young woman, v.ho lost home and husband at W'oodvale, came trip- 
ping do^\ n the steps of Pror-pect Hill, one morning the ne.\t week, and turned 
up toward the stone brid-L-. She passetl the railroad station, where tlie uniior- 
takers wer<' embalming the dead, ami walk'ed slo'»\'b. a few rods farther. There 
she stopped and danced a inw steps, in the presence of a small crowd. She 
raised her hands abo\-e lier head and san;.:. became quiet, then suddenh' burbt 
into a frenzieil fit of wceiiinL: and beat her f(M'eliead -with her hau Is. She tore 
her dress, vhicii \\.is in r.iL,'S. •■ I shall -o cr.i/.v," she v-ellcd. •■ If lhe\- do 

// \>OJ> I :iLE A.\.\injL.\ TKJK 


not find liis body." Ik-r mind was already shaiUrcd. •• He was a .i^ood man." 
she \\cnt on, whili: llu; onlookuis listeiiLd piiN iir^h . ••! l.nod him, and he 
)o\cd me." "Where is he ? " she _\ehed a'-;ain. •■ ] must tind liim." And slie 
st^teil at the top ot her speed down the track toward tlie river. Some men 
cauglrt her. She stru,:;^ied for a i^w inonunts and \\w\\ tainteil. The de- 
mented creature wa.s a bride of lau tv>o months. 

An aged \\'ood\ale \\oman. who was rescued ahve from the attic in her 
liotise, liad iloated from Maple a\enue to tlie mouth of the Conemaunh. Tier 



\T Was left 01 UoODWLE EkLtlw TH 

experience was terrible. She saw hundreds of men. wcimen antl chiklren lleiat- 
ing ciown the torrent to meet their death, some praying, ^\ilile others had be- 
come raving maniacs. 

Words cannot b. nd imprcssiveness to the simple statement that onlv nine 
or ten families in \\'oitd\'ale were not depri\-ed ot a fatlur, nu/ther. brother or 
sister. How much ot au'-;msh and berea\-ement this inx'olves ! Two hun<!red 
and fift\ -ii\"e halMt.alion-. were swept awaw leavin-.;" av/ <'//<• /,</.'tst' in \\'ood\ aie 
proper. A fringe of thirty-three' buildinL^s iiii-ered alo;ig tb.e f.ic>t of the hill. 
in the extension e.f iIk- town beyond the railroad. Tlie- rest liad been drawn 
into the di.';cz\" water>. wliich rubbed olf the tiniest atijms of e.'.rth, leaNanL,"" the 



naked rock to point out the site of the eliminated suburb. On the soutli 
side of the creek, the row of tenements aliove the t.iunery iiridge, the brewery 
and a couple of shanties art' stantlin.u. The street-car sheds and stables were 
swept a\\a\. with all the cars. eiL;lil\ -nine horses and thirty tons of hay The 
strip of land \\\\v^ on tlie north side, known as ■■ Clark's ("iro\e." was covered 
with sand from tuo to six feet in tleptli. The Conemaui;h chau'^ed its course 
and, dividing into two branches, so continued to the lower end of the town, 
where it reunited. 

Wood vale had ceased to be! 


'»ii"'«^:;?>*.--™'»''»i?<',-,- - ^: f|f wpr-f^-^i- "rf 





y\.v:- /'J ■ fpy^i^^.^h •/■■•'■I 

^ ; V..:. 'r-'A 'S I s;" 

. ^^.:>:,^ 





The Devth-Dealing Wave Moving Onward — Its Accelerated Speed and Resistless 
Power — I'eculiarities of the Advancing Mass — Mowing Down Entire Streets. 
AND Drowning the Inmates of Hundreds of Houses — Devastation in Conemaugh 
Borough, Johnstown, Kernville, Millville and Cambria — Xo 'Warning and No 
Time to Fi.v — Miles of Wreckage — Appalling Loss of Life and Property — The 
Saddest Desolation Human Eves Ever Bkiield. 

" Shrieking thev f'erished . . . ai;e, nor grade, nor 
Nor all Ihey loved, revered or deemed duiiie 
Found help or rescue ; unredeemed Ihcv drank 
Their cup cf horrors to the dregs.' —Dr. \V. Beattie 

^ERRORS nnikipliod as the ileath-dealing wave mo\"ed onward, 

V I its momentum acceleratinc; and its power for e\ il extending 

I [^ eacli instant. Hurricane, avalanche ami dehige seemed to 

3?L& -^Njs:^ concentrate their mahtrnant energies for the utter extinc- 
-• •^^*■ ; ' * - '- 


tion of Johnstown, whicli the waters reached at 4:07. 

An liour had been spent tra^'crslng tlie fourteen miles of 

contracteil valley from the dam to the spot where the 

greatest ill was to be wrought. The velocit\' varied. 

Less rapid at first, its pace was tremendous at East 

Conemaugh ami Woodvale. Thence the torrent 

had a straight course and traveleil with increased 

^_ -■^,- •'%----,- , ^;i= speeil. Whistles shrieked a brief intimation that 

Z^^^^~^^' ,-_^- something was wrong. People looked up) the valley, 

^■^^^^'r.^i^f^ saw a black mass toward them and trie.i to 

siNKiNc, TO rise Nu -MORF. Tunupstairs. The water entered the houses and 

mounted the stairs almost as fast as the inmates 

ditl. Railroad men, wlio saw the wave from the tops ot cars and from the hills, 

say that the vast cargo of trees, houses, earth and wreckage carried with it 

caused a short halt se\-eral times on the wa\" fnim South Fork. Comin.g to a 


C)6 THE S TOR y O /■ J I. 'IfSS Ti > 1 1 W. 

place ^vhcre the channel narrowed suddenly, the mass of timbers and trees 
would croud and jam antl slacken up. liehmd the waters would bach until 
the pressur.; forced out the moiuitauidus blockad..' with an invincible push. 
Foreman Kelly, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, reported one of these stoppai^es 
above Cr.nenuin-h. The water was driven back and the spray rose titt\ teet. 
The surface of the moving dam surged and boile.l for a moment. Then tlic 
mass let go and tore down the valley, ravaging East Conemaugh and I' rankbn 
and exterminating Woodvale. It struck Johnstown s<juarel.\- in th.e centre, 
crossed the heart of the town, plunged o\er Stony Creek, and ransacked the 
South Side before its impetus was a-ain checked. Spectators on Prospect Hill 
fancied the middle of the stupendous wave was ten or fifteen feet higher than 
the outer edges. 

This series of checks is the onh" explanation that accounts for the time oc- 
cupied in the passage from the dam. The speed greatly exceeded fourteen 
miles an hour when the wave was not inn^'ded b\- imusual obstructions. Had 
there been no holdmg up, the distance would have been co\ered in thirty min- 
utes, although the force could have been hardly more destructive. The roll- 
ing, grinding movement hurled logs and other obiects far above the average 
elevation of the surface, as if the wave were endowed with life. Ahead of it 
a phenomenal wind was noticed, which actuall\- shoved houses from their 
foundations before the water touched them. In some degree at least this 
clears up what puzzled some of the eye-witnesses. They could not under- 
stand win- no water appeared in front of the moving mass. The front was a 
squirming aggregation of trees, rocks, buiIdin-^, timbers, cars, earth, grass and 
everything picked up on the route, with a lal:e pushing behind it until the 
vallJy widened at Woodvale. There the water blen<led w ith the load it had 
collected and the whole mass, without regard to the ordinar\- chaimel nf the 
river, poured down upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of a half-dozen popu- 
lous to^^ ns. 

Through Conemaugh Borough, joining the lower end of Woodvale and 
stretching awav southward, the waters cut a clean swath, repeating the tragic 
scenes just enacted. The northern orner was eradicated. Drick buiklums 
were shaved off to the earth's surface, and frames jammed into an indistin- 
guishable mass of ruin. Roland's grocery, a two-story brick, withstood and 
helped divide the torrent. A mining rampart, bristling with the spoils 
gathered on its remorseless way. mowed down Railroad, Jackson. Feeder. Clin- 
ton and Bedford streets clear to Stoiu' Creek. Stores, churches and dwellings, 
whether of wood or brick, succumlied unresistin-ly. Blocks ot buildings 
smashed against each other, the swishing foe rending them .asunder lo aug- 
ment the fearful burden of a wasted district. Up to the third stories the waters 
dashed, either drowning the helpless inmates or setting them adrift in the 
ghastly maelstrom. Escape was practically impossible, even had time been 



affordfd to reach the ptreets. which the excessive rains si\liiner>;ed in the morn- 
ini:. Residents oi the lower L;rounds liad lieen dri\en in the forenoon to the ir 
upper floors or to the houses cit friends on hi'^her site's, W'arnint; then; 
none, except tlie lilowiir^' of a whistle, tJie momentary tolling' of a bell, and 
the din of the tumultuous crash. The whistle and the hell were hushed fore\ rr 
ere their tchoes died awaw Pure fabrications are the tales of horsemen 
riding along the streets and shouting to the people U) fl\. There was no 
opporttuiit\' for such an achievement. All forenoon wagons and boats had 
been hauling the occupants from the houses on low grounds, in many of which 
the water ascended nearl\- to the ceiling hours before the dam let go. Stmiy 
Creek for a time rose eighteen inches an hour, breaking the record, and Cone- 
maugh Creek \^■as not mucl; slower. Some families mo\ed out : numbers set 
their furniture on the second rloov. remaining with it; others securi'd their 
effects as best the\- could ami deserted them, leaving in carriages, on horseback 
or by rafts fcjr places deemed safe. Great risks were incurred in rescuing these 
people from their unpleasant predicament, one instance resulting fatall\. 
Joseph Ross, driver for Straxer's planing mill, \vas riding a mule in assisting 
to extricate persons shut in liy the freshet. i . 

The animal walked o\ er the foundation 
wall of the Cambria Iron Conipan\''s new 
store-building, which the flood had cov- 
ered, and fell into the excavation for the 
cellar. T\\o men on horseliack saw the 
accident, but were unaliie to save the 
drowning man, whom a widow and five 
children survived. The mule swam to 
dry land. This shows the folly of the 
report that daring fellows rode through '■ 

the streets of Johnstown shouting that ' 

the dam had liurst and calling on the =^''-~l^X'~-Zr^, i^ .'.' \~' — -v''^^ 
people to flee. The only riders were a 
bevy of sportive \ouths who wished to 
see how the town looked muier w ater and 
did not minci a wetting, should their 
horses have to swim occasionally. 

The bridge at Poplar street started 
down Ston\' Creek at eleven o'clock, fol- 
lowed shortlv In" the one at Cambria. 

By noon Main, Washington. Franklin. Locust. Clinton, Bedford and the streets 
above were submerged from tN\o to liglit feet. At three o'clock tlie town set- 
tled down to make the best of a dreary situation. Night was approaching, the 
electric plant and the gas works were deluged, and the prospect was glooni}' a~ 

^ll V 


^ ^'^^^^^^ 



the Egyptian darkness in Pharaoli's roign. Several boroughs were cut off 
from comnumication \\\i\\ each otht-r and tlie world outsitlL'. A message from 
tlie Central Telephone office at 3:15 staled that the South Fork reser\'oir was 
flowin;,' o\ er the dam, which might gise way. The dam liad broken by that 
time, bjit the citizens of Johnstown knew nothing of it imtil the llood was at 
their doors to absorb tlu.-ir liabitations and thenibelves. 

The eventful minutes \\'ore on. full of fatiguing toil for the few, of increasing 
distress for the man\'. and Lif ajiprehensne excitement for all. From windows 
and roofs were shouted rumors of rescuers and ad\ enturcrs meeting with haz- 
ardous mishaps. The telephone wires grew h(.)t with the impatient jangle of 
ceaseless inquiries from worried (luestioners up to their knees or waists in 
water. Dumb were the telegraph instruments, the operators having to seek 
an upper room. Then a roar and a crash — a sudden note of alarm — dj'ing 
groans and falling buildings — and the waters of Lake Coneniaugh had pene- 
trated johnstov.n, unherahled and unannounced. Pestilence may be checked 
and a conflagration subdued, but this bold enemy was not to be repulsed. The 
inhabitants of Herculaneum and Pompeii, when the showers of burning la\a 
descended, had a chance to run. Not so the denizens of the Cambrian towns 
in 18S9. Fastened in their liouses, rats in a trap were not nuire defenceless. 
Crick structures melted at the destroying touch and fr.inies tumbled to atoms 
with the celerit\' of lightning. On sped the wreck from Conemaugh Borough 
and further up the pathway of an invader rapacious as the barbarian 
hordes of fierce Attila. liouses at one end of Johnstown nodded to houses 
in the other, meeting in an embrace that meant irretrie\able ruin. The main 
body of the great wave wiped out tlie district from tin' Conemaugh back three 
solid squares. Thousands of fellow-l)eings, drawn int'.i the lashing current be- 
fore they realized what hat! ha]ipened, battled for life against terrific odds. 
Scores were mangled b}' the timbers tliey seized desperatel}'. Hundreds 
slipped out of sight as the tloors or roofs that tloateii them split asunder, 
crunchetl l)y the palpitating mass. Traces convulsed with anguish were visible 
an instant and then vanished beneath the resentful \\-aters. Eyes upturned to 
lieaveii in speechless terror as the\' looked their last on the clouded firmament. 
Husbands and wives, parents an<f children, kindred and Iriends, strantjers and 
acquaintances parted compan\' in the baleful struggle, the issue of which to 
the majoritv was death. In h\'e minutes — such minutes as this plau'-t had 
never known since the vessel of gophrr-wood landed on the Armenian mount — 
the miles of swift-mo\ing \\reck:ige had struck down e\ er}' obstacle that ven- 
tured to impede its march from W'uodvale to tlie mouth of ConemaiiLrh Creek. 

Aleanwhile part of the wa\'e which ravaged Coik niaiigh Borough to Stony 
Creek deflected. Breaking through a row of brick buiielings on Clinton street, 
it swept down Maine and Locust and hurled a battering ram against the rear 
wall of the Methodist church. I-"ailing to bude:e the sacred edifice, it crossed 



the park like a cvclone and lelt only one house on the north and west sides of 
the green oasis in the heart of the town. SpreaillnLj out to the south, it encir- 
cled and nearly obliterated Vine street, with its tasteful residences and pretty 
gardens, demolishing the public builduigs on Market street as it passed. 
The brick school-house near the lower end of Vine braved successfully the 
furious charge. Houses beat at it, timbers poundeil it, trees assailed it, stum]is 
and bridges attacked it, but the buikling ditl not thnch. Throut;h its \\ind(i\\s 


■1. U ".M 

r-'Ai ,-• 


two hundred persons leaped or were dragge<i from floating sections of then 
homes. Around it houses jumbled in irremediable confusion. Railroad cars, 
heaps of rubbish and piles of broken furniture, sandwichetl between acres of 
dwellings and their inmates, went to swell the ruin that choked the streams 
and strewed the Point with measureless wreckage. Dark, stern, all-pitiless, 
pausing not to sit and muse upon the fearful ha\-oc. the central one of the 
three torrents into which the llood had marshalled its forces did its share in 
the destruction. Of each, as of Tinu-, George D. Prentice might have written : 

"In its swift course 

It waved its scuplre o'er the beautiful, 
.\n..l Uiej- are not. It laid its pallid hand 
Upon the strong man, and the haughty lorni 
Is fai'.en, and tl>e fl.ashins eye is din;." 

By this time the largest wa\e had met a.n insurmountable barrier, opposite 


the mouth of the Concinaugh. Thr steep hank un the west side of Stony 
Creek towered four luindred feet, a hei-Iu far too yreat to he oxercome. A 
bridge of massive stone arclies. buik h.\- the Peiius_\ h ania Ivaih'oad Company 
for a double track, spanned the united streams diagonally twenty rotls below 
their junction. The wreckage cloy-ed the low arclies, one woman first pass- 
ing under them on a heap of :; and die water had no outlet. The 
two wave= joined the th:r.l and the \\ hole Johnstoun valle_\ became a gigantic 

whirlpool. The brid-e was immovable, although severelv tested b\ water and 
debris piled twent\-hve to tiftv feet above the ordinary level. A counter-cur- 
rent backed up Stony Creek, bearing with it numerous buildings that had come 
down tlie Couemaugh a few nieuients before. KernviUe was tearf ulh' scourged, 
its citizens and their homes drittmg ott by the hundred. Streets were block- 
aded with rubbish and displaced biuldiugs. some of them from East Coue- 
maugh and W'oodvale. Man>- a promising hfe ended in the heaving waters 
or was crusliLd out by the -rinding tiud.ers. which seemed imbued with a 
malicious propensity to kill or maim v.h.jever fell in their wav. Tp to Mox- 
liani, three miles from the raUroad brid-e, the waters ebbed. Then tliev 
began to recede, for the baUled whirlpool at the Point had found vent b\ tear- 
ing out a huge chunk of the railroau embankment that formed the eastern ap- 

TiiKEi: THorsAxn /•/:a\\,>xs rijasir. ,01 

proat'h to tlic stone hri(l;;e. Stoiu' Creek lowereLl r.ipiilly. in its haste to aid 
tlie ernel \\Lirk yet to he ilone in order to fuliil the task of the revengetul ele- 
ment. Thns a 111 1st of unwiUiii'g x'oya'gers pirfcnneil tlie jonrne)' three times, 
i;oing down to tlie t'oint with the first wa\e. h.ick with the counter-current 
and itluininL;^ with the reCedin.L; torrent, which deposited jiortions of its hni- 
den at inter\als aloiii:; its track. In this way lumses started from the 
upper end of Johnstown stranded two or three miles uji Stony Creek. Kern- 
ville receiving not onl_\- its o\\ n wieckage but a ,L;iiod deal lielonging to the 
adjacent boroughs. Men. \\eimen and children, holding on witli a despairing 
grip to wrecked matter, cried in \ain for succor. When the ciu'rent changed 
houses, stables, workslmps and e\erything portable were twisting, cracking 
and clashim;. freighted with a multitude of floaters. People on Prospect Hill 
saw friends and neighbors d.-ished or drifted to their doom, out of reach of 
mortal help. Perchance some would get near enough the bank to escape, but 
these were the exceptions. Si.xteeii hundred buildings of ever}' sort and size, 
besides cars, bridL;es, trees and an incalculable amount of material collected on 
the route, lieaped upon tweh e acres and thickly sow n with dead bodies and 
animal carcasses, presented a mass of wreckage above the bridge so terrible 
in its nature and extent that no colors could paint it too \ividl}-. 

For eight or ten miiintes- -watches were not consulted in the wild tumult — 
the water was held in the an^le f. 'rnied by the bridge and the bluff across Stcmy 
Creek. Each second heaped it higher and stdl higher, as if piling Ossa on 
Pelion, until it climbed o\frlhe bridge and the approach, which served as tile 
breast of the vast reservoir that was to repeat the scenes of an hour before 
at Lake Concmaugh. The emliankment wore away in a twinkling, and great 
slices of the wreck pitched headlong into the yards of the Cambria Iron Works. 
The upper end of the rail mill w as torn out. Boilers ^vrig^led from their brick 
arches and engines executed strange g\rations. Stones and earth showered 
acres of the yard to the depth of ten or twelve feet, covi-ring a train of freigh.t 
cars as completeh- as the eartlii|u. ike buried Lisbon. Houses that had been 
dela\ed above the bridge made up for lost time b\- eiashing through the widen- 
ing chasm at breakneck speed. Those on Iron street, Millville, next to the 
embankment, were the first to go. The swift current had not harmed tliem 
irreparablv until the waters gorged and chcckeil and backed up from the 
bridge. The\- mo\ed otl b_\' wholesale when the embankment yielded. The 
inmates of many had been taken in the forenoon to Prospe^.t, where they 
watched the tragedv that roiiLied them of homes and chattels, relati\es and 
neighbors at a breath. Fifteen persons were thrown ujion the ro(.if of the rail 
mill, to be swept ort the next instant by a whirlnig m'riss of timbers. On tlie 
other shore was Cambria Borough its streets a pond since midnight. For this 
cause work was generally suspended, and most iit the citizens staged indoors. 
From the river-bod, which the water actually ripped up in shifting the stream 



tu a channel nearer tlie iron works, a deposit of stones, iive fci t thick and a 
hundred \ ards Ion-, hmded in the viliai;e. I'.eginnmg at Scjuire Grittin's build- 
ing on I'roiit street, the llood ra/ed 148 houses t(.i tlie cellars and carried them 
down the spitelul, swollen Coiicniaugh. Two \vo(.)den strnclures at the bend of 
the ri\er.sonKlio\\ I'lidured the strain nntlinciiin-I) and stocDd alone, like senti- 
nels on' a deserted battle-held or the Ouden residence in the Chicago fire. Of 
the nine hundred people who laced death in the malevolent tide a large pro- 




■.:k. .'y^-'" 

portion returned no more to tell of their adventures and experiences. Although 
the dense wreckage enabled many to land along the river, no less than three 
hundred and hft\- residents cd Cambria passed into the hereafter. Twenty-five 
families left no sur\ivinu menilier to say what liad become of them, and over 
half the town was stripped bare as a hungry dog could scrape a bone. 

Soon the waters went out of the mountains, finding jdeiity ot elhow-room 
in the broadening valley. They weakened, spread over a greater area and let 
Coopersdaleott with ei'.;lit w recked buildings and a couple hundred lower stor- 
ies flooded. Morrelh ille suliered little, and Sheridan's damage was tritling. 
FJut for miles the shore-, were line.l with e\ideiices of th.e liaNoc done from the 
dam to the western liorder of Cambria. To the inhabitants of Xine\eh. I]c>li\ar. 
New Florence and other points down the ri\er the masses of flotsam ;:a\e the 


fir!,l notice of the catastrophe. How they responded to the calls for help and 
l/ravely rescued dozens of a(fri.L,'lued [leople. driftinL; rudderless in the tumid 
current : Rain nnd, darkness interfered with the work, otherwise the list of the 
saved would have been larger. Men with lanterns paced the banks, trusting 
the Ijickerlng rays might guide some poor cre-ature to a ha\en. The tiertest 
rusli was over and the virul'Mit waters, as if repenting th<Mr devilish decd^. 
sneaked otf in the gloom to hide in the Kiskiniinetas, the Alleghenv, the Ohio 
and the Mexican Gulf. 

Then came night, bringing with it new horrors. The liack-water re- 
mained and thousands cowered on the wreckage, scarce daring to breathe lest 
their treacherous support be ru<lel_\- jiarted or whisked from inider them. The 
few whom buildinys sheltered could only watch and prav and wait for the 
morning, cheering otiiers if they coidd and being cheered in turn. Hearts that 
had hoped quailed and drooped as fire added its quota to the terrors of the 
night. A blazing church and houses on both sides of it cast lurid gleams o\-er 
Conemaugh Borough and the upper end of Johnstown. Dow n at the bridge 
a conflagration raged, consuming much wreckage and cremating helpless im- 
fortunatcs stuck fast in the insensate mass. Crash succeeded crash, shrieks 
were liea.rd en every hand, and the long hours dracrged, oh. so slowh- and wear- 
ily ! The agonized sufferers felt the pangs of a hundred deaths in the darkness 
and the ruin that enshrouded the doomed Conemaugh \'alley. 

And thus, more quickly than tlie story can be told, three thousand persons 
perished. Other thousands, who were in the flood and not slaughtered, 
mourned the fate of near and dear ones, the loss of happv homes, the blasting 
of earthly jo}'s, the severing of tender ties, the wreck of fondest hopes. It was 
not mereh- a tlootl, but whole towns afloat, that wrought this cruel blight. 
Property representing millions of dollars, the expenditures of wealtlu' corpora- 
tions and the hard-earned sa\ings of himible toilers, had vanished. The peo- 
ple knew what it was to liave muddy water swamp their ground floors, spoil 
their carpets and st t e\erything swimming in their cellars, but none had the 
least notion that Johnstown could be washed out of existence. The water rose 
to the third stories in a moment, -^vhicli meant that a sudden halt \vas jnit upon 
busy life, that death, and must heild undisputed swa\-. and that 
Cambria coimty should furnish the saddest page in American histor\'. 

So the day ordained to be memorable to latest generations — Fridav. Mav 
31st. I^^9 — closed at last in sorrow and distress, mourning and anguish, deso- 
lation and bereaxement unparalleled since truals and tribulations fell to the 
lot of mankind. \\'a!l Street's •• P.lack Friday." strewn with financial wrecks. 
was a l>ow of radiant light compared \\ith this, the blackest Frida\- in Time's 
unerring calendar. 

There was mucli talk of a ■■ cloud-biu>t " to explain wh\- the dam had 
o\-erflowed and meltetl awa_\'. The rains v.ere suflicient, without dragging' in 
an\- other burst than tlie Inir^t in the dam. Sergeant Stewart, m charge of th.e 



bureau of the Signal Ser\ ice at Jcilmstow n. sa\s that the fall of water on tlie 
Coneman--;"h at that peint up to the time of tin- tlcx-.d \\as probalih' 2 |^,, inches. 
He believes it was much heavier in the mountains. The eountr\ drained by 
ConeniauL;h Creek and Stony Creek covers an area of about one hundred 
square i^nlks. The bureau, homing on this basis and J,';, inches of rainfall, 
finds 4t)4, 640. oco cubic feet of water were precipitated toward Johnstown 
in its last hours. Tliis is independent of the '_;reat bod) of water in the lake, 
which v\ as not less tlian two-thirds as iniich. It is ilirirfure easily seen that 
there was ample water to cover Coneniau;:;li \'alley from ten to twenty-five 
feet dei p. Such a \oIunie of water was never before known te> fall in Cambria 
Count\' in the same time. 

Whether rain-fall or cloud-burst was the cause matteretl nothing to the 
three thousand human behiys who had crossed the dark river of death ! 

/ ^•' 3" r / C' 6 


The Drfadful Sights and Sol-nds of a Xioiit dp Unitterabi-e Agony — Dying in the 
Rain AND THE Darkn»s — Falling BriLniNGs and Ckasiiing Wreckage — Confla- 


Calcined BoNE^ ani> Roasted Flesh — Dramatic ErisoiiES — A Gruesome Spec'iai.i.e 
Near N'ineneh — Hkai.s. Arms and Legs Sticking Out of the Sand and Muck — 
Recitals that Sukiass the Wildest Fli.^hts of Fiction 

' Noihinp: hut Innieiitahlc sui 
Ncr aii-j^!u was seen but i^li 

And pale despair. ' 

g AXGUAGE is tuo weak to convey an a(lt<iuate idea of the Iiorror: 
,-r--{''y i ^l^'-t crowdei.l tliick and fast, as the eveninu and tlie ni-ht wore 



on. Cold rain fell in torrents, drenching to the skm 
the shiveriny mortals clingini; to roofs, or drifting on 
bits of wreck in th.e pitchy darkness there was neither 
lamp nor candle, gas-jet nor electric light to dispel. 
The bridges had vanished and no \\a\- e.xisted tor, 
separated families to get news of one another. The 
kite of thousands was uncertain and the suspense 
most harrowing. All arnuiid luiildinus that had 
partly held together duriiiL; their dreadful journe\-. 
down and up and down a^ain. kept falling to pieces 
with a noise startling as tlie crack (if doom. Here a 
strong man. mangled in the jam and crush, passed 
in the rain and the darkness to tlie shhiing shore, v.itiiout ,i gentle hand to 
wipe away the damps of death or ease the wounded Iranie. There women e.\- 
pired from shock and e.xliaustion. or brouLiht children prem.itureh' into the 
WL'rld. Yonder lay the sick ami the maimed, racked with p,un aiul moaning 



"cut off my l 


loS THE sroKY OF joii.xsroww. 

feebly, beside corpses more to be envied tlian was their li\iii.L; coinpnny The 
town was under filtcen to twent\- feet of water, and who coidd feel secure in 
refuL;ts that rcjckid and creaked continualh :' Now and then a piercing,' shriek 
proclaimed that s^nie poor soul had been forced into the current, to strangle 
and die. From th.e re\elations of that \\-eird. unearth!}' niyht L'ante cotild 
lia\e li arned how to devise new torments ftir his •• Interno." 

The \vrecka:-;e at the railroad bridy:e — the in\ulnerable pile of masonry 
-which lau,nlied at a bomhardnicnt that would have shaken the pyramids — 
caught fire at si.x o'clock. This brid^je pla\'ed an important part in the flood, 
causing numerous fatalities and \Lt saving many li\es. Mad it been of iron, 
all the houses floated away w ith th.e first rush wiudd b.a\e t^one d.own the rixer 
unhindered. In this event not a \-esti.;e o{ Cambria or Morrdhillu could po';- 
sibl)' have escaped destruction. When the three di\"isions of the waters met 
the}- would nut havi.> bten forced so far back, hence Jnhnstow n and K'-rnville 
would lia\e f.iretl eonsi(_lerah!\- bttter. On the iitlu r hand, thousands of peo- 
ple, -v\ho floated up and down at the pleasure of the wa\es and were rescued, 
-would certainly ha\e perished. With the bridije out of the wa\-. the embank- 
ment between it and the station could not ha\ e lasted ti\e minutes. The Cam- 
bria Iron Works and e\er\thing n(.-ar tlu' stream would have been obliterated. 
The rubbish would not ha\e bueii left in Johnstown, but proba!)ly the loss of 
lives would ha\e been doubled or trebled bekiw the bridge, towards which a 
sea of human beings aiid wreckage surgL-d constantl}-. The wreckage covered 
the w-ater more th.ickh- than the houses had coxered Jiihnstf.iwn and iMillville. 
The vast mass rushed down to the stone arches and matlL<l and twisted and 
gorged. Dead bodies, drowning people and endh-ss wreck mixed and bound 
in a Gordian knot the hands of a Titan could not unlnose. Tlie brulije stood 
firm as Leoniilas and his Spartan band at Therimipyke. The drift fastened 
its tentacles to the arches, dammed up the outlet and backed the tide. Above 
the munching and grinding ot the w rithing mass were plainly heard the shrill 
cries of frantic \\omen and the hoarse shouts cjf drowning men, imploring the 
help that could not be extended them. The embankment yielded, the w aters 
began to recede and the w-reck hu'.;ged the bridge and the bluff more closely. 
As the waters low-ered the mass settleil, scpieezing out countless lives. 

Cars of crutie petroleum, intlammable as gun cotton, came to grief on the 
tracks between Jeihnstown and East ConeniaUL;h. Their contents saturated 
part of the drift. Kitchen utensiU, furniture, clothint; and cookiug-sto\es pip- 
ing hot came d.jwn in the h.oiises that containeil tiieiii. One of these stoves 
tipped o\er, or was smaslied. Ihe oil-soalied wockI ignited and tongues of 
flame licked up the wreckage about the bridge. The ,l;1ow illuminated the 
skies and people wondered how- ami when and where the iire W(juld end. Calls 
from roof to rocjf, •■what's burning now ?" brought answers which sounded like 
the rattle of ,i;ra\el on a colfin-lid. Stilling .".roans and suffocating screams teifd 

Accr.\ //(>Rh'OKs. 109 

that people were roastinu. Hnw iiuiiu Hnmiil; liein:_;s hiuI ilead bodies were 
cuusiiined tan be eoiiieetured unl\". At tirsl twn tliniisaiid was the tstiinate. 
Missint;" OIU'S ri'iunied whi-n the reec_'(huL; \\ .iters permitt<-d a jiassa'^e and the 
estimate dropped to one thousand— h\e hiUKheiJ — three liundred. The hitter 
nia\ l>e accepted as tairly aeciii'ate. No fiineral-pyre in India ha.s been fur- 
nished with such an array ot \ictinis. There was •• water, water everywhere." 
but not a <hop to (juench the largest bonfire l'enns\ hania ever saw. 
Though the blaze had been accessible, the t tlorts of a b.ui.ilion of firemen to 
e.\tinguisli it woidd ha\"e been ridiculoush futile. The stre.uiis sipiirted through 
a tliousand nozzlescould not atft ct acres ot scorching, d(_'\ourmg llamc, fed b\' 
combustibles that burned ami seared and sputtered to the water undeilxing them. 
Two nii;hts and two da\'s the fier\' furnace crackled and blazed with all the tur\' 
of the hell lolks read abiiut. On Suuda\' its supplv exhausted and the emliers 
Were put out h\ a comjianN' of gallant liredaddies from I'ltt-bur^h. 'l"he\- 
came on the first train that ran to the west end of the bridge, bringing w ith 
them hose ami engines and manly courage. Chief Steele at their head. Tlie 
light, drv, sphntcr\- stuff was reduced to aslies. l)ut logs and timliers without 
limit remained to ta.\ the iugemiit\' of man to clear a channel which should let 
the diseasedireeding wreckage swim down the ri\er and lose itself in thi 
Atlantic ocean. Charred skulls, which puK'erized at a touch, l>lackcned bones 
and roasted tiesh. protruded thrcTugh the dreadful pile wlien the tfames ami 
the waters retired. Just try to concei\e a picture of being cremated in the 
ruins of vtTur own house, miles from its foundations. \ou'r dear ones consum- 
ing before your exes, and you can understand something of the crow ning liorror 
at the railroad bridge below Jolmst(iwn .' Then to have a calcint tl bone tingered 
bv a lean, lank, ca.laverous relic-hunter, to be taken to his home and exhibited 
to visitors as a souvenir of the disaster ! 

Miss Rose Clark was one of the crowd on the \\reck when the fire started. 
Two men were endea\oring to free her trom heavy timbers, which held lur 
fast as in a vise. The brave girl, who was suffering from a broken .arm. a 
broken leg and jiainful bruises, encouraged her rescuers by words of cheer and 
looks of gratitude. The llames spread in their direction and one of the men 
feared he would be obliged to h-axe ^fiss Clark to a torturing death. She be- 
sought him to try once more. sa\ing, '-Cut otf my leg! Don't let me be 
burned up '. " The next attem[>t succeeded, the tindiers yiekled sufifcieiitly to 
extricate the bleeding foot and the \oung lady was carried to the west shore of 
Stony Creek. On Saturdav her fractures were attentled to In' a plu'sician, 
and in due course the heroine of this dramatic ad\enture recovered. 

Ex-Burgess ■■dial." L. Dick, tlie talented lawyer and genial companion, 
who rivals Bogardus or Bultalo Bill as a cr.ick shot, was a witness of the L;ri.iw- 
ing liorrors. His wife lost near friends--father. m<ither. sisters, nepliev.s and 
nieces — and the children were rescued from water up to their parents' shoul- 



ders. The ffisjlitfiil events of Friday afternoon aiul ni-ht excited Mr. Dick's 
profound compassion, as the depredations of jihinderiiiL; rascals aroused his 
ire on Saturday. Uinnlndfnl of his o\\n losses of frieiuls and pro]iert\'. he strove 
to assist the snflerers and to intimidate the looters \\ho rolilied indiscriminatelv. 
His featless determination, backed by his favorite ritli- and a tone and look ^\ hich 
boded e\il to wron^-doers, was worth a brii;ade of troops in maintaining 
order. This is what he told abont the flood and the fire : 

"Yes. I f.av, it tiom start to ani^h 
Tfiursday night it rained very hard 
water was com in J do 


Mv house was on Somerset street. Kernvdie On 
My wife woke me and called my attention to the wav the 
I said nothing, but I Rot up about five o'clock and to'ik a look around. 
In a little while Stony Creek had ri-^en three feet I 
then knew that we were going to have a flood, but I did 
not apprehend any danger. The water soon Hooded 
the streets, and boards and lo3s began coming down. 
.\ lot of us turned in to have some sport. I t:ave mv 
watch and what money I had to a neighbor and be_;an 
riding logs do«n the stream. I had lots of companv. 
Old men acted like boys, and shouted and splashed 
about in the water like mad. Finally the water began 
to rise so rapidly that I became, I went 
home and told my wife that it was full time to get out. 
She was somewhat incredulous, but I made her get 
ready, and we took the children and went to the h'luse 
of Mr Bergman, on Napoleon street, ju^t on the rise 
of Kernville I got wet from heajJ to foot foolinu: m 
the water, and when I got to Bergman's I took a chill 
^> I undressed and went 


- 1 



Tt to bed and fell asleep. The 

r' '.—---- - , y.f.-/ first thing I knew I was pulled out of bed to the 

'^_ \ \ ■.■;■;■ floor bv Mr Bercman. who yelled, 'The dam has 

■■<'■■. : _ '-,: ■V^:.:' burst!' I got up. pulled on my pantaloons and rushed 

, ■■ . ■',- ■ ■■ down stairs. I got my youngest child and told mv 

wife to follow with the two others. This time the 

water vas three feet in the house and rising rapidly 

We waded up to our v.aists out through it, up the hill, far beyond the reach of danser. 

■'From tlie time I left Bergman's till I stopped is a blank I remember nothinc; I turned 
and looked, and may my eyes ne\ er rest on another such si^ht ! The water was aboie the 
houses from the direction of the railroad bridge. There came a wave that appeared to be 
about twelve feet hiqh. It was perpendicular in its face and moved in a mist. I have heard 
them speak of the death mist, but I then first appreciated what the phrase meant. It came on 
up Stony Creek, carrying on its surface house after house and moving alon,g faster than anv 
horse could trot. In the water there bobbed up and down and tuisted and twirled the heads of 
people making ripples after the manner of shot dropped into a puddle The wa\'e struck 
houses not yet submergeii and cut them ..lo-.v n The frames rose to the surface, but the bricks. 
of course, were lost to sight. When tlie force of the water spent itself and began retracing 
its course, then the awfulness of the scene increa?e<l in intensity. I have a little ner\ e but 
my heart broke at the sight. Houses, ;,'oing and comin;;. crashed up ai;ainst each other and 
began grinding e,acli otli.-r to pieces The buildings creaked and groaned as the-v let go their 
fastenings and fairly melted. At the windows of the dwellings there appeared the faces of th*- 

AccrMn.ATF.n //okkors. iii 

people equallv as ill-fated as the rest God forbid that I should ever ai;atn look upon such in- 
tensity of an-uish. How white a;ul horror-stricken those faces were, and such appeals for 
help that could not come ! The uonien wrun-,' their hands in their despair and prayed aloud 
for their deli\erance Pnwn stream went hous.-s and people at the rate ot twenty-live miles an 
hour and stopped, a consiloraerate mass, at the stone abutment of the railroad bridge. The 
first buildini^s that struck the bridge took lire, and those that came afterward were swept into 
a'sca of flame. I tliou'^ht I had already witnessed the greatest possible climax of anguish. i'Ut 
the scene that followed exceeded in awfulness anything I had before looked upon. The flames 
grew ; hundreds of people were wed.ged in the driftwood and imprisoned in the houses. Kapidl;. 
the fire approached them, and then they began to cry for aid. and hundreds of others stood on 
the bank, powerless to extend a single comfort. 

■• As the fire licked up house after house and pile after pile, I could see men and women 
bid each other good-bye and fathers and mothers kiss their children. The flames swallowed 
them up and hid them from my view, but I could hear their shrieks as they roasted alive 
The shrieks mellowed into groans and the groans into silence, only to be followed by more 
shrieks, more groans and more silence as the lire caught up and destroyed its victims. Heavens ! 
but I was glad when the end came My only anxiety was to have it come quickly, and I pra\ed 
that it might come quick 1 It was a splendid realization of the Judgment IXay — a magnificent 
realisation of the impotencv of man in a battle with such a combination of fire and flood," 

Conductor I-^rank McDonald, who viewed the carnaj^e at tlie bridge, said 
to nic : 

■ Well, what did you think of it ' Wasn't it shocking ' One of the first houses that came 
down struck the bridge and took fire and others were consumed as they arnvetl, I twlieve I 
saw hundreds of bodies burn. They reminded me of a lot of flies on fly-paper, strug.gling to 
get away with no hope and no chance to save them, I have no idea that blowing up the bridge 
would have diminished the loss of life, It was impossible to reach it to explode dvnamite. the 
water came so fast, Awav down in the terrible depths the mass of torn and twisted timbers and 
deail humanitv burned The light, curling smoke that rose to the mountain, and the sickening 
stench from the centre of the heap showed that the fire was feeding on other fuel than the 
rafters and roofs and walls that once housed the poptdation of Johnstowm " 

After the flames died awav the search for bodies commenced. \'er\' often 
the gleam of an axe and a group of stoopim; figures denoted another ghastly 
find. Even the keen e\-es of love could not di-cern in limbless trunks and 
fleshless skeletons the fr.rms of kindred and friends. Scj the fragments were 
hurried into shallow gra\es atiiong the unkno\vn. The forest-clad hills are 
silent concerning them, the tomb re\eals no secrets, the ri\ er is peaceful as a 
bab_\'s smile, and tb.e n.imes of many \ictims of the holocaust will not be 
learned until sea and land give up their dead. 

Above Nineveh the Conemangh winds around a neck of land that juts into 
the stream. 0\ er this patch the flood whirled and eddied. lea\ ing behind it a 
stack of bodies. On Saturday tlie waters had fallen to the !e\-el of the anniuil 
freshet. In the sand and muck two hundred corpses were deposited. L n- 
cven, irreyidar r.iounds <:>f dirt piiinted out where some of them had been un- 
loaded and co\'ered liuhtly. as the birds enwrapped the Babes in the Wood. 
Others were marked hx a tuft of hair, a naked shoulder, a slimy head, a hag- 
gard face, a clenched hand, an e,\posed hip, a shoeless foot, or a rigid arm 


stickin- out of the uoze and -rune and polluted soil 1 Still more lay stark and 
stiff and cold, in cverv conceivable position— straight as a phnuh-line, crooked 
ashunch-l,ack> an<l doubled up m most repulsnc fashion. a st.bject for 
Dora's pencil this -ruesome spectacle would have been, the memory of which 
.haunts one like a nightmare '. 

there were many illustrations of the motherdove that is always manitested 
where mothers are. Amoni^ the most touching was that of the mother who, 
clinging whh her two infants to the roof of her house, as it was swept along, 
had\ rope thrown by which she might have saved herself if she would leave 
her children. To this friend- -'^i^ 

ly offer she only shook her 1 ''hV ^' ' -X. ^ 

head, stayed with lier little -%'■- ,'^ ;,; T /. ' ~;'. , ^'^"^--^-""^ 

ones and with them went ,^f=?i,' ; -^ks'"'"-'/ V ."".,. 'ff ■ ' 

down the roaring tlood. :£^^^'^'' l^t:K'^''^ ' -''O'^^^ 

The bodies of I'atrick Fa ■^-.:^^^'^'^'-'T't^?i^^'~-'^'~."'~'^-^ 

gan. his wife and five chil ^r^'^^^^J^'^ -^^ :/r''y;^ -" '^"?€ ' "^-'-^"-''' ~ 

dren were f(jund among the - - ''\::~'S_j^~ -,"*'''..' .t,;*^'*^r'^-"vil J;": ' 

drift on Wednesday, all the 2l_r'":l'^"'^^i-" ■ ~ - ''"'/•I ' "^^ -r-^' '■ . 
seven in <i bunch. Mrs. Fa- ~~"~"--—--—r;'rr=4^- >■:.'. ~^— -.-:;:' :*^~j^^^-_,^. 

gan was hokling her bab\ ^— '- l_^:L^jg-^%C;r^ a.--,j^~~^^ ^ '-7 =^ =^ 

with a grasp not even the ' -^^--- _^^^= ^;_-""^-^YrfZr?I!r~ 

death struggle could relax. ~- ~-:=_:l;' 4?~ " 

Another mother and her " ,^,,, ... .> k,b>, KMR.rt- 

baby, the latter pressed to 

the bosom that had been supplying nourishment, were dug from the wreckage 
in KernviUe. Flood and ikime could not subdue the maternal instinct, the 
redeeming virtue which Adam's fall did not inip.iir. Locked in each other's 
arms so firmly they could not be forced apart, two L;irls found in a mass of 
wreckage, near Bolivar, were placed in one coffin of rough board:= and buried 
together. Amid scenes like these 

■' Everv ftcc 
Was pallid— sciaom luuh e^ e been mm?t 
With te.irs that wci.t not then ! ' 

In the midst of it all children came into the stricken world. One case at- 
tracted special notice. A very small baby, who had a very large experience 
crowded into his brief career, sailed for England with his parents in June. 
He was the youngest child of Griffith William... who, with his wife and four 
little ones, returned to their former home in Wale-, after having lost everxthmg 
but their lives. The baby— he was appropriatel\- named Mos'es— was born 
surrounded by the horrors of that awtul lu-ht in the Conemauuh \ alley. 
Hours before the parents had lied their own house. dri\en by the rising water 
to seek another place of safety. Thev went to the liouse of a relative on Lin- 
coln street. The tiood overtook them. They were driven to the attic. The 


house was swept from its foundations and bfLCaii a voyagu down the snrging 
torrent. When tlie railroad bridge was reaehet! the house was wrenched in 
halves, and the Williams i.miih' were dri\en from their frirnds. The part of the 
wreck to which t]ie\- hung was forced by the pressure of back-water \\\> Stony 
Creek. There in the d.irkness and storm the baby was liorn. He was 
wrajiped upi in a jiiece of old shawl his mother wore. It was drenched with 
rain, but there wasn't a ilry thread in the attic. They liad no food. The 
children shixered and cried. The motlur was almost dead. Ijetweeii six and 
seven o'clock on Satunhn evening help Ciime. Mother and babe were lifted 
on a shutter and carried over the roofs of houses to a shelter on the hillside. 
The father was a sturdv eniplo\e at the Cambria iron works, settling at Johns- 
town three \ ears ago. The mother was a quiet little women of motlest de- 
meanor, whose \oimg face presented unmistakable traces of the fearfid ordeal 
of tliat night on the lioi^ded Con em an gh. The older c hi Klren — John, seven years 
old, Da\"v. ti\e \'ears. and I iowell. two years — were bright little fellow s, but 
Moses w as the star of the group : 

In making up the list of applicants fi>r aitl at Johnstown, the secretary of 
a committee came across the name of a baby who had W^n christened --May 
Flood." The cliild wa-< iKirntwo liours before the water swept down the 
\'alle\'. When the flood reached the second story of the frame building 
the moth(;r and her cliild were placed on a mattress, whicli was carried to the 
top of the floating house. During the passage from the room to the Imnse- 
top the babe fell into the wat(_-r. but was rescued b\" its tatlur. The bal)\' is 
healthv and heartx'. A woman from Kast Conemaugh ga\e Inrth to a child 
fi\"e minutes after the house floated away with herself and her family. Mother 
and babe perished. The infant child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hdwards, 
born ten da\s after the flood, was named May Deluge Kin/.er. Mr. E^lwards 
lost all liis propertv. 

The bod\" of a girl of about nineteen was found in a peculiar position just 
outside the blast furnace. She was pinned down untler a rail. It lay ri;;ht 
across her bosom and had iiressed half throui;h her chest. Stmit men wept as 
thev raised the mangled form, which was consigned to an unknown gra\e on 
Prospect Hill. 

Representatives of \arious newspapers, who flocked to the spot on Satur- 
day and Sunday, in th.eir eagerness for news sent out e.xaggerated reports and 
pure inventions, as thouuh the dread realities were not enough to freeze the 
blood and chill the marrow ' The world outsidiL-, longing tor information, stood 
amazed at stories of lynchings. mutilations and robberies of the dead, and deeds 
of violence that would shame the King of Dahomey. Tl;e ca^es that origi- 
nated these statements can be summed up in a few sentences. Hun-;arians 
and Italians did pillage somebodies, cutting orf fingers and ears for the sakeof 
rings and je\>.elr\'. Their infamous work was soon stoppe(_l b\' the outraged 


citizfiT^. who threatened the 'ghouls with summcuy \-enL;e;uice. A reputable 
resident <>t CVnu'inanu,]! Udreii^h artually saw a party i.i| Italian^, dray a female 
l)od\' from the ruins and ontrai;e th.e inanimate loini ! llail he happened to 
have a gun, Some of the foul (lends would have [Lii^l the penalt\'of thedun- 
nable Grime on the spot. Beloie he eoiild briuL; men to the scene the rulhans 
lia'd sated their de\iiish lust and tied. Anotlier was detected on Sunday, at 
Kernville. in the attempt to assault a _\oung girl whom he had pulled h.df-dead 
from miller a lot of be iriN. The villain was taken to the woods Ijy several 
incensed men, \\ ho strum;" him to a tree until his worthless life ended, then cut 
down the carcass and chucked it into a mudhr>le. This atrociims scoundrel 
was the onK one lianged. .\ negro pilfering a trunk was shot at and wounded m 
the arm In' an indignant li\standcr. .\ hlungarian. plundering corpses lying 
along the shore below ^b:lrreIl\•ille, was forced at the muzzle of a Winchester 
rifle, in the liands of a prominent citizen of Johnstown, to disgorge his l)ooty 
and wade into the ri\er. He could not stem the current and was soon dis- 
patclied to I lailes. Xo other persons were lynched (jr shot or tlrowned. despite 
tlie crowds alleged to have been done to death by lawless mobs, but gangs of 
tliieving rascals were soundly thrashed and driven out of town. 

The men in the signal tower of the Pennsyh-ania road at Sang Hollow, 
four miles west of Johnstown, saw a fair young girl come down on the roof of a 
building ^\hich swung towards the shore. She screamed to the operators to 
sa\'e her. One brave fellow walked into the riveT as far. as he could and 
shouted to her to tr\- to yuide herself to land witli a bit of plank. She made 
tv.o or three bold strokes and actually stopped the rait for an instant. Then 
it swerved and went from under her. She tried to swim, but in a few seconds 
was lost. On the bridge at BoIi\-ar. which was weighted down with cars of 
coal to hold it on the piers, men stood with ropes to throw to jieople floating 
down th.e ri\er. The darkness \vas so intense that few could clutch the ropes. 
as the\' wliizzed past, and retain their grip. It was the last resource of many 
a soul drifting out into eternal night. The groans of agon\- when the rope 
eluded the outstretched arms will ring in the ears of the hearers to their d}-ing 
hour. One bo\- contri\ed to stick to the line and was drawn upon the briilge, 
bleeding, contused and almost naked. The lad, aged 13 and named Edward 
Harten. told his preser\er, James Curry, these particulars : 

"With m\ father I was spending the ii.'i\- .it my grandfather's house in Cambria. In the 
house at the time were Theodore, Edward and John Kintz. young John Kintz and his wife, Mary 
and TreacvKint2.Mr3. Rica Smith. John Plirsch and four children, my father and myself. Shortly 
after five o'clock there was a noise of roann.i,' waters and screams of people. We looked out of 
the door and saw persons runnini My father told us to n.wer mind a^ the waters would not 
rise further. But soon we saw houses swept awa\' and we ran up to the floor above. The house 
was three stories, and we were at last force<l to the top one In my fright I jumped on the bed. 
It was an old-fashioned one with heavy posts The water kept rising, and mv bed was soon 
affoat. Gradually it was lifted up. The air in the room yrew close and the house was moving. 

A CCC 'ML 'LA TKn //( >RRi. 'A'.V. 

I I 

Still the bed kept rising and pressed the ceilins At last the posts pushed against the plaster. 
It yielded, and a section of the roof -a\e \va\ I found myself on the roof, belli:,' carried down 
stream. After a little the roof began to part, and I was afraid I was going to be drowned Just 
then another house with a shingle roof tloated by and I managed to crawl on it. and floated 
down until nearly dead with colti. when I was saved, .Vfter I was freed from the house I did 
not see my father. My grandfather was on a tree, but he must have been drowned, as the 
waters wore rising fast, John Kint/, jr . wa-, also on a tree. Miss ^[arv Kintz and ilrs. Marv 
Kintz I saw drown Miss Smith v. as also drowned, John Hirsch was in a tree, but the four 
children were dr(iwned The scenes were terrible. Live bodies and corpses were tinatingdown 
with me and away from me I -vould see persons, hear them shriek, and thev would uis.ippear. 
All along the line were people who were trying to save us. but they could do nothing, and only 
a few were caught " 

At Bolivnr a yoiini; man and two women were seen comin,;; on a piece of 
a floor. At the upj^er bridue a rope was tlirown to them whicli the\ all failed 
to catch. Between the two bridg'es he was noticed to point toward tite elder 
woman, who was likely his mutlier. He was then seen to instruct the women 
how to catch the rope that was lowt-red from the other bridge. Down came 
the raft \\ itli a rush. The bra\ e man stood with his arms around his two 
companions. As they swept under the bridge he seized the rope. He was jerked 
violently awa\- from the \\omen, who failed to tret a hold. Seein.LT that the\- 
coidd not be rescued, he dropped the rope and fell back on the raft, which 
floated on. The current washed the frail craft toward the bank. The \ouni:; 
man was enabled to sei.ze a branch of a tree. He aided the two women to .qet 
up into the tree, while lie lield on with his liands and rested his fe-et on a pile 
of driftwood. Floatin-..; timber struck the drift, sweeping; it away. The man 
luing with his body in tlie water. A pile of driftwood collected, finnishing hmi 
another insecure footin?. Up the ri\-er there was a sudden crash. .V section 
of the bridge was swept away and floated down the stream, striking the tree 
and snapping it off. All three were thrown into the water, and ilrowned be- 
fore the eyes of the liorrit'ied spectators. How thev. or anv others, reached 
Bolivar ali\e is a marvel. At Lockport Falls the waters poured through the 
rocky barrier with a deafening' roar. Trees were bounced high in the air and 
houses dashed to kindling wood. Yet a baby (t\e months old — nobod\' knew 
whose child — floated the entire distance on the floor of the house and was 
rescued at Pittsburgh on Saturday morning ! The flood-waif is plump and 
vigorous to-day. Still people talk of Graham and his barrel at Niagara, and 
insist tliat the age of miracles is past ! 

C. \V. Linthicum. of Batimore, Avas on his wa\- from Pittsburgh to Johns- 
town on Friday evening. The terrors he witnessed may be judged from his 
description ; 

"Our train, due at San;; Hollow at 4.02. was five tninutes late. Just as we were about to 
pull out v.e heard the flood was comio:,-, Lui^king up the valley, we saw an immense uali of 
water, thirty feet hii.'li. racing, roaring, rushing towards us The engineer res'ersed the engine 
and ran back to the lulls, three or four hundred yards, enabling us to escape. Tiie flood swept 


by, tearing up tracks, telegraph poles, trees and houses. Supt. I'itcairn was on the train. We 
all got out and tried to save the floating people. Taking the bell-cord, we formed a line and 
threw the rope out. thus saving seven persons. We could have saved but many were 
afraid to let go the debris It was an awful sight. The immense volume of water was roar- 
ing along, whirling over huge rocks, dashing against the banks and leaping high in the air, and 
this seething flood was .^trew n v.itli timber, trunks i4' trees, parts of houses and hundreds of 
hiiman bein'.;s. calile and other animals. The fe.irful peril of tile living was not moreaulul 
than the horrors of hundreds of distorted, bleeding corpses whirling along the avalanche of 
death. We counted 107 people floating by, and dead without number. On a section of ronf 
<.vere sitting a woman and girl. C. W. Heppenstall. of Pittsburgh, waded and swam to the roof 
He brought the girl in first and then the woman. They were not relatives. The woman had 
lost her husband and four children, and the girl her father, mother and entire familv A little 
boy came by with his mother Botli were as calm as could be. ami the bov was, apparentiv, 
trying to comfort the mother They passed unheeding our profiered help. and. striking the 
bridge below, went down into the vortex like lead One beautiful girl came bv with her hands 
raised in prayer. Although we shouted to her and ran along the bank, she paid no attention 
We could have saved her it she had caught the rope. About eight o'clock we returned to Xew 
Florence .\11 along the riier were corpses caught in the branches of trees and wedged in the 
corners of the banks. A large sycamore tree bet\\een Sang Hollow and Xew Florence seemed 
to draw into it nearly all who floated down and the> sank around its roots. Over two hundred 
bodies were close to that one spot. Nobody saved anything, and some of the people going down 
on the drift had lost every stitch of their clothing. It is too dreadful to think of. If I could 
onlv get rid of the expression on the faces of some of those drowning before m\' eves ' " 

One of tlie most horrible incidents was tlie discover\' above the stone 
bridge of the liods of a woman who had been killed while ,gi\"iiig birth to a 
child. The babe had not _\et been fidly delivered. The identit\- of the \\onian 
could not be established. Doctors say tlte case is unparalleled. 

It was the impression of tlie medical corps and niilitar\' surt^eons. who ar- 
rived at Johnstown earlv in the week, that hundreds of men, wonien and chil- 
dren were insensible to all horror before the waters closed in over them. Their 
opinion was based on tlie fact that hundreds of the botlies were terribh' wounded. 
generally on the head. In many instances the wounds were sufficient to have 
caused death. The crasliing of houses in the first mad rush of the flood with 
a force greater than the collision of railroad trains making fast time, and the 
hurling of timbers, poles, towers and boulders through the air, are believed to 
have caused a legion of deaths in an instant, before the \'ictims knew what was 
coming. E\en the survivors bear testimon\' to this. The first surgeon in 
charge of the hospital treated long lines of people for wound,s too tcrrilile to 
mention. They knew not what happened, except that the\ fell in a moment. 

The first train that passed Xew Florence, bound east, was crowded wtih 
people from Pittsburgh and intermediate points, going to the scene ot the dis- 
aster with the hcipe of finding their friends. Xot a dr\' e\ e was in the train. 
Mothers moaned for their chiklren. Husbands jiaced tlie ai.sles and wrun.g 
their hands. Fathers pres>e(.l their faces against the winilows and endeavored 
to see something, the\" knew not what, that would tell them in a measure of 


the dreadful fate tlicir darlings had met. Along the river the train stopped, 
and bodies \\ere taken on. ha\ing been tished up b\ the \ilLigLrs. Swollen 
corpses la\' on jiiles of cross-ties, (ir on the ri\er banks .ilnung the tangled 
greenerx'. Such th.ings are engra\i-d indelibly on the minds nt tlu' beholders. 

On Saturda\ a clerk was reeling along into.\icatud. Suddenlx . with a fran- 
tic shoiU. h'- tin-e\\" himself o\-er the bank and into the flood ,ind would ha\"e 
been carrietl tn his death had he not been caught h\ some persons below. 
■• Let me die '" he e.\clainied. when the}' rescueil him. ■• ^iV \\ ife and chikhen 
are gone : 1 ha\e no usi' tor m\ life." An hour later he was King on the 
ground o\ercome b\' drink. Jle had never tasted li(juor l)i.lore. 

Watchers in the signal-tower below Sang Ibdlow tell of young girls swept 
so far into the bank that the\- ceuild almost touch them, and yet not far enough 
to be sa\"ed. On the cither hand. bra\e men went out into the stream 
and brfiught to the shore people who seemed to be destined to destructiou. 
Otliers tried and failed. It was a torturing niuht to those who were on the 
brink of the waters. The\- cmild hear the cries of those whom they could not 
reach. IIusl>auds saw wi\es and chiklren perish before their eyes. The women 
and children make the largest count in the death-n>ll. Two men on a tiny raft 
shot into the swifttst part of th.e cinreiit. They crouched stolidI\. looking at 
the shore, \\hile between them, dressed in white and kneeling with her face 
turned hea\enwarii. was a girl scxen years old. She was motionless, as if 
stricken \\ ith parahsis. until she came opposite the tower. .Then she turnile 
Iter face to the telegraph opt rator. so close he could see big tears on her 
cheeks. The men on shore shouted to her to keep up courage. She resumeil 
her devout attitude and disappeared under the trees of a projection a short 
distance below. "AVe coidd not see her come out again," said the operator, 
"and that was all of it." --Do _\on see that fringe of trees?'" — pointing to 
the place where the little i^irl had gone our of sight •• — we saw scores of little 
children swept in there." 

There is a stor\' of a fatal tree, full of grim interest. A man po^\■erless to 
interfere saw men. women and children borne clown the stri-'am and dashed 
to death against this tree. The waters were full of human bodies. The dead 
kept floating b\- the telegraph stations of the railroad. It is a lumdred miles 
by water from Johnstown to Pittsburgh, but tlie dead and the wreckage trav- 
eled all the w-a\- in twent\"-tour hours. On Saturda_\- thousands of peojile stood 
on the banks of these streams watching for the bodies. Statements came of 
individual loss and suttering. of men wandering o\ er the mud flats ^viiere towns; 
had once stood, bereft I'f e\'erything — of property, wife and children; of wo- 
men suddenh' widowed ar.d made childless. The calamit\' was so stupentlous 
that people at a distance could ruit begin to appreciate its extent. Those near 
it were simplv da/ed or stunned. .\. whole communitv dw elhny in a\;dley 
fifteen miles in length had been {>icked up bodily by the angry flood, and hi;rled 



was hurkd shrieking against the railroad brid,i;e. pinned into the mass beyond 
all ixissiliilitx .>f escape. It \\as not only death, hut death with all the horrible 
tortures that ^ aw be inKiL;ined. 

The horror and iniinite pity of it all '. 







Sf' : / ? J: 





Awakening to the Ftll Rf.\litv ^nd Extent of the Deva-^tation — What the Dawn 
OF A New Day r)i^0Lo--En — Mii-Es uf Barken Wa-te and HE\i'iNii Wkec kage — Walk- 
ing Over and Ckawlim, Under SyUAKES and Streets of Chaos — Cellars PArKED 
WITH Dirt and Stune-, and Corpses — Landmarks Wiped Ovt — A Survey of the 
Fragments that Buried Acres of Johnstown, Conemaugh Borough and Kernville 
Fathoms Deep. 

" Then «,i* I HS .1 
Whose bouchs .li.l hiriul %i [th \ 
A slurni,.Tr,jl4n;rx. .all it \si' 
Shook cioun inv nicll.iu haii- 
And left nie ht-re to wither, '- 

V;/.k:; i'^ 


OPi:S \\'HICH stirvivud that awful 1-riday ni^lit 
withertd and died, their nielh^w hanoin,L;s oone. 
when the morning; df a new day re\'ealed ineas- 
uralilv the wide-spread desolation. Iiieh li}' 
inch the riotous waters had slunk away in the 
deep shades, afraid to look upon the e\il they 
had wrou.iiht. Little b\- little the streets and 
— -.j=;^_~_--=:±i^;^^pi^^— the wreckage and the ra\ a'_;ed iJistricts emerged. 
*^ '^~' I)av dawned, and it \\'as not all a hideous 


dream. The sun rose, the birds sang and th.e 
real awakening had come. People hestirrecl themselves to reach dry places. 
or to lend a helping,' hand to those whom the flood still kept prisoners. They 
must hunt for their friends till the\- find them — alive possilily. dead probably. 
Impassable streams — their hridLjes washed out — diviiled the towns. and stretches 
of mud-laden water brooded where srpiares and blocks hud becTi yesterday. 
Rafts were rigged up for errands of merc\ and did ;^ijod service. Floaters 
half-dead from e.xposure. wear\- lodgers on the drift. cryinLj children and weep- 
ing women were piloted to firm ground and cared for as kindly as th.e scanty 



THE S n 'A' ] ' ( '/-^ /I '/A\>" /v / f s. 


available would admit. Whole families were saved— a vagary of 
the flood ; whole families l,,st-the moekeiv of fate. The survivors, 
stunned l.v the wei-ht of the calamity, were mo\ in- they kne^v not whither. 
Over and under the wreck some clambered and crawled, peerm- into the 
smallest openin- or prvm.u up b..ards or sticks, all the uliile dreading what 
mi-ht be revealed. Others trod miles of ruins to discover that bare earth, or 
fragments of buildin-s which had traveled far. occupied the sites of their stores 
antldwellin-s. Merchants wandered aimlessly, tramps with the r.'st. Heedless 
of the direful conseipiences, not regarding the sorrow and sullering that must 
ensue, respecting neither a-e nor sex nor condition, intent only to pour forth 
their vials of hateful resentment, the waters had shunned no nook or cranny 
or crevice in their blind excesses. 

Let the reader accompanv me on my Saturday exploration through and 
around Johnstown. Where is the heart of the town? Cast your eye west- 
ward and southward from Green Hill, on the turnpike leading to South Fork. 
over the wastes f^ve to twentx h et under dirt\- water an.i the burnim; volcano 
at the railroad bridge, and you have the answer. .\ strip of tlnckl>- populated 
territorv. two miles long bv three to seven sipiares wide, with six dismantled 
buildin-s remainins. gives a faint idea of the havoc from the upper end of 
Woodvale to the blistered stone arches. Add to this two hundred houses m 
Cambria and a great gap alon- Stony Creek from end to end of Kernville, 
making a total of at least two thousand buildings, to complete the fearful 
survey? .-\ bruised and battered grocerv— a railroad station minus a corner 
and the tracks about it gone— the Cambria Inm Company's store, one-third 
of it beaten down and the offices safe under its guardian wing— the brick 
school-house on Iron street, into which hundreds crept or were dra-^ed trom 
the drift, and other hundreds are to be prepared for burial— are the remnants 
of the busiest sections of Conemaugh Borough. Johnstown and MiUville. 
None of them can be approached for hours. b>o"ls of water soak and suim 
whatever ventures to fathom their depths. Millville has followed Woodvale 
and Mineral Point, the school-buikling alone staying to see what the harvest 
will be. We cannot cross Coneinau-h Creek, but the (iautier mills are miss- 
in-, and it is evident that the iron-works and Cambria Borough have been 
struck hard blows. Railroad trains are not runnini;. Frei^^ht cars are m the 
litter of the streets or the wreckage above the bridge. .\ locomotive, which 
rode the wave like a cork from East Conemaugh. is lod-ed near the company's 
store— the store upon whose roof or throu-h whose windows scores of people 
leaped and were saved. Xo tracks are within sight, steair. whistles are 
hushed, and the cheerv hum of machinery is not heard. E.xceptmg the farmers 
back of the hill that' borders Concmau-h Borough, Jolmst.nvn can receive 
no visitors until some way is provided to cross the creeks or >et the car-wheels 
in motion. Until then an .Mpme tourist on a -lacier is as approachable. 

(jL/MPSHs or Tin-: //.n\)c. ,21 

WheiL- is \\'ashini,'toii !,ciri.'t. tlu- tiist paralluliiiL; Conemaui^h Creek? 
IJetui en it am! the stream ^\ere the lialtiiiK ire ^V Ohiii tr.uks aiul \ards, sheds 
and freii^ht houses, a hotel or two, thr operadiouse ami the lii^; store. Tin- 
last buildiiiL; is the sole survi\or. E\erythinL; else is blank space. The 
Turner Hall cannot be located, the Mansion House lias quit doini; business at 
the okl stand, the \\ arehouses are fdlini; an en_;aL;ement in the ^vrecka;;e at 
the bridije. and ad\ertising; a rewari.! for its return would not restore the one- 
storietl wooden tem])le of music and the drama. The inhabited sitie of the 
street extended three blocks, from Clinton to Walnut. Not a jiarticle of its 
seventy or eighty saloons, its stores, sliops. rest.aurants and dwellint;s is to be 
seen. The buildinL,'s and tlieir contents swell the tlrift and refuse that gorge 
Kernvdle or sustain tlu blaze on the Point, uhile the cellars are packed with 
mud and stones and dead biidies. Two hnndreil persons \vere in these three 
blocks when theijeluge Idt them. Four-tifths of their nundjer ha\e responded 
to the summons that brooks no e.xcuse for postponement to a more con\"enient 
season. The Public Lil)rary is a jumble of liniken bricks and bits of slate 
roof, the books destro\ed and their custodian — Mrs. Hirst--buried under the 
heap of rubbish that ju^t peeps abo\ e the water. Xe.xt door was the 
Westell! Union office, which it would puzzle a microscopist to discover now. 
At tin: foot of Washington street. Walnut ran at right angles. No sign of it 
anywhere. The iron bridge to the Pennsyhania railroad and the wooden one 
behind the store have straxxxl off, and men across the stream are be.L;inning to 
set rows of bodiesi^n the station platform. The water keeps them and us apart. 
Each can only look from a distance at what the other is doing, and feel sick 
contemplatinLT the misery ami ruin and death. There is nothing farther down 
but the chaotic wreck, for the hou-^es on the Point are not at home to-da\', and 
Iron street is bleak and tiesolate as a countr\ grave-\ard in mid-winter. 

Locust street, a square back of Washini;ton. is the ne.\t in order. The 
upper p.irt is planted with wrecks, yet a fair percentage of its own buildings 
dul not llit. Thirty horses changed the hay and corn at Harr\- Zimmerman's 
livery-stable for the perennial pastures of the heax'en Charles Dickens and 
the Indians l)elic\ed to be reser\-ed for etpiines that never balked or kicked 
out the dash-board, and dogs that always refrained from lutlrophobia and 
sheep-killing '. Two or three frames opposite are lacking, and a lar^e one is 
leaning at a t(jp-liea\y aiii;le. The snug brick residences in rear oi the Metho- 
dist Church were rougldy handled— -bay windows alisent. porches not at their 
l>osts. the furniture coated with ^lime ami the iuniates scattered. Frohneizer's 
tasteful home across the street presents a tlemoralized front, which the brick- 
l.iyers and carpenters can fi.\ up as good as new. The gap- and breaks and 
vacancies lia\e a tlepressimr erl^ct upon those whose ac(piaintance with the lo- 
cality antedates the tlood. This brings us to the Park, which a jauntx' fence 
had inclost.-d. Grass and tree-- llankeil the cinder patlis, and thousands crossed 

I 2 2 77//:' .•-■ n Vv' 1 ' ( '/•' /< )//.\'.V / ^ ' / r.\". 

the plot claiK-. Look at it ! The tree^_, tlie ft-ncu. the urass. tlie paths have 
made room for a Bahel of contusion. \\'hy attempt to analyze the comphcated 
mass, so like a hundred others? Not a huildin^ is standint; on the north side 
of the Park. From Franklin street Locust is a remembrance onl\ . its dwell- 
int;s in llinders and ridges of sand i oncealini; its surface. 

What of ^fain street, where half the };IeaninL; of the flood seems to be 
crammed between the buildinL^s that decline.] the in\itation to drop down or 
sail otf ?■ Start from the heaii. on the slope at the intersection of Adams street. 
Squirrels mi;.;ht skip over the humps and layers of trees, timber, liouses and 
evervthing the water could u>c in its game of shuttlecock. Imt it is a tough job 
for pedestrians. We jump, climb, go on all-fours, s\\in.gmg by a prc^jecting 
board or beam, stoop antl rise ou tip-toe by turns. The road is nut adapted to 
locomotion of an\- sort. John Hunyau's ■■Christian." who smded at the 
Hill Difificult\-. would ha\e hlled his hands and trousers' legs witli jagging 
splinters on this excursion ! 

Well, here we are at Feeder, the first cross-street. The corner-house 
and two or three of its associates are in their places, though the dampness 
ogletl with the ceilings and nnissed the furniture in an untidy fashion ■■\N[iss 
Ophelia" would h,ive xoted ■■shiftless." Wreckage is soaring to the upper 
windows and the ca\-es. Houses are bending \ery low to lionses which 
reciprocate the courtes\ in kind. You are sur<- human l>odies are under the 
dilapidated homes that drifted iu last evening, and a sense. of awe pervades 
the mind. Men are beginniiiL; t.i carry in corpses already, and you observe 
arms and heads and legs arounil and aliout and beneath your feet. Crossing 
the Baltimore & Ohio tracks, four yar<ls under the rubbish. \ciu ([uery how 
long it will take to clear away or burn the cpieer ballast and have the cars go- 
ing again. People ne\er valued the steam horse, the rumbling wheels, the dark 
red coaches and the fi\-ing trains so much as this morning, when the town is 
hermeticalh' sealed and food not to be had. 

Railroad street is a mere shadow on one side and nothing on the other. 
A hiatus of man\- acres is liberally stock(^<i with wreckage. Nice homes, shops, 
Henderson A: Anderson's furniture ware-rooms and Cover's livery are in the 
assortment, which extends from the Couemau-h to Ston\- Creek. This is the 
swath the upper section of the ureal wave slashed down in short metre. See this 
mess of iron bars, bricks, wheels, ploughs, harrows and tools, fit only for the 
junk-pile ! It is not eas\- to realize that it was a mammoth business establish- 
ment eighteen hours au'o. S\v, ink's brick block — four stories filled with hard- 
ware and agricultural implenu-nts — stiio<l on this spot, the southeast corner of 
Main and Bedford streets. .\ two-story brick ',vas mortised in the north end 
where the streets form an acute anule. A grocery occupied the ground floor and 
the IIiraLl was printed up-stairs. The c\liiuler of the printing-press lies in 
the cellar across the waw and the r.u.t nf tlic^ Sw.ank bli.ick is distributed o\'er 


.,: ,X , 


the site of Hun. Daniel McLaiuhlin's mansion. On the soiitliwest corner of 
these streets -was a frame buikiincr. whicli its talk-r brick neiL^hliors crusb.ed 
into jelly, a family under it all. The northeast corner — Main and Clinton it 
is, Bedford ending — has been spony;ed off and jielps malvC up tlie \eiid stretch- 
ing back to Railroad street. Louther & Green's lilock. (Opposite, has a corner 
knocked out from pavement to cornice. It looks shcd^y around that quarter of 
the structure, as the break enlar'^es to\vards the top stor\-, where Tomm\- Mc- 
Mullin has his ln!liard-room and Charle\- Bur;.;r.iff his photograph-L;aller\-. 

The Hager block, straight across Main, lnnks strangeh- a\vr\. It \\as fin- 
ished and occupied in ^larch. and one-third of it is a heap of ruins in the base- 
ment, destroying Geis A; Schry's elegant new store. The accumulations ot 
wreck and garba^je increase as we ad\'ance, stra\- bits resting on the roof^. 
The Merchants' Hotel, a four-story brick, vibrates in the breeze. Part of tile 
rear was thro\\n ilo\\n. taking with it a porch and t\\o guests. The next buii'.l- 
ing is past redemption, and Luckhardt's frame is so racked and twisted that it 
must be pulled down. Back of tliese and adjoining biiildini;^ tlie refuse is 
abundant. The south side of the street had the" largest stores in Jcihnstow n. 

The mass of drift rises abo\ e them and you step through windo^'.■s on tht_- 
th.ird floor. The walls are solid, but the platL--i;Iass fronts ha\e joined --the 

124 77//.' .v/V'AM' (U-- JCZ/XSTOirX. 

Ic-t arts" Wendell Pliillijis talked about. The stocks were tlaiiiaj;ed by water, 
'.vheu not carried oil beulih'. Lol;s and trees and divisions (>f houses shc>t 
through some ei| tlase stores like cannon lialls — in at the fiont and out at the 
back without cereinon\ — takini: counters anti sliehes and L^ootis in their trail. 
A linndred people spent last ni^lit on tlu' rtjof of J(.iiin ThDiiias's buildins.;, 
which defied the incnrsions of the flood. The wreckage is t\\ent\ -fi\ e teet ihcp. 
with a thickeiiiny; tendency, and a dead horse — overtaken in the street — can 
he distinguished in the lump. How man\" human bc)dics we haxt- stepped on 
and over cannot be guessed. The owners of some of tlu.-se stores have signed 
their last check, renderei.1 their List bill and given in their last account. Ma_\' 
we not h'.pc one and all had a generous credit in the books whose entries are 
infallible ^ 

Pause right here a moment, takeoff your hat, and view this object. It is 
part of a little frame house, doubtless the humble aljode of a pocir familv at 
Woodvale, or Franklin, or k' Ci uitniaui;h, or Mineral Point. How it Luided 
on the top of this pile is a nustery. T\\"o walls of the room, the ceilings and 
tlie roof ha\ e been pulled otf. but twi.> sidi'S and the tloor remain. What more ? 
A table and two chairs are prone, but just look at that bo.\ ! On it stands a 
cloth elephant, erect and steady as though the liouse had not been jarred and 
wrenched and humped in the swim for hours. There are other to\s on the 
rag carpet and a clnld's \acant chair. The pet eif the household must ha\"e 
been phuing with them when the Imilding started e-in its fatal voyage. The 
mother — is she not buried in the drift, her darling pressed to her h(.)som ? The 
bab\''s fingers are stitf and icy cold. They will clasp tlie toys no more, and we 
drop a dear over a domestic re\ elation so full ai tender [lathos. 

Soon we reach the corner of Main and Franklin. On a k>t from which 
a building was remo\ed to make room for Dibert's new block the operaTioiise 
is bimched in the jam. It sailed fr(jm \\ ashington street. b\\\hat route nobodv 
can tell, and is touching the b\iilding used as the Bijou opera-house for years. 
Queer, isn't it. that the two should cudiUe together at last?' Pack of this lot 
is the piost-oftice, the front absent, the bo.xes topsy-tur\ ey, the mails soaked to 
paste, and Postmaster Baumer after the brick house on the corner of Main 
and Adams for temporar\" quarters. The TriOnnr office, in the second story, 
had a bit of side-wall hustled out, type pied and p>resses hurt. jnhn Dibert 
& Co.'s bank, on the southwest corner, has an undesiralilc tleposit of mud and 
refuse, which detached from the mass and spilled into the old brick building. 
The senior partner was carried otf hx the flood with his house ami his daught- 
er Editor Schubert,, whose Frcii- Prrssr was pubiisl-iCtl above the bank, is 
also a victim, but the paper will shorth' be on its legs again. The Park begins 
at the northwest corner, and Frazier's drug store faces it on the northeast. 
The building is considerably the worse of the tussle, a good piece of one wall 
falling in the affra\'. A bo\-car hriKls the fort in the middle C'f the street, and 

Gi.iM/'sj's (>/■■ ■nil: ii.ti'(H\ 


J I 

i^^-'^r^-^^?^--^ ' ''■ 











a wecather-beaten house reinforct-s it. The car is lalicilcd "B. A: ().." which 
settles its identit\', but none can recoLjnIze the tenement. Below Dibert's two 
doors is the Savings Bank, not criiipled, but very moist. The cashier of tlie 
First National Bank — Moward J. Roberts — has paid his lasttlrnft, which a man 
of his sterling worth could do without protest. 

This is Alma Hall, four stories in height, a store and a gas-iiftice below, 
law oftices and lodge rooms higher up. The flood washed swarms of people 
toward the hall, where they were rescued. Three hundred found refuge witliin 
it all night, some coming over mountains (if obstructions at the peril of lite 
and limb. What an an.xious time the\- had ! The assemblage divided iiito 
three parties, one each on the second, third and fourth tloors. in charge of the 
' Rev. Dr. Beale. 'Squire A. M. Hart and Dr. Matthews. Ligius nere not al- 
lowed and specific rules were formalh' adopted. The sick, the injured, the 
weaker women and the children had the best accommodations that could be 
obtained. Sobs and moans, tears and supplications, vows and prayers were 
heard continually and no person slept. Two women gave birth to infants, and 
two more had broken limbs. Dr. Matthews had thre-e cracker! ribs, yet forgot 
his own pains and brui=;es in inini^tering to those who so grt.'ath' required li'.s 

126 THE STORY OF Ji U/.\S7\>ll X. 

intflli-cnt skill. No one diet! during thf ni-lit. Imt one suflercr yielilcil nj) 
lier lite this niorniiiL; and se\eral inn\- lolUiw hei'lH-toie Sunda\-. The pied-i-s 
and promises made under th.e roof e>l Alma Hall, in the darkm.'ss and suspense 
of these weary hours, ouulit to produce a decided impression for ;.;ood. Shall 
any \iolate tin m and urye Ri|) \'an Winkle's [ilea. ■■This time don't count?" 

Dr. Lowman's in\itin-; house, liontiui; Main .street and the Park, hears a 
niimlier of scars. The porches are aL;ee. the niarlile columns sta<_;i;ering and 
the walls dotted with L:ohs of mni to the third stor\-. The f;.mlh\- and several 
neighbors escaped to tlie root, which affordeil a wide view of the destruction, 
and in the evenin'g reached .Vlma Hall. John Fulton's spacious brick resi- 
dence, on the ne.xt lot facing the Tark. is nowhere to be seen. He was at Con- 
nellsvilie and his famih — one of them a married d<iuL;hter, on a \isit from \'e- 
iiango county — liad an experience they would not repeat for the wealth of the 
\'anderbilts. From Dr. Lowman's to Market street, the north side of iMain, 
reseiubles the avera^je lottery ticket — a blank. The public building, which had 
cells for prisoners, rocuiis for Council meetinL,'s. the olfice of the Buriiess anil 
the headquarters of the police, lias resigned permanenth', The bricks are in 
the basement and scattered on the streets. 

John McKee. a young man. was confined in the lock-up. If an\"bodv 
thought of him. there was no time to open the grated door and give tin; pris- 
oner a show for his life. Tliis mornim;. wlien an officer headed off the lock-up. 
after an arduous search. McKec was lifeless. He had climbeti to the top of 
the door. The water rose twenty f' et above it anil strani,'led him. A fl\ in a 
spider's web may se\er the gossamer lines, but poor McKee was not a Sam- 
son who could walk off with an entire calaboose. 

So it goes to the foot of the street. The remainmg squares comprised doz- 
ens of tile hnest houses Joh.iistown coidd boast. The Cambria Club House has 
a dark streak across its ujiper windows and along its walls — hiL;h-water mark, 
and a rod of back wall has wandered away. Jacob Freund's mansion lost the 
rear end and a ipiarter secticm of the upper side. Tlie old ■-;entk'man was alone 
in the house, his daughters ha\ing gone to New York, and he reached the roof 
as the water reached the heaii of the stairs. A score of these abodos of hixurv 
have dissolved partnership with their possessors and might do a flourishing 
trade as ■■total wrecks.'' Others are not habitable. Col. J. P. Linton's 
home, at the end of the street, is a sample of nian\- more that are not lloated 
off or destroyed utterly. Around it ncit a house stands. The riiadwaN' is l)locked 
with five feet of sand, and coquettes with the roof in the yard. Xete the 
cars and a span of a bridge in th.e vast repositor\'. with botlies galore. The 
Arinor\" stepped off on the double-quick at the command (if the wa\'e. and here 
it sticks, a mile from its proper quarters. The drift is appalliuL; and the arni\- 
of Julius Casar would ni.n be equal to the driidgers' of clearing it awa\- before 
the ides of March. Such a sight }'c>n will ne\'er behold again, sliouid \ou li\e 

uLJMi'sKs or TJii: //A roc. 127 

to discount Methusaleh. Main street, with its multitorm horrors and its tlood 
phenomena, is to-vlax" the most wonderfid tliLiroUL;htare of any ai;e or nation. 

Dinner. (Hd 3 ou say? Bless \-ou, there isn't a liotel. a boardinL; or 
an eatinii-housc left in the settlement I Yon couldn't find a sandwich if you 
raked Johnstown with a tme comh '. Cellars on the hillsides were wateied 
worse than railroad stocks, and the provisions spoiled. The people on 


i =:.- •; i/ }' \ 

- i 



Prospect — what a view of tlu' flood they had up there '. — depended lars 
the farmers for supplies once or twice a week. This is the re;,nilar 
da\'. but \'0u don't observe waL;ons and hucksters at ever\' turn. \\ c 
able to snatch a liandful of crackers. shouhJ the. lialtimore ^V (Jhio ror 
shape to rim this afternoon. So we won' t think of Delmonico's. thouL; 
seem odd that one could have an app(ilite in this wilderness of horror 
No need to walk o\er — ford rather — the cross-streets fmni Mark 
bri<lge. There are none! Not a buildin<;" or a landmark shows wlie 
santls lived \'esterda\'. The lower half (.>f Vine street — it runs betwei 
and Ston\' Creek — as an aLlL^rei^atinn of ■■shreds and patches" eclip^t 
Pooh in his seediest i,'arb. Two-third> of its dwellings are caucasin 
hurh'-burh' surrtnmdiuLT th.e schoobhouse. and the balance have ho 

el\" upon 
■ ma\' be 
id get in 
h it does 

et t(i the 
re thon- 
fU Main 
s X a n k I 
l; in the 
pped otf 

128 Tin: STORY or joirxsTowx. 

their t.nuulations. Stonvcreek street is a surprise, because it-stayed ! The 
feathcrv frau,es alon^ us south sule dan.le on the brink of the stream, 
ebbed and Hke a ■■^'-■"1 ''' pasMon'' dunn.' the tlood. yet >t did not 
scatter then, as chalt. liack troni the ereek. amon^ squares and row^. luuUh 
ings heavier and hi.^her went down m dro^ e.. but these neuher crumbled nor 
floated Thou-h not in the direct hue of the v.ave which clun-^d throu'Ji 
the centre of the town and made it a desert, the back-water worked harder 
than a s^uadof pohce tu have them --move on.'' It bubbled over the .h,u,,les 
and .MU-ded in the garrets, -nawed holes m the walls and nd.bled oil the 
portico>. tu^-ed at them m front and shoved at them in the rear, tned lo-s at 
doors and driftwood aL;anist the windows, and-the liouscs didn't -o : The 
Sphinx of antiquity propounded no enigma to the Thebans .so hard to solve as 
the problems such feat invs of the [ohnstowu Hood suu-est. 

Clinton street— pas-in- down Mam we ;,danced at it-presents fresh sur- 
prises. From \Vashini;ton to Mam it was built up principally with stores. 
hotels and shops, families occupvm- the upper floors. Three door, trom ^lam. 
on the east side of the .treet. mark the basement hlled with mud and wrecka;;e. 
On this spot stood th.e Hulbert House, the leadin- hostelrv. -\ snowT^all cast 
into a boihm; caldron could not have melted more rapidly than this imposing,' 
bnck hotel, which extended to the alley and was for years my stopping place 
when visitin- Johnstown. Sixty per.ons were m the house when the <leln-e 
came, but onlv nmeof them are on earth this atternoon. Mgst of them rushed 
up-stairs at the first alarm. Their lives would have been pronounced a first- 
class risk bv the most cautions insurance agent. They \sould watch the waters 
rise a foot or two. submit to some inconvenience for a day. and to-morrow the 
streets would be clear and things jogging in the usual way. 

The great wave crushed buildings and streets, opened a broad lane and 
tilted against the wing of tile hotel. Tlie result was astouudniL;. The whole 
building reeled, parted, disappeared : Fifty lives went out m the bewiMenng 
crash. .\laddin-s palace vanished less swiftly and effectually. The good dea- 
con's ■■WondertulOne-Horse Shav" left a bushel of dust to verify its collapse. 
Not a brick or a chip of the Hulbert House remaine.l on the site, outside of 
those pelted into the cellar with the mud and the deail bodies. The roof de- 
stroyed the next bnildin- and steered to the corner of Main street. Floors, 
beams and thousands ot bricks struck across the street with the force of a 
Krupp gun or a Roman catapult. .-\ Irame and three brick buildings— one 
McAteeVs Hotel— sank in ruins, as egg-shells might do under the blow of a 
trip-hammer. On either side of the gap building, stand, their fronts knocked 
ont and driftm-s staring throu-h the sccond-story windows. Tliis clean-cut 
passage, in the very vitals of a solid square of Clinton street, is another of the 
t^ood mysteries that are nut ••dreamt of in your ph.ilosophy." 

The two buildings below the Hulbert House have adopted Horace Greeley's 

oL/.1//'>/:s OF 7 HE HA roc. I 2y 

advice to --^o West." Eniil Ynimi;s t\vn-stor\ traiiie is on its pins, but the 
proprietor and his son were fonnd dead in the store this uiornm'.:. The faniil> 
took oft nine persons whom a bit of wrr.k floated near their house. The brick 
on the corner is badly punished. Note these heaps around Uiide-rovc-'s store 
and the convent— hui;e trees part ot the in-redients. Tread reverentlv ; here 
are three bodies — two women and a child ! Death and desolation hover over 
every toot of Johnstown. Were not the fountain of te.irs locked, every woman 
would be a Niobe or a K<ichel. ever\- man a I)a\ id mournin'j: for .Absalom. It 
is like a stroke on the head, which stuns and render^, the victim partiall_\ un- 
conscious. With the reaction will come an overjiowerin- sense of yrief. 
Whatever spot \our e\es rest upon is a retlection of the .Vcadia unfolded in 
'•Evangeline." Each seems to be the one chosen b>- the delude for its special 
fury, until \ou turn to the ne.xt and conclude that it is inlpo^sible to discrimi- 
nate. Could ruin be more thorom;h and more universal^ 

Where are the people, you ask :> Hundreds are crouching on the hills- 
homeless, friendless, penniless : Thousands are dead in cellars and streams. 
on the banks of the river, imder the omnipresent fra<;ments and the illimitable 
sand. Some have landed below the railroad bridi^e and will return when the 
creeks can lie crossed, to cheer mourniiiLr relatives or to be bowed down in sor- 
row that none survive to welcome their escape from the very jaws of death. 
Many atfri-hted men hurried away this mornin.;. taking with them the little 
bundles which held the scant>- residue of their possession*. The great ma- 
jority—too dazed now to do au-ht but think of the calamity— will remain to 
repair the waste places and build up a grander Johnstown. 

Once more we enter Adams street. Groups loiter on tlie sidewalks. 
Neighbors meet and e.xchange greetings quite unlike the common salutations. 
Listen: •• Good-dav." says one, ••howmany lost?"" --Si.x" is the brief reply, 
spoken as coldly as if the were the topic. '• My wife and three chil- 
dren went down." says another to a man who holds np tliree fingers to signify 
the nunilier he lost. •• I wonder if m_\ daughter is found." asks an old 
woman, as six men pass with a bod\- on a stretcher. They will place it in the 
school-house, which is to f'e the morgue. See the throng of sad-faced people 
in the yard, where twenty men are making rough boxes to serve as coftins. 
The burials must begin on Sunday. Months will come and go before they end. 

Kernville we can view from this point, as the Hebiew lawgiver viewed 
Canaan from Mt. Xebo. Stony Creek is not confined to its bed. Such a 
prodmal dl-pla> of wreckage! It would load the fleets of Europe and the 
United States. Haynes. Somerset. Napoleon and Norris streets are running 
over with it. Houses have departed and it has taken their places. There 
are four acres of it in one mass. The big building so lar away is the Unique 
Rink, three-fourths of a mile from it^ foundation walls. Hercules had a frolic 
cleansing the .\uiiean stables in comparison with tlie labor n< cessar\ t<j clear 


advice- to ■•t;o West." Eniil YouiiLis t\vo-stor\ tranu; is on its pins, hut the 
proprietor and his son were found dead in the store this niornin-. The fainil\ 
took oil nine persons whom a bit of unck floated near their hoii-^e, 1 he bnek 
on the corner is badly punished. Note these heaps around Upde-rove's ^tore 
and the convent— huge trees part ol the ini^redients. Tread reverently ; here 
are three bodies — two women and a cluUl : Death and desolation hover over 
every foot of Johnstown. Were not the fountain of tears locked, every woman 
would be a Niobe or a ivachel. every man a I)<i\ id mournin'.; for .Vbsalom. It 
is like a stroke on the head, which stuns and renders the victim partiall\- un- 
conscious. With the reaction will come an overpowering; sense of grief. 
Whatever spot \our e\es rest upon is a reflection of the Acadia unfolded in 
"Evangeline." Each seems to be the one chosen b\- the deluge for its specmi 
fury, until \ou turn to the ne.\t and conchide that it is impossible to discrimi- 
nate. Could ruin be more thorough and more universal ? 

Where are the people, voii ask != Hundrtds are crouching on the hills — 
homeless, friendless, penniless \ Thousands are dead in cellars and streams, 
on the banks of the river, under tlie omnipresent fragments and the illimitable 
sand. Some have landed below the railroad bridge and will return when the 
creeks can be crossed, to cheer mourning relatives or to be bowed down in sor- 
row that none survive to welcome their escape from the very jaws of death. 
Many affrighted men hurried away this morning, taking with them the little 
bundles which held the scant_\- residue of their possession*. The great ma- 
jorit> — too dazed now to do aught but think of the calamity— will remain to 
repair the waste places and build up a grander Johnstown. 

Once more we enter Adams street. Groups loiter on the sidewalks. 
Neighbors meet and exchange greetings quite unlike the common salutations. 
Listen: •■ Good-daN'." savs one. ■• how many lost ?" ■■ Si.\" is the brief reply, 
spoken as coldlv as if the weatlier were the topic. ■• My wife and three chil- 
dren went down." says another to a man who holds up tliree Angers to signify 
the number he lost. •■ I wonder if my daughter is toiind." asks an old 
woman, as six men pass with a body on a stretcher. The\- will i)Iace it in the 
school-house, which is to be the morgue. See the throng of sad-faced people 
in the yartl. where twenty men are making rough boxes to serve as cotfins. 
The burials must begin on Sunday. Months will come and go before the\ end. 

Kernville we can view from this point, as the Hebiew lawgiver viewed 
Canaan from Mt. Nebo. Stony Creek is not confined to its bed. Such a 
prodigal dl-pla\ of wreckage : It woukl load the fleets of Europe and the 
United Status. Havne-^. Somerset. Napoleon and Norris streets are running 
over with it. Hou-^es have departed and it has taken their places. There 
are four acres of it in one mass. The big building so lar away is the Unique 
Rink, three-lourths of a mile from it'- foundation walls. Hercules had a frolic 
cleansing the Augean stables in comparison with the lalior nt cessar\ to clear 


up Kern\illo rind Gruhtown. its soiitlu-rn aniu'x. Opcniii'-; the road over the 
Simplon. or consti iictiiii; away throu'^h a swamp for llie passable of artillery 
was not more arduous than it will lie to restore these streets to their normal 

Sand\\'ale' Cemeter\' would astonish its te:iants. were they to •■re\isil tlie 
glimpses of the niCRin" and behold the ruhlii.-h tint pla\ed ten-pinswith its 
moniuiients and buried its frraves. \\'as e\er '• Got-l's Acre " so desecrated 
and maltreateil ? Trees press the sleeping' tornis and a piL;-stye rests in a 
famih- plot. Columns are broken, marble shafts thrown dow n and tombstones 
smashed. iJodies ma\- be in the motley heap, for the <lead are e\ery\vhere ! 

Moxham had a wettini; to the second floors of houses liy the creek and 
lost one resident — George Hummers. He was standinL; on the iron brid::;e, 
ran do^vn the road for safetw fell over th.e bank and drowned. The bridge is 
passable and people are trying to reach it from the opposite shore. 

A locomoti\e whistle ' No doubt about it. A train on tlu.- iJaltimore JV; 
Ohio road is feclint,' its wa\- caretullv from Moxham. It i;ets within a quarter- 
mile of Bedford street and tlie few passengers disemliark. How the\' open 
their ej'es at the havoc '. Ha '. here arc other accessions — newspaper men from 
Pittsburgli. \\'e shake their hands warmly ; it is so pleasant to feel that the 
desolated town is auain in touch with the world outside. They tell of comimr 
to Sang Hollow li\- the Penns\ hania Railroad, walking to the stone bridge, 
climbing the hills and crossing Stony Creek at Moxham. There is food com- 
ing, and one of them (;>lfers us a uenerous lunch. This bakei.l chicken will di- 
vide nicelv between the two children we saw a moment agei crying with 

When asked h\ Queen Dido to describe the fall of his lo\ed city, the Tro- 
jan liero condensed \olunies into one pregnant phrase : •• Ilintii fiiit." Behold- 
ing, as we have done to-daw the dismal waste and desolation of this aflficted 
couummity, we mav apph' the sentiment of .Tineas and sa_\' ; Johnstown :^as .' 

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Abundant Provision in Stikitual Matikks — Places of Worship and Ministers — Sanc- 
tuaries Wiped Off the Face of the Earth — Clfki-, and their Families 
Drowned — Fire and Flood Combine to Pr.MKuv a Sacked F'niFicE — Peculiar Ex- 
perience OF the Sistek> of Chakitv — A Kector and His Wife and Child JIeet 
Death Locked in a Firm Embr\ce — Father Damn's Zealots Services and La- 
mented End — The Wonderful Image of the Virgin NL\fv — Anecdotes. 

" Thv 50ui was like a 5iar and ilwelt apart ; 
Thou hadst a voice « hose souinl was like llic 
Pure as the naked heavens—majestic, free. 

So didst thou travel on life s common way 
In cheerful -..dliness; and yet thy heart 
The lowliest duties or. herself did lay."— W' 







did the 



ot rehs 





MUKCHES wtre important facteirs in the moral and social 
econonn of Johnstown. T^vent^■ or more con^'rei,'atioiis 
had editices of their own. some large and imposing, with 
taperin;^ spires pointint; hea\en\\ ard, and others small 
and unpretentious. Dihyent. competent ministers, whose 
influence was powerful and far-reachinj.;. ser\etl then 
acceptably. Johnstown proper, Conemau^h lJoroiiL;h 
Kern\iHe and Cambria were provided with fine sanctu 
'^', aries. W'ootivale worshippers attending which the\' pri.- 

ferred. The choice was not restricted, a do/en tlenoni 
WARD. inations presenting tht ir claims. Several of the oldest 
and richest supported mission branches an<l Sundav- 
suimrbaii \Tllai,'es. Tlie Incal vine_\'ard was tilled carefulK', nor 
seed fall on untruittul soil, if de\'nut attention tci the (injinances 
a criterion. The Joh.nstown of piety was imt the spas- 
scent sort, up in the clouds to-d.a\- ami to-morri.iw gro\-eling in 


, ^4 THE sn >R 1 ■ ( >r ./< '//.\>7v >irx. 

the niirc. The churches and pastors on the morning; oi Mav 31-t were : 

ENCU.H LrxHHK.s FranUin street. „ear Kernv.lie br.d.e ; : value, 5,5,000 ; mem- 
bership, 000; Kev, Keubeo A. 1 ink, D D., pastor „,n,bershtp, 400 families; 
German Li-theran : Jackson street; bnck , Nalue. 53".°"° ■ ^^"'' V' 

^^^i's^S n:;r" '^ler street ; frame . value, .3,000 membership, too ; Rev O W 

''■ Sr^'r^KORMHo: Somerset attdD.bert streets, KernvHle frame , valt.e. .,,000 ; 

membership. .60; Rev W H I'au-s, P"'.;'^'^ value Vio 000; membership. 1.5 • Kev. J. 

DuNK,\Rn: Somerset street. Kernv. He, brick . %alue.. 10. c 

^ ^'t:;X^...C..,o.,c, Locust at^ajacksot, streets; value, coruent ^ 
rectorV^ , membership, 550 families; Re. James V Tahat^ev. pastor, atrd Re. T. ^V. 

^°Tt^^::;"G;RM.s C...hou>c RaHroad street, Cottemau.h Borou.h . . valt.. uuh 
convLtid ::hool.; membership, t.500. Kev. Berttard Mauser, pastor, and Re. 

^'"S^;:c:::;o..c; Cambr. Borough ; br,ck; value.; membership, 300; Rev. 
"'^l"cr:S^:^ot.,c; Camb^a Borou.h ; ; value, .ith school at.d rector. 
^-X' :^ M^r ^.:^:-. "'-a^:;i:a::r;::cust streets ; stone ; parsona., 
Stoo^ mlbersh.p. ^3o . Sunda> -School scholars. Soo . Rev Henrv .. > hapman. P .... 

'" W..SH C..v,^tsT,c M.xHot.,sr . Vme and Llewellyn streets ; ; value, S3.000 ; mem- 
^-1^.^'S.l^.^"^^r^^Havnes and Grant streets, K^uv.lle ; frame, value, 

'^■-:::^:tul:^l ^z::^:::::::^^. membership. ... : Kev. 

^- "s!t;^rELco... ■ Locust street ; with parish hall and rector, . value, ; 
'"^t::^^:::;r;.::":r ' r;:::kbnr:: near Ston. .-r^ek ; br,ck ; value. S3o,ooo ; Rev. 

■H L. Goodchild. retiring; pastor u;„ ,,0 no pastor 

Welsh Bv,-t,st ; Mam .treet . brick ; value. S,.,ooo ; membership, 00 , no past, r,H.o.T.os.u.: Walnut street, brick, value. St.,ooo.membersh,p,t.o. Rev. 

" "^rr.^:. 'Hr°^.ton>- rreek and Vme streets , stone , value. S.3.000 membership. 
27=; ■ Rev W. H Mingle. par,toi 

^" BRH.URK. M,ss.. ; Kernvtlle , supplied bv Kev <^^^^2Z:"<e. John Brenensthul. 
Christian ; Main street ; bnck ; value. , membership. K.o , Kev Jonn 

'"'p..,BVTKR,.^ Main,treet bnck with parsonage value, , membership, 5S0 ; 
''''\St\:::::ZZ' ";-:::k,in street, near pos.-o«ice . brick , value, ..0,000 ; memt,er- 
"-.^^^rERlr^?,:;..::^:^^ M-:::;;,.. , frame branch of johnsto.n church 

The Gern,an Lutheran Church, one ef the nr.t to feel tlie heavy hand oi 
theLrover. was totalh annd.lated. n.,t a hrick or a .h.n.le remaining to 


;itu-st that it hail L'\'L-r hccii. Thf walls were ttissed alxmt like tiMinis-halls. 
'riu- par^onam' ami the sl iu".>l-hotist_' cxjiciicnccil the same late. The pastor 
K<\. J. r. IJchtenluirg—wife and tamih'of four\\ent dnw n with their h.nne. 
l),i\s passed before their beidies were rec(i\ered. They had li\ed in Johnstown 
(inh a month. Tin: con.i;rei;ation was vacant a considerable time, owing to the 
l.u k of nnaniniit\' regariling a snccessor to the former esteemed pastor. 
I"inali\' Mr. Lichtenbnrg. a man of snperior ability and attainments, was 
iliosen. The chnrch had enteri-'d npon a fresh lease C'f prc>sperit\% when its 
entire propert\' and half its membership fell a I'tey to the flood. Mrs. Lnd- 
wii;. an aged member, died frcim grief si.\ weeks alter the delude. Four of her 
children perished — three sons and one dauL;hter. The key of the church — the 
onlv thing left of the editice — was given lier li\' the sexton as a ki epsake. It 
a.ssuaged her grief sonrewhat. but the wound was too deeji for earth to heal, 
and she expired clasping the key in her trendiling fingers. Substantial aid iidb 
been L;i\en the congregation from rdiroad. and a ne\v churcli will be crecttd. 

The tall steeple of the (rierinan Catholic Church is a notable Joiinstown 
lanilmark. The clock in the tower can l)e seen from a great distance. B\ it 
three-fourths of the citizens regulated watches, and its sonorous announce- 
ments of the hours are heard in the farthest corner of the sextuple borcuighs. 
.\ broadside passeil through its upper wall, tearing a hole in the liricks large 
enough to admit a steamship. Tlie roof was not disturbed. Part of the w reek- 
age lodged in the building, mashing the jiews and floor, ajul part forced an 
exit through the opposite wall. .\ German resident of \\'ood\'ale was laniled 
in the gallery by a mass of timbers. He explained in his Teutonic fashion : 

"Mein crashious ' It \*os \ oo^t \on minute \fn .1 cow coom in hv mine sitle. So mad she 
vos as you never saw . mit her eyes sticking out. I vos scart most det nnd kept moving minesell 
oudt ov der road, thinking der deyvil vos coom, horns and all. Dow n dose stair I toomble, bul 
der cow she fall too. I got me oop undt oudt quick und knows noddings ov der cow more." 

Another jolly W'oodvillian. who tips the lieam at 230 jK>unds. was whirled 
throuL;Ii the church at a lightning rate and pitch.ed upon the roof of a house. 
He managed to swim and wade to the shore, where willing hands stood rcaih' 
to assi-,t him. Rejecting every proffer of aid, on the ground that others needed 
it much more, he contented himself with the exclamation : 

" Koys, I came through that church quicker than hell could scorch a feather '" 

.V Woman eighty \ ears of age, nearly dead from contineuient and exposure, 
\\as taken from beneath a lot of rubbish in this church on Monila\- e\-ening. 
IIk' old lady la\- three da_\ s and three nights mider the load, in .luarters as 
cr.iuiped as those furnished Jon.di in the interior ot the whale. She revixed 
.Hid in a few days had regaini .1 her wonted .strength. 

1 iie building has been rep.ored and the f.iithful clock ticks as ot \dre, 
bul tv.ocjr three hundred of thedevtrnt meinliers assemble no more at the 
siumuons to the serxices of the s.uictuarx. 



A Ilw rods a\va\ . on tliL' south corner of Locust anil Jackson streets, was 
St. John's C.ilhohc charcli. The con;;re,L;ation \\as very hiri^e. hlnral and 
well-to-do. The water d.inia;,ed the huiklini; and dro\e ay.iinst it tile brick 
house of Davitl Co\er. which stood on the nortlieast corner of the twc streets. 
Maurice \\'oc>lf occupied part "I the Coxer luuldnii; as a residence. Mrs. 
Woolf wasbakiny and hrul a hot tire. Wdieii the hnu>e cuUitled with the 
church both buikIinL;s caiiL;iit ficmi the sto\e. The scene was peculiar and 
terrible, w itli water snryiny half^sa}' to the root and lire cunsuining exerythins; 
it could touch. .\ string; of hose belonyiny to the Coneniaugh Borough Fire 







Company, whicli was found hv some one. was put to gc)od use in saving 
what adjoininL; propertv the flood had left. The chureh. the j)ar(jchial resi- 
dence, the briik house of Andrew Foster and the remains of the ^^"oolf 
dwelling were burned. The tlaines rai,'ed until niidniuht in the to^\er and on 
the ndui-. Two walls fell and t\\o were blown up with dsnamite the next 
week to guard against accident. The- bell — an ancient relic — was badly dinged 
and cracked b\ the blaze and the descent to the sidewalk. .V teniporar\' 
frame church has been put up cin tlie rear of the lot. in which ser\-ice 
was first held the third Siinilay > i June. St. John's was a spacious structure. 


fmislied and furnished ele-antiv. Connected with the church and supported 
In- it was St. John's ConNent. a laryc brick buildiny. on the corner of Clinton 
and Locust streets. The con\ ent and schools, which 600 pupil., attended, were 
in cJiarge of the Sisters of Ciiarity. Sister :\Iary Helena was ^^lotlu r Superior, as- 
sisted by iw elve Sisters as teachers. The convent v. as almost wholly demolished. 
The only part standing is a wing in which the chapel located. To tliis 
apartment, where so often they had knelt in devotion, the pious Sisters tied 
for refuge from the llocd. Gathering in front 01 the altar as the torrent bore 
off two-thirds of the buildin-. tliey supplicated the protection <>f the Almif-ht\- 
Ruler of the v.inds and th.e waves. Every moment threatened to sweep aw.ay 
the tottering wing of the convent, but the suldime trust of these good women did 
not waver. Once the servant-girl retreated to the bay window in the rear and 
called for help. She might as well have tried to fly as to look for aid from anv 
human source. .\ Sister drew back to the altar and counselled her to 
exercise faith in God. Aii night the little band knelt in fervent prayer. On 
Saturday morning they emerged from their refuge to comfort the afthcted, to 
nurse the sick and injured, and to succor children who had been bereft of liome 
and parents. Sister Ignatia, Si:.ter Marie. Sister Genevieve, Sister Elizabeth. 
Sister Augustine. Sh-ter Pcrpetr.a. Sister Marie Sister Agatha and 
Sister Ursula were the subjects of this remarkable experience. 

.\bout eight o'clock in tr.e morning friends of :\Irs. iMarN- McXallv. wlio 
died at Prospect on Thursday, escorted her body to this church for the funeral 
rites. During the requiem the v.ater rose steadilw The carria-es and hearse 
started for the Yoder Cemetery, but coidd not proceed far and returned 
with the coffin, which was again placed in the church. It was there when the 
flood and the fire combined their efforts to destroy tlie editice, but was not cre- 
mated. Some of the mourners, who did not go home as soon as the funeral 
was abandoned, were drowned in Johnstown. Tlie singular conjunction of 
circumstances attending its de-^truction gave St. John's church yreat promi- 
nence in connection with the tlood. 

Rev. U. C. Phillips, pastor of the Welsh Calvmistic Methodist Church, 
which was obliterated, reported lost from his congregaticn twenty-two adults 
and twenty-eight children under fifteen years of age. He and his family -ivere 
at their house on Main street. After the wreck. Mr. Phillips chopped a small 
hole with a hatchet through the ^^ all. between his house and J. .\. Larkin .t Co. 's 
jewelry store. Before lie got the hole big enouirh to let himself and family 
through, he lost the hatchet. Then with his hands he tore the h.Je lar'-er and 
obtained egress. After getting into the store of tlie Messrs. Larkin. the i<artv 
found their way to the street and to a place of safetw 

The Welsh, a thrifty and imiustrious class in Johnstown, were heavv suf- 
ferers. Their Baptist church was badly damaged and a large proportion of 
its members drowned. The Wel.-!i Congregational Church was destroved. Th.c 



pastor, Rc\-. E. \\'. Idnes. D, D.. and liis wife lost their lives. The bod\-of Mrs. 
Jones was uneartheti on the Point, but mi trace <>{ her husband lias been disco\- 
eied. Mr. Jones was a di\'ine of unusual force, a jjolishei,! scholar, a loy,ical 
reasoner and a zealous promoter of the public ^Ncal. 

'■ He e ieJ c:icli .in, rq.rnvc<l incli (ii.ll ck-l.iy. 
.\:!ur>-a.l., l,i:L;liUr UL.rlJsnnil lol Uiu u;i^. 

St. Mark's, the neat Epi>copal church on Locust street, is a memor\- onlv. 
The rector. Kev. Alonzo P. L>iIIer. and his wife and baii\- down with their 
cosy lionie. The last seen of them was at an upper window. Mr. Diller had 

V ' -;-55; r<ir.vV 





his wife and child in his arni.s. apjiarenth- read\'to jump into the torrent. The 
house melted from si_rht and the water closed o\er them. Their bodies Viere 
found imder strauijeh' pathetic and peculiar conditions. T'our Episcopal cler- 
gymen, who had been or-lered to J.ihnstown b\- Eishop \^'hitehead. were w-ork- 
ing about the ruins near Lincoln street when tlie\" came upon the body of their 
late brother. Clasped in one riuid arm was the bod\- of his babe, and in the 
other his wife, whose arms were about his neck. They were interred tempo- 
rarily on Prospect Hill. The deceased rector was his^hl}- respected and popu- 
lar. He belonged to th-;- wealthy and influential Diller famil_\' of Lancaster, 


wliL-re he was statimuil before takirri' charge o[ St. Mark's in 1SS4. His wife, 
a hidy of fine --ocial qualities, was the dauLjhter nl Di:_;hton Murreil, a prom- 
iiRiit citizen of iieiirietta, I\a. The consrc^'ation In^t a niunber of acti\eniein- 
hers. but tlie chnrcli v. ill be relniilt. The church establisheel hea<lijuarters, 
the week after the ilond. at the corner of Jackson and Main streets. I'luler the 
care of Kev. Charles A. Brandon, antl rented a hall in tlie Il.iger block for 
Suntla\" worship. 

The cinnch of the E\an'_;tlical Association sustained a loss of eleven 
adidl nuinbi'rs. Fortj-eij^ht families bclon>.;!ng to the congregation were 
washed out and the property of seventeen was entire ly tiestro\'ed. Rev. F. 
P. Saylor, the pastor, was at Somerset, and his faniil}' narrowly escaped, saving 
nothing but the clothing lhe\' had on. 

The United Brethren, the Christian, the First Rei;ular liaptist. the En- 
glish Lutheran, tlie Second Lutheran and the Reformed chinches got oif 
tolerabh- well so far as Inhldimjs are concerned. Ail have to lament a sad de- 
pletion in the ranks of the mi-UiLieis. 

The nunkard church, in Kernville, had one corner fractured by the Unique 
Rink, which sailed up ,Ston_\" Creek with the back-water, and hit the Ikuisc of 
God an imfriendly tap in pa'-sing. .\ freight-car traveled across the stream 
anil struck another corner, dislodging a barrow-load of bricks. 

The Presbvterian Church was inundateil three feet above the pews and 
the basement deluged with mud. The parsonage received a liberal dose, 
obliging the pastor — Rev. L)r. Beale — and Ids famil\-to spend weeks elsewhere. 
The weather-beaten frame, the original church of this den(jniination. was 
ejected from its piisition behiiul the present brick structure and pummeled as 
soundh' as John Knox thnnijied the pulpit of St. Giles three hundred \ ears 
ago. Buildings around the Presbyterian property were swept awa\-, causing 
an o\'erplus of ruins. For weeks after the llood the church served as a m(5rL;uc, 
bodies reposing on boards set on top of the seats in the auditorium. Nearly 
three hundred of the members were called to their eternal rewartl. This 
frightful thinning out has not deterred the congreL;atiiui from prosecuting re- 
ligious work with renewetl acti\ity. The clergy of Johnstown ne\cr lost hope. 
They knew the manly fibre wo\en into the character of the people would 
assert itself, and that '-Ichabod" neeil not be the motto of the churches. 

On \\'ednesda\' afternoon. June I2tli, the bod\' of Frank Stadler. a \oung 
man whom everybody liked, was dug from the mnd in the vestibule of the 
Preslnterian church. The discoverv was a ghasth' surprise, as workmen had 
been walking over the spot for ten da\ s. not imagining the remains of a fellow- 
mortal lay beneath their feet. The swollen, discolored corpse was iilentihed 
by a ke\ -ring l)earing the name of the owner. 

The First Methodist Episcopal Church has the most eligible location in 
the town, corneri.ig on two central streets and fronting the Park. Its stone 



walls dcfictl the power of the flood, and sfiveil lHiiiJin:4S in the nciuhhorhood 
from titter extinction b\ breaking the hackbone of the wave. The pastor, 
Rev. Dr. Chapman. de>crihes the e\ent L;raiihlcal!y ; 

" I was writing a st-rmcn on the text, 'Man t'ictli and Givoth Up the Ghtjst, and Where 
Is He ?' when interrupted by the rising waters. \\'hen the rush of the torrent came I saw a 
box-car from the Baltimore A: <Dhio Railroad station dri\en past the house, down Franl^hn 
street toward Main, with surprisir.,' velocity. .\ man was on top of it, who. just then passing 
under a shade-tree at the corner tit the parsona'..;e vard. seized fiold of its liranches and climbed 

into it. He was the agent of the road, who had leaped from the roof of a house to the car, and 
now from the tree climbed into the front window of the parsonasje from the porch roof. As 
soon as I saw the box-car coming I exclaimed: 'The Reservoir has broken. ' which was the 
signal for all the family to run for the attic. 

" Looking from the attic windows, I saw the row of frame luuises which stood between us 
and Main street lifted up, whirled around, and then borne swiftly away. .V minute later an .-\rab- 
ian jumped into the window w ithoiit any clothes oi\ except shirt, drawers .md vest. Going \.o the 
window looking to'vard his late home, he kneeled down and counting his beads, crossed him- 
self and prayed loudly in his own language. We gathered in the attic, pale, affrighted and awe- 
stricken, expecting e,Tch moment to be swept awav. We praye(!, talked of heaven and if God's 
promises, and resolved to live or die together. 

" Ourchurch, al.arge, substantial stone buildint;, which cost, with lot, nearly, stands 
erect, without a crack in its walls, its tall, graretul spire stdl pointing to the skies. It is to its 


massive size and strength that we owe the prescr\ation of t!ic parsonage and probably our li\ es. 
It stood directly in the path u£ the flood, which struck it principally in the rtar. But inside it 
is very seriously damaged. The tloor has been broken up and the center fallen into the cellar. 
The pulpit platform stands on end against the wall, the choir gallery is completely wrecked. 
The pews, tossed in every direction, are many of them broken, the cushions water-soaked and 
covned with mud, the windows so badly broken that new ones will be necessary, and the plas- 
tering ruined as high as the water reached, which is about eighteen feet. Some of tlie but- 
tresses have been broken oil, but can be rebuilt. The lo\\er stf)r\- ^f the chapel is in a \er\- di- 
lapidated state, and the large Sunday-school room above much injured. It is estimated that 
from S-' to w ill be required to restore the church to the state in which it was before 
the flood." 

This f^raml churcli. which was the cause of spHtting tlic preat both' of 
water that mshed down the ConemauLjh. was doomed to destruction b\ d\na- 
niil'-'. Such was tire order issued b\' tire Citizens' Committee. The news 
reached General HastinL;s. whoplacetl a L;uard around the building and warned 
olf the vandals. The damage was repaired durini; the summer. Metliodists 
in the Pittsburc^h conference coniributing the bulk of the funds for this laud- 
able purpose. * 

Cambria's turn no^^' ! St. Columba's church, built h\' dint of unflagging 
perseverance and consecrated last vear. is invaded. Altar, jiictures. figures, 
holy emblems, seats and walls are firoken and defiled. Father Daxin. his heart 
lacerated by tlie miser\' and ruin he canncu a\"ert. is at tlie pasioral residence, 
to \\luch the Sisters in charge cf the parish achoi.ils had been ci.>nve\'ed. lest 
their frame house prove insecure. The outpouring of the dam was not e.\- 
p'-Cted tlien. but the rains had made the ConemauL;li uncomfortably neiehborb.'. 
So Sister Raphael. Sister Fla\ia, Sister Rose Aloysia and Sister Rita were 
sa\-ed for farther usefulness. 

How the pastor labored with apostolic zeal these trving da\s ! His consti- 
tution was undermined and lie reluctantlv consented to \isit Colorado. It was 
a sore trial for Father r)a\in to leave his aftlicted people, but disease had 
seized him and he mu^t seek a ditterent climate. He died at Denver in 
September and his remains were brcuight to Johnsto\\n. The funeral was the 
largest and saddest in the history of the ciimmunity. "Mankind had lost a 
friend." One who knew the honored dead paid him this tributi.- : 

' ' On the 31st of May. that e\er-memorable day on which so many people were hurled into 
eternity by the bursting of the Sout'n Fork dam, Father Davin sat in his office and watched the 
waters rising. He said that he had been told that the dam was giving away, but the rumor was 
circulated so often before that he paid no attention to it. He saw the Conernaugh swell and 
overflow its banks, but this did not cause him to leave his post 

" Finally the water rose to the parlor tloor and he began to think something unusual had hap- 
pened. Taking a man with him, he went to the Sisters' school in water up to his waist, and car- 
ried the Sisters one after another to his own house. By the time this t.ask d me the great 
volume of water had reached Johnstov.n and Cambria City. The rumbling and crushing of 
hcaiscs and trees v.arned the inmates of Father Davin's house to seek a place more secure, as 
the water was ne.irint; the second storv of his handsome house. 


"To the third story the whole party went, and there spent the nitjht in frightful expectation 
that the worst would come ever>' minute. Several times the house shook and the shrieks of ihe 
mjured and dyiiv^, who were almost within arms' reach from the windows, were somethin:; ter- 
rible. Father D.ivin went to his second story windi>w and. at the risk of his nun life, saved 
two or three people from drownins^ by pullins them through the windows. 

" The horrors of that night preyed contintially on Father Davin's mind, and partly broke 
down his constitution. The next niu'ht, when the waters had subsided. Father l>a\in sent all 
the people in ids house to the hill forsafets'. but remained in the house himself. His home and 
church were partly destroyed, and two feet of mad left on the first floor His first work after 
he could .get out, which was about twelve hours alter the dam broke, was to look after the in- 
jured and dead. 

" He threw the doors of his church open and turned the beautiful edifice into a morgue. As 
many as 125 bodies were in it at one time, and there was not an hour of the day or night that 
Father Davin was not consoling with the friends of the dead when they called to remove any 
one In mud up to his knees, he paced from altar to vestibule, assisting in the removal of the 
dead bodies. 

"During the afternoon of Saturday, June ist, he walked down to the banks of the Cone- 
maugh. Here he found three men robbing the body of a man unknown to him. Being quick to 
resent a sacrilege of this kind, Father Pavin struck the villain on the head with his cane, stun- 
ning him The miscreant soon recovered and dealt Father Davin a terril>le kick on the side with 
a hob-nail shoe, from the effects of which he never ftilly recovered. 

" No sooner had Father Davin told some of his parishioners what had happened than they 
started in hot pursuit of the robber of the dead, but failed to find him. The effects of the 
assault laid Father Davin up for some time, and until the time he died he complained of it. 
During the excitement in Johnstown, Father Davins house was thrown open to every one, and 
here many a weary worker found a night's rest. 

" The newspaper men were his favorites, and in his elegant home the knights of the pen found 
much needed rest at the finish of the day's labors. Several times Father advised 
after the flood, both by friends and doctors, to take a vacation, but this he stt-adilv refused to 
do, giving as a reason that it looked to him like shirking duty when the wants of the people re- 
quired his presence. 

"A short time ago, however, he was prevailed upon to go awa\' for awhile, and he went to 
Denver, where he died. The last words he spoke on leaving his house were to his sister Stella. 
As he w IS a'oout to enter the carriage for the train, he said : ' I am afraid I did not leave quite 
soon enough- ' 

" H a monument is to be erected to those who did noble work at Johnstown, and in their 
disintereatcd zeal for the public welfare lorced themselves bexond the power of human endur- 
ance. Father Davin's name should be inscribed upon one of the most imposing the love of man 
for true heroes can design. He loved the humanity by which he was surrounded, and when 
that humanity was in suftering he gave tip his life in an effort to ease their misery and to give 
them streuijth to bear the pain he could ULit alleviate." 

In the noblest sense Father Davin's was a marlvr's end, and his shall be a 
mart\"r"s crown. •• Peace to his aslies. " 

An imase of the X'ir^in Mary, standiny on a petlestal, was the one 
thing spared in the German Cath'jhc church. Cambria. The ricli robe was not 
even spattered. Xo stain was on tlie lace and the tlowers were iinsidhed. 
The report that it was preser\ed b_\- supernatural ayency .gained cred- 
ence. Berea\ed women thronged to tlie church to pray and adore. The 


priests disclaimed anytliing miraculous. Tlie water had not reached the 
figure — --only this, and nothing; more,"\-et the stor}' grew and magnihed. 
Rev. D. M. Millar, in a private letter to a friend, wrote : 
'■ Lives saved, but all el^e gone. The accumulation of a lifetime engulfed in water and 
mud without one minute's notice Self, wife and girl di-at;ped from water twenty feet dei?p to 
roof of our own house while In .th were tloating, by two men providentialh' thrown there, they 
know not how. With Jrenciied clothes sat on roof in r.iin till water left attic after house had 
lodged in debris ; then got the trap-door to wet attic and sat on a narrow board all nijht and 
till afternoon next day, chilled to the heart, without food or drink, when bv help from outside 
were taken out of second story v, indow. over the tops of a hundred crushed houses to river, and 
rafted across to a steep, barren hillside, when, after great effort, we reached acquaintances, 
where we have been ever since, b.ith bruised and injured, but not seriously. Ele\en sle'-p on 
floor in one small bed-room, but still more comfortable than hundreds of others. We cannot 
get a\yay yet ; will get to Conemaugh as soon as we can, but no passage way yet. Several 
members of Conemaugh church are dead, and a majority of the balance are bankrupt Indi- 
vidual supplies cannot reach us safely yet, except bv letter Money is needed most of all," 

Althougli not settled over a congregation when bid ■•come up higher." 

one venerable minister is deserving of lining mention. Xo ordinar\- man was the 

Rev. George Wagoner, one of the ...-.,-,.. 

oldest and most esteemed citizens .,'.-.//•* ^'''?•iiiF-"l^ 

of the desolated region. Born in ;'.' ?^"\ 

Westmoreland county in 162b. he i' ' 7'r . 

received a countr\-school cdura- C v' ''^•it.- ""^1 

tion and careful instruction frcjin < ■ /■ " ' , v ', 

his father, a man of \eiv enliuht- ''.._.,,>.■<.- - 

ened, progressi\e views, and an '; .■-s.^^V-"--" 

ardent Abolitituiist. At jo years of ■- ; , '^'^ t '^/"/^'^ '■/ 

age George was licensed to preach .-"f.^:: -' ■ r. ■ - -■ ^ 

in the United Drethieii church. , .. ;^-- 

He gave the best \-ears of manhood ■%■■'.' w S*-'' '^ 

1 1 1 ' • • • ■'. ' ■ ■ --J "^^ ^ ^ 

to the church. ser\ing It m e\"er\- ca- ' ' :'i -' #■ 

^ - • \ "■ ^ 

pacity to the close of his life. He .: , . '- ^ 

was the oldest minister, i.i lenuth of ,;'f '_U:^- ■ '^ 

ser\ice. in the Alleghen\- Ccmfer- • ' ,.' 

ence. In 1650 he located at Johns- 4-..'g3---. • ,' 

town. His occupation retjuired -=-■ '-.5^ ■. ^;r-<> .■:':;.,;•<;:, 

frequent removals, buc he ahva\'s kkv. okoroe u v.onkr. 

returned to the home of his choice, living there continiiousl\- .since 18G9. 
Intense application to ministerial work impaired his health and he forced to 
desist from preaching in li^bo. Studying dentistry, he practiced this protes- 
sicm m addition to perlorminu much clerical wiirk and looking alter a missi<in 
church in Kernville. Conceninu' the plan upon which the I'nited liretliren 
Mutual Aid Societ}- of Pennsxhania conducts its business of life assurance, 


together with the present olTicers lie estabhshed its system and nianaijcd its 
affairs. He laid the hrst pdicy the conipain issued, and was a Director frmn 
its organization in iNOy. (..)n the fatal da\ <it the tlnod he and his wife and 
three daughters — Cora, Li/'/ie and Frankie- -were in their hoiiie on Market 
street. V\"ati_-r surrnnnded the honse and tluy stayed w ithin duors. Music and 
con^■erse ^\hi!l d a\\a\" the hours. They were contenteil and happy, nna^vare 
of the dreadfid fate hanging over iheni. As the angel of death swept down on 
the niightx \\a\e the sweet \'oices cif the three girls were heaid in jm'ous song 
floating thronLjh the misty air. Hemmed in by buildings they conld not sec 
the avalanche. Thus the\' were sa\ ed the agon\' which the kmiwledye of cer- 
tain doom must have caused. The house collapsed instantlx- and the pure 
spirits of its inmates were \Naited to the presence cif the Creator. Anotlier 
daughter — Mrs. Emma Bo\\nian — her husband and twci prett\' babes, who li\ ed 
at W'oodvale, \vere carried ^lo-o.n the deadl\' current with their home. The 
bodies of si.\ of Mr. Wagoner' s famih' have been recovered and reverenth' l.ud 
to rest in Granc] \'iewCemeCerv. Thr<e more are hid awa\' somewhere in the wast 
mass of rum which, with its har\"est nf missing ones, hallows ever\' foot of the 
Conemaugh \"alley to the Uid<no\\n Dead. The surviving members of the 
family are Clara H.. wife of Dr. .V. X. Wakeiicld : George M. \\"agoner, M. D. ; 
:\rary j.. wife of ■• Chal.' L. Dick, es.p , an<l Jessie F.. wife of Mr. William II. 
Miller. Dr. \\"agoner was di--tinL;uished for courageous maintenance of the 
right and his readiness to uphcild the weak and deserving. .Mfectionate. con- 
genial ani-1 lovaliU.-, his a\ as a model household. The fate of this estimalile 
famih' is one oi the most miuirnfrd tragedies of the Johnstown flood. 

Mrs. \'eith. wife of a minister, w as at George Heisers on Washington 
street when the flood came. ha\ing been removed b\ her husband trom their 
residence on the bank of the Stony Creek. Their house stands, but the 
Heisers, Mrs. N'tith and all belon!;inu' to them are i;one. 

Rev. James A. Lane saved his life bv the e.xercise of remarkable presence 
of mind. He told the tale as follows : 

" ,\fter I was carried dov. n a short distance by the ragin;^ torrent I got wedged in between 
two stumps of trees which held me last for several hours. Then a large piece oi wood caught 
in my suspender on my back and turned my head under water. I was almost helpless, and 
would have drowned in ,a very short time. Finally it flashed on me my pen-knife was in 
my trousers pocket I reached down, pulled my knife out. and cut my suspenders ofi', thus sav- 
ing my life." 

The counties south and west rif Johnstown developed a new form of lib- 
eralit}- which met \\\i\\ the financial approbation of the ri-liijious world. The 
proposition was that a united efiurt be made to rebuild all the churclits of 
Johnstown, ntit allowing' the peciple there to contribute. The movement started 
among the FresbNterians. Bishop Whitehead said that, so far as the Episco- 
palians were concerned, they proposed to reL)uild without waitin.g for a popular 

r.-lTE Cr P.ISTOKS A.Xl) C/irKCHE. 


movement, but that the project was meritorious ami would receive his cordial 
support. Til.- Episcopal church cost .sjs. 000. To rebuild it a fund has been 
raiseil by the churches of the diocese. The new church will luit he as lar^e as 
the old one, b_\- reason of t!ie fact that a large p<TCentaL;e of the congregation 
has been lost. The I'nited t'rrsb}. teiiaiis, \\\\i_, had a Ix.iok depository fed to 
tliL' flood, opened a ^ub-cription in I'ltlsbur^h tov.ard renewing the CstaL)li-!i- 
ment. The Rev. Id. 13. Grose, of the 15aptist churLh in Titlsburgh. paid a visit 
to Johnstown to find out how the people stood. It will co^t SJ5.000 to put the 
two Baptist structures to riglits. B. sides chjing this it is proposed to ])a\- the 
salaries of the Baptist preachers for one _\ear. The help s<:. freely tendered has 
enabled the various congregations to repair the churche.-. that suffered least 
and in due time to replace those destro\ed. 

A projKisal has been favoraldy entertained which contemplates the erec- 
tion, in Grand \'iew Cemetery, of a monument to the clergymeti who perish.ed. 
The idea may be carried into ettect in 1.S90. probabK- bv asking ilime contri- 
butions from church members throughout the country, that large numbers may 
share in the work. 

" Peace to the just's memni^ : let u grow 

Greener with vears, and bloivim thr..U'.^h the flioht 
Of ages i tel tile mmiic cam as ihow 

His cslni. heiievoient features; lei the h^lil 
Stre-^ra on his deeds cf fove, that shunned the sis;ht 

Of all but heaven ; and in the bonk rffaine 
Thegl.jrious record of his virtues write, 
And hold it Uli to men. and bid tllenl claim 
A palm like b:. an.l catch from him the liallowed tlame."' 

The third Sunday in June was notable for the first religious services in the 
open air since the flood. Three ministers and Mana-er John Fulton, of the 
Catnbria Iron Works, conducted Bresbyterian worship, large audiences as- 
sembling. Bishop Whitehead, of I'ittsburLih. officiated for the Episcopalians, 
whom the inundation deprived of their fine edifice and rector, and either eminent 
clerg3TOen assisted at union meetings. Father Trautwein. half whose flock 
perished, and Father Tahaney celebrated mass, the former in Cambria atul 
the latter near the site of the Gautier wire works. Service was held at the 
corner of ^ilain and Adams streets, at the Pennsylvania railroad station, at tlie 
foot of the pontoon bridge on the Kernville side, and on Prospect Hill. The 
general tenor of the sermons not only dealt with the great losses which the 
people sustained by the flood, but referred to tlie necessitv of all the leadin'^ 
men and women striving to forget as far as possible their past b\- their wiliing- 
nass to retrieve a competence for the future. Tlie sermons, while divested of 
strict orthodo.\y. tended to lift the weiulft of woe that bore dovcn the hearts 
and spirits of the willing Christian v.orkers of the town. More impressive than 
the most elaborate ritual in a stately cathedral were these reverential, atten- 
tive gatherings of devoted listeners under the blue canop\-, in the midst of their 
wasted homes and the bitter memories of the crowning tragedv of the century. 



Grand organs did not tlmnder j,'Iad anthems, there were no hearers shimber- 
ing in cusliioned pews, but lieart\- thanks For their safety went up from thou- 
sands of voices, mingled now and then with sobs for tlioSe o\er whom the 
grave has closed forever. 

The sun of Th.anksgiving set on the Conemaugh in a driving snowstorm 
and the glare of the Cambria furnaet^s lit up the sky iufull\-. Six months be- 
fore different lights illumed the \ alley — a blazing church at one end — the frag- 
ments of a thousand homes bhunng at the other. From Decoration Day to 
Thanksgiving the cycle of JohnstoAsn's triliulatinns runs. The accounts had 
been made up. the last bodies remo\ed. the distribution of relief completed. 
Two thou-^and hearts had been desolated, and the day of praise for benefits re- 
cei\ed during the year \\ as not imi\ersally observed. Many of the churches 
held services, which were moderately attended. Kev. John E. BoKl. the new 
rector of St. Mark's — the building is a shed on stilts — did not refer to the flood. 
One of the hymns has this stanza : 

" Praise Him that He yave the rain 
To m.iturc the swelling grain. 
For His mercies still endure, 
E\er frujtlul, ever sure." 

The little choir sang it without a quiver, or a tremor, or a vocal suggestion 
of an_\-kind that rain had not been entirely a blessing to Johnstown. Re\-. Dr. 
Chapman, in the Methodist church, discussed the responsibility for the dis- 
aster, saying : 

" Could we expect God to put His hand in that crumbling bank and-stay tlie floods when 
through the folly of man God permitted this to occur ? It is a subject of wonder that He did 
not allow 10,000 instead of 5.000 to perish We should be thankful iVir that We should be 
thankful, tod, for aid sent us from everywhere." 

Impressive exercises in other churches marked the day. The Catholics 
indulged in congratulations that St. John's Convent, the first building of a 
public character to be re-erected. \\ as occupied by Father Tahaney. and would 
be stipplemented b_\' a larger one for the Sisters who counted their beads that 
lonelv night in the little chapel. Over the main entrance a large stone is in- 
scribed : 

I Flootl, 'Nfay 31. 1X69. 
I Rebuilt iShc). 

Thus passed the first Thanksgiving after the flood. If the saloons v.ere 
freely patronized and business was not generally suspended, jieople turned 
their faces forward hopefulh", grateful they hail not }'et been taken to the land, 
beatific though it be, 

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I ^-t 7 --^ 




Xo ScAKCiTV OF Mishaps and Wonderful Deliverances — All Night in Trees — Huki.ed 
Under the Stone Bridge — Six Davs Pinned in the Ue^ris — A B. 'X-Car as an Ark of 
Safety — Landed on the Telegraph Wires — Praving in an Attic — Wedding 
Guests Wading — Floating Long Distances and Reaching Shore — People Alive 
WHOM Friends Supposed to ee Lost — Wrested from the Very Jaws of the Destroyer 
— Tales of Survivors that Almost Stat.ger Credibility. ' 

' Man is born on a hatlle-held. Round him, to renu 
Or resist, the dread Powers he displaces attend 
By the cradle which Nature, amidst the stern shocks 
That have shattered creation and shaken it, rocks. 
He leaps with a wail into being and, lo ! 
His own maker, fierce Nature herself, is his foe. 
Her whirlwinls are roused into wrath o'erhis head. 
•Neath his foot roll her earthquakes. her solitudes spread 
To daunt him."'— Lord Lvtton. 


D\ LNTUKES, some ludicrous and others serious, 
and escapes so wonderful as to stagLjer credibil- 
ity were almost necessarily part and parcel of a 
calamity so prodigious. Stories of mishaps more 
or less grave were by no means a rarit\' on Sat- 
urday. Friends greeted friends whom the\' sup- 
posed to be under the charred ruins of the 
bridge, buried in cellars or King on the banks 
of the Conemaugh. and heard with bated breath 
of their astonishing deliverance. Daniel in the 
dtn of lions seemed not more certain of immed- 
iate death. Men and women are walking the 
ill-paved streets of Johnstown who, had they 
been marvellously wrested from destruction last ^fa}-. would be walking 
golden streets of the Xev.' Jerusalem. Call it Providence, Luck, Fortune, 


i^o THE sroiiv OF jon.xsrmvx. 

what }'ou please. How cabil_\- the brittle tiireatl may snap, and yet how much 
a sentient beiny may unJeiyo and — live ! 

On Thm'sday niyht Mi^. Geori^e Stanller, wife of a photocjrapher. was 
taken from the wreck of a house on the Point. The body of a woman had 
been found near ihe ie^ideiice of Henry Ha\'v.-.. whicli, when taken to the 
Presbyterian church, moruue, was suppo=,ed to be that of ilrs. Stantler. Her 
son viewed the bod\" and said that it was not his mother's. The findini; of the 
woman alive proved that he was riuht. Mrs. Stantler was King in a ca\it\' 
beneath a pile of beams and rafters, \vl;:ich lield np the mass of ruins on top 
and prevented them from crushing her. She was imconscious tiud just breath- 
ing. Her hold on life was a ver\' slender one. and it was feared she would 
die. When the news of her rescr.e. after six days and nights of ex}Kisure and 
lack of nourishment, spread through the town, hundreds of people crowded 
about the stretcher on which siie was carried to sec her. It was considered 
almost miraculous tliat sl;e should liave remained alive so long. The rain and 
cold were enough to kill her. without the bruises and woimds wliich she re- 
ceived during the flood. 

Mrs. -Frank Malzi clung to the eaves of a house all Frida_\' night, up to 
her V. al>t in water, and '(Wis nearly dead when rescued next morning. A resi- 
dent of Conemaugh Borougli caught a tree and spent the night on a fragile 
limb. His frail support threatened to topple ever_\- tinre a log or a section of 
a house banged against it. The percher had a wounded hand, which increased 
the difficulty of on with tlie tenacity required to pre\'ent falling into 
the drink. He waded out on Saturday morning with a stiffness in his joints 
and a crick in his back that a centenarian would find it hard to rival. 

]Mr. \\"illiam Kiih.n and Mi~s Dais\' Horner were married :it the residence 
of the bride's parents on the evening before the tlood. A number of the guests 
remained until the following dav. when the water rose to the second story. 
All sought safety on the thi'd floor. Here they spent a dreadful night, fear- 
ing ever_\- minute tlie building would be wrecked. The llood left the house 
intact, and the entire party were rescued next morning. The fine dresses, 
flowers and other mementos of the wedding ^verc a strong contrast to the 
ruins o\ er which the guests walked to places of safety. 

Dr H, Phillips, of Pitt-^br.r^h. arri\ed in Johnstown on Memorial Dav to 
visit his mother. Besides himself in the house were his mother, his brother- 
in-law and two nieces. Dr, Phillips was the only one who escaped death. 
He was rescued atter being in the water seventeen hours. 

The wife of Andrew Baker, of W'ooth'ale. was the onh' person who passed 
under the arches of the .-tone bridu'e. Reaching tlie bridge on the front wave 
of the tlood, sh.e sliot throagli one of the arche.-5 with terrible velocity. 
Floating down the river, some men took her out at Coopersdale. It w as at 
first thought she was dead, but stimulants restored her, although she required 


constant attenticin thri:iUL;h the ni^ht. The family Ictt for Kans.ts a few davs 
afterwards. Two of the children were drowned. 

Islrs. J. W. Stevenson and !u r two daiii^hters wire at their new home on 
Market street. They ran np-stairs and mounted a bed. It fell to pieces und. 
as the water pressed tln.-m up against the ceilinij. tlie\' tore off the plasteriiv.; 
and lalh and made an opening through ^\■hich they escaped to the attic. 
\Miile thus engaged the building was riding like a \essel on the raging waters. 
It landed in front cif Dr. \\ alters' residence on \ iue street, ami the ladies were 
taken into his house. 

Mrs. Harr\- B. Aaron, of Bedford Count}', with her daut;hter was visiting 
her sister, Mrs. Kinard Replogle. .\1I lied up-stairs autl the \vater followed. 
The}' hurried to the attic, Mr. Replogle leading the wa\', his wife and seven 
children clinging to him and to each other, and Mrs. .\aron and daughter 
bringing up the rear. .\t the east end of the attic were two windows. Mr. 
Replogle stationed himself at one and two of his children stood at the other. 
He called upon them to f-iil on tht.-ir knees and join with him in pras'er. Mrs. 
Aaron and her child knelt down at a tied about the middle of the room, wlule 
the others huddled together at the windows. Presentl}' tlui house slightly 
raisei.1 from its foundation and tilted up at the east e-,id. This lowered the west 
end, the water rushed in. and .Mrs. Aaron and her little one sank lieneath it. 
The Replogles were saved after a terrible experience. Mr?,. .Varon and daugh- 
ter were found in each other's arms. 

Reuben Benson wa-, in the most dangerous part of the district when the 
deluge swept down upon him. His parents were swept awa_\' and his wife 
and three small children perished. He was carried di.nvn as far as Nineveh. 
where he took refuge in a tree-top, in which he roosted all that ni:;ht. 

Aubrey Parsons, his \\\lc, two children, brother-in-law and sixteen neigh- 
bors Were on the roof of his house when it floated awa}'. The building was 
stopped by the Pennsylvania Railroad track, upon which Mr. Parsons placed 
his fainil}". In a moment the section on which the\' were standing turned over, 
tlirowing all in the water. He managed to get on the track a^aui and sawliis 
children's heads between two ties, the bodies submerged up to their necks. 
He barely had time to release them when the track started awa}-. but was 
caught 'iv telegraph wires and the members of the family separated. Mrs. 
Parsons was pulled under b\- tile wires and drowned, but the father succeeded 
in getting his children and brother-in-law on the wires. Then the\ jumpe'i on 
logs and rafts and made their wa\' to the blooming mill, where the\" remained 
till Saturda\' morning, .\fter moving the children to a place of safet_\'. Air. 
Parsons began the search for his wile's bod\'. wliich he found in the open- 
hearth works. One of the children was severely injured. 

F.lis Driscoll, wiie. two chililren and sister-in-law were lloated on tlieir 
resilience, 22'j Main street, to the stone bridge, where Mr. Dri^coll succeeded 


in Eicttini; tlicm out of the water. Tin- entire party were taken to the house 
of W'ni. F. Jackson, in Bro\vnsto\vn. where in less than two iiours IMrs. Dris- 
coll gave Iiinh to a female child. Mother and liali\- surxivcd. 

A tlirilliiiL; escape was tjiat of Miss Minnie Chambers. She had been to 

sec a friend and was returiiitig to her home on Main street. The sudden rise 

in the waters caused her to quicken her steps. Before site could reach home, 

jJJT^"^ ■ - ^.^ __ ^^ t;--^,p»^^^-^ or seek shelter at anv 

■'^~'''^''-^\\ft'^'\^fi-^\ ■^';?^^ point, the' waters had 

~~^~ 'f>^ '~ ' . ■''Vy^-:'f-.^'-^ — '-^'" risen so high and the cur- 

■=■-- — -^^Cr-i^^'l^^^^' V^*,-' ,-7-:^^^'% rent become so strong that 

'=^.-^'^^'-r :■ '' '^--'' S&^''~'''''V >\ she was swept from her 

:;^0 .:/ ■_■.,■ .;" .^c-. "^- ■■ ' "'^~^^*-=--. ^ ''' skirts served 

»-iir^_. ^J!;^- , . • y-^- ^■-.>-\<i.-V;:v-'^'- -"'"^^tia-^!!^ to support her on the sur- 

Z^^^C ]^ , ■ "■-' ',: ., : ' *Vr^^-'- -'-.-^-^T," ^"'"^^'^ - face for a time. At last, 

— "' ^'■'"-^->L.---^"_''..L .:-'-'"i''^ ' ' -^' — :^ as they became soaked she 

;V ■''-'^^^^''^^;^=Z^- g^i^e up all hope of being 

y'._ig," saved. Just as she was 

""■^^^^ -^^^^?^=a=-» going imder, a bo.\-car that 

CLINGING TO A Ku.V C.\K. Ill *- f 

had been torn horn its 
trucks floated past her. She manageil by a desperate effort to get hold of it 
and crawded inside the open doorwa}'. Here she remained, expecting that 
ever}' moment her shelter would be dashed to pieces b\- the buildings and ob- 
structions that it encountered. Through the tloor she could see the mass of 
angry waters tilled whh all manner of things. Men, women and children, 
many of tliem dead and d\ing. v.ere whirled along. Several tried to get reftige 
in the car with her, but were torn away by the rushing waters before they 
could secure an entrance. Finally a man did make his wa\- into the car. On 
went the strange boat, while all about it was a perf(!Ct pandemonium. Shrieks 
and cries from the thousands who were dri\en to their death filled the air on 
ever)' side. 

Miss Chambers said th j scene would haimt her as long as she lived. Many 
■who floated b\' her could be seen kneeling \\ ith clasped hands and upturned 
faces, as though in prayer. Others wore a look of awful despair on their faces. 
Sudden. y, as the car turned around, the stone bridge coidd be seen just 
ahead. The man who was in the car called to her to jump out in the flood or 
she would be dashed to pieces. She refused to go. He seized a plank and 
sprang into the water. In an instant the eddying current had torn the plank 
from him. At it twisted around it struck him on the head, causing him to 
throw out his arms and sink, never to reappear. Miss Chambers co^ erct.1 her 
face to avoid seeing any more of the horrible sights. With a great crash tlie 
car struck one of the stone piers. The entire side was knocked out. As the 
car lodged against the pier the \\ ater rushed through it and carried Miss Cham- 


bers away. Again she ifave up for lost, when she felt herself knocked a.gainst 
an obstruction. She instiiu ti\ ely threw out her hand and clutched it. Here 
she remained until the water subsided. She ^\as on the Cauil)ria Iron Works, 
and had been sa\ed by holdin:; to a pipe that came thronuh the roof. That 
awful nii;l!t she remained there, almost freezin.L; to death, while en\'ekijied in 
a dense mas^ of snoke from the burninu drift. The cries of those roastiuL; to 
death she heard plainly. On S.itLnala}' some men succeeded in ,i;ettinL,' ]\Iiss 
Chambers from her perilous position, and took her to tlie luuisi,' cif friends in 
Prospect. With the e.\ce[itioii r.f bruises, she escaped witlujut iniur\'. 

Georye Hartley was one of the fe-\\ who got out of the Ilulbert House 
alive. He said : 

"About fne miinitcs before the cr.aih came, ue heard a whistle blou-. Thinking, il was for 
a fire, all ran up-stairs. I had just reached the second-story landini:; when the waters struck the 
building and the walls crumbled, penninc; the helpless guests in the ruins, .-Vs the waters rushed 
over my head I became fastened between the timbers, with no possible means of escape in si<;ht- 
Concludin'^ that it was perhaps the easiest way to die after all. I opened my mouth and pre- 
pared to meet my doom. Then the ruof was raised by the angry elements. This released me 
from my precarious position, at the same tmie tearing most of my clothing from my person, I 
grasped the edge of the roof and, after pulling a man named Mark Benford out of the water, 
weak as I was, I managed to pick my way on the drift across Main street to the Fritz House. 
There Benford and I rescued a girl, who worked at Clark's notion store, and one of the Fritz 
House chamber-maids We also rescued Mrs Greiss, who worked in Weaver's confectionery, 
as we were gaining the upper rloor of the Fritz House, where all hands were compelled to re- 
main for the night" 

When the flood swept Clinton street. r\Iisses Kate and K(jse Spengcr. 
Peter \\"ess and Charles Wess. the landlord and his wife were in the Fritz 
Hotise. ■• I.arry " \\"ess, brother of the landlord and bartender in the saloon, 
had left about two o'clock to take Jacob Bopji's children up to the hill. Mr. 
Bopp declined to let the children go. and ■• Larry" and Jtihn Kessler went 
alone, determined to lie safe. \\'hen the Hulbirt Ib^use fell it crashed against 
the Fritz and smashed in the whole front. Hornick's Ke\"stone Hotel also 
floated against it. Mrs. liurggraf ami foiu' children, who had taken refuge in 
the Kevstone, were carried into the Fritz House. S<j were John Hornick'. wife. 
four children, and a servant girl. W. H. I^osensteel and daughter. ^\ho floated 
on the roof of their house from \\'oi3dvaie ; Fr.ank A. Benford, of the Hul- 
ber. House; J. L. Smith, tlu: marble man. who was at the Hulliert . Miss 
Mary Early and anotlier girl trom the same hotel ; John Dorse\-, a tra\eling 
man from Philadelphia, badh crushed ; Conrad Schnabel. who entered the 
building thronuh the rear: Alphonse Spenger. who was at the Kex'stdiie . Mr. 
and Mrs. C. IL Mc.Xteer, a countrywomait and several others. All hiuldletl to- 
gether in the rear ot the third story, and all night long gazed out upon the fear- 
ful wreck in front of them. •■ It was a terrif\ing scene,'' said ?ilrs. Wess, 
'•and e\"er\body in the building seemed to know their pra\"ers that night." 
To add to the terror of the situation St. John's Church, Init a short distance 


away, ^\as in flames. Hornick's Hotel building caught twice, thus threaten- 
ing them with tUstiucticn by fire, but the flames in the Keystone were extin- 
gui'~he(i both tinus. All escaped cm Saturdax' morning. 

No building in town was better known than the •• Old Arcade." For 
seven or eight \ears it had been owned h\ Charles Oswald, who kept a saloon 
in the north end. The roof of the Arcade carried Mr. Oswald, his wile, and 
five children. W'l sley Horner, wife, and four children, and Mrs. John Spenger 
and her son Edward to the stone bridge. Mr. Horner, young Spenger. Mrs. 
Oswald and one son were rescued. 

It is remarkable that all the blind people in Johnstown were saved. 
Among them were Mrs. Hohman. lame and infirm from age ; Mr. Edwards, tlic 
broom-maker, and Mr. Gei^t. the ciLiar-maker. Many ver_\- old people also 
escaped. Judge Potts, Charles B. Ellis, Judge Easly, Itavid Peelor, William 
Cover. Hugh ^[cGnire, Mrs. Sarah J. ^b^rrison and Mrs. Magellan may be 
mentioned. Some of them had frightful experiences, but all were soon able 
to be about as usual. 

Mr>. Mar\- Lev\ and her two daughters had a close call. She is the last of 
thefamihof John Schell. who was the proprietor of a large landed property in 
Bedford countv and laid out the village of Schellsburg. The residence was 
broken up and the\ escaped from roof to roof until rescued 1)_\- friends, after 
remaining on the wreck one ni^ht and part of the next day. Although eight\-- 
five years old Mr:,. Levy stood the exposure well. Her daughters clung to her 
with loving care and tenderness. 

George Rinebolt's mother, aged eighty, resided on Chestnut street, Cam- 
bria. iMr. Rinebolt went down to her house while the water was rising on 
Fridav forenoon, Feariuir the hcuise might be floated away, he secured a 
large rope and fastened one end of it to the building and the other to a large 
tree in front of the residence. Every house about it was swept away, and one 
was thrown upon its side squarel\- against Mrs. Rinebolt's. Though nio\ed 
about, it was held in place, and tree and house are still last friends. 

Mrs Catharine Gaffney and hur fivo children were floated from Cambria 
on the roof of tlieir house. .\t Sheridan Station one of the children was 
rescued, a little farther down another, and so on until the raft arrived at a ])oint 
between New Florence and Nineveh, when the mother, aged sixty-three years, 
was landed. 

Cohen lV Marx were in their new store'in Bantleys building. Main street, 
trying to make their Ljoods as safe as possible, when the big water came. .\s 
it rose thev had to rise with it or drown. Up they went not far from the sky- 
light in the floor above, which the_\- \\ere compelled to break with tlieir fists. 
Their hands were bad!\- cut by the glass, buf they got out in .safety. Mrs. 
Marx left her home on Walnut street and went to ^Irs. Cohen'-. i>n Lincoln 
street. ' iMrs. Marx, with her bab\- in her arms and toUowed by Mrs. Cohen, 

.•/ /> / 7:.\TC 7v'/;.s . /.\7^ KSC.IPES. I 5 5 

/nirriLi! up-stairs. The water pursued iheni and in a few moment'^ ^\■as up tu 
their waists. They got on the root just as a hii^her house lloated aiiaiust 
theirs and the\- ciiinhed upon it. Tht;nee they proceeded alon- the roofs 
about a square, se\ eral tinier junii>in'.; L;iips teet wide, and once throw- 
ing th.e baby across a chasm. The\' spent the ni^lit on a housetop, and were 
taken (jiT o\\ Saturday atternoon. 

\\". C. Lewis, of the Saxings Bank, his wife and two hid\- friends were on 
the second lloor of Ins bricl^ dweUing when the upper .-^ide and rear ]iortiou fell, 
takini,' with, it tlic jilatform for tiie st.urwav to the third lloor. The\ searched 
for a way to gain that floor, as the water was fast approachin'.;. I'o step on the 
lianging stairway appeared to in\ite death liy faUin- into the water running 
through the house. Beinu the only mode to get to the third lloor. Air. Lewis 
accepted the last cliance and reached the stairwa}' across the ab\ss. It lield. 
He assisted his wife and the > oung ladies, and all were soon on the roof of Dr. 
Lownian's house. Shortlv what was left of Mr. Lewis' house fell. 

Owen Da\is. clerk at the Bahiniore & Oliio station, was bus\- about tin; 
freight x\arehouse. The v. ater upset his wuj-k. himself, the freii;ht IniikHng and 
the cars in the yard. Mr. Dax'is came over to Main street quite rapidh'. and was 
taken in at th.e rear of George W. Mo>eN' building. He had been struck a 
se\'ere glancing blow tin the head by a heavv timber and was covered with 
blood. There were no appliances at hand for stauncliini,'^ the llow. His com- 
panions believed he would die during the night from exiianstion, but he 
pulled through. 

Mrs. C. O. Luther and her^hter. Mrs. George Galbreath, her son-in-law 
and three children were at the Galbreath residence. corner ot ^^larket and Lincoln 
streets. Mrs. Galbreath Iiad been conlined two da\ s before, and two of lier 
children were in bed with the measles. The famih were on the second floor. 
The water forced them against th.e ceding until iiothinL; I'ut their heads was 
out of the liquid. The tender of an engine struck the hou>e and split the root 
open. This let the inmates out. They scrambled over and lloated on roofs 
and debris until they came to the house of Dr. Walters, on \"iue street. The\- 
were taken on the roof, which liriated around with tliem for some time. Then 
the settled down and the}' entered the attic through a luuchwav. 
There they remained until Saturday e\eninu in their w et cloth in l;. cared for bv 
Do. tor Walters and his family. Mr. Lutiier and his children were in safet\- on 
the hillside abo\"e Locust street. 

Jolin C. Peterson, a small man. ^\ ho lost his clothes ami was given a suit 
large enough for a descendant of Anak. in a voice luisk\- with emotion told me 
his sad storx" : 

" I'm the only one left ! My poor old mother, my sister. Mrs. .Vnn Walker, and her son David, 
aged fourteen, of Bedford countv, who were visiting us. were swept away before m\- eves and I 
was powerless to aid them. The water had been rising all da_\ , and alum; in the afternoon 


flooded the first story of our house, at tlic corner of I'wcnty-t.iu'hth and Walnut streets. I was 
employed by CharUs Mun a^ a cisarmaker. and r.iri\ on I'l Ida) afternoon went home to move 
furniture and carpets to the second story of the house As near as I can tell it was about four 
o'clock when the wdiistle at the Gautier mill blew About the same time the Catholic church 
bell -ranc;. I knew what that meant and I turned to mother and sister and said: 'My (iod, 
we are loit " I lo. I:ed out of the window and saw the fl,)od, a uall of water thirty feet hi:;h, 
strike the sieel uorks They melted quicker than 1 tell it The man who stopped to blow the 
warning whistle must have been crushed to death by the falling roof and chimneys Me mmht 
have saved himself, but stopped to '^ive the warninq. Four minutes after the whistle blew the 
water was in our second story We started to carry mother to the attic, but the water rose 
faster than we could climb the stairs. There was no window in our attic \\'e were bidding 
each other good-ln e uhen a tall chimney on the house adjoining fell on our Mof and broke a 
hole throu.i^h it Then we climbed oiu.on the roof and in another numient our house floated 
away. It started down with the other stuff, crashir.'^. tuistinL; and quiverin., I thouyht e\ ery 
minute it would ;:,'o to pieces. Finalh" it was shoved o\er into water less swift and near another 
house. I found that less drift was forced against it than acainst ours, and decided to get on it. 
I climbed upon the roof, and in lookinf; up saw a bii; house comins; down directly toward ours. 
I called to sister to be quick. She was liftin.^ mother up to me I could barely reach the tips 
of her fingers when her arms were raised up. svhile I lay on m\ stomach reaching do'.', n .Vt 
that moment the house struck ours and my loved ernes were carried away and crushed by the 
big house. It was useles.s for me to follow, for they sank out o£ si.ght. I floated down to the 
bridge, then back with the current and landed at \'ine street. I saw hundreds of people crushed 
and drowned " 

Tlic adventures of \l. W . Slick and wife, witli those of his father and 
mother, were qnite excitiriLT and (.H\ersilied.. Their homes were on Stonvcreek 
street, adjoinino- tlie wall which hems in the stream, coasideix-d an eas\- prev for 
the current which annuallv \i.-ited the town. Sliortl\- after three o'clock on 
Friday the huge body of water crept over the poiches. At four o'clock the 
families emerc,fed from their hinises and >;ot aboartl the dia_\wa,oon of W. S. 
Weaver. Two large horses w ei e attachetl. dri\-en li\ John Schnabel. and the 
wagon started for the hill. The contents of the reservoir, looknig like an im- 
mense \oliime of smoke, struck them and turned tin- horses around, dashing 
them against a tree in front of the ri sidence of Harr\' Thomas. All saw the 
poor animals in a struggle for life that ended, in death. The human freight in 
the wagon was left in the branches of the tree. One of the innumerable build- 
ings carried away b\- the ocean irf waters struck it, when it tumbled as thmiLdi 
it were a match. Down the party came with a crash aiul landed in water up 
to their necks, graspmg and plungnig for something mr wiiich tliey might sa\'e 
tl eir li'ces. An old stable chanced to stop. Under it Mrs. fl. \V. Slick w-as 
hurktl and lost to view, luit qnickl}" came to the surface. The strong arm of 
her husband graspetl her and placed her on tlie root, where she evinced forti- 
tude that would ha\e done cretiit to the bra\est of men. Mr. Slick's father, 
Gi-or'je K.. an iinalid. was seen clinging to the debris, wholh- obli\-ious of his 
perilous situation. He was dra^oLtl to the frail roof of Mrs. Slick's mother. 
who sat by him from the o'clock that e\ening until noon of Saturda\-. the 

.-!D\-EXT['R/:S .l.V/> KSC.U'KS. 


heavy rains da--hini; over tlum and no aiil nuar. Afttr the mowing down of 
many structure- a:i(l tlic tloatini; ot the mass of ImiKiinys liaci ccascxh 1 1. \\". 
Slick, his w iff. Wilham Price and smeral otliers left tlie stable whit li sa\ed 
tiiem and concluded to seek other and better qua.rters. Atti.ra hard strnL;i;le, 
in which tlu; wife of H. W. Slick was bereft of her clotliiuL;. thi\' reached the 
electiac-light station, and cliiulx^d the l;id(jer fastened to its side, thus gaining 
the roof. The whole front of the building \ielded to the pressure brought 
against it. Those \\lio WLTetni the roijl secnr(.:d a foutliold on the partialK con- 
structctl wareroom of ^[arshall A; \\'ea!<lanih (hiarters there were considered 
unsafe. By tlirfiwim; board-^ irom one to another, the entire partv 
made their way into the third story of the Thou^as linildin^ on Main street. 
There all remained the entire niL;ht. wet- and cold, and witnessing sullL-rin^s 
w hieh never can be related. They heard tlu shrieks and cries rif [leopie on 
ail kinds of buildings ant! ratts. At inter\als during the niglit ^Ir. Sh'ek heard 
the cries of his motiier for help, and endeavored, by cheering words, to liave lier 
worry through the severe a-jcjiiy. which she did to the wonder of all. Mr. 
George K. Slick died a lew day> afterward.-,, the e.vposure and fatigue pro\'ing 
too mucli for liis enfeebled frame. 

Tile wife of the telegraph operator at iMinera! Pouit — liis stati(ui was 
across the creek from the village — .^atheretl her children and started to run 
down the street. ' Remembering slie had left the ke_\' in tlic door, slie took the 
children and ran back. .Vs they neared tile house tlie water forceil the motlier 
and her little C)nes between the buildings. The onh' outlet was toward tlie 
mountain and the\' ran that way. The water chased tliem, but they m.maged 
to clamber up far enough to escape. Thus an accident sa\'ed four )i\es. 

A. J. Leonard, of ^bJrrel!ville. hearing that his had been swept 
awa\'. determined ti > a.-certain the fate of hi^ f.amih". Constructing a temporar\' 
raft, and clinging to it closely as a cat to tlie side of a fence, he pushed tiie 
craft into the raging torrent and started on a chase which, to all who were 
watching, seemed ti) court certain death. Heedless of cries --For God's 
sake go back, you will be drowned !" he perse\"ered. As the raft tlie 
current he pulled oil his coat anil in his shirt-sleeves bra\'ed the stream. 
I'own phuiL^'ed the boards and diown went Leonard, but a- it arose he was seen 
stdl clinging. A shout arose from the throats of the huiulreds on the banks, 
whc were now deeply interested, earnestly hoping lie W(udd successfu.lly ford 
t!ie stream. Down ai.ain went his bark, but nothing could shal;e Leon.ard off. 
The craft shot up in the air apparently ten or twt.'l\'e feet, and Leiinard stuck 
to it firmly. Slowdy he worked his boat to the otiier side of the stream. After 
wliat seemed an age of <us[iciise he finally landed, amid ringing cheers of men, 
women and children, and foun<i his familv safe. 

The stories of people floating a mile up the ri\er ar.d then back two or 
three times are easih' credible, after seeing the evidences of the strange course 

15S THE STORY (>F JO//.\STOir.\. 

of the Hood. People who .^tood near the ruins of ro|ihir Dridue saw four wo- 
men on a roof float up <"iU the stream, turn a short (hst.uue alm\e and come 
liack'. ;;o past auain and once more return. Tlieii the\' went on the ciurent to 
the lower part of the town am.l were rescued as the\' passed the second-storv 
window of the school house m MdlviUe. A hou^e from \\'ood\ale tra\eled to 
Cirubtown uninjured. On it was a man w lio lived near Cii uhtown. hut was 
workim: at Woodvale when the llinul came. He was earned past his own house 
and ti'ld people at th.e hrii-lue to hid his wile eooddiye fe)r him. The house 
passed the bridge three times, the man conxersiui; with those on shore and giv- 
ing directions for his burial, if his body should be found. The third time the 
house went up it groLinded at Grubtown, and in an hour the \ oyager was safe 
at home. 

Henr\' D. Thomas, the dry-goods merchant, related the followim; storv : 

' I was cauuht between a plank and a stone wall and held in that position a long time. 
The water catne rushing down and forced the plank against my chest, I felt as if it were going 
through me. when suddenly the plank save way and I fell into the water I grabbed the plank 
quickly and in some unaccountable way managed to get the forepart of my boil\- on it. In that 
way I was carried down the stream. .\11 around me were people struggling and drowning, while 
bodies floated like corks on the water. Some were crying for help, others were praving aloud 
for mercy and a few were singing as if to keep up their courage .\ large raft which went by 
bore a whole family, and they were singing, ' Nearer my God to Thee.' In the midst of their 
song the raft struck a large tree and went to splinters. There were one or two wild cries and 
then silence. The horror of that time is with me day and night. It would have driven a weak- 
minded person crazy 

A man who was imprisoned in the attic of his house put his \vife and two 
children on a roof that was eddying past and stayed behind to die alone. The\' 
floated up the stream and back, got upon the root ot the \ery hour>e the\' had 
left, and the whole tamUy were saved. 

When the Levergc>od brick resilience on Bedford street was struck h\ the 
flood, it was occupied b\ ( irandiiu.ither Levergood. her daughti-r Luc\ . and 
Mrs. Ami Buck. The tirst two wire drowned. Mrs. Buck, who is cightv 
years old. manacled to get upon the roof and floated to Sa.ndv\ale cemeterw 
where she landed in a tree. Here she spent the entire ni^ht. during which 
she spol^e to others in similar positions. On Saturda\' she ^\■as taken from the 
tree and cared for by her son, whose surprise and delight to hud his mother 
living cannot be described. 

Mrs. Jane Co.x lived on Railroad street, and John McDermott had his 
home with her. Mr. McDertuntt had been forced to wade about in the water 
at liis store on Bro.'nl street, wliich was flooded before the d(.-hig'e came. He 
kft the store, went home shortly after three o'cloclc. and decided to refresh 
himself with a bath. While thus eu'gaged Mrs. Co.\ called to him that there 
was great excitement on the streets, that people were nnining hither and 
thither, and that something" more than usual mu^t have happened. ^Ir. ?ilc- 

.U>i7-:\Tf'A'/:S A.XD i-:sc.iPKs. 159 

Dcrmott advisoa her to take the cliildrcn to a pLiLe of saiety. Neither slie nor 
lier famih would leave without him. He at ouei' be-an to dress. Inil mic- 
cceded in i;ettin,t;- on onl\- li:s uiiderclothin;-; and pants when lie heard the 
crashinL; and roaring. ] )a^hinL; .lown stairs, he 1. d the wa\-, with his little 
dan-liter, up Railroad street to Mal/i's alley, thron;^h which they ran to the 
hill. The water was so close upon llu-in the adv.ince wave 01 the tlood struck 
some of Mrs. Cox's chudren a short distatice from the house and nearly swept 
them off their feet. 

|ohn Burket. his wife and four children were in their house on Washington 
street, opposite the Company store. The Woodvale bridge struck the house 
and destroyed it, separating the family. ^^Ir. Burket was rescued at the rolling 
mill, badly injured. Two of the children were taken out on Kernville Hill. 
Little Frank had an arm broken in two places. His life was saved h\ little 
Jessie, fourteen \ ear=, <.ld. Two children were lost. Mrs. Burket was carried 
past the stone bridge and down the river. She was under water several limes, 
but retained lier presence of mind. Two miles above New Florence her raft 
struck a tree, into which she managed to climb. Without a stitch of clothing 
on, she spent the night in the branches. Next morning she was rescued and 
taken to a house near i>\. Siie did not get home until Wednes<lay. Her fam- 
ily thought, of course, that she was lost, and hailed her return as one risen from 
the gra\e. 

James Davis, the photographer, lived on Iron street, Millville. Pie had re- 
mained at home on account of rheumatism. Wh<;n the water got dangerously 
high in the afternoon— the famil\ having alread\ been driven to the second 
story— Mr. Davis said he would sw iin to the railroad embankment and build a 
raft. He had got about half way when he noticed the water rising rapidly 
under him. He looked around and saw his house lifted up. It was too late 
to turn back, so he continued on to the embankment and thence escaped to 
Prospect Hill. His wile and three young children were lost. 

Cornelius Burns, at the risk of his own lile. rescued twent\--eight persons. 
He was approaching the river near Cambria w hen the flood came. He daslied 
into the water and continued his gallant work of rescue until conipletly ex- 
hausted and prevented by the floating debris from saving others who floated 
be\ond his reach. 

Mr. and Mrs. and Miss Maggie Shaiier kept a boardingdiouse on the cor- 
ner of Main and Market streets, a locality that was terribl\- ravaged. How the 
family and some of the guests fared was told me by one of the latter : 

•• Miss Massie called us to tollow her out o£ a b.ick uin.low on the porch-roof, whence she 
led the way through a window of a three-story brick house with a mansard roof, the property 
of Mr. James. We stood in the sjutt.-r of the inansard. I cannot begin to give an idea nf the 
awful scene. Some were crving, some screamm-.; at the top of their voices, some saying good- 
bve. others pra\ ing and one said the end of tiniu had come Others were clasped in each others 
arms and had given up entirelv I could p.-rsons at a distance, among them little children. 

l6o Ti^^i-- iiTORV OF JOUXSTOW.W 

shouting for help, amid the tremendous noise and cracking of tlie buildings that were falling to 
pieces as then' drifted towards us. To increase the horror, half a mile above us the wire mill 
had been running in full blast. The waters coming so suddenly upon it created a steam that 
made the air dark, like clouds sweepini; the horizon. .Mumt this time a house struck the one we 
were on A young man nau-.ed Feli\ Bard uas on the other side of the window. He and I 
jumped to the roof of the one that >truck ours. It knocked the brick walls down and then the 
mansard roof fell We stepped o'.er on the llat tin-roof, and commenced our journe\ dou ii to- 
wards the stone bridge. There were thirt\-oight persons on the roof and in the attic of the 
mansard of the house. When the brick walls were knocked away the roof floated. Strange 
to say, not one of the thirty-eiuht perished. We did not have a long voyage — not more than 
two squares 1 he reason was the water seemed to divide. We floated around a \\ hile and set- 
tled down a .[uarter of a mile above the great bridijo. The bridge might ha\e been the means 
of doing a great deal of harm, but I think it saved our lives. It was the cause of forminc; an 
eddy just where our house and many others landed When the roof of our house stopped most 
of the people went into the large brick building owned by General Campbell. Thev made their 
way on the debris, got on the roof, and from the observatory into the house. 

"After the waters went down I took an opposite direction, and saw Mr. Frazer in the 
garret of his own house looking out of the hatch-hole. I went in. His wife and a bov were 
there. The little fellow was crying as though his heart werebroken. Mrs Fra^'er was as com- 
posed as if she were sitting in her parlor. I remarked to her that she seemed to be very 
resigned- She said she was not in the least alarmed , her life was in the hands of her Maker, 
and He would take care of her and do what was right. I shall never forget the ladv's peaceful 
expression. Mr. Frazer told me to lock out of the window at a brick house and notice if the 
waters were receding. They were falling, and presently I got on the roof of another house 
Hearing some noise between the houses, 1 a man's head pop up through the drift. He was 
held by two logs artd made every eUort t i c.Ntricate himself. The logs kept rollin" and he 
could not get out. I went down to the end of the roof, caught him by the -hand and held him 
until help came that I summoned as as I c;)iild .\11 this time I was supported b\ a snow- 
break on the edye of the roof I'inallv we succeeded in landing him safely on the roof. The 
stranger wiped the water from his eyes, coughed and spit, drew a long breath, looked up and 
said quietly, 'This is a devil of a tlood ain't it '' Praying was more in order than swearing, 
but no one resented the remark 

"The balance of the evening I was kept busy getting out persons both dead and dvinc. 
Into the Club House we took the bodies. I went m the direction of a call for help and found 
a woman fastened in the debris, in an upright positi(ju Her head, shoulders and arms v.ere 
above the water. I tried to pull her out but could not. Two men came, but still wecouldnot 
move her. She begged for God's sake to get her out. Her head fell from one side to the other. 
She was too weak to hold it up long at a time. We began taking some of the drift awav, and 
found that she v,as in bed. I caui;ht hold of something I thought was bed-clothing and pulled 
a dead woman out of the water We laid her on the bank. .\ trunk was standing near and 
some one took out a slouch-hat and placed it on my head I had no hat or shoes, and it was 
very cold and rainin-.' We tried our ver\- best to •;et the v.omaii out, but could not I was 
comp'etely e.\hausted, got sick and had to go. The others stayed and at last broucht the 
women ti> the club-house. She soon died. 

"I am a mechanic, work at my trade and have three children that are dependent on me. 
My wife died two ) ears ago. What clothing and effects we had were lost in the flood I had 
nothing after the ilu'>d. but we are very thankful we escaped with our lives." 

John StL-ng'LT, dry-griods incrchant cm Main street. Inst his sons, Jnhn. aLTcd 
twelve, and Leo, a^^ed three. Five ;,Mrls from Linton's laundry, back of iiis 

A!>i7:xTr-K/:s .ix/> ksc.ip/cs. i6i 

store. l"hii Carr. lltnrv V. Lturritt and (jtiicis \viicsa\Ld in his buildini;, which 
was hadh \v rocked. 

C. X. L'archw. of Aki.iona. whi- liad been \\-oi-kin- in llu- office of the Johns- 
town Daiional tor some time, wrote the a'lventures ot him-eh and his cousm, 
II. W. Stt)re\. es,]., and family, at whose house the tlood caii-ht hini : 

■I was not in inv otlice when the cra.-.h cime, but was several s>|u.ires down town I went 
down before o a, m. to help my cousin take his carpet and furniture up-siairs, as had been done 
on former occasions when the riverovcrllowcd. The hish Hood struck tis about 4 i 5 v. m. We 
ran to the third floor, and the water came to wuhin two feet of where we were. Our house had 
moved from its foundation about fifty feet, when it was stooped by a counter current. It held 
there until the railroad embankment gave way and the water fell and let us down to the yround. 
I don't think I shall ever care about going boating again. The water was about nineteen feet 
around us. and we had to remain up there until about ten o'clock the next forenoon, when I 
made my wav out from the trap-door on the roof down over other buildings and debris, under 
which there was still one to ten feet of water I took a boat at the corner of the Club House 
building and rowed to the Pennsylvania railroad station, from which point I succeeded in 
reaching Ebensburg at 6 v m. on >aturda\ " 

Mr. Moerle and Frank McMulhn were in the HcraiJ oiTice on the second 
floor of tlie brick buildin-. corner of Main and Bedford streets. They ran 
down the back way and fonnil Mr. Shck attempliiiL; to juit his wife on a horse. 
Hclpin';' the lady into the saddle, they started np Mam street towards Green 
Hill. Shck concluded to retnrn lor a favorite do- and was never rnore heard 
of. The two printers and Mrs. Shck reached the hill in safety, thom^h not be- 
fore the pon\- swimniini;- and the men wading np to their necks in water 
and drift. 

Fort> persons were rescued at the late General Campbell's mansion, 
lower end ot Vine street, as the> floated past, by catching ropes thrown to 
them. The Cambria Club fb.use was a similar haven of safety to a score of 
floaters. The members of the clnb were at dinner, but cheated death by flee- 
ing to the upper floors and the roof. Colonel Hi-'-;ins, the manager, was in the 
third storv of the building with his family. A man was hurled by the torrent 
through the window. He was attended, swooned, and upon inspection was 
found^o have a broken leg. The leg was bandaged and the man resuscitated. 
When this last act of kindness was accomplished he said famtly : 
■■This ain't so bad : I've been in a t)low-up '" 

E. B. Entwistle. of tlie Johnson works, rowed to a house near the flaming 
a-brisat the bridge, and found a v>oman with a broken aim and a baby. After 
she had got into the boat she cried. ■■Come along, grandpap." An old man. 
chilled but chipper, jumped up from the other side of the root, slid down into 
the boat, and ejaculated with imperturbable coolness : 
■■Gentlemen, can any 01 you gi\e m.e a chew of tobacco "'" 

W. .\. Rose, a prominent attorney, and his famil\- went to the second floor 
o£ their house about two o'clock. When the water rushed for the residences 

I 62 THE S TOR \ ■ OF Jt V/.XS ft Ml W. 

on Main strec.-t they retreatcj a story liiulur. Distress ^\ as apparent on all 
suits. A sick nLii:hl>..r appealed for a stimulant anil was handed a cup of 
collee on the end of a broon. a gulf thatciuild not be passed scparatin,:; her 
from the looses. D\' this time houses he-an to eruniMe and vanish. The roof 
Savev.-ay. seatt. riu:^ tlie family and f.i-tenin- Mr. Ivose between heav\- timbers, 
win'ch fractured his right collar-bone and compresse-d his As- 
sisted by his yiiungest son, Percy, he succeeded in again reaching his own roof. 
There he w itnessed the ai^parent death struggle s of his Avife and dan-hter, 
utterly helpless to assist them. L\ing outstretched on the roof, with his family. 
a little waif and a domestic, he sailed near the Kernville Hill. Another roof 
came up alongside which they boardid. and were taken uji Stony Creek. 
Thc' Unique Rink came tly'-ig along and all resigned themselves to their fate. 
Mr. Rose exclaimed, -This means death." A log hit the riidv and veered it 
into another channel. Then a friendl\- current forced them in the rear of the 
residence of Dr. Swan, wiience tliey made their way into the house. Winter, 
tlic second son, at the risk ot his own life, carried Mrs. Reise, sevent\ -one 
years old, from a dangerous place to a safe one. The oldest son, Horace, drifted 
away from the remaintler of the familw .\fter an eventful exjierience he was 
taken, almost exhausted, from the debris into the house of Frank Coleman. 

Three girls liad their clothes torn off while strugglim.;- in the water, and were 
thrown on the bank above the stone bri.lge. The\- hid in the rubbish until 
Saturday night, when hunger overcame their maiden modestv ami forced them 
to call to some men for assistance. Food and clothing were obtained and the 
trio taken to a shelter. 

Henry Ludwig. of Dedlord street, sent his three children to the residence 
of his parents, Mr. and :\Ir-,. Jolm Ludv.ig. on Mam street, v, Idle he and his wife 
remained to lift carpets. August Young, Henry's brother-'in-law. had also taken 
his wife to her parents' home, and he and Charles Ludwig went ilown to Henry's 
house to assist. They had arrived but a short time when the water came 
rushing along, drowning all the inmates and carrying the house to the Point. 
John Ludwig and son George v. ere in their store on Washington street en- 
dea\ormg to keep goods out of the wet. They saw the mountain of water roll- 
ing down the valle\, ran upstairs and managed to get upon the ronf. which 
immediately jiarted. They clambered to the roof of Frank Ha\ 's brick build- 
ing, none too soon, for the structure melted and the roof floated awa\- to Locust 
sti'et, where George was taken ott. He saw his father lloat awa\- and thought 
he would be killed, but after Jumping from raft t<j raft the old gentleman finally 
landed clo--.e to the residence of Dean Canan, on the South Siile. and was re'-- 
cued. Not until Saturday afternoon ha<l the family any idea that tlie father 
had been sa\ed. 

John Shnltz occupied a two-stor\- frame hou^e on Union street, a short 
avenue intersecting the part of M.iin. The household consisted of nine 

Ai>VE.\TrK/:s .i.y/> i:sc\i/'/-:s. 


persons. Six of tlicm were in the buildin;,; when it ino\-cd off. but all were sa\-cd. 
A hirije tree hit the house auiiil>]iijis. transti.\in'_; it a-; a javelin uiiLjlit a map.. 
The buiklin;^ turiud c^nxt. carryiu';- t!ie tree with it. the routs stickli-iij thirt\- 
feet in the air. In this shape it stranded on the I'oint, at the end cf ALiin 






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Street. be>ii-le a number of other houses that presented a queer spectacle. 
These buildings \\ere hopelessly daniaLjed ami fire was used to clear awa_\' the 
accumidation of rulibish. The tree .i.;ave the Shtdtz house a curious appear- 
ance which attracted thrones of visitors and brouLjht dozens of cameras to 
perpetuate it in photo:_;rapliic lorni. 

In the upper part of the town, wliere the back-water v. ent into the valley 
with (.linhnislied force, there were man}" of these odd scenes. Houses were 
toppled over one after another in a row. and left where tlie\" lay. One was 
turned completely over and stood with its root on the foundations of anollier 
hotise and its base in the air. The owner came bach" and. .iettin-; intii his huuse 
throuLrh the window, walked about (>n his ceiling'. Out < t this house a W(jman 
and her two children escaped v, itli little hurt, althoiiuh the\" were planted on 
their heads in the whirl. From a wtnnau shut up in lier garret escaped 
b.y choppin':! a hole in the root. .\ Hungarian named Gre\ ins l'':iped to the 

I 64 THE S 7V )KY ( V' /( V/A'.V TO 1 1 X. 

pliore as his liousc went whirling' jiast, fell twcnty-fi\c feet uptm a pile of metal 
and escaped with a luoken le-. Anothrr came all ilieway Imm I'ranklin. 
circled around with tlie hack-water and finally land;.'d on. the llats near the 
corner of Alain and Market streets. 

Tlionias Alai^te. cashier of the Canihrui Iron Company's store, described 
the manner in which he and his fellow -eierks escaped trom the water, saved 
the money-drawers and rescued nineteen jieople : 

"It was 4.15 o'clock whfii the flood struck our buildirif; with a crash. It seemed lo pour 
in from cverv door and window on all :aidc^, as well as from the floors above us. I was stand- 
ing In- the safe, which \vas open, and snatched the tin box containing; over in cash, and 
with other clerks at niv heels flew up tl'.e st.iirs to the second floor. In about three minutes we 
were up to our waists in water, and started to climb to tlie third floor of the biiildinK Here we 
remained with the monev until Saturday morninij, when we were taken out in boats. Besides 
myself there were in the buildins Michael Maley, Frank Balsinger, Chris Mintzmeyer. Joseph 
Berlin and Frank Bur.ger, all of whom escaped. .-Ml Friday night and Saturday morning we 
divided our time between guarding the money, providing for our own safety and rescuing people. 
One man, in trying to jump, fell into the water and was saved only by the greatest exertion 
and his own skillful swimmin-,;. We threw out ropes and gathered logs and timbers together un- 
til we had enough to make a raft, which %ve bound together with ropes and used in rescuing peo- 
ple. During the night we rescued Henry Weaver, his wife, and two children ; Captain Carswell, 
wife and three children, and three servant girls ; Patrick Ravel, wife and one child ; A. M. 
Dubbins and two others whose names I have forgotten. Besides this we cut large pieces of 
canvas and oilcloth and wrapped it around bread and meat and otiier eatables and threw it or 
floated it out to those wh.o went by oa housetops, rafts, etc , \\hom we could not rescue without 
getting our raft in the drift and capsi/im;. We must have fed one huijdred people in this 
way alone. The money we guarded until Monday night." 

James B. O'Connor and John Knult were on \\'ashinL;ton street, noticed 
the water be.uinning to rise and r.ui into Lamberd's saloon. The watLr broke 
open the door ami flooded the tlnnr. .\11 hastened to the roof. O'Connor 
and Ivnuff iloated away on the kitchen, lamling against I >r. .\ndrew Yeaffley's 
house. The end cif the biiildini; fell in and tlie\- climbed upon the roof (jf the 
adjoinin;.; residence. Dr. B. L. Yea,gle\'s. Thence the\' contrixed to ;^'et to the 
Beanth' building, after a se\ere struggle in the water. A lari;e number of 
men and women htid .gathered w ho spent the night hudiUed together, sulfering; 
severeh' from the cold. Ma;i\' of them had scarcely any clothing. Of the 
thirteen persons who took refuge in Lamberd's place, only one — Miss Joanna 
Lamberd — was diowned. Her sister and mhers of the party were rescued at 
Alma Hall, and some got out at Dr. L(.iwinan's. ]\Ir. Kmill lost his gold watch 
and a roll of bills. 

Frank Benford'sdun mare w-as standing' in the alley between the Ilulbert 
House an(-l John Ifornick's hotel. Parties on top of the f'Vitz House saw her 
submerged ami buildings passing over her. To tlie surjirise (.if ail she xvas 
found on Saturila}' morning in ti'.e mire and wrecl: that tilled the cellar, with 
no injur\- but the blinding of botii e\es. Such an escape no other horse ever 
had since the chus of Bucephaltis. 

AD I T.yn 7<j:s . ixd Esc.irKS. 1 65 

Professor Johnson, superintentlunt of the piibHc schools, \\as at Mrs. 
John B. Ha\'s hoiix. coi m.-r W'ahiut anil Locust streets, with his brotJicr and 
\ouni;' Mr. Hav. The rrntis^or was held li\' two floors catchinu him on the 
temple until carried down to the bridge and up rdong the hillside. One of the 
llours. \ielJin..; to soine jne^^ure. released him. With the aid of Mrs. Hay 
and his hrotiier. w Iuj obtained a footdiold on a piece of roof, he escaped to 
the side of the hill. 

John C. Carney resided on Fr.mklin street, opposite the Mansion House. 
Earh in tb.c afternoon he and his little lamih' removed to the\" build- 
ing of Joseph Belter. iligh water soon drove thein to the roof, and wlieii the 
great wave came tiie building was tw istecl to pieces. The ])art Mr. Carney and 
liis f.'.niilv were on was swept on top ot a large pile i.>t debris that had col- 
lected at tlie east end of the Baltimore >.\: Ohio depot, and they wi^re rescued 
through the second-story w indow of the Diniocriit otfice. Mr. and Mrs. Carney 
and two children, ani.1 Mr. and Mrs. Jo^eph Beiter and two children were taken 
in. Mr. Belter's leg was broken, antl he was severeh" injured In" timbers in the 
watt^r. One of his ciiildrenwah dead. .\fter theCarnevs been safely 
landed thev missed their baby, a girl fifteen months old. On Saturday, eigjit- 
een hours afterward, the baby was fiuind C'U the pile of deliris at the office 
ali\"e and well, and placed in the arms of it^ almost frantic UKitlu r. 

George Irwin, of Hillside. Pa., was found, on Saturday, in a clump of 
bushes beside the railroad tracks, a mile below Johnstow n. _ His tongue pro- 
truded from his mouth ami he gaspet! for breath. Brand\' revived him and he 
was soon able to gi\e this account of his adventures ; 

" I was visiting friends in Johnstown, We were submer<;ed without a moments warning. 
I was taken from the window l'\- a druggist, Mr. Hay, but lost my footine: and fell into the 
water. I clung to a saw-log until I struck the Cambria Iron Works, w here I caught on the roof 
of the tiui'.ding. I remained there an hour, when a piece oi raft knocked me from my position. 
I floated en it until I eot down here and stuck in an apple-tree. I saw one woman and two chil- 
dren floating nicely until they hit the corner of a building and all sank, I would rather have 
died than to witness their a.'ony." 

]Miss Sue Caildick. of Intliana. was stopping at the Brunswick Hotel, on 
Washington street. She said she had a premonition of danger and triei.1 to get 
Mrs. Murphv to take her children and leave the house. The lady l.iughetl at her 
fears and partiall}' dissipatetl them. Miss Caddick was standing at the head 
of the second flight of stairs when the flood burst upon the house. She 
screamed to the Murphys — father, mother and seven chiUlren — to sa\'e them- 
selves, ran up stairs and got into a higher room wath the children, the oldest 
of them a girl of fourteen. The mother and father were whirled to death in- 
stantly and the chiklren clung to Mi-s Caddick, To sa'.c her~elf, as th.e build- 
ing was disintegrating, sl;e w as forced to thrust them a>ide. The}" all drowned, 
except the oldest boy, wh.o floated to Blairsville and landed in a tree. Miss 
Caddick held to a fraction of the buildinLT. which, tloated out of the swirl, and 


ivas saved before dark. She described lier j^rief at ha\inL; to cut loose from 
the children as greater than lier fear after ^ettiim into the w ater. 

William Dou-herty rode il(u\n the river on a stii.l<. \\'hen the waters 
struck the nxif of the house on which he had taken shelter he jnuijied a-.tride 
a telef^raph pule, ridin.L; twenty-tluLe miles, from Johnstowti to l!oii\ar, before 
lie was rescued. 

Mr. Walters, an attorne\'. who spent the iiit^ht in .\lma Hall, has his office 
on the second tloorot the lunldim;-. He was at his Imnie, W'.ilniit street, with 
his faniil\-. and all were carrii-d away. The family dritted on the roof in an- 
other direction, and he i> d down several streets and alle\s until he came 
to the hall. His raft ran against that buiidiiiL; and he was throw n into his own 
office headforemost. 

James Norn, an old L,'ra\--haired man. had just sat down to eat his supper 
when the crash came. The whole family. consi^tlnL; of w ite and ei'.,dit children. 
were buried beneath the collapsed house. He was carried do\\ n the ri\er to 
the railroad bridge on a plank. At the bridge a crosS-tie struck him with such 
force that he \\ as slioi clear upon the pier, a mass of bruises and cuts from 
head to foot. He refused to l;o to the hospital until he found the bodies of 
his lo\ ed ones. 

John Henderson, his wife, m^jther-indaw and three children succeeded in 
getting upon some drift, after tlieir house carried them ipiile a distance. Mr. 
Henderson took the babe frtuu its mother's arms, but it soondied from cold. 
and he had to drop the corpse into the wati.T. The ageil motlu!r-in law was 
fragile and expired. Mr.-,. Henderson, who had been separated from her hus- 
band b_\- a dashing wa\e. kept with her two children for some time. Finall\- 
a great wave dashed them from her arm:, and out of sii^ht. They were cling- 
ing to some driftwood, and provicjentially dri\en into the arms of their father, 
who was down the stream unconscious of the pro\imit\- of his loved ones. 
Another whirl of the flood aiul all were sent into Ston_\' Creek and carried by 
backing water to Kern\ ille and rescued. Mrs. Henderson had nearl_\- the same 

Dr. Holland, a pln-sician on \'ine street, saw both of his children drown. 
They were not washed out of the building. He took them in his iirnis and 
bore them to the n.Hif. Ciimposing himself, he kissed them ami watched them 
float awa\'. The bodies were recovered. After their death the father was car- 
ried out into the tiuod and \.o a building, in tile \\indow of v\hich a man was 
standing. The doctor held up his hands. The man seized thi-m. dextrously 
slipped a valuable ring from one linger and brutally tlirew him rmt into the 
current again. The phxsician was ,sa\i-d and looked long for the tliiet and 
would-be murderer. 

J. Paul Kirchmann. a \oung man. boarded w.ith (jeorL;e Schro'der in the 
heart of the town. The house toppled and -ivent rushing awa\- in the current. 

ADl'KXrrKKS ,lX/> KSlAPES. 1 67 

Tlu'ro were seven in the party and Kirchniann tmuHl liini^elf wedL^etl in bc- 
twien two lion-~( s. Ins iiead under water. He di\ed down, as^.iin came t<i 
the surtare and u,'"<-'t o\\ tlu' root ot one of tlie liou^e^. The others pre- 
ceiled hini tiure. and the house' lloati'd to Sandyxale cenieter\'. a mile a\va\', 
wheiealloi thcin were rescued. Kircliuiann had faniled. and lor se\'en or 
eight heiui?. was supposed to be dead. 

A little boy and girl came floating tlown from E^ist Conemaugh. The 
wati-r tm'ned the raft toward the l\ern\ille hill. .\s it struck the bank the bo\' 
jiuiijied on the hill, dragging' his little sister with him. Uoth were sa\ed. 

William H. Rosen-^teel. the Woodvale tanner, was in the house with his 
two daughters. Tillie and M<imie. his granddaughter and a dog. All N\ere 
carried down on the kitchen roof. They tloatetl into the liouton clothiuL; 
store, on Main street, a mile from their house, where thev sta\ed imtil taken 
out on Saturday. 

Jacob I. Horner, of Hornerstown. and his famih' of eight, climbed into a 
tree and remained there all nmht. Their house was overturned. 

Miss \\"a_\ne. of .Vltoona. who was visiting at Conentaugh. had a miraculous 
escape. E\"er\' article of her clothing was torn from her by the furic)us flood 
during her strUL;'-;Ies in the water. She was rescued near tlie bridi^e. There 
no female apparel at hand, and she had to don trousers, coat, \'est and hat 
until suitable garments coidd be procured. 

At the of Edward H. Jackson. jS Market streetj besides himself 
and family, were hi^ imcle. aunt, sister and two children. They watched their 
chance and when a house passed b\' jiuiiped upon it. B\' careful manoiu'er- 
ing they managed to reach Dr. S. M. Swans house, a threi'-story brick builil- 
ing, where there were about two humlred other people. Mr. Jackson sprang 
upon a tender of an entjine as it floated rlown. and reached the same house. 
All the women and chddren were h\sterical and most of the men paralyzed. 
From the windows of this house ropes were thrown to per.sons who floated by 
on ri'ofs. In this wa\ se\eial were saved. 

.\ German woman, whose name could not be learned, ran to the roof of 
her house for safet\'. The house was carried awa\' and the lower portion 
crushed as if it haa been an egg-shell. lielow the stone bridge it struck an- 
other roof, on which were a rooster and a ho^r. The rooster sat on tin.' peak 
of the roof, as stateh' as a general leading an arm\' to victorv. .\t NineNeh 
both r(5ofs were dashed high up on the shore and woman, ho;; and rooster were 
taken oti safe and sound. 

Workmen of the Baltimore A: Ohio railroatl. clearing away a pile of retu^^e 
that euNelojied several freii^ht c.irs. encountered a stable. It belon-;ed to the 
priest of St. Coiunibas Church. Cambria. A-. the w.iters fell awa\and the 
mass settled, the stable sank under the cars. \\'hen it was at last cleareii. a 
man went m and found a cow calmlv chewin--; her cud and gazinu stolidh' at 

l6S 't'l^l- STORY or Jiil/XSTOWX. 

the fluor. which still re'uaini'J solid. In the snuu: stall were a small black doc^, 
a Plynumih R.>ck rou-ler aiui two liens, ail ali\-e and none the worst for their 

Miss Ida r\i!inestock, nf I'ittslMir'_;h. came to Johnstown on Memorial 1 )ay 
to visit tlx- faunh' of Mr. Ili'xd. Tile honse of the IJoxcls was swept a\\a\", the 
entire faniil\ clinging to tile roof. 1 hey and Miss rahnestoc!-: were sa\-ed h\' 
climbing through the window of a scliool and remaining in the third stc>rv until 
rescued in boats on Saturda\'. The I!o\ds escaped unhurt. ?\Iiss Fahn- 
estock ^\ as slighth' injured. 

George \\". I laniiiton and family were at their home. I2J Locust street. 
Tlie first Mr. Hamilton km/w cif the bursting of the reservoir was hearing a 
roaring sound. He k)"k'ed out the window and saw what appeared to be a 
great wall coming toward him. The family ran to the rear of the iiouse and 
climbed njion a porch roof. This roof broke awa\' and floated to the Chib 
House, against which it struck. Tln.-n it veered into Main street and went to 
Anderson ^^'alters' hriu.--e on Lincoln street. From there, after the wreckage 
stopped moving, the Ilamiitons claml>ered to the Morrell Institute. "Bole's 
Row." which, stood opposite the Turner Hall on Clinton street, and floated 
back of tlie institute, was one of tlie first buildings to come sailing from up 
town. It struck the Institute building at one corner, knocking out a few bricks, 
swung aroun<l ami rested. There were 175 people in and on the Institute 
building daring the ni^ht. and many more were brought to it on Saturday 

The traged}- will furnish a rich field for writers of fiction. Persons who 
are living to da\' mav have niaiie the confusion and loss of lite a prete.xt for 
disappearing. How man\ people, ignorant of the fate of their lo\ed ones, 
w ill gc) to their gra\ es w ith the hojie that some day the familiar faces will 
again be seen ? How man\' hidden misdeeds and li\es on the verge of an 
abvss wt're swi-pt out of time and aw'a\' from e.xposure b\' the swirl of the cruel 
waters? The possibilities are unlimited, and there could lie no strcjiiger 
clima.\ than the rush of the torrent down the Coneniaugh vallew What a 
field for Dumas or \'ictor Hutro ! 

1^ l^.'\ 






U-^f r /7^ 



Imitators of Jim Blud>'i and Banty Tim not Unknown -Ximerous Gallant Rescues — 
A Negko Saves a Child — Families and Friends Taken off Floating Houses — He 
Staved to 3 ■'. nd the Warning — Bov Heroes — Faithful Dogs — Tkamts with Gen- 
erous Souls — Men and Women Who Stuck to the Post of Duty — Telegrmheks 
Whose Services De?erve Un-tintep Honor— Kepeeming Traits Exemplified Under 
Trying Conditions i.\ a Host ok N'vtuke's True Nobility. 

"Thfdam dissolves, the ice-plaiTi EiowU, 
The Hoo'ls d.ish OM, ihc water liou Is ' 
' I'll bear thcc, mother, acrnss the swell. 
'Tis not yet high. I can ri-lu well.' 
&he places the mother sale on the shore : 
Fair Susan then turns tuw ril the llooil once more. 
'Oh. whither :■ Oh, whither? the brca.lth last -^ro 
Both here and there the w ater o erflow s : 
Will venture. Ihui; lash one. the billows to hrave '' 
' Thev shall and thev must be preserved from the w. 

EROE? atJapled to thu e.\ii;ency are generally on hand when 

a crisis arises. It was so at Johnstown. Had it not 

been the death-roll would bear the names of hundreds 

of people who are ali\e and well to-da} . Jim Bludso 

and Banty Tim are not nntlis. fi'.^nunts. mere faneie.. 

of the poet's brain. They crop out continnally in 

.•eal lite. Theirs are the deeds which shed lustre on 

humanit\- and merit a place on the scroll of lame— a 

niche in the temple cif honor. The heroism 

ior'.;ettini; the perils it incurs, braves imminent daiv^or 

fur the sake of others, is a redeeming quality. 'I'he 

rz^^Tfi^^"^ flood developed the occasion to manitot it in varied 

^j: ' forms, sometimes unexiiected. often unobtrusive, but 

i CHILD p.Kvi-uKP B^ A -.F.. ,,■'..- ^[^^.^^,^-g wottliv of eiiuilation. Eternity alone will 

reveal the bri'^dit arrav of self-sacrihcinu deeds pertormed when the dark 

shadow enveloped the Conemaugh \'alle>-. There was neither time nor dis- 


I - 2 THE ST OR ) ■ ( '/•" /( UI.XS row W. 

position to enter on earthly book^ the deeds of c;rcatness which conferreci the 
stamp of nt'bilitx' upon many a Ljencrous spirit. On the tablets of human s^ni- 
path\' and in the everiastiui; areliivi-s the\' shine resplendent, as veil those all 
traces of which the water \\a^hed away as those repeated Irom lip to lip. 

Harr\' Koch, a saloon-keeper, and Georije Skinner, a colored man. were 
on the roof ut the former's premises, near the end of Bedford street. b\' the 
bank of Stoiu' Creek. Their situation was not an envialile one. The African 
remarked to his companion : 

" Massa Koch, dis ver mout be a good time to done gone an' pray, but Im mos feared it 
am too late !" 

Shortly a house sailed tov.ards them, with Max Mc.\chiver and Gertie, 
the little daughter of John Quinn. I\Irs. Geis. with her babe. Libbie Hipps 
and Gertie had run to the attic of the Geis house. The\- pra} ed anil ?^lrs. Geis 
said the}' would die toc;ether. Gertie tells it in her own artless way ; 
"Then the plaster 'gun to turn off and the water wuz jess all over! " 

She caut;lu hokl of a plank, uot on it and floated to Betlford street. Mc- 
Achiver lifted her from the plank to a tloatin;,' roof, which drifted near Koch' 
and Skinner. The latter called out : 
" Thro'.v her to me ' ' 

Max did so, aiu! Skinner resolved to swim with the child to dry land. 
Plunc;ing into the water, he supported her with ont; hand and struck out \\ ith 
the other for a safe spot. After a se\'ere test of muscle, the_bra\e nei^ro had 
the satisfaction of restorinu' Gertie to her friends. George has a black skin, 
but his soul is white, and his heart is exactly in the right place. Uncle Tom's 
rescue of Eva was not more gallant and praiseworthy than Skinner's heroic 

Jacob L. Caldwell showed himself posse^^sed of the qualities of which 
heroes are made. He had taken retui^e in tiie upper part of his house, on Ston\- 
creek street, with Iiis faniih'. When he saw the buildings coming he seized his 
wife and child and leaped from tl;e attic windov, to a jiassing roof twelve or 
fifteen feet below. A jam occurred and he picked his way. with his precious- 
burden, to the roof of the electric-li^jht building, a part of which collapsed just 
as he reached it. From there I'.e got to John Thomas' building and all were 
saved. Dr. William Caldwell and wife. Jacob's and mother, and Miss 
Bertha Caldwell had almost a similar experience and were sa\'ed in the same 

When the wall of rolling water struck Miss Minnie Faulkner's home she 
was thrown into the stream, but managed to gra.sp a \\ indo\'. -shutter, on which 
she floated for some distance. Suddenly she heard her name called. Looking 
across a short expanse of turbulent w ater she saw her alhanced husband.. George 
Bernheisel. floating on the roof of a house and motioning to her. After divest- 
ing himself of his supertluous raiment, he plunged into the llood, and h\ a 


desperate effort readied Iw latl\'-lovc and brought her safely to shore. They 
chitiL; together until Satiir(la\ morniiiL;. and 111 a tew days joined hands together 
to battle in the tluod-tide ut life. 

At the house of Charles Il.\\"ehn.4i Napoleon street, fourteen jiersons 
were taken into the attic by lULnibers of the family ;uid reseue<l. .\ Mi'-s 
Jones, who was badh' liurntd in the hre at St. Juhn's Catholic Church, was 
among the number. Mr. W'ehn was at the Tribune office with the rest of the 

Charles Horner, aeed eighteen, cniplo\-ed at Harry Swank's machine shop, 
blew the whistle as a warning to ri'sidents of the I'onrth Ward. He rcjutiuueii 
the good work until the rires were extinguished b\ the water ami the building 
floated a square away. Then he coolly walked from raft to raft until he 
reached a place of safety. A number of people saved their li\es fiy fleeing to 
the hills ujion hearing the whistle. 

Robert McCanlitf, an enipkue of the Pennsylvania railroad, remo\-ed his 
fainilv to a place of safet\- before the catastroplu'. and had gone back to attend 
to his work of watching at the stone bridge. He was caught in the ifood. 
While endeavoring to get to land he saw a babe about eight months old sub- 
merged under some rubbish and resohed to save it. Grasping a piece ot 
scantling which was tloatiiii; in the debris, and wielding; it somewhat alter the 
manner of anacrubat iisinn Ins balance-pole, he kept himself and hi> burden 
from sinking l)y catching both ends on tloatiug objects whenever he was 
thrown into the water. fie hnalh' reached the railroad embankment. h'or a 
couple of da_\s no owner claimed the b<d)y, and Mr. McCaulitf began to think 
of adopting it, when Mrs. James, of Iron street, MilhiUe. put in an appear- 
ance and rccogni/ed it as iier child. The mother's jo_\- was most allecting. 

E\en nature's outcasts and the social parasites displayed the traits which 
are the p.itent of true manhood and womanhnod. A strapping tramp ^aw 
several men attenij)ting to extricate the b(idy of a woman held duw 11 by the half- 
roasted carcass of a cow at the bridge. The tramp jmshed the lighter weights 
aside and walked awa\ with the i.>listruction. Then he picked iiji the corp^e 
and carried it half a mile to the morgue. For days he worked amijug tlie 
corpses, scarcelv stojiping to eat or sleep. Blessed with herculean strength 
and a heart big in prnj)ortion. he was as kind to the living w lui called as ser- 
viceable to their dead. The tramp w^is named Martin. His conduct won 
him friends, who set him up in business in Johnstown. 

To another tramp beionL;> the credit of saving the lives of a mother and 
her little girl. This ragged nomad, ag.iinst whom the hand of ever\- man was 
turned, plunged into the angry waters near Lockport and deluded death of two 
helpless beings whom it had almost marked for its own. Mrs. Horner and her 
twelve-year-old daughter had floated from Johnstow n to Lockpcjrt. hve miles. 
on the roof of a house. The last vestige ol the house parted and left mother 


174 'i'^t-' i^TORY or JOllXSTOUW. 

and child strutjijliiv,' \\ ith the waves. They grappled at a passini; tree and both 
managed to clutch it. The mtither screamed : 

'■ For mercvs sake, iioUl on, daughter, to the last ! If die we must, we will 'he toijetber !" 

At this moment a tr, ur.}->. watching from the shore, cuight sight of the two 
forms jtruggling in the water. Heedless of his own safet\-, he plunged in and 
landed mother and il.iiighter sate and sound upon the shore. He was a modest 
hero. While the wondering crowd were caring for tlic two whom he saved 
and discussing his heroism, he quietly stole away and was heard of no more. 
Tlie tattered jacket often co\ers the warmest, bravest heart. 

Past a part}- of thirt>' or forty men. in Morrellville. floated a graydiaired 
old woman, clia.,'ing to a spar and loudly crying for help, .\fter \aiul>- beg- 
ging the men upon tho baid<s to assist him. William Decker, a y(julh of twenty- 
one, ti.ire the roof from a hog-pen and. using a couple of sticks for paddles, 
made fi^r the centre of the ri\'er. from which he piloted the old woman 
safely to the land. 

A gay girl of the town, who had lived a life of shame lor years, jumped 
from a roof to save a baby. She had just reached the child when a piece of 
timber struck her on the head and the poor creature sank beneath the waters. 
Who dare pronounce this Magdalen less a martyr than if she had served as a 
missionary roast at a cannibal feast? 

D. H. Edwards, a freight conductor on the Pittsburgh Division of the 
Pennsylvania railroad, was halted at Sang Hollow on Friday evening. The 
attention of himself and crew was attracted b\- a boy clinging to a piece of 
square timber. An attempt was made to rescue him. but he was struck b\- de- 
bris and carried down the river S'lnie distance. Another and successful ettort 
was made forthwith. He asked his rescuers to look out for his mother. 
Mr. Edwards saw her coming. Throwing one arm around a telegraph pole. 
he extended the other toward her. Securing a firm hi.ild of her he struggled 
to get her on land. .\ floating plank hit her on the shoidder. causi;ig such a 
tension on ^Ir. Edwards' arms that both his shoulders cracked. E.xtending 
the arm he had around the pole so as to grasp with the other hand the arm 
holding the woman, he swuii^ himself toward the shore. Two brakemen seized 
the lailv. who was borne up the embankment and placed in the cabin of the 
train. A fire was built, coltee furnished the nearly-exhausted woman, and she 
was removed to a house. Sh.e said that the house in \vhich she lived v,•a:^ on 
Clinton street. It was carried toward the stone bridge, where it was met Liy a 
receding current and carried up Sti^iiy Creek about a mile. A returning cur- 
rent brouijht it back and floated it near its original foundation. Nearly oppo- 
site the Baltimore >.V Ohio otfices it crossed to the ConemauL^h Ri\er. and was 
swept over the embankment betw-een the bridge and the railroad tower. Then 
all on the roof of the house disappeared in the Hood, and what became of them 
she did not know. Hov. A\ii managed to survive is a in\ sterw In the water 



S .^' 

C'Ai7-''.i ^--n,'.f<'- :--'^--- 1 -Tif ?-H 5^C _ 



she succeeded in yraspinu nvd narrow boards ami with one umier each arm 
was earrietl on the surlace ct the \\a\e. W'litre she seciueel the^r trai4 sup- 
ports slie has not the remotest idea. 

Among the unwritten and unhonored heroo- of tlie llood \\cre--Bob." 
I)orse}- Kin^i's spr\- blael< horse, and --Jack." a hi- New loundland do,L;. E.icli 
saved two Imm.'.n li\es and his own. Bob. alter lloating off in liis stable, got 
loose. Attachetl to his neck was 'X 
a long halter with which he had -SX^ 
been tied to keep ont of mischiet. 
Scizijig this halter, one man was 
pidled h\ Bob to the shore. As ^ 
if he knew what he was about, or ^CV^ 
because the shore was not easy t.' _;-i7^ 
get tip. Bob went back and half a '-/'x :'--;' \ pi 
mile lower down canio out with a 
man on his back. |:'.ck was seen 
to tow out at \\ oodvale a woman 
who clun^ to his shaL;;.;\' mane, 
and on the edge of Johnstown iii. 
brought out a bab\. holding it b\ 
Its frock high up. as a retriever _^^j--=^^ W^' j":\ '^ ^>ji^'<C 

brings his game. A Newfound "^^"^^ '"; ''5' '' - ~ ~ 

[and dog at Morrelhille pluiiL;ed j -" -^ ^^ '^ - ^ 

into the foaming, boiling torrent. '^^ g^ "" 

seized a drowning man by the coat ■■ no; ' a ., iuld ru sh.>kk, 

collar and hanletl him safel\- to dry land. The man had never seen the dog 
before and could not tmtl out to wliom the noble creature belonged. 

Henr\- Roberts, who li\ed m. ar .St. John's Church, lost one child two 
months old. He had in his house a Newfoundland dog. which was near the 
child when the fatal flood struck" the house. The dog seeininL;l\' realized the- sit- 
uation, caught the child and started to swim to land. The force of the waters 
washed the dog and child a,L;ainst the schoobhouse. where they were held until 
the water began to abate. As soon as the animal ccjuld he swam to the hill- 
side with the babe in his mouth and deli\-ered the dead infant to some people 
Sianding by. 

Charles Kress has a do;^ which he prizes highh" since the riood. W'lien 
the \sater reached their brick residence, on W'asliington street, the familv toe)k 
to the roof. The buildiiiL; was washed awa\-. and great difricult}' was e.vper- 
ienced in keeping upon it. Time and again Mr. Kress cauujht one c>r the other 
of liis famih' just about to f.iil into the water, until Mrs. Kress dropjied in be- 
yond his reach. Tlien the faithful elog. which had lollowed the family to the 


roof, c.iiiL;ht Iilt \i\ the clotliinu; and held her until ^lic was rescued b}' her 

Among the heroes of tliis disaster — and some of them swept off in the 
flood will ne\er he known — John Stitt. a boy, should have a memorial in endur- 
ing granite. ffe was se\'enteen, and worked in tlie I'ennsyKania railruad 
machine shop at Ijkiirs\'ille. Alter helping to pull se\eral pei>ple out at the 
bridge, he went to the shops and came back with a !ocom(_)tive headbght. 
Standing on the bridge he turned it \\\\> way and that, imt only sa\'ing many 
from being dashed against the bridge, or cau-rht in the houses that cracked 
like egg-shells against it, but enabling others to get to the shore. Several 
times he was urged not to sta\'. but he kept his place and held tlie light, occa- 
sionally taking off his hat and sending up a cheer as he saw one after another 
safeh' reach the bank, 'bhen a wave larger than the others came, there was a 
crash, and noble little John, stdl with his saving headlight, w as washed awaw 

Elvie. the bright little dauL;hter of John Duncan, with her niDther and two 
younger sisters, ried to the roof. .\ telegraj'h pule crushed the roof and threw 
the two children into the flood. Without hesitation bra\-e I^hie jumped into 
the water, caught her drowning sisters and managed. b\ hard swimming, to get 
them to shore. The \oung heroine of this adventure received countless en- 
comiums for pluck and presence of mind which would ha\'e done honor to the 
manliest citizen of Johnstown. 

Joe Dixon, the wide-awake news dealer, wdio resembles Tom Thumb in 
size and build auiJ aspect, was hoisted out by aiu>ther lad. Edwaril Decker, just 
as tlie driftwood hurled his slaiui off its pins. Joe's father and infant sister 
were held between two houses In" the upturning. Both houses were carried 
down against the bridge. In sight of his wife ami children the father drowned, 
the water rising ami smothering him because of his in,il)iht\ to get from be- 
tween the buildings. His wife was so badly crushed that she will be crippled 
the remainder of her d.i\s. The children, including the babe in its fatlier's 
arms, were all saved. Friends in Pittsburgh, delighted with Joe's niank' forti- 
tude, raised money to erect him a new store and stock it nicely. The sup- 
port of liis mother and the }'ounger children, he is a veritable hercj in his simple 
daily life. 

Charles Hepenthal, aged iS, who" lives at East Liberty, was on his wa\' to 
•rhool at Bellefonte. \\'hen the train was stopped at Sang H(.illi.iw h\ the flood, 
the passengers left the cars to \iew the rushing water. Thev saw countless bodies 
floating by and \vere utterly powerless to bring them to shore. .\ small frame 
house came down the stream and floated into the eddy nearly ojiposite the 
train. The passen'_:ers got as cluse to the house as possible and heard the 
faint crying of a babe. Young Hepenthal expressed his determination to res- 
cue the chilli. Attempts were made to dissuade him from what seemed to be 
a foolhard}- act. but he persisted, Tlie bell-cord was cut from the cars and 

/r/:h'ofs.\r ix wik'/kd fo/ca/s. 


tied nrcmn<l iht: IumK of the youth, wlm swam to llu- house, in a few minutes 
emciyed with the habe in his arms anil hnuiiiht it to shore amid tlie cheers of 
tliecrowil. Thechiid's mother was still in the house and he went to get her 
out. Procuring a railroad tie he made anotlur trip to the house. After much 
dinictdt}- the woman was landed safely. The_\' hail scarcelx' left the lloating 
structurt:- when a sudd.en surge swept it into the stream and it was slkju out of 
sight. The mother and babe were well cared for and their brave young rescuer 
was the hero of the hour. 

lidw■ar^l Dick, a \ouni; railroader living at Lockport, saw an old man float- 
ing on a tree trunk. Tiie agonized face and streaming gray hair excited his 
compassion. He plunged into the torrent antl brought the okl man saiely 
ashore. Scarceh- had he done this ^\ilen the upper stor\- of-a house floated by 
with Mrs. Adams, of Cambria, and her two children. Me plunged in a.L;aiu, 
and while breaking through the tin roof of the house cut an artery in liis kft 
wrist. Although weakened from loss of blood, he succeeded in sa\ ing both 
mother and children. CuorLie Shore, another Lockport swimmer, pidled out 
William Jones, of Cambria, who was almost exhausted and could not possibly 
have survi\-ed twent}' minutes longer in the water. 

Genuine heroism does not always exhibit itself in active deeds which chal- 
lenge applause b\' their magnificent daring. There is another form, not so con- 
spicucHis. luit surely not Ie--s admirable. Patient, undaunted steadfastness to 
duty is a rare and comely \ irtue. Those who. in the face, of peril and e\en 
death itself, did not desrrt their posts were as certainly jiossessed of heroic 
qualities as the winners of b.ittles. Mrs. Ogle, the operator in charge of the 
Western Union telegraph ohice, was one of this class. For twenty-eight \ears 
she had been faithful to the trust reposed in her. The oiiice was located in a 
frame building next the Public Library, on Washington street. Heart and 
brain were enlisted in. her work. What messages of ]c-i\ and sorrow her nim- 
ble fingers had dispatched and recei\ed during the years that make up nearly 
the average of life I She had known \icissitudes and could sympathize with 
those to whom consolation i> a soothing balm. On the day of the flood Mrs. 
Ogle sat at the instrument who>e click meant so much. The w aters rose above 
tlie floor during the forenoon. Friends begged her to lca\ e. but she refused. 
News of washouts, detentions of trains and possible accidents was coming over 
the wires, with now and again a word of ^\arninli reL;arding the South F' irk 
f'\ni. To points below Johnstown tht- devoted woman repeated all such titl- 
ings. urging the operator^ to keep a sharp watch. .\t len'-Tth tlie waters threat- 
ened to co\er the tat'L- holding the little machine witii the- electric pulse. .V 
few light touches of the key and these wortls flashed to tlie stations west : 
'■ This is m)' Ui^t message 

To stav lon:_;er in the room would be foolish and useless. The wires w-ere 
groundim,' and in tV.e minutes would be silent. Then the bra\ e lad\- went up- 


THE sroRY oi' jo/ixsrow x. 

stairs, expcclinir to remain until the\\atcis sulKldeJ. That she anticipated 
her last hour was at liand is most im[>rnliat'le. Her ■■ last message " was, no 
doubt, designed to inform neii:;hboriiiL; operators that the waters had interfered 
with the wires and rendered further communications impossible. Yet the fact 
that she preferred to sta\- at her desk until dri\en to an upper room, resisting 


the entreaties of neiuhbors to u'o with them out (.f the wa\' of the risiUL; tide, 
shows the e.xalted courage of :\rrs. 0;,le. The real iidi.d descended two hours 
after she had been compelled to Iea\e the nftice. Tin' two-stor\ frame build- 
ing was a sjH-ck on the wave. With it borne the intrepid woman whom 

//KA'o/s.}/ /x r.iAw/:/) roA\ns. 


\v\v^. coiupetfnt service had ciuieaiL'd to tlie public. 'Mrs. 0,i,dc aiul her 
Liaii,L;htir. ^[i>^ Minnie, perished together. Her si^ti r. Mrs. Hir>t. went dnw n 
in the cr.ish of tile Pubhc Library. The bodies of nioth( r and daughter were 
found on the Point, close t<5 tlie tele^rraph instrnnient that had ticked the last 
intelli^;ence from Johnsto\sn. 

Mrs. Oi.;le was the widow of Hon. Charles Oule, of Somerset, whither the 
remains of herself and Miss Minnie were taken tor interinent-beside the hus- 
band and father. The family lived many )ears at SoInc■r^et. where the\ had a 
wide circle of relati\es and aC(]uai:Uances. Mr. 0,i,'le represented the district 
in CoiiLjress. acciuiriny celebrity Liy iiitrotliicim; the bill which abolished the 
service of gold-plate in the W hite House as at \ariance with the simplicity of 
a republican form of government. .\ftcr his death the support of the chil- 
dren devolved u[)on Mrs. Ogle, %vhom one son survives. He is the assistant- 
postmaster of Johnstown, and a _\oung man of high character. His manh' con- 
duct during and since the riood won him the warmest praises. It pro\ ed him 
to be a worth}' son of wortlu" parents. 

Two other telegraph operators and three messenger bo\s were lost. Tlie 
young men who rushed to Johnstown to manijiulate the wires and satisfs' the 
public hunger for details of the disaster were cast in the lieroic mould. The\' 
endured jirivations without a murmur, fixed instruments in sheds, on barrels, 
anvwliere and . everywhere, that the stricken communit\- might be in contact 
with the anxious, throbbing world, \ight and day. in rain a.nd sunshine, early 
and late they stuck by their keys and flashed industrious correspondents 
could glean in tlie har\'est-iield of desolation and death. A gentleman repre- 
senting an eastern journal wrote of these noble fellows in this strain of well- 
deser\ed eulogy : 

' The flood wiped the teleizr.iph Hnes out of existence for seven or eiL'ht miles through the 
Conemaugh valley, and dama;.;ed them all the uay into I'ittsburgh. Communication on the 
night of the disaster was restored over a few wires as far as Sang Hollow, three miles from 
]ohn.-;to'.vn, but nothing like regular service was possible until the next day Then operators 
were got as far as the south end of the railroad bridge, and linemen strung a few win.s over 
wrecked poles, trees and houses ;•! the same place. One of the fouror five buildings left stand- 
ing near that end of the brid.'e was a small shed used once for a coal-i.)Ui. and later for the 
storag'- of oil. It about ten by tifteen feet inside, and hi^h enouiih for an\\ man 
to stand upright in. There was a door which would not shut, and a square hole in one side did 
duty for a window. It was a very dirty, very damp and very dark hole. 'but it was the best that 
could be obtained, and within half an hour after reaching the spot the operators were at work in 
it Boards set up on barrels, and other supports around three sides of the shed did for desks. 
.\lmost anything from a nail-k.-g to a piece of scantling set on end did for a seat. Seven wires 
were got into this shed by Sunday, and seven men were there to operate them, but it was 
rarely that over two or three of the wires could be got to wrjrk at the same time The hasty 
manner in which they had been strung, and the continuous storm> weather kept the wires 
breaking down as fast as a force of linemen could find the trouble and fix them up 

"When the newspaper men from the East began to arrive on Mondav afternoon the v,ires 
wp.-e workirii.' pretty well, but the operators who had been on duty for twent> -four hours, con- 

]8o Tin: STORY or joh.xstouw. 

?tantlv sending pres^ inattrr for I'ittsbiir-^h and private message;-, liy the hundred, were com- 
pletelv exhausted. New York men were tlie ffl^t to tile stuiT [or the East. The chief operator 
groaned and the other operators writlied as they saw tlie matter be^in to pile up, but they 
didn't beg off or even miss a tick at the prospect of twenty-four hours of solid work that loomed 
up before them. The worst that any of them did was to breathe a few heartfelt prayers for 
the eternal salvation oi 'those pUi:^s at the other end.' The only L;rumblin:4. in fact, t'nat was 
done durintr the '..lio'e <.t this lout; stretch of work was at the poor <|uality of the operators at 
the Pittsburgh end of the wires, whose inc.ipacity, au.;mentin,c; the unusually hard W(irk, was 
something to set a tirst-class sending operator wild, and was the principal cause of uhat delay 
there was in sending press matter from Jchnstown 

" As darkness came on the trials of the operators were doubled. There was no lisln to be 
had at first, except from bits of candles set on end ; afterward one or two miner's lamps, and 
finally a real lantern and a naphtha torch were added lo the illuminatini; properties of the ofhce. 
All together thev gave about as much li.^ht as two ordinary gas jets. The copy was written on 
all sorts of paper with all sorts of lead pencils, by all sorts of men, under all sorts of unfavor- 
able conditions. It was a weirdly variegated and distressingly illegible lot of manuscript. The 
operators were so exhausted that they could scarcely retain their seats on their rude benches 
and stools. They were so blinded by the poor light and the long hours of work that they could 
scarcely see the manuscript. The wires were heavy, and were grounded frequently by the w ind 
and rain. Everything went to Pittsburgh, and the receivers there were a collection of excru- 
ciatingly chumpy chumps, speaking from a sending operator's point of view. Yet the stuff was 
sent off somehow or other, by far the greater part "i it in time for use in the next morning's 
papers, and with an accuracy that, under the circumstances, was fairly wonderful, .\t ti\ e o'clock 
the next morning the operators were still at work upon some remnants of press stulf and 
upon the private mes-sages which had been accumulating during the night. They gave out rap- 
idly, however, after that, and by six o'clock wandered off to find sleep in whatever corner they 
happened to drop down. 

"By six o'clock there was only one wire working, and the only man left able for duty was 
the chief. Jack Edwards, a little fellow with red hair, a red mustache, a freckled face, and a 
gritty eye. He may be pretty under the ordinary circumstances of civilized life, but that morn- 
ing, after forty-eight hours of work in that hole, with his clothes dirty and dishevelled, several 
days' beard on his face, and his eves bleared with weariness and from the poor light, he was a 
pretty hard-looking customer. The only thing that was beautiful about him was his grit, and 
that was exceedingly fair to behold In spite of tlie conditions under which he l.ibnred, he had 
got out of that old oil-shed during the forty-eight preceding hours more matter, prcljably, than 
had ever been sent in the same time by any seven operators in the employ of the Western 
Union Company. No man ever got more service out of the same number of wires than he got 
during these forty-eight hours out of the wires from Johnstown to Pittsburgh, and no man ever 
had poorer wires to work with, at that. Every moment, almost, the breaking down of a wire 
would necessitate a new combination of instruments and wires to keep things moving, and as 
fast as one combination was fixed up down would go another wire. The mere keeping of the 
wires straight would have been a tmi-h job. but Viesides this Edwards was for most of the time 
rece'-'ng clerk, cashier, superintendent of the delivery service, battery man and chief lineman, as 
well as wire chief and chief operator. When not otherwise engaged he also worked a key himself, 
to take the place of an exhausted operator. The way in which he kept his head thrciugh all these 
manifold duties was marvellous It was all in his head, for there were no other facilities to 
help him. There were not even hor.ks to hang messau'es on, F'ress stuff as fast as received 
was filed in the left pocket of his sack-coat ; private messages went into the right pocket. Xine- 
tenths of the pre=s stuff was being filed a few pages at a time ; from tuo to half-a-dozen men 
were filing stuff for each paper. To keep each paper's stuff together and to avoid mixing the 

///■:a'()/sj/ /.v r.iR/KD iorms. i8i 

=.tulT (it different men addressed to the same paper was alone a task worthv of an expert in hand- 
uritini; and human nature, tor it tal<es extensive knowledge of human nature to enable a chiei 
operator to tell, when a frenzied individual thrusts half a dozen pages of loose manuscript into 
his hand, ejaculates ' Here's some more of that; get it oft as soon as you can.' and ruslies 
away, just at what point in a pocket stulied with manuscript those particular half-dozen sheets 
are to be inserted. Clear irrit anJ a cool head, however, carried Chief Operator Edw-ards and 
the acres of columns of special matter and hundreds of private telegrams safely through those 
first forty eiyht hours, and that they did so was a mighty good thing for the press of the country 
and f(.ir the people who patronized the press. If he had ever got rattled and mixed things, the 
manner in which that pocketful of specials, always being drawn from, but continuallv kept 
as full as Fortunatus's purse, would have got into the various newspaper -ffices would have 
horrified the editors and have shocked the public, if the public had ever got a chance to read it. 
though the chances are that its conditi.m would have been so appallins that no attempt would 
have been made to print it 

"More operators arrived the next day. and things were a little easier for the men. but thev 
still had to work at least twelve hours a day. to eat whatever they could pick up from the relief 
stores, and to sleep wherever they could find a place to lie down, Miist of them hired a room 
in a small frame house near, and by lying close together, sardine fashion, seven or eight of them 
could sleep on the floor at once. As soon as the night men got up the day men took their 
places. That was the best bed any of them had for ten days after the flood. The office for 
that time remained in the oil-shed without any improvement in the facilities. The Pittsburgh 
managers of the Western Union seemed to have been completely paralyzed by the extent of the 
damage doneto their wires by the tl',od There was no reason why a decent office and com- 
fortable quarters should not ha\e been provided in Johnstown within three days, while thev 
could almost have built a new line from Pittsbursh in the time they took to fix up the old one. 
Higher officials of the company from Chicago and other cities finally arrived and took charge of 
matters. The lines were then quickly extended across the river and into the room that was 
cleaned out in the office building of the Cambria Iron Company. The oi|-shed was then 
abandoned and the operators installed in comfortable chairs at real desks. 

" After the first couple of days Manager Munson. an old Western I'nion man. had charge 
of things in Johnstown during the d.iy but the bulk of the work, so far as press matter was con- 
cerned, continued to fall on Chief Edwards and his night gang, which was made up most of the 
time of Robert McChesney. assistant chief, and M. J Chamlev, George S Fairman. X. F. 
Hunter, W. E. Record, William Buckholdt. Samuel T'eering and R J, Koons" 

The newspaper mull beliaved splendidly, doin:; a service to mankind the 
full difticulty i)f which the busy, practical, hard-headed worlil ilid not stop to 
tltink al'Oiit. It was the cTpportunity of a centurw the bi^j^'est item in Aincr- 
can history, and every paper in the Unitetl States realized its transcendent 
'importance. The ablest writers were despatchcil at once to the flooded dis- 
trict, which it required no small effort to reach. How the\' printed the horrible 
particulars, keeping; the public posted every hour of the da\-. is known wherever 
newspapers are read. But of the privations and endurance iin(.)l\ed in pre- 
paring the glowing cohimns whose minutest details were dt.'\oured v\ ith feverish 
impatience few know anything. The occasion had cemie to put to the se\-erest 
test the mettle of the press, nor were heroes lacking to use it to the best ad- 
vantage. Provided the facts be told, what matter that hard-.hips be exper- 
ienced ^ Little cared the pencil-pusher that his food was the coarsest, his seat 


the hard ^idi; of a hrick pile, his restinL;-phice in the open air, his desk a coal- 
shove! ! Tile true newspaper u:an ne\er fails tij respond to the call ot dnty, 
and jnst then diit\\\as sumnionini,' him ^vith a trnnipet \oice such as earth has 
seldom or never heard. 

Who arrived first on the urotnid is a mooted poiin. The number claiming 
the h.onor is as L;reat as the servants of Washington, or the survivors of Wat- 
erloo. The Harrisburg Ti/ri^ra/n \\ as prcibably the onl\- outside paper whose 
representati\e happened to be on the spot. He was remforce'd as (piickly as 
writers and artists could get through. Wonderful celerity was displayed in 
tra\eling to the scene of hc>rror. Special trains v>ere chartered, wagons were 
hired, and no expense was spared to accomplish the prime object — penetrate 
Johnstown and send the news. Pittsburgh was the nearest city and its lead- 
ing papers rose to the emergenc\-. One of the brightest of the young men 
from the Smoky City furnished this \-ivid sketch : 

■' It was half-pabt five o'clock on Fridav evenint; when the first news of tin- flood reached 
Pittsburuh. .\ number of queries were sent out by the different newsp.ipers to several available 
points, asking; for more definite information as to the e.\tent of the flood and irs destruction. 
When, after an hours delay, a perfect flood of messages telling of the horror came over the 
wires to Pittsburgh, the keen discernment which always characterizes the newspaper man as- 
serted itself. A few minutes after seven o'clock the D'upntLh and the Tnii,-s had chartered a 
train, which went flying off in the direction of Johnstown Charles S. Howell and Captain 
Montreville, of the Times, and L. E. Stofiel and James Israel, of the Dni-iUdi. were on board. 
Almost at the same time W, C. Connelly, jr , of the Associated Press, touether with the Cmii- 
mei-Lial-Gazeilc, the /'■'•/ and C»ronic/e-Ti.\-;;r,i/'ii, chartered a train, which followed immedi- 
ately. On this train were Parker L., of the C>'ii;:iiiiu'-Tti ■--r„/'ri ; Frank X, Burns, of 
the Cnwnu-rcuii-C'.-.ctlc ; Robert W. Herbert, of the Post : and H. W Orr, chief operator of the 
Pittsburgh bureau of the .Associated Press. This train reached Bolivar, twenty miles west of 
Johnstown, about 10:30 p. m.. where the first train had stopped, locomotion being impossible 

"It was pitch dark and rainin.; hea\ ily, but the men were there prepared to face any dan- 
ger to obtain the news for their respective papers They had no sooner dismounted from their 
trains than tl.ev started in detachments across the mountains, some on foot and some in wagons, 
in the direction of New Florence, which was reached between two and three o'clock in the 
morning. Here they could see the reflection of the burning wreck at the stone bridge several 
miles up the valley. 

'.Vfter a jouruev of several miles in mud and slush, acrijss ravines, up ini.iuntains, and 
down steep hill-sides, ^Messrs. Hov.cll and Mnntreville captured a wive at New Florence and 
sent out one of the first messa'.ies that arrived in Pittsburgh from the devastated valley Mr. 
Connelly captured another telegraph wire at New Florence, and found it intact. It was then 
that his forethouaht in bringing Mr. Orr with him to the scene proved invaluable. In a few 
moments Orr had the telegraph instrument attached to the patched-up wire, sending the news 
of the Associated to every city in the country simultaneously with the messages which 
Messrs. Howell and Montreville were lucky enough to get over the wires a short distance away. 
The Tl'j.', Ci'K:i:\-r,/,!/ Oriz.-.'.w and Oi'.'';/.-,'i-- /'.7.;;'/v.'/.-i reporters, finding the /.'.'," ^'."v in possess- 
ion of the office nearest to Xew Florence, wasted no time in scattering themselves along the line 
of the Penns-' Ivania railroad until they were able to send from different stations a rich harvest 
of the news gathered on the eventful trip over the mountains and up the valley at the dead o£ 

HEROISM !X r.lRfJ-l' /■(>/: MS. 183 

'■ Nearly all the morning papers in I'ittsbiiruh issutil extra editions until noon on Saturday, 
ttlien the /'/••...■. Cii>.')iuif-'!\:,-^r,:r'! and I.i'iuUr appeared on tlie streets with additional details, 
gathered by their representatives \\ ho reached the scene nf tlie calamity before noon, Ituas 
not until late Saturday ni^ht that a wire could be put in operation from any point within sr^ht 
of Johnstown. Then a sin>;le wire was of comparatively little use, considerinf; the vast vol- 
ume of news that had accumclated in the hands of the indelatif;able reporters. Hence thev 
were compelled to travel lor m:le> ^n foot down the valley to difierent stations between Jolins- 
to\\n and Bolivar \'^> send thetr messages 

"When Johnstown tinally penetrated a coal-shed on the hill side above the stone 
bridge, where the drift had accumulated and taken lire, furnished temp(\ .juarters for tele- 
graphic headquarters .\ brick-kiln near by furnished shelter, if such it niii;ht be called, for 
the reporters, uho carried on their work for several nights and days without catching a 
hours sleep to renew their vigor, which kept constantly diminishing from want of food and 
rest, until several of them were compelled to end their labors from sheer e.vhaustion. A 
scanty supply of 'rations arrived on Sunday night, when the brick-kiln and pug-mill adjoining 
became the permanent uorkini:, eating and lodging houses of the newspaper men 

" The Tinui and Pra.! took possession of the first floor of the pug-mill, u hile the Associated 
Press and C!n-L'iiicL- 7W,','.-;,*« established headquarters in the upper floor of the structure The 
Diipr.lih and I.cadir t0'->k joint possession of an old wood-shed in the neighborhood, the L,ciJ,r 
occupying it in the morning and the /Jisft:,'./: during the afternoon and night. The C<'iii//:tT< /'<:/- 
Ciizelh- took charge of a section of a brick-kiln, and the P'si joined forces with the Associated 
Press and C/h\')::< /.■- T,\'c\^.'.:r ■': in tlie pug-mill By this time the work of sending out messages 
from a permanent headquarters had comnienceii It was a clear caie of working under diffi- 
culties for all concerned. Slabs of nre-biick perpendicular boards of the wall, barrel-heads, 
coffin-covers, shovel-bottoms — in fact, anything that could support their paper — were put to use 
as writing-desks. 

"The shaky floor of the old shed was full of ugly holes, and to enter the place in the 
darkness of night was to place one s life in jeopard) John S Kiienour, of the /'.-.'. tell twtnr\ 
feet, wedging between timbers and so severeh injuring himself tint he compelled to lea\e 
for liome to secure medical aid Sam Kerr, of the /.i,;./. '. was also on the brink of eternity, 
having fallen from the top of a house in the drift when the foundation began to gue way under 
him. Had he not been rescued by one of his colleagues he could not have escaped drowning. 
Clarence M. Bi\by. of the /I'.-v. while crossing the railroad trestle about one o clock in the 
morning, fell through the gaps into the water below A timely rescue saved hint from a 
watery grave His injuries were dressed by a physician who h.ippened to be in the neighbor- 
hood relieving the sufferers ai thai time 

" The culinary department was taken charge ot-by Tom Keen.m, of the /';;■.>., With an old 
coHee-pot taken from the debris at the l»ridge, some canned corned beef, a few boxes of 
crackers, a few quarts of condensed milk and a bag of unground ooftee. he was soon enabled to 
get up a meal for his srarvini; comrades which was the envy of those in the neighborhood who, 
. while hungry, did n.jt belong 10 the band of scribes, whont they looked upon as a lot of 
lu.\urious revellers. 

" By Monday the force of flegiaph operators at the press headquarters had been increased 
;nd by evening a number 5Uilii:ienc to establish night and day forces were at work Food be- 
came more plentiful, and soon everything about the place had discarded the garb of hunger 
and fandne. and the reporters and operators worked with renewed vigor and increased effort- 
By this time the reprf.sentatives of the Eastern and Western press began to arrive, while the 
Pittsburgh papers increased their force everv hour The Xew York S:i/t men got 3= far as Har- 
risburg over the Pennsylvania railroad. There thev were compelled to turn back and reach 
Jolinstown bvvvay of .\lbanv . Cleveland and I'ittsbiirgh. one detachment comins: bv way of 

iS4 '^'^ff'' STORY nj- joj/\sro\fX. 

Haltimore on a special train Tlie //<r<z ('..-'. ll'.ir/,!, 7"/w.y and /V//"///.'!' reporters, touether with 
the St, Lriuis iii- ' L-Ih ui,i,r,:t men (who came from Washington), took the routt' liy Chambers- 
burg, over the mountains o[ West Virginia, coverins; ovtr one hundred and tiftv miles in wag- 
ons. Husby, of the Chicago /hI,-i-0,,-:ii, got in on foot from Sang Hollow Uceiing, of the 
New York M.ii! ,ni./ £x/'rcjs, followed suit. Their experiences were varied and often quite 

The hardships and c-xpcpsiircs iif these tr}in.L,' days and ni.tjhts sowed the 
seeds of disease in more than one of the enterjirisiny writers for the press. 
F. Jennin'_:s Crute. a liriyht and briUiant wielder ut the Faber. attaclied to the 
statf of the Philadelphia /''f-.o'. contracted a cold which settled on his lnnL;s. 
Consnniption set in. endin'.; the proniisin.i;' life on December 3d. Yoiuij.,' Crute 
was a slight, fair-haired lioy in appearance, gentle and tender as a woman, 
loved by all who knew liim. His work could be classed with that of tlie oldest 
and most experienced. It was his incisive attacks that rid Piiiladelphia of 
many dens of vice. He laid down the pencil to go to the hospital, and died in 
tlie liarncss. 

The first issue of the Johnstown Tribune, after an interruption of two 
weeks b\' the tlood, displaced the hand of a hero and jihilosopher at the helm. 
Mr. George I. Swank filled eleven columns with the names of the living who 
liad registered, following with eight columns of " Identified Dead." .\ story 
ftdl of pathos, told as only an eye-witness could of the catastrophe, commenced 
with these two plain, unaffected paragraphs : 

'■ Well, the reservoir came, and Johnstown went visiting Some of us oiy very long visits 
indeed — never to come back. 

" .\11 that is left to most of us is tlie ground the town was built on, and even that is not the 
same " 

The employes of the TribiincwcxQ getting the paper reach' for publication 
on the e\'ening of the flood. The streams were already- pouring down the 
valley and inundating tlie streets. The editor sat near his telephone, and as 
different incidents were reported he spread them on paper and they were soon 
in t\'pe. This matter, consisting of two columns, compiled on that ever-to- 
be-remembered Friday, appeared in the issue of June 14th. --each paragraph 
speaking," as Mr. Swank remarked, "like a voice from the dead." 

The citizens of Bolivar. Nineveh and Xew Florence did nolily. On them 
devohed the saddest tasks. Into their hands the Coiiemaugh had given up 
hundreds of its dead, and ric;ht reverently were the\- accorded the last rites of 
humanit}-. The labor and strain imposed on the small towns were tremendtnis. 
Their '-nrk was done without a grumble. Thus out of all the ruin and loss of 
property- and life, ana over ail the agony which rent so man\- hearts, there rise 
clear and beautiful instances of heroism which pro\ e, e\(;n in contrast with the 
depra\it_\- shown side b_\- side with them, the iiobilit>- of human nature. 

Cora Moses, who used to sing in a church choir, sang ■•Jesus, Lo\ er of 
M}- Soul," as she drifted awa_\- to her death amid the wreck. She died =ing- 


ill" it. There was onh' tlie crash of buildings between the interruption of the 
sohl; of eartli and its continuation in hea\en. Another Avoman. whom the 
(lood widowed, said : 

" I hunttd a \or\i time vesterdax fnr tlie foundations of my little home, but they were swept 
a\v.iv. \\Ve tlic- dear facta of the fri.-inJs u ho used to gather around our table liut God doesn't 
own tliis side alone , He owns th.e other side too, and all is well whether we are here or there 
You who are left livin:; must go to v.orl; with a will Be men, be women ! " 

Tliere were herciines wliose deeds rivaled those of the sterner sex. On 
Tuesday morning; hrborers piiUin^ over a wast pile of timber and miscellaneous 
matter on Main street found I'eneath the mass, whicli was as hi^^h as tlie sec- 
ond-stor\- windows, a \ouns v.oman and a puny infant. The u'irl must lia\e 
been handsome in the flush of youth and health. She had seized the helpless 
babe and endeavored to hnd safety by lli^^ht. Her brown hair was hlled with 
sand, and a piece of brass wire was wound around the head and neck. A 
loose cashmere gown was partially torn fr(jm her form, and one slipper — a little 
bead-embroidered affair — co\'ered a silk-stockinged foot. Each arm was tightly 
clasped around the baljy. The rii;idit\- of death should have passed away, but 
the arms were fixed in their position as if composed of an unbendable material 
•nsteai.i of muscle and bone. The fingers were imbedded in the sides of the 
baby as if its protector had made a final effort not to be separated and to save 
if possible the fragile lite. The faces of both were scarred and tiisfigured from 
contact with floating debris. The single garment of the baby — a thin white 
slip — was rent and fra\'ed. The body of the young woman was identified, but 
the babe remained unknown. Probably its father and mother were lost in the 

Delicate ladies, nurtured in luxury, braved disease and danger, slept in 
sheds and attics and ate the roughest food that they might nurse patients 
whom the strain brought ni'-;h the gates of death. Florence Nightingale. Emily 
I^'aithful and Elizabeth Fr\' had their counterparts in these gentle messengers 
of ■■goodwill towards men." Their soft touch smoothed the pillow of the 
d\'ing, cooled the aching brow and chased awa_\' pain as medicine could ne\er 
have done. Before their gentle presence vice and meanness cowered. They 
cheered the discouraged, comforted the berea\ed. relie\ed the suffering and 
inspired the wavering. The depressed took courage, the despairing received 
a fresh stimulus to honorable effort. 

Children also exhibited heroic traits. Dr. James J. Fronheiser, General 
"Superintendent of the Cambria Iron Works, lived on Main street. His house 
was one of the last to go. aiul he himself, his wife, two daughters, son and bab\. 
Were thrown into the racing torrent. His wife ami one daughter were lost. 
He, with tile baby, reached a }>iace of safety, and his ten-year-okl bo\- Jacob 
and twelve-\ear-old uirl Mamie tloated near enough to be reached. He caught 
Mamie, but she cried : 

" Let me go. papa, and save Jacob. My lei; is broken and my foot is caught below." 

1 86 


rroR 1 ■ ( '/•' /( y/.\s /■( ' irx. 

When he tokl her lie was determined to rescue her. she exclaimed : 

" Then, papa. ^;ft a ^harp knifi' and tut my k-i; off I can't stand it 1" 

The h'ttle fellow cri-d to his father : 

" You can t save me, papa Both m\ feot are cau^-ht fast and I can't hold out any longer. 
I'leasc gci a pistol and shoot me, but don't let me drown ! 

Captain Ga'-;eb\. of tlie ariiA , and some of the neic;hbors helped rescue 
both children. Mamie displayed Spartan fortitude and pluck. .Ml ni^ht she 
lay in a garret, without a mattress, coxering. medicine or attention, witliout a 
niurimir or a whisper, the water reachino xo the Hoot below. In tlx' morning 
she ^^ as carried down stairs, her leg daimhiii: under her. l>ut when she saw her 
father at the foot of the steps she ■whispered to Captain Ciayeb_\': 
" Poor papa : he is so sad ' " 

Then turning to her father she threw a kiss witii her hand aiul laughinglj- 
said : 

" Gond mornine, papa, lam all right," 

The plucky littU- thing cot alony handsomely and the bo\- suttered no ill 
conseiiuences from his immersion. 

A poor woman ami her little girl, four years old., stood idh on Lincoln 
street. Speaking to the cluld. she looked at me with staring e\es and saiil 
nothing. •• She was born where that sand pile is," said the mother, pointing 
to a niound from which some bits of wootl protruded, "and her father and two 
brothers are underneath it. " Blinding tears checked her utterance. Then 
the dear child turned her face to the weeping parent and said : 

" Don't ky, mamma ; oo knows go's dot me to love oo !" 

This was comfort, and the sorrowing woman smiled as she lifted her dar- 
ling in her arms and kissed her again and again. She was read\' to take up 
the burden of life once more for the sake of the one tie which l<ound her to 
earth. Ten rods from that spot a mother and a bab\- were found dead. In 
her effort to save the child the j^oor woman had bent her boiiv over it. 
keeping the ruins from crushing out the infant life. But this was no hindrance 
to the ■water, which drowned both. 

One woman, after washing the corpse of her husband on Frida\' night, 
strove to forget her own great sorrow in ministering to others. Before Satur- 
da\'s sun rose she had prepared nineteen bodies for the tomb and spoken 
words ol syiuiiath}' to scores of stricken mourners. The forms of heroism had 
no limit, neither were they conlined to any age, or condition. These were the 
silver lining to the dark cloud, irradiating the de>olated valley and pouring 
balm into thousands of despontlent souls, 

Blc-.s these heroic --pirits everv one I 

■'•Mil ;-■' :;i ,., 

ij •'<. 




- >ii 


I.N' I'ROSI'ECl- 11(1,1,. 

/f7 ^ //^i^ 



Multitudes of Bodies to be Taken from the Debki-- and Interred — Improvised 
Morgues and Their Gha^tlv Tenants — Agonizin.. Spectacles — Rough Boxes for 
Unsiiroudei) Corpses — Over the Hill to a Temporary Burial-Place — Hundreds 
Unidentified — Nineveh's Dismal Cargoes — Crazed by Grief — Final Removal to 
Grand View — Coroner's Inouests — Where Sorrow Held Undisputed Sway — The 
Most Mournful Duty tii\t Fell to the Lot of Survivors. 

ve builded the liouses that lie arou 
n e\ cry nouk i.( ihi^ burial-yruuiui 
Mother and daughter, lathe 
But coM'.e thev strangers, or C( 
■-ather them In - I gather th 

I SI.' 



HE I^IOST [If rplexin;:,' prolilem that ever taxed the 
human mind was thu disposal nf the niultitiidus 
of the dead at lnhnstnwn. Three thousand 
corpses were tangled in tlie fragments of two 
ihousantl buildings, half-buried in cellars, stre\Yn 
along the banks of the streams, hing in streets 
and \ards and concealed beneath masses of rub- 
bish. Battles had been more destriicti\-e and 
had left greater nnmbeis to be put out of sight. 
but the i.leparted \sarriors lay on the surface of 
the ground and could readih' be thrown into 
trenches. Here twn-thirds of the bodies could 
not be extricated without \ast labor, --o ent\\ined 
were the_\' with the rubbish and tlie barl)ed wire 
the Gautier mill. June had dawned and hot weather must breet! pesti- 
. Faces of victims staretl from e\erv pile of refuse and glareti at one trcHii 
heap of sand. Undertakers had been swept awa}' ^\itll their wares. 



funoral supplies were not at hand and no trains coidd t;et ^\ithin miles of the 
town. The J)la;-;ue in London and the yellnw fe\ er at Memphis (hvarf into 
insignificance beside such a comlnnation ol distresses and ohstrnctions. Mathe- 
maticians can solve Euclitl. and regiments of soldiers can speeilily put a few 
pho\els of earth ii\er their fallen comrades. A million men could not in a day — 
or a week, for that matter — reach tlie mutilated, crushed, swollen forms which 
made a lart;e jiercenta^e of the litter which had twisted and snarled and inter- 
laceil the ruins of the ConemauL;h \'alle\- into complex shapes. Could a sit- 
uatioi: be more ,i;hasth' ? 

Two or three dozen bodies were ccred for on Friday c\enin^. because they 
remained in buildings which tlid not float otl and were easily accessible. The 
real woik of takin;.; them out be;-;an on Saturday morning. The school house 
on Adams street, in the Fourth Ward, was selected as a morgue and to it the 
first bodies Were convc\ed. The same da\- Deputy-Sheriff James Williams 
opened one at M(jrrellville. and another was estaldished in a planing-mill at Nin- 
eveh. On Sunda\' similar reptisitories were opened in the Pennsyhania rail- 
road station, the Presb\"terian Church and in St. Columba's Church. Cambria 
Borough. SuL>se(]uenth" the station-morgue was transferred tu the MiUviUe 
school-house, which became the [:;eneral morgue after most of the bodies had 
been reco\ered arid the necessity fcjr seiiarate establishments no Ioniser ex- 
isted. For nianv- da\s bodies were plentiful as logs, the whirl of the waters 
putting them under the boards and timbers. The rigidity of . arms standing 
out at ri:4lit ani^les to the bloati'd and battered Imdies shciwed that death, in 
ninet\-nine cases out of a hundred, took place amid the rums — that is. after 
the wreck of houses had closed o\er them. The bruisin;; by trees and other 
debris, with exposure in the water or the open air. tended to hasten decom- 
position, making hast\" interment irnperati\'e. 

My first \isit to the morujue in the Fmirth ward — the onl\- one yet estab- 
lislied — was tarh" on Saturda\ afternoon. Passing through the throng in the 
yard and the vestdiule. tift\--ihree Imdies were counted in the room on the 
right. They were stretched on boards along the tops of the tlesks. Next the 
entrance law in her damp clothiu'::. the waiter-^irl who had serx'ed my last din- 
ner at the tlulbert House, with anotlier of the dining-room girls by her side. 
Some of the corpses were discolored by blows and badly cut, and others were 
frightfully contorted. The glassy eye-balls, open mouths and agonized ex- 
pressions presented a fearful spectacle. One sweet little girl of three years 
lav c.^ a deak, the wet clothes clinging to the tin\- form. Her face resembled 
wax and wore a smile, just as if she slept peacefully in her bed at home. .Many 
tears tlowed at the si^ht of the lo\el}- child cold in death, still so wond.erfully 
life-like. Beside her lay a baby, and in the same room were ranged a dozen 
others of tender xx-ars. A few had been wrapped in cotton and all wvere" 
washed clean. In the little room back, on a bench, reposed Samuel Eldridge, 


the ('lie policeman who peri-hed. A cloth-covereil casket was at the iloor to 
leceive his remains. A procession of visitors lilei.1 past constantl\ . tr<,in,i; to 
i-jentif\ the bodies. Latt r the corpses were cottincd and phiced ontside. 
Tacked to each Ciittin-htl. w hich was partly open tliat the face niiuht be \ isible. a nnmbered card with a description of the l)od\- — color. se.\. hei,L;lit, weight, 
proliablc age. comjile.xion. st\le of dress ami articles tonml cm th.e remains. 
Many were recognized and claimed by this means, while still more lay nniden- 
tilud. What could appeal more touchingly to a compassionate heart than 
these nptnrned faces, so quiet and passionless, whom none knew or wept o\er. 
They suggested Browning's lines on visiting a •■house of the dead ' in Paris : 

■OtiK the t'. Ti,- lirJe Mor-ue: 

The dead-liouse where >ou !.hi.\v \our dro«ne^l, 
Petrarch's \ ..ucluse makes pn.ii.l theSoraue. 

Your Morsiic maHe the Seine renowned. 
First came tiie silent gazers: iieM. " ' * 
Last, the siglit's self, the serinun's text. * * • 

Men who had lived but ycsterda\ . 

Each on his coijper couch, they lay 
Fnmtins me, waitin? to be'owned : 
I thought and think their sins atoned." 

When a body was recovered men carried it on a stretcher to the morgue. 
On S,iturda3' tlii^ labor had to be performed under great disativantages. owing 
to the depth of water stii! remaining, the enormous mass of wreckage and the 
softness of the mud. \'ehicles coukl not be employed, as the streets were 
effectually blockaded and fonr-hfths of the horses and wagons gone. Arri\ed 
at the morgue, tlie clothing of the corpse was searched, in case the tlood had 
left a shreti of apparel on tlie b.>dy, and the result inventoried. \'aluables 
were handed to tlie proper authorities. I'sually it was absolute]\- necessary to 
turn a stream of water throuuli a hose on the bodies, which were thickh' coated 
with mire. Often knives had to be used to scrape off the detiliii!; filth and 
congealed blood. There was no attempt at embalming the first day. for no 
appliances could be had- The same reason compelled putting man\- of the 
corpses in rough bo.xes, without shrouds or any change from the wet clothing 
the lifeless clav had worn the dav before. It was hartl to consign lieautiful 
girls and innocent children to such receptacles, but no alternative remained. 

The cemeteries couK! not be reached from Johnstown. Sandxvale was cox- 
ered with water and the spoils of the flood, and the bridges leading to Grand 
\'iew had been washed away. E.\cept to the people of I\ern\ille no road was 
open to any burial-place. In this dire strait a piece of ground back of Pros- 
pect was ti.xed upon as a tempiirary graveyard. On Sunda\- nujrnmg the inter- 
ments began. .\ rope ferry and a lot of boats that leaked like sie\es con- 
veyed the botlies across Conem.uigh Creek. Men bore them up the steep 
hill— a most toilsome ascent. At the appointed spot laborers plied spades 
and picks, digging shallow graves. The soil was gra\elh- and full of stones. 
Into one of these holes each coffin was let down and the dirt shoN'eled in. A 

1 9 2 77//: >^ /•( ) A' ) ■ ( '/•■ _/( }//.\y roil w: 

Lard nailed on a bit uf Imartl, coircjiKindmL; witli the ta^; on the casket-Hd, re- 
cited all that was kiniwn ruL;ardnr_; tlie iinc<->ii>cious sluiiiberer. There were 
no gaiuh' trajijiinu'^ ot wcr, no niournin;,' ,L;arl)s. no notldinL; pluaies, no capar- 
isoned steeds, no llural enililenis. no InniJ train of carriai;es, no tolling; hells. 
no\\(jrds of ei'.loi^y. no (!;n;e>. no prayer^, mi tears. Wnie sa\e tiie l)earers of 
the tmrtlens and the ^ra\ e-diL;uers \,itnessed thi_ la--t riti's o\ er main a fair 
woman and brave man. cle\er bo\' and \\'iusoine i;irl. There were no religious 
services and no snrpliced cleri;\ to nttt-r the solemn words : 

■■ Eartli to earth, nshes to ashes, diiit to du^t '" 

The water receded sufficiently lor bodies to be reclaimecl on Sunda\ from 
the Point and Cand>ria I'Mirou-h. A hnl named Daxis was the first taken 
from the area of the bm ned di'-trut abo\e the railroad bridi:e. Soon after a 
famil}' of five — father, mother and three children — were pulled from the smok- 
ing ruins, charred and di-fiL,'ured terribly and one of the little girls uith an 
arm torn otf. The dead clustered thickK in the heaps of wreck and the 
cellars. h'roin the basement of the llulbert House twelve were taken, and 
forty more of tlie guests from the streets m the vicinit\ «;>f the hotel. The 
work of rescuing the bodies went ahead so diligenth' that within a week nearly 
two thousand hatl been reco\tred and buried. The ad\anceil staije of decom- 
position rendered identilication \er\' difficult in Inindreds of cases, leading to 
endless confusion.. A person \\(iuld \ iew a liody and identify it as a relati\e 
or friend, while the ne.\t comer would call it an entirely different iiidi\ iiiiial. 
One corpse was identified as elexi'U \oung ladies in a single afternoini. Miss 
Minnie Shaffer, a clerk, who went to the country the day before the flood, was 
recognized in a corpse at the ?ilill\ lUe morgue and Inirietl. was recoj;nixed and 
buried at Nineveh, and returin-d ali\e and well the second week in June. In 
some instances the survivors were so benumbed that every corpse the\ Icnikeii 
upon seemed to be that of a near friend or relatixe. Mrs. }{. L. Peterson, a 
resident at A\"ood\ale for years, while looking for Miss Paulson, of Pittsburgh. 
came to a coffin marked : 

"Mrs. H. L. Peterson, Woodville BoroUi;h, Fa,, aged about fort), size five feet one incli, 
complexion dark, weight about Xwo hundred pounds 

This was quite a good description of Mrs. Peterson. She tore the card 
from the coffin ami one of tlie officers was about to arrest her. Her explana- 
tions "were satisfactriry. she was rt.'leasetl and the b(id\- added one more to the 
long list of th.e unknown. At St. Columba's Catholic Church a woman identi- 
fied a bodv as that of Katie Frank. The undertakers labeled it accordingh-. 
but in a few moments another woman entered the church, r.'iised the lid of the 
coffin, scanned the face of the and tore the label from t!ie casket, Tlu- 
undertakers were warned by tlie \vomaii to be more careful. She then beL;an 
to weep and left tJte church in despair. She was the mother of Katie, who 
was never found. 

n/SPOS.lL OF 77/ E 7)1:AD. 


Skilled assistance was not withhekl. The rittshiu'L;!) undertakers organ- 
ized a r<.-lie{ corps on June ist. In response to a message askini; how iuan\ 
physicians were neeiied. tliis lacnnic answer was received on Saturthn' e\eii- 
inii from Sani; Hollow, the nearest point to Johnstown which had telegraphic 
communication : 

"Physicians are not needed ; send as many undertakers as possible " 

Tliis messa,f,'e was received by Undertaker fames J. Flannerw who hastih' 
issued a call for a meetim; of the undertakers of l'ittslmrL;h antl Allei;hen\- at his 
office at 9.30 the same night. Representati\ es of t\ventv-ei'_;ht undertaking 
establishments attended and \olunteered their services. At eight o'clock on 
Simday morning the' volunteers left for Johnstown. The corps was made up of 
seventeen undertakers and numerous assistants. ^^r. Flauner\' remained in 
Pittsburgh imtil Monday to superintend the obtaiuint; of recruits and shipping 
embalming supj'lies. He enlisteti a number of other undertakers, and on 
]\londay mornini; started for jr>hnstown with a strong additional force, swell- 
ing the total tofifty-lue. .\mong those who arrived later on were II. C. Tarr. 
of Brooklyn, X. Y. , who rode one hundred and eighty-one miles o\erland to 
tender hii services as an embaliner. During the hrst few da\-s the full corps 
were kept constantly at work washing. end);dming and preparing the dead for 
burial — a task to which e\en these experienced men were hardh' equal. The 
sights they were conipeiled to v.itness. the terrible grief of some of the sur\-i- 
vors, the dazed condition of others, coupled with the horrible and 5ickeni^^ 
stench that arose from the putrefying bodies, thorou;.;h!\- unmanned them all. 
Notwithstanding the tuipleasantness of the task and the fact that they had 
worked day and night \vithout a morsel of food or an hour's cessation of lalior. 
there was not one all the number who murmured or exhibited a desiru 
to shirk his self-imposed duty. After the majorit\" of the bodies had lieen in- 
terred the imdertakers were divided into relief corps. twent\--ffve remainiuL; 
imtil the State authorities took charge. These undertakers are entitled to the 
warmest praise for their excellent service, rendered without hope of rewaril 
beyond the satisfaction arising from a noble performance of d\ity. 

The attitudes and conditions of scores of the dead were singularly im- 
pressive and pathetic. Particularh' at Xinevch wure the\' excruciating. The 
joiirnev down the river liad mutilated the victims shuckinuly. Tliey la}' in 
rows on the floor of the {)lanint;-mill, the maiorit\' entirely nude until muslin 
could be procured to enfold tluin. .Mong the river ints of clothing, a tiny 
shoe, a baby's dress, a mother's wrapper, a father's cuat and every article nt 
wearing apparel imaL;inal)le were to be seen hanL;ini; to stuiniis of trees ami 
scattcri.-d on the bank. An acre of ground was purchased for a burial-place. 
ani.l three hundred bodies were interretl there in plain ci.iffins until removc^d to 
Grantl \'iew Cemeterv live months atterwards. The authorities of \^'^_•stmore- 


land and Indiana counties set men to patrol the banks of the ConeniaiiL;!) for 
bodies, which were handled carefully and given decent iiurial. 

Limp corpses, which liad lost nearly all senililance of humanity, \\ith 
matted hair, holes in their heads, eyes knocketl out and bespattered with blood, 
were si^ihts to move the stoutest hearts. .\. young mother, taken out of the 
river, was sadl\ distigured. .Ml her clothiu'.; was torn otf. She clasped a male 
babe, apparently not more than a year old, tightly in her arms. The little one 
was hudtUed close to the face of the mother, whrj had e\ identl\- raised, it to her 
lips to imprint on its lips th.e last kiss it was to recei\e in this world. Both 
were put in one coftin and consigned to an unmarked grave. 

Bodies and fractions of bodies were unearthed in abundance e\er\' hour, 
as hand-spikes. a.\es. hooks and crow-bars in stalwart hands pried up ami dis- 
lodL;ed the superincumbent debris. On Main street the work began in front 
of the First National Bank. Twenty-one bodies v.ere taken out in one hour, 
not much mangled or bruised, considering the wcii;ht of lumber abo\e them. 
Se\eralwere wedf;ed in crevices. In the central part of the town examina- 
tion was tolerably sure to reveal corpses in ever_\' corner. Four or h\e woidd 
be found in a space ten feet square. From Stony Creek came one which 
resembled the gnarled, missiiapen root of a tree. The hands of another 
were clinched o\-er the head so rigidly that two men had to use their strength 
to force them into the coftin. Freciuenth' two or three friends assembled 
where bodies of relatives were supposed to be located and watfhed the opera- 
tions of the workmen with feverish impatience. Early the week after the 
flood the whole business had been systematized. Six thousand men were 
clearing the ground, each gan? of twenty directed by a foreman, and bodies 
were recovered rapidly. The weather continued surprisingh' cool, the tem- 
perature becoming chillv at ni£;ht. This merciful boon prevented the spread 
of an epidemic and made it possible to identify bodies which were not dug out 
for weeks. Sometimes putrefaction had advanced so far that the coffins were 
taken to the spot and the remains tumbled in for immediate convevance to the 
grave — fit only to fatten the ■'vorms. to rot and fester and Ive a pre\" to corrup- 
tion \ So frail and transitor\' a thing is manl\' strength or womanh' beautv ! 

One ijang on the Point encountered the upper stor\- of a house, w-hich sent 
out an odor of burned fie-h. It was merely a pile of broken boards. Imt small 
piece;, of a bureau and a bed-spring from which the clothes had been burned 
indicated the nature of the find. ""Dig here." said the ph\sician to the men, 
"there is one body at quite close to the" The men started in 
with a will. A quantity of household linen was brought up first, of fine 
cuality and obv'ously such as would be stored in the bedroom of a house 
occupied by people in easy circumstances. Shovelsful of jumbled rubbish 
■were thrown up. and the odor of flesh became more pronounced. Presently 
one of the men exposed a charred lump of tlesh and lifted it up on the end of 

n/SPOS.lI. ,!/■• THE DEAD. 


a piichfork. It was all that rem.iiiu-il (if a [xior ercatuif whu had nut an 
awful death lictv.ei-U water and fire. The trunk was put on a cloth, the ends 
were Idcped up ami the jiareel was tai-cen to the ri\er bank'. It weighed about 
thirt\' pounds. A stake wastlmen in the f;round to which a ta.i; attached 
f^niuL; a dcicripiion cif th.e remains. This was done in many cases to the 
burneil bodies, which la\- covered with cloth-- upon the banlc until men came 
with coi'tins to remo\'e them. Then the tai; was t.ikeri from the stakes and 
tacked '.111 the cotlin lid. which was iminc<liately closetl up. as identification 
was out of the question. 

The massixe stone bridi:;e of the Pennsylvania railroad is the point of de- 
marcation between Johnstown. Milhille and Camliria Uoron;4h. .Vs the im- 
})acteil network of timbers, telegraph poles, houses, trees, wires, fra;^'meiits of 
cars ami five iron bridges, boilers, masses of iron, twisted beams and girders, 
heavy safes, pieces of railroad track, pianos, sofas, dressing cases, crockery, 
trunks and e\'er\' conceivable article of household use was loosened little bv 
little, large numbers of bodies were disclosed. A youiiL,' woman was found on 
Tuesdax mornim;. crushed and mau'^led under the wheels of a gondola car. 
The doctor declared he had never seen pain so intense pictured on a face. On 
the top of a trunk' filled with ladv's attire was a bodv so liurncd, so horribly 
mutikitetl, so torn from limb to limb, that even the workmen, who had seen so 
m.iiiy of these frightful si,L;hts that thev were growing accustomed to them, 
tinned away sick at heart. Close to it was part of a liorse's head tied to a 
cindered fragment of a manner, the onh' siijn of the stable In which the an- 
imal burned. I'ixe }ards cilf la-,- two scorched towels, a cake of soap and a 
child's skull in a lieii of ashe--. .\ human foot in a charred boot marked the 
fate of an unfortunate mortal in the macerated ma-^s of splintered dwellings, 
human beings, clomestic anim.ds. machinery locomoti\es. the contents of 
stores and residences, the products of factories, ail ground in a mighty mill 
and jammed together ine.xtricablv and irretnevaLil\ . .\ woman's hat. the rim 
burned off, and a reticule with a hand still holding' it twci shoes and part of 
a dress told the workmen how one woman met death. .\ commercial traveler 
hadjierishcd beside her. His broken valise — still full of samples — remnants of 
clothing and a few bones were all. Similar objects were found in every rotl 
searched by the toilers, who lifte(i out the shattered remains that could not 
he recognized and hurried them to the graves prepared for the nameless 

.\rticles of domestic use scattered throu<4h the rubbish helpixl fix the 
identity of some <>{ the bodies. Part of a set of dinner-plates informed one 
man v.h.ere. in an intangible mass, his house was. with hi^ wife and child. In 
one place was a photo'-;raph album with one picture recoL;ni/able. From this 
the body of a child near b\ was identitied. iV man. wlio had spent a day and 
all nii^ht lookinc; for the bod\- of his wife, was directed to her remains b_\- part 


of a tnuik liil. Main a tear rtowtd on account of poor olil Jolin [ordan. of 
Coiifniau^li. His wVw and children iiad been swept from his si'^ht in the 
tlood. He wandered oxer the .L;orL;e searchini; for them, and at ni^ht tlie po- 
Hce couhl not luini; him a\va\ . At daxh^ht on TnesdaN' he fonnd his wife's 
sewinL;-mach\ne and called the Wfirkmen to help him. First tlie\ fonnd a 
little boy' s jacket that he recoL;nized. Then they came upon the rest of 
them all linried together, the motiier's burned arms clin'gini^ to the little chil- 
dren. The whitedieaded old man sat down in the ashes, caressed the tiead 
bodies and talketl to them just as if they were ali\'e until some one came and 
led him (]uietl\ awav. \\'itl.or.t a protest he went to the shore, sat down on 
a rock, talked to himselt and^ then !;ot up and disappeared in the hills. 

Deep in the meshes were tlie bodies cif a woman, a child and a laborer 
with hobnailed shoes. They were beyond the reach of the workers clearing 
the wreck near the bridge, who cotdd not get near the corpses until consider- 
able blasting with d\namite had Ijeen done. This introduced a new horror, 
the d\"naniite sending portions of bodies high into the air. Legs, arms and 
heads went hundreds of feet skyward at each explosion, falling back in parti- 
cles which could not aiwaxs be collected for burial. 

From a pile of wreckaue on I'eeder street, a few doors north of Main, the 
l)od\' of an unknown woman was taken one June afternoon. She was large 
and well-dressed, but none coidd identify in the blackenetl form a human be- 
ing, lately imbued with life and feeling, who hail to be hidden beneatli the 
sod without delaw 

Strangeh' enough, all the bodies of the fift\ \ ictims who perished in the 
Hulbert house were speedily recoverei.1, except those of Maria and May Ben- 
ford, sisters of the proprietor. On the morning of June i ist, the former was 
foimd in front of Campbell's drug-store. Main stri'et. a hundred \ards from the 
site of the ill-fated hotel. The lower part of the face was gone, leaving only 
the exposed jaw and cheek bones. The position \\ris very natural, with the 
left hand on tin lircast and the right arm lyini; by the side. Three rings on a 
finger of the discolored hami rendered identihcation easy. A few feet away 
la\' Ma\'. wdio was recovereil soon after. She was sick in lied when the deluge 
carried her awa\'. antl her sister is belie\ed to ha\e been in her room at the 
moment of the disaster. The two were buried in Grand \'iew Cemetery, be- 
side their mother ani.l brother, wiio also lost their lives. 

.\n old frame ImildinL; on the corner of Main ami Bedford streets had a 
tin-shop on the ground floor. John Murtha occupied the second story. On 
F'-iday evening. June 21. imbedded in the cellar of the Ijuilding. which had 
been utterh' destro\ed. a bodx' was discovered. It was soon found to be that 
of a woman, whose clothes enabled them to identitv her as Miss ^faggie 
Ripple. The body lay on the left side, at an angle of about thirty degrees, 
with the hand raiseil some distance, as if it had been clutching at something. 

f>/SPOS,!L or THE DEAD. 


The skull was entirely bare of llcsli. prcsentinLT a shocking; appearance. So 
wedged and fastened in the nias> it hoards and bricks was it that an lionr was 
spent in diL;;.^iny before it could be taken or.t. \\ hile engaLjcd in this sad. 
ta^k five more bodies wxre found beside anil under the first, clasped together 
ia the firm embrace of deatli. Tluy were John Martha, his wife and three 

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children. Mrs. Martha was a sister of Miss Ripple, and all six had e\identh- 
soii;,'iit refuge in a small room on the sicie of their modest liijine abo\ e the tin- 
shop. They Were fearfully decompu;>ed, and those who saw the remains will 
ne\er forget the ^ight. Disinfectants had to be sprinkled over them con- 
stantly. Tender hands prepared them as carefully as possible for burial 
which had to be dune at once. The finding oi these corpses made tlie people 
shudder at the frightful harvest the cellars might disclose when cleared of the 
mild and refuse. God pity them '. 

These dreadful sights and scenes were of daily and hourl}- occurrence f'jr 
Weeks, blunting the sensibilities, callousing tlie finer feeling-, and unnerving" 
those obliged to ci.ime into contact with them. In some instances other per- 
sons who knew them had to p>oint out the d.ead to the living,', and assure them 
l)ositi\-ely of their identification before the\' could be aroused. Thus a rail- 
road laborer, who had come to look for a friend, walked up and down like a 

19'^ 'J'^^l- STi^RY ()!■■ Ji>J!.\SJO\[:\: 

man in a train. c. Ilu luok'/.l at the bodies, takiiiL; no apparciU interest in .my 
of thcni. At last !i.- stopped before onewiucll lie had jMsM.-d t\uce. inul- 
tered ■•Thai's Jiiu." a\\k\ wt iit out just as he had come in. Other identilic.i- 
tionswere' ]ii eeisely hl.e this. ^herc^vas no sheihlin!,' of tears nor sho^s int; 
of emotion. Idiey -a/.ed upon the features of tlie (h.:ad as if totally unaMe to 
ompreltend it at all. reported their idontilicalion to the .itteiidants, watched 
the l)od;c as it w .is pul into a eofliu and \\-fnt away with that miserable look of 
bewildered v.ritchedness which pn/./led the pli\sicians and e\oked the com- 
passion of the stran-er. People re.ul. \\ith scarcely a thoin.;ht, a line of this 
kind in the newspapers, dati d from Johnstown : 
" 1" ifty bndie^ were fniind to-Jay." 

Did you ever stop lo think what these dispatches realK' meant !* Fancv 
sonietliinLT ot the sort in \onr o\s n neii.;hbi.irliood. where wnx couldn't l;o o\er 
street without stmubliu'.; o\'er or at least hearing; of the lindin- of a neislibor's 
remains ! It is hard tci understand the full force (.<f such a condition of attairs, 
except li}- actu.d (.•xperience. Tlie story was repeated constanth' for months 
in the stricken district, acres ,,f which \\eri.- covered with v^reckane that hid 
tlie remains of thousan<ls of victims of the ap|)allin,L: calamit\- which steeped 
the Concmanyh \allev m ail the bitter miseries Pandora's box e\er containeil. 

The scenes which transpired in the headcinarters of death cannot be 
outlined. M'.thers were there searching for sons and daughters, fathers seek- 
ing wi\'es and children, and little toddlers crying for a '■inammu" upon whose 
loving face they ^\ere ne\ er to look again. The ■■touch of Nature which 
makes the \\hoIe world kin" wckled sufferers and strangers in bonds of tear- 
ful s_\-inpathy. The stoutest could not \iew without emotion friends hanging 
around the mot'^ues f^ir da\s and weeks in quest of a missing; one. How the\' 
clung'to the f.iintest hope '. Many a stilf and bruised corpse was recogni/ed 
by a mark, or a strip of clothiu',;. or some peculiarit\- the shar]i ;;lance c^f aliec- 
tion could alenie detect. The weary searching of hundreds \\ent unrewarded. 
One woiuen. whose reason tottered when she found her husband and two 
children in the debris, could not be persuaded that thevwere burieil. Her 
fren;^y developied brain fe\er, in the delirum of wdiich she mercifulh' lost con- 
sciousness for weeks. 

Nine morgues Were openci in all. each of which had its quota of sorrowful 
tragedies. .Vt the Fourth wanl school-house morgue a woman from Erie fainted 
on seeing the long line of coHins. At the I'Cernville morgue a bo\- nameij 
Elrod. on finding his father and mother both deail. seized a liatchet and for 
some time would let no one enter, claiming that the pi-i,)pie were h'ing to him 
antl wanted to rob him of his parents. Another Kern\ille lad of about twelve: 
years came da\' in and day out. anil eag(jrl\' \-iewed ever\' new.- corpse found, 
only to turn away with a weary siuh. He- had lost mother, father and sister, 
and the cruel waters refused to yield up to him e\en their mangleil remains. 

n/SPOS.!/-. OF T//E DK.ID. 1 99 

Tlie hollies held ami colTmed at the liose-houso in MorrelUille prt■'^ent^Jd 
a dilfoiint aspect. The mud was six inches (hep, and tlie drizzliuL;' rain ail- 
ded ;4ln(ini ti. the scene. Here and there cnuld he seen, kneeling in the nnre. 
hrokendiearted •\vi\es and mothers who sohhed and pra\ed. The incidents 
%\ere Ileal trendinL,'. In one rude ho.x lay a heautifid \onnL; woman. •■Ai;\- 
one kno\\ ln'V?" called out a coniniittee-nian. .\ crowil jiassed the hox. hut 
no one called her name. On th.e face \va-> an expression of perfect rest. The 
features ■« eri' fine and the clothes eleijant. LMni.^ in .1 vow at the Camhria 
mori;ue — -St. Cohimha's church — \\ere fi\e children from two to si.x vears old, 
whom nobody knew. A hundrcil bodies wctc deposited on the mudd\' seats. 
Outside the sharp voices of the sentinels were constantly shoutin.L; : "Mine 
on!" Insiile. weeping women and sad-faced, hollow-eyed men bent o\er 
loved anil laniiliar faces. On Sundav a man with ha'-jLjard face antl eves fairlv 
starting frcun their sockets, ptunting to the corpse of a young woman said, as 
the tears coursed down his cheeks: 

"There, that is my v. ifc, or. rather, is all that is left of her. Take her remains to my 
house on Prospect Hill and prepare her corpse for burial. Take this money ; it is all I have, 
but )ou may have it if you II only attend to her. She was all I held dear in life ; now that she 
is gone, I have nothing to live for 

A handsome woman, with hair black as a raven's \ving, walked through 
the depot where a dozen bodies were awaiting burial. I'assiug from one to 
another, she finally lifted the paper covering from the face of a woman, young 
antl with traces of beatitv showing through the stains of mliddy water. With a 
cr_\ of anguish she n eled backward, to be caught hv a man who chanced to be 
passing. In a moment she had calmed herself sufticienth' to take one more 
look at the features r)f the She stood gazing at the corpse as if dumi). 
Turning away with another wild burst of grief — the dead girl was her sister — 
she said : 

" .\nd her beautiful hair all matted and her sueet face so bruised and stained with mud 
and water ' ' 

The body of a lovely young girl was found on Monday at the ollice of the 
Cambria Iron Company. Wliea the corpse was conveyed to the morgue a man 
entered in search of missiuL; relatives. The first bod\" he came tn he recognized 
as his wife. A few feet farther off he identiticd the _\oun;; girl, his daughter. 
Theresa Downs. L'.nth liad been found within a hundred yards of each other. 
and tlie\ were laid side b\" side in the cemeter\'. 

While lookini,' for tlie dead, the living were sometimes found. At the 
Fourth-ward morgue a father and son met : 

■' My God, John ' can this be you ' I thou;;ht you dead, and hoped only to find your bod.y 
" Tis I, father, safe and SMUnd But how about mother and baby '" 
" Gone ! .\11 gone ! " 

The okl man wept as he uttered these words, and both linked arms as the}' 
started to tlie ne.xt morgue on their wear\- mission. The work of the Pitts 


burgh undertakers in cinhalniing the dead rendered it j)()ssible to keep them 
two or three days Linger, in cases wliere identification was dubious or no chuni- 
ants appeared. Rev'. Di'. IJeale had general super\isi.'n of the morgues and 
to hir.i reports were sent of all botiies rcco\ered, with such particidars as coidd 
be obtained. 

Tile body of Hugene Ilannon. ttunid near the First Freslnterian Church, 
was identified b_\- his father. The _\oung man was a member of the League of 
American Wheelmen, anil his bic\cle was \\ithin a few yards >.)f his bod\ . The 
father laid the wrecked wheel on the coffin of his son 

Let us enter some of these morgues tnree or four da\s after the flood. 
This brick school-house in Millville. which saved three hundred li\es, is now 
the abode of that niuiiber rU the dead. Crowds linger around and watch each 
corpse the carriers or the wagons bring in. The \'ard is packed with coftins 
of stained pine. Piled up on one side are coffins — little cot'fins, medium cof- 
fins, large coffins — coffins for children, coffins for men. coffins for women. 
Stretched on boards in the lower school-room are corpses dragged from the 
creek, the ri^ er. tbe debris and the burned wreckage. Some have great bruises 
and welts and are co\'ered with blood. Some are decaxing and discolored — 
past recognition. The air reeks with insufferable odors anil the desks are 
biers. Three of the former pu[Mls lie on the desks with pieces of jiaper 
fiinned to tlie white sheets that cover them, gixin'.; their names. On the black- 
board are figures and writing, chalked by hands now stiffened^ and nioulder- 
ing. One of these reads: 

' Home>, Sueet Home " 

.\ye. the deft fingers which wrote these words woulil write no more. The 
little child had indeed reached ••Home" — the home tliat emlure^. Who 
knows but he was lying on one of these desks, just read\- to be coffined and car- 
ried to the narrow home ? Till sunset on Mondas' ever\- desk in the class- 
room supported a coffin. Each coffin was numbered and each lid turned to 
show the face within. Uetwien the piett_\ drawing and the neat writing of 
the schoolchildren was scrawled the bulletin: ••Hold Xo. • 5y ' as long as 
possible; supposed to be Miss Paulson, of Pittsburgh." But ••59" wasn't Miss 
Paulson. A citizen of johnstow n claimed it as his sister's corpse, and the 
casket was mo\t.d out to make room tor another. 

At tlie Presbyterian church the first floor is washed out completeb' and 
the second damaged. The walls, tloors and pews were drenched, mud collect- 
ing on the matting and carpets tw(;) inches deep. The chancel is filled with 
coffins, strips of muslin, boards and all undertaking accessories. Across the 
tops of the pews are a dozen pine boxes, each containinu a \ ictim. Printed 
cards are tacked on each. I'pon them is a description of the enclosed bod\', 
with the name if known. Nine are uuuameil and will be buried to-morrow. 
The great number of bodies not identified seems incredible. Some of these 






luidics ha\ c lain in the ditlurciu inor'^'ucs fur fmir (has. Thousanils of people 
from tlitferent section^ of tlu' State ha\ e seen them, yet they remain un- 
reco.L;iii/.ed anil tmclaiiiRvh This is the strongest testimon\' of the 'wholesale 
destruction of entire families and neii;hliorhoods. Alas ! hero is a familiar 
form. E\-Sheritl John K\an is in 

tills eoflin, his body just reco\ cred __ 

from the wreck and carried to the ..-rf^-^i^^e^ 

church. \ineteen persons in his 
lirick building on \\"asi'iington street 
were liist and only two escapetl. 
The dead are the sheriff, his a\ ife. 
mother, and three dau:_;luers ; Mrs. 
Janie^J. Murpln, ••Grann\ " Kunkle 
and two daughters ; Miss L"n\ erzagt, 
Miss Alexander. James O'Xeill 
I dri\ er i. Jacob Bopp and two (.laught- 
ers : John Schiffhauer and daughter. --- 
and Miss Rose Gardner, domestic. 
The sa\e(,l were James Riitledge. / 
clerk in Mr. R\an's .-tore, and the 
sheriff's \oungest son. John. Mr, 
Rxitledge told me the mournful story. 
The sheriff, himself, and the dri^-er 

E.\-SHLKlIt- JOH.N R> AN. 

Were in the store lal)'irinu to save 

the goods. When the rush came they started to l;o np-stairs. Ryan and 
O'Neill ahead. B\' th.e time Rutledge reached the stairway he was in water 
up to his neck. T!ie slieritf and O'Xeill. after landim; on the second story, 
ran forward into the brick part of the house. Rutledge stepped back in the 
frame to help through a window Mrs. Kunkle anil others, wlio had climbed 
o\er the roofs from their houses. While he was thus enuaged the brick part 
of the buildim,' was struck 1)\- the delude and swept awa\- with e\'er\ b(Td\ m it. 
The franu: part ijuickK' followe(.l and \\ as smashed up. Rutledge lloatmg otf 
toward and down iMain street and to a pi.iint m the river a short distance 
above the old mine. Tliere lie scrambled across lifty \ar(.ls of wreckaLre. in- 
cluding a part of the Mansion House roof, and got on the hillside. Little 
John R\an. the e.\-sheriff's son. got hold of a door and held cm until it bolibtd 
up til the surface. Then tile dnor floated otf. and he clung to it until drifted 
over to the South Side anil rescued. He was tin- onh' person sa\eii from tiu- 
brick part of llie sherin's house, and this coffin holds all that was mortal L'f 
genial John R\"an. --one of Nature's nolilemen." 

Dav after da\" the search went on. foreigners and natives assisting. For 
a montli the lKa-ve>t tA corpses kept at a hiu'h figure. When the cellars were 

202 THE srOKY OF/iy/.VSTOlI'.V. 

ck-aned out many were iliscosereil. At tirst eoftins renilil nut be had. and t'i\e 
thousand were ordered from 1 'ilt>lMir;^h. Car-lisails of this hiLJubrious freight 
reacheei the stone liridye on Tuesdaw An mulertaker adopted a utihtarian 
device to get them o\er tlie shaky rope bridL;e which alforckd tlie only means 
of crossinij the C.oneniauL;h. With one tr.un from the West came se\"eral 
hundreds of th<_' m<jrbidly ciirion^-, bent upon all tl.i_- horrors which they couiil 
stomach. A crowd of them crossed the bridge and stcjpped to gaze round- 
eved upon a j'de of emptv coffins meant for the bodies across the river in the 
ruins of Johnstown proper. .Vs the\' gazed the undertaker, seeking transporta- 
tion for tlie cottins. came along. .V somewliat malicious inspiration of genius 
lighted his I've. With the best imitation possible of a military man. he 
sliouted to the idlers : 

" Each of yoii men take a cortin 
■What for'" 

■■ Vou want to yo into town, don't you • Well, not one of \ ou goes unless he takes a coffin 
with hina 

In ten niinutos wa\' was made at the ticklish rope;e for a hie of si.\' 

teen coffins, each, borne hv two of the unwilling conscripts, the undertaker 

bringing up the rear. Trains kept piling up the pine ho.\es until the supph' 

exceeded tlie ileinand. Dispatches of this kinti would appear in the papers ; 

" Eles'en car-loads o( cottins .arrived to-da\" ' 

The cofilns were stacked around the morgues, on the pa\ements ami at 
tlie railway staticuis. They were the tirst thing to u'reet the stram;er and send 
a frigid current down the spine of the visitor.\' were small as violin 
cases — for the ureat arm\ ot babies and \'oung children. The heaps lessened 
steadih'. for bodies were diiu out dailv for tive months. Fires consumed 
masses of the useless rubbish.. pur!f\'!ng the atmosphere and ridding the district 
of obno.xioiis refuse at a single operatic^n. 

Walking near one of the morgues a week after the flood, just as a boih' 
taken from Stonv Creek was being carried, in. curiositx' promptei.l mi- to enter 
once more. What a dreadful place ' The air was stilling with the acrid, 
nauseous stench of human corpses. In the room rough \\ooden caskets la\' 
around on the floor, each hokliuL; a tainted, decomposiim both*. Pointing to 
one of the nide receptacles, which held the form of a \oung woman whom 
even a violent death could not depri\e of traces of ^reat beautv, a niiddle-aoed 
man remarked : 

■ She's been here lony enouch and must be tiuried this afternoon !" 

The speaker's tones had not a particle of feeling, and he mo\ed amoni; 
the dead as though they were so many sticks or \'egetables. The girl he had 
indicated was one morf; in the ioiv.; processn)n of unfortunates. The remains 
had her name marked on her linen, and her unborn babe was a portentcius 
te.xt on woman' s folly and man's hist. The bracelet clasping her slender wrist. 

f>/srnsA/. or rrfr. .n/:.u> 


whicli luul to l>c cut frnni tlu- s\V(i|li-ii anii. was ot tlu- kind kmns-n as a ■■ porti-- 
licinluur." locking with a tiin km- which ihi- Imcr keeps. Poor thiii^ ! it was 
a ■■ jiortc-inallu'ur" circk-t for her. Two human bi-in^s less in the worlih an 
unmarked hillock in the cemeter\' - such is the stor\- in brief. Does the ucirhl 
stop to reflect ujion these tragedies in e\eryday lite?^ Alas, no ' It just wai;s 
on as betore. cariiiLf little or nothins,' lor the dismal scenes that mark each step 
of its progress. 

Si-\ burial places reCf-i\'ed the botiies of the \ ictinis whcTse friends dii.i not 
remove them to distant points. The nearest was Sand\'valc Ceineterw on the 
outskirts of Ki rnviile. Ston\" Creek boundim; it on one side and the fJaltimorc 
A; Ohio railroad running close to its eastern limit. There most of the 
Johnstown dead were buried until Grand \'iew Cenieter\' was opened three 
Years ago b\' a corporation. The ground was level, sand\'. laid out iiiceK'. 
witli numerous eNer'^reens anci tich' L;ra\es. The rubbish planteil by the tlooil 
liad to l)e cleared or burned to m.ike w a\ for the bodies sent b\ the committees. 
This was commenced at tlie southern end. .Vt the time of my rirst \ isit the 
corpses h.ul tt> be taken throuL;li an a\enne of hre and o\'er live ashes. There 
Were no unknown dead at S.incK'vale. consequenth" the\' were interred in the 
lots belonuing to their friends. .\s the cleared spots would atford room a 
bod\ was deposited and the grave made to look as decentb' as four or ti\"e 
inches of mud on the surface would permit. One sad incident was the siL,du 
of two coffins with noboih' to biuw them. A sciiitar\' woman gazed at them in 
a dazed manner, the rain bc'ating on her unprotected head. .V \Vor)dva!e 
citizen ^sas obliL;ed. from the scarcity of help immediately after the disaster, 
to dig the graves liiinself and lay in them, alone and unassisted, the bodies of his 
wife and two children, which were found in Kernville on Monda)'. Prett\ 
hard, wasn't it ■^ 

Wednesday. June sth, was marked by the immense number of burials. 
The unideiititied dead reco\ered up to Tuesda\' morning were then laid 
awa\ . black clouds darkened the sk\ . thunder rumblei-1 and the winds sighed 
a low accompaniment. Hundreds were put in shallow trenches, w ith no sign 
of mourning but the iK.mest s\'mpath\' of the men who handled the caskets. 
Man\ had to be the architects of these coftins. which were patciied from pieces 
of board fastened witii nails or hoops. .\11 da\' wagons bore loads up the 
steep Prospect hill. It was sad to see them going up the hill on larm 
wagons, two or three in each, and no friends following the iniui-covered 
vehicles impro\ised as hearses. The si_dit lost none of its sadness and 
pathos b\' its frequenc\- ; onl\- the horror had gi\en place to apath}' and .-tupor. 
Here conies one of these wagons, in it a coltin and two wout.mi too full of grief 
for tears. The \ ears that ha\e passed over the head of one liaxt; urow 11 the 
white blossoms of old age ; the other is \-oung. and assists her companii>n to 
the ground. Th.e coffin in the wagon contains the husband of the \()unu;er 

204 '^i^'' ■'^ ^'' ''''' 1 ' <^'^'" 7' '//.v.vy ■( ) n :v. 

■\vmnan. the son of tlic older. T1il\- alone of all their friends and relatives 
snrvi\ed; they alone ^ohhed uM-r his L'ra\e. As fa^t as bodies are taken a\va\- 
from the inorL;iies others come to hll their plaees. so that the traj^edx' !,a>es on 
unrenuttin;;l\ . 

Two men toiK.d up the hill heariiiL,' a eollin on their shoulders ; behiml 
them trudL;e<l three ihiidren —one a yirl of twehe, tli.; others tiddlers scareeh' 
alile to walk and far too \oiuig to comprehend what had befallen them. One 
of the palbbearers was a sertion-hand. On I'ridax he had taken his children 
to See their i;randmi ither at XineM h. His wife remained ahme at lu.iUie. She 
was drowned, and on S,itur<lay n-.ornin;.,' after the tlood her body was reco\ ered. 
This explains the c olfin and the little procession. 

A Pittsburj^h journalist describes a striking incident that came under his 
obser\ation. Charlotte Cushman could not ha\ e delineated ■• Mey; Merrilies" 
more truthfully ; 

'■ Who is this stranse being comint; nver the hill " Her hair i-^ silver and her dross is poor, 
but from her mouth issues the rrooninu; of old son^s while she tiips lit;hil)- over th.e graves, 
laughing all the while ' .Vrrest her. nicn ' She has dared to desecrate this huh" place." But 
no ! Her face is blank and e.xpressionless. My God ! her life has been spared, but her mind 
has gone out with the flood. Care for her tenderly, search for her friends Friends ' .\h. has 
she any friends now ' These are but instances of the misery that hovered on every hand. 
Let us away : there's madness in the very air '" 

Two locomotive headlights lit up the Prospect t;rave\"ard several nic;hts 
for the men to work. The\ rapii.Uv shoveled in the dirt. Xo priest was there 
to consecrate the ground or utter a pra\'er. The coffins had sucli inscriptnjiis : 

"No. 6i, unknown girl aged S \ears. " 

"No. 7 J, unknown man, black hair, ai'ed about i^ years, smooth face 

Some of the bodies were more specifically described as "fat."' ■■lean.'' 
and to one the term ■■lust\'" was applied. The different cemeteries duplicated 
these experiences continually. At one this conversatien was noted ; 

"Say, John, are you sure that's number :-i.xty-three over which you re putting that head- 
board ?" 

" Of course I am Don t you recollect this is the big one we had so much trouble carry- 
ing '" 

"Oh, yes, I guess you're right. Hold tne ropes tight, boys Lower it slowly. There. 
that's all right," 

Twent\'-six bodies taken to the hosediotise in Minersville were buried (jn 
Wediiesdav forenoon. Eight women, a babv and four men were not identitiecl. 
Hver\'\\liere were nameless c;raves, and the descriptions were too indehnite to 
hope fur identification after burial. What could \ou e.xpect from a description 
like this, picked out at random : 

■ Woman, hve feet four inche-; tall, lung hair," 

In the afternoon and ni,L;ht those at Xineveh were buried on tlie crest of a 
hill. The people of Westmoreland count}' discharged their dut\- faithfulh'. 

DJSP(1S.!I. OF TflK 205 

'I'hu coffin-^ ortlertci wero mn cheap affairs. ICcoiuunical citizens acU isinl that 
the CDininissioiuTs buy an acri; ol marsh hind liy the ii\ci. which cnulii he hail 
for a few doHars. hul these irenth'nien ^lech'ned the niiserl\- prnixisition and 
secnritl a desirable plot. Three trenches were du;.,' two hundrid feet Ioiil;, 
se\en feel wide and fiiur teet deep. The Cothns were packed in \er\ much 
as grocers' boxes are stored in a warehouse. Of tlie hndies i 1 7 w ere uniden- 
tihui. Twenty-tive were shipped U' relativts at outsuli' jxjints. In several 
instanc-s friends of those recoi^'ni/.ed were too poor to do ^.nxthiuL; to pre\ent 
their con'-iL;nnient to tile trenches. 

The scheme to aboli--h all the niorijues. e.\cept the one at the Millvdle 
school house, was accomplishei.l liy June Joth. Tin- l\iurth-\\ ard. the l'resb\- 
terian -church, the Miners\ die and the Peelorx-ille nicir;^ties w ere Llnsed earlier and 
tliose in Cambria and ^blrrellvilie virtually so. leas Iul; one in .MilUiUc' and one 
on the South Side the only ones reall}' open. John Henderson, the imder- 
taker, was placed in char:j;e of the morL;nes. Ili-^ place of business hail been 
destroxed and his jiartner drowned. Uy the end of June he had crc-cled a 
new buildin;,;', on the east side of which he placed a portable frame structure of 
one stor\' and one room, known as an •■Oklahoma." This constituted tlie last 
niorijue. and the directors jin.iceeded to prepare the schoobhouses for the fal' 
term. The (.irticial report shows the follc)wing bodies handled at each of the 
regular morgues and at one place used leinporarih : 

Morgue .\. Fourth ward ', . ..301 

Morgue B. I'resl)\ terian church 02 

Morgue C, MilKille and I'tniis) liania railroad station 344 

Morgue D, South Side ■ • '43 

Morgue E, Carahria City S75 

Morgue F, Morrellville 23S 

Morgue G, Xineveh (both sides\ z^^ 

Morgue H, Dibert's ?oap {.nctory 12 

Total ^.-iSj 

This is probably as nearly correct as is possilile umler the circumstances 
in every district e.xcept Cambria. Though this was closed the middle i>f June 
S75 are said to ha\e bt en recened there, wdiile the .MilKille ^bir'_;ue, which 
was in continuous operation, has a record of onh 344. The error, if there be 
one. was made b_\- those havini; charge of the Cambria MorL;ue, who ga\e no 
descriptions or names ol fully one-third the entire number. When bodies were 
first reco\ered the descriptions were necessarii\- recor<led on slips c.if pajier 
picked up in the ruins. These were in some instances lc>st and 111 others 
possibly repeated, and thus it is ne.xt to impossible to obtain an accurate 
list of the dead. 

The l)odies recovered below Xew I'lorence. those never found, the num- 
ber tlestroM-d at the liridge and the dead not taken ti3 an_\- of the morgues, will 

2o6 'f'^"' "^TORY (>/■' /o//.\yr(U\-\. 

swell tlii-tiilal to about 3.200. The new (.lirector\- cjf Johnstown, pvibhshetl 
in September liy C. H. flark. ot Altonna. i.-, not far oft this estimate. At the 
time' of the llood th.e whole edition, wliieh \\as in a hook-binderw was lost. 
From the inoof-sheets the names Were obtained and printed as tlu'\ were be- 
fore the flood, with a special record of those kist. 'I'lie number of ilrowneti is 
put at 3.J00. One of the tilings noted is that of the 95 saloon^ and liipior- 
dealers in the floeided districts all but six were completeK wiped out. In those 
remainiuL; the st(5ck was destro\ed. so that tluTe was. in fai i. total destruction 
by water. 

Another basis of comparison is the membersliip of the cluirches. The 
pastor of one church witli L'.jo communicants counted the lost at 100. another 
with a inembiTship of 300 '.^axc 100 as lc)st. This is not counteracted b\- the 
estimate of several of tile Cambria Iron Compan\''s fciremen that of the 
5,000 employes on the rolls were dr<iwned. The\- were mosth' strong men, 
and a loss of one in fi\e i;i such a class miL;lit mean a much greater loss in the 
general population. There were only 3.000 ot tin- 5.000 former emplo\es of 
the Cambria Iron Comjiany remaining. Some of the host presiuned to have 
gone away imnndiately after the calamity to other places ma\-. like Tenn\!ion's 
mute-steered (.lead. ha\i' t;c>ne ■■upward ■with the llood." 

Crowded though Johnstown was with sorrowful scenes. n<i spot in or 
about the desolated district was more sadly suggesti\e than the burial-place 
back of Prospect. Climbini; the high hill in front of the I'.enns\h-ania rail- 
road station, passing the brick school-house and traversing a rough coiuitr\'- 
road a hundred rods, a turn tci the left brought the \isitor to a plot of ground 
enclosed In a temporar\ fence of rough boards nailed lengthwise to small posts. 
The scener\ is r.ireh beantilul and romantic, presenting a panc^rama of hills 
and ravines so lo\el_\- that the eye dwells upon it admiringh'. But within the 
enclosure, on the gentle slope once coNered with green gr.iss anil then heaped 
^\•ith mounds, a picture unutterably touchim; was revealed. .\bout four hun- 
dred of the \ictims cif the fearful disaster that overwhelmed the Conemaugh 
^'alley. on May 31. 1S89. foi-.nd here a resting-place. Nine-tenths of the grax'es 
had tenants whose name., -.vere unknown, none i(.lentif\ing them at the morgues 
wdiere the\ were exposed to \i.-\\ when hrst taken from tjje ■ivreck. .\t the 
head of each was a bit of board stuck m the gri.iuud. with a piece cif paper de- 
scribing the sleeper below. The rain \vashed away main of the descrijitions, 
leaving oniv the bare board and the number to indicate that a human form lay 
beneath the gra\el, which was almost destitute of sod. I'itx- the.' heart that 
c<uild look at this temporar\ Ci.-nieter\ unnio\ed '. 

One touching feature It this burial-place was the large number (if small 
graves, where children of tender agewi.'re laid. t'jion sC(jres of these it was 
my painful duty to look as they were e\tricate(.i trom the ruins and borne to 
the school-houses that ser\-ed as morgues. These little mounds told a sad 


stdiy iif the appallini; destnirtion nf child-life by tlit.' aiii^rx' \\atL-rs. Souic 
were incrr intants, titiu rs -.vere the }>raltlers who ^n\e joy and htc tn liappy 
homes, and still '.nore had l)eL;ini to yo to the schools in which their cold 
bodies lav aft<;r the horrible llood. Not a few of these little ones wvxf never 
identif'-cd. for the reason tliat iiitire families were swejit awa\- and neiudibors 
were in\ol\e(_I in the ruin tiiat blotted out so nian\- luiuvehcilcK. 

In the upper corner of this graveyard was one plot enclosed bv four rude 
posts and a border of narrow boards. o\-er which, four feet abo\e the LTronnd. a 
wire frame stretched. Fragrant llowers and plants showed that loxitiL: hands 
cared for the hallowed spot with tender interest. This \\ as the grave of Harrv 
G. Rose, the voting l;iw\er and District .^ttornew who died in his own home. 
crushed h\ falling timbers. Those who knew him could not refrain troni tears 
as tliey beheld this mound. Two rods awa\' was a similar enclosure containing 
the gra\es of Rev. Alonzo P. Dilkr. rc-ctor of the Episcopal Church, his wife, 
child and niece, •^vho^\ent down with their dwelling in tlie cruel water'-. On 
pieces of boards their names and ages were painted, and bunches of tlowers 
attested that the good rector was not forgotten by such of his congregation as 

Credulous correspondents. A\ho believed the wildest 3 arns. circulati'd fear- 
ful stories of hungry dogs ravau'ing the graves of the victims buried on Pros- 
pect Hill. .-According to these imaijinatn'e writers, the curs tore up dozens of 
graves and devoured tlie corpses. Nothing o{ tlie sort occurred. The four 
hundred bodies were put in coffins too deep in the earth for an\" animal to 
touch them, and men guarded the enclosure night and da\ . Surel\- there 
were sufficient horrors without distressing grieving friends with reports of 
loveci ones lacerated and eaten b\' liowiing canines ! 

In October and November these bodies, with others interred at Nine\eh 
and \arious points alcmg the Coneinaiiuh. were e.xhumed and remo\ed to 
Grand \"iew Cemetery. .\ssuredl}' no flood will every touch them in that 
charming retreat. Weil is it named '. A thousand feet abo\-e the \alle\ of 
the Concmau<;h. at the crest of this great lull, lie the liodies ot all of those 
wIkuu none but death has claimed. There wert- fourteen trenches, iiftv-om. 
to the trench. The earth was smootlied o\'er the la.-^t fifteen of these 714 un- 
known dead on Thanksgiving L")ay. Ele\'en of them had been brought from 
Blairs\ille. and the last four from the cemeterv of Saiuhvale. !\ in^; in the 
valley of the Ston>' Creek. The road to Grand \'iew was jiut througii by 
John I'Tilton. It is an engineering,' ami lar.dscape-gardening feat of four loops, 
which take two miles tc> climb the mountain side, whereas a straight climb 
would lie one-eightli as far. It is a plan of ascendini; terrace alter terrace, in 
which tl:e \'iew of the Coneniaugh broadeus for leai;ues with e\'er\- sweep of 
the road. In summer the view is ravishing. The brown urass of the hill- 
sides was coated with sninv and tile road almost knee-deep witii red ci-u. 

oqS the story nj- JO/LXSTOirX. 

u lien tile- \\at;ons — with the hist lo.-ni uf Juhiistnw ii's dead — crept shiwh up 
the mad. A ctirrespondent' s iiniddy hiiiii;\' fdHriwed. A \onnL,' man and a '-;irl, 
climbinLT Iruni tiTrari.- to terrace to \isit tlieir dead on tlie hiU-top. lonked keenh' 
on tile straiiLicr dead and the stran;^'er H\'ing whn inwadcd their sanctit\. The 
trustees tif the ceineter\' ■jonated a beautitnl lot for the burial of these unknown 
ones, anil it is desii;ned to erect a htting" inouuuient next \ ear. The re- 
moval of the bodies to this spcjt was the happ\- idea of Secretar\- Krenier. of 
the Relief Commission, wlio labored indefati^abh' to carr\ the plan into effect. 
There sleeji the nameless \ ictims of the tlood, but their graves will be visited 
Vn generations \et unb«)rn.who will stand with imco\-ered heads, and in reverent 
awe look upon the inound-^ in the plot of Ciran<l \'iew Cemeti'r\ \\hich are so 
full of nielanchoh interest What hearts ha\"e been crushed, what firesides 
darkened by the absence of these tmknown slumberers. for whose return loving 
kindred waited as did his trustful wife for the home-coming of P^noch Arden ! 

Of course there were coroner's ini|uests where such multitudes had coine 
to untimeh' ends. Dr. R. B. Hammer, of Greensburg, held inquests on everv- 
liod\' found in Westmoreland countw Up to June jth his jur\'had sat upon 21S 
bodies. No more being reco\-ered. the jury tlicn rendered this verdict ; 

Inquisition taken and indented at Nine\eh, in the count)- of \\'esimoreland, on the 7th dav 
of June. \ D., iSSg, before me. R B Hammer, coroner of the county aforesaid, upon the \iew 
of the body then and there lyin^ dead, upon the oaths of E. K Wible. A L. Bcthune, H M 
Guy, K. B Rogers. W H Work and James McCarthy, good and lawful men of the county 
aforesaid, who. being sworn and afiirmed diligently to inquire and true presentment make, on 
behalf of the Commonwealth, how and in what manner the said came to its death, having 
viewed the body of said deceased and having heard the testimon}- of witnesses, do say, upon their 
oaths and affirmations aforesaid, that the aforesaid deceased came to its death by violence due 
to the flood caused by the breaking of the dam of the South-Fork Reservoir, and, as well the 
aforesaid coroner as the jurors aforesaid, do certify under their oaths that the said deed of vio- 
lence caused by the action of the flood, or there is such strong suspicion of such violence or un- 
lawful acts as to make an inquest necessarv 

In witness whereof as well the aforesaid coroner as the jurors aforesaid have to this inquisi- 
tion set their hands and seals on the day and year of that place first above written. 
R, B. Hammer, H M Grv, 

E, E WiULE, R B Rogers. 

A I, BErHCNE, James MrCAKrm 

W H \V<.KK 

Coroner E\ans. of Cambria count\'. also held an inquest, the jury \-iewing 
the body of Mrs. Ellen Hue. The testimon\' w as voluminous and exhaustive. 
Ever\' pihase of the disaster was investigated, expert witnesses were heard and 
the jurors visited the dam. Evidence was atkluced to pro\e that hay and 
straw were used tu till up the break when the Fishing Club secured the prop- 
erty for a trithnL: sum. The closed on Saturday night, Jul\' Otli, with 
the following \erdict : 

W'e, the undersigned the jury empanelled to investigate the cause of the death of Elien 
Hite on May u. after hearin,' the testiraonv, lind tliat Ellen Hite came to her death hv drown- 

n/SP()S.l/. OF THE Dll.lD. 


ing . that tlic drownirii; wa!; caused by the lireakin? c>f the South-rork dam We furtlier find, 
from the testimony and what ue saw on the jround. that there uns not sufficient water weir, 
nor was the dam construct<'d sutficiently strong; nor of the proper material to withstand the 
overflow . and hence we find that the owners of said dam wt-re calp,il)le in not making' it as 
secure as it should have been, especially in view of the fact that a population of man; thousands 
were in the valley below ; and we hold that the owners are responsible for the fearful loss of 
life and property resulting from the breaking' of the dam. 

John Coho. John H, Devine. 

Abi;,\ham Ferner. John A Wissincer. 


Placini^ the responsihilit\- for the disaster upon the Fishin<^' Chib was in 
accordance with the facts and the best-informed sentiment. The chib was 
excessively aristocratic, and so e.xchisive that Tu.xedo itself mi;,'ht pronounce 
the Lorillard ideal a failure. The ■wealthy menibers never deigned to recognize 
the existence of the common clay of the neighborhood, farther than to warn 
intruders to keep off the ]->remises. For weeks after the dam had converted a 
populous valley into a desert and Lake Conemaugh into a forbidding gorge, 
board sign^ \\ith these legends stared visitors in the face : 


I All Trespas5er> Found Himtinir or Fishin? on These | 

I Grounds Will be Prosecuted to the Full g 

I Extent of the L.iw. | 


is 5; 

\ No Huntin.; or Fishint: on these Premises, Under < 
I Penalty of the L.-iw, SIOO. | 


The calamity was not due to -'a mysterious dispensation of Providence." 
but to the inexcusable laxity which permitted a mud-bank to endanger thou- 
sands of human li\es by backing up sutificient water to float all the navies 
in the uni\erse. 

Is it any wonder that Johnstown and Kernville resembled one vast tomb, 
so full of horrors that many in.piisitixe sight-seers did not care to remain after 
they saw a body exhumed? Whi.-n the future Charles Rt-ade wishes to weave 
into his novel the account of some great ]iiililic ca]amit\' he- will portray the 
misfortune which overwhelmed the towns and ^'lUages in the Conemaugh 
\'alley. The bursting of a reservoir and the enduing scenes of death and de- 
struction, so vividly described in --rut \'ourself in His Place." were not the 
creatures of Mr. Reade's ima'.;ination. but actual occurrences. The novelist 
obtained facts and incidents for one of the most stnkincr chapters from the 
events v.hich followed the breaking of the Dale D\ ke (.■mbankment at Shef- 


field. Eni;laiul. in Marcli !Mj4, when J3S lives wtix- lost ami property valued 
at millions was destroxcd. It will need even more vivid and vIi,'orous descrip- 
tive powers than Mr. Keade possessed to delineate the destruction and death 
presented in Johnstown. The Sheffield c.damity. disastrous as it proved to be, 
was a small afiair wh.en compared with this reservoir accident. The Mill 
River inundation ot May. i>74. ^\ith its 200 lives lost and .<i. 500. 000 of pro- 
pert\- destroyed. \\ as a tritle beside South Fork. The onlv one of the kind 
which approaches it was at Estrecho de Rientes. Spain, in .\pril. 1S02, when 
a dam burst and drowned persons and swept 57,000.000 worth of property 
away. A flood is China three years ac;o is credited with a loss of 10,000 
lives, but these fti,'ures are prolilematical and may be mai^nified ten-fold. 
Above all other calamities in sad pre-eminence will stand the Coneinaui,di 
disaster, a repetition of which it is devoutl}' hoped no writer will ever be 
called upon to chronicle. 

Walt Whitman, in his own invoUed. inimitable wax', sa\s of it : 

'■ Thou ever-a.irtmi; skK.e : ih.iu K.inh and .\ir : 
Thou waters that encompass us I 

Thou that in all the lilV an.l ileath of us. in action or in sleep ! 
Thou Laws in\ isihle that permeate them and all ! 
Thou that in all and over ail. and through and under all, incessant! 
Thou ! tliou ■ the vital, universal, giant force resistless, sleepless, calm, 
Holding HumanitN as in the open liand, as some ephemeral toy. 
How ill to eer forget thee! 



^// 4 .u-f^;^ 



The Frightfvl Roll of thi: Lo,t— A Garland for Those Whu Have Gone Before — 
Well-Known Peoplk Cvt Off— How Professional Men. Merchants and Private 
Citizens Met an Untimely Fate — Commlnities Fearfillv Decimated — Cambria's 
Long List— Whole Families Blotted OrT — Familiar Ficukes Missing From Thkir 
Accustomed Hacnts- Terriule Gaps in Society and Business That Can Never 
Again Be Filled- 

■ See before ii5, in our journev, broods a mist upon the ground ; 
Thither leads the path we walk in. blendiu.t; with tliat gloomy bound, 

Never eve liath pierced it.-^ shadows l.) the mystery they screen, 

Those who once have passed within it never more on earth are seen. 
Now it seems to stoop beside us. now at seemin? distance lowers. 
Leaving b.inks tempt us onward hrisjlit with summer-^reeu and H.Avers: 

Yet it blots the vv av forever, there our juurnev ends at last. 

Into that dark cloud we enter and are gathered to the past. -Bkvasi. 

'MICK!'' THE a;.;oreL:ate loss of life is so ovtrpowcnntj 
it is not possible to detail individual cases with the ini- 
imteness svinpathetic interest would prompt. Ihoiis- 
ands of the victims are worthy of the richest garlaiuls 
allection can weave. To pay a lovint; tribute to hund- 
reds of the dead would be a grateful task. How 
sadb.- the\- are missed, now that matters begin to run 
in the old channels and the full extent of the calamity 
is fairlv realized: The ;.,'rave has closed over multi- 
tudes who bade as fair to live and prosper as aii.\- in 
the Keystone State. No pen can portray, no pencil il- 
T. w. KiRLis.^^ ^ EENs.-HOFF lustratc tlic shocklnfT- intlescribable change one dread- 
ALVAR AKERs f„l hour effectcd iu tlic population of the Conemaimh 

Valley. It is appreciated in some measure since those who survive have taken 
up once more the burdens and responsibilities so awfully interrupted. Every 
brow wears the mark of -rief and a shadow dwells in every breast for the 

21 ; 

L "v>^ ^^^^=s?^ 

; .'I / 


lovftl ones whose untiinel\- end touched the tenderest cliords of human feelii;',;. 
lca\in.L,' an achint; \oid that can never a.^ain be filled until all meet in the 
celestial cit\'. Thousands were homeless, some fatherless and motlierless, 
others with none of their families to soften e\in in a degree the awful blow. 
The\ \\(- le not to lie coiiifoi led, lliouyh neigliboi s and friends attemptetl to 
assuage their grief with words of hope and cheer. Too many knew full well 
what the widows and orphan would have to contend with \\ ithout the pro\ ider. 
'I'he men presentee! a more stolid appearance, but deep dowij in their hearts 
there was a feeling that years will not efface. \obl\". ho\\e\er, the citizens of 
Johnstown bowed their lieatis in submission, and with valiuciiis endeavors to 
find the missing sought to forget for the time their personal alllictions. 

Thomas W. Kirlin. one of the four jewelers who perished, was engulfed 
with his entire famih' — wife and three chiklren. He was rescued alive, but 
died of pneumonia and injuries on Monday, June loth, at the residence of Dr. 
Tomb in Morrelh'ille. }^is last reipiest was to be buried b\- the Knights of 
the Mvstic Chain, to which he belonged. His wish w as comjilied with, ami 
he was the first person after the flood to be buried accortling to the ceremonies 
of any lodge or society. The remains were interred in Morrelh iUe. Mr. Kir- 
lin was an excellent citizen, a leading spirit in the Knights of Labor and an 
agreeable companion. Twoda\s before' the disaster liis ehlest son. Eddie, 
visited the cemetery to place flowers on the grave of his mother, who passed 
away several \ears ago. To a lad who went with him he remarked ; 
" I did love my dear mother so much and lone; to see her aE;ain '" 

Can it be doubted that mother and son have had a joyous meeting on the 
shining shore? The father was marri-cl twice and had lately removed to a new- 
location at the south end of the Lincoln street bridge, near the Fulilic Library 
His building vanisheel. as did all in that part of town. The proprietor of the 
next store, also a jeweler, went down with his premises and goods. 

Emil Young, a well-known jeweler, lived with his mother, wife, three sons 
and daughter over his store on Clinton street, near Main. They were all in 
the building when the wild rush e)f water surrounded their home. Mr. Young 
was drowned in the store, sitting in a chair, and the boeiy of one son was found 
under the safe, whicli had been upset. 

G, \V, Luckhardt, the okiest and wealthiest jeweler in Johnstown, had a 
stock worth §75,000 in his store on Main str-^-et, one door below the r^Ierchants' 
Hotel. He was dragged o\er the awning -nto a room on the second floor, 
where he fainted. His son .\dolph, daughter-in-law and grandson were in the 
room. Tile}' were tr\ ing to rc-vive him w hen a mass of debris crushed into the 
apartment and bure Mr. Luckhardt to the lliujr. causing his instant death. Mrs. 
.•\dolph Luckhardt, a lady of surpassing beauty and accomplishments, was 
likewise crushed by the blow which prostrated the old gentleman. The son 
snatched up his little boy and managed to escape with him, the family dog fol- 

SOA/i: OF THE IICTIMS. n^<^ at his lieels. Wreckaije piltxl to the mot ami the biuldins had to be 
torn down. Three hnndreii watches were rusted b\' the ^\ater and mud. which 
filled th.e cehar. Mr. Luckliardt had carried on a lucrati\e business in tlie 
same frame buildini,' for thirty-eiu;ht \ears. He stood \ ery hiL,di in public esti- 
mation tor integrity, enlerjirise and tinanciiU ability. The key which he had 
used all these N'oar-; to lock tlie store-door u a-, found, and will be preser\ed as 
an lieirloom of the upriijht merchant. 

Years au;o Abrani S. I'ddrid^e and .\u'T. '^"oum; \\tnked together in tlie 
time office at the Cambria RoliinL; Mill, under the late C\rus P. Tittle. They 
saw their business opportunity when Alex. Mont.L;omery otfered to sell them 
his book-store on Main street. The name of lCldrid,f;e lV Young became as 
well known and as highly rc-pected as any in town. They prospered as they 
deserved, and last \\ inter Mr. Montgomery sold them his buikling. The tlood 
came, and took them and Mr. Montgomery. Mr. EldridL;e went down with 
the back porch of the Merchants' Hotel, on which he steppeil Irom his sleep- 
ing room, where lie had been spending the atternoon reading. A week later 
he Mas found, standing erect among the debris on the ground below. His 
partner was caught in the street and swept to an untimely death. Their 
bodies now lie side h\ side in Grand \'iew. Mr. ITdridge was the representa- 
tive Henr\- George man of Western Pennsylvania and a personal friend of 
the author of •■I^rotrress and Po\ertv." Mr. Montgomery went down with 
Wild's building, at the corner of Main anil Clinton streets, where he liad his 
office. His bod\' was recovered and taken to Grecnsburg for burial. Mr. 
Eldridge's mother was also lost, as were his broth.ers Samuel P. and Peniiel. 
Mrs. Young, besides her husband, lost two brothers and other relatives. S. 
Stewart Kinkead. clerk at the Gautier works, was with Mr. Eldridge in the 
Merchants' Hotel, where the two were reading. Alarmed by the cries of the 
servants, they started to see what was the matter and were met b\' the rising 
flood at the head of the stairvva\". The_\ tlirn to the front w inilows and 
up-stairs to the porch on the third storv. A number of persons gathered on 
the porch. When they saw the large brick building of I'oster tV' Ouinn lall 
most of them concluded to leap to some filiating debris, belie\'ing the hotel to 
be unsafe. Before their resolves could be put in practice the porch fell, and 
everybody with it. They were all submerged, and the most of them struck b\' 
floating logs and timbers, Mr. Kinkead got hold tif a water-spout, clambered 
on the roof of Fentiman's umbrella store and was taken into the Fritz build- 
ing. He was the only one of the party who s,;ot out. 

The loss of life in the hotels was terrible. The remains of man_\ of the 
servants and guests were taken from the ruins of the Hulbert House. The 
body of Charles H. Wilson, the clerk, was soon found. Other bodies recov- 
ered were Mrs. Dr. H. T. DeFrance : Miss Carrie Kicharus. teacher in Eng- 
lish and Classical School, and her sister, from Ypsilanti, Mich., who was \ isit- 

2 1 6 77//; STOK 1 " ('/■■ JOZ/XSTO U W. 

ing luT . Miss Jennie Wells, teacher in the Juhnstown High School, and lier 
frientl. Miss Carrie Diehl. ot Shippensbur^. I'a.; Miss Laura Hamilton, who 
entered the hallway a moment before the building wi-nt to pieces ; John W. 
Weakland. ot the Marshall-W'eakland Conip<ui\- ; Dr. C. C. Brinkley and his 
brother. Mr. LClmer i;riiikle\. clerk in the Gautier ollice ; Mr. C. .\. Marshall, 
the Cambria Iron Compan\"'s buikler ; Mrs. J. L. Smith and her three 
chikiren : a number of tra\eling salesmen, and the brotlier. mother and two 
sisters nf the host. It is thought that the \\reckai.;e of tlie Gautier works 
struck the building. Charles IJ. DeW'ald, of .Mtoona. is be!ie\ed to ha\'e 
been the last person to enter the hotid. He arri\ ed at Johnstown I'li Tliurs- 
day and had worked hard on IViday assisting people to get out of their inun- 
dated houses. A friend sugye.^ted helping some more, init Charle}- said 
he was too wet and must go to the hotel. There the colored barber talked with 
him a few moments, promising to gi\"e him an order for a suit of clothes on 
his ne.xt trip. Mr. DeW'ald started up stairs to change his clothes. Soon ttie 
ajipalling rush of waters swept o\er the doomed valley, bur\'ing over fifty of 
the Hulbert guests. Among them was the .Mtoona salesman, whose body was 
not foimd until June 15th. It was uncovered a hundred feet from the site of 
the building. twent_\- feet of debri.> hiding it out of sight for two weeks. The 
remains were in a better state of preservation than manv unearthed earlier. 
There was a holt; in the forehead at the bridge of the nose, possibly caused 
by a nail striking him as he went under. Papers and letters in his clothing 
rendered identification easy. Charley was to have been married in a few- 
weeks to a lady in Philadelphia, where his father lives and whither his re- 
mains were forwarded for burial. 

In the hotel of Robert Butler, oil Cinder street, about thirt\-fi\e persons 
were lost. Xot a single one of the bodies was identihed. James O'Callaghan. 
his wife Eiridget and daui^hter Ella. Mrs. Owens and son. Mr. Putler and 
family were among those who went with the h<.>tel. 

Christ. Fitzharris. landlord of the St. Charles Hotel, his wife, father and 
eight children were drowned. Ella. a,^'e<l 13. the onl_\- surxivor of the large 
famih', was attending school at Lilly's. Her grief at the loss of parents, 
brothers, sisters and home was inconsolable. For da\s the poor child C(juld 
do nothing but sob and moan. The bodies were recovered on Monday. 
•• Grandpap) ' ' Fitzharris. the oldest victim of the tli:)od, w as in his ninet\ -eis^dith 
year. In his cotlin. as sei-n by me on Monday evening, he looked not over 
si.\ty-five. Hi.-, liealth was excellent and his constitution ru<4i;ed. The nona- 
genarian expected to attain th.e \ear of his father — iu6. .Mr. F'ltzharris was 
born in Ireland, but spent most of his life in HoUidav sburi;, Blair Count\-. 
He was a man of p.jwerful physK]ue. known in the localitv as ■■ the peace- 
maker." This co,L;nomen he acijuired during --(.ild canal davs " on account 
of his a\ersion to quarrels and hi- freipient inter\ entiun to prevent pugilistic 

SOMK OF Ti/i: nClLUS. 


encounters in his neighborhood. Not Ions before the tlood he announced his 
intention of celebratini; his hundredth birthda\' with an '■ old-fashioned sliin- 
dig.'' at wliich lie would dance in the Irish reel. Oueer irony i.if fate — to round 
out almost a centur}- with faculties unimpaired and drown at last in a cellar 
or a 1,'arret '. 

The ranks of the business men thinned greath'. John Cieis. a leailim; mer- 
chant, went down with his big store. E. Clark perishetl in the Hulbert House, 
ami his chief competitor — Mr. Nathan — in tlu- store 011 Main street whicli he 
had long tenanted. Henry Goldenberg was o\ertaken in his clothing-store 
with his son Emanuel. Both ro^e to the ceiling, where the xouiil; man broke 
through the skylight and escaped, liis father drowning a fe\s feet awav. Jacob 
Swank. Mrs. Swank, their two children, daughter-in-law anti grandchild were 
carried away with their home. William Parke, a member of the firm of Jacob 
Swank iV Co., his mother, sister and little nephew were at their brick resi- 
dence, corner of Bedtord and Eever^ood streets. The building crumbled, and 
all the occupants were killed. The four bodies ^vere found in the tlebris near 
Fisher's slaughtery. on June i ith. John I'arke floated on some timbers to Main, 
in front of the Opera House, where Scott Dibert, Eou Cohn. and others res- 
cued him. He was badly injured and expired on Saturda\ evening. \"incent. 
son of James Ouinn. was crossing from Geis lC Schr_\'s store to his home, i lis 
body was found on June 7th, in the \ard ot Jacol.i Zimmernuan's residence. 
Bedford street. He had sustained numerous injuries. Afibie. wife of John 
Geis, of Salina. Kansa--. who was visiting the Quinns. was io^t with her babe. 
George Unverzagt and son were lost in their store on Main street. iJaniel 
Unverzagt, wife and two grown daughters — Mar\' and Eilh' — were at home cui 
Washington street, with Mrs. John Bending. Katie Bending and Jtainie Bend- 
ing. All were swept awa\-. M. S. Maloy was cauu;ht b\- the tlnod in the front 
door of his store as he was attempting to tlee from the deluge. His bod\' was 
found just inside the entrance. 

John G. .\le.\ander. his wife and mother, died together. Samuel Lenhart, 
the harness dealer. Mrs. Lerdiart and three daughters, .\.nd\- Gard and Jack 
Nightly were all swept away in Lenhart' s l)iiilding on Clinton streit. Charles 
Murr, the cigar manufacturer, and si.x children went tlown with his store and 
home on Washimjton street. Mrs. Murr and one child were rescued. The 
Creed family was wiped out except Edward, the onlv scm. His parents and 
hib sisters — Maggie. Kate and Mamie — were lost. The building, corner of 
\\ ashington anci Franklin streets, was a two-stor\- brick structure. •• Creed's 
corner" grocer}- was known to e\-ery inhaliitant of the \alle\-. .\lexandcr 
Rcck, the extensixe baker at the head of Washiu-ti.-iii street, ami his wife, a 
woman of rare loveliness, were carried otf with their hruiie. He was taken 
out, but so much hurt that he died the next wet-k in the hospital. Poor Aleck ! 
Three hours before the flood he rode around tlie submerged streets. stoppe(-l 


THE sTiiRY (U- jnii'xsrowx. 

in frcmt (if a }!Ot('l. called for a slass of beer, ami drank tn the prosperity of 
those inconiniodeti li\ the hi.yh water. 

Three siiuares on Washington street footed np this frightfnl list of \'!Ctinis : 

Ale\ Rerk. wife and ;hrre children 3 

Miss I.anil)erd i 

Mrs Ha^f-r. tau single daus;hters. and Louis Roland and wife 5 

M. J. Murph}-, wife and two children 4 

W A Bryan, at Brunswick i 

Mrs Monteverde and three children 4 

Mrs Me\ers and dau'^hter 2 

Geori^e Heiser and wife - 

Child of B F Hill I 

Maurice Newman and father 2 

David Creed, wife and three daughters 5 

William Kirby, wife, sister-in-law and James B Howard 4 

Mrs Kinney and two sons 3 

Captain O Connell and two sisters . . 3 

George Raab. wife and two sisters 4 

" Granny " Kunkle and two daughters 3 

John Schiffhauer and daughter 2 

Jacob Bopp. and two daughters 3 

John Kvan, wife, mother, three daughters, domestic and driver 8 

Charles Murr. wife and five children 7 

Daniel Unverzagi, wife and two daughters 4 

Mrs Bending and two daughters 3 

Jacob Malzi 

John Frank, wife and five children 

Sol. Kosenfelt, wif 3 and four children ... ; 

Gottfreid Hoffman, wife and nine children i 

John Coad. wife, daughter, son. granddaughter and domestic 6 

Child of Neal Sharkey 

Frank O'Donnell. wife and four child ten 

Julius Stremel 

Mrs. John Merle, two children, lady clerk and domestic 

Alex. Kilgore, wife and three children 5 

John Burkert's two children 2 

Mrs. Hirst and two grandchildren 3 

Mrs Ogle and six others 7 

Mansion House porter ... i 



There is little doubt that, the small extent of territory considered. Wash- 
ington street suffered greater loss of life in the flood than any other section. 
In addition to the above, ther'.' are possilily other names of w hich no account 
has been obtained. Besides. Janii's M. Shuniaker. v. ho kept a store on the 
corner of Washington and Clinton streets, lost his wife and three children 
from his home on Locust street. John Fenn. who kept a stove store on 



Washington street, ^vas also drowned, together with his seven children on 
LiHUSt street. 

Jt)hn Dihert, the banker, would not leave ihs house, near the corner of 
Main an.i Market streets, and was killed. Mrs. Uihert war, not seriousU iii- 
jured. The spacious residence ^\as obliterated. (Jliicr nieiiibeis of tlie t.ini- 
ily lost V. ere a dauL'luer. the wife of Walter .S. \\\mv, r. and their child, and 
Blanche, little daui;hter of Mrs. John H. Dihert. One year before Mr. 
Weaver's store was burned out ; in May it was flooded out and death added 
to liis losses. The Diberts had rooms htted up at Cierniantown. which they 

proposed to occup\ during the summer. Mr. Dibert was a prominent citizen, 
widely known and descr\edly esteemed. The bank was originally conducted 
by three partners, one of wh(>m died last year. The removal of the senior 
member of the firm by the llooti led the survivor— Mr. Roberts- to put the bank 
into liquidation. .\ brother of Mr. Dibert had torn down the building opposite 
the bank, corner Main and Franklin streets, to replace it with a substantial 
brick block. He took sick from the flood and died. In the old building J. O. 
A. Benschoof. whom young and old knew and patronized for his good humor, 
kept a news-room and book-store for years, vacating on .Ipril ist. The post- 
ofiice stands in the rear of this lot. fronting on Franklin street. Next to it 
Alvar .\kers and his partner. .Mr. Bauman. had started a new block for their 
store, with offices abo\e. It had progressed to the second story when theile- 
luge cut down Mr, .\kers and interrupted the plan which contemplated an 

220 TffE STORY OF /(UiXSTOliW. 

important extension of the biisinesb. How many projects the Johnstown (Hs- 
astcr buried in graves from wliich thert; will be resurrection ! 

'Squire Fisher's faniii\. consirting of hinisulf. wife antl six children, were 
found locked tigiul\' in each other's arms. The ser\ant was King near b\'. 
Tile daughters Were hanLl.--ome girls, with bewitching faces set m frames of 
golden hair. One had been a\\a\' at school, and returned home to lie married 
to her betrothed. Then she was to return to school and take part in the 
graduating exercises. The familiar figure of the 'Squire i^ sadly missed by 
the neighbors, who find a strange void as tlie\' pass his office and fail to hear 
the cordial greeting of the departed occupant, who was one of the old-time 
functionaries of the tow n. 

One man known to e\er\- resident of Johnstown — William Huffman, the 
merchant tailor — was drowned with twent\-niue of his relati\es. These were 
his wife and ten children : his brother. CJottliel) Huffman, wiie and nine chil- 
dren ; his sister-in-law. Mrr.. H. Hiidman and four children; Peter Hntfman. 
anotlier brother. Mrs. C. H. Hutfmaus little daughter, aged eight years, was 
absent. This poor child was at the morgue on Monday, accompanied by two 
ladies, and said ; 

"Oh. mister, do please tell mc if my mnther is here ' I want to see her. I am I,izzie Hutl- 
man. and all my brothers and sisters have gone down the river 

Many families suffered cruelly. The drowning of the venerabk' Mrs. [lui^e 
Roberts and her daughter. Mrs. John S. Buchanan, left two of this <;nce nu- 
merous and prominent familv li\ lug. Onl\' three niemtiers of the Pike faniil\ 
sur\ived : Robert, the eldest scjii, wiio saved himself Irom the flood ; (jeorge, 
the third son, who was rescued by Alexander Hamilton \\hile floating up 
through Keriuille on the rcof fif hi?, house, and Annie, the youngest daughter, 
who was visiting in Baltimore. The familv of John Fritz, jr.. of Hornerstown, 
came in to Mr. Fritz's father' >, on Railroad street, for safety, and were carried 
down the river. Of the twehe persons in the house at the time eight were 
lost. Mr. Fritz, sr.. and Mr. Goitle got out at Kennedy's lime-house in the 
Fourth Ward. Cliarle\ . the plumber, got out at Sheridan Station ; Mrs. b'ritz, 
sr. , two miles below Nine\eh. On I"rida\' morning Josiah T. hA.ins. Mine 
Inspector of the Sixth L)istrict. procured a cirriage to take his wife and their 
four children from their re-itlence on Nine street. At fir^.t it \vas intended to 
go to Prospect, but it was found iniporssible because ot the high water. Kern- 
ville was suggested, but Mrs. E\'ans. knowing that the Franklin-street Liridge 
had been damaged, refused to cross it. FinalU" it was decidei.! to remain at 
the residence of Henr\' i'ntchard, on iMarkct street. In this building Mr. and 
Mrs. Pntchard and three children and Mrs. F\ans and her four children per- 
ished. Maggie, wife ot Noah 1-Aans. and her three chiklren and Mrs. John 
Llewelhn were found dead in a room in a house Liack of Cobaugh's store. 
Mrs. Evans was sittinu in a chair with her babe in her arms. John. Frank 

.v().i//-; ()/•- Tin: r/criMs. 

22 I 

and lvdL;ar, sons of Patrick Lavcllc. C(iniMnanL;li stifc-t ; Mrs. John Last-llf, of 
ISroad stre, t. and Micharl. Kate. Marv. and Sallii- Lavt-lk, all of P.road street. 
were lost. Myrtle N'iola [ones, as^ed 3. alone sur\i\es of the fainih' of 'Squire 
Richard [ones. Some person fomid her wandering; alio\it the hill alio\e ^^Vlod- 
valc and took charLje of her. Mr. and Mis. Millard F. Roberts started from 
tlieir home on the South Side for the hdl. Ntrs. Roberts -ot to David Diberi s 
)ard. IKr bod\' was foimd on Sunda\ two l)locks awaN'. Her mother, sister 
and thne brothers went down. Mr. Roberts was rescued at Shaetfer's saloon. 
From John White's house, on \'ine street, six out of a famil}' of twehe were 
taken— Mrs. White. Misses Ella and ^^a'_;,Lrle Wjiite. Mrs. Jessie Delaney. Mrs. 
A. C. White and bo\ . 

Not a man. woman or child in Johnstown but knew Men. Hoffman, the 
hackman. He was also Ivnown tn the travelin;; public from his long service in 
transferring passeni;ers to and from the Fenns\lvania railroad station. Mr. 
Hoffman was lost witli hiswite; Ilertha. ijvears: Marion. 13 ; Joseph. 9; Freda, 
5 : Fdorence. 7. Harry and, Will, the two older boys, are the snr\ivors. He li\- 
ed on Lincoln street, and his l)od\' was found seated on the edt;e of the bed- 
steatl. He was preparing to retire when the tlootl struck the fmildinL; and had 
his socks in his pocket. His eldest ihiughter. a \er\ prettx' aiul charming 
girL wa- close by. attired in a night-dress. The yount;est member of the 
famib was also beside the lie^l. Mr. Hofiman's punctnalitv was proverlual. 
No matter what train passengers desired to take, he would have them at the 
depot in good season. The cheer\ voice of the accomiiKxlating hack-dri\er 
was as regular a feature as the whistle of the iron works or the l)ell which 
rang the fleeting hours. 

A well-known place in tnwn was ■■Coad's Corner." at Washingtcjn and 
Market streets, John Coad and his family occupied the residence portion of 
the fniilding and kept a saloon in the room on the corner. .\ daughter. Mrs. 
Halloran. had a shoe-store in an apartment fronting on Washington street. 
Tlie house was entirely swept away with Mr. and Mrs, Coad. their daughter, 
granddaughter and grandson. Jolm. Thomas and Peter, their sons, were not 
at home, and a\oicfed a \vater\' L;ra\e. 

Charles W iseman and lamih li\ed on Ri\'er a!le\', l>ut wer<' all at Gust. 
Aibler's. iio Portage stree»t. The house was broken to pieces h\ the tfood 
and the inmates floated off in various tlirections. Mrs. Wist-man IkuI her little 
son in charge, but he w as knocketl out of her arms and lost. She succeeded in 
climbing on a roof and was saved. Mr. Wiseman had his little dauLrhter in 
his arms and both were lost, as were all the Aiblers — se\'en out of the house. 

Samuel Eldridge was the only policeman lost. His xvife was at her home, 
with her two little tlauL;hters and the liaby. Her husband left the house ationt 
three o'clock. ai;ainst his wife s protest, saying that there were man\' people 
who needed helji and it was his duty to aid all he could. He promised to re- 

22 2 7'///; SVOA']' (U-' fO/LXSTOirX. 

turn the iiiouu;ut 1il was roiu incL-d tlicrc' was dansjcr. T!u- florid rau^lit him 
in the strcL-t and swept him to his death. Mrs. EldriiiLji- ami h.r riiildrcn 
spent thi- ni-ht in the attic ot their hutise-. which was slult<'rcd in simic wa\' 
and is stdl stantUn^, thuUL^h c\cr\ tiunu '" it was destroyed. The children tocik 
the liihli.' with them to their jilace I'i rclu-e. and httle Sarah, a-ed seven, 
prayed on it all ni^ht for her papa. When mornini; came ami Mr. ICldridye 
did not appear, his \vite knew he had heeii lost. His hotly was one of the first 
to be recovered. One tlaii,L;hter was all left of Officer Jones' famil\ of se\en. 

Chief-of-I'olice Harris, who has one bo\- out of a family of six, five of them 
going down with their mother, was unable to be around for a week after his 
terrible ai'lliction. How he missed the identic ministrations of his lo\-ini; wife 
and the caresses of the childieii in his illness! Oh, the bitter sorrows that 
manhhearts had to bear in silence, while laithful niemor\ recalled the blissful 
days spent with the dear ones about whom the deepest <itlections of the soul 
twined fondh". 

Three lawvers — Theodore Zimmerman, J. W. W'eakland and Harry G. 
Rose — answered the subpuna which is not to be ehuied or en|oine<l Mr. 
Zimmerman's horses and buj;f;\' stood in front of liis office on I'"ranklin street 

to take him home. With their 

, •f*' ■^ '^^jSj^ owner the\' were o\'erwlielmed, one 

/^ . wiieel of tfie carriaL;e and the car- 

( ^_ casses of the tu.irses. showing; in a 

\ _,■**•«», J'^ mass of wreckage until taken out 

>•' ' on Monday. Mr. W'eakland was 

-' in the Htilbert House. His body 

■< — ^ A was found near the corner of Main 

and Clinton streets, on Monday. 

, The watcli in his pocket starte<i up 

■*s,^_^ when wound, just as though nothing 

.£=' " > had happened it. The ffooti de- 

-.tro\ed the residence of Ke\ . James 
s^ .\, Lane, on Locust street. Mr. 

'^ and Mrs. Lane, Harry G, Rose and 

Ills wife. •• GranehiKjther " Teeter, 

and Christina I'iek, a domestic, 

were in the house. Mr. I..ane was 

in the w^ater before the delii',:e piit- 

titig things in places cif safet\', when 

the front door flew open and Mr. Rose went down to close it. He called to 

Mr. Lane that the current was too swift, and his father-m law started to help 

him. but logs be^an coming in. Mr. Lane toltl him to make for the up-stairs. 

so.u/-: o/- nn: vicrfMs. 

'\\w\ I'oth starteJ. all the otlur UR-iubcrs of the l.unily having; precctk-d them. 
As tlR'\ reachetl the tliiicl tU>nr Mr. Lane heard Mr. Ru>e- say to liis wife ; 
"Givt.' me vour han'l anJ we will die to,s;etlifr. Lonl. sa\e u> ' ' 

At that moment Mr. Lane was knnekeil backward dnwn stairs. Init reached 
up and uaiiied his feet. A second and thirtl time he was knockei,! back. Tht-n 
his suspenders cauL;hl in the rubbish, his wiiole bod_\ under the water. He 
took out liis knife, cut himself loose. i;ot hold of timbers and called for the 
various members of the familx. His wife answered : so also ditl his daughter. 
Mrs. Rose. Mr. Rose did not respond. He was dead. ••Grandmother" 
Teeter replied. Miss Fiek had ,i,'ot out throuL;h the roof. I!\- the aid of 
friends Mr. Lane and his famil_\- reached the roof, unly to Ljet into another 
wrecked liiiuse. tossin^; to and fro on the surL;inL; mass of debris. ■■Grand- 
motlier" Teeter had her rii^ht arm cut otl below the elbow by the breaking of 
a plate-glass mirror. It liad to be amputated, and a week later the aged 
lad\' — she was S3 — expirei! from the shock. After remaining in the vvreck until 
Saturdax- evening. Mr. Lane and his famil\ were taken to Morrell Listitute 
and thence to Prospect. The remains of Mr. Rose were taken on Saturtiay 
evening ti.i the railroad morgue and embalmed. On Tuesday afternoon the 
bod\' was interrecf on I'rospect Hill. 

A black storm-cloud was dri\ing liard from the \\'est as the coffin was low- 
ered into its temporar\' grave beside imkncTwii \ictims. Three people attend- 
ed the burial— Mr. Lane, the Rev. Dr. H. L. Chapman, of the Metlioilist 
Episcojia! Church, and the Rev. L. ^Ll;Juire. Dr Chapman read the funeral 
service, and while he j)ra\'ed the thunder rumbled and clouds ilarkened the 
scene. Mr. Rose was a vouni; man. highly gifted and jjopular. He was serv- 
ing his term as District .\ttorne\" of Cambria countv. an arduous and respons- 
ible; trust, the duties of which lie discharged efticientlx'. His brother. Hon. 
John M. Rose, a member of the Legislature, was out of town and escaped 
the wreck of his home, trom \vliich not an. article was saved. Mr. George 
Slick, father-in. law of John M.. ci'iitracted pneumonia from e-vposure and died 
the second week in June. 

Three doctors went down to the doom which medical skill could not ward 
off. Ur. C. C. Brinklev- had practiced successfull\ in Johnstown about five years. 
He and his brother were among the victims in the Hulbert House. Dr. J. K. 
Lee was eminent in his profession. He occupied a tine home and office on 
\ ine street, which were Hooded to the second tloor. His bodv was found on 
Jmie (jth, in Sandyvale Cemeterv . L)r. W. C. Deam. his wife and one son, 
aged 2, Were not simdered in death, .\nother son, spared \o mourn the loss ot 
kind parents, was taken tci Harrisburg to live with relatives. Luke's epithet, 
••the beloved physician, ' may well be apjilied to e,\ch of these lamented 
practiti(Tni-rs. Their inspiring presence and masterh treatment have been 
missed in manv .1 sick room. 

224 ' TJ/F. sro/xY OF yoj/.\sj\ur.\: 

The flood proxcil fatal to thirti-cii teachers, a ver)' larj^'e proportion of tlie 
whole nmnber en;-;a'_;e(l in the pubHc schools. The\' were : 

Johnstown —Mis'ies Mattie McDiviit, Mai;i,'ie Jones, Kmma K p'isher. Laura Hamilton, 
•Mary V. Whiu-, jeniuc M. Wells. Minnie Linton and Carrie Richards. 
CoNEM.AUGH --Mi*s Carroll 

MlLLViLLE — I'rof C F. Galla_'her and Marv Poulini; 
MoKKELL\iiLE — Kale Mr.\r,eeny 

Miss r)iehl. a teacher from ShippensbiirL,'. was visiting Miss WeUs and 
died with her ho-^tess in tl;e Hnihert Honse. where Miss Haniihon and Miss 
Ricliards also perished. Miss Linton was at the Western I'nion Teleirrajili 
office, with !\[i-s }\Iinnie 0;^'le. The two \onnf; hidies, Mrs. 0,L;le. Mi>s Gracie 
Garnian ani.1 Miss Mary [ane W'atkins. telei;raphers, \\ere lost. Tiie bod\' of 
Prof. Gallagher \\a-. found near the Baltimore c^- Ohio depot. Several of the 
teachers had filled their positions for years, such was their aptitude for the 
work. The Johnstown schools helii a \\i^\\ place for thorough training and 
discipline, and the lijss of so many experienced instrtictors was a severe blow- 
to the educational interests i.if the commnnilv. No more shall these skillfid 
teachers train the _\outhfid nund. mould the childish heart and guide the little 
hands to habits of usetidness and deeds of kindness. But the good seed the\' 
ha\e sowed shall he bearini; rich fruit when the weeds cover their graves and 
moss has grown o\er their tombstones. 

-■■ Thcv .liei, a^e. thev died-and we lhl^^■s that are now. 
Whow.ilk m ttie turf that lies over tlicir l.n.w, 

Who in.ike in their <lweilini; a transient ahode. 

Meet the things thev met on their pilv;rimai;e road ; 
And the smiles and the tears, the sons and the difije. 
Soil fuliow- each other like surge upon surije. ' 

Katie and Miimie Bracken, of Woodvale, two charming sisters, were bur- 
ied on August 15. The\' were the onh' daughters of devoted parents, who 
escaped with two sons. The double fimeral attracted unusual attention, fam- 
iliar though the public had been with these mournful corteges for two wearv 
months. Minnie had light hair, \\hich. fell in wav} folds to her knees. 

Like Miss Cora \\'aL;ner. ;irett\ . vivacious Mamie Fink, daughter of Prof. 
S. P. Fink, was a musical attraction at entertainments for bene\-olent purposes 
and sang in a cljurch choir. Hei cultivated \'oice will be s^tdly missed on such 
occasions. .V touching incident marked her last moments. Mr. and Mrs. 
John Higson. four daughters and one son. Miss Sadie Thomas and Mr. An- 
derson floated away on the roof tlieir house. \\'alnut street. As thev passed 
down Conemaugh street the\' saw McConaugln's brick row going. Mamie 
threw Mrs. Higson a kiss and said •■ Good-bye" as she sank into tlie water. 
Mr. Hi^son and those with him were rescued at the stone tiridge. Miss Fink's 
bod\' was reco\ereil. with her jewelr\' as sire wore it that Friday afternoon. 
Her father and grandmother were not found, and one brother is the onl}- re- 
maining member of tlie Fink tamih. 

Another sweet singer was Mrs. I'. Williams, a lai1\- of fine yiresence and 

so.u/-: (>/' '/'///■: ivi-y/.us. 


Lii'-;;!;.;!",^ manners, wlm took solo parts in tlu' Welsh choirs. Tlie great nia- 
j(^rit\ of the Welsh owned their own lionies and Were jMinlent and prosperous 
eitiz«'ns. Dr. Walters, whose othce on \"ine street was hustled to the railroad 
bridge, prepared a partial list of the loss of lite among this naticmalitN'. He 
enioUed 140 \-ictinis. whicli nia\ be regartled as approximately correct, and 
estimated the Welsh Inss of property at upwards of a million dollars. The 
n.imes lui the Doctor's paper were: 

\'iNt Street. — .Mr«. Josi.ah T. Evans .ind four children, Mrs Noah LlL-wellyn, and three 
children. Mrs John Llewellyn. Rev. E \V. Jones and wife, boy of David J, Jenkins. Mrs. 
John K Jones two children of Robert L Rees 

M\KKKT Street — H I'ritchard. vife and thrte chiKiren . Thomas S I>a\ is. wife and tue 
children ; William Owen wife and two grandchildren ; Mrs J T Harris and fi\e children : 
Mrs D. I) Rees ; two children of Evan .V- James: child of R. R, Thomas : child of Lewis John 
Harris . John Richards, on a visit from Rome, X. V.. and William L Davis 

Main Street. — Mrs. John W James and son : Evan Hiii;hes and daughter , wife of Rev 
Mr Evans 

Loi iisr Street— -Mr^ .\ubre\ I'arsons. .Mrs Jenkin Thomas and three children : Mrs 
f'hil Davis and daughter 

Walnct Street. — fob Morgan, Mrs William T. Harris ; child of Thomas Llewell\n 

Potts Street. — Emma Hughes 

Chestnut Street. — .\lben Wherry 

Union Street — John Hmvells. wife and child : Mrs Davis E\ans, Mrs R R Edwards : 
William Howells, wife and daughter : John .\ndrews. William ] Williams. Mrs J D Jones 
and six children . Mrs D Richards. Mrs John Rees Powell. 

Lincoln Street. — Mrs Ben. lames 

River Sireet — James Jones and tvvo children , Thos .\ubrev. Mrs Ex an Morgan. Wil- 
liam McMeans. Mrs Moses Uwen and live children : Mrs. Worthingtoii and three children , 
Mrs. Williams, Joseph Williams. Minerva Harris. Geor'.:e Heisel 

Iron Street, Mh.lvii.le — Roger Edwards. Mrs Lewis R Jones, Mrs William Cadogan 
and daughter : Mrs Edward Evans and hve children , Mrs .\nnaniah Lewis. Mrs T I' Wil- 
liams and child: Lizzie Lewis. Oril Lewis, Mrs .\bram Price and child. Miss Tydvil 
Thomas. Mrs Wm. T. Morgan and two children : tw) children of Mrs Thomas Clwen. J.imes 

WooDV.\LE.- Evan -B. Evans, wife and child , Mrs D.a\ is and five children . Thomas Jones 
and family: Richard Jones and five children 

CoNEMAUuH BoR'ji'GH — Mrs Wm W Jones and three children 
Her children were leading Mrs. McConaui;h\- up-stairs. hoping it would be 
a safe place for their mother. Tlie excitement o\ercame her and she died in 
the hallwaw The building tumbled and the bod\' was carried off. 

Misses Jennie and Mary White, daughters of the head of the niiUiriery de- 
partment of the Cambria Iron Ci:mipan\''s store, noted for tiieir personal 
i.harms and animation, were divided in death. 'Sijuire Stra\er's amiable 
f.imily ami scores more might lie mentioned. \\'oodvale and tlu; Second and 
1 hird wards of Johnstown liad not a resident voter ijn fime 1st. Onh three 
houses remained on the east -.itie of Hedfcird street, lietween Main and the 
railroad. Could anything make clearer the appalling destruction ol life which 
this inulIie.■^ ? 

226 T^^^ STORY OF JonXSTOU'X. 

Every town has its kical •■characters." The flood tieated tliose of Johns- 
town inipartiaUy, takin.; and lea\"ini; them ahout eijually. •• Oki Kelh." ' the 
agedcoloird man. a familiar persona,L;e on the streets for a t;eneration, still 
lives. Ho has survi\ed muidercms assanlts, frosts, fires and iltjods inniuneralile, 
and does not lonk much older than wlien. twenty odd years aL;o. .Mvar Akers 
picked him out i.if the yutter in front of the Methoi_list church one winter morn- 
ing frozen almost lifeless. Sam. Etchison and Hannah Hopkins are yone. Imt 
"Brooks" Hollman liiiL;ers. Tom Kno.\ was i. uc duwn. hiit Tom Jenks and 
JackTreese remain. Poor Hannali and Sam '. W\ will hopt; that in tiie brii^luer 
world the cloud been lifted from their minds, anil that reparation will be 
made fnr their unhappy e.xistence n[)on the earth. 

A Chinaman and se\"eral negroes took thc-ir last journe\ . the Monijolian 
copy of FJret Harte's ■• \\\ Sin" driftin-.,' to Kernville -with a section of his 
laundr\'. ■• Tui,'i;ic " Tanner, one of the lilacks. enj<:i\ed the distinction-- a 
novelty in African circles — ot a head of hair fiery red. He mounted a loj,' and 
sailed alonj,' sin^'int;. •■Johnny. Get Your Gun." iust as if he were ,i.;oing t(^ a 
plantation frolic. That he had no idea of ilrownin'g is (piite certain, from the 
fact that he could have got ashore two or three time>. Doubtless he intended 
to jump otf about the mouth of the creek, but he fell a victim to his reckless- 
ness. A blow tumbled liim otf his log and he disappearetl. Neither ■■Johnny" 
nor anybody else needed a gun to dispatch ■■Tuggie " to the Kingdom Come '. 

Robert H. Bridges, the mail-carrier, as soon as possi-ble compiled the 
names of those lost in Cambria Borough, where he lixes. He took the ut- 
most pains to verify Ins repon. which is accepted as conclusi\e. From it 
these figures are summarized : 

Made widower?;, 42 , made -.vidous. \i number I'f f.imilie^ entirely wiped out of existence. 
l6 ; number of families who lost all but one, 40 , number of Irii,h lost, 105 numlier of Germans, 
116 ; number of Hungarians. 5S ; number of Poles. 1 1 , number of .Americans. ^5 : one famih- 
lost nine, four families lost eight each, five families lost si\ each, si.\ families lost five each, 
nineteen families lost four e.ich. se-.enteen families lost three each, twentv-threc families los' 
two each, fifty families lost one each The number lost on Front street was 30 ; Radruad street. 
38 ; Broad street. 66 ; Chestnut street. 12S . Walnut street, 52 , total, 323, 

Three sisters of Count', . Trc'asurer Howe appear in the list, with the names 
of numerous prominer.t people. Many names ha\e the fla\-or which betrays 
the foreign nati\-it_\- of their wearers. Mr. Bridges enumerated them in full. 
From his complete list the following are condensed : 

Front Stkkkt, — l->ank .\. Wier, Mrs. Julia McLaU'.'hIin, .Mrs John H Todd Minnie and 
S)dvester Thomas ; Th^^mas Fojarty. James (."ullen, uife and daUL:hter Mis^ Vlice Clears. 
Mary .\. and Majj.i^ie Dou,'herty . Mrs Bridget and James and Edward O , J.unes an^i 
Mary .\. and Eddie Lii;htner . Miss Emma and Charlie Hrid:,'es , Mrs Ann and John W Keliy. 
David GiUis ; .Mrs Mar>-, .\nnie and Marv lioorncsik , Mr^ .\nnie and I-Vank Bartos, John 
Mihalko. Louis Pollak, Fidel and Mrs Schnell , John H and .\nnie Miller; Geor:,'e Graiczer ; 
Rosie, Isaac and .\nnie Weis.^. 

Raiuko.^lj Stijekt — Mrs Bridget. Rose. .Magi^ie. Li.:<'ie. Genie and Bridget Howe, Mrs. 

5(^.1//; ('/•• Tin: mctims. 


.|(rii!'-;<-'t, Cortii;. Marv. Kritie and Annie Rile\ , Mr? Ann, Jdhn and Mary Kane : Kosie McPikc- ; 
Mrs Ann. Daniel. Joseph, Annie. Mrs Tillie and Tommy Cusli Mrs Jane. Mithael, Thomas. 
M.iry. J"lni. .\nnie. Rose and Agnes Gertrude Hayes; Mrs Mary Sinin^er ; Mrs. Rose. John, 
.\Iliert and Theodore Panian ; Mrs Dorothy. Mary and Annie Tokar 

Hi:"Mi SiKKEl- — Charles. Mary. Charlie, Tommy. Rosie. Bridget. Willie and Josie Boyle; 
Neal. Mrs Annie. Rose. Katie. Mary. Willie. Sadie. A^nes and Annie ML,\neen\ . John C. 
lieneiKh, .Vndiew Dud.-ik. Mrs .\nnie Spicsak . George. Mrs Sophia. Jennie and Lawrenee 
C.ieenwood , \'iola. Sarah jane. Ida M and Ella \'arner. infant , no name i ; Mrs, Mary. Ellie 
and IJziie Fitzpatrick ; Susie ^Vard, Mrs, ,\bl>ie Grady. Julius Bischof. .August Mickie. Md<e 
Dudzik ; Jacob and Mrs. Sophia Wavrek and Michael Totas ; Ignatius Fischer, Maggie, Katie, 
George and Eddie Fischer; Mrs, Ella and John Leo Heider ; Mrs Teresa Laban. Mrs, Jane 
Mc.Meer . John. Mrs, Mary. Mary, Katie and Frances Hinnihan ; Mrs Catharine and Dafney 
Keelan ; Mrs Katie, Bernard and John Grant ; Mrs Teresa and John Takacs ; Mrs. Ellen, 
John and Katie Gafne>, Louis Jacobs 

Chestnut Street — Mrs Krescence and Barbara Sarlouis ; Mrs Lizzie. Henry and 
Joseph Heine; Johanna Fisher. Nicodemus. Mrs. Teresa and Mary .\mps ; Joseph. Mrs. 
Victoria. Joseph, Conrad and Mary Ann C)sterman ; .Amelia Dietrich, .-\ugusta Foling , Mrs, 
Theresa, John Thomas and I'rancis George Ctiiliton; Mrs p^va and John Weber ; ]ohn L., 
Mrs .\nielia and Willie Smith ; .\ntone and Mrs. Barron . Mrs Lena, Eddie and Willie Just ; 
I'erdinand and Jacob Weisz ; Mary, Theresa, Katie and Mrs. Mary Kintz ; Peter Mrs., 
Margaret, Frank. John and Willie Nitch ; Mrs, Barbara, Mary, Katie, Willie and John Lani- 
biiski; Mrs, Stanislauva. Miss Stanislauva, Josie and Sophia Skiba ; Mrs, Mary. Maggie and 
Martin Michalitch ; Mrs .\nn and Regine Fecken^tine . Mrs F'rederica. Hortalina, Frank 
and Charles Smith'; Harry and Eddie Hirsch ; Pankrotz and Mrs Lena Brutz. Lena Fish; 
John C . Mrs Margaret. Rose and N'incent Gaerber ; .\ntone and .-Mbert Wolf; Jacob and 
Mrs Mary Shaffer ; Samuel, Mrs Martha, John, Smith, Mary. Eva. James and Philip Mc- 
<-"arron . Mrs Bessie, Flora and Mary Benson . George and Mrs, Ann Alt . George, Mrs. 
Mary. John and Eddie Miller; Katie and Sophia Ritter, Joseph and Mrs, Mary Meyers ; 
.\nton. Anton. Jr , Maxamilliaa and Wilhelmina Schittenhelm . Mrs Fredera and Joseph 
Hessler; Louis. Mrs Mary, Annie. Martha, Sarah. MoUie. John and George Weinzeirl ; Albert, 
Frederick. Mrs Johanna. Marv, John and Albert Melczcr , Aug Schanviskv. Mary D Hess- 
ler. Michael Louther. Mrs. M.iry Martinades. Jacob and Mary Dluhos ; Mrs Mary. Willie. 
Leo and Sophia Smith ; Mrs, Annie Larabright. Mike Doiny. Emrich Moser ; .Mbert, 
Wilhelmina and Mary Roth 

Wnlntt Stueet — Mrs Mary, Katie and Willie Madden ; Mrs, .\nnie and Philip Smith ; 
Mrs .\iinie and Miss .Vnnie .\lberter , Bernard Gar\ey. Patrick and Mrs Sarah Carr , Chris- 
topher. Mrs Catharine, .\nnie and Willie Craigg . Mrs .\ugustina, August, .\ntone and .\nnie 
SJimidt ; John. \'erona. Stephen. Bella. Annie and .August Geczie . Mrs M.iry. Mary, .\nnie 
and. Lizzie Siroc/ki ; Mrs Mar\ , Katie. Joseph Stinely and .\nnie Stinely ; Fred, Stakeman, 
Thomas Walsh, Mrs, Mar\ Marc.ii. Mrs Ellen Digncin, Karl Shaffer. Mrs. Magdalina Brown; 
Mrs, A^'nes, Katie and Frank Beltzler Julius and Matilda Puky, Mrs Catharine HammiU, 
Mrs Theresa Hanki ; Henry. Mrs Henry. Johnny and Frank Wagnor , Mrs .Mary Koebler. 
Miklosz Fedorizen. 

Shall till.' lessons and the nicanint; of these deaths he lost ? Too often nie-n 
■ind wo.'Uen do not learn them liecaiise they take short-si,L,'hted \ie\\s uf thing;s 
and cannot see throii,L;h their tear.s. Most of the siirvi\ors nia\' find rehe-f in 
the <ipini(jns eif others who ha\-e t^one throii^di the hot furnace of affliction. 
i h.M keray — l>iy-hearted and attached to his friends — drank deeply ot the cup 


of sorrow. In tlic midst of it all he wrote to an associate wliose societv lie 
prized \er}' lii;.;hl\' : 

"I don't pit}' an\ bod\ who leases llie world, not e\ en a fair \oun_t; girl in her prime : I 
pity those remaining. On her jonrney, if it pleases God to send her, depend on it, there's no 
cause for srief : that's Init an earthly condition Out of our stormy life, and brought nearer 
the Divine light and warmth, there must be a serene climate Can't you fancy sailing into the 
calm ^ Would you care about going on the voyage, but for the dear souls left behind on the 
other shore '' liut we shan't be parted from them, no doubt, though they are from us Add a 
little more intelligence to that which we possess even as we are, and why shouldn I we be with 
our friends, though ever so far ' * * Our body removed, why shouldn't we per-^onally be 
anywhere at will ' The body being removed or elsewhere disposed of and diweloped, sorrow 
and its opposite, crime and the reverse, ease and disease, desire and dislike, go along with the 
body — a lucid intelligence remains, a perception ubiquitous " 

I~or some left behind on --this lonely shore of existence" it is hard to dis- 
cern in death what it reali\' is, a stcji in a necessar\' process w hose hiw is pro- 
gress. When a \'oang hid is called from his happ\' games, on the threshold 
of a promising; career ; or whr-n a young' girl, wearing tlie sweet rose of youth, 
witli the briglitness and the promise and the g!or\' of God's fair world before 
her and al)out lier. is called to the life beyond, tlie afflicted heart can see but 
little that is compensator}". Uut time and the ultimate event will re\eal •■the 
deep remedial force that underlies all fact." Yet there was no reason win' 
Johnstown should have been scourged and thousands of its best and fairest 
launched into eternit\' unwarned. 

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^c5-f 7- ^3^ 



u GiKi-s OF Tender 

— J'l;\TTLERS \VIU'--t; 


Years Drowned by HlndkcDs — Doom of the Fenn F\ 

-Tin. Light and Jov of Maw Hovseholds F.xtin- 
Bi-KiED wriH Hek Poll — Little 

Voices are Hushed Forever- 


Folks who were Un.vers.l f.vok.tes - The Saddest Feature of the Overwhelm- 
ing Calamity — Why Loving Hl\rt- Ache. 

•Gem of our hearth, our household prule. 

Eartli's un.lefile.l. 
Cuuld love have saved ll'.ou luvht not died. 

Our dear, sweet t.h:l'.'. 
Humblv we how to Fates decree; 
Yet had we hoped that Tiuie should see 
Thee mourn for u-^, not us for thee."— D. NL Moir 

ERHAPS the sadtlfst feature t.f the disaster was tlie dreadful 

slaucliter of the cliildren. Shut in tlie houses hy high water in 

the forenoon, hundreds feU an easy prtry to llie cruel delu-e. 

^, The flood outdid Herod in its effort to extirpate juvenile 

{fKiJ life. After its dreadfid work was done the lanientablc 

-i:Li?:i"./j'-->/'L scaveitv of children impressed itself painfully upon every 

-^.?4i:~l---t~:^s^''^ mind. " The cries of babies, the prattle of infants, the 

;X.-:L^^ merrv lau-hter of bo\ s and skirls were sel- 

:k of animation in the 

_^ doni heard. Th 

^i "■y^"^ -V^^^^^^;' ^^ boys, previously bubblin.L,' o\er with fun and 

'Isf^-v --^^^:^'-^;^--s(i:£:^;,^*'-^ rollicking humor, was", too apparent to pass 


unheeded. They took no interest m tlie ar- 
.,.__^ rival of the trains, the unkxidiiiL,' of pro- 

'_._. f'') visions, or any of the excitim; scenes which 

5i^>v the calamity occasioned. The little ;4i'l* 

s.FTiN.; to DFiTH. — thcrc wcro not enough of them to In- m 

anybody's wav or to attract the slightest bit of attention. "God help us." 
said a minister as he move-d among the people, -where are the duldren ?" 



Where? Little coffins were e\'ery\vhere — little forms tigluK clasped in the 
embrace of ilead mothers — tiny babes whose eyes had never seen the liLjht of 
(lay lay stilf and cold with the rest. The small mounds in all the Johns- 
town cemeteries tell where the children are. Rachel was the protot\pe of 
weepini,' mothers whose li\c-> arc shadowed because the sunliL;ht died with 
their little ones in the tl(5od. A community bereft of its cliildren is the bitterest 
evidence of the horrible devastation. 

Last Christmas there were stockint;s to hant: up in man\' a fohnstown 
home — stockiiiLTs with a hole in one little foot and the heel \vorn thin in the 
other. For the Christmas of isS(; there are none in hundreds of these deso- 
late dwellin;^s. Last \'ear peoj^le hunted the to\-stores antl confectioneries 
for the newest ,md nicest thing's fur their confiding; little ones, who longed for 
Santa Clans. This year they pass the Liedecked windows with bowed heads 
and a strange pain tugging at their heart-strings. Tears come to childless 
mothers as they see little hands lield tightly by doting parents and hear the 
laughing-eyed elf tell of hopes and plans for the winter. Lips cannot keep 
from trembling and tear-dimnied eyes from gazing wistfully at dear little pets 
witli golden curls nestling in a parent's lap whde their own treasures are un- 
der the sod or hing in th.e iniid somewhere along the Conemaugh. Their 
own child had walked the street.-, climbed on their knees and ridden home in 
the horse-cars on. Christmas e\ e a year ago. After they had coaxed him into 
liis night-clothes that night, and heard his little prayers, with the final ■■God 
bless papa and manima." they put him to bed and filled the two little stock- 
ing so full and piled high the chair on which they hung '. The\- could hardlv 
sleep for thinking of what he woiiii.l do and sav when Christmas morning came. 
This year they are alone. They sit silently. The wife tries to read her 
favorite magazine, but her eyes are closed behind its pages. The husband 
sa_\s he will go out on the pc>rch and smoke. But the cigar was not lighted 
in the whole Imur he remained without. The\' were having a Christmas tree 
for a neighbor's little bo\- across the street. He could see the tree and the 
bov dancing around it. He knew and felt that his bo\" was safe in the arms of 
of the One who carries the youui,' lambs in His bosom, but he could not help 
crving out : 

"My baby, I want > on my-ielf My heart is lonely and empty '.vithout \ou .'" 
Tlie curtain may be up a few inches, and he might see his wife on her 
knees. What did she ha\'e in her hands, kissing them accain and again with 
sobs and tears? The little stockings that were hung up last Christmas. She 
may ■• out-grow it " or ■■ get used to it." luit this is the first Christmas she has had 
to live through since th.e joy and pride of the housidiold went down in the tlootl. 

■■ \Vc sh.lll roani ..ii the h.-inks nllbc river 01 i.eace. 

And one uf the 
The little be 



If the pluckiiif^ of one fair blossom iiitlicts such a pang, liow j^reat a wave 
of s\inpath\- should uo our for those crushed by the loss of .?// their buds of 
promise at a stroke \ Were there instances of this kind ? Vt.'s. many of them. 
Listen to one : John I'eiin. a prosperous tinner and stove-tlealer, was ixirn in 
Johnstown and held in hi'_:h esteem for ir.dustry anil inteL;rity. lie had a de- 
\oted wife and se\"en brii^ht chiidien, upon whom the loud parents la\is!ied 
their warmest aHection. His store was on \\'ashint;ton strtet and his resi- 
dence near the corner of Locust an<I Franldin. Cn the d.i)' of the flood he 
helped neighbors move goods ami furniture to their upper floors. In tlie after- 
noon, the water ha\"ing risen two f(.-et abo\e the pavement in front of his house, 
he went out for provisions. During his absence the torrent from the South- 
Fork dam swept the town. o\ertaking him in the street. Two doors from his 
home, \\hicli he was struu;:.;ling hard to ri.:ach. the wave en\eloped him. A 
piece of tindier struck him on the head and he sank to rise no more. A mci- 
ment before, he called to an aci]uaintance in a window across the street : 
" Say good-bye for me to my family \" 

Tliese were the last words of the tender husband and father, frum whose 
thoughts the approach of certain doom could not drive the image of his 
household treasures. Mrs. Feiin and the children drifted oil with the house. 
in ■which the water rose witliin a short distance of the ceiling of the second 
stor\'. The agonized mother clasped her bab\' to her bosom, the rest of the 
children clutching her arms and tlress. The hght for life was brief, one after 
another <lrowning rapidh". The bab\' perished first, then' the x'ounger chil- 
dren, until the seven ■ivere gone. Mrs. F"inn contrived tei break a hole 
through the floor and get upon the roof, which floateii to the scliool-house at 
the foot of \ ine street. There she reinaiiie<l until noon im Saturday, the- frail 
craft settling in the wreckage, and was nearl\ dead \vhen rescued. I he roof 
had parted from the house, anil ikj trace of the missing children or of Mr. 
Fenn could be discovered. A gold watch and Syoo in money, locked m a 
bureau drawer, were lost. Not a fragment of the building or its contents. i\- 
cept a clock and a picture, has been seen. It is singular that a picture taken from 
the ruins of the convent pro\ ed to be a photograph of Mr. I'enn as he stood 
in his shop-door. Later two photographs, stuck together firmly, were found 
in Ston\' Creek. The\- were cabinets of Miss Beale and the eldest of the 
F'enn (.laughters. The former was the music-teacher of the little girl and the 
pictures had probably come from the residence of Kev. Dr. Deale. pastor of 
the Preslnterian church. The widowed, childless mother, deprived at once 
of husband and otfsprim;. bijwcdi down with an inexpressible weight of woe. 
searched incessantl}' among the (.lead gathered from the streams and piles of 
wreck, hoping to find her tlarlings. Her grief was too jKjignant for huid la- 
mentations, but the pained face betoken(.-d the inward anguish. Standing on 
a heap of debris twenty rods from her wasted home, in a drizzling ram. tri.mi 

2:,4 ' THE sroRV or jo>/.\sfoirx. 

lier own white lips, which twitched and quivered with pain, came to me on 
Monda\ lorenoon. forty hours alter the tlood. tiiis sad recital : 

■■\Vr' were so (lappy on Thursday nii;lit ! A little company liad come to coiisratiilate a 
friena who was just married- On Friday lorenoon my husband was at his store. The water 
rose so that he set up some of the tinware and then helped the neighbors move their furniture. 
He stayed in the house a good while after dinner, soinj; out about three o'clock. Tl;e water 
was over the sidewaik and he went to get some food, as the cellar was inundated. That was 
the last we saw of him, I heard yesterday that he got within two doors of home, called a 
farewell message tons and was struck down I heard a noise, like buildings falling, and told 
the children to run up-stairs Before we all git up the water rushed through the doors and 
windows and caught us. I had the baby in my arms and the other children climbed on the 
lounge and table. The water rose and floated us until our heads nearly touched the ceilin-,;. 
I held the baby as long as I could and then had to let her drop into the water. George had 
grasped the curtain pole and was holding ou. Something crashed against the house, broke a 
hole in the wall and a lot of bricks struck my boy on the head. The blood gushed from his 
face, he loosed his hold and sank out of sight. Oh. it was too terrible ! ' 

■■ My brave little Bismarck went next. Anna, her father's pet. was near enough to kiss me 
before she slipped under the water It N^as dark and tlie house was tossing e\"er\' wav. The air 
was stifling, and 1 could not tell just the moment the rest of the children had to give up and 
drown. My oldest boy. John Fulton, kept his head above the water as long as he was able. 
At last he said: ' Mother, you always said Jesus would help. Will he help us now ?' What 
could I do but answer that Jesus would be with him, whether in this world or the brighter one 
beyond the skies He thought we might get out into the open air. We could not force a way 
through the wall or the ceiling, and the poor boy ceased to struiigle. A\'hat I suffered, with the 
bodies of my seven -children tioatir.g around me in the gloom, can never be told. Then the 
house struck hard and the roof broke I punched a hole bigger and got oui. The roof settled 
and I could do nothing more. How the night passed I know not, as I have no remembrance of 
anything after the house stopped until Saturday morning. Then I recovered my senses and saw- 
I was close to the school-house at the lower end of Vine street. I was numb with cold and 
prayed for death, if it were God's will Soon voices called to me to keep up courage and I 
would be taken off. Some man put a piece of bread on a stick and thre',v it toward.-i me It 
floated beside the wreckage 1 was on and I caught it A mouthful satished me. .\t noon a 
boat took me to the shore and I was given some food I did not know then whether Mr. 
Fenn was saved or lost, and I set out to see what could be heard of him I knew all mv chil- 
dren were dead and had floated down among the rubliish on the Point. On Sundav I heard of 
my husband s fate. I had hoped he got across Stony Creek and would return, but the dreadful 
news destroyed the last spark of comfort in my soul, I had drunk the cup of sorrow to the 
lowest dregs. 

" Kind friends gave me shelter and what consolation the\ could offer. But my heart is 
breaking. My husband all my dear children, and my home are gone : I came from \'irginia to 
Johnstown and have no relatives in this section of the country, e.MCept some of mv husband s 
famil}. My parents and brothers and sisters are dead, so that I am indeed alone in the world. 
I have looked at every body as it was brought to the morgues to see if it might be one of mv 
treasures. Thus far I have recovered n^'neof them, and I fear the\- niav have been burned in the 
Are at the bridge. The thought is agonising and I feel as if I should go wild when it seems that 
I cannot even look upon the faces of my precious dead. It would be such a comfort to know- 
where they sleep and visit their graves, to water them with my tears and plant (lowers over their 
heads. Yet I do not quite despair of finding some of them. Thev mav be dug out of the ruins 
of the homes above the bridge, and I shall watch the bodies carried in to see if mv husband and 
children are not among them Xo wife and mother could have had a kinder, better fnmdv We 

2:;4 ' THE STOKY O/- /0J/.\S70ir.\: 

liei own white lips, which t\\ itched and iiuix'eieii with pain, came ti^ nie on 
Monday toreiioon, foi"t\' hours after the tlnotl. thi^ sail recital : 

■■\V.> were so liappy on Thursday ni>;ht ! A little company had come to consratulate a 
friend who was just married. On Friday forenoon my hiisliand was at his store. The water 
rose so that he set up some of the tinware and then hel|"d the neishbors move their furniture. 
He stayed, in ihe house a g.iod while a.fter dinner, goini; out about three o'clock. The water 
was over the tidewaik and he went to get some food, as the cellar was inundated. That was 
the last we saw of him. I heard yesterday that he got within two doors of home, called a 
farewell message to us and was struck down. I heard a noise, like buildings falling, and told 
the children to nni iip-stairs- Before we all g'lt up the water rushed tlirongh the doors and 
windows and caught us. I had the baby in my arms and the other children climbed on the 
lounge and table. The water rose and floated us untd our heads nearly touched the ceilin,;. 
I held the baby as long as I could and then had to let her drop into the water. George had 
grasped the curtain pole and was holding on. Something crashed against the house, broke a 
hole in the wall and a lot of bricks struck my boy on the head. The blood gushed from his 
face, he loosed his hold and sank out of sight. Oh, it was too terrible ! ' 

■• My brave little Bismarck went next. Anna, her father's pet. was near enough to kiss me 
before she slipped under the water. It was dark and the house was tossing every wav. The air 
was stilling, and I could not tell just the moment the rest of the children had to give up and 
drown My oldest boy, John Fulion. kept his head above ihe water as long as he was able. 
At last he said ' Mother, you always said Jesus would help. Wdl he help us now?' What 
could I do I'ut answer that Jesus v.ould be with him, whether in this world or the brighter one 
beyond the skies He ihouyht we might get out into the open air. We could not force a way 
through the wall or the ceiling, and the poor boy ceased to struggle A\'hat I suffered, v,ith the 
bodies of m) seven -children floating around me in the gloom, can never be told. Then the 
house struck hard and the roof broke I punched a hole bigger and got oiU. The roof settled 
and I could do nothing more. How the night passed I know not. as I ha\e ni remembrance of 
anythmg after the house stopped until Saturday morning. Then I recovered my senses and saw 
I was close to the school-house at the lower end of Vine street. I was numb with cold and 
prayed for death, if it were God's wdl Soon voices called to me to keep up courage and I 
would be taken off. Some man put a piece of bread on a stick ami threw it towards me. It 
floated beside the wreckage I was on and I caught it. .\ mouthful satisfied me. .\t noon a 
boat took me to the shore and I was given some food I did not know then \ihether Mr. 
Fenn was saved or lost, and I set out to see what could be heard of him I knew all m\ chil- 
dren uere dead and had floated down among the rubbish on the i'oint. On Sunday I heard of 
my husband s fate. I had hoped he got across Stony Creek and would return, but the dreadful 
news destroyed the last spark of comfort in my soul. I had drunk the cup of sorrow to the 
lo\vest dregs 

■' Kind frienils gave me shelter and what consolation the\' could offer. But mv heart is 
breaking M> husband all my dear children, and my home are gone ' I came from X'irginiato 
Johnstown and have no relatives in this section of the country, except some of mv husband s 
family. My parents and brothers and sisters are dead, so that I am indeed alone in the world. 
I have looked at every body as it was brought to the morgues to see if it might be one of mv 
treasures. Thus far I ha^c recovered ni>ne of them, and I fear they may have been burned in the 
fire at the bridge. The thought is agoni/ing and I feel as if I should go wild when it seems that 
I cannot even look upon the faces of my precious dead It v,-onld be such a comfort to know 
where they sleep and visit their graves, to water them with my tears and plant flowers over their 
heads, 'i'et I do not quite despair of finding some of them. They mav be dug out of the ruins 
of the homes above the bridge, and I shall watch the bodies carried in to see if my husband and 
children are not among them Xo ^^ife and mother could have had a kinder, better famd;-. We 

s/.Aro///7:A- or rin: i.wocexts. 2:; 5 

were all the world to each other. There is a picture of my famil) in a grotip, taken Lt;! Decern - 
lier, one ropy of which I gave to a lady in Conemaugh Borough for a Christmas present. But 
l,.r thai there \iuulii be none in e.\istence, as the one that hung in our parlor was washed a\\ay the house The children s names and ages were: 

John Fulton, 12 years 

May ITeming Miller, or 'Daisy, ' 10 years. 

ftene\'ie\"e, 9 years 

George Washington, S years, 

Anna Richmond Virginia, 6 years, 

Bismarck Sulli\an, 3 years 

Queen Esther, id months tOd on the dav of the flood, 
'■John Fulton was named in honor of the manager of the Cambria Iron Works, who took a 
great interest in him and made him his messenger boy when he grew old enough The rep.n! 
that Mr, Fulton was drowned came. I suppose, through the drowning of my child John was a 
good boy to me. The first money he ever earned he handed to me. saying ■ Mamma, von use 
some for yourself and let me put some in the Sunday-school bo\. La>,t year he joined the 
I'reslnterian church, of which he was the youngest member. His father and I looked forward 
to the day when our manly lad would be able to share in the business It is hard to realize 
both are gone and that our plans are thwarted What shall I dcj - XN'hat shall I do ' 

"'Daisy' was called May Fleming Miller from dear friends of ours. She \ias a dili:;ent 
scholar and I think everybody liked her for her amiable ways. At home she always tried to 
take care of the smaller children. Now they are all gone! George was born on the anniver- 
versarv of Washington's birthday and received the name of the father of his country Anna's 
name included my native city and state. The Germans were holding a celebration in Johnstown 
on the da\ mv third son came into the world, so we clecided to iia:no him Bism.irck. The b.du 
was called Queen Esther because the cantata of that name was pror'uct-d on the evening of her 
birth If God had only spared me «< I could have been resigned But all. all ! Father in 
Heaven, is not rnv cross heavier ih,tn I can bear ' ' 

Sobs freqiicnth" chokeJ the utterances of tlie afflicted woman. wIk.i broke 
clown at this stage antl was led away by kind ladies. Week after week she 
e.xplored the wreckag'e for the bodies of her loved ones. Georcjc was fonnil 
at last and Itiiried tenijiorarilx' ainon.L; tin: •■unknown." .V C()llar-bntt<in taken 
from a corpse was recog,nize'i in September b\ Mrs. Feiin as the one she had 
fastened in her husband's shirt the mornin'g of the llood. The liody had been 
numbered and buried on Prospect Hill four months bifore. It Wits e.xhiimed. 
identified jiositiveh' bv the clothin'g and certain marlvs. and burii.'d in Grand 
\ iew Cemeterv". whither was also taken. Of the other si.-v iiieiiilurs 
of the family no si,L;n lias been discovered. They sleep in n.tineiess graves. 
C'r lie beneath the mire unshrciiided and-uncoffined, 

Mrs. Frnn was cared for kindly at one of the houses erected by the Rei.1 
Criiss Societ\'. and la\' for week-^ at the point "f death. The fi-arfiil strain re- 
thieed her to a shadow of her f(jriner soif. Vi:t the burvleiie.l spirit diil imt 
hud the rest of the ,L;ra\e. .\ baby was b.irn. but it lived oiil\- a few 
'1 he minister baptized tlie little stranger Ivaciirl b'aitli. in accordance with tin; 
wisli cif the sntteriiiL; nK>tlier — a name strikingly appropriate. Had it lived, 
the Icinely heart would have enjdved some solace. K\en this ray of sun>h:ne 


ci n '1 inurniurud : ■■Good-b\"c, 
Iina^'ine an incidt.-nt like tlii-' 

was denied, and tlie postluwiious child cif [ohn Fenii hastciu'tl \o meet \w 
blissful rt-aliiis tlic fatlu-r it was \\o\ to sec on earth. I' Mrs. I'eiiii ! Their 
beaut\', cleNerness and kindly di'^pixition nia<ie her children ;^'eneral favorites. 
Who woidd not e.xtend a helpinL;' hand to soothe sorrow like hers? 

']"he listeners wejit as S. M. |ones. who was rescued, told how he lost his 

home and famil\'. T\V(i \\eeks before the flood he 

came to johnstow n from Cumbt'rland. Md.. with his 

wife and only child, a bright lioy of si.\ summers. 

When the crash occurred the three managed to 

-et on tlie roof of their house, which floated off. 

The buildini; parted and Mrs. Jones sank to rise 

no more. The father clutched his bo\- tirmlv. but 

a furious sliock tore the little fellow from his arms. 

As lie disappeared in the surL;in^ torrent. 

the dear child raised his face a single 


papa ; • ■ 

° — m your own case. Is it surprisinL; that 

'^- the stricken husbaiul an<l father should 

\\\' ' pT *' \ have a care-worn expr>; n he will carr_\' 

■ 1^ ,i.._ri^"v • to the i,'ra\e '■! These are the things which 

*■ streak the hair with silver and hew deep 

wrinkles in the aching brow, wrapping life's pathwa\ in glocm no beam of 

light can penetrate. 

For weeks a woman in homeU' garb was seen about the morgues and 
wherever men sought for bodies of the deaiL Her face had a \earning. plead- 
ing look wliich softened the hardest heart. She had bunches of marsh rose- 
marN' and brightdiued wild flowers, picked from the hills and meadows. People 
whisperei! she was not (]uite right in her mind and thought of Ophelia. She 
was alwa\s in a hurr\- \.o be awa\' frmu yrui. as if in search of some one. Her 
face ahva\'s wore the same troubled, pathetic, appealing expression, as if. de- 
spairing, she still waited for news that ne\'er came. Tall in stature, with the 
slightest of stoojis. her skin was pale, and to see her eyes was tii be haunteii 
with a lingering sense of pain. ^\'heIl you spoke to her she smiled w itli a ijuick 
sense of gratitude for a moment of human companionship, but at once \\ as 
gone. She had no time to spare from the (piest tliat will have no end until 
the gra\'e closes over her tileeding heart. One da\' she didi not appear and it 
was learned that she had wandered down the river, to lo(.ik for the two chil- 
dren wliosf loss I'.ad caused her reason to totter. That was the last seen cif 
her in Johnstown. None knew lur name or how she fared, further than that 
she was a widow, who took in washing to support her little !amil}' and lived in 

si.Ai\;/rrER ></■ Tin: ixxocexts. 2-\-j 

;i back alle\'. W' ,i \cilmnt_- the iiuwriltL-n trat^cdifs of liuiuau lite would 
niakc '. 

Xothiiiij that ha^ heen >aKl hx' ton;,'ur or pen can jiiitilre adequately the 
awful aL;oii\' cau^^ed b\- the loss of children in whom centereel the ainhitions 
ami hopes of proutl parents. Hearts L,'rew sick in feeble attempts to shiAv 
svnipathw and all that was tlippant took tli,L;lit from the presence of harrow- 
iiiK. unspeakable !;riel. Many sur\ivors wrote letters re;.;ardin;^ the dehiL;e, 
but the pathos in one uiiist melt the llintiest. It is from Mrs. Kla Ouen. a 
poor widow, who resides at Scalp Le\el. near Johnstown, antl whose children 
and their grandparents were sw ept lo death : 

ScAI.F Lt\t:i-. June /.'. iSSq. 
n,-,})- Sir : It is with a sat! heart that I wrue and say that WiUie, m\- son. is dead. He 
was nine years and four months of age Daisy, my daui,'hter, is dead ; she was thirteen years 
and three months old. Thev were in Johnstown on the fatal Friday of the bursting of the dam. 
Their Grandpa and Grandma Quen were swept away also. I buried Daisy on Tuesday and 
Willie to-dav I have not found the bodies of their s^randparents yet I am a widow and 
have one little bov, Georse, leU. Oh ' My weary tramp day after d.iy tindm'.; mv children 
The horror, the dread, and alone— no pen can toil Oh. it is hard for me But there are so 
many like me. The sorrow and grief are felt by all 1 was poor, but I had my chddren 
They are gone and my heart is sad I remain yours 

Wu.I.Il's Mol lU'K 

Willie sold papers to assist his mother and was the manliest of little fel- 
lows. While words cannot assnai;e the sorrow of his bereaxeil mother, none 
can read her letter without moistenei.l e_\ es and a feeling,' of rei^ret for the sad 
fate of her loved aiul lovin^' children. 

It was a touchini; spectacle when the corpse of a little .uirl was extricated 
and placed on a stretcher for transportation to the inorLTue. Clasped to her 
breast by her two waxen hands was a rag-doll — a cheap affair, of iJomestic 
manufacture. To the child of povert_\- the ray-baby was a faxorite toy. The 
little mother held fast to her treasure, and met her end witlujiit separating from 
it. The two — child and doll — were not jiarted when the wliite collin recei\ed 
them, and the\- moukler toi^ether in the plot assigned to the ■•unknown" in 
Grand \'iew Cemetery. 

Zeta, Agnes and Thomas, the three y<ningest cluldrtn of Mr. and Mrs. 
Robert Sagerson, "were drowned, but their boilies were not washed away. 
Frank, the infant child of James and Kate Taylor, was als(j killed in the house. 
The four little ones were interred in one box in the old Catholic Cemeter\ . 

A bab\'s shoe, on a chair beside a table, was disco\ered in the room of a 
wrecketl house near St. J<.ilin's Church. I'robaliK the mother had been dress- 
ing her darling at the moment \\iien both were hurled to theii doom. 

.\ little bo\- and girl, apjiareiitly <diout ti\e and se\-en \ ears of age. passed 
close to Mr. Janus McMillen's residence. The\ were staiuling on a float, the 
little man luilding, as is supposed, his sister's hand, without a mnrnuir, and 
both standing as straight as arrows. Neither was seen afterwards. 


A small bu\- was taken out of the wreck 011 Main sttcct with a silver dollar 
in his riLjht haiul. He was hkcly ua his way to market when swept into the 
swirlin,^' waters. 

'• Here. sonn\'," said a 'gentleman to a halt-naked bo\'. "is a pair of shoes 
for \ ou. " ■■ I dun' t need them. >Lr. " replied the hul. •■ I don' t \v.tnt an\ thing. " 
'•Ma\lie \iju are hungry?' " ■•Xo. mit \ery," and the little hgure in patched 
trousers and tattered shirt crept otf to a pile of coffins, sat down on one and 
groaned in abject misery. Father, mother, sisters, brothers and lu me were 
swept aw.u , but a kintl untie :,oun took tin- poor orphan to his own house in 
Harrisbui l;. 

The bodies of Mrs. Thoinasberger and two of her chiklren, .\melia and 
Charley, were found on Locust street, near Jackson, ou June Joth. The bodv 
of Sarah I\ees, aged ten years, was found on June iSth. and the body of John, 
aged two, on the 20th. Both were children of J. \\ . Kees, c>f the Econi)m\' 
Clothing Store, and so the list lengthened. 

.\ woman whcan thousands in Johnstown knew and respected wa-. Mrs. Mc- 
Kinstr_\', an industrious seani--tress, whose husband died years ago, leaving his 
willow with one daughter. For little .\nnie the fond mother sewed earh' and 
late, rearing the child carefully. .\nnie a pretty girl, just entering her 
teens when the tctrible disaster o\er\\ helmed the Conemaugh \'alle\-. She 
liad a great ma-;S of silken hair, blue e\es and the complexion c.if the roses. 
Last spring when the Hager block, on Main street, was completed, Mrs. 
McKinstr\' securetl rocuns in the new budding. There she and .\nnie li\ed 
comfortabh. unsuspicious of e\'il. The child went to school regnlarh , while 
the mother plied her needle with tireless patience. On the fatal day both 
were upstairs m their own quarters. The resistless \',aters criislied out the 
front and one side of the buildiiv.;. burying the unfortunate inmates beneath 
piles of rubbish. Among them were the McKinstr\s, whose bodies were foun<l 
a da\' or two later. Onl_\" a short time before Annie had crosseii tiie street to 
Burggraf's gallery t(j ha\'e her photi.>graph taken. One of her playmates was 
}{mma, daughter of Jacob Zimmerman, the lawyer. The pair were always 
together. Their tastes and stiKlies were similar. Emma, with her married 
sister and brother-md.iw . went down in the wreck of her father's house. 'Tis 
consoling to belie\e these loving companions are reunited where partings do 
not ve.K and gentle fellowship is enduring as the ages of etc-rnit\'. 

Everybod_\' knew and lo\ed sweet, smiling-faced Bessie, daughter of Dr. 
James F'ronheiser and sister of the L;irl and liov who Llispla\ed such bra\er\'. 
Her little brother was hani.led through a window of the club-house, appar- 
ently dead. The distracted father had him put to bed and spent hours re\i\-- 
ing th.e child, succeeding at last in fanning the vital spark into a tlame. The 
baby was onl\' nine weeks old the da\ ot the flood anil two weeks after fob 
loweil Us mother and sister to the ^ra\e. Dear little Bessie. se\en \ears old. 



\ ■•'.'■ 




):/ :zr- 



y'-/^\ •.-<..•/ 


small of her aj:;e, with hair like burnished .qi'ld and a hice uf the sweetest 
purity, was lust. She '.vore two ring's, one ha\inL; the \\"ori.i ■•Pet" pressed 
into it. but a force of men '-pent weeks in a vam search for her re- 
mains. The blank her absence had made in the home once fidl of lo\e and 
brightness ! 

■'She W.1S th.-.r darlms:i;irl. 
They ..n her ., Hc.iven s m.i5t |,reci..,!^ iliiiii;, 
For .ill iinliiinhed w.i^ lues luwcl .1 rnis; 
Till set Mith this r.ire pearl. ■'. 

Jessie and Francis, the brii;ht children of Frank IJownian. were carried 
awa\ in their liome at \\'ood\'aie. ;4oing down to death with their parents and 
other rek'itives. The lists tell of families that lost twc. three, hve. seven, 
nine and e\ en ten children, a berea\'ement so great that it is not eas\' to com- 
prehend its full effect. 

■■They tound a little irirl ;n white just now." said one of the railroad 
operators at Switch Corner, near Sang Hollow. ■■Good dod :" said the chief 
operator, ■■she isn't dead, is she ''" ■■ Yes, the\- found her in a clump of wil- 
low bushes, kneelin'4 on a board, just about tlie way we saw Iter when she 
Went down the river. That was the saddest of all. She had on a white dress 
and looked like a little anirel. Slie went under that cursed shoot in the willow 


huslics at the W-nA likt all the rest, hut we did hc^pc slic would <;ct through 
ali\e." ■• And M) >he was -.till k'lceliu'j,, " one said to his companion who liad 
brought the \inwi-lcoine new-. •• W's, and her lijis parted \\\ a smile as if she 
saw the i^ates ajar to admit her to paradise." The praying; little girl was 
washed car<.-tull\ and laid m .i neat casket. She is now sleriiing in Grand 
\'iew. without a name to m irk \v\ place of repose. Dut the angels knew who 
she was and took her up to the golden streets. 

What sublime faith some of the children e.vhilnted ' rie(.>rge J. Lea and 
family were on the roof of their house. The houst' swung around and floated 
for nearh half an hour Ix.tore it struck the wreck above the stone bridge. A 
3-year-old girl, with golden hair and dimpled cheeks. pra\ ed all tile while that 
God would save them and said siie kne\\- bfe would. It seemed that the prayer 
was reallv answered ami the house- directed against the drift, enabling every 
one of the eight to get off. Professor T\-ndall might tind in the little ones, 
wlio believe so trusting!}- what the\- hear at Sunday-school or at thi-ir mother's 
knee, good subjects for Ih- jirayer test. But where could he hnd a minister 
with one-half as much conridence in its efficacy as this Johnstown babe mani- 
fested ? 

A famil\- in Conemaugh Borough made a break for Green Hill at the first 
alarm. In the hurr}- the youngest child, two years old, was forgotten. The 
father ran back tor his pocket book, which contained a snug sum of money. 
As he entered the door a childish voice piped from the top of ilie stairs ; 
"Papa, 00 won't i;o and OMt t.-ikt- om'-. !i;iiiv. will 00. pipa '" 

The father thought no more of his cash, but jumped uj) the stairway three 
steps at a time and bore awa\- the little toddler. The water rose to his breast 
ere he reached high ground. What if the pretty home and the sa\ ings of 
}ears were gone ? Not one of the children was missing, antl the strong arm of 
the glad father would earn a subsistence for them all. 

On a cot in the liospital on Prospect Hill lay a man se^'erely injured, w hose 
mental sufferings were so great as to overshadow his physical jiain. His name 
was \'ering, and he had lost his wife and three children. In an interview on 
Mondav, he saul ; 

-'I wri"; at honit- wuh mv wife and children whrn the alarm came We hurried fnim the 
house, leaving everMhini; behind us .\i \ie reached the dL".>r a friend nf mine u I5 runnuej by. 
He gra.sped the two smallest children, one under each arm. and hurried on ahead of us. 1 had 
my arm around my wife's -.vaist. supportmi,' her. Behind us w-e could hear the flood rctehing 
upon us In one hurried glance as I passed a corner I could see the flood crunching and crack- 
ling the houser. in its fearful gr.asp I then could see that there was no possibility of our escape, 
as we were too far away from the hdl-sides In a %-ery few moments the water was upon us 
In a flash I saw my three dear children swallow-ed up by it and disappear from sight, as my 
v.ife and I were thrown into the air tiy the \anguard o£ the rushing rums. We found ourselves 
among a lot of drift, sweeping along -.vith the speed of a race-horse In a moment or f.vo we 
were thrown with a crash against the sides '>l a large frame 'ouilding. uhose ualls gave way be- 
fore it as e.asilv as if th-y were mad-.- of pie-crust. and the timber.s beg, in to fall about us in all 


"Up to this time I had retained a firm htild upon my wife , but, as I found myself pinned 
between two heavy timbers, the agony caused my senses to leave me momentarily. I recovered 
instantly, in time to see my wife's head just disappearint; under the water Like lightniui; I 
grasiied her by the h ur ami. as best I cmild, pinioned as I was above the water by the timber, 
I raised her abo\e it The weight proved too much and she sank again. Again I pulled 
her to the surface and auain she sank This I did again and again with no avad 
She drc'wned in ni)' vcr> grasp, and at last she dropped tr<.>m my nerveless hands to leave 
my sight forever. As if I had not suft'ered enough, a few moments after I saw some 
objects whirling around in an eddy which circled around, until, reaching the current 
again, they floated past me My God ! Would \ou belie\e me ' It was three of my children. 
dead ! Their dear little faces are before me now, distorted in a look of agony that, no matter 
what I do, haunts me. Oh, if I could onl\- have released myself at that time I would have willingl\ 
died with them ' I was rescued time after, and haie been here e\.er since I have since 
learned that m\' friend who so bravel) endea\ored to save two of the children \\as lost with 

Of a \\'ood\alf niotluT and cme child, who were lost hi the llood, a pathetic 
incident \vas tola b\ ,i \oiin;,' man who saw them in the water. He could 
!:.a\e onh' one. as his life was in danger should he trs' to pilot them both to the 
shore. The child calml_\ said: ••If yon can't sa\e lis both. lea\-e ns here to 
die together." and the\- were carried away under the drift. Their bodies were 
never reco\ered. 

A woman with one child saw the terrific torrent coming and liastil\' gatii- 
ered a bag of bonds and cash in hope of sa\ing it. The flood came upon 
her, anil the alternati'.e presented was to drop the money, amounting to three 
thousand dollars, or the child. The ruling passion was -not fatally strong, and 
the money was lo-.t the child might be saved. 

With pallid face and hair clinging wet and damp to her cheek, a mother 
was seen grasping a tloating timber, while on her other arm she held her babe. 
already drowned. The woman sank, and was thus spared the giief of mourn- 
ing for her infant. 

Three women were looking in the ruins on tl".e Point for some trace of 
their former homes. A workman dug up a hubl)y-horse, liroken and mud- 
coated. When one of them spied the toy it brouglit back a wealth of 
memory. For the first time since the disaster she ga\e wa\' to a flood of tears. 
welcome as sunshine from hea\en. for they allowed the pent-up grief to flow 
freel}-. She sobbed out : 

"Where did you i;et that ' It was my bov's! No, I don't want it Keep it. and find for 
me. if you can, my album In it are the taces of my dead husband and children 

The rough men who had. worked da\s in the \ alle\' of death turned aw.iy 
from the scene to hide tlieir emotion. There was not a dry e\e in the crowd. 
One touch of nature, and the thouight of little ones at home, weldi-d tiieiii in 
lieart and symp.uhy to tins sorru\\ fill mother. 

On Tuesday forenoon a gray-bearded man stood aboie the brid;;e. amid 
tne blackened logs and ashes through which the polluted water of the Cone- 

2A2 THE STORY OF Ji'>/fXSrOU:\'. 

maugh made its way. \vrinL;in^' his hands and nioanini;. Mc was W. J. Gil- 
more, who liad H\ed at llie cuiiur of CoiiemaiiL;h and Main >tri.L-ts. The liouse 
was flooded liy the fust ru--ii of water, and the family, consisting; of Mr. Gil- 
more, his biuther .\lirahain. liis wife, four children and motlierMnda\s', r;in to 
the second story. Tluy wire joined by Frances, the little daughter of Samuel 
Fields, and Grandniotlier Maria Prosser. The side of the house ^\■as torn out 
and the water pourtd into the second floor. Mr. Gilmore scrambled upon some 
floating debris, and his brother attemjited to pass the women antl children out 
to him. Before he could do so. the buildiuL,' sank, and Mr. Gilmore's wife -and 
family were swept from his side. His brother tlisappeared for a moment under 
the water, but came to the surface and was hauled upon the roof. Both broth- 
ers reached the shore. Mrs. Ciilmore's bod\ was found, bloated by the water. 
Two of the children were liurne(.i to cinders, their trunks alone retaining 
something of their original shape. It w as recognizing one of them that caused 
the father's outburst of grief. 

Writing ixoni Ne^s■ Floreiice on Saturda\' morning, a young bride nar- 
ratetl some interesting circumstances. One paragraph of her letter said: 

"Oh, the horrors of io-da\ ' I have had only one pleasant Sunday here, and that was the 
one after we were married I have had a very busy day, as I have been through our clothes, 
and rnutint' out everything possible for the sufferers and the dead. The cry to-day for linen 
was something awful I have siven away all my underclothes, exceptinsj my very best 
things — and all nn old-ones I m.ade into face-cloths for the dead. To-day thev took five little 
children out of the water, who had been playini; 'Ring around a rosy T-lieir hands were 
clasped in a clasp which e\en death did not loosen, and their faces were still smiling ' 

A girl of eight stimmers. whose life was sa\'eu bv a neighbor who took her 
from the roof of her father's house, wrote about the flood to a _\oting acquaint- 
ance in Harrisliurg. The words were "printed," the child not h.iving yet 
mastered the intricacies of chiro£;raphy. There could not be an\thing more 
artless and touching tlian this passage from the tear-stained epistle : 

"We haven t no home, no ba:>y. no 'orother any more Mv papa tried to save the baby, 
but he had to let go. Mamm.i has no shoes, and I was so hungry the day after the flood. I 
can't tell you how much we all cried when we found baby was lost He was the sweetest, cun- 
ningest little thing ' Our house is all gone, and we don't have no clothes to change with on 
Sunday " 

A disconsolate father on .\dams street, -whose \oungest child was not in 
the house when the water rose si.\ feet abo\"e the floor, started out on Satur- 
day morning to seek the body of his bo_\". The rest of the family had run up- 
stairs and escaped. Where to look first he knew not. On Jackson street a 
voice saluted him : ' 

" Hello ! Taj a. are you alive ' I was scared most to death, thinkin' you was dead '" 
It was his six-year-old son who spoke from an upper window. The house 
was surrounded l.iy water and tlie urchin could not get home. The delighted 
parent did not let the grass 'gro\^- under his feet in getting to the child and 

sLAru/i"j'i:R ('/■ '/■///■: jxxocKXTs. 243 

bearing him safuh' to the WL-eping inothi-r ^vho mourned for the Ik-njamin of 
her Hock. 

Stephi'ii Johns, a foreman at the Johnson Stee! Rail Works, W'ooihale. 
couM not en'hire tlie ai;on\" of remaining whrre he h<ui lost his f.uiuh. He 
went east ami at .\ltooiia was met 1)\" an acijuaintance. to whom he said : 

■I kist m) f,iniil\ and then I decitled to k-ave Julm^town I was thruu^h the war. I 
was at Fair Oaks, ChHiicellorsville, in the Wikkrness, and many other battles, hut never in 
mv life was I in such a hot place as on Friday nisht. 1 don't know how I escaped, but here 
am I alone, wife and children gone I I was at the office of the company on Friday. We 
been receix ini; telephonic messages all morning that the dam was unsafe No one heeded them. 
The book-keeper said there was not enough water up there to flood the first floor of the otTire. 
I thought he knew, so I didn t send my family to the hills I don't know what time it was in 
the afternoon that I saw the flood coming down the valley I was st.inding at the gate. Look- 
ing up the vallev I saw a great white cloud mo\ ing down upon us. I made a dash for home to 
try to get my w ife and children lo the hills. I saw them at the windows as I ran up to the house 
That is the last time I e\er saw their faces. No sooner had I got into the house than the flood 
struck the building I was forced into the attic It was a brick house with a slate roof I hud 
intended to keep very cool, but I suppose I forgot all about that It seemed a long time, bu! I 
suppose it was not more than a second before the house gave way and went tumbling down the 
stream. It turned over and over as it was washed along. I was under the water as often a^ I 
was above it. I could hear mv wife and children praying, although I could not see them I 
did not pray. They were taken and I was left. My house finally landed up against the stone 
railwav bridge. I was then pinned down to the floor by a heavy rafter. Somehow I was lifted 
from the floor and thrown alnio.-.t out upon the bridge. Then some people got hold of me and 
pulled me out and took me over to a Ijrickyard. No one can understand it unless he or she 
passed through it. I searched for mv wife and children all of Saturday,' Sunday and Monday, 
but could find no trace of them. I think they must have been among those who perished in the 
fire at the bridge. I would have stayed and worked had it not been the place was so near my 
old home that I could not s.and it. I thought I would be better oil away from there, where I 
could not see anything to recall that horrible sig'it 

.\ large numlier of children in Camhria Borough fell \ictims. Mrs. Kee- 
lan lived on Front street, near Uraneh. In lier hou-.e \vere herselt. Mrs. Will 
Gatfney and two children. John Hannihan. wife and three children, INIrs. Grant 
and two children, Mrs. Keelan's child. Frank Wier and Samuel Iloltzman. 
.\11 perished except Samuel Holtzman and Mrs. Keelan's little daughter. The 
hoiiies \\ere recovered. The wife of Burgess O'Neill and hi.-, two chiklreii 
Were lost : also the wife and two children of Chief-of-Folice h'itzjiatrick. and 
two children of Mail-Carrier Bridges. .Ml the family of Charles Boyle, corner 
of I'Tont a"in.l Broad streets went, down but Mrs. l;o\le and one son. nuj;h. 
who was at school. The fainil} of Xeal Mc.\.neen\-. on Broad street, lost ei.glit 
members — father, mother and si.\ cliiklren. Mr. .Mc.\neeny was dejiuty untler 
Sheriff Ryan. Mrs. Ann Ciish and four children. Mrs. Thomas Hays and 
se\-en ch.ildren and v.hole families ot Foles were carrieel away. 

In the morgues bodies of cliiklren whom none could recognize were very 
plentiful for days after the flood. Descriptions like these ^v■ould be posted : 

"Girl, about 6 months old, dark hair, \\hite dress, brown bib" 

244 7-///f S70/n- (^j- jo//.\.s'ivir.\. 

" Girl, lo ye.irs ol.i. li-lit hnir bnnged and cut slKTt. c.dico diess. black siockin£;s. coarse 

'Girl, 4 years old. lijht h.dr, red alpaca dress, blue barred -inijham apron, white buttons, 
sprine-heel buttoned shoes, pleated underskirt 

'■]!oy. 7 years old, blue suit, barred llannel shirt, black and white barred flannel waist 
with round pearl buttons, sprin^j-heel shoes, ' 

■ Child, 6 vears, lu. means of identification, " 

"Girl, 6 years, 50 pounds, 4 feet h inches, button shoes, spring-heels, red tlannel skirt, 
light calico dress, small gold ring 

■•Girl, iS months old red ilannel skirt, red and white barred calico dress." 
■■ Boy, 5 vears oUl, curly brown hair, black eyes, check waist and shirt " 
■■ Foot of a child burned at the bridge, slightly charred " 

A little procc-ssion was wuiuHn'g up rr.'siHct Hill on ^.loinlay afternoon. 
Behind the father, nn honest German. eniiiio\etl at the Canibna wurks twelve 
years, trooped ei.giit children, from a ,oirl of foiuteen to a babe in the arms of 
the mother, who brought up tiie rear. The woman and children were hatless, 
and had on onlv the calico .garments worn at the moment of tlight. Forlorn 
and wearv, th.ev implored succor. The mother spoke for the party : 

•■We lost one onlv, thank God' Our second daughter is gone. We had a comfortable 
house which we owned. It was paid for by our savings. Now all is gone" 

Then the unhappv woman sat down on the wet ground and sobbed hys- 
terica!l\-. The children crowded around their mother and shortly the fatigu- 
ing journev to .the burial-place of the dead child was resumed. 

A man came to the site of the Gautier wire mills, on Nbinday. who looked 
as if he had been weepiu.g. He hesitated, and said ; 

•■I was a Gautier emplove I am not staying in this a.wn any longer titan I can help. 1 
guess. I ve lost two children and they will be buried to-day ' 

In the confusion and the> strain of e.xcitement it was natural that every 
one who could not readd>- be found was reported dead. Amid the throu'g of 
mourners an occasional sou! was madi- happy by finding that some loved one 
had escaped death. At the entrance to a morgue two workmen met, clasped 
hands, and said : 

■■ .\nd you g<.it out alive ' I thoueht you had gone '" 

•Indeed I did. but Lord bless my soul, 1 thought the wife and babies were dead' But 
were all safe and Im happy !' 

The fate of the children stirred the hearts of kind people to help those 
who survived. In a bo.x of dainty things sent to Johnstown for a baby was 
found this touching note ; 

••These little articles have been put in order with the hope that thev may bring comfort to 
the child of some sufferer of the Concmaugh N'alley, and are sent with the prayer of a mother 
who has lost her own 

.\nother note accompan\-ing a package had tlie tcdlowiug; 
•■The contents are not beyond criticism, but if strin-s an.l buttons or old fans \mU amuse 
some child a few minutes, who has lost all, I am content " 


l-3le<.s tl.o dear hearts of the children : All over the country they wanted 
to do sometlun.^ to a.d the sullerin.; boy. and girls at Johnstown. Nesthn;, ,n 
,, pile of -ood clothes that can.e fr,.iu New Jersey was a dolhbaby all dressed 
in blue. To it wa. pinned a piece ot paper, on which was written ; 

■■If th. little girl ^vbo yets this dolly will unt. to Utile Annie H Archer. 1- Uzabe.h, N ] . 
<,iie V. ill bend nnd larger dolly 

Fvery child m the United States had a desire to aid in the work. A letter 
from VicJ-President Morton to General Hastings mentions an instance of this 
creditable trait : 

•• I/i IK:;- l,;ur.r/ : On mv return to mv country home 1 find that mv little sirli. fr-m ,S to 
14 years of a»e. have been hard at uork since the ternble disaster at Johnstoun in makin.. ar- 
tides of clothing for the poor, homeless children svho have survived the recent doods in y.ur 
state I am foruard.n, to-dav bv the American Express Company, free of char,e, 1.7 articles 
of vvearin. apparel, as per list enclosed, made by their own hands or ptirchased with their own 
monev, u^th some of their dresses. My children will feel greatly obliged if you w-.ll cause 
the clothin'" to be distributed anions the little suBerers by the recent calamity, tor ■-^hom taey 
feci the deepest sympathy. I am, dear General, very faithfully yours, ^^ ^^^^^^^^ 

Meetin- me^in Harrisbur.-. ten days after the flood, a little yirl of twelve 
<=un-iners. her whole soul gleaming in her earnest blue eyes, said ; 

■■imso .lad you're home safe from Johnstown' Wont you plea.e take this half-dollar 
when vou go bpck! and give it to some girl about my age to help her buy shoes or a Qress ' 
was saving the money for the Fourth ot July, but I know it wdl do me more good to give it to a 
poor child 

Could the prettv creature liave seen the sparkling face of the destitiue 
girl to whom her money was handed she would have felt a glow ot delight to 
which Selfishness is a stranger. 

Curious things cante to light where the rubbish was cleared awav. Be- 
hind a house that was resting on one corner was found a w.cker-^^ork baby- 
carria.'e full of mud, not injured or scratched in the least, but looking as it it 
ha.l been rolled there and left. X.ry close to it was a piece of railroad iron 
that must have been carried half a mile, bent as if it were common wire. 
"SomebodVs darling" had crooned, and crowed with delight m that carriage, 
but where was the babv now ':' So claimant for tlie vehicle appeared. 

\t last the juvenile buovancv asserted it.elf. Children played hide-and- 
scek m the skeletons of houses, and lamjied at the warnings of the workmen 
to keep awav or thev would be hurt. The childish spirit ot fun could not be 
quenched bv the remembrance of what had passed. althou.,'h each of th.ese 
little ones might have told an auful story of peril. T-ut parental hearts cou.d 
not soon forget their slaughtered innocents. The schools opened on ^e-jnein- 
ber 30th. with numbers fearfully diminished. The ringing ot the bells that 
mornin^' sounded like a knell to mother., and fathers from whose sheltering 
arms the lambs of the fold had gone forever. Tlie pleasing bustle ot prepara- 


tiou fur school was no more witnosscd in homes stranu'cly quiet since the 
tlooil. Rciiuests for biioks and slates and pencils came not, for the voices of 
the children were hushed in death. Xo more friendly rivalry in stiuhing 
lessons, because the \-oung pupd-> had been transferred to "that bchool where 
the\' no longer need our poor protection." 

■' There is no' li.Ave\er «:ilchea ami lendeJ. 

But one dead lam!, i- lliere ; 
There is no firesulc. how^oe'erdefended. 

But has one vauiiilcliair! 
The air is full of farewells to the. lying 

And mournings for the dead: 
The heart of Rachel for her cluldren ervin;;. 

Will not be comforted ! 
Let us be patient I These severe afflictions 

Not from the groiiii.l ari-e, 
But oftentimes celestial benedictions 

Assume this dark disguise. 
Not as a child shall we aijain behold her . 

For when with raptures w ild 
In our embraces we ajjain enfold her, 

She will not be a child ; 
But a fair maiden in her Fathers mansion. 

Clothed w ith celestial grace : 
And beautiful w ith all the soul's eNpaiision 

Shall we |..h..ld l.Lr," 

Yet tears must flow for the hundreds ol little ones who died in the dark 
waters at Johnstown. 

M 1 


T^-^ , .,, 

Vt^mSfSX:^ '■^il:^^^Z-^Xiij£^Xi, 


■^ i; 

1 ' 


..J .:'v''*-i~-. 

V 'i 

— X' 




UlSTRir.IllN(, KkI.IKF Al -Ma^"Ml 1 IfaI" w' XKTFKs ANU IHi; i'ENNsVIA ASIA 

.^r7 ^ -^-^Z 


M.NY Peopie Hungry the Day After the Flood-Children Crying for Bre.d— The Good 
Farmer Who Came v.-ith a Supply of ^[,LK- Extortionate Dealers Brought to their 
Sessev in Short Metre — Somerset Sends the First Car of Provisions on buNi.AY 
M,.rn-ing— Wagons-loads of Food from Altoona — Senator Quays Welcome Dkafi - 
How Famine was Averted— A Troublesome Prodllm S. lved Temporarily by Prompt 
Measures — Hospital.- Opened for the Sick and Injured. 

'■ The minister s.i,.I !;t-l mslit. says hs. 
■ Don't be Mmd uf givin' ; 
If your life ain't nothm' to utlier folks, 

Why. whafi the use ofliviu'' ' '—Anonymous. 


- . ,.y^^-, , N'KKY railroad was blocked, every avenue closed 

|C' M -. on the mornini; after the tlood. Brid.Lies were 

'^,''■-'^'#■1' ^5™_ gone, streams could not be crossed, thousands 

. ':" /:, Ci^:- _^^^ of the dead were to be picked up and thous- 

•'^.'■r^^^/^C^' .%^:- V^ ands of the livinL; to be fed. Children cried 

^T-T -;>,—;- V- :'^'-^^^ for the bread their parents had not to bestow. 

r'--^;--=i-=— 1'"-,. "-'•^'_.^^A-a Man\- a rnan and woman went hunyry that 

[':!;' •■ "^f/,.^^:X^'l, doleful Saturda_\'. The stocks of provisions in 
■ 'L-^_^^- ' '' ';'^ y^ --^1- the small shops and the dwellings in Cone- 
/P ■t^^'^^S. _' ' . 0'^7' 'v mau^h Borough st;r\'ed as a drop in the 
^/^. ['. r-i iyi.i^:^h^"n bucket and were e.xhausted in an hour. Farm- 
ers' wagons could enter Johnstown from dreen 
Hill only, and the number at best would be 
exceedingly limited, r.imilies that lived al)ove 
the reach of tlie waters doled out their meagre 
supply of food t<i keep the smallest children 
' from absolute starvation. If the speedy dis- 

Tlll. I IRST .milk BR..r..HT TO ]' HNSToWN 

iHE DAY AFThK iHK Ku.-i.. posal of bloatcd coTpses was an urgent aut\, 

the feedin-' of famishing multitudes was a demand that would not brook long 

250 liii- 

. ■ ■, „ ..f,,r,-; Inil iias^^ed away. People went 

dclav. Tlu' -rocerv aiul proMsmn -torts liaa pa.. - \ , , 

,' , , it, . ."h.rcwis no prospect of dinner and nobody ventnied to 
without breaUtasu iIk-Il was 110 i' 1 . , , , , » ii- 1 ,^( 

11,- ,,,-,,. Some ot the ess hno\ant talked ot 
Puess hou or when supper would come. Souil 01 uu 1 . 

f. • , ■, - ,„.l ,w,ndere,l how soon death would end their pil-nma^e. 

T^r:;. ;: r; :T;n::iites m tl. .ndemess were re,-alled. wi.h a s,h 

U: e Chances of a shower o. manna atforded no hope of rehef from that 
quarter. Intense sorrow could not overc.on,e the crav.n.s of nature and mam 
S „ , perpetual last. It u, be that Simon St>htes and other nu-dneva 
samts Ld done a n.onth without food or dnnU. but the average smner of 
modern times was not built that way and had not the least luchnation to Me 
:u Dr. Tanner. No person m .ood health, blessed w.h a been appetite 
and sound digestive or.ans, who spent Satnrdav. June , st l^^o. m ohns- 
town.wiU fail to remember the painful sense of goneness that would ha^ c 
welcomed the hardest crust and hailed the tonyhest sandwich as a feast Iron, 
the larder of the Olympian deities! ,.,,,,, 

A couple of pettv dealers, who escaped the loss which befell so man^ 
better men, in the morning a.ked three or tour tunes the regular price for tlonr 
-uid ..rocenes TheV were quickly brought to a realisation ot their mean ex- 
'tortion bv a commhtee of citi.ens. who mildiy hinted that such conduct 
mi-ht end in a hanging bee. with the dealers gracing the noose m the rope. 
™s salntarv treatment worked to perfection, putting an etlective quietus upon 
base attempts to proht by the misfortunes ot the sntferers. 

Farlv m the afternoon a fanner drove in from his place, three miles back 
of Green Hill. He had heanl of the disaster from fugitives leaMug the stricken 
town. All his cows were milked and the product put in cans. p<,tatoeS and 
some sacks of meal completing a wagondoad. ^^ dh this t.meh supply the 
farmer set out for Johnstown, and anchore,! at the corner of ..dams and Main 
streets Not a p ennv would he take b>r the milk, ^^h,ch was ladled mo 
^.. ami ..asses and cups a. fast as thev could be presented. The refresh 
„.' drauoht satished dozens ot hungry children. Benedictions were showered 
,pon the donor, whose cargo of potatoes and n.eal found eager purchasers at 
the moderate Ugures he charged. To families with..,ut monev he measured on 
the provisions readilv. merely asking the applicants about their losses and 
where thes had lived.' This was the hrst benefactor, and it nnist have started 
a thousand )ovs dancing in the old man's heart and brain to see the great 
good his hberalitv had accon.plished. Gratitude is not bad pay. even though 
\ may not serve as collateral tor a loan or be accepted at a bank as gilt-e.ged 

''"''"to Somerset belongs the honor of ..ending the first car of provisions, al- 
thouuh other places claim to have been ahead. The first news ot the ca- 
lam.;- was received in that town at 5^55 on Friday ,n the shape o^ 
a dispatch to a nev spaper eorre^pondent, sent from Pittsburgh. It s.atcd 



that reports liad reached that city of a burst in a reservoir at Julmstnw 11. with 
some loss ot Hte. Thirty luimite^ later a iiiessaue repeated the miiik .r. ad- 
ding; that three huin'.red persons wlto reported ih-owned. I'his wa-- aU luitil 
Saturd.i',' morninf,'. wlieii the telet^rapli stunned tiie citi:;ens of the count\' 
seat witli ahirniinp; details ot the viMtation. rroniinent i;eutlenien went to 
WLirk at once to pro\ide fc>od aU'i clothiuL; fur the destitute. Wa^on-- haided 
the snpphes to the depot, where a car was loaded and started for Johnstow n. 
A break in the track at 1 Ioo\ er's eau^^ed a stoi>paue. but at da,yli-lit on Sun- 
das' uiorniui: the car arri\ed and its contents were di-.tributeil. How ,L;ood 
the foc'd tasted to the half-star\ed jieople who eaten nothing; since din- 
ner on Friday '. 

Pittsbinyh respor.dc-d nobly and generously to the cr\- for aid. The news 
of the disaster caused, t!ie utmost excitement on Saturtia\' mornin',;. Superin- 
tendent Pitcairn, of the Peuns_\ Ivania railroad, when tlie first report was re- 
cei\ei.i on I'ridav evening, jumped upoir an engine and i;a\'e the eni.;ineer or- 
tier> to proceed at the fastest :-;ait. The locomotive speti o\c-r th.e tracks at a 
rate that almost threatened its derailtnent and the party arrived at Sang Hol- 
low, the nearest point to Johnstown at that time accessible. Mr. Pitcairn at 
once saw that the flood was far greatc-r tlian an_\body had imaL;ined and that 
lulpwoidd be needed quickly. 1 he wire? of the Western L'nion Company 
were all down', fmt o\er the pri\'ate v\ires of the railroad he sent messages to 
tlij editors of the Pittsburgh newspapers to do all in theix power to ha\e a 
meeting of the citizens to take action towards the relief of the sufferers. Ma\ or 
McCallin, of Pittsburgh, entered heartily into the scheme, and the ne.xt morn- 
ing held a consultation with Ma\or Pearson, of .\llegheny. They decided that 
a meeting c>f the citizens should l)e called. Before ten o'clock both cities were 
placardetl w ith notices signed b\ the two mayors, calling upon the citizens to 
attend at Old City Hall, in Pittsburgh, that afternoon. t<.i take such steps as 
might be thought necessarw At one o'clock Olel Cit\- Hall was crowded to its 
doors with the re[iresentati\ e business men andi citizens of both cities. There 
was not much speech-making;, but money poured in like a torrent. The chair- 
man's table was flooded with cash and checks. Treasurer Thompson strioil 
disma\ed ; he coidd take no more. Ma\or McCalhn went to his assistance. 
and H. I. Gourle}' was mustered into service. The three men stood there for 
over half an hour, and the excited crowds kept them working like beavers. 
In just tiftx" minutes S4S, 116.711 were contri'tiuted '- 

\ Relief Committee was appointed and pasiors of churches announced 
that Collections would be takc-n up on the morrow to help sutferiug Jolni'^towii. 
Pusiiu >~s of all kinds was abandoned. Merchant- ru-<hed hither an^J. thither in 
their efforts to outdo tlieir nei^h.bors in the work of forming the nucleus of a 
life-saving and distress-succorin',; arin\. Men accustomed to -it at desks in 
counting-rooms were ruslung th!oUL;h tiie streets, their hats on the backs of 


their heads, collars wilUil and faces thi-lu-d. Xow they st(X)d for a second in 
frcr:of a newspaper oUice, '^UuicinL; hurriedly o\er the bulletins; the next 
niir ;:e thevwere boundin'^ i:p tlu'siairs leadin^: to tin- Ch.iniber nl Coniineree, 
tliree steps at a time. lireathlessh" they would rush up to Chairman Mc- 
Crcrr\' and exclaim : 

i'u'l nie down for tvo car-loads of provisions and clothing !" 

■ Here is my check for a thousand dollars !" 

■ [ will send twenty cases of boots and shoes '" 
' Here's an order tor fifty tiarrels of fiour ' " 

I want to contribute live hundred dollars' worth of groceries !" 

The Kehef Committee selected a sub-committee to l;o to Johnstown with 
siipr^iies and funds and attend to their tHstril)ution. The }\nusylvania Kail- 
road Companw with the reatly yenerosuy which invariably distinLjiiishes its 
management in times of extreme urL;ency. placed trains at tlie disposal of the 
coni-i-.ittee for the free transportation of men and provisions. The rehef 
corps lett PittsbnrL;h at four o'clock on Saturchiy aftern(.ion in coaches attached 
to the frei'giit cars loaded with supplies. Eii,dity-two memi)ers of t!ie Relief 
Conmiittee, two companies of State troops, twebe newspaper reporters and 
thirtv police (jfficers were on bo.ud. At .S:3o the train reached San£j bbiUow, 
four miles below its destination. There the unwelcome news was learned that progress was impossible tmtil Sunday, owins^ to washouts and lanti- 
slides. James B. Scott, who had lieen elected commander, immediately 
ordered out Company B to guard the train and unload supplies, and Company 
A to carry the supplies to Johnst(jwu. One of the participants depicted the 
ensiling scene? in lively colors : 

•■ The lonely station of Sang Hollow was soon the scene of activity The men carried the 
provisions on tlieir backs over landslides and the trackless road-beds to points where h.ind-c.irs 
could be found and put into service In many places a temporar) track was laid, over w hich the 
hand-cars passed. .-\11 nisht long a procassion of lights was moving to and fro from Sang Hol- 
low to the stone bridge. The commissary department was kept running all night under rather 
difficult circumstances While caring for the wants of the suflerers the men had failed to look 
out fjr their own needs .\ few kniies an 1 forks had been purchased on the way, ,ifter oriian- 
izalion, but only enoUi;h to prepare sandwiches. Necessity being the mother of invention, 
several pairs of new half-hose and a hatchet were utilized to pulverize the unsround coffee. 

"The hard-working 'oody of men soon acquired the ravenous appetites of luenas. and 
enjoved the rude repast of crackers, cheese, dry bread and black coffee with a relish unknown 
in Dehnonico's. Thus, by hard, unremitting work, two car-loads of provisions were landed at 
the stone bridge before dayliiiht. and part of them passed over the raging Conemaugh by the 
use of ropes Through the ettorts of competent railroad officials, the track was l.iid and the 
first tr.iin enaliled to reach tile brid:.;e on bir.iday morning at eii;ht o'clock. .\s the train mi5\ ed 
slowlv and cautiously along the new-made track, the boys gave bread, cheese, crackers, etc.. to 
the famished, poorl_\-clad crowds that lined the tracks at Sheridan. Morrellville. and Cambria 
Citv. and received the benedictions of Man'.* sufferers whom tlie\ sa\ed from longer enduring 
the pangs oi hunger 

" Imirediatel) after arrival part of the train was unloaded at the stone liridice for Johns- 
town, and the rt-.,t >>i it in the uppt-r and io,'.er p.irts of Cambria City 1 he long-looked-tor re- 

HELP FOR T/n-: IJ\-1\C,. 253 

lu-f had come at last The anxious people crowded around the cars lie.t;t;inf; for something to 
carrv to their homeless families It was only after forniiii!; a line from the train to the tempo- 
rary storehouses that the supplies could he unloaded and taken to a place where a proper dis- 
tribution could be made, 

■ When the train had been relieved of its load every man who accompanied it was assigned 
to dnt\- Some acted in connection with local committees in distributins; food and clothing to 
tlie tieed\ . Others worked in the debris and mud in Jtihnstown, Kern\dle. and Cambria City, 
helping the sorrow-stricken sufierers to find tlieir dead- Witliin a few hours after the arrival 
of the train the vellow ribbon 1 which was the badge adopted by the r dief corps i was seen in 
all parts of the devastated valle\. Every man had come to work and help the afllicted. and 
some of the bovs did not. during their stay at Johnstown, return to the train that brought them 
This was no place or time for rest or comfort, and it may truthfully be said that for forty-eight 
hours after arrival many of the relief corps suffered as much from hunger and loss of sleep as 
any of the residents of the \ alley. 

'■ The men engaged in passing supplies over the Conemaugh by means of ropes soon found 
this tedious method unsatisfactory and inadequate to the demand. To remedy this the ingenuity 
of Alex M. Gow. one of the relief corps, was called into action. With the assistance of J A 
Reed and W. V Bennett, in a few hours he had made a bridge of short boards held together by 
knotted ropes, and swung i; across the chasm This made communication and the furnishing 
of relief more easy. The bridge was kept in constant use until the railroad bridge was re- 

•While the train was King at Sang Jlollow a member of the advance guards of the .\meri- 
cus Club brought the infi^rmaiiL^n that b..ats were necessary to do eflecti\ e and immediate work 
Word was immediatelv wired to members at home, and the boys were enabled to ha\e seven 
yawls on the Conemaugh river and Stony Creek by Sunday morning These boats were used 
in carrying passengers over the two streams when a pass was presented from the proper au- 
thorities. The great work accomplished by the boats of the Americus Club, under command 
of Captain Clark, may be partiallv estimated from what was done on Snnda\- and Monday 
The first dav thev carried three thousand passengers and the second seven thousand, besides 
transporting provisions and dead bodies 

All hcjiKir to the citizens ol I'lttshnrg'h ft_ir tlie splendid scr\ ice they ren- 
dered at the ver\- outset, not waitin'g for an example to te.ich them how to 
raise the fallen and the helpless. Their good oflices ilid not wear out 
with the first manifestation, but continued to the end cheerful, strong, willing 
and Lienehcent. 

Altoona was up to the mark with the practical sympath\- which does not 
waste itself in tine talk. The reports on Saturday morning, through a mistake of 
the telegraph operator at Ebeusburg, made the cat.istrophe so small that little 
heed was given it. IJ\- iioem correct statements began to circulate and the 
people of the Mountain City bestirred thenisehes. The railroad ^vas de- 
stroyed from South Fork, but cars could be sent to Ebeusburg'. by way of 
Cresson. Di.mations of food and clothing poured in and were shipped in the 
evening. At Ebensburg teams were hired, and the greater part ot the iiight 
v.-as spent in the unpleasant ionrne\-. d'he road was exeeraole aiul rain fc 11 stead- 
ily.', but nothing could daunt the bra\ e-hearted .Mtoon.uis. On Sunday miirning 
their Iciads drew up at the ]\nns\ h ani.t Railroad station, across Conemaugh 
creek frnm J< ihnstown.. A rope brid-e been erected, allordiug communi- 

254 T^'^- •'^■/'-'A'l' OF JOJ/XSTOirX. 

cation \\\l\\ Jolinstown propiT 1)\' a pniccss almost as dizz\ as tho ^[oslein 
inprc-ss to Allah's domain. 0\cr tliis rickety structuic- the -oods werti carried, 
a committee looking after their disposal. 

Sunda\- was one- of the ure.ilcst davs in Altoona's history. .\ construc- 
tion train from Soiuli Fork had on board several passengers from Johnstown. 
Fi\-c thousand excited people were at the depot, frantic li.n authentic news. 
Six hundred of them ^vere belated passentrers, who could £,'0 no further and 
were quartered at the principal hotels. The local tlailies had issued Sunday 
editions, containing' wiiat reports could be gleaned in the absence of direct 
telegraphic connection. These details only increased the desire for fuller in- 
formation. Such eagerness to learn the exact facts \ Men fairly tumbled 
over each other m their eflorts to hear what any of the tra\elers from 
the wasted region could -ay. Public meetinus were called for the afternoon 
and the enthusiasm grew apace. Pastors and their flocks \ied in earnest 
work. Casli and contributions poured in. The firemen sent out a huge 
wagon which returned in thirt\- minutes piled six feet abcne the l)OX with sup- 
plies. AL;ain and again it went out. to come back speedily with a great cargo. 
^^■on^en stood in their doors waiting to hand out garments, bedding and food 
when a wagon should come their way. The spectacle was inspiring, ennob- 
ling, glorious ! Sturdv fellows solunteered to go to Johnstown and help for 
three, six, ten da\-s. free of charge. Cars were loaded and started to Ebens- 
burg, where teams were engaged to repeat the trip of the' pre\ious niglit. 
Altoona has many things to be proud of. but the grand response to tlie cr\- of 
stricken ]ohnstown is the liri^htest page in her annals. 

As soon as the water began to subside on Friday evening, about tv.-enty- 
five men from Brownstown repaireii to the stone bridge to assist in rescuing 
people. For da\s 1.300 people were entertained by Brownstown's fifty-three 
families, in houses, stables, school houses and other shelters. 

Ebensburg. usually quiet and ,-edate as a mumm'.', caught the generous in- 
fection and forwarded loads of suj)plies on Saturday night and Sunda}'. 
Farmers came with their horses and wagons to haul the offerings so cheerfully 
given. Gallitzin and Loretto did not sulk in their tents, but raised a hand- 
some consignment of clothing and edibles. P^very hamlet and cross-road 
witlun reach of Johnstown war, he.ird from t^y Sunday e\-ening. This com- 
mendable promptness averted a famine, showed the good will of tlieir neigh- 
bors toward the sufferers and was a forecast of ',\hat might be expected when 
the great world beyond stretched forth its helping luind. The tir>t droppings 
gave promise of a plenteous sho\\"er, which slioiild refresh alike tho-e wlaj be- 
stowed and thoae v.ho received :t. 

Un^clfisli acts .111.1 clianl.iWe rloi-a?. 
PrLMiipt t'J rtllwYi; tlic paucnt >un ret s iiceil'i. 
Ar..- n:..rellK.n ,n>|.l, \iMnl-.iTi<l -.ii^Mv ,.-.mI<. 
K;in, h [he :-oi;l ..ii.l <.lt:ir a-vjy l!'.;: '\ efi^. 


Senator M. S. Ouav's contribution— a draft mailed from his home at 
Beaver I-alls on Saturday— \va= the first niune_\ actually received. Draddock 
furni-ihed a car of provision-, on Sunday and a lar^e lot arrive.! on Moud.iy 
morninc- from Cumberland. Md. The frank, open-handed Marylanders also 
se-nt tlfty men to help take out dead bodies and clear otf rubbish. They re- 
mained a week and d.ld e.xcelleit work. 

Some of tiic earliest offerings created a good deal of amusement. In 
their eai;er haste to help in some \vay many did not stop to consider 
what would be useful. On Sunda\- atternoiin a bundle. nicel\- tied up. was 
opened. It contained a ball of carpet-ra-s, a paper of tack-., two bags of salt. 
a baby's shoe and two darned socks of ditierent color-,. .\ box of home-made 
salve, upon which was written ■•warm before using." was tossed out of a car. 
A package of worn-out school-lH-joks caused an outburst of profanity. A new 
Bible with several pas-aL;es marked was laid aside because no one seemed 
anxious to possess it. Among other things were ndies. fancy needle-work and 
bits of bric-a-brac, which Were piled up in heaps for cremation, by the dis- 
gusted men who had to unpack them. In a parcel on Monday was a blue 
Andrew-Jackson dress coat with bri'..;ht brass buttons. It must have been at 
least sixty or seventy years old. It was -ivcn to a little man ei-ht_\-nine years 
of age, who lived at Grubtown. and was rescued b\ his grand.son after being in 
the water half'an hour. He wore it away with as much satisfaction as a small 
box displa\s over a pair of new boots with red tops. 

One Pittsbur-h ladv displayed admirable jud-.;ment in her gifts. She 
picked out from the wardrobes of herself and her husband all the suits that 
could be spared. Into the pockets of each suit for men she put a jack-knife. 
a hair-brush and a comb. Into the women's gowns she put a pair of stock- 
ings, a comb and brush, a tooth-brush and a cake of soap. She sent 
several gowns that she had been saving to wear in the summer herself, re- 
marking heroically : 

-I did not hcsitite many minutes; I decided to let the siifierers h.ive them, an.l let my 
husband get me some new ones " 

At daylight on Sun.lay morning a hospital was established in the old 
Hausman's Hall, Bedford street, to which and the Cambria H.-spital ow Pros- 
pect the sick and wounded were taken. The home phvsicians rallied to the 
relief of the sulferers. but were greatly hampered by the want of medicines and 
surgical instruments, the flood having left them destitute in these respects. 
Thev were soon reinforced 'oy Dr. Forster and I^r. McCandless. of Pittsbur-h : 
Dr. Mountain of Continence-. Dr. White, of Connell.sviUe : Dr. Jones, of 
Kbensburg, and Dr. Buck, of Altoon.i. who tli. .u-litfuU)- brought ample medi- 
cal stores.' Cots, mattresses, blankets and pillows had been tele-raphed for on 
Saturdav to Pittsburgh. Tb.e\- arrived at ii o'clock on Sunday forenoon. The 
first patient. OvIr. Hellrigel. of \V.)odvale. was found early on Sunday morniim-. 


supposed dead. \\'liile beiiii:; convL'xed to the Fourth- ward moronic, he mani- 
fested signs of hfe. Dr. J. C. Sheridan had him taken to Hausmau's Hall. 
Hypodermics of brandy stimulated him into cou'-ciousness. so that he recoL;- 
nized liis father. But he was too far gone to recover, and on Monday after- 
noon he expired. His admisr-ion \v<is quickly followed by others, ami b\- noon 
all tht; cots and benches were occupied. \\"ithin a wtc k 175 patic-nts had been 
treated. Fifty of them were sent to Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, and otJiers 
to their homes when con\'alescent. 

Besides those admitted to the hospital, 330 persons outside received surgi- 
cal attetttion for minor injuries, i. joo sick were visited regularh- and ^,000 jire- 
scriptions tilled at the drug store established in the building. From this hospi- 
tal all supplies for physicians about town were furnished, and tuo branch hospi- 
tals in tents — one near the co;iipany store and the other near the stone 
bridge. Soon after its opening the hospital was turned o\er to ph\'sicians 
from abroad. Dr. Foster first having control. Dr. Oldshiie relie\ed Dr. Foster, 
and was succeeded by F^r. T. McCann. with Dr. W. B. Lowman as general 
director. Dr. Joseph L)ixon was next in charge, Dr. Lowman continuing as 
director, and he remained in control until the State administration was estab- 
lished, when Dr. J. C. Siieridan '\% as gi\en chart;e. Dr. Lowman tianslerring his 
entire attention to th.e Cambria Ho'^pital. All these plnsicians except Drs. 
Sheridan and Lowman belonged to Pittsburgh. The\' were abh- assisted b\' 
numerous doctors from Altoona. Philadelphia and other placets, and bands of 
ladies whose careful nursing saved many a life that had been trembling in the 

The snug little Cambria Hospital, on Prospect Hill, received its first 
patient at five o'clock on I'ridav evening. This was J. H. Stonebraker, of 
Millville, who had two ribs broken. Two more were brought in the same 
evening and on Saturda\- the hospital was crowded. Mrs. Widower and 
Maggie Httghes died. The l!i:,diest number in the hospital at onetime was 21, 
About 950 out-door patients were treated the first ten liays of June b\' the 
physicians attached to the hc^pital — Drs. Buck. Findle\-. Ilruner. Smith, Koss, 
Spanogle. Arney and Sellers, of Altoona, and Dr. Jones, of Ebensburg. Drs. 
Hewson, Sweet and Shober, of Phil.uielphia, relieved the Altoona ph\'sieians, 
remaining until June 16th, when Dr. Lowman, of Johnstown, took charge. 
Temporar}' liospitals existed for a few da_\s at East ConemauLrh ami Morrell- 
ville. These physicians and the four liospitals were most helpful to the com- 
munity. The tioctors relieved a \ ast amount of suffering, a':erted epidemics. 
Seemed ne\er to wearv in their self-imposed lalmrs and earned the everlasting 
gratitude of the people of the Conemaugh \'alle\". 

Go\ernor Foraker, of Oiiio, the moment he had definite news of the cal- 
amity, ordered live hundretl tents .ind pro\-isions t<i be shipped from Columbus. 
These came on Moiida\. The tents were placed at coiu'eiiient points to 

HELP FOR TFir. IJiV.XG. 257 

shelter homeless sufferers, whose praises of the Huekeye executive, unlike 
an'-icl's visits, were neither '-few nor far between." Mciiihersof the Aniericns 
Chill carriL'd a number of them up Prospect Hill to furnisli acrommotlations 
fur Women and children. The Pittsbur'_;hers established brancli dls^ributin^' 
statifins at Morrellville. Minersvillc, Cambria. Conpersdalc. lirownstown anil 
l\ei nviUe. in addition to thosi- in Johnstown. The out-stations drew tluir 
snpi'dies from Morrellville. Corpses found were taken to the morgues, pre- 
jiared for burial and. if undentificd. interred in one of the neiijhboring ceme- 
teries. A report of these bodies was sent to headcpiarters at Johnstown, 
with a description. The street railway track from Morn.-ll\'ille to Cambria was 
cleaned and travel made easy between all points south of the Conemaugh. 

On Monday the men en'_'ai;ed in the work of relief saw a t;ra3"-haired, bare- 
footed old lady, bent with the weight of years and poorly clad, walking down 
the railroad track alone. In tlie hope of atfording her some aid, one of them 
approached and ottered food, but she refused assistance. .\ well-drc>sed 
Noung man came up. said the old lad\' was his mother, and that she was de- 
ranged over the loss of all she possessed. She was induced to enter one of 
the coaches of the train, and was given the first food she liad eaten since the 
disaster. She also received a pair ol shoes and other necessaries. Her son, 
who had came from Bratldoek to search for his mother, insisted upon paxin.; 
for e\'erything. .but money did purchase supplies on that train. The tiist 
train west carried the old ladv, much re\ivud in spirits and stronger in boib, , 
to the hi:ime of her son. 

Incidents that would have been ludicrous had they ncjt been pitiful were 
common. Coming down the track, on Monda^■ afternoon, troni Cambria was a 
man carrying a baby in his arms, followed by three wcmieu and two chihlren. 
The nian's trousers were rolled up to his knees, antl his teet encased in tine 
vehet slippers. He had been in the water and nuid with this outfit since Fri- 
day night. The whole party were given the first food they had since the flood. 
and furnished with suitable clotiiing. While Xhu\ were being cared for a Lu!\' 
passed dressed in a white satin dress with a lace bodice. She wore silk hose and 
white satin slippers. She was a resid.ent of Morrelhille. had been to a part)' in 
Johnstown the evening pre\"ious to the flood, and was prevailed upon to remain 
all night. She was caught in the flood and her iiner\' rendereil nntit for a 

The first cars of supplies from the cast — Philadelphia's initial installment 
- — arrived on Monda\' night. Temporary stations were opened for their distri- 
bution, which was done without formality. The chief care was to feed tlie 
huntirv. then to clothe the naked and -shelter the homeless. It was impossilile 
to cla'^sify the applicants and find out whether they were deserving of relief. 
There were some impositions, but this was to be expected. One pert \'ounu 
Woman elboued her way through the crowd surrounding the supply shop on 


Adams strtut. \vn\cd a kiJ-glovcii liand at the attendants, and indJLjnanth- de- 
niaudetl the reason \\h\' a lot (jf dresses, shoes, underwear and two bonrnts 
which she had ordered had not been sent to lier home. A\- e.xphiiiied that 
the assistants were so bns\- attendin;.; to tlie poor, wlio carried aw,i\' tlieir own 
siipphes. that the\' had iieitiur tlie time ni)r means to estahhsh an express de- 
partment. I'hc vounL; woman taih'd to appreciate the sarcasm, and insisted 
on selec-tini; a niiml>er of articles. She wanted twn dresses, two sets of under- 
wear, two pairs of shoes and two liats and new L;ondsonl\-. The Lati\' informed 
the vouul; W(">man that she had made a mistake, tliat the place was U'lt a hu.iies' 
outfitting,' establishment, but if she would wait a few daws a cousi;.;nnient of 
diamond riu^s and si^'l'^l ^^''tches would airi\e. when she C(iuld come around 
and complete her order. The vouul;' woman bounced off in a rage, and one 
of tile cither applicants remarked : 

"Why, that s Mary , She s ^oing to be married next Monday She s g.itherinr; her 

trousseau together !" 

Thus help was given as fast as acti\-e men and steam and horses could 
bring it. There was no time wasted in i<lle deliberations. r\b:-n. wrmien anil 
cliildren were hungr_\-. houseless and desolate. The\' hail nc't long to wait, 
thanks to the readv hands and liberal jiurses wliich hurried forward the 
earliest supplies of what the sutterers most needed. 

^4' ' :% 

■■■%: \ 





1 •- ■ 



• ^.i^v; 


..•-V^- \ 


• . "■';>■ '1 

_ v^l%^- 



liA-Ji. ; -■ ■' 

J^O f 

<-/ ^ .SUdO 



Thk Lawless Element Rampant — Repressint, Kobpekv and Riot— A Gang of Dki-nken 
Thieves — Organizing e.jk the Protection ok Life and Propertv — A Dictator Ap- 

Wreckage — I'ittsbvkgh Contractoks at the Helm — A Horde of ■Tin-Tag" (Of- 
ficers — Amatelk Photogk^pheks Shoveling Dirt — The Lnitial Steps Towards 
Repairing the RAVA<iES of the Delige 

Notinieiustiinw too 
ThMU-ii tcnli ^ -.In. V 
Make room for \MlHn; 
Conuijioii shall not lii 

Liilate t!ie cost — 



rijW LC>\\' wretches fanned in the inia^e of the Creator 
can descend was denionstrated time and ai^ain 
on Saturday, the day after the flood. The aw fill 
visitation, wliich should have sobered the most 
hardened, was made th.e occasion of a w ild carni- 
\al of riot and disorder. Men who. unfortu- 
natek- for the race, had not been swallowed up 
b\- the waters, took adwintayeof the confusion to 
rob and revel w ith impunity. Thie\ es broke into 
houses whose owners had tied to the hills or 
were !vin;j; amoiv^' the dead. pilferiiiL; e\-er\ thiiiL; 
portable. Trunks in the debris were smashed 
clewing a'vav the wreckage ok and their contents stolen, .\cres of w'-exk. acres 
THE i.u TIER WIRE .MILLS. ^^ corpses. acresc)f desolation had no etlect in 

restrainin'.^ the lau!er,s hordes. Uarrels and kei^s of liipior. recovered from 
saloon cellars, were emptied dow n the throats ot the depraved mob. One 
gang got liold of a cask of brand}' and dranl; to stupefaction. (.'jhouls. more 
like ^vild beasts than human beiir^s. took ever_\- article from dead bodies, not 
having anything that would serve to identify the remains. Hungarians col- 


lectcd about a nuinliL-r of Imdies at Cambria, which had licen wa'^Iied up. and 
attcmjUcd to stri]i thoni. This nuMistrous ()utrai;e was prcNenttLi b\' two Liti- 
zcns, -^vhti jiointcd tlieir rexolvers at thu miscreants and tlrove tliuni a\va\-. 

The amount of druid<i-uness was astonishinL;. Maudhn fcHows carried 
svliiskcy around in pails, while- others scrambled and louL;lit for the stull when- 
ever a barrel was located in the wreckaiie. A burh brute, standing on the 
strings of a upright piano, sang an obscene song, lireaking into a dance at iu- 
tcrxals. .\ dozen others encaged in a hand-to hand tiLrht o\'er the iiiisses>ion 
of the furniture of a rtiinei.i house, the crowd around them \idling lilce .\paches 
on the war-path. .\n intoxicated Ilungari.m wcunan (islied <nit a trunk and on 
breaking it open found 55"0. .\iiother woman found a jewel-box cruitaining 
several rin^s and a gold ^vatch. whicli she had the aiidacit\- to \sear as 
own property. Large quantities of plunder were taken up the hill and stored 
in out-of-the-way places by base rascals compared with whom Claude L)u\al 
and Dick Tnrpin were patterns of lionesty. I\t-spectable people hail been so 
overpoweu'ed by the extent "f the calamity that the\- could think of nothing but 
the fearful loss of life and how to dispose i.>f the victims. The depredati<.>ns 
of the imridy pillagers could not go unchecked. Em-rgetic measures were 
adoptei.1. which awed the law-breakers and soon restored L;ood order. 

Wholesale lynching ant.1 shooting was not needed to accomplish the de- 
sired result. Let the world understand clearb' and distincth" that such dis- 
patches as these had not a grain of truth in their composition : 

■■ They have just hur.t; a over near the to the telegraph pole for cutting; the 
finger off a dead woman in order to i;et a rini; 

■• Every hour brings news of suitt and merited punishment meted out to the t'lends \\\\o 
have dared to desecrate the stiff and mangled corpses in the search for pUmder A lot of Huns 
came upon the bo^iy of a woman, who wore jewelry and tuo diamond rini^'s In their eai^erness 
to secure the prizes, the robbers KOt into a squabble One of them severed and ran off with the 
finyers having the nn.^s. .\ number of farmers saw the deed and chased the villains The Hun- 
garians showed hght. but were out-numbered Nine escaped and four were druen into the 
river to their death." 

"Two miles below Johnstown a watched three men going along the banks stealing 
the jewels from the bodies of the dead wives and daughters of men who ha\'e been robbed of 
all they hold dear on earth He had no sooner reported the fact than five burlv men. with looks 
of terrible determination, were on their way to the scene of plunder, one with a coil of rope over 
his shoulder and another with a revolver in his hand In twenty minutes they had overtaken 
two of the wretches in the act of cuttin,' pieces from the ears and fingers from the hands of the 
bodies of two dead women. With revolver leveled at the scoundrels the leader of the posse 
shouted to them to throw up their hands or he would blow iheir heads off With blanched faces 
and trembling forms they obeyed the order and begged for mercv They were searched, .A.s 
their pockets were emptied of their t'hastly finds the indignation of the crowd intensitied 
When the liloody finiier of an infant, encircled with two tiny gold rings, was lound among the 
plunder in the leader s pocket a cry went up to lynch them Without a m.oments delay ropes 
were thrown around their necks and they were dangling to the limbs of a tree, in the branches 
of which an hour before were entangled the bodies of a dead father and son. .Vfter the 

OK !'/:,'< Ol'T OF C/r.lOS. 26:; 

expiration of a half hour the rnpp'^ wt-re cut. the bodies lowered, carried to a pile of rocks and 
dumped into a hole 

■' Five rolibers altosether uere shot this afternoon, and two of iheni killed outright. The 
h'nLhin_;s so far number fr^ni sistten ti_i t\veiit\ 

If whcilK' tictitious, how did sucli rcjiorts urii^iiiatL' ":■ Take this as an 
iUustratioii. < )a Satui(Li\ afuTiinun a tnistwnithN' resilient of Feeder street 
ran up to a knot ot mm. one ol whom was myseh. sa\in.g : 

An officer has just shot a man up at the corner'" 

Hastenintj to thie spot, in the liehef that one instance of real killing' would 
be ferreted out at last - -twentx' reported durini; tht.' da\' hail jiroxetl canards — 
we fc)uiid a crowd.. A ne£,'rci was Kan.; in the L;utti-r on Adams stret.-t. half- 
drunk ami stunneil from a blow deli\'ered b\- a sturdy citi/Cen. who had seen the 
scamp sttalin.L; a lot ot clo'diin..;. Somebc>d\ called out that the African \\"as 
killed and the story traveletl v.ith the speed of a win,L;ed Merctuy. 

One case of partial haichin^ did occur. A foreii,'ner detected leaviiiL; a 
deserted house with \aluable property was seized by a few citizens, wlio 
fastened a cord around his neck and jerked him into the air. The\' let him 
hang a short time, then cut him down and he was allowed to ,l;o. The man was 
so badlv scared that his own mother would not lia\'e recoijnized him 111 the 
coweriiiL; whelp who shook like an aspen leaf. One man, cauL;ht in the act of 
robliini; th.e bod\- of an old woman, protested that he -;ot nothing; and -was re- 
leased. He disappeared, and it was found atterwari.1 that he had taken ^IOo 
from the corpse. 

.\ half-breed net,'ro was doinc; a thrivinij Inisiness in collectini; clothm,;. 
jewelr\' and even furniture. The citizens stopped him \ ery suddenly, tiireat- 
ening to h'nch him. In two instances narrow escapes from the rope were 

The people of Johnstown were not walking arsenals, killing folks at sight. 
or \'igilantes e.xecuting 1\ nch law imliscriminateh". Tlie\- neither thirsteil for 
gore nor went gunning for material to start new gravevards. Se\eral loafers. 
tr\ing to l>reak into trunks and safes, were shot in the arms or legs, a punish- 
ment richly merited. A prominent gentleman disccjvered twu men and a 
woman cutting the finger from a Lleail woman to get her rings. Mis ritle 
cracked twice in (prick succession, .md the right arm of each man dropped. 
shattered b_\' a bullet. The woman was not harinetl. but so badl\ frightent. d that 
she would not rob corpses again. The disjuisitioii on the part of man\ tor- 
eigners to raid the houses and do an all-around thieving business was nipped 
before it bore so much fruit as its projectors must lia\ e reckoned ujion. \et 
there was a great deal of wiltul. deliberate stealing troin the li\-ing and the 
dead on Saturday. The Chi'-f of I'olice liad lost his wife, t.iiiuly ami home. 
and was prostrated. One member ot the force was hiiig in the morgue . others 
were hunting the bodies of their missing children ; some of the councilmen had 
perished, and municipal authority was y^aralx .;ed. 


Amonf; the worst features nf the wreck were the actions of fiendisli rehc 
huntt rs and h.eartk'ss excursionists. The writer saw a monomaniac secure tlie 
charreil bones of an iiifant from amonu the snic.>kim; lic'bris. wrap [hi>ni caretuUy 
in a ne^\spaper. and carry them a\\a\- with a i(.)iik of triumph on liis One 
man stcilc an old bantkanna handkerchief from tlie head of a dead colored 
woman. AnotluT rerno\ed a from an old ^'ra\-diaired man. whose stiif 
and mangled corpse was tonnd danyliuL; in a tree ; while a third possessed 
liimself of the sheet which was thrown over the remains of a child, leaving 
the body at the mercy of a weepuiL; heaven. khe excursionists who thronged 
the regions around about woidd ha\ e Leen more at home in a priscm than any- 
where else, if one ^vere to judL;e by their actions. Some of them went about 
singing, wliisthng and crackin? the coarsest of jokes, while others trampled 
over the coffins strewn along the road with an utter disregard for tlieir 

Mr. .\rthnr J. Moxham. percei\-ing the inabilitv of the authorities to cope 
with the rutlians and restcire ipiiet. on Saturday afternoon ordered two hnntlred 
of his employes from ^b).\ham. These were sworn in as special otticers and 
speedih' subdued the lioodhims. .\ conference of leadiuL; gentlemen resulted 
in the selection of a Cititzens' Committee to assist in enforcing the law aiu! re- 
pressing the abettors of disorder, A dozen of the ringk'atlers were run out o' 
town, with a liint that a change of climate was essential to their continuance 
on this planet. ■ .All the liquor that could be found was spilled, guartis were 
posted at convenient points, and by dark something like a thorough organiza- 
tion had been effected. These judicious measures worked to a charm. The 
turbulent spirits wilted, crime sneaked into obscurity and chaos no longer held 
undisturbed control. 

Alexander M. Hart, a responsilile citizen, was put at the head of the 
police system, and no perscm could enter Johnstown without his permission. 
In this way improper characters, adventurers, thugs and pick-pockets, who 
flocked to the scene on Sundaw were excluded. Permits were granted all hav- 
ing legitimate business within the borough limits. They were printed on 
rough paper and enabled the hold(.-r to pass the guards at pleasure. My own 
was in this st\'le : 

I Pass J. J. McLatirin to every \ 
\ part of tlu- District. I 


^ Ale\- M. H.IRT, fli 

ffl a,u-f ,./ IWue. I 

S Johnsto-an, June i. iSSq. | 

Bv Monday the unrtily element had lieen put down to stay down and 
the Citizens' Committee had matters well organized. Next daj' a proclama- 


tion was issue(i tliat all men able to labor must report for work or lea\-e the 
place. As the committee expressed it : 

•■ We have too nuich to do to support idlers, and will not abuse the generous help that is 
beini; sent l>> doina so ' 

At a public meeting on \\"ednesila\ . bv a unanimous \ote. Mr. J. B. Scott, 
of I'ittsbur-li, was chosen Dictator and \ ested \\ith absolute power to punish 
offenders summarih'. On Thursday morning Mr. Scott anntumced the follow- 
ing committees ; 

Suppi.iKs. — John Thomas, fxev. Father Tehaney. Louis M Lunen. C B. Cover and C. 
Skill, secretary 

Finance —James McMillan, Thomas Swank. \V, C Lewis, John Roberts, Dwi^^ht Roberts 
and (?yru3 Elder 

Te.\ms .^nd Messengers. — James McMillan, John Walters and K W, Welch, secretary. 

iNhoKM.^TioN AND Tr.\nsport,\tmn — R, S, Murphv and C)rus Lrown 

Company Committee. — Captain Kuhn, John Masterson, William Boyd and Charles 

Removal of Dead Animals — Charles Zimmerman 

Morgue, — Rev, Dr, Bealc and Mr Chatburne, 

Remover of Debris. — T L Johnson 

TrME-KEEPiNG AND BooKS, — John S, Little. 

Dangerous Buildings. — John Coffin and Richard Eyre. 

Police Committee. — Captain Gagely and A. M Hart 

Outside Search for Living; and Dead — John I'latt and William McHenry. 

Fire Department. — William Ossenberger, chief. 

Employment, — H C Evans 

Sanitary Corps — Drs Lowman. Mathews and Lee. 

Ever\thing was reduced to a thorough system and moved with the regu- 
larity of clock-work. Captain A. J. Logan, of the Americus Cluli. was given 
charge of points west of Johnstown. Mr. Scott possessed the happy combin- 
ation of firmness and gentleness his trying position demanded. To the suflerers 
he was ever courteous and considerate ; to evil-doers, a man of indomitable 
resolution, whom they would do well to avoid. lie had the courage and dis- 
cretion to sav ■•Xo" when it shotdd be said. Hi:> administration was vigorous 
and depredators had a whoie.-,ome respect for his authorit) , which continued 
until tlie State assumed the direction of allairs the second week in June. 

The sheriff of Candiria Coimt\- deputized a large force of special officers. 
known as the --tin-tag police," from wearing home-made stars, cut out of 
tomato cans or anything that would furnish the requisite metal. A good man_\- 
of the men employed in this manner were gross!}- incompetent. Puffed up 
with a sense of self-importance ridiculousl\- disproportionate to their olrice. 
the\- aimo\-ed people hv their t\rannical e.-vactions. Citi/ens looking for friends 
or property had to run the gaimtlet of a host of these overbearing specials at 
ever\- turn. Able-bodied chaps, too lazy to w ork. \Youkl manufacture tin stars, 
att.ich them to their coats and strut around with the airs of a despot. In this 


way the sinioii-pure. naine-blo\ni-in-tlie-bottlc officers were sometimes charged 
with i>eri)etratinL; t^raxe abuses of which they Knew nothing;. The ■• tin-tag'' 
dispensation lasted ci\er a week as a sort of side-show, passing awa\' with the 
advent of niihtarv rule. 

Superintenilent J. \ . Patton. of the llahiinore A: Ohio, was the first rail- 
road official to annonnce the runnmg ot throiiL;h trains into Johnstown. He 
also announced that his road would furnish transportation free for all kinds of 
supplies that shouhi be sent to the suffering people. This was but one of the 
many offers of hberalit}' received from every source. One of the hardest things 
to deal with was the morbid curiosity of people of all classes who went to the 
devastated towns simph' to view the horrible disaster. These crowds grew so 
great that messages were sent from Johnstown: 
" For Gods s.-ike. keep the sieht-seera away '" 

The railroads entered into the spirit of this crv and refused tickets on Sun- 
da\' to points within t\\entv miles west of Johnstown. Although passes were 
required to get into Johnstown proper, shoals of curiosity-seekers swarmed 
around the outskirts. Main' contmed to steal in during the night. Not less 
than two hundred amateur photographers were on hand the first week. read\' 
to level their cameras on anytiiim; that turnei.! up. A lot of these gentrx were 
set to work clearing the wreck, which had a salutar}- influence. 

Abundance of food and clothing seemed to be assureil bv the middle of 
the week. Hundreds of corpses had been buried and tin.' clearing away of the 
wreckage beacme a vital question. Philip> S. h'linn. Assistant Superinteiidt nt 
of the Highwax" Department for the Second District of Pittsburgh, started for 
Johnstown on Saturtlay morning and was one of the first to set foot within the 
tciwn. There he worked to relie\e suffering ami secure the speed}" transporta- 
tion of provisions. On Monday the Young Men's Ki-publican Tariff Club of 
Pittsburgh sent him 165 laborers and ten foremen to begin the remo\'al of the 
rubbish. This force was tcio small to be of an\' practical use, and on Mondax' 
1.300 laborers and 2S0 teams were sent Liy Booth ^: Flinn. the Pittsburgh con- 
tractors. Hon. \\'illiam Pdinn. brother cif P'hihp S.. came with them and 
assumed general ilirection cif the men and horses. He douliled and trebled this 
number during the week, making a \ ery perceptible iiiipri:ssion upon the ilebris. 
Mr. Flinn adx isci usim; d\ naniite to clear the obstructions above the railroad 
bridge and Major \\ illiani Phillips was engaged to do the work. So success- 
ful was he that he gaiiied the nickname of •■D\namite Bill." The Major used 
sex'enteen thousand pounds ol d\'namite in one da\'. discharging li\e shots of 
fi\-(. hundred and forty pounds e.ich. the hea\iest ever fired in Peiins_\ l\ ania. 
It had its ertect on the tw ent\ -t w o feet of dritt at the bridL;e. which rinally 
yielded and g.i\e wa\. but not until cant-hool;s and all known de\ ices had 
been added to the d\ naniite. One of the principal difficulties which the\' had' 
to face was the feeding ot the arnu' of workmen. To kei^p si.x thniisaiul 

OKDF.K Orr i>r i7fAOS. 267 

laborers in nrox'ender in a licNastatei! \-al!(\- was no easy task, but it was pcr- 
foriiuti. On Juiif 1 -'th l!ciiith A; Minn willulrcN',- their Imtcs Ironi the lieM. 
which had beL;iin to present an aspect quite dillerent from its appearance te^n 
da\s before. 

Great an.\iet\- prevailed as to what th.e Canibna Iron Company would do 
regarding 'he rebuiUhrj'-; o\ the G.uitier wire niills. \'ice-I'resident MeMillen 
said on Mon(.la\' : 

•The mill uill be rubuilt immeciiatrlv, I h.i\e sent uut orders .-ill men c.nn mus- 
ter report nt the mill to-morrov.' to commence cleaning up I do not think the tjuildin'.; is 
insured aqainst tlood. The t;reat thing we want is to get tliat mill in operation again " 

Tiiis cheeriuL,'^ news was supplemented In' a brief notice posted on Wednes- 
day, the meaning of which all interested understood at a glance : 
"Report at nine o clock to-morrow morning for work 

Saturday was to ha\'e been the pay-da\' of the Cambria Company's em- 
ployes, and a clerk had drawn from the bank on Friday, fearing th.e 
high water might render it inconvenient to get the money out of the safe the 
ne.xt morning. The workmen knew that the notice tiid not mean that they 
should report at the Gautier mill, for that was gone, and they went to the gen- 
eral oftice, which the walls of the- big store had sa^■ed from destruction. L. 
L. Smith, the sujierintendent. was on hand earlv with three clerks to make up 
the roster of t-iie Gantier forci-s. Thirteen himdred stalwart fellows ha<l left 
the works when work closed at noon on Friday. May 31st. . How many would 
respond to the roll-call on Tliursday. June 6th '' 

It was not long before the men began to arrive. .\t the head of the 
platoon was a bo\ . Following him were fi\'e men. who Inokcd as tlniu'gh the_\' 
had parted w ith all the\' held dear in life. Two were English, one was a Ger- 
man, one Irish and one colored. Three of them carrieil pick-a.\es in their 
hands, which they had been using on the wreckage upon the streets. Let a 
versatile correspondent describe what transpired : 

■■ ■ Say. Mister,' said the bov, with a tremor in his voice, ' is this the place "' ' '.Vre ) ou a 
Gautier man ? ' a.sked Mr. Smith in a kindly tone. ' Yes. sir : me and my father worked to- 
gether. But— father's gone ' .\nd a ragged sleeve brushed away a briny tear 

■' In a broken voice the agent told the boy to report at the lower office for work. Turning 
to the other men he told them that they were to turn m at once and clear away the wreckage 
about the mill, so that it could be started again as soon as possible . that the intention of the 
company was to go ri-4ht on and face the worst, and that the men shouhl do likewise . with 
faces to the future, all backs should be turned upon the past When Mr ^mith had concluded, 
a burlv fellow, who had seen his wife and babe swept away from him, said But suppose we 
don't feel like join' to work to-dav Do we have to ' ' ' No, men You don't have to go to 
work until vou're read\ But it's the company's desire to get matters in shape as soon as 
possible ' 

"While Mr. Smith was talking other workmen came in." They had pick-ases on their 
shoulders. Thev heard the aeent's last remark, and one of them, stepping forward, said, ' .-V 
good many of us are at work clearing up the town. Shall we leave that ' ' ■ There are men here 

268 THE ST( mV i ^F Ji U/XS T( ' ; / '.V. 

for that purpose.' uas the response ' And the best thing you can do, boys, is to give us your 
names, so we can tind out how many of our men arc left ' 

"All this time members of the stricken army of workmen v\ere filini; into the muddy- 
floored ofiice. locking more and more like the remnant of a routed army. In twos, threes and 
dozens they came, some wearing faces grav with grief, while fithevs displayed grievous wounds 
wrought by the angry floods. One mun had a deep cut in the back of his head, another limped 
along upon a heavy stick, and one had lost a linger and ha(i an Ui;ly bruise upon his cheek 

" Seated in tlie office was J. N. SiK^rt. the foreman of the cold-steel-shafting department, 
and many of the men who filed past had been under him in the works. There were handshakes 
all the more hearts' and congratulations all the more sincere because of what ail had passed 

■■ 'I tell you Mr. Short.' said W.irkman J. T. Miller, ' I'm glad to see you're safe !' 

" 'And how did ii'.v fare, old man ?' 

■■ 'All right, thank God !' 

" At this moment a joyous meeting between two men occurred at the door. One was a 
gray-haired hero uho wore a Grand Army badge, and the other a young man of tuenty-three or 
thereabouts. They had been fast friends in the same department, and each thought the other 
dead. They knew no better till they met upon the threshold of the office door ' Whv, I he.ird 
your bod) had been found at Nineveh,' said the old man. 'And I was told that you had been 
burned to death at the bridge.' was the rejoinder 

" A pale-faced little woman, with a ragged shaul thrown about her shoulders entered and 
stood by the rail ' My husband cannot report.' she said, in an awe-stricken whisper. He 
worked in the Gautier mill ?' she was asked. A nod and a whisper answered the question. 

■ Make a note that Mr. is lost. ' said Mr Smith to one of his clerks, ' and that his wat:es 

are to be paid to his uiife ' 

"And so it was through the livelong day. At last, when e\ening came ;ind the office «as 
about to close. Mr. Smith said : 'Out of ne.irly fourteen hundred men but four hundred and 
eighty-seven have reported. It is possi'ole that there are two humlred more who either did not 
see the notice or who did not care to return to work .\t least I hooe so . before God, I hope so I" 
The workers starteti (.m Frida\" ip.oriiiii.i; with lieart\" .u'ood-will to clear the 
site of the mills, which had been buried under an a\'alanche of sand. During 
the week, rows of tents were jiitched in the vicinity of the Bahimme cV Ohio 
depot for the men brought from Pittsburgh, and fr.inie staliles acc(.iuiinodated 
tlie horses tiiat hauled the refuse to the dumping-ground. Bonlire^ liL.;hted up 
the horizon at night, stacks of rubbish keepiuL: them constantly replt-nished. 
The State Board of Health distributed tons of disinfectants free of charge, 
thus doing much to avert disease. At Kernville. which su-itained incalculable 
damage, dismantled liouses were tire-d as the easiest wav of getting them out 
of the way. Merchants whose places of business were not demolished com- 
menced repairs. 

For the first da_\' or two people were dazed by what had happened. The\' 
went about hebplessly. making v^atriie inquiries for their trieuds. and hardh' 
feeling a desire to li\'e. They had to sleep without an\' covering, in their wet 
clothes, and it took the. livelie-t skirniishni>; to '.jct ari\ thing to eat. The 
women and children were housed as far as it coidd be done. r)\\t;!linL;s on the 
hills, designed for five or si.\ people, crowded twent} , thirty or forty into three 


(II fiHir hampered rooms. OKI citizens f<lt themseh'es refugees in tlieir own 
b.iilivick. AlthonL;h tliousiiml-^ toiled incessantly to remove and l>nrn the 
debris, the numh( r of idlers was ti\' no means small. Evi-r\ other tellow to be 
met for da\s wore a blue suit, a tin star, a badu'e, a red hatdiand, or a mark 
that was supposed to invest him with more or less aulhorit\. Mam of these 
men diil e.xcellcnt service iu \;irious directions, but of others it must be said 
that their room would have been much better than their compam . The whole 
herd liail to be fed and loil^ed. thus drawing hea\ily up,in the contributions 
pounxi in from outside. All these thinijs were rei;ulated later, when the terror 
of the overwhelming tiisaster gave place to a general desire tfi set the wheels of 
trade once more mo\ing. Encoiiras^'ing symptoms cropped out occasionally. 
Men talked of res lining busniess. and one heard of pi. ins lookiuL;' to the speetlv 
re-establishment of the varied enterprises that for }ears made Johnstown a 

center of profitable acti-\"it\. 

A bird's-eye vit-w from the mountain-side on Saturday evening showed 
that th.e waters had subsidi d almost to their usual level. With the recediuL; 
waters the scene of desolation became hourly more weird and ]>irtnresque. 
The party of workmen had done so well that a big blast of twenty-five dyna- 
mite cartridges in tin- f.jreiioon loosened up the debris and ma<le it possible 
to open the moutli of the old channel at the bridge. This gang of workmen 
located the lost car^ of the Day E.xpress. which was destroyed at East Cone- 
maugh. The ruins of the train destro\ed were aliout one hundrid feet from th.e 
fourth buttress from the western end of the stone bridu'e. Parts of the parlor 
car were found, as well as traces ol the passenL'ers. Al)0iit nine o'clock in 
the morning the baL;ga^e of Miss Annie Chrisman was reached. She was a 
missionary ou her wa\- to llra.'il the Women's }-"oreiL;u Missionary Society 
of the IMethodist Church, .\mong her effects was a Bible, and iu it was a 
message to be filed at .\ltorina and addressed to the Methodist iJook Con- 
cern at No. 20 East Tenth street. New Y<jrk. annoimcing that she was on the 
train. Her watch, some moue\- and a dreek testament were also found and 
sent to Altoona. 

The close of the week — a week of shadow and sunshine, of alternate hopes 
and fears, of sad revelations and dire foreliodiugs — saw the stricken district 
somewhat chan-ed f.)r the Intter. The wcirkiuen had cleared up an im- 
mense mass of rubbish. \-et how little in comparison with the wist accumula- 
tions still untouched ! Main street been consider, ibly reheveci of the huL;e 
piles (.>f wreckage that fiileil it \\\^ to the second or third stones of the build- 
ings left standin'.;'. The task Nvas a irighttu! one. brin'_'iiig to liuht many 
corpses of \ictinis whose h\es v.ent out amid the cruel cru>li and swirl of the 
his.>int^ waters. In other parts of the town progress was observable, while a 
few new buildings indicated that ]ohnstown would iiltimati'ly be restored. 
The Baltimore \- C^hio track liad been renewed to the station, enabling freight 


cars to run to tlic very heart of the devastated section. Hundreds of white 
tents dotted the tlat and the I'rosjiect hillside. Kivini; the phiee a cnnip aspect 
in stran,i;e contrast with its former industrial ^iirroundinj;s. Steam derricks 
seconded the elforts of a myriad \villin<_; hands at the acres of wreck and ruin 
above tlie railroail bridge, which would require weiks to remove. \'er\ fre- 
quentlx deatl bodies v.cTe uneartheti, so swollen, manijled and distorted as not 
to be recognizable. The yawnint; chasm in the Pennsvdvania railroad track been filled up, and trains ran to Kast Coneman^h, where the washout cjf 
rails, ties and road-bed was complete. Propert\'-owners were doini,' what the\- 
coidd to bring order out of confusion, exerting themselves to get things into 
some sort of shape. But the dreadfid havoc was appalling enough to dis- 
courage the stoutest heart and cause the survivors to shrink back in horror 
from the waste of desolation. 


'--■7 -ifeTiiv /y^^vm' "^ ^ 


Gf.nekal Hastincs at Johnstown. 

^'\ ■ 


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^,_ __.: „....:£L. 

— ■-^^- — _:' 1 - ., ,'- 

Gkol'p at c.enekal Hastings' Micadquarters. 

^-7/ V ^7J^ 


Thk M.jutant-General of Pknnsvlvanm OS THK Groun,.-Hi. H.mble Meal and 
Tramp Pkotege — Consulting with the Sheriff and the Bi-k.-.e--; - Troofs Called 
Oct -The Focrteenth Regiment Does Effective Service - Visit of Governor 
Bfwer- Interesting Letters and D.^PATCHEs - The St u k A-s.mes Entire 
Char.-.e-The Board uf Health Actively En.,a..ei. - Vigorois Work in Clearing 
THE Wreckage and Restoring the Rlined District 

The soldiers, hul not on'- 
Theirs is a rchlc. ■.;eMeroiis iment; 
The gvwrds are piaced. heard is the sei 
The wasted district has been made a c 

ROM the be-inning it was evident that tlie State nuist take 
a hand in the reonj;anization and rcstorati..n ot the ruined 
district. The task was too ^reat !■"- "riv:,te c-nterorise 
Th.e reports of robberies and 

or private enterprise, 
iitraj^es iiitc'iisihed the sen- 
timent in favor of the presence of troops. .Vntiei- 
patin- decisive action, tlie Fourteenth and Ki^htc;enth 
Re-inient.. Battery B and the Washington Infantry, ail 
of Pitisbur-gh. were in readiness on SaturdaN" to niarcli 
at tlie word of command. Tlie public pulse was at 
fever heat, fearing a general outbreak. People outside 
knew of the situation only from the llaming reports pub- 
lished in bulletins and newspapers. However, one regi- 
ment wa-, deemed sufficient, and on Monday. June 3rd. 
the Fourteenth started tor Jolinsto\Kn. Col. K. D. 

the Fourteenth started tor joiiiisiunmi. v^c. ... 

■Ferchmeiit cominandim,'. Until the middle ot July tiie 

.ined on duly. A regular military camp \^ as established. 

1 i_ ■»! r ., 1,,-.. .1- -1.1,1 tnr ,1 rime tlie tov.'n re- 

organization remained on duty. A regular military camp .^ as e,.. 

Tents were pitched, patrols kept without a bre.ik. and tor .1 time the town re 
minded the citizens lorcibly ot war times. In the early davs of June it ^^ as 

J74 'f'fl^'- >/"A'!' OF J(y/.\STOU:\. 

neccssar\- to keep siL;ht-scfrs aii<l rLlic-linnters out. Then it -v^as tliat tin- 
military canu- into siTvict; most [iromiiK-ntK'. A rordon of snKlicr.s sur- 
roundfil tl;e tonn. Xo jH-rson \\a> ailniitli-i! or rtlt-ast-d v.itliout the pass- 
word. Disturbfrs ot the peace were promptly drummed out ami ordered not 
to return. Some were jMit to work with a chain-.;anL; ori.;ani/.ed to clear up 
tlie ^orge at tlie britluTc and all recei\-ed their ]u-,t deserts. V.'heu the Four- 
teenth Regiment retired Ir. jui actl\e ser\ice on Jul\- 13th. Captain Xesbitt's 
coiiipan}' of sixty men anil two lieuten.mts was ordered to remain and con- 
tinue LMi dut\' ilurim: the summer. 

Adjutant-General Ha--tinus. seventy miles awa\'. heard on l-"rida\- night 
that a flood had done serious damage at Johnstown. At the first streak of 
dawn on Saturda\- morning he set out for the scene of devastation. dri\ing the 
entire distance. The roads were deep with mud for miles at a stretch. There 
were streams to ford, ruts to shun and washouts to dodge. hUit the gallant 
soldier was not to be deterred by an_\- ob.-.tacle. and at y.20 in the evening he 
alighted at the foot of Prospect Hill, opposite the l'eun--\ hania station. The 
flats were still under water, and none could enter or lea\e Johnstown In- 
crossing the Conemaugh.. The General \iewed the wasted region from the 
bank of the creek and reaii/;ed that a iremc lulous responsibilit\' iie\'olved ujion 
the State authorities. Messages were sent to Go\ernor Beaver, intorming him 
of the condition of affairs, so far as then known. I'ood was e.xtremel)' scarce, 
and where his supper was to come from the of Penns\ hania 
was unable to conjecture. He sat on a log back of the station. Two tramps 
approaclied and greeted him civilly. One, a man of fine plusiipie, built on the 
generous model of Ha->tinL;s himself, held in his hands a rust) tin \essel. that 
had been a coffee-pot in its prime. This he liad picked up somewhere, 
together with some lava, which he brewed into a steaming decoction. Gen- 
eral Hastings was invited to ••take some." and drank a copious dranudu. 
The coffee liad no cream or su^ar. neither had it been cleared with the white 
of an egg. but it tasted ]n<e the nectar of the gods. A conversation followed. 
in the cotirse of which the tramp told \vj\k he had arri\ed in the afternoon. 
For three _\ears he had bei-n a vagrant. lea\ing a w ife and children in Connect- 
icut. Something about the man impressed the General Ia\orably. and he asked 
him to stay and work. The poor fellow agreed cliecrfulh'. That ni'^ht the 
two slept awhile on the floor ot the signal tower near the depot. The tramp 
proved faithful and competent, shirking no labor and ne\er complainim;. 
When the time approached for the soldiers to depart, lie said to General 
Hastings ; 

"I shall stay -.vith you until the last moment. I have madL' up my mind to %o back to 
Connt cticut. ask the forgiveness of my .vife and children, quit drinkuit; and be a decent citizen ' 

The General wished the penitent prodigal to go with him to his home at 
Bellefonte for a week's rest, and it was so arranired. ■•Jim." as he was called 

r.\/>j:K M/j./TAh')- .iryj/oK/T). ..75 

about the camp, tlifu started o\-fr town to draw his saviiii^s troni the hank anil 
purchase a suit of clotlles. Two hours later he returned. >oiue\\ tlu; worse 
tor liquor. 'l"he General expostulated with him and he promised not to toncli 
another drop. Then he went dov, n the railroad track towards the stcnie briih.;e. 
Once he stoppetl to treat an aceiuaintance from a bottle lie larried in pocket. 
Both had a swii; ami ■•jim" ^ta^^ertil alon-. A train dash.ed around th'.' 
curve, the locomoti\e bore him vlown. Ins lei,'s w (.-re cut oil and a mutii.ited 
corpse was all that remained of the Connecticut tramp. The officers and men 
providei_l a tine cotiin and Ljave the Nictim such a funeral as a [irince mii;ht 
envv. The wantlerer hail reacheii home at last '. 

General Hastintrs crossed over to [ohnstown on Suuda\- morniiiL; and 
consulted witli Sheriff Stineman and Bnri^ess Hoerle as to the advisabilit\- of 
calling out the National Guard. These ofiicial> objected . claiininLj 
the troops were not neetied and that their presence woukl onh' irritate anv ill- 
disposed persons. Members i. if Batteiy T> and the \\'ashinL;ton lnfantr\- hael 
arrived bvthis time, without waitin_' for order.s. The\ were abrujHh ^ent back 
to Pittsbur;;h. Lieutenant Ganimel. who had chan,'e of the men. said : 

■•\Ve would like to have stayed, hut we had to obey order.s, and we took the lir-.t train for 
home Even the .'.hort time we were there the hfty-ri\e men had pulled out thirtv-tive bodies." 
On Suuda\" ni;.jht another consultation was held, at which the Sheriff and 
Burtjess consentecf to sicu a request, to the Go\'eruor for troops. It was 
argued that thousands of imported laborers wcuild be cleariiiL; the wreckage 
and that an orL;anized boily of men mii,dit be required to quell disturbances. 
AccordinL;K' the Fourteenth Ri L^iment was summoned, an action depre- 
cated by many inllueiitiai citizens of Johnstown, wlio believed the a<l\ent of 
the militarv would arouse tile jiassions of the disorderly element much as a 
red ra;.^ infuriates a rampant taurine 

Governor Beaver was in Mar\land when the flood ra\"a^ed th.e Cone- 
maui,'h N'alley. antl the fir^t disjiatches to him from General Hastinu,'s were 
delaxed. The Governor issued .i rinuln;-; proclamation. sohcitiuL; help fur the 
sntferers, and on Sunda\-. lune yth. visited [ohnstown. lb- arnxeil early in 
the mornin;,'. b\' the PSaitimore A; Ohio Railroad, breaktasted uith General 
HastinL> anil rode over the district on horseback. When the part\' returned 
to headquarter> they disr..ounted and walked to the stone bridge. Ui \iew the 
acres of wreckage on the Boint. They were then taken in a --pecial car up the 
Pennsvhania Railroad track as lar as Couemauuh. It wa^ intended the 
Governor should go on to tlie end of the reconstructed portion of the railroatl 
and hold a con-ultation with \ice-President I'rank Thomsiin. but he- went 
back to headquarters. There wa.s a Ioiil; wait for Mr. Scott. .\t 5 o'clock the 
Governor. Mr. Scott. General n,i.-.iint^s. a!i the heatls of departments, with 
Philadelpb.ia. l^'ittsbur^'h and Chicago men. went into a secret conference. 
The conference lasted an hour and a half, and the decision was substantialh' 


that the State should take cliarue o{ the work. Arran,L;eincnts were at uiice 
bfgiiii for graihially turnin:; o\>.t the wciik nf the rehef departinent. and fur the 
]iieser\ atioii df cider in the tuwn. to the stall nt Ad jurant-General ]lastinL;s. 
Tlie town was to he practicaUy. if not formally, put under martial law. and the 
deputy-sherills and policeme!i chsmissed. I'pou his return In mie ( 'lUivernor 
I'.eaNer sent a number of letters and dispatches, now hrst published. One 
reads as follows : 



Harkiseckc, Jiou-iith, iSSq 
Gkneral D. H. Hastings. Jchmto-i'it, /',;. 

Gfiural : Colonel Potter goes furwarJ this afternoon as the bearer of these despatches and 
also of the money which I send you herewith for the purposes mentioned in your telegram of 
last night. As to the work to be done in the Coneniauf;h ^'alley under the police p(5wers of the 
State, it must be confined strictly to v hat is necessary to hv done by the State in clenrin<; the 
streams of debris and fold matter, and in abatin:< the nuisances which endanger public healtli 
and safety 

The municipalities must, as far as possible, care for their o\\ n streets beyond what we dw 
to rid them of the nuisances endangerint: the health Street-car companies and other corpora- 
tions interested in restoration must look out for their tracks and for their corporate property. 
The State, as you of course will understand, cannot in any case use her means for such pur- 

Colonel Doui^lass, Chief Ens^ineer of the Baltimore A: Ohio Railroad Company, reports to 
you this morning, as per request made to the authorities of the road, to act'as the chief engineer 
in directing the removal of these nuisances. Mr. John B, McDonald, an experienced railroad 
contractor, goes under contract with me to furnish from to laborers with proper 
foremen, tinte-keepers. tools, etc . so as to make a complete and compact organization, which 
he controls for the removal of this debris He will fiv the wage-rate, time and terms of pay- 
ment, and have all details of that character under his own control. 

Deeming it better that some one representing me directl\- should be upiin the ground. I 
asked you personally and now formally request that \ou assume general charge of this work, so 
that I may have some one with whom I can be in constant communication as to its progress and 
necessity for further continuance. It is, as you understand, a thoroughly busmess transaction, 
and must be so managed that all the expenditures can pass through the hands of the Auditor- 
General in order that they may be audued b\ him. All accounts should be kept with this in 

The emergency is so imminent that u is impossible to convene the Legislature and secure 
an appropriation in the re;;ular way for this work. Indeed, it has been too long delayed, ov ing 
to my inability to reach the treasurer (who was flood-bound), either by wire or messenger and 
without whose concurrence it was impossdile to do anything in this direction 

There is now no question but that the money needed for this purpose uill be forthcnming 
— the people from all parts of the State generously responding to m> ajipeal t'< gu.irantee my 
obligation to the State Treasurer. Any contracts which you have maiie. or any obligations 
which you have already incurred in reference to this matter can, of c.jurse, be carried out 
through Mr. McDonald or be in harmony with his operations 

\'er) cordially yours 

James A Bea\er. 



The same day tliis important It.-ttcr was tuiwardetl : 



H \KKi'-i;i. Ri,, jinu- ir, iSSg. 
Gkm.kai. D. II Hastin.-.s. AJ-it.inl-Ccmral of I\>i)isyh,tnia. Jriuisl,:,'!:. /'.;. 

( ,\-ii,-n: / : Keferrin.L; tc. the fact the Sherift of C.imbria County has rfquc^ifd the assist- 
ance of the military arm of the Msecutive Department in maintaining order in Cambria Count\ 
I wish to say that the militarv is to be used aa much as possible in subordination to and in har- 
mony with tlie civil authorities. If any portion ot the National Ciuard !s stationed outside the 
limits of Cambria County, and no application has been made by the sherills of the respective 
counties in which it may be placed, it might be well to consider the propriety of uitlidrawin" 
them so as to bring them within the limits of Cambria County As fast as the authorities of 
the several municipalities in and about Johnstown are able to regain their standing and to con- 
trol their oun afl.iirs the military will, of course, be withdra-\n Vou will gradually and quietly 
withdraw as many of the guards as ma\ be done with safety until you finally bring your force 
in and around the depots of supplies, uhich, as I understand it, will come into \our charge. I 
can see no possible objection, legal or otherwise, to your retaining so much of the military as may 
be needed for this purpose as long as the supplies are necessary for the people of the commu- 
nity. The force, however, should be reduced just as rapidly as circumstances w ill permit, so 
as to bring it to the minimum necessar) for such a purpose 

I am glad to note the entire harmony which has seemed to e.xist between the niilitar\ and 
ciyil authorities, and the aim should be to have that continue to the end It is als..i to 
note that, so as I am informed, noconllict of any kind has occurred between the memliersof 
the National Guard and the peace officers ot the community, or the several municipaliiies 
which are crowded so closely together 

As business is resumed and the ordinary affairs of municipal governments begin to assume 
shape there y.ill be less necessity for guards of any kind throughout the devastated region, and 
our aim and effort should be to dispense with the use of the military just as soon as possible. 

\'ery cordially yours, 

Jamks ,\. Blavkk 

The next Lia\" — June iJth — another letter was sent: 



HarrIsbi RO, /.v;;<- /j", /SSo. 

My Ihar C-iu-r.;.' : Expressing my satisfaction with the work which has been done and the 
efforts which have been made in aid of the people of Johnstown, which meets the approval of 
all classes, I wish to say in an informal way that these instructions are given to vou so that you 
may use them for v our protection in anyihinu' that you may be called upon to do. They are 
n.)t intended so much as a limitation upon vou as a protection a^'ainst what you may consider 
unwise and injudicious action yourself 

The community will soon return to its UL'rma! condition and all that has been done and all 
that will be done at Johnstown will be viewed, unfortunately, through the glasses of cool, calcu- 
lating hindsi'_;ht This is becoming somewhat apparent already, but has not as vet probably 
reached you Vou are in the midst of the excitenient, and every one at Johnstown shares the 
same feeling. 

In regard to the money that ;s given for chirity, as well as every step that is taken in the 
progress of dealing. \ith the vexed and perplexing questions which conlront you directh, the 
spirit of caution and of criticism becomes more and more apparent, and the voice of the civers 
is in the direction of conservatism rather than in the other direction. Immediate bodilv suffering 

27S THE sroR)- OF jo/fxsrojrx. 

is, of course, thf first thoir^ht. .md t-very one .iprees this is to be alleviated at all costs and 
at once. Thert: is and will 1;<- no lack of monev for this purpose. You can go upon the assump- 
tion ttiat uh.itiAi'r is ne-.df.l will bo furnished to give food and clothinj; and bedding to the suf- 
ferers Th( iiufstioa of thi- rili,ibilitation of their humes, furnishinu: of ttmls ami iniplenienis 
for mechanics, kitchen furniture, eti- . for the sufferers, will all be dealt with by the Comnii~- 
.M,.n which I hope to be able t.) nauie t.vday 

There are some imp.'rtant ■piestions yei pending; :\\\t\ undeciiled. dejiendin^ upon other 
people, which prevented my doini: this yesterday, as I would like to have done The idea is, 
of course, to bring all our committees and all parties controlling funds under oni' management, 
so that there ma\ be no duplication of charity and no indecision as to what is necessary to be 
done This ma\ appear for the jiresent as temporizing, but will in the end l)e found to be a 
wise and discreet thiUi;, .\\\ neeiiei) present relief is gi\en without stint and without mquir\ , 
and will be so continued. 

Please have the \ouchers ftn- the expenditure of the mone\- sent (which is much less than I 
suppose you would need for immedi.ite purposes), kept in such wav that ihev can he referred, 
so far as the relief is concerned, to the Commission wh.en appomti-d, and so far as the work is 
concerned, to the Auditor-General. 

The most pressin>; demands at presi-nt are rrom the West Branch, where they seem to be 
in fear of epidemic and disease I'hi-; I am endeavormg to care ft)r as (]uickl\' as possible, 
without in any wa\ forgetting the other parts of the State which have strong claims 

If you are in need at any time of any particular supplies that can he secured at Phila- 
delphia and will telegraph Mavor Fitler direct, he will see that they are supplied to you Their 
resouces in Philadelphia are \ ery great, lioth as to the means and the abilit) to secure jii^t 
what you need, and they are ready to respond heartilv ,it the merest suggestion in any way that 
they can render service 

I hope to be able to reach Johnstown later in the week, and expect to see a great advance 
made in the immense work which is before you. You observed at the meeting the great doubt 
which exists among cool. < alculating men as to the amount necessary to remove this debris. 
We will be held hereafter probablv Ko the expenditure of the minimum amount, and whilst we 
will ni>t hesitate — if that is not sufficient to do the work —to expend more, it is \\eil to reniem- 
ber that these conservati\ e estimates have been made not only at Johnstown, but at the centers 
of intfuence and of charitable gi\ lUg. as well as the centers of responsibility financially upon 
w-hich I depend in carrying this scheme through The scheme works beautifully and will, 
from present appearance, be a great success and bring a feeling of relief to everybody 

Thanks for your courage and fidelity and thanks to all who have responded to your call 
ff>r immediate assistance, and who will stand by you until the emergency is over We must make 
the emergency as short as possible Very cordially yours. 

J.v.MEs .\ Beaver 

Grave questions had to be iletennineil before the State assumed entire 
control. Chtmors for an extra session of the Le:4islatiire. to appropriate niil- 
hons of dollars to prosecute tlic- work of clearing a\va\' the nilihish and 
affording ample relief, assailed Go\ ernor Beaver from ever\- side. Moderate 
estimates fixed the sum needed for this gigantic task at two millions cd dollars. 
Happih' the Go\ ernor did not \ieid to the demands of iininformei.1 parties, 
preferring to jiulge of the matter from personal inspecticiu. Satisfied that an 
extra session would be an un justihablc- exti ,i\"a;;aiice. h.e adopted a more sen- 
sible method. L)ays of precious timr must elapse alter tile is^iiiiv_; ot a pro- 
clamation before the Legislature could con\ene. while the expense would go 

r.\7>/:Vi' yrii.iTARV .un/o/;//-]: 


tar towards payin;:; tlie whcilf cost of rclit.-\-inu the afllictL-d rt'uion. The 
(iovt-rnor arr;uiL;fd with eastern capitahsts for inoiie\ to nuet wliatever 
)>eruniary oliliLiation-- the Stati; iiiiL;lit incur, tnistiiiu" to tlie next Lenishiture 
for leinihiirseuient. It was a wise, statesniaidlke ,ict. sa\ ini; l\\v Treasnr\' a 
lar-;e ,'mion;it and enabhiii; thi_' .uuhorities tn put on a stroni; force of work- 
men inimeihalelw 

The health of the suflerers was also a serious consideration. W'itli thou- 
sands of rottini; corpses anil dead animals, acres of filth and ruliliish, and cel- 
lars hlled with decayin'.,' matt<-r. the prospect of an epidemic was ini.ieed 
alarmini,'. 'i'he State Boardl of He.dth moved prominU. regardless ot retl tape 
and the ortlinary circumlocution of official boilies. l)r. iJenjaniin Lc'e trans- 
mitted the subjoined preliminary report, which sets forth the initiator\ action 
of the iJoard : 

PlTTSBCUGH, y""'' J-'". /SS\) 

To His Excti.LENcv. James .\. Bt;AVF.K, G.':;r„or of llu- Coinmonwcjith of l\-nnsvi-.;uiui 

Sir : I lifg leA\e. re-;pcctfullv ti. report that at 4:30 p M . on Siindav, J line :.i\. 1 left I'ltts- 
l)iirt;h for Johnstown, .-iccompanied b> Dr G. G. Grofl. a member of this Hoard, to inspect the 
flooded regions of the Conemaui;h river My primary object was to determine tlie extent of the 
danger of pollution of the Conemauyli. Kiskiminitas, .^llei;heny and Ohio rners by the decom- 
position of dead bodies, whether thi>-,e of human beinL's or domestic animals, and to reduce that 
danger within as narrow limits as possible, .At Nineveh I found 162 dead bodies, which were 
Ijeing well and rapidly embalmed and awaited the action of the coroner I telegraphed him 
that where identification had taken place the interests of the public health would warrant dis- 
pensing with the usual formalities, if necessary, for the expeditious removal of bodies I ord- 
ered free use of disinfectants in and about the morgue. The work at this morgue was excel- 
tently done under Mr Devore. of P'ittsbur.:;h. Seeing the urgent necessity for the emplovment 
of a large force of wreckers and searchers ,-t the earliest possible moment. I telegraphed the 
Sheriffs of .MIegheny, Westmoreland. Indiana and Cambria Counties, instructing each to sum- 
mon a large posse and proceed with the uork of breaking up drift-piles and exhuming bodies. 
I also telegraphed .\djutant-General Hastings that I would report to him at Johnstown carK the 
next morning 

June 3rd I crossed the Conemaugh in a skiff to Old Xineveh, w here I found twenty-eight 
bodies, not prepared for transporcntion. I authorized John Barber. Justice of tlie I'eace, to hold 
an inquest, as nothing had been heard of the Coroner, and instructed him that all bodies iden- 
tified must be embalmed . ail others wrapped in sheets soaked in disinfectant, and all not iden- 
tified by 5 I' M the following evening buried, a careful di.-scription of the liod\' and belongings 
being ke^t and the graves marked. Left L>r- Kiggs, of the I'ennsvUania Railroad Compan\. in 
charge at Nineveh 

Reached MorrellviUe at 10 30 \ m, and walked up to Johnstown Keporteil in writing to 
General Hastings, not being able to find him personalli , Caressed the ri\ er and reportetl to 
r)r. Moxham, Chairman of the Provisional Committee, and ad-, ised him to order at once through 
t;;e Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh five thousand pounds of copperas and two tnousand 
h\e hundred pounds of chloride of zinc for immediate necessities. Made inspection of the 
.-ntire borough of Johnstown, and of the Bedford-street Hospital The work of cremation of 
dead animals, of disinfection of carcasses, which cannot yet be extricated, of hcuse-tu-house in- 
spection lif inhabited houses, of cleaning and disinfecting such hou,-,es. and of instructing the 
people how to a'.oid disease as the result ot the unusual conditions in which the\' are living, was 
at once inaugurated and is going on very sy-teniaticall\- .-ind ethciently under the superintend- 

2So T/fE STORY OF JO//.\STOU:\'. 

ance of Dr. Matthews, whom 1 appointed Chief of the Sanitary Corps The comparatively 
small amount of sickness found bv the inspectors is sufticient evidence of the value of this work. 
I have, therefore, less fear of any serious epidemic in )ohnstown Its water supply is, fortunately, 
pure. Much, however, will depend on the rapid destruction of deliris and cleaning up of the 
place. For this a lart:e force of men is neetled 

The most pressing proiilt-tn now het^re the Board is the protection of the water supplies of 
cities on the rivers below In i^rder to render more efficient service in th'S matter. I came to 
Pittsburgh cm June 6th, leavin.i; I)r Grotl, whose sound judgment has been of the greatest as- 
sistance to me, in charge at Johnstoun, 

Here 1 am organizing gangs of wreckers to go up as far as Johnstown and down as far as 
the State line, reclaiming ail bodies and destroying all putrefying matter. There still remains 
a drift-heap of many acres in extent and man\' feet in depth, i!ie greater part of it under water, 
which covers the Conemautih Kiver from the stone bridge of the I'ennsyhania Ivailroad up tc3 
the junction with Stony Creek and extends a considerable distance up Stony Creek, This mass 
is jammed tightly against the bridge The river flows under it, entirely concealed from sight 
It is covered to a considerable extent with earth To burn it as it stands would be an impos- 
sibility. It must contain some dead bodies of human beings and many carcasses. These are 
already putrefying and becoming offensu e E\er> day renders the situation worse and increases 
the contamination of the water 

I. therefore, after a careful personal inspection of the entire situation, by virtue of the au- 
thority conferred upon the State Board of Health b\' the .\ct of June 3d, isa;. and delegated to 
me as its ii.\ecutive Officer in Regulation First, declare the condition of things existing at Johns- 
town and neigfiboring bLrri.'U:;hs, and esoecialK of the drift-heap above describe',1 and of tlie 
waters of the Conemauih and Ixisidmiiictas Kivers. to be a nuisance dangerous to the puldic 
health ; and, inasmuch as '.he extent of this nuisance is so great that the local authorities can- 
not atiate it, I call' upon your Excellency as Chief Executive of the Commonwealth to at once 
employ such force as may lie necessary to remove and abate the same 

I have the honor to be, Your Excellency's most obedient servant. 

Henj.\mi.s Lee, 
Sc'irt'tary and Ii.XtClltl- ,■ Orfucr. 

Acting upon the reconiinemlations embodied in this report, the Governor 
issued the tollowioL; proclamation, which mas' be viewed as the first oflicial 
step in the direction ot State control : 

In the X.\me ami y.\ the .^ithoritv ok the Commonwe.alth of I'ennsvlvani.\. 
Executive Defartment 

P K O C L A M A T I O X : 

Whereas, the State Board of Health thniugh its secretarv and executive officer, has this 
day made to me a report in writinc. bearing d.ite the -th dav ot June, iS,sq, in uhich. after re- 
citing the action taken bv said Board in reference to the recent tiocds which have devastated 
the Conemaugh \'alle\ , and the work which has been done by the said Board in providing, as 
far as possilile, for purityini; tile streams and maintainin,; the health of the pei iple, the condition 
now existing along the Coiiemadtih Kivt-r at Johnstown and in its vicinitv is fully set forth . 

.\mi Whereas, the said I'oartl: through its executive officer, as aforesaid, has made call 
upon the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth to take action in reference thereto, as follows: 

'■/, //itVi/ivv, after a careful personal inspection ot the entire situation, by virtue of the 
authority conferred upon the State Board ot Health by the .Vet of June 3d, 1SS5, and delegated 
to nie as its executive olricer in Kegulatiou First, declare the condition of things existing at 


Johnstown and neij;hboring borouybs and especially of the drift-heap above described, and of 
the waters of the Conemaugh and Kiskiminetas Rivers, to be a nuisance dan;_;erons to the pulilic 
health, and. inasmuch as the extent of this nuisance is so great tliat the local aaihorities cannot 
abate it. I call upon your Excellency as Chief F.secutive of tlij r.immonwealth to at once em- 
ploy such force as may be necessary to remove and abate the same " 

.\"(';.'. / !u-!\/crc, /. James A. lieaver. Governor of the said Commonwealth, in deference to 
the said recjuest of the State Board of H.-.iith. .ind in pursuance of its decl.iration, do herebv 
declare the said drift in the Conemaugh River, at Johnstown, and at otlier points in and about 
said locality, a public nuisance, and in accordance with the power granted to said Board, and 
acting under the authority' of the law which confers said power. I do herein- direct that the said 
nuisance l^e immediately abated, and to this end I further direct that the men and means neces- 
sarj' for said purpose be immediatelv employed and continued at work until the said nuisance 
has been entirely ab, ued. and the danger to public health and safety removed, and in doing 
this, and in order to provide the funds necessary therefor, I do liereby pledge the fait!i of the 
Commonwealth ot Pennsylvania. 

.r^^'-r. Gi\en un.ier n'.\ hand and the Great Seal of the State at the cit\ of Harris- 

^\;_,'"i ^"jili burg, this twelfth divof June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 

'i^lj'i'.'ji'i hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Commonwealth t!ie one hundred and 

'^rTrli-i"^ thirteenth. 

By tl;e Go\ernor : 

ChvrlesW. Stone. JAMES A. BEAVER, 

.V.;v/-»T .////■ t'ewwe^r.w/,'-;. 

These jireliminaries li.ivin;,' been settled propcrlv. the State toiik charge 
on Tinirsila\' inorning. June 12th. The men employed by BuDtli A: I'linn were 
paid oif the day nrevimis. Tfansportatioa to Pittsluiri.;!! was ftirnished such 
as declini-d to stay, and lir^e nnmbers left for their homes. They had been 
recei\!ni;" S2 per day. The rate tlie State proposed v^-as 51.30. In otablisli- 
ing this scale ,L;reat care was had not to interfere with the railroad companies, 
which had thousands of men renewint; their tracks, by orfering wages so high 
that the laborers might leave their jobs and rnsh to Johnstown. Again, the 
rate was put above that paid the railroad e:nployc5, as the work \\as disagree- 
able and ardiiou-.. Ttigging and jniiling out logs and boanls from huge masses 
of wreckage, with the probabiiit\" of running against a corpse or a carcass everv 
moment, or digging in hltlt and mud up to the knees, was not an attractive 
business. The men engaged in it were entitled to increased pay, and the one- 
fifty schedide ti.\ed upon as equitable to all concerned. 

Mr. McDonald, \\honi Governor Bea\'er had enlisted in the ser\ice. re- 
portetl to Gener.d Hastings. His ideas fell short of what appearei} indispen- 
sable to meet the crisis. He proposed to import a liost of fnreiu'uers from 
New York, in stpiad.s of a couple hunilred. This meant dela\', and might e.\- 
cit'e the jealous}- 01 nati\-e lal^orers. Accordingh'. contracts were made \\ith 
McLean A: Co.. Philadeliihia : Coburr. A Mitchell, Altoona : P, Ridge, Pitts- 
burgh, and James McKnight. Pittsburgh, to clear awav the debris. Philip S. 
Flinn remained as superinteiKlent for iNIr. McKnight, continuing until July, 


wlu-n all the contractors, except McLean i\: Co., were relieved. Upon tak- 
ing charge. General Hastings inaile the following appointments: 

Chiefs OF OrEK\TiON-. Jii!iN-.TOw.\ — General P ii, H.ntiiis;*, A'tjutant-General of IVnn- 
sylv;inia; Colonel ThomasJ Hiids.m. Chief of Artillery, X. G. P.; Lieutenant-Colonel William 
J, Elliott, Actini; Inspector-General, N. G. 1'. 

Di.i'-^i;TMi.N 1 OF PciiLi.; S \Kt TV.--e>ri'.;adier-G.;aeral Wiley, Second Bri^'ade ; Major Sam- 
uel Hazlett. Ordnance Ilepartment. Second lini;ade . M.ijor W W. Greenland. Oiiartermaster. 
Second Brigade. Major Frank K.Patterson, Inspector, Second Brigade; Major Wilson F 
Bradeii, Judge-.\dvocate, Second Brigade. Captain George C Hamilton, .\ide-de-Cainp, Second 
Brigade; Captain James H. Murdock. Aide-de-Camp. Second Brigade 

Qu.\RTERM aster's DifxKrMENT. — Colonel 3. W. Hill. Quartermaster-General of I'ennsyl" 
vania ; Lieutenant-General Thomas Patton, Assistant Quartermaster-General of Pennsylvania. 
CoMMiss,\HV Depaut.mest --Colonel J, Granville Leach. Commissary-General of Pennsyl- 
vania ; Lieutenant-Colonel ] S. Spangler. .Assistant Commissary-General of Pennsylvania ; Cap- 
tain J A. Loohr, of the Tenth , Lieutenant W H Bean. Second United States Cavalry ; Lieu- 
tenant J. P. .Albro, of the Thirteenth ; Lieutenant Charles E Brown, of the Eighteenth. 

Bi.-KE.\L' OF Information — Colonel John I. Rogers, Jud_;e-.Advocate-GeneraI of Pennsyl- 
vania; Lieutenant-Colonel Henry E PaNson. Aide-de-Camp to the Governor. 

Accounting Dep.\rtment. — Lieutenant-Colonel J H Gray, of the Governors staff. 
Surgeon-Genek.\ls PE!>.\KT-Mr.NT - Major J B Silliman. Surgeon. Second Brigade. 
Stipplv stations were opened at the two railroad depots, from which eleven 
sub-distrihuting stations throu^'hout the \-alley received pro\isions and cloth- 
ing. The supplies were purciiased by th.e Commissary General and placetl in 
cliarge of Major Spangler. Tlie general supply depot at the t'enusyh ania 
freight station was Post Commissar\- No. i, with Major Horn at its head. 
Major Singer managed Post Commissary No. 2, at the Baltimore and Gliio 
station. Under Major Horn sevcit district stations were established to give 
relief direct : 

Districts Xos i and 2, Johnstown Boroa>.,'h. Major Mercer. 

District No 3. Prospect Hill and MiUviUe. Lieutenant Richardson. Ninth Regiment. 
District No. 4. Woodvale, Lieutenant Selden. Sixteenth Regiment 
District No. 5. East Conemaiigh. Lieutenant Koons. First Reiiment 
District No. 6, Franklin Borough, Lieutenant Meram. Xinth Re:^iment. 
District No 7, South Fork Lieutenant Cov:. Third Regiment. 
These stations and oflicers were under Major SiU'ger : 
District No. S, Johnstown Borough, Lieutenant Bal<er. Sivth Regiment. 
District No. 9. Kernville and Grubtown. Major Curtis, of the St.ifi 
District No. 10, Conemaujh Boroi:gh, Lieutenant Williams, Fifth Regiment. 
District No. 11, Coopersdale. Lieutenant Nichols, Twelfth Regim.:u 
Lieutenant Bean, of the United States regular arui\. was {ilaced in 
charge of the accounts of the Cominissary-General. Colonel Orr. clerk of the 
militarv board, \\\l\\ two clerks from the Adjutant-General's oltice, was gi\-en 
charge of the accounts of the distribution of supplies. Ever\thing mo\ed 
forwar>l with military precision, ar.d tin.' wreckage disappeared rapidl_\-. 

Mr. McKni'ght. who contracted to remo\-e the drilt aiiove tlie stone briilge, 
worked from June I2lh to Jul_\- 0th. his force ranging from 2,200 men to 350 

aa^^rmv i,' jj ojfa?- • 

{.\7>/:u .i///.//:/AT .///•//( )/,■//■! . 

■^ «(J.'.i.•.■Mi»t^{^._^*«tK:^£^*^^'^.^;•^.■^!ncy?^ ';-7;^v^>:7'" 




.-' .-^ 

v* }■■ ...y^'^^-' 


.■ - ? 

■ i^fi 


..,■■ ''■=.'--'v^- 

;iu- lust Week. Twchx- huistinu: cii'^iiu-.. t ir;i(;ntrr>. Mac kr^iiulhs ainl il_\ iia- 
niitcrs weri; t-iiipli.Acd. Anhur K'.rk. uihIlt the ^iiiierxi'-iiin nt Miijor I'liiUips, 

r.w'AVv' Mii.nwm' .irraoRrr): 




-?*' "/' '>S jf" • * 

.,, ^r5 

v.- J^'->>^':\ ^^ 4 ''''^' I j-:P- ■" 


;iu- last week. T'n-eh'e hui'^tir-ii: Ln','iiu ->. c irpi:nter-.. Mu, k^initli'- ami i!_\ ua- 
liiiters Were empkixed. Arthur Kirk, umler die ^uperxisiiui of Major I'uillips, 


handled the explosi\-es so skiH'ulh' that no accident occurred. ahhouLjh i 3,^00 
pounds (>{ ihuaniite were u-cd. 'More nt the thuiLjerous stutt ^\^ls explnded 
alter ihe State retired fre>ni tiie held. swelhuL; tlie total tn about ij.ooe" jioumls. 
OccasioualK' biKJies were loosened troni the mud ami wreck and blown nito 
fragments, six rising two luiudreil teet'in the air .it one time. 

Colonel Joseph II. Gray, of 1 'ittsl)ur'.;h. who had cli.iri;e nf the State ac- 
counting departineiu, comiileted his repcut on fnly i.Sth. He had vouchers 
for e\er\ Cent ( ■! mone\ \\enl through the hautls ut tl;e State authorities 
during the time tlie\- had charge ef allairs at |olinstown. The accounts were 
opened on fiine i Jth and closed |ul\' ^th. DuriiiL; that time a L;rand total ot 
S24S.g3j;.M was accounted for. Ut this aUKUint. Si 74, ybi . ^7 was credited to 
the State i-iepartment and S74. 173.^4 to the relief fund. The amounts paid to 
contractors ft>r State wc>rk between June 12th and [uh' ijth were : 

K. O'Donnell. si. .(75 'm .\; Co , 53^.657 10 , T.-itrick Ridgc, su.ji>S .,- , Colburn A 
Co., S25.745 43 ; J.imes McKnii^ht, s4i,oii.4'j; Charles Suppcs. fur cleanin;^ cellars, S2,o07.jj , 
J. H Benford. SJ43.10 

Wdiat with d\-namite explosions at short intervals, clearing awa)- tiie 
debris above the bridge, the arm\' ot wcjrkmen emplo\'ed in all scjrts 
of wa\-s, the- lu)sts of teams constantly engaged, the crowds of passeni^ers from 
ever\ train, the vast quantities of supplies arri\ iug daih' and the new structures 
going up on a number of streets. Johnstown was a biis\" place the latter part ot 
June. \'ast ;)rogress liad been made and man\' sections wltc almost clear of 
obstructions. Teniporar\' stcires were goinu up briskh and [Portable houses 
had begun to arrive. The- acres of debris above the bridge were re- 
duced to a mere shadow. Hope of a bri^lit future lor the town gaining 
strength. The greatiT }> irt of the Cambria Iron \\"orl.:s had startid. gi\-ing c-m- 
plo\ment to thcuisands cif men. Ow [une 20th it looked .is tliouuh a general 
suspension of work mi-ht occur. The ptjor fellows toihiiL; in the d,irt and ruL'- 
bisli for the pittance of 51.30 a da\', one-third of it retained for food, com- 
plainetl of the scanty. iH-pre[)aia d rations turnished b\" the contr.ictors. Black 
coffee and fat piirk'. thro'.xn to them as if the\' were beasts, were not calculated 
to make men contenteil and ini.histrious. The^" \'er\' properlv ileiuaiuU'il to be 
furui diei.l wholesome fo(.Hi in sutlicient (]uantit\' to keep soul and bod\" together. 
Six or eight luindretl left for F-'ittsbur^di. declining to strike under the sad cir- 
cumst.iiices that hrouuiu tlic-m to town. General Hastings notiried the con- 
tractors tliat the men must be i;i\"en proper food, or he would feed them himself 
and charge the account to the p.irties rt;sponsil)le for their ill-treatment. The 
men Were better treattd thereafter and no farther trouble eiisueii. 

The Commissioners 3'). 000 peopl(.> to feeil for two week-s. when the 
number was reducecf dailw (.ieii''ral Hastings orth-red 540,000 wtutli of [iro- 
visions from Pittsburgh the d.i_\- he took charge. The regular food was similar 
to the annv rations, w'th the adclitiein of bread and butter anti \egetables. 

; -.\7'/i7v' J///./7: / A' J ■ .n T//( 'A'/7-l •. 

D 1^^ 

)d wa-^ whok-some. and a supph' for tivr days was kopt on hand in case 
rgcncN . It was to be expected that some attempt-, to drirau.l the coni- 
y and -et provisions and clotliinL,' li\ wliolesalc would be attemjited. 
:■ extent to which this was done a-,tonished the officers. Famihes were 

to have tlieir liotises filled witii groceries and clotliniL; sufficient to stock 
:. althouL^h ihey Vv'ere njt touched hv tb.e flood. Farmets carried o!l" 
jf clothing, groceries and tools, in spite of all precautions to -uaul 
t fraud. Some of the districts were abandtineil and others consolidated, 
ed in this report : 

CoMMissNKv Department. 

JOHNSTOW.S. I'.^ , J:nu- jylh. iSSg. 
ier-General I^. H. H.^STINgs, ,Lijiit,u:i-G,'>ur,i/ .'/ i\nniyh-u,:iu .- 

:,r,,!: 1 have the honor to report that the inleiuion to reduce the nunilier of persons 

i hy one-third l>v Wednesday evening, June 20th, has been liiUy carried out, thou-h 

loroughly in some districts than in others, trom the reports made by the dilterent 

master., vesterday, it is my intention this week to the commissary at Morrell^ille, 

Jating if with Cambria City; to close the commissaries at Brownstown, Jlinersville, 

le and Coopersdale, and supply the wants of the really needy from the commissaries of 

a City and Prospect Hill . to consolidate the three commissaries at East Conemaush, 

rranKiin and Woodvale. which are much reduced in numbers to be supplied, into one station, 

to be at Franklin, where the largest center of population appears to be : to close the sub-stations 

at Walnut Grove, Grubtuwn and Moxham, and supply the really needy from Johnston n and 


Concmauah Borough is the only station that does not show a reduction in its work, but 
until the report of canvassers now out and working is made, I cannot say what is to be the 
future of this station. I am promised tiie report to-day. I attach hereto a t.ibic, being a re- 
capitulation of the changes in the several districts, and also comparing the hgures with those 
given in last report, showing that the reduction of one-third has been fully accomplished 








.Mnrrellville . 
Cambria. . . 
Hrospect Hill 
Woodvale. . 
East Conemau 
Franklin . . 
Minersville . 
Koscilale . . 
Johnstown . . 
Kernville . 
Conimaugll . 

plu-d la 


P,:,f'!e Snp- 


The closing of several commissary stations this week and the consolidation of others 
should so reduce the work that by Monday it coulil be placed in the hands of the citizens to re- 
lieve the cases of actual destitution and need .-Ml the stations cannot be closed for some time, 
for there must be many needy cared for. and a place or places retained for the reception and 
the distribution of provisions, furniture, etc., for their use 

The changes outlined above will Iea%-e in operation si\ ci^mmissaries. distributed at Frank- 
lin, Conem.augh, Johnstown, Kernville. Prospect Hill and Cambria City, These will, I think, 

286 ////:' S7VA-i OF JO//.XS7\)ir\. 

amply supply ihc wants of those w lnjm it uuuUl be improper to cut off from supply, and they 
are in my opinion convenicntl)' situated 

In closini the station at Enst Conemaus;h I tlie services nf Lieut F F- Koons, 
Quartermaster Fir-.t Ke'_:mieni. X. G. P. He ba-, pnued a most valuable olticer by hisellicient 
services to this department, and has been the first who is able to close his commissary with the 
approbation and .^atislactiun ol all the people concerned 

J I, Span.,i,kk, /./. Co/, an,/ ,1 t\ U 

Later Culonel Sp.ini;li-r rc-portcil that ahcuit 4.000 able-bodied men were 
carnini,' their hviiii;' and snpjiortinL; tliose dependent upon them. Tlie Com- 
missaries were rechiced to one. which was tinned over to the local commit- 
tee on j\i\v Sth. Captain II. II. K.ihn, who hail a thorc>nL;h k-|iowledL;e of the 
duties, takir.L; charc;e. Widows, orphans and a^'ed sulterers wer.j tnrnished 
supplies, but tlij issniii',; ot unlimited rations ceased, and persons able to work 
had to repl_\- upon their own resources. 

The Philadelphia tireiiKU. whu relieved the Pittsbnri;li liie companies the 
middle of June, returned home 011 July ijth. ldie_\ left their lour en,L;ines and 
1,500 feet of ho-^e in care of the local lire department. The machines were to 
remain until the authorities could ptirchase new ones. ■•dial. ' L. L)ick or- 
ganized a fire department of four companies, composed principalh' of mem- 
bers of the old ^■olunteer■-, who>e buildings and apparatus were destro\'ed. 
The}' managed the four I'liihulcdphia engines, wdiich were antiipiated ma- 
chines that would not thniw a stream over a three-story house. 

A system of registry was de\ ised, \\liich contemplated rec;nding the names 
and addresses of all sur\ivor>. Clerks work-ed for week'? and about fifteen 
thousand residents were enroileil. Hundreds paid no attention to it. conse- 
quently the plan 'was not completely successful. The Citizens' Committee dis, 
tributed 5150.000 on Jul>' '"'^th and ijtli, at the rate of Sio apiece, to the sufferers 
who had registered. C)n Tuesday, July 8th, contrar\" to the wishes of the 
best elements in the commuuits", the Court permitted the salcjons t<j resume 
liquor selling, for the lirst time since the disaster. As the result, a host of board 
shanties were erected on \\'ashini;ton street lor the sale of beer aiul w'liiskc-\'. 
These holes were eo liberally patronized that the lock-up was paclced with 
drunken iiien before dark. Disord,cr and riot reiened to such a degrec> that 
decent folks feared to be seen on the streets at night. Hard\' mi n, paid off on 
Monday and Tuesday, spent their earnings for the \'ile fluids dealt out m these 
improvised bar-rooms. Cieneral Hastings sent a maiih- protest to Judge Johns- 
ton, but the permission was not re\'oked and the spirit of disorder raged all 
week. Many a poor victim of a debased appetite, \'.'ho received 5ro tlie begin- 
ning of the week from the funds distributed then, put the last cent into the in- 
flammalile stuff that roused tlie worst passions. The opening of thes- places 
was the greatest calamity that could have occurred, as there were still hundreds 
of rnen at work, and the tiorough was not in a ilurr\' to engage an arnn- of 
police : Crowds of loafers kejn up a perpetual disturbance. The niajorit\' did 

rX/iF.R MILITARY .ir'n/OR/TY. 287 

not lirloiit; to tlio town, hut were working tor tlio contractors or tryini; to live 
bs" thi.'ir wits. Not the shruiow of an excuse couM bo ur:-;cil the openiuL; of 
these saloems. which fiirnislieil neither food nor lodi^'ini;. It would ha\e been 
a signal blessing to ha\e- prohibited tlie sale of liquor si.\t\- days lonL;er. by 
which time the l>ulk of the stra.n^ers would ha\'e ih^.ippe.ired .ukI the inhab- 
itants wduld ha\e ^-ettled down in a ureat measure to their rei^ular avocations. 
The State lioard of Health w as not idle. .\ house-todiouse inspection was 
puslud \i'^orousl\ !)}■ ten medic, d (hrectors and tweuty-fi\-i_' a.■^sistaut>. with 1 )r. 
M.itthews at their head. On June iSth Dv. |. E, Sdlman, chief t>f the medical 
staff, directed his assistants to consolidate all the niorL,'ues antl place them 111 
charge of Umlertaker Henderson. I!nildin!,'s, streets, water-closets, cellars 
and heaps of decaying relu^i- were disinfei ted A i.;ood (.leal of sicknos. 
nsnall_\- eif a malarial type. pre\ailed and death was \ ery busy the f'vurth week 
of June. Fifty laborers were attacked with typhoid f(.-ver in erne da\ . but re- 
covered rapidh' under careful medical treatment. ConsitleriuL; the muij'.;y 
\\eather. the stenches that could not be abateil and the putrid bodies in cellars 
still nntonched. it was mar\elous that an_\ boily continued well. The resident 
doctors complained to Gener.d Hastings of encroachments upon the-ir riL,dits 
b\ forei,L;n plusicians. wh.o swarmed to the stridden district and endea\-ored to 
build up permanent practices for themselves. The comiilaiuants stated that, 
althonsh they lost all their proii.-rty b_\- the tfood. they were willing- to attend 
the sick free of charu'e. Their complaints were also directed against societies 
which tlie\- alle£;ed were fond of interlerin.L:. The General p>romised whatexcr 
aid he coidd '^i\'e in re-establisiiinLj the plusicians in their business, and the 
ripple passed over. The State Uoard clo>ed its \ahiable labors in October, as 
shown in IH. Lee's tinal report : 


State Bihkh of ili;\i.iii. 
Johnstown, Octi'h.r lot'i, iSS^. 
To His Exckllencv. J.\.mf;s X Bf-WER, Go^rm.T of C.'ini:ioir..\;il!ii ••/ J'unisyir.iiini. 

Sir : On the seventh dav of June, iSSo, I had the honor to address your excellency a com. 
niunicatiun in which I reported an inspection of Johnstown and the nei^:h^lorin^■ boi-.ui'.ihs and 
the Conemau.^h and l-'.isliiminetas vrdle> 3, which had been visited l.y a de\ astatm^' rtooil. Based 
upon this inspection. I. at the same time, made otTicial decl.iration, in the name of the State 
Board of Health, of the existence of a nuisance prejudicial to the public heahh in these valleys, 
and called upon your excellency, in view of the extent of this nuisance and of the entire in- 
abilitv of the local authorities to cope with the emergency, to "at once employ such force as 
might I'e necessar\- to remote and ai>ate the same." 

I have now the honor to report that this work has iieen brought to a successful termi- 

In response to the d< rlnration and request, a lari;e furce of laborers was im- 
mediately placed at my disposal, under the command of .Vdjutant-General Hastin^js, with 
Colonel H. T. Douglass as Chief Engineer. .-\t a subsequent period General Hastings' official 
duties called him elsewhere, the force was considerably reduced, and Captain George C. Ham- 


ilton assumed control of operations. I desire here to acknowled>;e the tintirini; zeal and energy 
displaced by thoseolTicers in the discharije of their .irdiious and re^p'.msible duties, the uniform 
courtesy with uhiih nu instructions uere received, and the lidehty with which they were car- 
ried out The work \shich has been accomplished mav be brielly snmmel up : 

The ri\'ers ha\e been scrurulnush patrolled from the State line on the Ohio to South I-'ork 
on the ConemauKh. a distance of not less than 120 miles, with tlif result of recovenni; hundreds 
of bodies and destroyiui; laii^e numbers of carcasses The immense masses of wreckage under 
which Johnstown was buried have been entirely removed, and numerous dead bodies of human 
beinijs and animals thus e.\iricated. disinfectants havin:; been freely u--ed to prevent these from 
becoming a source of 'disease while still out of reach of the laborers 

Many miles of streets have been excavated, and tens of thousands of tons of earth carted 
away from private properties and cellars in order to remove the tilth with which it sat- 
urated. An idea of the extent of this labor may be gained when it is stated that an area of sev- 
eral acres on which this earth was dumped has been raised fil:teen feet above the pre\ ious level 
Disinfectants were also lavishly used during the prosecution of this difficult and dangerous 
work. In fact, but for the constant and unsparing application of these agents, the only resource 
would have been a general condagration. Hundreds of wrecked buildings which harbored filth 
or were dangerously insecure ha\"e been torn down and remo\ed The vast and densely packed 
drift at the stone brid-e has been rent asunder by dynamite and dragged out, with the result of 
removing much putrescent matter v. Inch was poiluting the stream Substantial bridges have 
been built to aftord an opportunity for the transportation of I'llth and w reckage. The mouths 
of all the sewers have been opened, and the channels of the rivers freed from impediments to 
the ready escape of sewage. The heated term which was so much dreaded has passed witli but 
little serious illness, and the advent of frost brings increased security. 

Whatever of imperative sanitary work remains to be done is now quite within the means of 
the residents, who. encouraged bv the generous aid and sympathy which has been extended to 
them from ,ill parts of the civilized world, are now resuming the responsibilities of citizenship. 

I, therefore, in the name of the State Board of Health, declare the nuisance in this district 
removed and abated, and request that the State forces be withilrawn from and after Saturday, 
the twelfth day of October 1 have the honor to be your excellency's most obedient servant, 

Benj,-\min Lee, 
Scirct,i:y n,i,/ £t.rir'i:r Offufr Sl,ilj l-liHUd ,'f Il,::!lh ./ P.ninyizuuii,:. 

All application to the IVcsitlent of the United States for pontoon bridges, 
to be tised in crossint; Stonv (reek, was granted, boats nse<l at Harper's 
Ferry diirin;,,' the war coiniii;.j ttmn Washington for tlie purpose. The\- ^vere 
moored under tlie direction ot arni\- officers, furnishing; a con\enient passage un- 
til a frame bridge could be ci.mstr-icted. Portable houses were likewise pur- 
chased in Chicago, General lia-tings announcing on June 20th that tlie State 
Commission would pro\'ide t'ne hundred of these buildings. They cost Sioo 
each, and were one-roomed affairs. The first one arri\ed on June Jjjth ami 
was erected near the Baltimore tV Ohio depot. It was a shed-like structure, 
with abiuit as few pi.iints of architectural beauty as the coal-house of a CDuntry 
school. The people re\"olted against the ■• OkLahomas, " \\ hich had neither 
ceiling, partitinn. chimne\. lining, nor plaster. They were not as warm as an 
'•A" tent, and not half as roonn. Still these were the kin(.l of buildings in 
whicli it \vas proposed to domicile the tamiliirs of the housi less sufferers of the 
devastated vallew General Hastings heard the hrst nuirmurs of discontent with 

rxr>KK MriJTARY ArTHORrrv. 289 

ri spt-ctful incredulity, but as soon as he saw the sheU he took occasion to ex- 
press hun^elf in the stroniicst terms. The houses u^re in no sense ■\\iiat lie 
e.xjiected them to be or what the\' had been rej^resented to him. and he would 
do all in his power to gel substantial buildings. Master-Carpenter Hughes 
would build four-roomed. two-stor\ buildings !nr the same mone\'. and larger 
ones in proportion, of hemlock. Idn-se \\i.'u!d be dui.dile and comlortabie, 
and would last till the occupants should be able to erect their own houses 
again— be that si.\ months or three years hence. At a meeting of the busi- 
ness men. called h\ hini in the Ireigiu-hoiise of the PennsNhania railroad on 
June I 2th. the General had said: 

"The best thing for the business people of this to do is to begin to loolc towards the 
resumption of business. To sive the thousht in my mind practical shape, if there are anion;,' 
you businessmen here assembled any who desire to start business, and who will indicate to ine 
what will be necessary to assist you to that end, I will communicate with the proper people to 
see if we can't get you what you need to put you on your feet again. AVe have all the relief 
necessary. There is no need of a man to go mealless. If any one goes to bed hungry or 
shelterless, it i.s his own fault. The or.;ani2ation we have now to supply food and clothing is 
as nearlv p)erfect as we can make it The troops will ni.>t interfere with \our local g.^vernment 
We want you to open your municipal government and your town council, appoint your own 
police and go about vour daily occupations as you did before. There is no marti.-.l, no military 
law. We have only the troops here necessary to keep the vandals out. 

•■ I understand that you are all merchants. If you are willing to go back again and resume 
business I would like to know it, and I will call upon certain parties in the East to furnish to 
you the lumber and the building material necessary to put up at least temporary structures in 
which to begin business over again .Vlthough I have no positive assurances to give >ou to this 
effect, I believe that we can get m:>u ".he needed building material very shortlv. I don t think 
you waiTt to be still and wait until some regular distribution of assistance is made. If you can 
get the lumber to put up your places of bu.siness, the merchants will come to you and will pro- 
vide you with stock. The lumber is entirely gratis. I will communicate with people who will 
send train-loads of lumber here as rapidly as they can be transported " 

Resolutions appro\-ini,' of tliese suggestions were adopted, after various 
gentlemen had endorsed them lieartih'. Trains of lumber wert; ordered, and 
soon four hundred of the two-story frames si;pplied satisfactory (piarter^i for 
numerous stores, offices and resitlences. .\ meeting on June 2yth took strong; 
ground in favor of consolidating tl»e cluster of boroai;h.s mtc' one eit\' or.i;ani- 
zatioK. Temporary biiildini;s were springing up. and many places of business 
had lieen opened b\- that ilate. The Cambria Iron Works were employing 
^.000 men and the applications fi.'r relief had diminished greath . The mass 
of debris above the railroad bridge, thanks to a tireless energy and a liberal 
use of d\"namite. had almost vani.~hed. The sjiirit of the pt.-ople was one of 
calm resignation and increasing hopefulness. 

I'ive hundred and f!ft\' was the highest nuinber of troops in Juinistown 
at once. The larL;eness of this force evokeii much adverse crltICl■^m and en- 
tailed a hea\y outlay for maintenance. The pa_\ ranged as follows : 

Captains, 55 per da> : Lieutenants. S4 63 ; Second Lieutenants, $4.17 Orderly Sergeants, 


$^,50, and -;5 cents for each service stripe , Sert;eant3. 5j. and 25 cents fur each stripe ; Corpor- 
als. St. 75. and 25 cents for each stripe , I'rivates, ?i 50. 

I'oLir lumdrecl ot these soldiers were relieved tin June ::Sth. leavin::; for 
Pittsburgh the next altenioun. The}' \\ ere ail members of the Fourteenth 
regiment. Comjianies C. I", and I ^v(■I■e retainotl to assist the local police 
authorities. Details, from each of the otluT companies in the reL;inient were 
assigned to the companies remainint;. in order to give them their full quota, 
thus making the numlier left for further duty about 150, in atldition to company 
H of Johnstown. The Fourteenth regiment was on duty twenty-six days. 
Tlie company recei\inL; the largest amount of money was K — >t.779.o6; the 
compan\' recei\ing the smallest amount, G. Company K is one of tiie crack 
companies of the rejiiment. and on dress piarade was greeted witii special e\"i- 
dence of recognition by th.e spectators. Speaking of their departure the 
Jolmstown Tripuiu- remarked : 

"It is simplv a recognition of duty faithfully discharged to say that the militiamen uho 
have been here since the t'.oi'd have, as a body, behaved themselves in a soldiery manner, and 
have rendered us a creat service, which we duly appreciate." 

Private Young, of company C, upon being relieved from duty on June 
loth went into his tent, put tile muzzle of his mu.-d<et in his nioutli and blew 
the side of his liead otf. This suicide was the only military fatality during the 
occupation of Johnstown by the National Guard. 

That so little friction occurred between the military and the ci\i! authori- 
ties was remarkable. On one occasion General Hastings ordered tiie picket 
out on the l;igh embankment near the freight depot, where every person must 
pass to reach the temporar\- bridge back of the company store. Cajitam 
Hamilton was detailed with a suitable guard. .Ml v.iio came \\ithout 
General Hastings' pass in the morning were turned aside. In the after- 
noon a new ditticult\- was encor.ntered. When you llashed \our military pass 
on the sentinel who called •■ Halt : " he would th.row his gun sl-.ntwise across 
vour bod\-, so tliat the butt ^'razed \-our right hip and the bayonet }-our left 
ear, and sav, "Xo goijd unless signed by the Sherirf." The civil authorities 
had taken the bridge out of the hands of the militia, and the Sherilf sat on a 
camp-stool overlooking the desolate city ail forenoon, making out passes and 
approMng the General's. The military men said there was iki contlict of aii- 
thoritv, and it was deemed proper that the civil autiiorities should still con- 
trol the pass there. The Sheriff looked calm and serene. Some begged him 
for passes to hunt for tlieir ,'.ead. One man cried: '-I've just gotten here, 
and my wife ami children are in that town;" another said: •■ I belong; to 
Conemaiirrh and was carried orf b>' the flood." while an a^ed men behind him 
whispered: ■•Sheriff. 1 just waul U> look where the old home stood." When 
four peaceful-faced Sisters in con\ent garb, on their mission or mercy, came 
that way the sentinels stood back a pace and no voice ordered •■ Halt ! " 

L'X/>/-:/^ MILITARY ArT/rOR/TV. 291 

The Transportation Dcpariincnt, wliose hcadqnartL-rs were in one of the 
first ti iit-^ aloni;" Conomau-h street, wa.s one of the Lai'-iest. About 5,000 passes 
were issued in two weeks. The lirst \\eek 1.600 were niaiU' out and 3,400 the 
second. Tliese passi-s were L;ranted. to all who sullered hy tlu' tlood. Inas- 
much as the expenses liad to be taken Ironi the reliet fund, the otlicials exer- 
cised great caution, requiring; identilication and answers to cpie'stions, which in 
some cases were responded to In' insult. The olhcers ne\'er tlesisted in their 
efforts to avoid issiiiuL; papers to the undescr\"in^. 'I"he tickets, some of which 
were to New Mexico. Texas. Massachusetts, Ore;,'on. and almost all points in 
the United States, were Ljood onl_\ to the terminals of the Peunsxhania and 
Baltimore >.V Ohio railroads. I'pun reaching these, the p;u-^ses were extended 
b\' other roaiis to the destination as noted by the Transportation Department. 
The departure of such nmnbers caused a scarcity of skilled l.ibor. so that, for 
the first time in its historw the Camliria Iron Company could not hire sufficient 
help at the be^^inniinj: of Jiil\- to hurry forward the Gautier mills aii'l run the 
furnaces to their re;j;ular capacity. 

On Monday, July Sth, the State \irtually retired from tlie field. General 
Hastings leaving next da_\- for his home at iiellefonte, whence he started for the 
military encampment at Mt. (jretna. Accounts had been settled with all the 
contractors except McKniglu. who arrantred for another week in which to ad- 
just differences between his and. the State's time-keepers. i\IcLean & Co. 
were empowered to continue the work of renovating allcNs. leits and cellars, and 
a compan\- of troops was retained a while longer. What had been accom- 
plished b\' the State, anil the condition of affairs at the close of the military- 
domination. Mr. Harry Keller. Chief ot the Bureau of Information, set fortli in 
his final report : 

JOHN;.Ti 'WN, F'a , Ju'y S, iSSi). 
BRiG.\Dii:R-GENERAL D. H. Ha.stings. AJjutaiil-Cciu-ral cf Pcnuy\\-.\nua 

Cdiura! : I have the honor to make t'ne following; report of the work clone by the Biirerui 
of Infonn.ition since the dep.irture of Colonel John I. Rogers, by whom it was orsanizeJ, and 
the method of procedure under which we have attained the gratifymy results desired. It is 
intended to be merely supplemental to the very full and complete report made by hini- 

The main work required of the Bureau of Information was the ansv.erm',' of letters from 
outside persons who had friends or reialives in Johnstown and the vicinity, and wlii"> naturalh" 
felt deeply interested as to whether or not these friends or relati\es had escaped the dire dis- 
aster. In order to answer these imiuints with any deL.'ree of intelligence, it was found necessary 
to make as complete a registration of the livint;. and record of the dead and missing, as was 

Mr James B Scott, of Pittsbur'^h. very kindly allowed us the privilei;e of retaining his 
rolls several Nseeks. in order that we mi_'ht make copies of the same, which was done in the fol- 
lowing manner : The names of the li'.ing, registered, were written on slips of paper, the dupli- 
cates thrown out. and the remainder then compiled alphabeticall>' and transferred to a record 
book, sufficient space being left between the names to insert those that might atterw^irds be 
added. The difierent hospital lists wen- obtained, the names of those that were cared for at 


any time by the Lidies' Aid Society of Pittsbun;h were .t;athered. and. in addition, men were 
sent out who ha\e thoroii^^hly canvassed Prospect Horough. ConemauRh. East Conemaugh. 
Franklin, Mill\ ille, Cambria and Morrellville. <,'oin,t; from house to house and taKins; the names 
of all who had not previously re:,'istered. These names have been eumpiled in the same manner 
as the proceeding, and are bein.; constantly addeil to the record 

It was found impossible to mal^e a canvass of the greater part of Johnstown and Woodv.Ue, 
for the reason thai tlice places were ;ilmo'-t entirely swept away , hut it appears fr-:m our books 
that nearly all those formerly Ii\ ing there that are safe ha\e registered of their own accord 

The Seventh ward of Johnstown and the adjacent township, together uith the villages of 
Brownstown. Kosedale. Coopersdale. Moxham and Walnut Grove, containing in all about four 
thousand seven bundled, suffered compar.itively little loss of life, and have not. as yet. under- 
gone a house-to-house canvass, but a fair estimate of the number registered from these districts 
would place it in the neighborhood of two thousand. This v.ould leave someu hat over two 
thousand five hundred names to be added 

Our list at present embraces about twenty-two thousand names, six thousand of uhich have 
not yet been transferred from the compiled slips to the book I would sugsest that Mr H A. 
French, who has been doing the transcribing, be allowed to finish it. if such an arrangement 
can possibly be made. 

As recommended by Colonel Rogers. Mr. C B. Clark, of Altoona. who lias just completed 
a direct .ry of Johnstown, the use of the only copy of which the Bureau has had. was retained. 
His knowledge of the names and aptness in compilition have been of great service. If Mr. 
Clark can be induced to remain, he and Mr I'rench can easi!\ answer all inquiries, and at the 
same time complete the registry by the addition of the few names that have been omitted 

In computing the list of the dead, we have taken the daily morgue reports and copied the 
names into a record'book. arranging them alphabetically when the bodies have been identified, 
and with reference to morgues u hen otherwise. Thus far the morgues have reported 969 iden- 
tified and 6Sq unidentified bodies, a total of I.OS'^. distributeil as follows 

GraTul View Ch.ipt 
Fourth-Ward Sthu 
Piesbyterian CIiur< 


PeelcrNille. . . 
St. Columba. Camt 
Minersville . . . . 
Morrell\ille . . . . 
Nineveh. Wenmor 

• Franklin 

Mineral Point 

I'enn.-vhania R.iilr.iad Siatii 

In addititjn to this t<>tal of 1,65s bodies taken to the morgues, our canvass has brought out 
the names of 421 more that certainly perished, but whose bodies have not been recovered, 
making a grand total of 2,079 persons known to be lost 

There have been since June r2th 1,073 inquiries of all descriptions, ever)- one of which has 
been answered. If the name of a person sought for could not be found on either of our lists, 
a messen.ger was sent out to discover, if po,-,sible, some trace of him. In this way a definite 
answer could be given to at least 75 per cent of the communications received. 

In closing, I wish to express my high appreciation of the kindly feeling and heartv co-oper- 
ation of my associates in the Bureau — Messrs. H. .^ French, Charles B. Clark. Irvin Rutledge, 



Jr., A, R. Parkeson W II Kt-ller. S. S. Fluke and George 13. Johnston— and to sincerely thank 
vou on thi'ir bthalf ana my own for the very courteous treatment we have always received at 
your hands. 1 ha\e the honor to be your most obedient servant. 

Hahi:v Kki.i.f.k. 

Chi,/ .■/ .■:.;■ /:tn:„ll ,;/■ /i:f,vm,itipi, . 

The retirement uf Ciener;il Hastiniis from the chief management was sii;- 
nah/:ed b\' manv tnbuies of well-earned esteem. The citizens he had serwtl 
faithfully held a public meetinL;. at wiiich eiiloL;ibtic addresses were made antl 
comjilinientary resolutions passed.. .\n inlluential delegation presented tliese 
resolutions on Mondia\' e^ening. The workmen and tlie soltliers united in ex- 
pressions of appreciation, which uere suitably acknowledged. It is due Gen- 
eral Hastings to sa\' that he discliarued his responsible, delicate duties to the 
satisfaction alike ot the people ol Johnstown and all interested in seeing that 
the money appropriated h\ the State was used to the best advantage. He 
moved about the district withotit any fuss or pretension, wearing coarse 
boots, a dannel shirt, a cutawa_\' coat and a slouch hat. The n:L;ht after his 
arrival somebody appropriated the wliite shirt lie had worn during the da\-. 
This theft compelled the Adjutant-General to go witlsout a shirt o\er his under- 
wear for se\eral days, as defects in wardrobes could not be supplied at Johns- 
town just then. If half the .-^toiies told about some of the wearers of the blue 
were true, a court-martial would ha\e struck a rich field investigating the con- 
duct of the alleged tran:-gressors. But of the great majority only good words 
can be spoken. Writing on this subject soon after the State assumed control. 
a Philadelphia journalist, who spent weeks in th* district, remarked : 

"With the taking of the reins of authority by the State and the concentration of responsi- 
bility in .-Vdjutant-General Ha=tin:;s. the condition ot Johnstown, deplorable as it has been and 
sad as it continues, presents a more hopeful view. In such an emergency there has to be 
authority concentrated somewhere and it should be authority that has support General Hast- 
ings has it. He also has the public confidence as a just arbitrator and prudent executive If 
General Hastings had more men around him as competent to execute his directions as he is 
competent to give them, it would not take Johnstown long to revise. The trouble is. that with 
the. exception of a very few earnest men who appreciate the situation, he is surrounded by a set 
of uniformed and soldier-strapped dawdlers and incompetents who appear to regard the occa- 
sion as a frolic. The feelings of the citizens of Johnstown who remain is not in s\mpathy 
with the exercise of such extensive powers by a military force and corps of officers quartered 
in the town. Of its protective value all agree. .\s to whether the soldiers are the best dis- 
tributors of relief to the women and voung girls who are almost the only applicants (the men 
being too independent to ask aid when there is worki. there is a difference of opinion." 

Opinions Jid differ as to the propriety ot having live or si.\ hundred sol- 
diers on the ground at any time. Cool-headed people argued that General 
Piastings and twenty or thirt\- capable assistants would have been ample — in 
conjunction with the local authorities — tei preserve the peace and supervise the 
work of tile contractors, The\- asserted that a lot of the inilit.ary entertained 
the idea that the\- were out on a lark, Tlieir airs were insulferalile. tlu-ir lie- 

294 ' TJ/f: STORY OF JO//.\STOi\:\-. 

haviour was scandalous, anil some of the olTicers were hanlcr to approach tlian 
tile Czar of Russia. The pl'-a that the presence of se\eral thousaml hil'iaer^ 
reiulcr.'il troops necessary \'. as untenaMe. Win not. fer tlie same reason. 
ha\e the militia on duty \\hene\et ami wiiere\er larue forces of laborers are 
emplo\ed ? While certainl\' c.'.xceinional. were the conditicuis at Johustuwii such 
as to be imiu'oxed by ot youiu; tellows, whose chief business was to 
lloiuish a L;un at every indi\'Klual w ho came in sii;ht ? Would not a huntlret! 
f;allant firemen, ready to take off their ccKits and search in the ruins for the 
diad, luue l>een (jf greater \alue than five times that number of x'ouths in mii- 
fi_irms ? Is it likely thai an (.aitbreak would have occurrc'd tluit tlu- citizens 
could not suppress, had no wearer of a blue coat set fool wuhin twent\ leagues 
of Johnstown ?" Were not the three or four days immediateh feillow in;,' the 
flood the most critical period in the historx of the counnunitw and no armed 
troops nearer than Pittsburgh ^ If the State must furnish soldiers to camp in 
the street and y.iiaril a pri\ate bank nii,dit and da\. because from thiee hundred 
to three thousand men are clearing up heaps Oi rubbish in a town, win not 
have them constantly on i;'uard in cities where Iari;e bodies of laborers are sim- 
ilarly engaged? These were the \iews expressed and the ipiestions asked by 
many intelligent citizens, liners <if law and order, who had an abiding; faith in 
the good judgment of tlie masses and were not willing to ha\e the wurld think 
Johnstown would ha\e been a Pandemonium. gi\en o\er to rint ami rapine, 
but for the restraining intluence ot the Pittsburgh miht.irw What wei,L;ht they 
possess, if an\', let each reader lit'termine. 

General Hastings wnn 'unstinted praise for his excellent niana<-;ement. 
He governed with admirable tact and rare discretion. iMtm without harsh- 
ness, he maintained proper discipline and enforced the law in a n:anner that 
commanded respect. A man of im[>osini; presence, tall and stoutl\- buiit. he 
has the erect bearing of a Inun soldier, and would compel attention in an\- 
crowd. His geniality is contagion-., rendering him a j>rinie favorite socialh'. 
A friend has written this bio;;raphical sketch; 

"Daniel Hartman Hastin'.;s. .Aiiuuant-f'.L-neral of the State of !'cnns> Ivania. was burn at 
Salona. Clinton County. I'a.. February jf.tfi, 1S4.1. of Scotch-Irish dt-sc.nt His father was 
a native of Ireland and came to this country in iS^o His mother was born in Scotland and 
came to .\merica in iSzg. General Hastin,-s' rudimentary education was obtained entirelv in 
the public schools. He never attended an academy or college. His time, until lie was four- 
teen years of age. was spent on a farm and attending school. At that age he began teaching 
school during the winter months, working on the farm in the summer until i.S'iy, when he was 
elected principal of the Bellefonte public schools, and continued to 5er\e in that position until 
IS75. During this time he took a course of studies similar to a regular college course, covering 
several years, and was associate editor of the Bellefonte A\;ii!"'u-an. He also reaii law wi[h the 
firm of Bush .'v Yocum. was admitted to the I'.ar in the spring of 1S75 and immediatelv entered 
into partnership with his preceptors under the lirm name of Bush. Vocum A Hastings In 1S76, 
Colonel Bush retired from the firm, which was continued as Yocum & Hastings until 1S7S, 
when Mr Yocum was elected io Congress and the partnership was dissolved General Hastings 


formed a partntTship with Wilbur I' Keeiler. which siill contmues. The General is in nciive 
practice, but ^'ives CL/nsiiieral>le time to his interest?, in the coal and coke business, which are 
ijuite eNtensive, 

"General !Iastini;s, who has always ui\en attention to the public welf.ire, filled the position 
of Chief lUir.uess of P.ellefonte in is;u was at one tune a Srhoul Oiri.tor of the b.irou_iii and 
IS at present a tru.stee of the I'cnns;, Kama St.ue College lie hasalwavs be.-ii a Kepubluan 
in politics, and has been a deie^aie at e\ery State C )n\cntion for the last ten \ . ars. 
Latterly he has been much in demand on the stump in this and other states in the 
various political campaians. He tnade the nominatin." speecli in the State Convention of iS-^6 
which placed CJoi.ernor Beaver s name before that body, and during the canvass that followed, 
devoted his best enerijies on the hustin',;s to chect that .gentleman's tiectioii He was nominated 
for delegate-ai,-lar'_:e tc the National Convention held in Chicago in iNSS, receuin.; the lui^hest 
vote of any of the delei;ates He presented the name of Senator John Sherman, of Ohio, be- 
fore that body, in a speech conceded to ha\ e been the ablest and niost eloquent during the con- 
vention In the ensuini; campai^m he v.. is on the stump for tliree months continuously. 

" General Hastings was but twelve years old when the War of the fxebellion liroke out In 
1S63 he ran away from home to join the army and was brou'_'ht back bv his father He again 
made an effort to enlist in iSt'^. but without success, and also in the early part of 1S65, the last 
time getting as far as Harrishurg Each t:me he was brought home by his father, who considered 
him too voung to endure the hardships of the service, and interposed his authority against the 
vouth's patriotic impulses He always had a taste and inclination for military affairs In 1S77, 
during the prevalence of the labor riots, he tendered his services to Governor Beaver, then com- 
manding a brigade of the National Guard of the State, and accompanied him to Altoona, re- 
maining with him until the end of the disturbance He was appointed captain and paymaster 
of the Fifth Regiment X G V . in July. 1S77. and continued in that ptisit:on until March 11. 
!S7S, wdien he was elected Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment. On M.irch JJ, itiso, he was 
appointed .\5sistant Adjutant-General by General Heaver, who was in command of the Second 
lirigade On June 11. issj, after General Beavers reappointment, he was a'.jain appointed .\s- 
sistant Adjutant-General of the Second Brigade On March 28. 1SS4, he was elected Colonel 
ot the Fifth Regiment, which he command until January iS, iStiy, when he was appointed .\d- 
jutant-General of the State by Governor Beaver Cnder his command the regiment took the 
highest rank in the National Cjuard of the State for organization and perfection of d.rill and 

"General Hastings has delivered numerous addresses before societies and at college com- 
mencements, besides political speeches at conventions and on the stump, .\,s an orator he is 
very eftective, with a rich voice and the clearest enunciation. He has the most forceful use of 
expres:,ive language, tells a stiry well, and reinforces his arguments with the keenest satire, 
whenever that can be well emploved. He has risen rapidly in the past few years, because he 
deserved to He has fiillv and capably met every emergency of his life 
but he has increased the importance of every position he has held 
General has l>een masterly in all respects The National Guard urn. 
brought to a higher decree ol perfection than was thought possible a fi.-v 
done it by intelligent and ceaseless enort, by untiring de\otii:)n to duty. 

" He was married October 10. IS77. to Mi~s Jane .Vrmstron ; Rankin, of Bt-'lefonte, They 
have one child, a daughter, born in i>70. Some idea of the character of General Ha^tin ;s may 
be gathered from his experience on that Saturday ni^'ht when the flood still covered most of 
Johnstown, and there v. as no better place to sleep tl'.an th.e si^-ii.d-towtr .it thr railroad station 
on the Pennsylvania Railrcuad. I: was onix a little box. liii;h above the tracks General 
Hastings, with two or three newspaper men, slept on the floor, in true military equalitv and 
good-fellowship, and thought nothir.i; of his own inconvenience and privations while there was 

He has not onlv fil 


Hi, work as .\djut 


^r his hand hi, i 


vears a^^o, and he 



so much distress around him In the morning, stiff and sore from iying upon the hard boards 
he arose and sent over to a house that stood upon tlie liill for some breakfast that he had 
ordered for himself and companions the ni<;lit betore. Tlie breakfast \yas sent over, and thi- 
soldier and his friends were just about to fall to v. hen scver;)l other newspaper corre>pondents 
came up. Without a word the General passed around the viands as far as they woidd go, get- 
tin.g for his own sliare one small biscuit A numlx-r of strau'^ers came up into the signal office 
to Sf'e him durmg tlie forenoon, and he g.ive his advice and judgment trL'el\ to all, togfther with 
such food as he could get. How he repeatedly gave up his own dinner or supper to some suf- 
ferer to whom his heart went out in pity, all Johnstown can tell. The world knows of his self- 
denial and his unwearied ser\-ice in the dewasiated region, and what a burst of gratitude ascends 
from the Couemaugh \'alley whenever his name is mentioned ' 

The State, under tlie comiHteiit iiianageiiuiit of General Hastin'.;s. did 
sjilendid wiirk. Tlic iucal aiitln aities t(^ok charj;e on June 10. when MeLean 
ilv: Co. put lu'e huiuired men at work. The huL;e log^s along tlie hank of the 
river, which ettorts were made to Imrn. had to be blown to pieces and fioatetl 
down tilt; Coneijiauj;h. Gangs of workmen were set to clear _\ ards ami allews. 
bnrning rubbish that would burn ami hauliiu' dirt olt to low .L;rounds. The last 
vestige of the mass of earth and refuse in front of the company store was 
carted oil the tlav the State retired, r^o tliat Washington .street was free of 
deliris from end to end. 

The total exjienditnre b\' the State in clearing up the town was bai-ely 
5400,000. work ceasing t'mallv the latter part of Septemln-r. Go\ernor Heaver 
could desire no-strcmger vindication of his sagacit\' in retusing to summon the 
Legislature than these tigtireb, present. His conimcndablt;^ prudence saveil 
the treasurv one or two millions of dollars, a good deal of which, for all the 
benefit it v\oukl confer, might as well ha\'e been thrown in the fire. ''He 
laughs best who laughs la^t.■' antl the Governor of Pennsylvania can afford to 
smile at the discomfiture of the advocates of an e.\tra session. Pittsburgh also 
expended ^250,000 m clearing" the wreeka.g'e. 

Con^^itlerable tal was heard relative to deepening and widening the 
stream. Lnit the Srati had no jurisdictRHi and could not umlertake the project. 
Iloavw rains on julv 2d washed awa\the temporary bridges and inundated 
Cambri.i City, emphasi/;ing the great need of such an improvement as a pro- 
tection against fioods in the future. On December 14th the bridges were 
again carried oM. Cieneral Hastings advised an application to Congress to 
dredge the Conemangh and Stony Creek. The citizens, acting upon the re- 
commendation, rciinested Samuel I^. Smedlev, chief engineer anil snrvevor of 
Philadelphia, to make a careful survey of the creeks. Mr. Smedliv did so. and 
the result of his examination will be fcirwardi.'d to Washington with an appeal 
for an apprijpriation. Ina---mnch as Congress made appro[)riatious to relieve 
the sntlerers from the Charle'^tou eartlnpiake. the Veli.jw-fever sutterers in 
Florida and tor other great calamities, the Johnstown (leople teel sure thev 
will receive the assi.^tance they demand. It is estimated that S30( will 
make the proposed change. 

'rrr-r^ — ■ -■ '''-•\WRS, 

..«.-^-t>. ' 


•i',, ■.:■•;■ ('7 : V /,- .'•« 


J. ...... .. ..:h\.;H-^. 




Thk World's Response io the Af.fal toK Aid — Civu:/.ei> Nations Hasten to Six- 
coK the Distkesseu — Cities, Towns and Indivuuals Poi r in C>_>ntrikitions — 
Many Notable Offerings — Associations, Societies and Churches Si'LENDIuly Rep- 
resented — Generous Erin's Greetinc, — Food, Clothing and Shelter in Ahln- 
daN( E — NoKLE Women Who were Ministering Angels — A Stream of Charity 
Grand and REslSTLE^s as Nuuaka Itself. 

! hold CI 


e char 

We > lir 

il, loll 


ovc to 

■ nhouiuls 
hat when 

^^^I'S Tin^ li;0\\' of promise gilded the Oriental sk\- after 

■'" the X(jachian deli:t;e. so the dark cloud enfolding; 

the Conemaugh \'all(-y had a ray of lirightest siin- 

uht. A great, grand, glorious tide of sxiiipathy 

for the sufferers swept the land like a conflagration. 

warming men's hearts to deeds of radiant histre. 

The whole ci\ilized world hastened to succor those 

so much in need of aid. Johnstown -wanted ever\-. 

thing — food, clothing, shelter for the living — coffins and Imrial 

for the dead. Never was assistance given more largeh' and 

iingrudginuly. Charitable people began to raise nione\', 

clothes and pro\'isions on Saturdas' morninu. These were 

poured into the stridden district with the utmost celeritv. 

The superb response to the appeal tor relief extended to the 

ends of the earth, coming with good cheer fast as electricit\- 

could flash its splendid benefactions. Trains and ears laden 

with generous otierin^s were given the preference e\er\ where. 

iges and individuals from FloricJa to .-Maska, in Europe 


THi: sronv of joi!.\sro\\-.\. 

and in Asia, \icci in t'arnt->t ri\'ali\' to assist tlu- afflicted souls Imwed 
ddwii with ,inL;\iis!i and [loxtrtx. >Nolilf ladii's -- (jiid bless tlR-ni ! — canu' on 
bentficL-nt niissiiins--to soothe the inonniinL;. to minister to the distresses! 
and to otter homes to orphan chdihcn. (ommittn-s represented scores ot 
cumniiinities. each anxious to al'e\ i.ite in some measure the untold mis(_-ry the 
flood luid SI. Wed broadcast. Tlie Cirand Army uf the Kepublic, the Youn.i; 
Men's Christian Asse>ciat:on. tlie secret societies and the churches establisheil 
headijuartirs to ileal out requisite articles to all applicants. The stream ot 
benevolence was resistless as the Hood which called" it into being. 

It was a most si<,'nificant. touching spectacle to behoUl long row s ot j)eople 
waiting around the supph -stations w itli their baskets, to l)e served meat, pota- 
toes, vegetables, bread, or v>hati.\er fooil might be available. 'J he t;reat ma- 
jorit_\- were women and children, scarcely one of whom hai.1 not lost friemis. 
Main' Were the wi\"es and daughters of merchants and laborers w i;o had gone 
down in the ani.;ry wa\e. Some were the sole snr\i\ors ot their families. 
\'ery few had any other clothes than they wure when their houses \vere washed 
awa\'. The\' stood for hours in the rain ^\ithollt aii\' protection, soaked with 
the drizzle, squalid and utterly forlorn — a sight to move a heart of stone. 
They did not talk to one another as women generall\ <lo. e\'en when they are 
not actpiainted. The\' gcjt no words of s\nipath\' from aiu' one and the\' gave 
none. Not a word was spoken along the whole line at hrst. They simply 
stood and waited. Insiile each warehouse a score of \olunteers and policemen 
broVce open the l)cixes and piled the goods in separate lieaps. 'Ihe women's 
clothing, the men's, the children's and the ditlerent sizes were placed in 
regular order. 'J"he barriers were opened ami tlie crowii sur,i;i;d in like tlepos- 
itors making a run on a sa\ings bank. Gocxl order was kept am! the assist- 
ants cioled out the goods to all. Special orders called for stoves, mattresses 
and blankets. Could the donors but ha\ e had a glimpse at the faces of the 
people the}' were helping, betore and after the\ passed the tiistribution win- 
dows, they Would fi-el repaid for their s_\mpath\. 

It was a sight to send a glow through the inmost soul when two miles of 
cars, laden with food and supplies of ever\' description, stretched on the 
tracks of the Penns\ hania Railroad from the stone bridge away beyond 
Morrelh'ilie. Hundreds more cars were coming o\ir the Baltimore tV Ohio, 
until the snlterers felt that the universe had been profoundh' stirred b\" their 
misffirtunes. Yet it was inevitafile that this unparalleled charity should be 
abuse'd at the outset. .\ few wretches ixo\\^ the townshijis filled tlu/ir cc-llars 
with goods obtained on false pretenses, and rich farmers dro\-e otf w ith wa'^on- 
loads of plunder deri\-ed friiiii the same source. But the contributors can rest 
satisfied with the general result. Had they only seen, as the -writer saw, 
the vast amount of good their otterings lia\e done, tlie\ \souiil feel a strange 

M.I GX/FICKXT /!J:.\7: I V '/./i.Vt E. 


happiness in their inmost soul, and thank IK-aven for the pri\-ilege of helpini; 
comfort anil support the snr\i\-ors of the Johnstown ilisasteT. 

(K)\-ernors of States issuid proclamations callinL; upon tlie citizens for 
prompt, liberal contributions. The answer was an inundation of benevolence. 
a torrent of uustuued charity. AmouL; the earliest responses was one from 
JackbOin'ille, telcgraphmi,' a handsome sum. Still sutleriuL; from the effects of 
tiie dreadful scourge wliich nearly converteil her into a barren waste, the 
Fljrida town remembered how PennsyhauKi hurried to her assistance in the 
fall of 18S.S. Go\"ernor Waterman, of California, sent a ilispateh before an 
appeal was issued, ofiering any assistance and authorizing; the p.nnient of a 
draft on the broad-uiiage model of the great hearted I'acific coast. The 
S60.000 raise(J in Pittsburgh in one hour on Saturday afternoon swelled to 
Sioi.OLio ere the sun went down behind the l(jft\' hills, which shrank to 
pigm\- lieights beside the moimtain of charity. The mi^dit\' pulse of Xew 
York beat quick and strong; in showering gifts wortlu" the \\ealth anil pres- 
tige of the metropolis. Philadelphia displayed brotherh' lo\-e that crowned 
the Quaker Cit}- with mifading laurels. Chicago, not luimindful of her o\\n 
days of trial, reached forth a hand teeming with the choicest products of her 
markets and granaries and storehouses. Tlie outflow towards the desolated 
region embraced all sections, religions, classes aiicl conditi(_)ns. The thou- 
sands given by the rich were jostled by the dimes ami pennies iif the poor. 
No place or person on this wide continent \vas too obscure to miss the infec- 
tion of enthusiasm which niaile the nation one \ast wave of charit\' cinpt\ing 
its offerings into the lap of desolated Joh.nsto^vn. 

Each hour added to th.e magnitude and grandeur of the soul-inspiring 
movement. Washington touched the ke\ -note at a iiiass-meeting. with Presi- 
dent Harrison in the chair, which ranked among the notable gatlierings of the 
age. The papers overflowed with paragraphs of this pleasant sort : 

" Not more than a doze-i a'jfe-l.odied men are to be found on Tunnel Hill, Gallitzin, almost 
the entire male population being at work helpmg clear up the wreck in Johnstown." 

." Brocton, Mass , contributed 5-175 toward the Johnstown sufferers at a meeting held on 
June 6th The list was headed by -^500 from a shoe manufacturer " 

"New Lisbon, O.. sent to Johnstown S757 ; East Palestine over sjoo, while Salem sent 
$2,000 in money and as much more in clothing and pro\"isions " 

" .\. M. Swartz, Joseph Gallasher. E. 1". Evans, \V. P. Patton and F C Horner, of the 
Carpenters' Brotherhood, Pittsburgh, went to Johnstown to look after the needs of twenti-six 
members who are among the suti'erers. The committee will distribute about Si, 000. " 

"Mrs. Marvin, of Pittsburgh, was in Johnstown on June 20th to establish a Hollv-Tree 
coffee-house. General Hastings g.ive her the permission she desired. .\ cup of coflee and 
bread and butter will be supplied to all on the same plan and terms as those pre\:iiling in Pitts- 
burgh and .\llegheny, which are very liberal." 

"E ^^ Chapin, now of Washington. D C . formerly manager of the Cambria Iron Company, 
although a sei-ere loser by the disaster, donated his fine carriage horses for the relief of the 
sufferers. The team sold on Saturdav for S410. a handsome addition to the fund." 

302 77//: sro/^)- oj' /o//.ysToir.\: 

■' On Friday next, in front of the Franklin House, in Huntini^don. Pa.. ex-Sheriff Geissin;;cr 
will offer for sale, to the highest bidder, twenty-five fifty-pound s.acks of choice roller flour, 
the gross proceeds to be forwarded to Johnstown for use by the School Board. The fact of the 
sale has been printed in the Huntingdon papers, Burgess Blair has commended it, and a consid- 
erable sum is expected to be realized." 

" Up to June loth the .\dams Fxprcss Company has handled Johnstown relief pack- 
ages free of charge, the packagt-s coining from ail parts of the countr\-. Some ot them weighed 
as much as 600 pounds. The freight would have amounted to thousands of dollars. .\11 re- 
lief goods are carried free." 

"A committee of Grand Army men reached Johnstown on July 6th with a fund amountmg 
to nearly $15,000, which was distributed among the veterans of Post jo, 125 in number, who suf. 
fered loss by the flood " 

"I'he .\lliance, O., Relief Committee arrived this morning on a special train uith five car- 
loads of provisions. The party is composed of the most prominent iron and steel merchants 
of Alliance." 

" Seven cars of pro\isions came to-day from Kansas City, in charge of a committee 
appointed by the mayor. Each car bore a broad streamer, inscribed in bold characters : 
'Kansas City's Contributions for Johnstown,' " 

"Twenty thousand hams were received this morning from Cincinnati." 

"Quarters for hi.^meless people are pro\'ided in tents on the hillside For provisions 
they are dependent on the chanty of the country. Bread and meat are ser\ed out to them on 
the committee's order." 

Mountains and seas did not impede the avalanche of charitw The inipet- 
iioiis wave rolled over t!ie Atlantic and encompassed Europe. Cablegrams 
flashed under the ocean con\e\ing contributions and condolence. Sovereigns 
and princes, potentates and peasants mingled their gifts. The ricliest of them 
all — Ouecn \'ictoria — sent a message of sympathy, but not a shilling in cash. 
or even an Inciia shawl ! For three months the offerings flowed in, nor did the 
foiuitain then dry up entire!}'. Up to October ist the following sums were 
received b\' Go\'ernor Beaver ; 

Maine $6,488 45 

New Hampshire .... i2,SSi 45 

Vermont 3,083 15 

^fassachusetts 227, too 36 

Rhode Island 29, 207 47 

Connecticut 55,886 05 

\ew York 366,943 81 

New Jersey 69,914 oq 

Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh 97,290 62 

Maryland , 2t,3S9 4S 

Virgini.-t 4.759 77 

West Virginia 1,182 75 

North Carolina S41 Si 

South Carolina S45 32 

Georgia 6, 460 60 

Alabama 3,063 10 

Cirru'J fur-^.'ur.i ^VO_-,_,-_,v iS 

MAGXinCK.XT J!J-:XE]-OI.E.\CE. 303 

.■Im.'iiiil /i>rii;i}\l S9<^7.SS0 '^ 

Mississippi i.77*j 20 

Louisiana '. 4'^(>4 4° 

Texas 3, S08 65 

Florida 3.04° 5- 

Kentucky 14.296 55 

Tenuessfe 4.9''.i o" 

Ohio 74.744 oS 

Indiana 3, 465 50 

Illinois 13.772 20 

Missouri 10. 703 40 

Kansas 2.337 '"5 

Nebraska ".-45 21 

Iowa 2i,oi'>S S2 

Minnesota 2. 196 3S 

\Visconsin •S,6'^7 30 

Michigan I3.-34 67 

Arkansas 3.502 69 

Colorada 7. 2S4 33 

Nevada i.ioo 00 

California S9.516 96 

Oregon 3.309 25 

New Mexico Territory.. 39 25 

Montana Territory 399 00 

Dakota Territory 910 3S 

Arizona Territory 347 50 

Idaho Territory ' 471 50 

Utah Territory 1.401 35 

Wyoming Territory 13 50 

Washington Territory 4-675 05 

Washington City 32.91 2 52 

Ireland '■''^■'Jii 96 

Mexico 130 40 

Canada 44'54 65 

England 2, 106 50 

Turkey S7G 57 

Italy 9 46 

Austria 339 7° 

Germany 3"So7 oS 

Prussia 100 00 

Wales 24 =5 

Saxony -637 =0 

Persia 50 00 

Miscellaneous cash amounts 2SS 90 

Total 51,306,051 23 

Inchuitd ill the ahove arc > rcceivud from tlie General Relief 
Fund of Xe'.v York City. from the Kelief C..>inmittee in lirouklyn. 

S150.000 from the Relief Committee in l!()^tf)n. 570,000 from tiie Go\ernor of 
Ohio and S50.000 from tl.e Relief Comnutlee of San Francisco. Cal. In ;uldi- 

304 T/fK STORY 01' JOJ/.XSTOWX. 

tion to the •■ Cn)\ (.-rnnr's Fuml." thert \\t.i(j lurncii (nt-r to the Cmuiui'-sion the 
following; sums : 

?'rom tlif I'hiladflphia Kelitf romniittee. S3oo.o<iu ; fnun the Nuu York Keliff I'l'niniii- 
tee, S426, 1'j.i fnnii the I'iitr.l)iiri;h Rclitf romniittet.-. s^on.oon 

ICacli 111" these cities reeei\eil inneli hir,L;ei auKiiuUs t'ruiii subscrihi. rs and 
apprnpriatnl separate sums to iliifereut loeahties. A Iari;e sum was sent di- 
recth' from man\ sources to the Loral Committees at Joimstown. The ai^yre- 
gate \ahie nt fond and supplies cnntriliuted. which was \(T\ L,'r< at. can ne\ er 
be known. Ih'd sutterers ever hetcre receixf such proofs i)f l;indly feehut, ? 

Notable in the list of clieerful L;ivers were the people uf down-trodden 
Ireland. Their warm hearts knew the meaning of sorrow- anil desolation, and 
recalled ,i;ratetidl\' tlie helprecei\ed from .\nierica. These messages and letters 
have the true riny of Irisli hospitalitx : 

Mayor's Ofku f. Town H.all, 

Uklkast, Jiiiu JO. iSSo. 
To THE Ric.iiT Hon Goveknur He.^vkk. >/.;/, of Ptiinyl-.aiiia 

Sir I cablt'd \oii to-da_\', as per inclosed copy, through Messrs. F^re.xel A: Cc* , the sum of 
^^500, as hrst instalment from people of Helfast and \icinitv tc^uards the relief of the sufferers 
throu'jh the Cnnemaujh disaster I avail myself of this opportunity of conveyinj^ throu.;h you 
the deep sympathy which is felt here with the people of I'cnnsyKania in general, and the suf- 
ferers in particular, in the great calamity which has overtaken them. W'e trust that the work 
of relief is going on' favorably, and pray that time may soften the feelings of anguish and dis- 
tress which must have been occasioned by this awful disaster. 

I have the honor to bo. sir. your obedient servant. 
Cn.JiKLhs C. Connor, .l/.-i^ r 
From Cork came this rcpc)rt. accompanied b\' substantial j>r()cif of the 
genuineness of the s\nipalh\ expressed : 

Mavoks Ofkick. 
Cork, Jiiiu- jj, jSSg. 
Sir . At a public meetmg held in the City Court House, Cork, under the presidency of the 
Mayor, on Frida)*, 14th inst . the following resolution was unanimously passed ; 

'That v.e, tiie citizens of Cork, in public meeting assembled, sincerely deplore the awful 
calamity that has befallen the people of the Conemaugh Valley, Pennsylvania, and beg to tender 
tt> the friends of those who have perished, to the survivors of the disaster, and to the people of 
America, our deep sense of this great national misfortune : and that, having regard to the close 
and friendly relations that have so long subsisted between Ireland and America, and the many 
kindly and substantial favours that Ireland in the timics of her darkest need recei\ ed from be- 
yond the .Atlantic, we deem this a sadlv titting opportunity of showing, even in our national 
poverty, the strength of our obligation, the warmth of our sympathy, and the e.xtent of our 
gratitude " We are sir \fiur obedient ser\-ants, 

I'\TKlrK O Hka. 
.Al.L\ANl>tP M. Carthv. 
TJu-Go-L-rner .'f I\ilii:yl-.iili.,. I'S.A. BaRRV C, GaLVIN, 

Jloiuu-.WU Scarlarui^ 

The ancient capital of Ireland gave vcr\- liljcrally, this letter arrivin;^ with 
the first :i;^talhnent of c.i-h : 

Town (';k\ Oi^ 

1 !• K. CiT\ Ham., 


.1\. /A'/// 7rni. , /SA/ 

[■ss.-s of the Cits .>f 

1 Hiblin, lu-reliy tender 

f expression of prot 

oiind -rie£ occasioned 

.■eiith rlewistateil on 

.■ ot the fairest regions 

inian l.le an.l « i.!e 

■.,pread destruction of 

:\rAc.\7F/cj:xy /<■/■. y/-:r' >/j:xc/-:. 

Sir _ We the Lord Mavor, Aldermen and lliirsje 
to you. and thrmiL^h \ on to the people ot .\meric.i 
to us liy the nev. s of the terrible disaster uhich ha- 
of \our L;rr-,u country-, causiub; nnniense loss i>f 

No caianiit\- could befall the .Vmerican people, no sorrow cotild aftlict them, that would not 
also touch the hearts of the Irish Free and prosperous .Vmerica has ever been to our 
people a land of shelter and a source ot comlort .\merica has s\mpathi,:ed \uth us in our suf- 
ferings, helped us in our struggles, cheered us in our '.^looin. relieved us in our distress and ex- 
tended to us favours which shall eier be remembered I'} the grateful Irish nation 

.\s our exiled kith and kin ha\e a part in the ijlories ot .American hisiorv . as they have shed 
their blood for the achiesement and preservation of American liberty, as they participate in all 
the rights of American citizenship and share the prosperity of their adopted country, so also 
must they inevitably be sharers in an\ loss or trouble that may com" upon the American people. 
We have no doubt that Irish names will till no small in the hiiL.'e death-roll which will 
form part of the record of the recent fearful disaster To all those to whom that appalling ca- 
lamity has brought mourning we a^'ain tender out most sincere sympathy, and we pray that very 
soon the immense resources of your country and the indomitable energy of her people may re- 
pair the ravages which have taken place and bring to the attlictcd all the consolation possible 
under such sad circumstances. The laws under which we act as the Mtinicipal Council of Dublin 
debar us from making a grant in aid of the sufferers out of our civic funtl. but we have initiated a 
public subscription for that purpose and remitted two installments, each of /looo. by cable 
messages to you. We ha\e further constituted ourseKes a committee to recei\e and. as speedily 
as possible, to remit such additional sums as inay be forthcoming, and we trust that the result, in- 
adequate as it must be to correspond with our desire, will be kindly accepted as a proof of sym- 
paths and as a token ot gratitude and aftection. 

Given under the Common Seal of the Cit\ ot Dublin. 

Thomas Sexton, M P., 
John Bevekiuge, /.c/i/ .lAnvr. 

/;.;,■-, CAri-. 


s a co;i\ (it a resolution of ^\iiipatliv that is toiichin.yh' fxprcssive : 

Town Hall, Clonmi;l. Ji/i:, i'I'i. /SSt) 

At a public meeting of the inhabitants of.Clonme! and neighborhood, joined b\ the muni- 
cipal council and held in the town h.ill tins day, it was proposed by .Mderman James Hill, 
Lonergon. seconded l^y Ivichard J I'rean, Esq , st^licitor 

AVji;/i't'(/, That we, the municipal council and inhabitants of Clonmel and ncightjorhriod, in 
public meeting assembled, hereby tender to the .American people the expression of our deep 
sorrow for the sufierers of the immense disaster which has recently iietallen the people of the 
Conemaugh Valley. In the people of .America. Ireland his alwa\s found sympathisers in her 
sufferings and comforters in her trials ; and the aid received from across the ocean in 
times of want is remembered by loving Irishmen. 

We therefore take this sad opportunity of showing our appreciation of the obligations we 
are under, regretting that our resources will not permit us to inake a more suitable ottering 

We again tender our sincere sympathy to those to whom the dreadful calamit\ has brought 
affliction, and trust th:xt our slight expressions may tend to assuage their sorrow. 

3o6 T/n: .s'/v'A'i' 01' joiixsTow'x. 

That a copy of this resohition be hirwarded to the President of the Tiiited States and the 
Governor cf I'ennsylvania. 

l-assed imaninnousl) . Edward C. Hackett. Aid . J. 1' , 

Ch.ii: man. 

President Harrisi<n sent S300. The Sultan of Tiirk-ey. Iiarasseil h\' enor- 
mous debts, {.irwnrdcd a nice donation. William E. Gladstone did not neijiect 
to con\ey Dritisli ^idd \\ith his '.\ords of yrateftd consolation. The President 
of France caMed a ,t;ift. while the ga_\' capital of fashion became serious for the 
nonce and di\ed into its pocket. The xenerable Simon Cameron, with his 
dying iiand. wrote a check for Si, 000, almost th.e last he e\er si'.;ned. The 
newspapers started funds and the theatres ga\ e tlie proceeds of benefit per- 
formances. London and Paris were not an hour boliind New \'ork and Phila- 
delphia in opening subscriptions. In the countr\ . ministers, little girls and 
school-bo\'s were all collecting for the fund. The stor\' of s\ inpath)" and gen- 
erous aid from e\er_\ tow n and hamlet in the land can never lie told ; there is 
too much of it. 

Philadelphia alone contributed o\'er a million dollars. It was not uncom- 
mon to see glass jars in front of stores and at other jilaces to receive contribu- 
tions fic>m jiassers-liy In one of these an unknown man deposited 5500 one 
da\'. This was indicati\"e of the feeling per\ading the whole coinmunit\', that 
stricken Johnstown must not sutler for houses, clothmg or bread. 

The^ Altoona Committee, among the first to arrixe with wagon-loads of 
needful supplies, driven overland from Ebensburg, re-ported : 

" Imposters did not bother us much Sinijularly enough, the ones who did appear were 
women. On .Monday we sent away a man ue thought came too frequently. He owned up to 
having fifteen sacks of tlour and hie hams in his house. On Tuesday we began to keep a 
record of those who received sujiplies We have given out supplies to fully 550 families, rep- 
resenting 2,500 people Our district is only for one side of the river On the other 
is a commissary on .\dams street, near the Ualtimore & Ohio railway station, another at 
Kernville. a third at Cambria City, a fourth at Morrellville and a fifth at Cambria. The people 
are very patient, though in their present condition they are apt to be querulous. One woman 
who came for a dress inditinantly refused the one oftered her. 'I don't want that.' she said. 
' I lost one that cost me S20 ; S15 for the cloth and S5 for making, and I want a S20 dress. You 
said you would make our losses good ,' and she did not take the dress .\ clergvman begged for 
anything in the shape of foot-co\erinc, but we had nothing to give him Men stand about read\- 
to work, but barefooted The clothing since the first day or two, when we got onlv worn stuff, 
has been good, and is now of e.xcellent quality. Most of the children's garments are outgrown 
clothes, good for much service I'ittsburgh has sent from thirty to forty carloads of supplies, all 
of good quality and available. 

Cynics who allege that charity and gratitude are articles seklom found in 
Republics and among corporations would ha\e had to alter their warped phil- 
osophy, liad they been in Johnstown and seen train after train rolling in laden 
with clotiimg and pro\isions from everx' point of the compass. Each train 
bore messengers sent especially to distribute funds and pro\isions and clwtii- 

J/. / i;.\7F/CA:vr /:K\r. i v >/j:xck. 307 

ill!:;, vohmtccf plnsicians in laruc numbers. trainccJ nurses aiul a corps of sur- 
!;(.ons (jquipiil \\ ith instruincius and medicines. Clothes, boot^, shoes, cotton 
sheetinu. hard breads, salt fish and canned ;;oods were thankfiill\ receixeii .'ind 
siipi'Hed tlie nuwt pressiiiLT needs. The relief work was >oon so s\stenuuized 
as to obviate any confusion. At the distribulin,; (.lepots liuudreds assembled, 
morniut;". noon and ni;.;ht. fc.irnied in line and were supplied with provisiijus. 
Men and women with families ^vere iriven bread, butter, cheese, ham and 
canned meats, tea or co:tee and sup;nr. and unmarried applicants received 
sliced bread and butter or sandwiches. Nine hundred army tents trom Ohio 
were divided, and two white-walled villau^es sheltere-d six thousand homeless 
people. Now and then members of relief parties from abroad refused to aid 
in tlie distribution, preferriiv.; to strut about witii the l)adges that were a pass- 
port to all parts of the district. Tliese were the exceptions, as nine-tenths of 
the messengers entrusteei with supplies worked like bea\'er3 and behaved Hke 

The first secret society to fly to the relief of its stricken brethren was one 
of the \oungest orders — the KiiiL;htsof the ^f\stic Chain. On Saturda\' morn- 
ing John J. Davis, repres(.nting the Pittsburgh lodges, reached the tlooded 
district and was the first secret-society man to set foot in Johnsto^\n. He 
had to walk from Sang Hollow to the stone bridge. After passing a night of 
wakefulness on .the mountain-side. Mr. J )a\is landed in Johnstown at eiglit 
o'clock in the morning, with one thousand dollars. .\ccompanied b\' \\'. G. 
Gish and S. D. Rainey. the three went to work relieving the sick, caring for 
the widows and orphans and searching lor dead comrades. Man_\' a L)urden 
was lightened by the assistance tliey rendered. President Linton. Secretary 
Boyd and Treasurer Colivar. high officials of the order. relie\ed ^tr. I)a\is and 
his companions on Monday, continuing the work until e\ery sur\ i\ing memlier 
had received assistance and the families of lost Kni^lits were cared for. 

The United American Mechanics sent six memliers from Pittsburgh, who 
arri\ed in Ji^hnstown on Sunday morning, as a committee to find ami relieve 
distressed members. All such were pro\ ided with food, clothing and free 
transportation, if they wished to get away from the scene of their sorrows. 
Tlie committee estaldished head(]uarters on Adams street, a short distance 
from the hospital. Provisicms were stored for distribution among the suffer- 
ers. Not onl\" were the families of the members ot the order given relief, but 
poor outsitlers recei\ed sustenance :lt the hands of the Junior Mechanics. 
The committee worked da\' and night searching fcir missing bretlircn and their 
families who sur\i\'e(l. The large fund turned over f 5r immei.hate relief was 
handsomely swelleii by contributions from the various councils of the order in 
the surrounding country. 

The Kniglits of Pythias hurried to the scene of desolation with all pos- 
sible speed. t'lraiid-Chancellor Thomas Perr\-, of Wheatland, Pa., head of the 

3o8 THE X/VVv'l' OF Joif.\srO\\-.\. 

order, arrived on June 4th, and ^et almut tindinL; distressed and ncedv mem- 
bers. I'^ood and clothint; were provided anil shelter \\as uhtained for all who 
Were in want. The orphans ami widows were- placed in comfortable homes 
and a goodly sum was di\ided. 

The lleptasoplis. who hail but lift\- nu-mbers in fohnstow 11. \vere wonder- 
fully ener.i;c'tic in institntiUL,' and carr\ iul: out measures nf relief. Supreme- 
Archon S. .\. Will. S. .\. Duncan and Lester Lo;;an. of Pittsbur^li, hatl chari^e 
of the work. TIk' snr\i\"or^ nt tinrt\' families were tak'en tn l'ittsburL;h on 
June 5th anil hospitabh' entertained b\' the members. The order disbursed 
upwards of ten thousand dollars for tlu' sujiport of destitute members and the 
families of those who perished. 

Grand-Councillor Lan_;ht. of Allei;heny. and Grand-I'lnsician l^r. [. W. 
Wri.Hht superintended the worl.; of relief and looked after the wants of the siu'- 
\ivors of the se\enty members of the Koyal Arcanum. The Ancient Order of 
I'nited Workmen had no lodue at Johnstow 11. but the Grand Lodi;e placed 
one thousand dollars in the hands of the Relief Committee. Other secret or- 
ders, not represented b\' orL,'anizations in the Conem,iui;h \'alie\. acted in a 
similar manner. 

The Odd Fellows did a ,t;rand work for their lod-es. ail of which lost 
heaxily. A report to the Grand Lodye m October presented these figures: 

lot'i.F"; . MKMKHJ'iHIf. M\IBFKL.)ST. 

Morrellvillc Lodt;e. No, 50 109 None 

Conemaugti Xo. igi 87 5 brothers. 3 wives and'14 children 

Alma Lodge. No. 523 233 10 brothers. 15 wives. 50 children 

Cambria Lodge. No 7S5 103 14 bros., 10 wives. 29 children, i widow. 

Corona Lodge. No, 900 91 2 brothers. 4 wives. 4 children. 

Montgomery Lodge. No. 57 i brother, i wife, i child. 

Somerset Lodge, No. 438 i wife. 3 children 

Altoona Lodge. No 473 i wife of brother- 
William F. Packer Lnc.impment. . .10 
Brother John W. Haney. 1'. (T M.. of f'ittslmrgh. was instructed on June 
4th to .go at once to |ohn--town. .assist in organizing a committee, draw upon 
the Grand-Treasurer for one thousand ilollars and take h\ e hundred dollars 
witli him for immeiiiate use. A couimittee. part of whose memliers remained 
to attend to the interests of the order, was sent w ith an abundance of supplies. 
Lodges all over the country tendered mone\'. The committc e of each lodge 
involved submitted a statement of losse.s, \vhich was examined and presented 
the following results : 

Losses on real estate 54,17 -1"3 00 

Losses of personal property 32S. 440 00 

Total estimated lossesnf Odd Fellows in the Coneman-.'h \'allev ssj3,iio3 00 
The Cirand Officers arranged with the local committee for tw-o distribu- 
tions. In the first each brother whose propert\ \\as destro\-ed received eighty 

M.u:\//-7CK\r !;FXj:r(_ >/j-:xcj:. 


("lollars. each ^vido^\■ of a brother ci'_;hty (li>Uars. and each depemletit child 
fiirt\' dulhirs. Funera! benenis were n.-iiiduirsed niid the ihies ol 30S niemberb, 
were ])aid in ad\ance liu' one \ear. Corona Loihjc was furnished with a coni- 
jilete new outht. Ahiia Lodi^'e with all the necessar\- parajihernalia fur the 
dt-i;ree work. audWni. 1'. Packer Encanipment with a cciniplete set el robes. 
The plan of distribiirion was nnaninioiisly appro\ed b\ the )ohiisto\\ n Com- 
mittee. The second distribution was maile on |ul\- jyih. The report showed 
these p.;\'ments : 

297 brothers, 33 lodges, received S'37.905 00 

35 widous. 5 lodges, receiv ed 8. 130 00 

Orph.nns, 4 lodges, recei\ed -.745 00 

25 brothers' death benerits, 4 lodges, i encimpinent 1.775 "o 

20 brothers' \vi\es' death benerits. 4 lodges. 1 encampment 915 00 

30S members' dues 1177- 16 

Regalia and paraphernalia in 2 lodges 664 75 

Regalia and paraphernalia in i encampment 1 13 50 

Turned over to Johnstciwn comiuitteeb as a Reserve Fund •to09 99 


.\dd for expenses and unexpended balance. 

Grand total 5O0.0-S6 fig 

In \iew of so'cretiitable aii e.\hilut. Grand-Secretary Nicholson minht well 
close his report \\ith this tellini: sentence : 

Hereafter, whenever the ^Io^y of iohnstown is recited, every Odd Fellow, as he recalls 
what the Order has done, can lav his h.'vnd upon his heart and reverentl\- murmur. ' Thank 
God that I am an Odd Fellow ■" 

The work of the Grand Arni\' ot the Republic, in rehevin:^ sufferings com- 
rades and their families, was most commettdable. The veterans who witnessetl 
the ravages of war could appreciate the horrors of the flood and realize the 
necessity of immediate action. The effect of their gocid work was \ isible on 
every hand. No soldier'^ -^'.idow or or])lian went uncared for. The bo\s in 
blue, who fought and bled for their country, were there willing to sacrifice their 
last peniu" to rehe\e the distressed. The\' dispensed manv thousands of dol- 
lars, besides great (]uantitie5 of clothes ami pro\ isions. cheering man\" a droop- 
ing spirit. The receivin'.; and distributing of relief ultimately devolved Uirgelv 
upon the Grand .Vrmv men. Thev appointed a committee ot women to assist 
in the work. The women went from house to house to ascertain the number 
of people lost and the e.\act tieeds of the people. It \'> as found necessarv to 
have such a committee, as there were women actuall\- starving who were too 
proud to take their place,- in lines v\ith the other women with bags and bas- 
kets. Some of these people were rich before the tlooil. The most imposing 
displav of supplies ^vas at tile Pennsx'lvania Railroad freight and passenger 
depots. On the platifirm^ ;md, in the yards were Jiiled barrels of llour in long 

3IO THE .sTr '/.')■ I'l- JO/fXSrOWX. 

rows. liiscuits in cans and Ini.xus 1>\' the carload, crackers under tlie railroail 
shells in bins, hams b\ tlie hundred sirunu <«u poles, ho.xes of soap and candles, 
barri'ls kerosene oil. staiks ot canueil mioils and thin',4s to eat of all sorts 
and Ivinds were to he seen, llie same a^rexable sunlit was \isibie at the ISalti- 
more lV C)hi'_> depot, ami the nirudiers of the Grand Army had pUjnty of exer- 
cise in h.uulliiiL; the immeU'-e stock. 

Tlie bree and .Vccepted .Masons, as became ;40od craftsmen, wete not 
foimd wannnu. Upon receipt of the news from Johnstown. l)istrict-I)eput\- 
Grand-.Master Janus S. Mt Kean. of I'ittsbnrnh, called an meetiui,' of 
the local M;i--onic comimitii-. .Vt li\'e o'ckjclc on Saturdax' morning. Janu_-s I. 
Buchanan left as the comiuittee's representati\ e for the devastated district. 
At noon on the same tla\' the ri/mainiler of the committee started with se\eral 
carloads of pro\i>ions. The\ armed m the eveninj.;, established a commissars' 
department at Kern\Ule ami lieuan distribntinL; supplies. On Sunday morn- 
ing a general meetniL; of the i.lticersof the \arious Masonic bodies was held in 
Pittsburgh, and in a few minutis four thousand dollars were subscribed. Must- 
W'orshiptul Cjrand-.Master McCall. of Philadelphia, telegraphed h\-e thousand 
dollars. Eefori' the committee closed its accounts the Masonic liodies through- 
out the L'nited States had -subscribed nearh' one hundred thousand dollars. 
The Masonic work was s\-ten:atic. nitelligent and effective. }Ieadquarters 
were located in the !ar<:e frame buildim; near the narrow-L;au:.;e depot, on Pitd- 
ford street, at wliich train-^ on the Baltimore A: Ohio Railroad hail to stop until 
the track was cleared to the centre c'f the town. There supplies were asscu'ted 
and distributed. Sulfenu'.^ brethren and the families of the dead were pro- 
vided for generoush". In sliurt. everything connected with the Masonic relief 
was ■•c>n the level, plumli and square." 

Aliouc thirtv Catholic priests and nuns were on liand eari\'. The Sisters 
devoted theiusel\-es to the care ot the sick and injured in the hospitals, while 
the priests did an\'thin_,' and ever\thing to make themsehes useful. Bi-.hop 
Phelan came in person to or'.;an:ze the Catholic forces, which labored assidu- 
ously. What the liospitals wcnild base done without the nine Charity. se\en 
Franciscian and seven Benedictine Sisters is not easy to conjecture. 

Foremost in deeds of unselfishness and self-denial were the women. In 
ministering to the sick. soothiuL; the distressed, re!ie\uiiL; the destitute ami 
nursing the in|ured. lht.-\ a\oided no fatigue, shunned no peril, shrank from no 
inconvenience. They were tireless in their efforts to allc-\ iate sorrow, to di- 
minisli sulferim; and to li^duen the terrible burdens that weighed down the 
stricken community. Their cxerticuis never flau.Lied amid tempest or rain, and 
their goc)ii are the briuiitest spots in the dark shadows of the over- 
whclini!i<4 calanutN'. C^ne cit th.e heroines was Mrs. |erome. ot tiie Yellow- 
Cross, a liright little boi.iy. with a quaint, coquettish air that secures for her 
friends everywhere. She was in the Zidu war, the Chilian war. the revL>hiticin 

.]/.u;.\7/-/i ■/■;.\y i;i:xi:\-( u.f.xce. 


at the I-^thnuis of Panama, the Canadian sinall-pcix epidemic and tiie yellow- 
jack scourL;e in tlie Sontli. Left a widow at seventeen, she ha.s cared fi.T herself 
L-\er since. In her work at Johnstown she climbed the mountains, walked 
from district to district, ferreted out needy cases ;ind reported them to the 
nnarterniaster. She made application t.-r a lior:,e. and then readied vul farther 
into the couutr\-. Tiny infants were Mrs. Jerome's speiial care. She saw that 
the proper wardrobes were snpplied and the needs uf the mothers brou;;ht to 
tlie attention of the relief committees. Heaven aloni' knov s how^ ninth L'ood 
she did in a mission of charity and love that conld be performed onl\- by the 
best of created beinL;s. 

On WednesdaveNenin'..;, five days after the flood, the tlaR of the Red Cross 
floated over the Society's camp near the Poplar street liridge. Everybody 
recognized the welcome signal and knew its meaning. Miss Clara Barton, the 
Florence Xmhtingaie of .\merica. 

liad come from Washington, with ,--'■'' ^""'"■^..^^^ 

menibers of the Execiiti\e Commit- /f ...-""■"^ 

tee, on a mission of mercy. She 
was tlie originator of the Ked Cross, 
which liad its inception in Switz- (, 

erland. Althougli an .\mericaii by S 

birth, Miss Barton was long the chief 
nurse of a European army. In that J^ 

position she saw tiie need of edii- r'jjy 

cated nurses who should minister to -'^: 

friend and foe alike. Her idea was | _ ; .=., - ^- 

incorporated in the Society of the ;g^^ j,^ '[^^ff^ ' 

Red Cross of Gene\a. a charter for ^-'r^^- %\ -^B^ 

which was granted by the Swiss 'v.^sS . '"■ '\ '^^' 

r\.epublic. The object was to form ^^.^^^3l->--^ '■, :, '^ 

an organization of nurses who ■' v^^^^-'rr-^S;:--^-..; '•.'-- 

would be admitted into tlie lines of " ' ..'•":: ' 

any camp, anv battle-field, where ^^^.^ 

tlie\' ccuild aid the sick and w tjunded 

of eitlier side. So successful was it from the first that, during the I'ranco- 
Prussian war. a soldier of either nationality wearing the sign of the Red Cross 
upon liis arm was permitted access to all camps. .Vt tlie close of the I'ranco- 
Prussian war Miss Barton desired to established a branch of the Ived Cross in 
her nati\-e land. Securincr the ri-ht from the President of Switzerland to re- 
move her field of operations to .\nierica. she importuned Congre-s to L;rant a 
charter. Success finally crowned her ettorts. and she set to work to organize 
the Red Cross of America. What was most necessarx was an organization 
the members of which would hold themsehes in re.idiness. not eiily to contri- 


3 1 2 Tin: sr( '.V 1 • ( '/■ /( ufxsTi ' n:\: 

biitc, but t(i c;n fiirwaid. when otcasina rcjiiuirid. iiUci thu midst ot fire, pesti- 
lence and tlood. Cliarlestnn. Jaeksonvdle, Ml inplns --every locality win re 
fire has ra\a'^e<i. lli'ud lias di\astated. or epid^'inic wasted - bear witness 
to the noble liilnllnieiit ot tile promise that tlie Ixed Cross should be a L;racioiis 
beiK.-diction to sutterinii humanity. 

The orijanizatioii soon m.ide ilselt felt in Johnstown. The little buttons 
and sijuare crosses oil white ground were .seen e\"er\'where. The members 
who left \\'ashini;t>iii on Sunda\' ni'_;ht were jonK.'il |i\- an au\iliai"\' corps of 
twent\-fi\'e or tliirt\' trom rhih'uleiphia. including; sexeral pli\sicians. whose 
numbers were alter\\,irds increased. Then came Hr. Gardner and wife, of 
Be(.lf(.ird, Indiana, and Lathers beloii,L;ing to the society. au'^mentiiiL; the force to 
about fiftv. The first tents were pitched on the \\'ednesda\ followint^ the 
flood, and there. abo\ e the white homes of the members of the orL;anization. 
the banner wa\ed its mi.'ssa'.^es of lo\ e and succor to the stricken t(.)wn. A de- 
tail of the members was at once sent to seek out the needy and sutferin^. to 
whom prompt relief was borne h\' them in perscm. In this t;ooti work Father 
Field, of St. Clenuiu' s, I'liilailelphia. was iintirini;. Me coiikl be frequenth- 
seen bearing u]ion his back great Imndles of all things neetiful for the relief 
and comfort of the destitute. He did not wait for the express wagons — of 
whicli the Red Crtiss two constantU' on the go — but delivered relief in per- 
son. The gentle women ot the organization carried comfort and hojie to the 
sorrowing people. 

The work was done with [lerfect svstem. Like the mihtar\' — ahva\'s under 
strict iliscipline — the Re'l Cross is read}- for action at all -times. At the head- 
quarters Miss Barton and her faithful aids directed operations. The Phila- 
delphia Branch of the International Red Cross Association erected new tents 
and new buildings, one ot them a Ivin^-in hospital. The citizens procured a 
flag-pole, and on tlie afttrnoon ot June 2jd the American emblem was lifted 
above the Red Cross. The L;ood work of the International .\ssociation kept 
increasing rather than diminishing. .\. carload of lumber frcjin Englewood. 111. 
was used in erecting a building about loo bv 70 feet on ground tlonated for the 
purpose b_\- the Cambria Iron Company, near the big store. While the ten- 
denc\" on the part of the L;eneral relief department was to gradualK' contract 
the limits of its o])erations. and to withdraw assistance where there seemed to 
be a possibilit\' ot self-support, the Red Cross was enlarging its field antl ]ire- 
paring for a still mcjre lilieral eampai'j,n. 

In a single da\' one hundred packages of clothing were sent out from the 
Seventh-ward stores. The demands upon the commissar)- tor prox'isluus ,L;rew as 
the general coinniissar\' restricted its donations. A spacious buildini,'' \\ as put 
up in Kern\"ilie, on the b.iiik ot .Sfjiiy Creek. Tents, hospitals, me.ils. furnished 
rooms and careful attintion wi-re sujiphc-d. Hundreds of tamdies received 
furnittire to resume housekeeping. .V New York gentleman forwarded Si, 900 

A/.u;.\7/Vi Kxr /.'/:\/:i-( uj:xc/:. 

3" 3 

worth i)f tinware. 555:1 wnrtli of hardware. S40J worth of woodrnware. ami in casli at one time. Dr. hllliott, a lad) ph\sirl;in from l'liilad.el|ihia. 
workiii.i; in ronnection with the Re-d Cros■^, accomplisln-d as much a-- any one 
indi\iilual m the relief (jf the- dibtressi'il. Heedle^^s of their own eonditiou. 
the nnrses lion-^ed and cared for the honieles-- ,ind the iiijnred. .Vt Johnstown 
the \ivi\ (."ross Society improx'iscMl hospitals npon the hill-snles. in tlie \al- 
le\s andwhere\er most needed. There they mm istered to mind as well as 
liod\-, and by their i^entle care saved the reason of man\- nnfortnnates who 
wonlcl otherwise ha\e ended lite behind the bars of a maddionse. Writing; of 
them from ]ohnstown. a close olisc-rver saici : 

".MI li.iil to Clarn Barton and her valiant band! They are to-day to the rtooded and 
fever-stricken cities of .Vmerica what the s^ood Sanuiritan of olden times was to the waylaid 
traveler .\nd their v.-ork will live in history loni; after they themselves have fallen to sleep in 
the \\indo\\ less palaces of peace 

The first relief orLjanization to arrive, the Red Cross was also the last to 
leave Johnstown. When thes,- zealous ^\•ork(.■rs took their departure earl\- in 
October. the_\- handed oN'er thousands of dollars' worth of furniture, kitchen 
utensils, stoves, bedding', clothin.;. and three lar;;e buildin:;s to a C(.>mmittee of 
latiies. Of Miss Barton it is needless to speak at lenL,'th. Ik r name' is known 
anil revered in e\'ery nation uncJer tlie sun. She is tin.' onl\- .Vnierican entitled 
to wear the Iron Cross of Prussia, bestowed upon her for Iter services in the 
camp and field. She is the dau^dtter (.if a Massachusetts soldier who foutrht 
with .\ntlu:)ny Wayne. DuriuL; the war, undismaxed b\- the roar of cannon 
and the clasli of steel, \\ith herijic liraxery she de\-oted herself to the care of 
the wounded who could not be remoxed to hospitals. At the close of the war 
site visited .\ndersonville. identified thousands of cjraves and put a memorial 
over each. Incessant labors undermined her health and she went to Switzer- 
land in iSbg. While she was livmi; in Gene\'a. the CouL^ress of civilized 
powers was held in that city to de\ise means for initii^atim^f the sufferings of 
the sick antj wounded and the innocent non-combatants in all wars. Of this 
Congress Miss Barton, from her o^reat experience on the battle-field and in hos- 
pitals, was an honored member. The outcome was the formation of the Red 
Cross Societx'. an orL;anization which keeps itself prepared to succor the suf- 
ferers not only trom war. but froin pestilence. Hood, famine and all other ;.;reat 
disasters. Of the .\merican branch of this Red Cross Societ\- Miss I;arton 
very naturally became the head, as slu^ still continues to be. 

Miss Barton is of the middle lieiLjht and a t\;ie of the keen, steadf.ast. 
powerful Xew-Ennland wijman. 'A'lth hue olixx- C(jmple\ion, \-ery L>ri;_;"ht black 
eyes and a liii;til_\- expressive lace. She is gifted with great strength ot niind 
and character, uncommon persona! courage ami rc-mrU'Kaole persistence. I'ull 
of a nolile enthusiasm fcir noble work, she is also possessed of mar\elous tact. 
political skill and business abilit;.'. She has a tine presence and such elo- 


quence as a speaker that auditors in listening; tu her pathetic recitals often 
shed tears. Apth" lias she been styled "the angel of the battle-liekl. the pesti- 
lence and the flood." 

The Pittshur:.;h Relief Committee co-operatetl with a Ladies' Relief Com- 
mittee, whose ihity it was to ricei\f' tlie sufferers upon their arrival from lohas- 
town ami see tliat thev were properh' cared for. This committee dul e.xcel- 
lent service. 

Mrs. Campbell. President of the ^^'o^lan's Christian Temperance L'nion. 
journeyed from .\lleuheny the week after the tlood and or^'anized a temporary 
home for distitute chikiren on Bedford street. Miss A\"alk proxided room for 
twenty-live children at the Northern Home. Miss H. W. Hinckley and Mi^s 
E. Hano\er. a^jents of the Children's .\id Societ\' of Philadelphia, came on the 
first train through, and in twenty minutes had established a transfer agency. 
Miss Plinckley said : 

"There are hundreds of children here who are apparently without parents. We want all 
of them given to us, and we will send them to the various homes and orphanages of the State, 
where they shall be maintained for several months to await the possibility of the reappearance 
of their parents, when they shall be returned to them. If, after the lapse of a month, they do 
not reclain". their little ones, we shall do more than we ordinarily do in the way of providiui; 
good homes for children in their cases. Think of it, in the house adjoining us are seven 
orphans, all uf one family ! We have tieen here only a half-hour, hut we have already found 
scores \\'e shall stav ri^^ht here till everv child has been provided for." 

The Young Mens Christian Association opened rooms in a brick building 
on the corner of Main and Jackson streets, retaining them'until a new frame 
structure was erected specially a fev,- doors below Alma Hall. Papers, books. 
toilet requisites, stationerv. tables, desks ami chairs afforded conveniences for 
washing, resting and corresponding of which thousands of poor fellows a\ ailed 
themselves. Religious meetings \\ere held in the new building, \\hich contains 
a lecture-hall and is visited dail}' b_\' scores of voung nten. The Episcopalians 
had headquarters in tlie same residence on Main street, giving assistance to 
all who applied. The Presbyterians occupied a building three doors above. 
The Reformed Church furnished provisions and clothing without money and 
without price. The Catholics aided multitudes, and other churches had a 
gracious reception for adh.erents of their faith who needed help. Contributions 
for specific objects were not infrequent. The fireinen, who lost their engine- 
houses and apparatus, were renieniliered bv their brethren. Musical org"ni- 
zations assisted the bands, none of which saved an instrument. Sunday- 
schools collected funds for the children. Bovs and girls sent money to bu)' 
books for the pupils and to repair the school hou>es. In short, no person or in- 
terest was omitted in tlie corinirehensix'e scheme that aimed to shelter ev'ery 
sufferer beneath its broad mantle of charit\'. 


Portraits of Fiood Relief Commission. 

3/.:?^' 3/^ 




Chikactep. ami Af.ilitv } 

SlFFEkEH-, A B.'\KD O.K I:. 

JrDGE Cummin — Five Th^ 


,^ DisTRiEiTE Millions of Dollaf.s — Their Hii".n 
HE Fl'nds Were Handle:' for the Benefit "F the 
Established — Methods of Pkocedlke — Death oy 
p Claimants Assisted — Difficulties to ke Sur- 
mounted — Efficient Service of the Secretary — 
Closing the Accounts — The Pkoih KEtoKn of an 
Enterprise Unrivalled in the Annals uf Time. 

to ha\'e the funds pass 
eiit. responsible c'.ian- 
tlie confidence of the 
its affairs in a Inisi- 
a delicate one. reqnir- 
sion. patience and dis- 
cies nsnally develop 
them, and it \\as so 
\vas determined to crc- 
tlic State and ciotluii 
tlie cash, in the selec- 
choice naturally fell upon 

".\ trueknigl.t • • • firm of word : 
Speaking in deeds, and decdiess in his ton^ 
XoL soon provoked nor. onte provok'd. s.x 
His heart and both open and hnlh fr 
For what he has he gives ; what thinks, he 
Yet gives he not till Judgment guide his be 
Nor dignifies an unfair thought with truth. 

IX order to distribute 
satisfactorily the \ ast 
sums of money re- 
cei'xd b_\' the Go\ ernor. it 
was considered advisable 
throuLjh one independ- 
nel. wliich would possess 
public and ccnidiict all 
ness wav. The tlut\ was 
iny; extraordinarv tleci- 
cernment. Great e.\men- 
men atlapted to cope v, ith 
in this crisis. W'lica it 
ate a bod\- roprcsentinL; 
:■ .-. r.v,:,;,-.K,-.i,R, witli absolute control c.f 

tion of its members the 
citizens (jt the hiiihest character and. abilitx . The 


position was not to be a sinecure, witli bi;^ pa\' and little work. It carried no 
salary and ins'ohed much labor and weit;iit\ rcs])onsibilit\ . On June i4tli, 
two weeks alter th^ Johnstown disaster. Ciovernor l!ea\er appointed this 
Flood Relief Commission : 

Hon. Edivin H. Filler, Mayor of rhiladolphia. 

Hon. Robert C. Ouden, Phiiadelpliia 

Hon. Francis B. Klcvcs. Phiiadelpliia. 

Hon. John Y. Huber. Philadelphia. 

Hon. Thomas Dolan, Philadelphia. 

Hon, H. H. Cummin, Willianisport. 

Hon, James B. Scott, P'itlsburgh. 

S. S. Marvin. Piti.-.burgh. 

Reubi.-n Millt-r, Pittsburgh. 

The selection of these gentlemen commended itself to the popular judg- 
ment and was universally approvci.b A place on the commi.ssion had bei.n 
offered to Hon, John Fulton, later to Colonel John P. Linton and to W". 
Horace Rose, all of Johnstown, but none of them, on account c)f the pressure 
of private business, could accept. 

Hon. Edwin H. Filler is Mayor of Philadelphia, an extensi\e nianufac- 
tu.rc r autl an active politician. Resides ser\ing on the I*"lcjoi.l Commission, he 
was chairman of the Philadelphia Permanent Relief Committee-. He was a 
candidate for -the Presidency liefore the Republican National Convention in 
iSSS, which nominated General Harrison. It is understood _Ma\<.ir Fitler does 
not propose to retire from politics, in which he plays a prominent jiart. His 
personal characteristics are such as to inspire respect and win trantls readiK. 

Hon. Robert C. Ogden i> known throughout Pennsyhania as a philan- 
thropist and a business man. He is the de\'oteil friend and partner of Post- 
master-General \\"anainaker. in whose absence he and Thomas Ij. \\'ana- 
maker manage the immense stores that have a world-wide reputation. Mr. 
Ogden is a prime favorite socialh', affable and approachable, foremost in re- 
ligious and educational rnoxxments and extremeh popular with all classes. 
Philadelphia is his lionie. 

Hon. Francis B. Ree\es is senior member of the wholesale grocery hxxw 
of Ree\es. Parvin A; Co.. and ranks high as a skilled financier. He first came 
prominentiv before the public in connection with the famous Committee of 
One Hundred. He \\ as chairman ot its e-\ecuti\ e committee and a leading par- 
ticipant in the independent movement which resulted in the election of Go\ ■ 
ernor Pattison. His superior talents and unquestioned integrit}' gi\'e Mr. 
Reeves a stroie^ iiold in political and. municipal matters. 

Hon. John \'. Huber is a wealth}- llour merchant, deservedly esteemed, in 
Philadelphia for his business qualities aiul personal worth. He attentlcd the 
numerous conferences between Independent Repldllic.^n■^ and r)em(.ii. rats in 
lSS6. held for the purpose of pitting a candidate against Mr. Fitler for Mayor. 



Hon. Tluunas Dolan is a wt-altliy Philadelphia manufacturer, president of 
the Manufacturers' Cluli and tlie lirush Electric Li;;lit Couipan\-. and the 
tnovinj^ spirit in sundrv institutions. He displa\i.d si'.;u.d al'ilii\' (.luring the 
Presidential c:i'tipaii;n "! i sss. when he and John W'ananiaker hatl char'^^e of 
tlu- funds raised for the National Republican Conuuittee. Mr. I.)ii|an has a 
wide jvilitical tollowini;" and is a man of brains and enerL;\'. 

Hon. H. H. Cummin was a leadin;^ lawver of W'illiamsport, and at one time 
presiding judge of the county. He built up a \ er\' lucrati\e practice, niaking 
an enviable recortl at the bar and on the bencli. His e.\tensi\e abilit\' was of 
no coiumon order and he ornamented society by his kindliness and culture. 

Hon. James B. Scott, senior member of the tirni di James P. Scott ^: Co.. 
is largelv interested in copper manufacturing. He is a \'ice-President of the 
Chamber of Commerce, a member c>t the State Board of Charit\". President of 
the Trustees of the Western Uni\ersit\'. a Trustee of the I'ieal hastate Bank, 
aiul an inthiential citi.'.en of Pittsburgh. Mr. Scott was amon^ the iirst to de- 
vise means for tlie relief nf Jcshn.^town and to \isit the attlicted people. As 
Chairman of the Pittsbur'^h Relief Committee, he sx'stematized the distribu- 
tion of supplies and entrenched himself in the hearts of the sutferers. Re- 
turning to Johnstown from ^b:lrrellville on Tuesda\' afternoon, June 4. to at- 
tend a mass-meeting c^f citizens, he arri\'ed just in time to liear liis name voted 
upon unanimouslv for Dictator of Cambria Coimt\ . Modesth' discarding this 
title lor that of Director, he brought order out of chaos, restored contidence 
and left evervthing in e.xcellent shape for Geneial Hastings to take charge on 
June I2th. Hisvahiable services were recognized b\' placing him on the Fdood 
Relief Commission. 

S. S. Mar\ in. wlio worked unliringl}' for Johnstown, is an enterprising resi- 
dent of Pittsburi;h. wh.ither he mo\ed frcun New York State in i>-63. Em- 
barking in the cracker trade, he founded the establishment of S. S. Mar\in A: 
Co.. one of the largest concerns of the kind in the United States. He was a 
good soldier, and he has tilled man\' positions nf honor and trust. (^lovernor 
Beaver appointed Mr. Mar\in a member ot the State Commission, with the 
title of purchasim: agent for tlie Western District of Pt;nns\-l\ania. In this 
position, as in all others, he acquitted himself \\\\\\ credit. His experience in 
f)urcliasing food and supplies on a large scale proved iinalnablc. and he en- 
tered with his v.liole soul into his mission of charity. He summed up the con- 
dition of tlie stricken rei^ion in a single phrase- ■•Johnsto\\n is a funeral!" 

Reuben Miller is at the head, of the manufacturing firm of Miller. Metcalf 
Jv: Parkin, one of Pittsburgh's strom;est He is a leader in cumnier- 
cia! matters and. prominent in financial institutions. His intlixiduality and 
shrewdness impress friends anil aciinaintaiices. who reh upon his opinions and 
appreciate the sterlinu quality of the man. 

-V body composed of such material could not be other, than earnest. acti\ e 



and efficient. Governor I!ea\er was elect<'d Chairman, and on June njth the 
members of tiie Commission started tei \ isit the inundated regions of the St.ite. 
Thev went up the Susiinehanna Kiver a.-, tar as Lock Maven. over the Laid 
Eat^Ie Vallev Raih-(jad to T\ rone and thence to Jolinstown. returning' throui;h 
the Juniata \'alle\-. stopping; at variotis phicer- to make a general sur\'ey ot the 
situation. .Vt a meeting held on this trip. Mr. J. IJ. Kremer, of Carhsle. Pa.. 
a general agent of the Liverpool ^'v; London Cdohe hisurance Co.. was elected 
Secretary of the Cninmissii >n. and Mr. J. C. L.omlierger. the wealthy Harris- 
burg Lianker. Treasurer. It was also agreed to issue the following circular: 


That tlu; donors of the fund^ m the hands of tlie KI.,od Rehef Commission mav know how 
their generous gifts are to be disposed of, and that the expectant recipients of the same may not 
form erroneous views of and foster improper expectations for the same, it is now otTicially de- 
clared and announced that the following principles shall govern the distribution of relief 

1. That the said fund is in the nature of a charity to the needy, and not as a general in- 
demnity for losses sustained 

2. That a distribution per capita would be manifestlv unjust, as it would go alike to the 
rich and poor and alike to all sufferers, no matter what their needs or the extent of their suf- 

3. That a distribution by percentage on the ani<iunt of losses would be manifestly unjust, 
as it would result in giving the largest sum to the persons having lost the most, without regard 
to the value of the remaining estate of such persons 

4. That this fund cannot be used for the benefit of any private or public corporation 

5. That the fund must go only to the most needy sutterers from the flood m accordance 
with, and in the spirit of, the trust impressed upon it by the donors. 

At the unanimous request of the Commission, Hon Hugh H. Cummin was requested to 
proceed to Johnstown and remain there as the resident representative and executi\e officer of 
this Commission in the Conemaugh \'alley. 

J\.MEs.A, BF.^',hK. John Y, HcF.ER, REUEts Millek, 

Ci'i.nrnuut, Robert C Ogoe.n. S SM\k\in, 

EowiN H FiTLEK, Fr.^.ncis B, Reeves, H. H Cummin- 

Thomas L>'-'I.\n, James B Scon, 

Harkisbcrg, Jiiih' j-th, iS:^ij 

This straightforward, common-sense platform gratified the public at large, 
giving contributors fresh assurance that their liberality woidd not lie abused. 
Jtidge Cummin proceeded to Johnstown as the resilient representative and the 
e.xecutive ofticer of the commission, continuing actively in the wurk untd 
stricken with the illness which resulted in his death on .\ugust nth. 

A Board of Inqnir\-. consisting of citizens of Johnstown, was or^'anized to 
ifivestigate all estimates of lo>ses. Weeks and months were spent in this im- 
portant undertaking'. L.y Jul\- loth 4.000 persons presented statements (jf 
losses, the total aggregating 5s.655.114. This did not include the Cambri.i 
IrouCompanw the Xatural Gas Compain'. the churches or the railroads, which 
wotikl nearly double th.e annumt. Each claimant was required to make an 
itemized statement, de-crduug his property and its value, accompanied by 



an affidavit. Tliose statciiu-nts were se riitini/,< d by the r.oard of InqnirN aiui 
revised wfiert: any donlu existed as to tlieii coirei t iiess. l'.asei.l U[n.>n their 
t'Sliiuates of losses, the claimants were ili\ id<-d into these six chisses : 

Class I. — TliL' ni'"'st iiet;i!y. j,'enerall)- women uim have l.i^t their support and are' left with 
a lar.L^e famih' and no propfrt\- A few men wh':i c.mnot earn .i li\ ini; on aCLXiunt of ph-.sical 
disability \\eie also assit^nei:! to this class 

Class 2. — Those who lost some of their family and saved a little of their property. 

Class 3 — Families that recovered somethin'.; from the llood. but to whom a small amount 
of money would be qiven. 

Class 4. — Small families in which one will be able to w•orl^ and either had no property 
saved from the llood or very little In some cases the f.imiiies owned a lot which had no 
present value, but upon which they could possibly borrow a little money to help them erect a 
building, and soon be in shape to be self-supportint; 

Class 5. — Parties requiring assistance immediately, but in smaller amounts, generally where 
a man was employed and lost heavily, havin; a smaller family t(.) depend upon than in the other 
classes, to wlumi a small amcmnt of money would result in great present good In providing the 
famil\- with sc^me of the necessaries of life. 

Class o. — .\I1 other cases, no matter hiiw hea\ s their losses, but w ho were not considered 
objects of immediate charity 

The Commission appropriated S500.000 for distribution amontj these 
classes pro rata, according; to this plan : 

205 cases in Class i St. 000 each 5205.000 

237 cases iiv Class 2 600 e,ach 142,200 

372 cases in Class 3 400 each 148,800 

1, 168 cases in Cass 4 300 each '..... 350,400 

1.6'jS cases in Class 5 200 each 339,600 

On ?\Ionda\'. Jul\' 13th. Jud;_;e Cummin, who had prejiared a special form 
of checks for the purpose, began the first payments on account, until 5420.000 
had been expended. The classes, which had been reduced to five, received 
tile feilliAviiig amounts ; 

Class I S600 to each. 

Class 2 400 to each . 

Class 3 200 to each 

Class 4 125 to each. 

Class 5 80 to each. 

The pressing wants of the applicants were tided o\i.'r by this disburse- 
ment, and the Commission arranged to appropriate other sums at future meet- 
inL,'s. The warmth of the atmosphere, with tlie mercur_\- trying to climb out 
of the top of the thermometer, was frigidit\- itself compared with the red-hot 
indignation tliat raged betore this distribution. I'l'ople did not stop to think 
that the Coinmissiou must act for the best interests ot ail concerned .tnd that 
the llo.ird id" lu'piir\' could not perform its task in a day or two. This pa}'- 
lueiit attorded substantial rebel, altiioitgh tu'o thousand losers luul not yet 
submitted their c lainis. 

.\.tter the death of Judge Cummin. Mr. Kremer. in addition to the general 


conduct of tlie ^vork thr<M:i;]iout tliL- State, was st-nt to Jolinstown as the rrjui.-- 
sentati\t' of the Commission to succeed him. When the Commissinn or'^^aii- 
ized. the Comniissar\" Deiiartment was m full ojieration, siipph ini; proxisions 
to nearh' all the inhabitants of the ^■aile^^ The distribution of food was con- 
tinued till after the first jiaxnient ot nionex , when the list was i;raduall\' re- 
tluced, until it consi>ted entirely ot ^^ido\\s. orphans and the sick. Lar.ue 
ijuantities of chjthiiiL; had been given out bef(5re. the distribution of wliicli con- 
tinued under the directirin of the Commission untd about .'inL;nst ist. A Iari;e 
supph" remaining then was carefnli\' stored to be distributed (.ui the approach 
of cokl Weather. Contracts were made for large quantities of household fur- 
niture and bedding, which were distributed b\' the Commission through a local 
committee. One hundred one-roomed ready-made cottages. 10x20. haxini; 
been presented to the citizens b\" the Relief Committee of ChicaL;o. a request 
was preferred for a lar;-;er number. The Commission on June 19th authorized 
the purcha---e of one hundred more and one hundred i.>f a larger size, whicli it 
was represented could be delivered and erected within a \'erv few da\ s. .\t 
the same meeting a contract i.\"as entered into to erect on the Public Square in 
Johnstc>wn. designated b\ the borough authorities, fift\' store buildinus and one 
hundred ofiices, to be furni.-^hed the merchants and business men of th.e to\\ n 
without charge until the\' could pro\ii.le themsel'ves \\ ith permanent (luarters. 
Tliese buildings are now occupied, and ha\e done much to start the \\Jieels oi 
business. On June 27tli two hundred four-roomed cottages were ordered, and 
two liuiiLlred more on Jiih" 31st. .Ml these ha\"e been erixteci and occupied bv 
tlie citizens. There had been expended to this time in the Coueniaugh \'alle\'. 
not including mone\' distributions, in rtumd figures the sum of S300.000. 

At the meeting on July 9th. when the appropriation of was 
granted, sums amounting to S250.000 \\ere awartled to localities in the State 
outside of the ConemauL;h \'al!ey, an<l the work of collecting tlie facts on 
which to base the distribution was committed to the Secretar\-. The flooded 
districts were divided into sections, each ha\ing a general committee and sub- 
committees for the sexeral sub-districts acting under them. Sudrn statements 
were required of the claimants in all cases. The necessities of the claimants 
were closeh' examined. recon;meiuiations tor the amounts to be appropri- 
ated in each case v.ere submitted to the Secretarv and the Commis>ion. and 
pa\inent5 made throuuh the district committees according to the hnai ai,'ree- 
nient. Claims were presented from the counties of ]3auphin. Juniata. I'err\'. 
Miltlin, Huntington. \\>-stmoreland. Blair, Fulton. Bedford. Xorthiiniberland. 
l.'nion, LvcominL;. Clinton. CleartKld. Centre. Tiot;a and Indiana. Complaints 
of dela\' in making p.i\inents led the Commission to issue what is known as 
"Bulletin Xo. 3." This elaborate document explained the nioti\'es governing 
the Commission in its treatment of the claims, the causes of delax' m paxue.^' 
out the money, and the magnitude of the task devoh'ed upon the Board, of 

Fl.OOn RKLlliF COMynssiOX. 1,11 

IiKiniiN- l)v till' inimeiT^c number ami varit-ty of losses rt'(]uiriii.t; careful exam- 
ination. Tlie circular, which prculuced a i;ood inipressicui, is as fcillows ; 

i;ulli:tix no. 3. flood kelikf commission. 

H \RK1SBUK1., All^llSt JOlil. iSSo. 

■/;■ tin- Don.'is ,■/ '.he Fi.;'J A'.-.-l,-/ FH,:.i : 

Since the d.Ue of the Isst circular the work of the Commission hr.s steadily proceeded. 

The Commiiiion met in Johnstown on the 31st of July Hearinus were accorded to such 
citizens and committees as desired to be heard at an onen meeting:; in the inornini^. and in the 
atlernuon an e.\ecutive session passed upon many questions of detail. At that date tlie pay- 
ment of 5500.000. appropriated at a pre\ious meetini;, was coins; forward, tiut had not pro- 
gressed sufficiently to afford the needed experience for further positive action. 

The Commission was represented in Johnstown by one of its members --Jucl.;e II 11 
Cummin, of Williamsport. Under his direction the plans were devised liy which the first pay- 
ments were bein;.; made to the llooil sufferers and the needed additional information colh'cted 
for a further money distribution, .\.t the same meetini; the Commission was informed of tlie 
verv seri'ius condition of Jud;e Cummin, then 1\ in^; ill at Cresson. The sad announcement of 
bis death on the mh inst. has already been widelv mide tlirou<;h the public press 

The Secretary of the Commission was directed to assume the e.\ecuti\e w<irk w'liich had 
been in Judge Cummins chan;e 

The most important action of the meetin.; above referred to was the passage of the follow, 
ing resolution 

On motion, 

RcsolvfJ, That a committee of three persons, of which the Presiilent of the Commission be 
Chairman, be appointed to consider the entire question of registration, cla^^sification and award 
of claims tor the tina! distritiution of money at Johnstown, and the said Committee be directed 
to report a complete plan for such distribution at the earliest possible day 

In pursuance of this resolution a committee was appointed, which occupied from tne 12th 
to the 15th in.-.t in personal investigation and othcial conference. 

The following, already printed in some of the Philadelphia papers t)n the 17th inst , will 
give som.e idea of the situation as then existing : 

"The official boards are known as the Hoard of Finance, uhich has contr.d of the relief 
funds sent directly to Johnsto\vn. and the Board of Inquiry, which receives, classifies and 
passes upon the claims of the tlood sufferer-. 

■■Both of these boards derive their .lUth.jrity from the Johnstown people assembled in town 
meetings, and are thoroughly representative, having for their meral)ers some of the ablest and 
most highlv respected citizens of the place Upon them the Commission depends for the infor- 
mation needed to properly distribute the funds donated for the relief of the sutlerers. 

" Some weeks since the Board of Inquiry reported to the Commission that the registration, 
classification and award for the entire C. inem.iie.;h V.illey, complete, and upon tlie same 
day the Comnii-sion voted away all the money tiien in its fund- -the sum of J500 000 to be im- 
mediately distributed to the needy classes according to the findings of the Johnstoun ISoard 

■■The payments ha-.e been made under the supervision of Judge Cummin and Mr J i-; 
Kremer. the Secretary of the Commission, and ceased on Aiicust 17th, it ha\ing been loiind 
necessary to fix a limit of time to induce people to call for the money. It was wisely considered 
that the first payments, being partial, would aflord the experience needed for a final di-trilnition 
The decision for a partial distribution has been completely justified. 

■■ The John..,town Bo.irl did it- w-.rk conscivntiniish-, and supposed it had obtained every 
proper claim, but already i, 100 new claimants ha\e appe.ired. Serious duplicates iia\*e alsi.t been 

324 THE STORY OF J(>//XSrO\r.\. 

discovered and some erronuoiis cI.TisincatiDn, Thus to secure the money for those intended hv 
thedonors. a complete review of the entire list « as required. Thisis now beiiis; dom- liy the local 
board and is showint; the new claims to l)e mainly f,'roundless, besides correcting; other errors. 
This board is wm-Uiny rapidi)-, althonu'h taxed beyond physical endurance. The Flood Com- 
mission is absolutelv dependent npon the Johnstown Board for the facts upon which to act. and 
the collection a:.ii .i^siinilatioii of these f.icts, involving; the v.iried intere.-,ts of more than 20,000 
people, is the t.isk of llercides 

■■ The Commission s Committee met with both the local boards separately and in joint ses- 
sion, and between the three organizations a complete understanding; and co-operation exists." 

These conferences evolved the statement of a set of principles which are proposed for the 
control of the tinal money distribution, which the committee have incorporated in a report to 
the Commission If this report is adopted and its resolutions made the act of tlie Commission, 
the money now on will be di-itriinited as soon as the Board of Inquirv completes the re- 
classitication of claim-., which justice to the interested sufferers requires. 

The curiously complicated facts, the accidental errors, the attempts at fraud developed by 
the rei;istration the formulatin.i; of principles of classification, the nice discrimination required 
in the assignment of claims to classes needed to prepare the entire question fiir consideration by 
the Commission, is a work that cannot intelli,t;entl\ be described in the brief space at command 
and can only be comprehended by actual experience 

The Commission desires to assure the donors of the fund that the best industry. intelliKcnce 
and energy at command has l^een applied to the discharge of their great trust. 

The situation at Johnstown is encouraging The first distributions of money have inspired 
the 7>eople and much life, eneri'v and proi»ressive spirit are being displayed in restoring the 
town I'here is ample employment, at good pav. for all willitig to work. 

The following e.xtract from a letter written under date of iiA mst , by an olTicer of the Board 
of Finance, will be read with interest. Referring to the work of the Board of Inquirv ■ 

■They are exercising the highest kind of judicial functions, and they will encounter a great 
inan\- cases in which thev will h.i\e to collect the e\'idence before making a decision. I ha\e 
been frequently in conference with them in regard to the apfilication of the principles which 
are to govern them, and I can assure you that the work is difficult, and it is impossible to hurry 
it. I think the feeling of the people here has greatly changed. They are more concerned now 
in having a proper and equitable distnbutior. than m having a speedy distribution " 
By order of the Flood Relief Commission . 

J. B. Kremek, Si-n\-i,:}y. 

At a niectint; of the Ccimnii>-,ic)n on September 13th a plan was prcsentcil 
bv a coniinittoe appointeil for tlie ptirpnsc for a final iiistrilniti(3n to the citi- 
zens of the ConenianL;li \ alle\ . This plan had received lon'g; ami tlilitjent con- 
sideration. It conteinplate(i i^MNim; particular attention to the following; classes 
of snfferers : 

First. — Widows ami orphans, maile so by the flood, who lost their all 

Second — Widows, orphans and old and infirm persiDns, not made so by the flood, but who 
lost their all. 

Third. — The same classes as above, but who were not entirely dependent upon this charity, 
having some other property. 

Fourth — Persons other than the above who suffered a t'ltal loss by the tlood 
Fifth. — Such as lost he,a\-ily f'y the tlood, having some means yet at their command, but 
needing assistance to i^ne them a fair ^nrt. 

On this general plan the Ci uninission decided to make an ap[iropriation 


lit Si. 600. 0011. alunit all the iikuua at coininaiul, ami insttncti.'il tlir Sccri-tar\- 
to ii-\"isc tlu' list ami maki- iia\iiicnt at tliu earliest [rnxsilile ila\'. 'I'his weirk 
was puslie.l rapidh ami tlie jM\inents Ueuan eaii\- m ()cti>ber. 

Stcadih' tile pa\ineiits went on, the' Se(-re'tar\- aetini; in ciMincctioii with 
the liuard of I;ii|air\' on L;eneral rules laid down tor hint li\' tile Conmhssion. 
It had lieen intended to di\ ule the riainiants inti 1 classes, '.iixinL; a ti.xid pi-rcenl- 
aye of their losses to those in each class. Lnt this was tonnd irn practicable, 
']'he eircnnistaiices \"aried so :4reati\- th.U it he'e.anie in realit\" an adjustment 
of each case, based npcm the data furnished by the .ipplieant on the bl.mks 
suppliedi for the purpose and from intormation otherwise recei\'ed. Thus it 
happened that persons noniinalh' in the same class receixed proportions of 
thiir losses wii.lel\" \ ar\in'.:. 'I'Ik amounts ranL;ed from ^IO to SbO'j, the latter 
in ver\' few instances. Out rif si.\t\-one hundred ap[ilications tiled about a 
thousand x\ere rejected for dilterent reasons. i>ome were too trillim; tn justif\' 
the labor ol an in\"estiL;ation. others were handed in b\' we:dth\' penide who 
neither needed nor deserved charit\". and a small number \\"ere fraudident on 
their face. L!\" December ist the pa\inents had been \irtiiall\' completed and 
the accounts closed. e.\ce[it in cases where grounds were presented suffuient 
to warrant l.irther consiijeration. The final account of the Commission will 
sliow about as follows ; 


Monev sent direct to Go\ernf)r Beaver, exclusive of turjied 

over by the Relief Commit'ee of New York $1,224,885 

Friim the t*hiladelphia ICeliet 1 onitnittee 600,000 

From the Pittsbiitizh Relief Committee 560,000 

From the New York Relief Committee 516, 199 

Total $2,901,084 


For Supplies. Cost of Distribution and Labt:)r. . . about $105,000 

For Buildinys " 175,000 

For Freight on Supplies '■ 10,000 

For Transportation of Flood Sufterers " 60,000 

For Hospital and Morgue Expenses and Burial of the Dead (some 

items \"et unaudited) " 25,000 

For First I'avment to Classes :. 2. 5. 4 and 5 " 420,000 

For I':nment, .Appropriation of September 15th " 1,600,000 

For In\e>tment to secure -\nnuities for Orphans ■' 150,000 

Total ?2, 545.000 

Paid out f.jr Classes 4 and 5, and reserved for applications under con- 
sideration, etc 356. 0S4 

Discontent with the a\vanls in man\' cases was emphatic. tindiiiL;' \ent fre- 
quentU' in the most intense- criticisms of tlie methods adopted. Charges of 
.gross lavoritism and unjust discrimination in favor of near friends were freeh' 



made against members of the I'liard of Inquiry, whose duty was to inve'^tiLTatc 
statements of losses and gix'e orders wh.atcMT sums thev cleemcd just and 
equitable. I'^xception was taken in a few instances to the aflidaxit each appli- 
cant hail to nial^e bel^ire getting; an\mone\', but this was of niinur iuijiortance. 
I'ar more se-rious \\a■^ the allei;ation of v, iltul. deliberate, premeditated attempts 
on tile piart of a number of resitlents to swindle the Comniissidn b\' obtainin.,' 
more than their fair proportion of monex . One citi.^en is actimllv said to have 
flletl a statement claimiiiL; a loss of over ^40,000. \\!iile he was not in business, 
and had neitin-r house nor land in the flooded reL;ion. The arrest and jmnish- 
ment of some of the people who filled their cellars and closets at the expense 
of real sutferers. too modest to parade their necessities, would ha\e hail a salu- 
tar\" elfect. 

Piu'suant to instructions adoptetl at the mectini; of the Commi---,i(-in on 
October 2^d, in Philadelphia, the Secretar\' paid claims on this basis: 

On Irisscs in Class 4 as est:»blished by the Beard of Inquiry, im S300 and less, according to 
the merits of each case, a sum not eNceedini; s^oo. 

On losses ot i^oo and not o\ er according to the merits of each case, a sum not exceed- 
ing 5f>oo. 

On losses between si 000 and 52.000. according to the merits of each case, a sum not 
exceeding sSoo 

On losses of over S2.000, a pro-rata proportion of the amount remaining But no pa\ ment 
to exceed the sum of 

Pa)'ments were by checks printed on piidc paper, front a form designed 
expressK' for the Conitiiissioi^.. Each read as follows in lilank : 

1^0. * 

^ohnsfoWfi, pa., 188S). ^ 

fp'i^G pirsi jNlaiione.l Sank of ^o}7r\sioWn, pa.., ^^ 

-y i'l pai^ io \\iz ©rder of. 


ui lull of .111 il.iims a-3in=t thi: fiiiid contributv;.! for the Relief of the FInnci SuiTei 
Coiiemauyll V.illts . lii tht haiicls ,.f the 1-lood Rdief Coniiiiissi..n. 

Seeret.arv Flood Relief Conn 

One C'f the most imj^ortant actions of the October meeting ^^as the estab- 
lishment of an orplKiTis' trust fund, tlie aggregate an;ount ol \vhich will be 
about Si^, to pa\' idiiitiren who were tliq)ri\'ed of their parents b\' tile 
flood the sum of iijio a } ear until each attains the a-ge of sixteen. This pru- 
dent action was suggested by Mr. Miller, v.iiose recommendation v>as heartih 
seconded b\" his associate's. L'uder its iiro\ isions widows ^vlth \oung cliildren 


and orplian?; l)eIo\v sixteen will have an annual inrome, insteatl u{ iecei\ ni'^ 
the principal at once anJ incurring' the chance cif loss or unwise expenditure. 
When the last child reaclu-s the prescribed a^e the fund will he exhausted. 
'1 he ]dan \\ .is cantully studied, in every detail, and the niuuev will bi- paiil 
at a specific date each year by a lohnstown bank. 

In the early da\ s of the di?a>ter burin! of the dead coidd iiot be attended 
w ith the care that was desirable, nor were the records as perfect as they shoidd 
have been to be usefnl. This is not a inatt(.-r fc>r criticism, rs any one can bear 
Witness who was at Johnstown dininji those da\ s. but is a cause for regret. 
\\ ith a \iew of pa\ ini; prc-pcr respect tc^ the unknown dead scattered in inan\' 
localities, and at the .--ante time to perfect as far as possible the reconls. the 
Conimission authoiizi'd the Secretary to arrange for a permanent pi, ice of 
burial. The trustees of the Graiui \'ie\v Cemetery havini; presented an eligible 
plot of ground, a fund was set apart b\' tlie Comnussion to keep it in }n.-rpettial 
order. The work of re-interment ended the last ilayof Xo\eml>cr aiul was the 
means of restoring to their friends the l)odies of deceased persons. 

TInouiihout ail its operations the Comuii-^sii.n aimed to woi k in full liar- 
mon\- with the Finance Committee and the Board of Inqu;r\- of Jolmstown, 
both of \\ hich had been appointed at public niec tin_;s to represent the citizens 
of the \alley. Thonyh dilferences arose as to methods, yet in e\ery case the 
plan llnallv adopted met witli the full concurrence of both local liodies. 
Chafing at the delay in j>a_\in<:;. wiiicli the sulierers did not understand, was 
cjuite natural. The position of attairs was touched upon in a letter from Gm- 
ernor IJeaver, on October 2^t\\. to the Mayor ot Concord, X, II., ackno\vled;- 
ing the receipt of a contribution. The Governor said : 

" The problem which confronts our Commission, n.imely ; The proper distribution of the 
Sreat fund which has come under their control, has been givt-n very caretiil and l.iborious con- 
sideration It ia comparatively easy to make provision for the widows and orphans, the help- 
less and the infirm : but careful scrutiny and wise discretion are necessary in apportionini; funds 
to those who have suaered property losses, so as not to overstep the bounds of charity and 
enter the domain of indemnity. Our Commission, after having distributed a lar|.'e amount to 
\\idows and help'ess people, and providing for the investment of funds uhich will yitld a small 
annual income to orphans until they arrne at the ai;e of lo. are now engaged in the task of en- 
deavoring to put those who were utterlv prostrated, so far as their business was cuncfrned. upon 
their feet, in order to enable them to resume their ordinary avocations After this is done, 
other questions affecting the general welfare of the community which was congregated in the 
Conemaush ^■alley, and of the wants which may be delevoped by the approaching winter in 
other localities, will be fully considered. 

"In the hurry and excitement immediately attending the tlood in June, dead bodies were so 
numerous, and the facilities fi-r removing them to p'roper places of sepulchre were so meai;re, 
that they w'='re interred at \arious points most con\enient to the point of discovery. Our Ct.^m- 
i:iissioii is now engaged in re-interring them in one place in the general cemetery near Johnstown. 
Many bodies, unidentified at the time of burial, are being identified, and a careful record of 
everything by which the body can be identified hereafter is being kept. Other charitable work 
of this kind will doubtless sug'jest itself to our Commission when sve dispose of the more press- 
ing questions .vhich nuu confront us 

32S 77//:" sro/n' Of /o/f\sTO\i:\: 

" It is dift'icult fur those who are not f.imiliar with the situation of affairs in the Coneniaujjh 
V.ilhjy to rtMli,!e tlie utter prostration of an entire comniuiiit}' such as occurred there. It is 
httle wonder that rehahililatinn is slow and diflkiilt; hut couraj^e and self-lielp are bein" de- 
veloped, and in the end I have no doidu th."t Johnstown v. dl he n .,tored to more than its furnier 

■'The cliarity which has tlourd in a constant almost without intermission since the 
second da}' of June toward the sufterers in our State \v.\^ iieen a constant benediction It has 
come from all parts of the civilized world. As the recipient of it, in iaige dtj^ree. I have been 
brought into very close contact with it. and have been cheered in the midst of so much that was 
depressing by this marvelous exhibition of the beautiful side of human nature. Our thanks are 
due to the good people of Concord for this exhibition of their charity, which, I assure you. is 
\'er\* warmly appreci.ited 

/'reference was giNen the eiti/eiis of Johnstown in all work performed liy 
direction of the C<"jniini>sion. The rule \vas carrieil out \vhere-\ er practicalile. 
that, in the eniplminent of perM.pns in aiu' ca)iacit\\ citizens of the Coneniant.dl 
\'alle\ shoukl recei\e the fast attention. I"or ine(liialities or discrepancies in 
the amounts paid applicants the lioartl of In(]uir\" is responsible. The last re- 
vision will rectify these errors a-- as possible, and wind up the labors iif a 
liod}' remarkable not less for th.e loft\- character and eminent ser\ ices of its 
members than for the exalted purpose which called it into bein;;. The mem- 
bers of tlte Commission not oid)- ser\ed without compensation, but all contri- 
biiteii lilx rall\- to the relief fund and paid their i5wn expenses, drawing not one 
cent from the treasury for personal outla\'. Their rewarti is the consciousness 
of duty well performed, the ajijuobLition of the pidilic an.d the well-earned 
plaudits of thousaiuls of orateful hearts. 

In the choice of its Secretarx the Ccmimission was particularly fortiir.ate. 
It was essential to secure a man of inte;_;ritv, experience in auditing accounts, 
skilled iu h.mdlino' large sums of mone\- and possessing tact and etticiency in 
dealing \\'\\A\ complex questions. Mr. Kremer. \vho was at the time a General 
Agent of the Li\'erpool and Londcm File Insurance Com[ian\ . haxim; charge 
of a part of rennsyhania and .Marxland. Delaware and the I">istrict of Col- 
umbia, unaniinousK- selected. Me was well known as a business man in 
I'hilailelphi.i, where he hacf been engaged in insurance for years. He is a son 
of the Ke\-. A. II. Kremer. j)astor of the Keformed Church at Carlisle, the 
home of J. V>. at the date of his ap[)ointmeiit. Mr. Kremer was a student at 
Dieidn^-on College, Carlisle, for \-ears. but was graduated from I'ranklin ,ind 
Marshall College. Lancaster, I'a. . m iSfo. Connected for some \ ears \\ith 
the Lancaster schools, he gained distinction as a teacher. Entering the in- 
surance business, he soon rose to positions of trust and n's[ionsibilit_\'. 
achie\ing signal succc'ss. The compan\'. at the urgent request of Cjov- 
ernor P.ea\'er. uranteti him permission to accept the Secretaryship of the 
Flood Commissiiin because of Ids peculiar ad.iptatii ui to the work'. Ilis pr.ic- 
tice in adjusting lire rendi-red him familiar with the }">repar,ation 
and settlement of claims for damages. His elforts to pro\'ide suitable burial 

/7.oor> ri:lii:f commissiox. 


for the unkoun duaJ rtsiiltLcl in the interiiient of o\ er se\eii huiulred uni- 
ili-ntifk-d \ictinis in Grand X'iew Cenieteix. As chairman of the cnnnnittec 
liavini; char,L;e ot this matter he laliored witli !-;reat zeal and had tlie satisfac- 
tion of seeini; his ideas carried out in thi'ir entu"et\'. ."scei etar\ Kremcr 
is in the \i;^or ol lile. aiua\s courteous aui-l ohiiyuiy, uith the iiualiues which 
commantl Listing respict and iriendship. 

In the tleath of jiulLje Cummin, who passed a\va\' at Cresson. th(^ Ccimmis- 
sion lost a capable member, tlie State a noble citizen, and iiiimanit\' a de\"u£ed 
friend. .Mthouyli the disease that carried him ott liad made i;'reat headway 
before he went to Johnstown, it was ai;L;ra\ated ami h.istened b\' liis efforts to 
assist the tlood sufterers. Few men within the inotlest ranL;e of a limited 
arena, not seekiuL,' public honor, have earned a hi'.^iR'r reputation for sterhn.::; 
integrity ami conscientious discharL;e of dutw Actini;' under tiie ad\ ice of 
his physicians, he made Cresson his headquarte-rs and <.lid a \(. ry^e amount 
of work. His ailment — l>riL;ht's disease — manifested itself painfulK, oliiigin,^; 
liim to ilesist from hibor. For two weeks lie suffered acuteK , bearing" the at- 
tacks witli e\emplar\" resignation and d\ing as peacefiilK' as an faUing 
into sweet sleep. Mrs. Cummin attended him constanth', soothing liis last 
moments l)\' her gentle jireseiice. The bod\' was taken to W'illiamsport, 
which honi")red the dead jurist with tlie largest ftineral the city had ever seen. 
Of Scotch-Irish ancestr\. he was born May 25, 1S41, at Liverpool, Perr\' 
Count\', Pa. Educated in thii public school at his nati\e \illage, he aftiT- 
wards became its teacher. In 1S62 he remo\ed to W'illiamsport, read law, 
and in T864 was atliiutted to the L\coming count\ '■ ir. ife enlisted in the 
army in 1^64, serving until the close of the war, when he returned home and 
practiced his profession. In 1S7S he was elected President-JudLje, retiring 
early in the present \'ear. When W'illiamsport was devastated b\ the flood of 
i\Ia\' 31, he de\oted his whole time to the relief of his untortunate 'leiuhbors. 
He was Chairman of the Citizens' Relief Committee, and so well thd he per- 
form his 'wcirk that Gox'ernor Ijea\er appointed him a member of the Flood 
Commission. Taking up his residence at Cresson, to l.>e near the scene of his 
Johnstown labors, he was stricken with the disease that terininated his useful 
career. Judge Cummin was married in May. 1869, to Miss Charlntte White, of 
W'illiamsport, who survi\'es him with one son. a student at Harvard Universitv. 
Ill the appointment of Judge Cummin the Governor no mistake. He 
was in the prime of life, acti\'e. slirew\l, \"ig(.irous, thorouLihK' versed in legal 
matters aiK.i gifted with the talents that ensure success. The storv" of' the 
Johnstown calamitx' and. the measures for the relief of the distressed people 
wcuild not be ccuiiplete without an earnest tribute to the- meiiiorx of Hui_;h Hart 

Although large business interests to engross their attention, the 
nieiiibers de\oted niuc'i time to the affairs of the Commission. (ioveriior 

330 Tin-: STORY OF Ji^nXSTOWX. 

Buavur was present at e\ l ry nieetini;. coiuluctci.1 an immense correspondence 
growing,' out of the disaster, aeknow kd-id cniitrihutiuns, answereti thousands 
of inf]uiries and did not ju-rmit tlie sni.illc^t detail to suffer from (.ielay or 
neglect. lie was not alone in this diliL;ent performance of duties not ahvaj's 
jileasant. fiach niemi><.r e.\hilMled laudahle vi-ilaiice in the effort to e.xpcnd 
the relief fund.-^ jiuliciou.-ly and do justice to all concerned. How far success 
crowned their they may conhdentK' leave the public to judge, assured 
that the \erdict -will be one to which in the coming years tiiey can point witl^ 
honest pride. 

1 Subsistence {^epot, H®. 3. '^ 


JULY, 1889, , S 

3 4 .■> G 7 S i) 10 11 VZ l;5 It 15 10 \ 

17 18 1!) 20 21 22 2:? 24 25 2() 27 2S 20 30 31 ;i 

This Card Not Transferable, and good only for the above \ 

Month and at the Depot above named. T) 


C. C. BERRY, Commissary. ? 



kxpi-:rikxci:s and obser\'atioxs. 

Recitals of DiFFtKtsT Survivors. Who Tkll of What Tiitv Um'ERWfnt ami Wit- 
NE-SEO — Trying Situatii^n cf a Family on Market Sikeet. of Whove Home Xot >, 
Vestii.e Remained — In Water if to the Neck — Houses Carried Av.'av and Xei.,h- 
BOks Borne Ix.wn the Current — Ladies Whose Courage Pin N'lit Falter in Time 
of Trial — What Two Citizens Saw in Their Travels Over the District — State- 
ments that Convey Some Idea of What Many People Endured and Beheld. 



j£;h all thinq<;— fan 
! all "riefanil riii- 


All woe and soiruu : lilcintli. 

On soul and hoily— bul we cannot die. 
Though we be skk and tried and l.tint and worn : 

Lol all things can be borne." — Elizaukih .Vker 

'T/ UIA"\\ES could be filled with recitals of experi- 

ences and obserxations. strangle, tryint; am! 
peculiar as Thomas De Ouince\'' s cpiuiii revt;- 
lations or Euyene Sue's lurid creations. An 
elderh' man, whose famih' and home were 
swallowed up. spent Fridax' nii.clit on a root, 
which rolled and creaket! with ever\- nicnx-- 
uient of the waters hv which it was surroundeii. 
Five other men and two women were with 
him. scarce darini^ ti) breathe lest their refuse 
Ljive v\ay and precipitate them into the swim. 
The old iientleman had been xsurkiiiL,' in his 
\'ard. and wcire neither coat nor vest. He siu- 
fered terrililv from the cold, the drenchim:; rain almost freeziny^ him. At last 
one of the women drew off her flannel petticoat and wrappeil it about the 
shoulders of the sufferer, greatly to his relief. The whole party rt-ached shore 

332 Tin: STORY i>F /(V/\ST(Ur\. 

when dayli.L,'ht dawned on Saturtl.iy. Once tlnrini; the niL;ht, which l^eenled 
interininahle. the clock in the tnwer of the Catholic Church wa^; ncniced -^trik- 
in^f three. ■• Thank CjocI !' ' fervently exclaimed the a^ed pih^rinu ■■ it's three 
o'clock and will -^oon. he huht !" Fiitei-n minutes later l!ie clock struck tweh'e. 
The three strok'es that had excited attention were the threeM]uarters cif the 
preceding; hour. C~)ne oi thi poor fellow r> saul : 

"It sounded like a funeral knell, 1 wa-. never so disappointed in mv life We all sup- 
posed it was three anii were watching for the tirst streak of dawn Tha' SLUne shed bitter tear.^ 
you may feel certain 

Shortly before the llood Entile Etoine left Camhria BorouL,di for his native 
town of Crecnville. in Alsace-Lorraine, to receive a fortune inh.erittd from a 
relative. He had been employed as a puddler at the Cambria Iron Works, 
and wife and li\'e children remaiuetl behind. Other person--^ claimed closer re- 
lationship tc) the dead luicle. biit at last lie recei\ed the nione\" and came back 
witli a draft \\ortli in his pocket. Reaciiing Johnstown on December 
20th, he had not heard of the disaster and did not recognize the place. Here 
is his sad experience : 

"When I got off at the r.ailroad station I turned back to one of the depot-men and in- 
quired how far I had yet to go to Johnstown, as I had i;ot oft at the wrong station, and how soon 
the next train left for that town The man looked at me for a moment as though he thousht I 
was not quite right in my mind, and asked me whether or not I could read the sign on the sta- 
tion house. I looked up, and there it was. plain enough While I looked at the sign in a dazed 
sort of way another man stepped up and said. ' I guess you re a stranger here, or have been in 
Johnstown before the flood ; its quite changed now t wouldn t have known it myself if I had 
been away for si.K months.' .-Vs the man spoke I felt as if someone had [)unctured m\ heart 
with a -harp knife, and I fainted dead awav. When consciousness returned I went out to find 
my wife and children, but something told me that they were dead. The part of Cambria City 
where stood the house in which I left my family was completely swept away. Nobody knew 
what had become of my family, and the people could hardly understand my sorrow and grief, 
having suffered so much themseKe-., I was told that nearly all the people of Cambria who in- 
habited that section where m\ house had stood perished. I am not going to remain in this 
country, Kver\ thing reminds me of the terrible loss I have sustained, and I will return to mv 
native land 

One evenin'..;. soon after the arrival of the Red Cross workers. Mrs. Sam- 
tiel Henrie. a retnned. preposses>inL; lady, entered the societ\'s headquarters 
anci. in conversaticiu with some of the ladies, gave the leading incidents in her 
tlood experience. Her home was it4 Market street, near the market-licnise. 
All the morning the faniilx' had lieen watching the water, for nianv hotises on 
the level were submerged sex'eral feet. Before noon it began to come in. so 
they took up the carpets ;ind -'-t uii the piano. Mr. and Mrs. Henrie. with 
their widowed daughter. ■graud--oa and a Miss Cireen. comprised the hiJiisehold. 
As the water rose hiuher and higher, they were forced to go np-stairs. li\- 
pectiiig the water wouki soon lower, amitl the excitement and f;itii;ue, tliev did 
not think to take an\thing to eat. After a time the\- thought of tltis, antl the 

E.xPKh'/r.xcEs .-Lv/i ( >/;.s/-:a'i:-i r/oys. 


Jnushtcr waded in v, ais-t-dcep ani_l L;ot a l(iaf uf bread. Tliis proved to he a 
u'ise foretlioimht. for it was all the}' had until the iiexc (la\-. not hein^;" .dile to 
^et down stairs again. Thev were watehin^ and waiting; for the water to lower, 
whei!. about three o'clock. Miss Grei-n walketi to the wnidow and said : ■■ Mrs. 
Henrie, 1 think the water i? failin:;." 

To (]Uote Mrs. lienries own lan,_;nai;e : 

■■I looked, and thou£;ht it had fallen aliout three inche>< : but hefnre I liad turned auav 
from the window I heard the roar and crash Mi-;^ Clreen said, ■ -M\ God' what is that-" I 
cried, 'Close the window, it is the reservoir " I knew instantly what it \v,;s Then we both fell 
on our knees and asked God to tell a^ what to dn This took only a moment We rushed to 
tl;e sewing-room, where we found my husband, daughter Ma^yie and grandson standing At 
tliat moment the compressed air knocked the top off the market-house Fallint; on our house. 
It crushed it and everything around us and at that corner of the street. We ran for the hall, 
my dau.ghter and myself much bruised Miss Green and Ma'.:i:ie spran:.; to a table which stood 
near, and with their iists and feet knocked out tlie window, I5\ that time the debris was piled 
nearly to the second-story window They climbed out upon it and pulled me through after 
them. My daughter called to her father to come, but he could not, for he had his little grand- 
son in his arms The house tilted and he was pushed and crowded, he hardiv knows how. but 
he got out and landed i5n the wreckage around us. It was onl\ a step to the roof of our house 
and I was almost helpless with terrnr Maggie tried to help me on the roof, but I clipped ,ind 
went down in the water to m> neck Her courage and strength seemed superhuman, and she 
pulled me out and pushed me on the roof. I helping myself but little. In her etlorts to help 
me she sank in the water to her arms , but she .said there seemed to be some force under which 
raised her to the sut'face again. I fear that but for this brave girl we would all have been 
drowned or killed Of course, we were all grea-tly excited, scarcely kno.wing what we were 
doing Only those who saw that oncoming mountainous terror can know what destruction and 
death it meant. But no one had long to dread it, so quickly it upon us, grinding, crushing 
and crumbling everything in its path 

■' When we were on the roof we looked and saw- that all Market Street had gone Our 
house, a little out of the current, still stuod on one side, crushed, but in its place. Directb the 
wire-mill came dashing down toward us When my husband said it was onlv a part of it I 
could not believe it ; it looked so immense as it jammed in just above us and crowded us out 
into the current, and away we went .ilmost to the stone bridge Here the jam was so great that 
the force of the current, was checked The back-water sent us out along Kenuille Hill In 
this short time the horrible scenes we witnessed were unspeakable .\t one moment we would 
see may-be a mother and children clinging to each other on a log, or roof, or house, when 
something wnuld strike it. giving it a ml! in the water which would send them under. I'ossiblv 
one might rise to the surface, but more probably the mass of wreckage would close over them 
all forever The ne.\t moment ,a monstrous tree, driven through the waters, would dash against 
another group, crushing them all In passing along through this death and destruction, we 
looked across Napoleon Street and saw our other daughter. Mrs Kate CTawson, who lived in 
KernviUe, sitting with her three children on a part of the roof of their house. The kitchen and 
dining-room had been swept away. We s,,(in lost sight of them, as we floated ab'>ut a square 
above and drifted in near Morris Street, .\s nearly as we could tell, the distance we were 
whirled was more than a laile. Here we seemed to stop, but the water was not quiet enough 
for us to attempt to get ofl until aiiout seen o'clock. 'I'hen w. climbed o\er h'-'usetons, logs, 
broken cars and almost everything, some men holding boards for us to walk on. and l.inded in 
Dean Canan's attic, getting in through the narrow window. We found eightv-two persons who 
had got there before us The water was not quite to the third-story in this house, and ,ill night 

334 ^y/A" STOA']- OF jo//xs'rnu:\\ 

we expected e%ery moment that it too would go. Hut it was i I.irt;e, substantial building and. 
not havinp; been struck by any heavy bod> . the force of the bacU-water did not niose it from its 
foundation. In all our perilous rides to this place there was not a scre.rm from one of us, nor 
a loud word spoken, nor a tear shed. In fact, there h.i\e been no tears of any account shed 
since It was too tireat a terror and shock for tears '. 

" .\fter the a-jony we had passed tiiroiuii we h>ped we were safe in this attic. Then the 
fire broke out and so tierce was it that by its light we could see and know one another's faces 
We sufiered from the added fear that it might spread over the entire town, not knowin.g who of 
our neighbors and friends were being consumed in its angry flames. I had my absent daughter 
and her children constantly in mind. Everybody was in a state of feverish excitement, a^sra- 
vated by fatigue and want of food, for no one had had any supper, and no one thought of it 
until nearly midnight when the children cried for bread Our little boy cried so piteously that 
we told him if he would go to sleep, when he wakened there would be something for him to eat 
— not knowing how it would come, or that it would come, .\t last the poor child fell asleep ; 
but for the rest of us it was a long, sleepless night, 

" When daylight began to dawn Mr. Henrie looked out for some way to get us to the hills. 
He saw on the wrecka.:e at some distance a man with a loaf of bread which he said was for an 
aged lady. When told that she had already gone to the hills, and Mr. Henrie asked him for 
the bread, he put it on the end of a long pole and reached it to him. This bread was broken 
into small bits and given to the people. .\ small piece was handed to my dau.;hter and me 
Remembering what we had told our Utile boy. we could not eat it. but kept it until he should 

" For all the blessings of a lifetime I was never so thankful as when we got into that aiiic 
Although all m.y life I have taken an active part in church and Sunday-school. I always seemed 
to be afraid to pray in public But when 1 got into that hou^e. and Mrs Canan came to me 
and said I must have dry clothing, our arms went around each other s necks, a right glad shout 
went up and I prayed loudly. 

'■ About iiine o'clock on Saturday morning we endea\ored to i;et out of this crowded place. 
A plank was reached across from our w indow to the window of the large building next to us. 
We walked on the plank, through houses and over houses, until we got to the hill, when we 
went to the house of a German family named Wahl Here food was offered us. but I had no 
appetite, thinking that ray daughter and her children were drowned after we saw them sitting 
on the roof the nicht before. Soon word came that they had been rescued and were near us on 
the hill. I started to run down to find them, but fell from exhaustion and could get no farther 
for some time. Maggie, delighted, to hear that her sister was alive, ran on. When she era- 
braced her sister and told her v.e were all living. Kate sank in a dead faint. It was hours before 
we could restore her to consciousness. This meeting was near Mrs. Rose's. She called them 
in and showed every kindness, bringing the best she had in the house to put on Kate, who had 
lost everything but the wet clothes she had on. From fright, exposure and cold her jaws 
were set. and for a long time she could, not speak understandingly. 

"After my little grandson heard me pray that niiiht. he said. 'Grandmother, don't be 
afraid, we won't be drowned '' I did not reply to the child at that time, but a few da\s after- 
ward I asked him why he thought we would not be drowned when we were so near it. He 
said, ■ Vou always told nie if I said mv pra\ers I would be saved' — not understanding that I 
meant his soul instead of his body Perhaps such faith as that saved us 

Before noon Mr. Clav,-?o;i's brother, frnm East Lilierty. found the Henrios, 
in searching; o\er t!ie Ker^^•ii!e hiU. Had h.e .gone around on the other side 
of the ri\er. no one can teii how lon'4 it woui^i h.a\e been before he conld ha\"e 
reached them, as there was no wa}- of crossing the creek, except far below. 

KXPKRfi:xcj:s . i.\/> ( '/■•s/-:a' i :i rn ^xs. 335 

Next inornins; ^Ir. Clawsoii started with ])nrt of tlic family and Miss Grcoii for 
East Libcrtw The nearest ))omt where the\ eouM talce- tlie train was San^ 
Hollow. The\' foiinu a nK>ii who let them riile to MorrehN iUc He nearh' 
crazv with ^rict, having; lieen told that liis wife and six children were Kim; 
dead. It was a frii^htfulh' mad ride. The UMn droxe as fa^t as In; eould ,l;"o, 
o\'er almost < \er\ tlim_;\ Se\eral times. \\die;i the\' couKI endnre it rio loii'.;i.-r, 
the ladies spoke to him. but he said he was not (.lri\'in.L; ver\ fast. In his sor- 
row he coidd think of noihinLC hut his eauerncss to reaeli the scene of his 
former home, and on thc\ dashed. \Mien the\' reached Morrelhulle. more 
dead than ali\e. he found tiiat the dread lepurt was true. His \vife and his 
children were l\iii!,' side by side. 

I'roin MorrelhilU.' the ,^irls liad to ^\aIk in the rain and mml f(.)ur miles to 
get the train, which was set crowded with da.-'eil and half-cra/et! people that 
thev xvere forced to be helped in throui^h the window. ^ileu actually climbeil 
on top of tile cars in their frantic haste to uet awav. The L;irls did not know 
thev were without hats until th.e\" left the car. tort\' miles from home. It would 
have made no ditference it the\ had kncjwn — there were no hats to be hail. 

After Katt' and her children and Miss Green left them. Mr. and Mrs. 
Henrie and MaSL;ie went back to Mrs. W'ahl's and remained for two days. At 
that house they fed luiniirt.tls y,[ people, K'oing miles into the country for food. 
The\' were constanth' cookint;. and it was the same in e\'er\' house lett stanil- 
ing. Such w illinfjness to feed ever\ bod\' was never known before. 'I he 
generosity displayed by those who had dr\- clothing;, in ;,M\nnL;' to those who 
came out ot the water destitute and bareh' ali\e, soon reduced their wardrobes 
to what they had on and e-^tablished in the hearts of all an abiding' faith in the 
goodness of hiimanitv. 

Some days later, when the water had gone out. the Henries looked around 
for the remnant of their hcmie, ho[iin.i; to recover something. 'I hey found 
onh' the daughter's watch fastened in a dump of mud. and one li\e dollar bill 
out of < 200 that had b.'en put for safedieepiny^ in a trunk. Not e\'en a jvirt of 
the trunk was to be seen '. I'or all their lo.-^ses the\- did not grieve a moment. 
Their hearts were too full of thaiiksL;i\-ing that all the family had been sa\-ed. 
though a brether-indaw . Lh". Wagoner, and his entire famih' of nine were all 
lost. They lived on the same square and '>vere one of t'lftei ii f.imilies out of 
whicli onlv five persons were rescued. For eleven da\s Mrs. Henrie and her 
daughter assisted in the distrilnitinL; ro(jms of the Grand .\rmy Relief Corps, 
sent from Philadelphia. They lost e\'er\' article they possesseil and IukI to 
start life aL;ain. This was the second time !Mrs. Henrie had been wreckeil by 
cruel floods. 

.\bout noon on the da\- of the flood .\le-.\aniler .\dair aii'l Richard Eyre 
left the Merchants' Hotel to note the w.iter and inspect the stone bri(l'.;e. 
The}- could not go directly to the bridge, owing to the depth of the water on 


the flats, and went up Railroad strt-ct to W'lioilvale. Crosbing the Conemauf;h, 
they proruei-led on the railroad track \.o Morreilvillc. The road-bed wai all 
right that distance except just above the freii;lit station, where a new side. 
track was washed awa\' and a freiLjht train had alreaih' gone tlown. Thev 
stopped at Morrell\ille about ten minutes. The street-car station was closed 
and the business of the road suspended. At ten minutes after two o'clock they 
started back and at the lower end of CamLiria met a freight train of four cars. 
The engineer called to Mr. Adair that he had just come from East Conemaugh 
and was tokl that the reservoir might ineak aiu' minute. The\' went on to the 
street running parallel with the railroad and warned a number of people. 
Meeting the Burgess of Cambria they told him what the engineer had said. 
He replieci that neari\- all the people were out of their houses and that he 
would see that further warning was gi\en. Near the bricfge they met a man 
who said there had been two telegrams rjf warning receivetl at East Cone- 
maugh. It was now about a quarter after three o'clock. They remained half an 
hcmr at the bridge, watching people being taken out on rafts from second-story 
windows in Millville. Suddenly they heard a shout, and saw people running 
to Prospect. A moment later tlie fiig water came. The\' hastened down to 
where a train standing, and demanded that the cars be parted to let the peo- 
ple pass to the hill abo\ e Haws' Cement Mill. The train-men could not com 
ply, and the people crawled o\"er and under the cars. 

Mr. Adair and Mr. Eyre looked up the river and saw the hea\y 
iron liridge at the Point topple o\'er like a straw. Houses began 
to come thick and fast. Within two or three minutes the arches 
were closed bv the mass of wreckage, filled with people. As a liouse 
struck it would apparently shoot the occupants out at the top. There 
was very little shrieking. The people seemed to be stimned. Many men 
went to work to save the victims. The first person recognized, after 
probably a dozen women and children had 'tieen rescued, was Miss Carrie 
Higson, who walked off as deliberately as though going down the gang-plank 
of a steamboat. She was taken from her own house, which stood on Walnut 
street. Next to be sa\ed and recouuized were Miss Carrie McConaugiiN ; 
Miss Gussie Potts, whose fatht-T. Judi;e Potts, was soon afterward sa\ed : Mr. 
Kraft, the jeweler at the Lincoln Bridge ; J. G. Ludhim. Miss Genevie\"e and 
Rus. daughter and son of Cyrus Elder; Miss Kate I). Jenkins, the school- 
teacher and elocutionist ; Professor T. B. Johnston, Superintendent of Piil)lic 
Schools ; r^Irs. Anna M. Hay. James P. !McConaugh\-, who has since died ; 
Miss Magtiie McConauglu", w ho was vers' badh' hurt and was taken to Morrtil- 
ville, and Miss Florence McConaughy, w-ho would not leave the bank until her 
father, who was wedged in wreckage up to his armpits, was rescued. Several 
liours later the family of Robert Parsons, the tailor ; the Higson famih' ; a 
woman named !Mrs. Williams, from the Point ; Policeman John E>. Jones, of 

£.\T£A'/£XC£S .-/.\7) O/ISK/C r.l 7VchVS. 337 

the Johnstown force, who floated down on a roof witli thirteen others and was 
the only one rescued, tlie otliers having; said< liefore the brith^e was reached ; 
a woman, who said she started from the second toll-gate in Ilornerstow n ; Miss 
Marbonry, from Market street, and many others were taken out. Men, women 
and children came from all parts of the valle\' to the bridge. 

I'he wouni.ied and sick from the wreck were remo\ed to the drydvilns and 
boiler-houses at Haws' Cement Mill. Mr. E\rc crawled along the hillside 
clear to Kern\'ille ami secured some blackberr}' braiuh" fremi a Mrs. Davis for 
those who needed the stimulant. One entire family rescued from the wreck 
had the measles and were taken to Morrelh ille. 

One incident of the niuht's experience was a woman's refusing t(5 be re- 
mo\'ed from a ver\' bad portion ot the wrt ck until she had put up her hair ! 
Another poor woman, who was taken out in safet\' and placed in the house of 
Mr. Haws' stable-boss, kept crawling around on the tloor and pawing at the 
walls as if still trsing to free herself. .V husband and wife met on the road be- 
side the wreck. Each thought the other had been lust, and at sight of each 
other they embraced, sinking on their knees and offering prayer of thanks- 
giving for their safetw 

On Saturda\' morninu Mr. .\dair and Mr. E\'re made their wa\- back to 
town. They could see people on the housetops ever\'whcre. They hunted 
for a float and found one. To it the\' hitcheil Stewart Osborne's horse, which 
was tied to a post at the upper end of Kernville, and hauled it o\er the hill 
and down to Akers lS; Baiuner's slaughterw where the\' made a pair of oars. 
Mr. Adair and a brickla\"er named Painter went out in tiie boat ami brought in 
three loads of people, when the t>oat ga\e out. E. B. Entwisle and a friend. 
from !Moxham. came with two boats and rescued the people around there. On 
the hillside above the slaughtery Mr. Eyre met Mrs. Iv. H. Canan and daugh- 
ter, of Main street, at whose house he roomed, and went with them to find their 
friends. Mr. .\dair then acted as deput}' under Sheritt Stineman. His hrst 
station was at a rope bridge wliich he helped buikl from the stone bridge to 
the Cambria Iron Compan\-'s ground near the steel works — the first bridge of 
any kind to be constructed. Over this bridge all coffins, supplies, workmen 
and sulferers passed up town. 

Marie Dubenski. aged thirt\-fi\e, and her two children, se\ en and three 
vears respectiveh', sailed from EIungar\' last June, lan<ling in Xew York <m 
July 2d. The poor woman's lot was a sad one. Three \ears ago her husb.ind 
came to this countr^^ as man\' of his conntr\'men tlo. ti3 better his condition. 
He promised to send for his wife and ciiikiren as soon as he had earned 
enough to pa\' their w a\- hither. The last letter she recei\-ed from him 
dated April 30th. She grew tired waiting to hear from him ag.iin. With 
what little mone_v he had sent her and through the assistance of relatives she 
set sail for this countrx. She was taken care of h\ the Emigration Commis- 

33^ THE STORY OJ-' /('/i.XSTOUW. 

sioncrs of Ca'^tlr Garden and expected e\tT\ da\' to hear from lur hushand. 
A letter sent to her mother in the ol<i countrv, dated ,U Jnlmstown. came to her 
as she finished her breakfast on A;iL;nst loth. It bore the sail news that her 
Johann \vas ainon.,' those \\ho lost their lives at the Johnstown llood. Tiie 
dies cif the [loor wnman and her children, as the\' realized the sad fact, conld 
be heard away luU in tile IJattery Tark. Mrs. I^nbenski wa-^ ,i;iven aid h\ a 
Relief Couiniittee and sent back to her Hungarian home. 

Talking w ith me regarding the disaster, a few da\s after her arri\al. Clara 
Barton took this view of things, which fortunately prc^\ed not tc> be snstained 
by the resnlts : 

■' It is like a blow on the head -Then- are no tears, thev are stunned Imt, ah, sir ' I tell 
you they will awake after awhile, and then the tears will flow down the hills of this \.illey from 
thousands of bleeding hearts, and there will be weepins and'wailins; such as never before. 
You see nothing but that dazed, sickly smile that calamity leaves, like the crazy man wears 
when you ask him, How came you here'' Something happened, he says, that he alone 
knows : all the rest is blank to him Here they give you that smile, that look, and say, 1 lost 
my father, my mother, my sisters," but the)' do not realize ii yet. The Red Cross intends to lie 
here in the ("oneniaui;h Valley when the pestilence comes, and we are making ready with all our 
heart, with aM our soul, with all our strength The militia, the railroad, the relief commit- 
tees, everybody is workini: for us The railroad has completely barricaded us so that nrme 
of our cars be taken away by mistake. 

Couki htiman sorrow fathcmi greater depths of iiiiserv than it sonndeil in 
thotisands of casOs at Johnstown? 

.' y 




'■^^ ■ 




. 1 

■^.v / 

'\ ^X..::-' ! 

Miss >rAMiE Fink. 

Minnie Bracken. 
Minnie i^gle. 
CuKA Wagner, 

.Miss .Annie White. 
Mrs. T. Williams. 
Miss Minnie I.inton. 

Lal'ra Hamilton. 

Miss Mary White. 

Katie Bracken. 

Bertha Hoffman. 
Mbs- .\le.\andi-:k Keck. 


/- r^^^y 



PATHETIC SCENES AND IN'CIDEXTS. Separations From LovEn Ones^A Brother's Agony — How a Wife and 
Daughter Were Lost — A Fikowning Wife's Last Kiss — A Faithful Lover's Vigil — 
Affection that Deith Could nut Subihe — Relics of the Missing at Alma Hall 
— Weird Collection of Souvenirs of the Disaster — Terrible Grief of a Sorrow- 
ing Maiden — Fate of a Young Bkide — An Aged Citizen's Sore Misfortunes — 
Distressing Occirrences of NLanv Kinds. 

on a !• 

H. '] HE PAGES cf pathetic, scml-rendinL; scones anil inci- 
dents, observed iiersonalh or gle.metl from tile treinblinL; 
lips of pale surx'ivors. that iiiiuht \iv \\ ritten ! Ev<r\ - 
wliere could be hcartl tales of cruel partings, heart- 
breakin!!;' separations and bitter experiences. Shocking 
sights t'lUed the mind with a nameless terror, producing 
impressions not to be dismissed li,L;hth". Crowds of 
sufferers moved and acted as if dazed b\' their atllictions. 
staring at strangers vacauth' and seldom reci ionizing 
intimate friends. One shuddered to In ar a berea\-i-d 
husliand and father tell with stom calmness how his 
wife and children A\ent down in the angry waters. 
Despair drove main" a poor creature to the verL;e ot 
insanitw inducing brain fe\er or ni'rvrms 
God alone k'ncw the grief in liomes still inhabited, from 
which liuiit and joy and hope had lied forcer. The un- 
aining, silent, crusliliiu' woe that drains the \ ery lifedilnod \\as imprinted 
■gion of pinched faces. The vain search for dear ones furrowed tleop 


lines in cheeks latch' rouiuled and blooming. Men and women li\'ed long \'rars 
in one terriMe week, auing prematurely. Homeless ihoiisani-ls wandered list- 
lessly, with no SDOtliiii'-; presence to sotteii the blow which had ir.tlicted an in- 
curable woiuid. Hundreds sat on the hills and gazed wistfulh' upon the deso- 
lated waste, all the\\hiie beinoaning their IfU'ed and lost. Earth had no solace 
for the gn.iwing ache whii h e\"en Time, the great healer, can ne\'er efface. 
Heaven pity the icy, stolid, unnatural being whom the agonizing spectacles 
eiicounterid on ever\' han'l did not mo\ e to tearful svmpatlix' '. 

James Elgin came to Johnstown on i\Ionda\- after the llood to attend the 
wedding of his sister, fixed for \\'ednesda\-, June 5th. He kiu-w that a disaster 
had taken place, but had no idea that his famil\- was invohed. His agony 
may be imagined upon learning that his mother and three sisters had been 
dro^vned and that his father was demented over the calamity. The old gentle- 
man was cr\'ing like a child, and asking those he met ; 

" Did you see them ' Did you see them go down ' They will come back for the wedding to- 
night. She for her bridri! wre.-ith " 

C_\rtis Elder, solicitur of the Cambria Iron Companx', returned from 
Chicago in the forenoon, \\'ater surrounded his residence, hindering him from 
getting home. His wife and daughter stootl on the porch, wa\ ing their 
handkerchiefs to welcome him. During the afternoon he procured a boat 
somebody had constructed of ri.iu.;!i boards and endea\-ored to reach his famih'. 
The craft upset, spilling Mr. Elder into four feet of water. .He waded back 
and entered his brother's for a change of clothing. \Miile he was put- 
ting on dry garments the rlood o\'erwhelmed lohnstown. His elegant home 
wa^-- utterly ilestroyed. Mrs. and Miss Elder going down with the wreck, to be 
seen no more. The husband and father w-as spared, his life blighteij bv a sor- 
row that can have no alle\ iation this side the grave. Death, inflexible and 
unrelenting, had stilled the voices whose sound was sweetest music and pre- 
vented the meeting so fondly anticipated. Both ladies were singularh" ami- 
able and accomplished. Miss Eklerwas a loveh- girl, and her untimeh- fate, 
in the flower and beauty of winsome maidenhooil. excited profound regret. 
Could the Scottish bard's elegv be applietl better : 

" The [.ireiit's heart that nestled fon.l in thee. 

Th.i: he.irt, how suTik, a prev to grief and care! 
So duck-d the woodbine suett'von av'edtrce; 
S.J from It ravished, leaves it bleak and hare. ' 

Policemen John Reese climbed on the roof of his house and was assist- 
ing his wife when the building fell, crushing the lad\. She threw a kiss to 
her husband with lier dv'ing gasp, as the \i-aters closed over the faithful heart 
whose last thn.ib showed the (juenchless, unselfish love that is Hea\en's 
choicest gift tn man. 

Tw-o of the fifty persons ',vho died in the Hull>ert House were Miss Carrie 
Diehl. of ShippenshiirL;. and Miss Jennie W'l'IIs. of Tioga count\', a teacher in 

PATHETIC SCF.Xi:s AX.n /.\'( 7/V;.\'7:- 


tlic lolinstown schonk. The furmer was bi-tictlRil to William Oclur, of 
Philadelphia, a worthy yoiin^ man wlio tra\cK for a wliolcsali' firm. The triu; 
lover sot out for Johnstown imnu'diatcly upon lu'arin^' of tlio disaster, cumin;,' 
to Harrislnirg. Thence he went to ChamherslmrL;. hopin',;^ tc^ yet thrc)iiL;h by 
the Baltimore il' Ohio road. Tra\ el was cut olf and he walk'ed across the 
Cfnintry. .\rriving at Johnstown on Taesda\- nic«rnini;. the second l>cid\ he 
saw in the Fourtii-ward sch.oold)nildin,L; was Miss Diehl's. Near her was Miss 
Wells, an intimate friend, whose home was inaccessible. Mr. Orhcr hai.1 the 
two girls jnit in coffins and carried to tlie track cif the Ilaltlninre t*v; Ohio rail- 
road. They hail to lie in the ditch by the siile of the rails, where the mourn- 
ing lo\er kept constant vigil for fi\e hours, until a train would st.irt for Rnck- 
wood. The tedious j(-iurney to Shippeiisburg with the two bodies ended on 
Wednesday afternoon. A crowd aw.aited the arri\-al (j1 the remains at Ship- 
pensburg. and the interni(.'nt took place on Tlinrsdu\- from the home of Miss 
Diehl's parents. Mr. Ocher's de\oti(^n e\-nked the warmest trilnites of praise. 
It was a toiu hing siglit to see him sitting Ix-sidc the coffins, guarding them as 
a trust\ Sentinel would w.itch the costliest treasure-, committed to his care. 

A battered trunk on Main street, half the lid broken off, contained some 
photographs and a dozen love letters, each si_;ned ■•YcMir O'a ii Mary." Who 
sent or who recei\'ed the Inissi^•es could not In- iletermined. as nom^ bore a lull 
naine or aildress. On the w.ill of one building floated from ICist Cone- 
maugh hung a few photographs, dumb tokens of aftectionate regard that 
touched ,1 gentle chord in the beh.olders. 

-A young bride was liorne to the gra\'e on the last Siinda\- in Jiil\- under 
circumstances especially distressing. Se\eral membt-rs of her fatluT's famih' 
perisb.ed in the t1ood. '.\hich swrpt off all their propert\ . The lover to whom 
this girl had plighted her troth asked that the marriage ceriinoin be per- 
formed. He' wished to be with the household and ilo what he could for its 
support. A solemn weclding to<>k place, but the bride did not recox'er her 
spirits. The shock to her delicate system was lie\(ind mortal help and she 
became weaker day liy day. .\ slow fever set in, which ended fatalh'. Th.e 
gejitle sufferer ne\"er complained. ret;retting only the grief her departure would 
cause the loved ones whose efforts to prolcing a life so dear were unavailing. 
Thus (.lieci Mrs. John H. 1 honipson. one of the heart-broken \ictims of the 
dreadful calamity that o\erwhe!meii the C'oneni,inL;h Walk.'W Is it am- wonder 
that manly brows are seamed and loving hearts withered b\' corroding, canker- 
ing grief ? 

An esteemeii resident of Johnstown was the \(.-nerable Judge I'otts. Just 
fifty years ayo he went to the little '.'illage rm tlu? Conem.aii'^h. a place then of 
small pretensions and sp.arse population. The \-oum; str;in-er [iracticeti law, 
filled nian\' offices of trust and respcmsibilitx' as the \"e,ars rolled b\', and was 
long a li/adiug citi/en. Hi.- occupii.d a prett\' home, with nice L^rouiuis, tfowers, 

344 77//; .V7V)AM^ Of- /il//XS7VirX. 

fruits and all the coinfurts a liluTal taste required. There he hoped to pa--s 
his last \ears peaeetull\' and ehise his eyes when the iiiial niessaL;e came. .\ 
beloved thiuj^hter was swept away with the pleasant honre l'\ the delu,L;c. 
wlueh left not a trace of the building or its ceuitt. uts. The onl\ thing recovert'd 
was a sih'er spoon, the one relic of the hospitable dwelling known to e\-er\- man, 
woman and child in the settlement. Among the lost tn-asnic is wtic books, 
papers and original manuscripts which cannot fie duplicated. ')'he\' coiitaint'd 
a \ast amount of matter relati\e to the early d.iX'- of ]ohnstown. the L;row-th (if 
its industries and the de\elopment of its varied resources. in them were em- 
bodied the lesidts of a halt-centiir\" of careful obsurvation and res(.-arch. from 
which to compile an accurate history of the district. How sev-rel\- Judge 
Potts feels the loss of tliese iinahiable documents nia\' be inferred. He has 
gone to Oil Cit}' to live with his s(in. Such a case ma\' well awaken pit\- fcir 
the misfortunes of an aged man. deprived at a stroke of the possessions long 
years of delightful association rendered most precious. 

A resident of Market street saw his wife safe on land, and thmight his 
only daughter, a girl of twenty-one, was also saved. Just as he \vas making for 
the shore he saw her and went to rescue her. He succeeded in getting within 
about ten feet of land, when the uirl said, ''Goud-bye, father," and expired in 
his arms before lie reached the shore. 

In the distributirm of relief under militar\- author;t\' guards of soldiers 
would stand at short intervals to keep applicants in line and repel intruders. 
On one occasion a guard entered into conversation with a wonian in the row. 
She was telling a stor\' of distress, for the soldier looked about liastih' to a spot 
where canneil meats and bread were located and made a movement as if to obt.iin 
a supply for the woman. The eyes of brother sokliers and a superior officer 
were upon him and he had to resume his position. It was not unusual for the 
soldiers, under cover of dusk, to o\er-step their duty in order to serve some 
applicant w ho, through age or lack of physical strength, was poorh' eijuipped to 
bear the strain. All sorts of pro\ isions were asked for. One woman would 
ask boldl}' for ham, canned chicken, vegetables ami ifonr. .Vnotlur would 
approach timidly and Lie .glad to have a loaf of bread and a little coflee. 

The remains of Wallace McConaughy were l)lown out of the wreck at the 
stone bridge. The body was torn to pieces and would never ha\e been identi- 
fied but lor a receipt from \\". |. Rose & Son. which the \oung man h;id in his 
pocket. Other botlies were similarh" lacerated In' the d\namite, which was 
used to burst the logs so that the debris in the jam could be loosened and 
floated down the river. The dynamite was placed in holes bored into the 
timbers. When the log was broken a chain was attached to the parts; it was 
hoisted by a machine on the briilge and (.hopped into the current. 

Surprise has lieeii expressed at the nude condition in which main' l)odi(.'S 
of women were found in the ruins. Thev had their clothes torn from their 



backs \\'hile strnLjulini;' to fiL-o tliemsclx'cs fruiii tlic \\ icckaL;i.- of their lioiurs. 
Thi-'ir clothos woiilil In- caught lictwc'en timbers ami on spHntLreil bo.irds, ami 
in their frenzy to escape they wiuiM jilnn;;e furw.ual and lea\"e the greater 
part, if not all of their raiment. chn-inL; to that which hekl them prisoners, 
la that anu state si-X'eral esca]">eij beiny nunibereil with the dead. 

On one of the lirst houses that struck the britli;e was a \souian wearing; a 
white shawl. When the house struck she threw iij) her hands, fell back into 
the water a:id was seen no more. 

A man in Kernvillc the day of the flood had jet-black hair, moustache 
and beard. That e\enin«.,' he had a battle with the \\aters. On Saturday 
moriiin.i,'" his hair and beard began to turn graw and the\" wx-re soon well 
streaked with white. The change is attributable to his aw fid experience on 
Frida\' night. 

The wife of a man in Kern\ ille told her neighbor ne.\t door (.>u the fatal 
Frida}' morning that she dreamed the night befme that Ji.^hnstow n had been 
destroyed h\ a tlot)d and — in a stage whisper- ■■John wa-> drowned." The 
man \va5 unkind to his wife anil made life a burden to her. as all the neighbors 
knew, but she was ver\' patient. When she told the storv of her dream and 
its results she and the lad\' to whom she spoke both took a ijuiet laugh. Hut 
the dream came true before the sun went tlowii. ■■John was drowned," 
while liis wife was saved. 

Joseph Eyrich. an aged citizen of KermiUe. had twci dwelling-houses 
wrecked, in one of which he resided with his son-indaw. Me lost a trunk from 
this house and subsequeiith' found it in the wrecka'^e. Soniebod\' had found 
it, before him, broken it open, and abstracted S300 in cash, a i;i:)ld watch-chain 
and other valuables from it. This left Mr. Eyrich j>enniless in his old age. 

A searching part\' found a lad\'s hand-satchel containing ^gI m cash, 
deeds for 526,000 in propert\' and about in insurance policies. Mrs. 
Lizzie Dignon was the owner. She and her husLiand perished in the flood. 

Miss RcTse Carroll, of Coneiuaugh ISorough, her mother and brother 
Thomas were taken. Their bodies were reco\ered soon after. That of Miss 
Rose was near the site of the faniih' residence, her piano King on top of it. 
The water moved the residence of Jolm Kirby. corner of Locust and .\dain 
streets, out about four feet on the latter tiiorouuhfare. It tlooded the hrst floor 
of the liouse almo.-^t to the ceiling. The piano floated as the water rose, ami 
when the flood subsitled it si'ttled down to the floor unharmed. It was tested 
and found to be in perfect condition. Not a drop of water found its wa}' to 
the interior of the instrument. .Scores of pianos were ruined. 

The large bell from St. Mark's I-'pi-.copal Church, on Locust street, was 
found in a pile of wreckage at .Napoleon and ll,i\nes streets, Kern\ ille. hav- 
ing been drifted across Ston\- Creek. 

J. L. Smith, the marble-cutter, moved his wife and three cliildreii from his 

346 THE STORY OF /0//XSTiU\:X. 

home to the Hiilhert House for safety, and all perished when the hotel went 
down. The Ilepuisophs lost but two nienibcrs — Drs. L. T. and W. C. I'.e.iin. 
Williaai, son of Contractor Hnrn. Coueuiau^h fJorouL;!!. \\as the onh' member 
of the City Guard who perisheil. 

An orphan box , nine eears old. the last of a famih' of six. was one of the 
passeni;ers on the train that ran to Si^nie-rset on Monda\' ni^'ht. carrx'ing awa\' 
a multitude of sufferers. Tin- box's aunt was taking him to her house at 
Bethel. The poor child tried to tell i_if liis escape, by clinging to a piece of 
timber. l)ut hot tears WMuld stop his sentences as he thought of how his 
mother and sisters went down. 

The weird collection of relics in Alma Hall was the means of informing a 
young girl of her lover's doom. She xvas visiting friends near Johnstown, who 
brought lier to see the destruction. The part}- visited the room stored with 
somenirs of tiie dead. In one of them the fair maiden recognized the culf 
buttons of her affianced husband, whom she l>elieved tc) be in Blair Count)'. 
He was a guest of the Hulbert House. ha\ing been sent to Johnstown une.\- 
pectedl}-. The girl fell in a faint and did nc^t regain consciousness for liours. 

The recognition of little articles that had belonged to loved ones was 
often distressing beyond description. Sometimes it was a picture, a t)it .if 
jewelrv. a piece of writing, a fragment of clothnig. More than once X. C. 
Shepherd's touching lines might haxe been used: 

" There i.s the hat 
With the blue veil thrown round it. itist as they fuund it, 
Si>otted .wiUoiled, sta}ned and ail spoiled— 
Do you recognize that * 

" The gloves, too. he there. 
And in them still linj^ers the shape of her lingers. 
That some one ha-, pressed, perhaps, and caressed, 
So slender and fair. 

" There are the shoes. 
With their long silken laces, still bearing traces, 
To the toe's dainty tip. of the mud of the slip, 
The slimeand the o.>zc. 

" There is the dress. 
Like the blue veil, all dabbled, discolored and drabbled— 
This you should know without doubt, and, if so. 
All else you may gue^s. 

■' There is the shawl. 
With the striped border, hung ne\t in order. 
Soiled hardly less than the white muslin dress, 

And— that is all. • 

We were forgetting, with a pearl setting. 
There was only this one— name or date'— none? 
A frail, pretty thing ' 



A.NXiovs Friends in Quest ok Near anh Dear Relatives Wicim De\th Had Claimed 

Weeks and Monihs of P'atient Search for Bodies — Halntini, the Heaps of De- 
bris and the Morgues — A Devoted Sister and a Faithful Brother — Coming 
Great Distances on Mournful Errands — How Some \Veke Rewarded and Others 
Disappointed — A Feature of the Flood Which Developed Many Painful Sur- 
prises—Hopes and Fears of Earnest Watchers, Who Never J'LAr.oED. 

Why seeks he ' 
Thro' deaths i 
teclaim liis Ions- 
And lead obliv 

walks to 
;erted S[h 
into da\ 

ami mar anxious friends tlocl<- 
ed to Jolmstown tc> seeic for lost onus c<->n- 
cernin;;" wliom no tidings could lie icarnuti. 
Wi\ es and husbands, sisturs and brotiiurs, par- 
ents and cliildren undertook long, fati,L;uing. ar- 
duous journe}'S on tliis luourntuJ nnssion. The 
attaclied queen -C-;-!^',- .,■. ,'-■ 

of Haroiii. scour- 
ing the battle-field ot Hastings for the fallen ^'' 
King of Enuland. \\"as not more strongly ini- 
biietl \\ itli a loft\' resolve. One ot the objective 
points to \viiieli the visitors wended their steps 
^\as the room in Ahm.a Hail devoted to the re- 
ception of articles found on the bodies of the 
dead or picked up in the ^\reck, Something 



■ ^'^ I • 

•^ «^ .' if:.-' 

\ - .-' . V';r 


"^ i=- 

— - 





tlicre niit;ht fiiriiisli a cluu wliicli wtuild lead to the (liscover\' of the iiiisNlii-. 
Few spots were so siit^y"esti\'e of t!ie -^adtlest features of the llood as that apart 
lueiit. Ildiuh'eds of artieles \vere identilicd and claimed h\ ayoiiizcd relntixes, 
but liundreds \aii"il\" awaited reco'.;nitiou aiul owuershiii. Idic exdlectiou em- 
braced watches. jeWL'lry, pieces of sih i-rw are, euiblems. jiapci. clotit!u,i( and 
scores of odds and ends. Man\" old pictures — anibn jtx'jies, card jihoto_;i'aphs 
and daguerreotypes — la}' 011 the tid)ie. water-soaked and badl)- faded. Eeads, 
trinkets and trifles of everx' sort alurinded. In one corner w .as a trunk hlled 
with spectacles and e\'e-L,dasses. the propertx" of an oculist ^\ hii perished in 
the Hulbert House. A life-^^ize cra\on portrait of a \ouni; man could 
not be identified positi\e!\ . although thousands lonki d at it. Of coiuse, the 
owners of much of the l)de cif smitlnes lost their ii\es. This tiispla\' of un- 
claimed goods ^vas an atfectint; jiroo[ of whole hou'-eholds missiiiL;. with none 
remaining to ask for the mementoes which friends of dc:parted ones would 
value be\ond price. A \vorld of touching histnrx" was in\"ohed in that remark- 
able accumulation, the \ariet\" and e.xtent of whuh might well recall fancies of 
'•The Old Curiosit\' Shop." Here are some entries from the record : 

525 found in bl.icl; silk stocking; with foot of female. hi'.:h button shoe. 
Blank book. \\'. K Endley. found on light-comple\ioned b."iy. 

Three band rings, one with initals " F. M '; ear-rini; in left ear, riqht ear-rini,' torn out 
50.23 in money on female 4- to 50 years of ac;e, auburn hair 

Watch chain and breastpin and plain gold ring marked " H. B. t... M, S. McD, " on female 
20 to 25 years of age, supposed to have been a passenger on east-bound train. 
$7.04 found on male, light hair, weight aliout 150 pounds 

^200 in gold in purse, S30 in greenbacks and breastpin found o\\ female 65 \-ears of a2,e, grav 

Pocket-book containing S11.61 and buttons and plain '.;oId rmg found on female, fair com- 
plexion, 45 years of aqe, black hair, dark l>lue eves. 

Three rings on female, wei^'ht 1S5, ^wv feet eight inches. 

The inspection of these relic^ freiiuentiy brough.t painfid surprises. One 
da}' in June a bright, retined girl visited the apartment, iu c(\' with her 
brother, a slight }iiuth o( se\enteen. He looked deathh- white, did not speak 
and sank exhausted into a chaii. The .ipjiearanci- nf the girl was at \'ariance 
with the place. Her crnintenance. sunl)iu'nt from exposure searching in the 
ruins, was liopeful ancl atiimated. None looking at her would h,i\-e suppiosed 
that the tuofold effort of sustaining her brother anil concealing her t^wn worst 
fears could be so suppc)rted. In a low voice she said : 

" We ha\'e been loriking lL">r mother and cannot find her 1 'erhaps we can learn soinethmg 
here. She bad a ring — htr wedding ring — with letters in it — her own, F. II, : mv fatner's, 
L. H. Can you tell me anvthin-,' • " 

Her vciice had been \ er}- tn-m. It was a wonderfid displa^• c>f fortitude. 
.\n attendant replied, as he ojiened a trunk of cigar bo.xes full of them : 
■■Wedding rin- : initials — that .invthing like it. Miss : " 

s/:/:Ayx(; for loved oxf.s. 349 

He handed it to Iut with tlie callous cait-lcsMif ss that seems to accom- 
l)aii}- taniiliarity with the dead and thi- lieloii^iii'.^s of the -rave. Attacheil to 
the rini; \\a> a little ta;4 with tlu nii-nioranduni. ■' woman about tift\'-h\e. 
hair partl\- •_;ra\-. dress black." That was all. .V i^lance at the rnii; and its 
ta'.;". and the '^irl trembled from to foot with a eon\ailsi\e cr\, as if all her 
pent-up anxiet\- fi'und \ent in a wail that niu^t reach to hea\-en. She threw up 
her hands and fell upon her km es, praying and solibini; h_\-sterically. 

The atiectini;- fate of Mr. and Mrs. ]•:. X'incent Webber was rendered still 
more memorable b\' the Ion;.; search for their liMilics. Mr. Webber came from 
Eii^LTland to Piiiladelpliia. spent si.\ inonths in Harrisburi;, ami went to Johns- 
town in the fall of 1S.S7 to rtll the position of assistant snperintentlent of th(.' Cian- 
tier Works. He was a young man of fine abilitx and character. hi:_;hl\- eilucated 
and a master of his profession. One month b(.lore the flood he married Miss 
Florence Warner, of Harrisbur^. The lad_\- wds a iinished scholar, ti'acher in 
a business colleL;e. and deservedh' esteemed for her moral and sficial excel- 
lencies. The loving pair connnenced housekeepin;.; in Wood\"ale. anil had just 
taken up a carpet, the water ha\ing touched the' tlcjor. when the great deluge 
overwb.elmed them. The last seen of them they were standiu',; at their rear 
door with hands clasped. Letters and a few triid<ets were all that the untir- 
ing search of affectionate friends could discover ot tlu/ young husband and his 
l)ri(Je for many weeks. Miss Mame Wagner, sister of the dead wife, and 
Mr. \\'eliber's brother, urged b> the warmest desire to find the remains, per- 
sonally inspecteii every quarter of the floodeil district. Miss Wa'-;ner visiteil 
the Pittsbnri;!! hospitals, ireipiented the morL;ues. scrutinized hundreds of 
.bodies and disphned such de\otion as to win universal admiration. Her 
brotlier-in-law was found in Johnstown, a mile from hi.s home, the middle of 
Jul>-, fniried temporaril}' and finally interred in Harrisburg. I'our days later 
i\Irs. Weliber was dug from between two freight cars lodged in the acres of 
ruins back ot the lower end of Main street. Her sister firou,L;ht the bodv to 
Harrisburg to be laid beside her husband's. Miss Wagner tells the stor\ of 
her faithful search modesth'. (.lisclaimiug any praise for (.loiin,;' she knew 
was her dut\'. It is as follows : 

'■ In --\pril I first went to Johnsiown to arrange the home of my sister Ever> thin;^ that 
love and numey could do was done b\ Mr. Webber tn make his home a [lar.idise for the one he 
hid thosen to be his for life. \\'uh -.vhat satisfaction and pleasure we eyed the before our de- 
parture for Harnsburt;, little dreamins; that sueh a terrible cloud was then hannin;.; over the peace- 
ful horizon of their happiness I April 30th was their weddint; day. just in the spring of the year, 
when the whole creation is clad in sunshine, the forest smiles and hearts are joyous. With every 
prospect for a happy future, they bade us farewell. Could we have seen what was then lurkintr 
in the skies, we would not to-d.ay be mournin;,' their loss Alas 1 we frail creatures of the dust 
cannot tell what a dav will brini; fortli Our hv.irts that ha'-e been made to ache by the Johns- 
town flood no earthlv po«er can cure Like thousands of others, the ache will 1:0 on and on 
until the veil is lifted and we sliall know the ineanin„' of what was dark here 

"On Ma\ 31st, one inonih frr->m their wed.lin',; da^•. tliey were swept away in that terrible 


flood When we retired on that awfnl Friday ni'4ht we thought of thein as happy and far from 
harm, not knowing that before the sun had set they were in Our Fathers home above. I shall 
never forget the ne\t moinini,'. June ist, when we first heard the news. Thoui;ii I was tohl that 
thousands had betn lost, th.'it 'Wn'i'lvalc. tlieir home, been suept as completely off tlie face 
of the earth as if it had never existed. I had hopes that our loved ones were saved. We sent 
uiessaj;e after inessaue. but received no answer. We kept up hope, ihinkinu' they could not send 
us word because the telegraph wires were down. In a few days others recei\ed comniuuKa- 
tions. but not so with us. At last a messa<;e came saying they were lost. Those words will ever 
ring in our ears. The agony they caused is inexpressible. Yet are they lost ' They are absent 
from us. but present with the Lord. Thev are lost in joy unspeakable, whilst we are left to 
sufler. As soon as I heard the news \ wanted to sjo to Johnstown, but could not on account ot 
travel being suspended. Long, weary days and nights we spent wailing for the first train to bear 
us to the scene of so much distress On June 7th. accompanied bv Frank Webber, brother ot 
E v.. we started for Johnstown by the I^altimore i Oliio rente Ours was one of the first trains 
that went over the road after the flood 

■' I will not speak ot the delays along the r'>ad. and what we experienced. After travelmg 
for almost two days, we came in sight of what was once Johnstown We had to ualk some dis- 
tance until we came in the town proper. Words cannot convey to any one that did not see it the 
condition of that once prosperous town Pen or picture at its worst cannot describe tlie awful- 
ness of it all. When I looked about me I felt as if I should sink. Having been there only fi\c 
weeks before. I knew something of the place ; but now I was lost and knew not whither to go 
The rain came pelting down upon us. so that we were almost blinded by its force. After realiz- 
ing our situation aud giving vent to otir feelings, we decided to wend our way to headquarters, 
which we reached after a great deal of difticulty. We General Hastings, who had 
been informed of our commg His genial manner and willingness to help us sent a little hope 
to our bleeding hearts There were also others at headquarters always ready to assist us. whose 
kindness I shall never forget Still hoping against hope, we e.vpected to find our sister and 
brother on the hills, and yet when I saw the extent of the destruction I wondered that even a 
few were left to tell the tale. 

"We had supplied ourselves with food and such things as we thought our friends would 
need I soon saw that, without a guide, it would be impossible to get around. General Hastings 
kindly gave us a guide, who remained with us until we knew the way ourselves. Our search had 
then begun. We started first for Woodvale. walking along the railroad until we came to th.e spot 
that had once been the home of my sister. It was now a bed of sand. I knew the spot trom 
a path opposite, on the hill. Nothing else was left to mark the once beautiful Maple Avenue. 
The only houses left were those skirted about on the hills, without which it would have been a 
barren waste. We climbed the hills and inquired in the houses, but they could tell us nothing 
We then went back to Johnstown, visited the six morgues, read over the lirt of those found, but 
there were no descriptions of Mr. and Mrs. Webber on the walls. Then we looked at the bodies 
in each morgue. 1 thought, as I looked upon them. ' Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be 
proud '' I cannot dwell upon the sight of those bodies. My w ish is to forget If our lost ones had 
been amone the victims brought in e.ach day. we might hav>.' passed them by unrecogniicrl. only 
for the clothing or something about their persons that would be a clue to their identification. 
Without that those we were seeking might have been buried unknown before our eyt-s. and we 
not have known it 

" I made inquiry and found that Mr Jones, who lived next door to mv sister, was the only 
one saved out of his family. He was sick at Morrellville, two miles below Johnstown. Anxii-.i:s 
to'hear what he to say. anii hoping ht: could tell us where to find the Webbers, we started 
for Morrellville on foot — no other wa\ to travel then. We reached there in the evening .m.l 
found Mr. Jones. He told us that Mr and Mrs. Webber were in the h.iuse w hen thr flood 

^ /•:/■: k'/\c /•■( 'A' !.(>! ■/■:/> < ).\7;^. 


came M> hope sank at this report It was late and onr miide rfminileil us that ue had better 
find a place tor the nii;ht. Rest never entered our nimds, tail (or hnn Me «ouM have 'Aaiuiered 
about all ni-ht as it dazed. We found a place in MorrelKille- lor that ni-ht. the best we 
could expect under the circumstances We had eaten nothing the whole dav . but were only 
huni^ry for the si_;ht ol those we were seeking;. Such was the hrst day in Johnstown We had 
walked at least fifteen miles. Next mornini; early we went bai:k to Johnstown in the heav\ rain. 
We soUf^ht eier\ where, leaxins; no stone unturned to hnd them, troin one inori;ue to the 
other, times without number each day, we went. 

" Exery day brou.;ht with it new experiences and horrifvinc siL:hts We dismissed mir 
guide and traveled about ourselves In Kernvillewe found part of their house, a mde from 
where it had stood, all Ijroken to splinters L'nder the ruins we found the letters that were 
written by my sister to Mr. Webber before their marria.i:;e. Later I found his letters to her in 
Johnstown, near Morrell Institute. So we went on and on untd niLiht overtook us Then we 
realized that we had no place of shelter I thouehl we wmdd be luore apt to find .1 place in 
Kernville, so we decided to i,'0 thither We went from house to house and asked for Ioili_'ini.>. but 
they said uo in every instance but .me. Mr Rhmebolt, of Napoleon Street, said we could stav 
there. After ten days of fruitless search we returned home I was home only three davs when 
word came that Florence was in Mercy Hospital. Pittsburtjh, sick. We went on immediately 
and searched every hospital in and around the city, but all in vain. Our hopes were again 
crushed and we once more left for home, stopping' oft at Johnstown, searching everywhere 

"On Sunday we left for Harnsburg, as Mr. Webber e.xpected to sail for England the fol- 
lowing Thursdaw owing to his mother's serious illness from the shock of \'incent s death. She 
was preparing to visit this countrx' when the news of his fate prc>3traied her The next da\' I 
received a message saying Mr, Webber s body was found, I went on alone, identified his re- 
mains and had him juried temporarily, thinking I would surelv find my sister and then take them 
home together. For five long weeks I traver.sed mountains, went to Nineveh. New Florence and 
everywhere 1 thought 1 might find some cine. From one night to the next I did not know 
whither to go. until Mr. Lon.;akcr, in Kernville, kindly ollered me rcjom in his house. I fol- 
lowed every report, never giving up hope At the end of five weeks I beyan to feel ill and 
t'nought I better go home for a few days. Some of my Johnstown friends said they would 
interest themselves in my case until I returned. My daily prayer was that I might find my 
sister's remains. One day, while looking out of the MiUville morgue window, thinking and 
feeling so ill, the thought suddenly came to me that, in the pile of debris opposite, close by the 
armory, 1 would find the body of my sister I acted upon the thought and told Mr Hender- 
son, the undertaker He advised me to speak to Captain Hamilton, uho had then charge of 
the town. I did so. At first he declined, saying that the force of men had been reduced and 
other places Lad to be cleaned before the one I suggested to him. I told him that I felt my 
sister was there I insisted and finally he promised to put a force of men on that spot I 
watched until I was scarcely able to st.ind, so on F^riday, .\ugust 7th. I came home with Mr 
Webber s remains. I had m.ade arrangements to return the following Wednesdav and had 
some one stationed at my post. 

"The following Wednesday I did return But the evening before I received a niess.ige, 
'Mrs, Wefjber found,' and just where I thou^iht she would be. With what s,atistaction I re- 
turned to Johnstown, know ing we could at least have her precious form to lay in a grav e vvi.' could 
visit and keep fragrant On August oth 1 brought her body home for burial in the Harnsl>ur,' 
Cemetery. Thus ended mv [ohnstovvn experience The trials, hard.-,hiris an.f i'rr. .ituuis i 
counted nothing. Love for our dear ones helped nie bear all, and I only did what a true sister 
shc>uld do My efforts were not in xain, for we have the sad satisfaction of knowing .vliere 
their bodies are, whilst many will never be found. They now lie side fay side until the resurrec- 
tion morn sh.ill wake them, and we shall then realize the glad re-union our hearts are longing for." 


A da\' or two bc-fc.ire the flood Mrs. Mary A. Swincford and her ilautjhtcr- 
in-law. Mr^. Ed. SwiiKtcrd, k ft St. Louis for New IVrhn. Juniata coiuitw Pa., 
theeltlcr latiy's home. 'I'hey were on the ill-fated 1 >a\ E.xpress, \\iiich was 
cauLilU at ICa-t ConeiiiauLih. ami both ladies perishetl. They wonk! h.ivc been 
safe, as it turned cmt. had they reuiain<:-d in their car. wliich was not injured, 
but in a moment of ;_:reat fright the\ tied from the train and were eni;ulfed b\ 
the torrent. The tnst news the family received was the following dispatch to 
the St. Louis Rcpid'lu- : 

S.^LTsEi'KG. Pa . June 2 — The asent of the Pennsvlvania Kailrnad Company to-dav ob- 
tained possession of a lar^'e trunk which was found in the dritt-pile about a niile east of this 
place. The trunk contained a large quantity of urniens clothing of fine quality and several 
letters addressed to Mrs Swineford, St. Louis, Mo Frcim their tenor they would indicate that 
it was Mrs Suinefords intention to visit relatives in Juniata county. I'ennsylvania, 

Mr. Ed. Swineford hastened to Johnstown at once, spendiu.t; davs of fruit- 
less toil seekini; for the Liodies of the wife and mother he fontlly lo\ed. The 
strain prostrated him and he was taken home in a critical state. Ex-Governor 
Swineford. a near relative, telegraphed to spare neither pains nor e.xpense in 
the quest. Harr\' Dischi.>f. the vounger lad\''s bri>ther. arrived under instructions 
to staN' until ever_\' nook had bttu explored if necessary. He haunted the 
morgues like a spectre, hioping to identify his sister in one of the bodies daib,- 
brought to light. "Old Mortality" was not more persevering in his visits to 
the gra\'e\ards. Da\ s lengthened into weeks without aii\' sign of tlie missing 
women. One e\eninL,' in Jul\' a bl,i>t at the stone liridL;e brought up the re- 
mains of the elder lad\', which were ulentihcd b'. her watch, breastpin aui-l 
^other articles. Mrs. Swinefotvi was the mother of Mr. Ed. Swineford. Secre- 
tarv C'f the St. Louis Lirid-e A: Tunnel Railroad Company, and of Howard 
Swineford. a prominent citi.'.en of Kiclimond, \'a. She was an acti\e worker 
in the W. C. T. U. and freipientl\' delivereti lectures. On Eriday morning. 
September i~x\\. workmen cleaning; out a cellar in Milhille borough, tu e rods 
frctn the school-house and two miles from East Conematigh. found a bod\". 
The feet lay on the wall lietwecn Morgan Rees' and J. McCiough's cellars. 
the head and trunk hanging down in the former. At the morgue Nfr. Bischof 
recognized the features of Mrs. Sw ineford. the sand ami mud having preserved 
the remains wonderfully for fifteen weeks. Besides, he readily identified two 
rings, on one of which was the inscription. ■■E. S. to A. W'.. iS.SS." and the 
clothing and its trimmings, especially some gold braiii on the front of the dress. 
He at once started with the body for St. Louis. The protracted search ot 
fifteen weeks had succeeded at last. The young brother gives this acccjunt 01 
his sojourn in Johnstown : 

"My brother-in-law. Ed Swineford. arrived in Johnstown on June 4th and wired tor 
me to come on at once. I arrived on June 7th .\t that time there were morgues at Ivernville, 
Millville, the Fourth-Ward School-house, the I'resbyterian Church and at Morrellville Mr. 
Swineford instructed me to keep strict watch on all these morgues, to walk from one to anotl'.cr 

s/:l'av.\'g fo/c i.o\i-:n o.xks. 


all day and not K<it discourased. On Jnne H'th I i;ot \Lry hcMiiesicl; and left for St Louis. My 
family to )k it so hard bLCause of my li_a\ in'^ john^toxwi [hat thi_-\ started me rijlit back uilh 
orders to stay until the last ray of hope was gone. On June 27th I went to New V'lnrenco to ex- 
amine the morgue records there. I found nothing that would correspond to my sister. On 
Thursday, |ul\ iith. about^.rs p .m . I was at Millville Morgue chatting with the men Two 
ladies passing by stopped and told the men they thought there was a bi«K in tlie ri%er at the 
Point. Three of the men and myself went to the place the ladies directed It was w liere tl'.e 
two streams connect, Conemaugh and Stony Creek. On the opposite bank, under a llooring 
we found the boiiyof a hea\y lady. The men had ijuite a time getting it loose, as a lot of wire 
was entangled about the limbs. After hard work they got it loose, pulled oil the llooring and 
turned the face up. I recognized it as that of Mrs. Mary A. Swineford. my brother-in-law's 
mother. Nearly e\er\- bone had been broken, the cause of which \\,is that .Major I'hillips. 
about six o'clock that evenmg. let off 300 pounds of dynamite within fifty yards of where she 
was found. 

"Her open-faced gold watchwas found in a very peculiar position. It was imbedded in the 
flesh of her bosom, one-fourth of an inch deep The hands showed twelve minutes past four 
o'clock No matter in what position the body was placed the watch would not tall out 

" I had the body washed and then wired her son. Howard Swineford. of Kichnmnd. Va . 
who in turn wired for me to have his mother buried until fall. I wrote, telling him the ad- 
vantage of having it shipped at once, and received a telegram to have the body embalmed and 
enclosed in a metallic casket. 

"I left Johnstown with the body on July ibth, arriving in Richmond next after- 
noon, and returned on Julv j jth. C)u Jul\' 22nd I went to Baker's I'urnace. eight miles west o^f 
Johnstown, walking three miles over mountains and ravines to find a family nameil Griltiths. re- 
ported to have foumJ a peculiar buckle ring. The story was untrue, as Mrs. Griffiths had no such 
article. On July 27th the Johnstown I'rihniu- published a description of all the bodies found at 
Nineveh One description led me to think the person might be my sister, and 1 had the body 
exhumed '.Vhen the m.m got t'le coihn out of the grave and opened the lid I could not see 
any resemblance to my sister. On July 30lh all the morgues were concentrated into one. with 
iicadquarters at Mr. Henderson's. .\t this morgue I took full descriptions of all boiiies. .Ml 
money, jewelry and valuables I turned over to the committee 

"On Tuesday evening, August Gth, the report was brought in that two bodies were found 
down on Main and Union streets. The morgue man and nivself got on the uagon and drove 
down to the place mentioned, bark of Colonel Linton's brick mansion .\ flat lodged 
there, and under this car two b'.'dies were found covered with rubbish and mud Th<- men c.^t 
them out, put them in the wagon and drove to the morgue It was now after six o'clock and we 
went to supper. 

" I came back t<i the morgue and proceeded to take a description of them The first thing 
was to have the hands carefully washed for rings. Two rings uere taken otT one body. I took 
them to where I could see. and. to my surprise thev proved to be Mrs E V. Webber's I 
knew of the search her sister had made for weeks and was happv to know the body was 
found- No one was about but the morgue man and myself, with fue unfortunate dead It was 
as dark as pitch, with only a small oil lamp for light. This was the most hideous nii;ht I ever 
passed in my life. Of the dead, one was murdered, one died of typhoid fever and three were 
flixid victims. The si/e of the morgue was about .sxio feet. The other body was that of Miss 
Minnie Bracken, of Woodvale 

"I wired Mi-,s Wagner at Harris;. iir-,'. and she arrived in Johnstown ■•n .Vii^ust 7th. I 
paid a farewell visit to Commissioner .Marshall, of New Florence, on Augii-.t ^th. and on .\ugust 
22d I left for Long Branch for my health, as I was breaking down I returned to Johnstown 
on September ist to once more search for my lost sister. P'rom July joth to September 24th 

354 '^J^^'^ STOR 1 ' ( '/•■ ./( '//.\.V7V ) /r.\'. 

we had found 115 bodies, wliiuh I h.ive taken descriptions of myself I was continually around 
the morgue fr^nn eii^ht in tht morninL,' lii six .it ni-;lu M\er\" d.iy in the \\eek people useil uj 
hold their noses as they passed tlie rnorLiue. but 1 could never smell anythin^'. I would a 
hearty meal, set up. stand over a corpse an 1 take descriptions, I had never done anythini; 
like it before, and how I did it surprised ni\seU 

"On September 27th. at two o clock, nn poor sister was found on Iron street. Mdlville 
Borough, Her head was hanuinu dovwi in one cellar and her feet in another. The bod\ was 
in remarkably Kood condition, except that the feet were off. We found them near by. I reco;,'- 
nized her forehead. lei^tli and dress Four months of \vear\- searching; had eni;led, and I had the 
body put in a casket to take it wiih me to St, I.ouis My sister was laid in her last resting- 
place, on October jd 

'■ The Johnstown flood has chan:;ed the whole course of m)- life, I was in such a position 
that I could study human nature to perfection I ba« sii;hts that would turn any with 
ordinary sense or feeling, A vouni; man of nineteen, whose family were swept away, when his 
father's body was found came to tlie morgue. He did not make any pretense of claiming the 
remains, but asked what had been dune with the valuables. He wanted to know what the father 
had in his pockets. 1 he morgue man toiil him ^400 and a gold watch. You should have seen 
how he opened his eyes because tiie morgue-keeper would not turn over the money to him. 
Such language as he used ' He swore and. carried on terribly, but was compielled to bring .some 
one wlio could identity him. When he did they turned over the money and watch to him. He 
never thought of his poor father. This is but one instance. I have seen a do/en girls, who had 
lostall — mother, brother, sister, — hanging around the depot " m.ishing " and being outall 
hours of the night with the soldiers It was enough to disgust anyone The kindness of many 
people 111 Johnstown I shall gratetullv rememlier to the close ot inv life 

The sad liews of tiie disaster brought baek tu the old Ixune Johnstow ners 
from every p(.>iiu r.f the compass. Most of these came to seek those w ho weie 
lost from amom;' their trieiids. and to succor tliose who \\"t:re sa\ eii. Ainon.i;' thi; 
early arrivals of former citizens were A. C. Dibert, of South Carolina; l-'rank 
Dibert. of Kansas, and Marsiiall K. Rose, of California. Mr. .Vlison, a railroad 
engineer, came from Texas tc look for the licjd\' of his little danohter, who had 
been visiting friends in W'ooilvale. Ho remained for ^vc•eks, tinalh' returnim; 
home without lindiny his darlin'g chiki's remains. There were scores of 
anxious friends from neii;hborin.g; towns and counties in search of missin.L; 
relatives. Bodies were found as late as December 2^\.\\, with indications 
that more will come to li^ht when Stony Creek is cleaned thoroifghls. '1 he 
suspense of these mourning visitors. Avhcise pleadini; faces were never absent 
from the morgues until hope expired, was one of tlie most painful features 
of the calamit\ . 

354 THE >.T01:Y i>l' J0J!.\ST0WX. 

ue had fnunil 115 bodies, which I h,ne talcon descriptions of myself I was continiiall\ annincl 
the morj^ue from eii,ht in the niornin:,' to six at ni^ht Kvery ilay in the week people u-^' d. to 
hold their noses as thev pa^sefl ti:e iTKiru'ue. hut 1 could ne\er smell an\thin_r. I wouKl f-;tt a 
hearty meal, get up, stand ocer a corpse and take descriptions. I ne\er done anything' 
like it before, and how I did it surprised myself 

"On September 27th, at two o clock, my poor sister was found on Iron street, Millville 
Borough Her head was han^inu doiwi in one cellar and her feet in amither. The bodv was 
in remarkably good condition, except that the feet were oft. We found them near by. I recoi;- 
nized her forehead, teeth and dress Four months of weary searching had ended, and I had the 
bcjdy put in a casket to t.ake it with me to St. Louis. M\' sister was laid in her last resting- 
place, on October jd 

" The Johnstown floc>d haschan:^ed the whole cfuirse of m\- life. I was in such a position 
that I could study human nature to perfection I saw sights that would turn any m.m with 
ordinary sense or feeling, A V(.>iing man of nineteen, whose family were swept a\va\. when his 
father's body was found came to the morgue. He did not make any pretense of claiming the 
remains, but asked what had been done with the valuables. He wanted to know ivhat the latlier 
had in his pockets. 1 he morgue man toid him S40oand a gold watch. You should have seen 
how lie opened his eyes because the morgue-keeper would not turn o\er the money to him. 
Such language as he used ' He swore and carried on terribly, but was compelled to bring some 
one wlio could identify him. When he did they turned over the money and watch to hiru He 
never thought of his poor father. This is but one instance. I have seen a dozen girls, who had 
lostall — mother, brother, sister, father — hanging around the depn " mashing ' and being out all 
hours of the night \uth the soldiers It was enough to disgust anyone The kindness of many 
people in Johnstown 1 shall gratefully remember to the clo>e of ni\ life 

The sad liews of the disaster brought back to the old home Johnstownt-rs 
from ever\' point of the compass. Most of these came to seek those who were 
lost from amom; their trieiids. .-ind to suceor those who were sa\ etl. Ainon.g" the 
early arrivals of former citizens were A. C. Dibert. of South Carolina ; Frank 
Dibert. of Kansas, and Marshall R. Rose, of California. Mr. .Mison. a railroad 
engineer, came from Te.\as to look for the body of his little daiit;hter, who had 
been visiting friends in \\'ocidvale. He remained for weeks, finally retiirmng 
home without finding his darling child's remains. There were scores of 
anxious friends from neighlniring t(.)wns and counties m search of missing 
relatives. Bodies were fomid as late as December 24th, with indications 
that more will come to li^ht when Stonv Creek is cleaned thoroii-ghly. 1 he 
suspense of these mourning \'isitors. whose pleading faces were ne\'er absent 
from the morgues luitil hope expired, was one of the most paintid features 
of the calamitN . 



Hosts of Bog is Sufferer.-, Making Capital Oit of the Calamity — Impostors and Pre- 
tenders Unmasked — Two Rascals Receive Their Just Desert — Exaggerations 
Exploded — A 1Ik\n Specimen of Mankind — Three Sisters Cheated- Silver Lin- 
ing tothe Cloud — Xor.LE Conduct — Aftermath uf the ])elU(,k - Dits of Drift- 
wood that Reflect Varioi s Oualities of Character — a Variety of Odds and 
Ends Rescued from the Wkki k fcr the I'ublic Benefit. 

■ 1 was al Johnsiown." said ihe tram[> — 
Said Uie lady, " say no n-...n.-. 
lust come ri'.;!it m uut of the damp, 

For litre is I'ood galore." 
And when the h..t, al.uudant meal 
Had warmed tlie lelJows blood. 
• I was at I .Imstown." he remarked. 
■ Six months before the flr.od'-' 

L 1 OF 1 HE calamity hosts ot pretenders, impostors and 
knaves of evtry stripe endeavored to make capital. 
Rai;£,'ed tramps assumed a woe-Lcucne e.xpression as they 
■^elicited alm.s. clainiini; they had sulfered at [ohnstown. 
Bej^oarb told piteous tales of families swallouetl up and 
propcrt}" wiped out by the flood. Fellows were often 
encountered in traveiiny who. accordins^ to their Mood- 
curdliny; \ersitin. hatl seen more people go down to death 
than would constitute the entire population of the Coue- 
maugh \'allu\'. Otliers posed as life-sa\ers to a decree 
that rendered it mar\elous how an_\l)ody could have been 
lost. Tlie thriiliuL;" recitals poured into the ears of reulv 
listeners, eager for intorination of the disasti-r. ^Muild 
"I WAS AT jOHNSTouN. ■ (lij-couut tlic A Ta b i au X iglus Q ud relegate Daron Mun- 
chausen to obscurity. Ananias was a tyro in deception, contrasted v, ith these 
wholesale dealers in unadulterated falsehoods. Human nature displayed all im- 
aginable phases, presentim: tl;e strangest and strongest contradictions. Deeds 

356 TflE ST( 1R ! ' OF JOlfXSTO 1 1 W. 

of heroism stood side In' side with despicable nets whicli disgraced the race. 
Generosity the grandest and most ennobhng found itself confronted b}- self- 
islmess tliat mi;4ht sl'.ame the meanest wretch nn God's fodtstool. ^'irtue of 
the liigliest excellence had to contend with crime of the lowest t\pc. Yet the 
balance is largel_\ on the right side of the aceomit. showing a splendid surplus 
in fa\or of the good, the true and the elevating. 

Two weeks after the flood, on a train from Philadelphia to Xew York, a 
port)}" man in shabliy attire treated the jia^sengers to a vi\id nairati\e of his 
exploits and ad\'entures at Johnstown. i>Ien gathered around him as he told 
of people he had rescued at imminent risk'. Sobs choked his utterance when 
he described how his wife ami child slipped from his grasj> and ]ierishetl at the 
railroatl bridge. The hearers admired his bra\"er\' ami lamentetl his aiilictions. 
Like r>esdemona with Othello, the latlies ■•h.ned him for the dangers he had 
passed." He said lie had recei\ed a suit of clothes and a ticket from South 
I'ork to Xew York, where a brother lived. Someone projiosed a collection for 
tlie sutferer's beiieht. and hands dived into pockets instanth-. It occurred to 
nie to test his acquaintance with the locality. The fellow knew not a person 
or place in Johnstown, and ^v,ls obliged to confess liimsclf a base pretender. 
The haste he exhibited in i;tttiiig out of tla- ear was not ecpialled b\- an\ of the 
passengers in their luirned exit from the fatal Da\' Express at East Cone- 
maugh. The climax spoiled a dramatic tale, but it cominced the amused 
spectators that strangers are not alwa\'s angels or — •■Johnstown sufferers," 

A sprightl}- \outl! wandi. red to the home of the Misses Kilgore. tliree a-;ed 
sisters near (jreensbnri;, and t<ild a harrowing stor\' (if his sulferings during 
the flood. He had to climb from roof to roof and saved himself at last by 
catching hold of a tree. ■■Sunny." as the sjiinsters.calletl him. was hired to 
be the choredioy abcuit the place. The}- rigL^ed him out in a new suit and lie 
was getting along swimmmgh . He had the promise that when schciol com- 
menced the\' would lurnish him with l)ooks and a good home. But " Sonnv " 
did not appreciate these kindnesses. He awaited an opportunit\" to get hold 
of their pocket-bixik and appropriate at least the loose change. One night he 
stole Si 25 and decamped, without leaving either his name or address. 

A woman at Lansing. Mich., created a stir last October b\- declaring her 
mother was the notoriiius Mrs. liender. the Kansas murderess. This fairs- 
story led to the arrest of both \vomen. who were taken to Kansas as prisoners. 
Tliere it was shown that the daughter, who wanted free transportation west- 
ward, had been duping Ohio peojue b}" claiming to he a Johnstown widow, 
whose husband perished in tlie flootl ! 

On tile fatal e\'ening a young lady, who was rescued and taken into the 
Club House, remox'ed her drenched clothing and attired herself in a pair of 
pants belonging to a male guest. The owner of the trowsers hunted ever\- 
place fcir the garments, fin. illy learning what had luconie of them. He de- 



nianded exorbitant paynunt for tliv pants, and the yuunt:: lad\- forwarded liini 
the aniounl. The name ul this mean Ubel on hunianitv" deserves un-,tinted 

One da\' in fune a stranijer entered the Pennsvlvania Raih'oad station at 
Ilarnshuri;. waU-^ed up to ihe news-stand and en,L;agcil tlie aL;ent in con\"ersa- 
tiou. Pholon'raphs of the wreclxod distriet Liy on the euunter. I'ointin.L; to 
one, a view on Main street, in wiiich two residents of Harrishuri; hL;ured. he 
remarked that the s,'entleman in the fore-:4ronnd was his brother and thr other 

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was a frieniL Both had been lost witli their famihes and homes. Then lie 
rehearsed his own hardships and sorrows, presentitn; ,i statue of desjiair as 
he told of his children's dooni. The a;_;"ent snnled blandh' and answered that 
he was astonished to hear of the tleinise nf the two citizens in the \'ie\v. as the\" 
were liis o\\\\ nei:_;hbor-, and he talked with one that i_la\' ! The abrupt 
dt_'parture of the cheek\" lu'pi.ieritc' from the premises would h,i\-t; diseoiiiucd 
Mahomet's lie^ria '. 

XotwithslandiiiL: the destruction wroie_;ht b\" tin; lloiid. Cnpid was not 
daunted. H.iny Swank and Mir-s ^arah K. blart/ell had si;t \\'ednesd.i\-. 
June stli. as the da\- on which tlnw \\'ould be inarrieLl. Mr. Swank \\.is at the 
house of his prospeeti\e bride's parents on Friday, attending; to jueliminaries 


for the \',-eclding. The water rose so that he coiilil not leave aiul the house was 
moved away. The bride's wardrobe' was badl\- dainaL;td ami tlie -room's was 
destroyed by the wreek-in-- of liis father's house. \Mien Wednesday, the wed- 
ding-day. arrived, they went to Somerset, were married, and returned in the 
afternoon. 'I'he tov, n still had heart enou^li in it to eoni;ratulate Mi>s .Vn^ie 
Fockler and |ohn ] lenry Le\\' on tlieir marriaue. Lon^' before the tlood Miss 
Fockler and Mr. Levy were friends, if not lo\ers. SomethinL;' separated them. 
After knockiu',: about for a time Mr. Lev\- si-ttled in tlie West, while Mi.--s 
Fockler li\ed on alone. Then came the flood. Mr. Lev\- was in tlie East at 
the time. What meire natural than that, under such conditions, he should 
offer his protectin;; care? To be sure \ And \vhat did he do but just tuck her 
under his arm. march her olf to the Cit\' of Br(.nherly and Sisterh' Lo\-e. and 
marry her almost before she knew it \ The marria^je of Edward C. Creamer, 
of Hancock, to Miss Adele Webster. iSf l^hiladelpliia. toi.'k place in that city 
on l)ec. 15th. There was a little romance connected with this happv union. 
Mr. Creamer met his briile feir the first time when he rescued her trtuii drown- 
ing in the mad waters on tlie ill-fated 31st of Ma\'. 

••Whistle for land! Wliistle for land !" was the half-<lelinous cr\' of a 
girl on a roof floatiir,;" down Stony Creek. The impromptu raft sailed back 
again witli its screamint; passenger, w ho landed at Kernville in a \er\- limp 

A dozen sheep on a barn-floor got almost to the stone bridi,'e safelv. \\hen 
the f^rinding mass destro\'ed tlu-ir frail support and the bleatini,' vo\'agers sank 
in the dark waters. 

.\ resident of the Point, obliged on Friday forenoon to seek a higher lati- 
tude, had to swim some distance. A rat floated near him on a bit of board. 
His first impulse was to upset the rodent into the current, but he concluded to 
give it a chance for life and the animal drifted aloirg unmolested. 

Xo object inspired so much terror as the Unique Rink. Thi.-. bnildinii. 
about \l'^ by 75 feet. mo\'eil from its foundation on Somerset street. Kenn-ille, 
ploiu.;hed its wa}' through other buildings to Grubtown. then returned in the 
current to repeat its work, and finally was wrecked itself. 

It is a noticeable fact that the oiil\- sections of the Cambria Iron Com- 
pany's railway that could be found aloiiLi tlie bank> of the ConemauL;h below 
Morrelh'ille were tliose in which iron ties liatl been substituted for the old 
wooden c>nes. 

Scott Diberts horse was found two da\-s after the flood up to his neck in 
mud behind Lambert A: Kress' ale brewery. The animal was dui; out. cleaned 
up. and returneiJ to his owner unharmed. 

In nian_\' parts of the fl(jo(.'ed districts where the water scattered oats 
there appeared Ljlacies measuring four to fi\'e inches in leni;tli. In the 
Sundav-school room of the English Lutheran Church so much earth and seed 

Liiitrrs Axn sifAPows. 


had been dep(isitcil that a ^reen bed sprouted. A South Side cjeiithnnan, who 
rescued his wife's hat from a \\ asli-staml. stated that the vouul;" crop of oals 
abo\e the mud was its prettiest adorunieut. 

A citizeu wlio sur\'i\ed the tlooti has two tine pup|iies. horn on a mass of 
floatiny stuti the day o! tlie cilaniity and rcscueil with their uiotiier. The ani- 
mals art hi^lils' vah'.eti t'lr their remarkable experience, which is not a couiuion 
one with canine animals. 

Harr\' W . Slick has an interesting relic — the machinei\' of a lari,'e music- 
bo.\. which can be wound up. and will pla\' a number of times. 

Foster Walter, an eui^ineer on the Cambria and Somersi't branch, had a 
unique and touL;h experience. He was in the American Plouse and succeeded 
in getting on the roof, wliere he stayed all night. .-\ mule came floating tlown 
and lodged on the roof beside him. The animal sta\e(.l \\ith Walter all night 
and both were rescued in the morning. 

Two brothers from Clearfield couat^ were among the first to respond to 
tlie appeal fiir help from attlicted Johnstown. They worked upon the streets, 
but had not helped much when it struck tliem tliat they would help themsehes 
a little. Thes- appropriated a large amount of clothing and returnetl home, 
where tlie\' built up a trade in that line. A customer informed the jolinstown 
officials that the brothers were selling clothing tliat had i>een sent to the sut- 
ferers. A constable arrested them and the\' went ti> jail. 

A few da\s after General blastings assumed charL;e, a bo\' of five summers 
appeared at his headquarters. The urchin was hatless, coatless. ra'-;ged and 
e.Ntremeh' dirt\'. He told a melting' tale of parents, brothers, sisters and home 
lost. The General or<lered him to be scrubbed and attired in a new suit, fed 
him and put him to sleep in his own cot. The little waif said he had slept 
three nights under the freight-shed in a pile of old straw. In his new outfit 
he looked bright and became a fa'.orite. Going to the relief station, he walked 
around conse(]uentiali\" and bossed the job generalh'. A woman in the line of 
applicants caught sight of and screamed : 

"Sam, you \oung rascal. coriK out of that this blessed minute!" 

The officers were paral\zed by this ilemand. and the wdman e.xplained 
that Sam was her nephew, who had run otf a week before and was believed to 
have fallen into the rivc-r and drowned. The crest-fallen bo\- was marched 
home at a twi.i-ten, but the curtain will be tirawn on the subsequent 

A huge CN'liiuier of conniressed tanbark from Roseusteel's \\'ood\ale tan- 
ner\", about ei^ht feet liiLrh and ten feet in diameter, was carried to the corner 
of \'ine and Franklin street-. The iron hi)iip> bur-t and th.e W(.>< hJcu sta\es 
fell a\\a\', but the c\linder was an impressive monument to the power and 
eccentricities of the .great doiul. 

The woolen factor\' of ISrvnn^^ Son. Kern\-ille, came out of tin; llood with- 


out an}' material injur\-, onK to In- dfstio_\ t-tl In fire the next Tuesda}'. 
Sparks from a nei;;lihoriiiL; lionfire i^niteil ^ouie inrtannnaMe material on the 
upper floor, which kindled a blaze that was not subtliied until the interior of 
the factory was cumpleten' luirned out. 

The IJaitimore \ Oh;o Kailroad Ciaiipany was eauL;ht severely. Its cars 
cropped out from beneath nian\' piles of wreckage in the streets, and others 
dotted the bed of Ston_\' Creek from the Sandyvale Cemetery to the Point. 
Some of th(,-m were recovered in a demoralized coiulitien, but the rnajorit\' 
were tit onl\- for the bontire. A loaded box-car was deposited on the sidewalk 
in front of the Parke Ojiera House, Main street. This bnildim; was the scene 
of a terril)le traL;td\' on the eSLning of December gth. While ••Uncle Tom's 
Cabin " was in progress an alarm of fire \\as shouted. The audience struggled 
to the narrow stairwa\' which aiforded the sole means of egress, and ten per- 
sons were killed in the mad cru^h. 

The railroad bridge, which held back the flood, is a massive jiiece of 
masonr\". In a general wa\' it is built of cut s..ndstone blocks of unusual size, 
the whole nearly four hundred, feet long, forty feet wide, and a\eraging about 
forty feet deep. Seven arches of about fifty feet span are pierced through it, 
rising within a few feet of the top from solid piers down to the rock beneath. 
As the Liridge crosses tlie stn-am diai;onalh'. the arches pierce the mass in a 
slanting direction, which adds to the lieavy appe.irance "f the structure. 
There has been some disposition to find fault with the Inidge for being so 
strong, the idea being if it hat! gone out there would ha\e been no heap- 
ing up of buildings behind it. no fire and fewer di-aths. There' were hundreds 
of persons saved when their houses were stojiped against the bridge h\ climb- 
ing out or being helped out. If the bridge had gone the flood would ha\e taken 
the whole instead of on!v one-third of Cambria Cit}'. 

John F. Griffith, one of the trustees of the Welsh Baptist Church, and T. 
I'L. Morgan searched among the ruins of the edifice, which had been carried 
from its site on Main street to the rear of Colonel Linton's residence. They 
found the communion set wiiole and uninjured together with two bottles of 
comnuinion wine : also the Sundav-school contribution -box with the monc\' in 
it. and a laruie \\'elsh Bible in good order. The Sunday-school books were 
wet but clean, and in a state so that the\- could be preserved. 

In the rubbish near the stcjne bridge was a freight car. banL;ed and shat- 
tereil, v.ith a hole stove in its siiie. One of the workmen got into the car and 
found a framed and .dazed picture of the Sa\iour. It was resting against the 
side of the car. right side up. and neither frame nor L;lass injured. When the 
incident was noised about the workmen dropped their pickaxes and ran to 
look at the picture. re\erentl\ taking oti their hats. 

William Poulson. a mi'mber of the opera house orchestra, lost his slide 
trombone when his hou->e on '^X'ater street W'.nt with tile flood. The limi .•_■ 

LIGHTS A.\D SIL\lH>]rs. . 361 

floated to the back of Dibert street, where Mr. Poulson fciiiiul tlie trombi)ne 
secure and uninjured in its leatlur case. All other propirtv- in the house was 

On the body of Mr. Kiniple. tiie furniture dealer, of whose store not a 
brick" remained, a roll of bills \'.as found containin;.;' 53.100. 

Much sympath}' was e.\5>ended on ••the Paul Revere of Johnstown." as 
the papers styled a young man whom they called Daniel Periton. He was 
represented as a hero who rode through the streets warning people that the 
dam had burst aiul to tly lor tlieir lives, until the tlciod overtook' him. Horse 
and rider were buried under a mass of rubbish. The story was rehearsed in 
this fashion ; 

".V Paul Revere lies .somewhere among the dead. Who he is is now known, and his ride 
will be famous in history. .Mounted <m a grand, big bay horse, he came riding down the pike 
which passes throu>;h,Conemaugh to Johnstown, like some angel of wr.uti ol old. shouting his 
warning . ' Run for your lives to the hills '. Run to the hills '' The people crowded out of their 
houses along the thickly settled streets, awestruck and wondering. N'o one knew the man, and 
some thought he was a maniac, and laughed. On and on. at a deadly pace, he rode, and shrilly 
rang out his awful cry. In a few moments, however, there came a cloud of ruin down the 
broad streets, down the irarrow alleys, grinding, twisting, hurling, overturning, cr.ishing — an- 
nihilating both weak and strong It was the charge of the tlood. rearing its coronet of ruin and 
devastation, which grew at every instant of its progress Forty feet high, some sav, thirtv ac- 
cording to others, was tliis sea , it trailed with a swiftness like that which lay in tiie hi.eis of 
Mercury. On and- on raced the rider, on and on rushed the waters Dozens of people took 
heed of the warning and ran up to the hills, I'oor, faithful rider, it was an unetjual contest I 
Just as he turned across the railroad bridge the mighty wall fell upon him, and horse, rider and 
bridge all went out into chaos together, .\ fe'.v feet further on se\ cars o\\ the l'enns\ Ivania 
Railroad train from Pittsburgh were caught up and hurried into the caldron, and the heart of 
the town was reached. The hero had turned neither to right nor left for himself, bnt rode on 
to death tor his townsmen. He was overwhelmed by the current at the bridge, and drowned. 
A party of searchers found the body of this man and his horse. He was still in the saddle. 
In a short time the man was identified as Daniel Periton, son of a merchant of Jolinsti-iwn, a 
young man of remarkable courage. He is no longer the unknown hero, iox the name 'A Daniel 
Periton will live in fame as long as tlie history of the John-town disaster is remembered 

Xo such event took place, no person named Periton e\'er ii\ed in or near 
Johnstown, no deatl rider was found ■•still in the sa"ddli.-" and the inciilent is 
as pure a fiction as Sinbad's NoVage through the air on the back of the 
monstrous roc ! A Chicago di\ine was one of the army of poetasters who 
sought to embalm the alleged ride in glowing iie.\ameters. His production 
was pul.ilished in a Chicago paper and attracted favorable notice from its in- 
trinsic merit antl the nature of the subject. The author enclosed a C(i[i\' in a 
letter to Mrs. John A. Log'an. w idu.iw of tite noted seildier and '-t.itesm.m. ask- 
in.LC her to send it to the (jo\ernor of Penns\-hanla with .a re(]iiest f^r him to 
si.-cure its insertion in a hist.jry of the ilooci he had learned a ciii/eii ot Harris- 
burg was writin;,'. Mrs. Logan kindh' lorwarded the cii'r'gvm.m's lettt r and 
poem, stating how they had been sent to her, and the Cioxernor inlornied me 



of tlie corrcspondcnco. The funniest part of the transaction was a postcript 
to tlie letter in these \\'or(fs : 

■■ Since printing the jmeni 1 liave been tolil thnt the incident on whicli it is founded did not 
occur at all !" 

The teii Iclti-r-Carrier-i on July luth re-ceived the first contribution of 
money sent them b}' their fellow carrit'is. It was from the carriurs in ( )maha, 
Nebraska, in the shape of a letter with S30 enclosed. The carriers lost their 
uniforms and personal jnMpcrtN and some of them theii families. l*"ach man 
wrote a sketch of his personal experience in the flood while deli\ iring mail 
matter, and sent it to the Omaha brethren ,is a memento. 

On Market street, south of Lincoln, the tank" of l\nns\-h-ania Railroad 
engine \o. in) was dumped. It was one ot the destructi\(; forces of the ilooi.l. 
having been seen demolishing the frame house of Henr\' Pritchard and the 
brick resilience of Hben |ames. ^vhile it also wrecked the house o\ Mr. Keese. 
beside which it stranded. Sfi close to it that they at first sight appeared to be 
coupled ^\as a freight car. and a little farthcT another. The contractor -who 
cleared up Market street biirnet! tn\e cars. This lead to the conclusion that 
all these crmstitutetl part of a freight train that was washed aw a\- frtnn East 
Conemaui;h. the parts of ^vhich detached by coming in contact with buddings 
on the street. 

The flood carried a cow down from some point abo\'e Moxham and she 
struck against a pier of the dislodged Pojilar street bridge. . Securing a foot- 
hold on the pier, she stood there a while, but hnalK' nunle a mis-step, fell into 
the current and was drowned. 

The ligiits were well-ni''h. lost in the dense cloud of shadows I 

rTs^r^.c'r-rri -t^-. 



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^^^3' ^^(i.f 




The Destrx-ction bv the Flooo Does Xot Me.n Perpet-m. Ru,s-T„e First Sk,n. o. 
Renovation -Starting the Ikon Work, and Steel Mills- Invincple Determina- 
tion OF THE Citizens- Men oe Resolute Will Who Would Not De-ert the Old 
Home- Consolidating the Bokol-,..hs Into a - An Electric Railw.v - Spkead- 
,SG Over the H.lls-Thk New Johnstown Will Be Grander and Greater Than 
the; One Blotted Olt ev the Dkuge in iSS.j 

Bui he l.iok«l upon the cky. ev<fry side; 
All the mouiiiains toi.ped with temples, all the glades 

All the causeways, bridges, a<liie'l 

All tlie men."— Bkownin 

nd thi 

ter pt. 

&^ITH XO FOOD, no shelter, no clothing, no 
railroad or trlegraphic coniinunicatinn. the 
outlook for Johnstown iinmeiliatci}' alter the 
flood was indeed -looniN-. Hut those who knew 
the character of the coniiiiuiiity did not despair 
of Its future. The flood had iii.ule sad breaks 
in the ranks of enterprisin- citi/.ns. yet enou-h 
substantial men reiuametl to ,-uarantee the 
speedy resurrectu.u of the town. Chicaiio is 
greater and richer than before the fire. Charles- 
ton did not abide in the ruins of the earthquake. 
r.--=^-c_-^^V . •-■ Jacksomiile has recovered from tho etfects of 

''■ ' '"' ' the pestilence and Juhiist. ami will rise a;;ain. 

BriLDiNG AFTER THE ELo.:,,.. "pinju^h stuuneil antl shaken, the industrial cen- 
sessed TIk. people soon began to advance coura- entire restoration. Leaving the dead past, ireightetl with ex- 

366 THE STi^RY OF jn/fXSTOirX. 

periences tliat will hi- of iiiiinite \ alue as a j^uide hertjafter. the survivnrs rose 
to deal with the liviiiL; present and face inanfull}- a future which their own e\- 
-crtions woidd crown with proniisc and beaut\". 

The assurance of a new era of prosperity \vas to be found inost of all in 
the contiiniati'jn of the ;;reat industries tliat had been the niain-sprlni;s of 
growth and success in the jia'-t. The Cambria Iron Company bent its ener- 
gies to get the works in condition to resume operations at the earliest moment. 
The ser\ices of every man remaining' who liad been in its empio\- were die- 
nianded. It announced its intention to replace the Gautier mill and put up 
new houses for the emploNes who had lost theirs. Progressivi; residents pro- 
posed to incorporate a niimljer of the boroughs into one cit\'. tlius doing awav 
with a half-dozen ditlerent municipal organizations, manaijed by councils 
which often coutlictei.1 with each other. This decided imi>ro\ enient has been 
carried out and a charter granted for a citv of si.xteen wards. li.xcejttini,' a ver\' 
small number of droiu s, w ho wanted the outside worUl to do ever\ thing for 
them, the periple showeil an admirable spirit of determination and self-reliance. 
They felt keenly their terrible mi-^fortune. yet did not propose to sit iiih b\- 
and subsist on the cliarif, that poured in so lavishh' from ever\' quarter. The 
true •■ get-up-and-get "' (ptaht\' was manifested almost uni\ersall\ , than which 
no surer indication could be dt sired of the successful re\ i\'al of Inisiness and 
complete rebuilding of the wasted boroUL^hs. E)r. .\ndrew Yeaiile\ . whose 
house was taken awav. standing on its ruins, voiced the general sentiment m 
saying : 

"I lived here happily for tuentv-tive \ears God willing, I II live here tuenty-five years 
more, or till I die '" 

The first building — if such it may be termed — put up after the deluge was 
a cigar-stand on the corner of Mam and Jackson streets. The proprietor 
skirmished among the debris for pieces of boards, out of which he constructed 
ashed the dimensions of a hen-coop. This was on Monda\-. June 3rd. Standing 
on a barrel in the ruins 01 ids old store, another dealer had a brand-new nickel- 
plated show-case full of the teii-ccnts-a-half-dozen ••stogies." It was funny, 
right in the wreckaiie. without any front to his building and the building itself 
on one side, to see one of the barbers, who had fished out and put together 
one of his chairs and briulitened a razor and pair of shears found in the wreck, 
lie was hard at work on MontIa\' cutting the hair and sha\iiig some of the in- 
consolable widowers of the place. Hardly was he out of the water himself 
before lie was at the mor'_;ue slia\'inL; the male corpses as thev arri\'ed. \\ork 
in shaving the dead becoming; a trifle dull, he started to tr_\- his hand again 
on the living. Close at hand the Frcii Press;: people were tr\ing to get their 
t_\pe out of ••pi." \^'illianl^ lV Specht and in e or si.\ other tirms in the same 
square were propping tilings up and making repairs. Almost every man who 
had not deserte^l the place, and wiio had the heart to do it. ■■j,ot hold ot a 

wifjT OF Ttn-: i-rri/RE' 367 

hatchet and started tu knock awa\' the raL;^"ed edLjes or dismantleil ]iortioiis ot 
liis ruinetl home an.l pn.t up a tt inporarN 'shelter Thf rinu;" of tlie hanniier and 
nails was soon heard on ever\' siiie. In dilli rent parts ot tlie town pieces ol 
paper and carets were fastened on broomsticks and stuck" in the chrt piU-s, telh 
in^" that this was the site of soriiehod}"' > store wiio meant to rebniU! and ;:o on 
again. \'ei\' oflen the iiatnre of the Imsiness formerly carried I'R mi,L;ht hi: 
learned at a glance h\ the char;icter of the rnlihish. Occasionnih some one 
became facetious in det\'ing fate, and one man had on his placard ; 
■■On top Floniis ilnn't step iiif ' " 
People indmed with such a spirit can no more l)e kept dnwn than steam 
will stoji rising because tile safet\ -\al\^e is weiL;hted. The work ot clearing il;e 
town%\ent on. h2\er\liiid\ not clironicalh^ laz\^ w as bn>\'. \\"a:^ons fidl of 
mud rumbled o\er the streets towanls the rixer. and tired men with picks in 
their hands stood a^ide and wiped thek face^ as tlie\^ made rodui for them tc) 
pass. Faces liad a more chei'rful e.xpressien arid the tone of the conversa- 
tion was less despontient tlian at fir^t. .V deterrjhnation to make the licst of 
everything preijommated. The sk\^ brightened anil the liark cloud.-, dispersed 
as each day witnessed some addition in the direction of solitl progress. The 
•Candnia Inm Works were running as usual h\ June 24th. and an arm\ of men 
were restorini; the Gautier Mills. The Johnson Compan_\ . which emplo\ed 
one thousand men cir more making stee'l and steel rails, reiiuilt its ^^'ood^■ale 
branch at Mo.xham. giving stead\^ employment to all the force who sur\ived. 
On June 14th all meu'bers C'f the Coimcil of \\'ood\ale w ho did not perish met 
President George Ih Kolierts to ask him about connecting them \\\ rail with 
the rebuilt portion of the Pennsylvania Radroatl. There was a tin\ bit of a 
street railway, a little patch C'f pa\^ed street and a curbstone. Around this 
curbstone they met. Of what was once a tliri\ing and poindous town of three 
thousand so\ds. with factories, tanneries, hails, stores and snug dwellings, 
the curbstone \\-as the only remnant left, and around this thev prc^pused to 
build. With ab--olutehMi>thing in sight these mi/ii were proxidiiT,,' for tlie 
future exigencies of tlie restored inauufactunnL; center that in their minds thev 
had already located on the ruined waste. Mr. S. S. Mar\ in, of the Flood 
Commission, outlined the situa.tion on Jul}' 22A, \\hen he remarked to a news- 
paper correspondent : 

' ' The u hole tou n is nnce more upon its feet, and it is cei t.iinly a matter for congratulation. 
There has not been a hitch o£ any kind between the members of the various relief committees, 
and the wisdom of conservative manai;ement of the relief funds has become so clearly apparent 
that there is no complaint to be lieard anywhere Another indication of the approach of self- 
reliance of the people is in the n.atter of bread .\t one time we wer^ sendinir from twent\ 
thousand to thirty thous.uid pounds of l>read daily to John^toun To-dav we sent one thousand 
pounds, and to-nicht I received a telet;ram stating; that to-morrow, for the first time since the 
flood, no bread would be required, but to send one thousand pounds on Wedne.sday This 
indicates that five hundred pounds of bread per diem is now considered ample as the outside 



supply In every other respect there is as much proirross to be noted, and the city of Johns- 
toun is as nearly as pi>ssil>le once more npiin its feet " 

The iiii!iil)ci (it iiicii \\\\o ownuil thoir homes was ;,iirprisin^l\- 1,ii'l;o. 
Tlii-y h,nl a direct hnaiKial interest in the spectly restoration of the district, 
whitli the HheiaHty of the world outside assisted ureath' in )M-onic tini,'. Man- 
kind knows \vhat jtilmstown had been. In the rehcs of the panoiania of in- 
dustrial enterprise and tioniestic prosperit\- the toiliiiL; laborers worked with 
dopged persistence to clear the wa\ for the rebnildinu, of the n.\v(.T. b'/tter 
town that must ccnne e\entuall\'. The prett\" park, where trees blocjnietl and 
the erass was fresh and ;^reen as the Kmerald Isle, was coiui-rted into a lodg- 
int;-place for as man\' frames as could be crowiled along its fonr sides. Tiiev 
were occupied at once — stores and shops down-stairs, oitins on the second 
f^ooi — and the cr\' was ••more." The distribution of the relief fniuls b\' the 
Flood Commission helpeil hundreds to restune the thread of tratie whicli the 
flood had snapjied off. Alread\ the street-car system is in process of transition 
to a motor line, with electricit\ ior its propelliiiL; force. The town is bustlnii,' 
with projects lookin;.^ towards ^.'rowth and impro\'enieiit. An inclined rail- 
road will run from a point opposite the month of Conem.iii'jh Creek to the 
plateau h\'e lumdred feet abo\i-. whicli \\i!l be co\ered with workingmen's 
homes before the snow flies next autumn. I'ine hotels ha\'e been planned and 
will be put up in the spring. The newspapers — tiicse infallible indexes of 
the intelligence and thon^^lit of a ccjinmunity — are brighter than ever, and 
their columns teem with ad\ertisements. The huge works are running lull- 
handeil. thri/e turns ever\' t'.\'ent\'-fe>iir hours, and wa^es p.ud m cash twice a 
month. h"or six mouths Jt.hnstown has had more ready money than any place 
of e(}iial size in Penns\lvania. There are scores of sufferers who will need 
permanent assistance. Lnit the L.;rand wcirk of the naticjus for the 
\'alle\' is substantially o\'er. The wondrous beneficeiici.-. the grainiest juslihca- 
tion of the philosoph_\- of modern lite, has practically- ended. With, the ilames 
of ceaseless i:ulnstr\- lighting her skw the tires of her furnaces burning con- 
tinnallv. Johnstown looks f')rward hopetulK". 

Estimating the property loss at b'.'sides one-third as iiincli 
for the railroatls and the Cambria Iron Company, the recuperative power of 
the sufferers is certainh' remarkable. Consohilating the boron-hs into a t ity 
will introduce changes that must prove highly bene-ticial. The deluL;e has 
drowned sectional animosities and local jealousies, which had engendered 
wrani;linL;s anil retardeti }iro_;ress for manv \ears. Now ewerv' man is mori' ot 
a cosmopolitan, who apipreciates the value ot concentrateil eltort to advance 
the public welfare. \'isitors like Congressmen McKinlev, ol <_)hio. autl the 
Rev. Dr. Talm,iL;e, of Brooklyn, liid not fail to observe and commend the 
kindl)'. spirited feeling animating men and women whom the llood had 
beggared. Thev understood, its si^nihcance and kiiev, that it mi.'ant Johns- 


town was not to be linrird pcrpc-tiially. True. tluTc' were li!iL;htfii hopes, 
wrecked lortuaes and homes, yet o\er all might he written the in-^pirinL; 
A'(-s//'Xc!m tliat foretells a speed}' resurreetioii. 

Look ahead a decade, to the heginiiim; of the twentieth centiu}-. Ten 
\'t ars hn\e done wonders in transforminu; tlie lila.-.teil. wasted, desolate rem- 
nants of a h,df-d.o/en horoughs into a hnsy and beauJilul cit\". Congress acted 
liberally in iJig^J. granting an appropriation which ^\ ideneti and deepenetl the 
streams sutlicienth" to render floods a tradition onl\. The low grounds have 
been raised and on them stijres and factories ha\e a solid habitation. Paved 
streets are lined v.ith rov.-, ot stately business blocks, heated b\- steam and lit 
bv electricit\'. .\long Conemau.uh Creek runs a broad thoroughfare, the fa\orite 
drive and promenade of the citi/.ens. whu seek its shnded side\vaiks and 
asphalt pavement for deligiitt;d sauntering and carriage-rides. Electric cars 
conve}' passengers to ever\' (Quarter of the cit\' and suburbs. The .u'reat Iron 
Works ha\e lioubled their capacity and new industries ]ia\e trebled the -wealth 
and trade and population of a dozen vears be'ore. Inclined railroads firing 
the hills within easy reach. enabliiiL; the merchants and the workmen, the 
laborers and the shop-girls, to reach the highest spot in a few moments. The 
flats have been iriven over wholly to business, the homes going up on the 
plateaus where tlie air is pure as the smile of an infant \\ hen the angels whis- 
per to it in its slumber. Ch.ildren plav in [>leasant jiarks. and unslghth' build- 
ings are nowhere visible. The sharpest eye can detect no sign of the tiocx.l of 
iSSg. save the graves and monuments in the cemeter\. the granite shaft in the 
ptdilic square and the t.iliiets on buildim;? at the high-Vvater mark. The dream 
of Joseph )i_)hns has been grandly realized. f(<r a court-house adorns the 
lot designed for such a structure at the birth of the humble settlement which 
has become a lordly city. 

Enter one of the homes that look so cos}- and in\iting. It i^ tiie tenth 
anni\ersar\- of the flootl. The da\' has been obser\ed as one of religious 
solemnitw \'isits have been made to the cemetery and flowers scattered on 
thegra\(-sof those whose li^'es went out amid the wreck and ruin of May 31st. 
iSSg. The family whose threshold we cross has haci a part in this piou:^ duty. 
The children cling to their sire and ask questions ^'.hich bring back a host ot 
recollections. Their sericuis faces express the interest the\' feel in the words 
that fall from the father's lips. There is a tremor in his voice and a tear glis' 
tens in his e\'e as he repeats the names of kindrei.1 and, acquaintances who 
perished on that unfor^otren Frida\' afternoon. The twdii^ht deepens antl the 
shades of evening gather. He had rescueil some of the listi'ners from the 
deluge, wh.ile yet too \nung to understand what had occurred, but some had 
sunk beneath the dark waters. Memory is bus\- picturing it all c^ver a_;ain. 
The scene is as real as the shailows cast b\' the ilickering embers in the urate. 
Tlie young brood draw ^'et closer to the fond parent, who tells once mure the 


TifE sTtiRV OF jonxsrowx. 

talc of sorrow that has left di.-c[> scars in !iis soul. X'isions of thu disaster 
float throuL;h his brain, rccallini,' the perils and stru-;-;K--s .li the dreadfrd hour 
whieh, like r,ani|Uo' s -ho-t, ••will not down." Before him rise the forms (.if 
friends and neii;hliors over wiiom the .Ljra^s has -rown and the snows of many 
winters ha\e drifted. N'oices wont to thrill him with ec^tacy. who-e sli'_;htest 
niurniur was sweet mu'-ic to his ears, he hears as in tin.' days L;one hy. Hands 
long turned to diust clasp his as the\- did ere these wrinkles were on his brow, 
tliese strea]<s of sih'er in his hair, these cankering wounds in his heart. IIow 
vivid and lifedikc it all seems as he leans back in his ch.air and gives free 
rein to remembrances of the iloo'.l ! 

■• Forll.t nl..^^y iii.irM^s rest 
On the lips he los iTt-ssed 

111 their hi, I,, m. 
And the names he lo\ e.! to 
Haveheen La^^ea l^r iii.r..y a year 


Then lie soes to his well-stocked library, selects a book that he treasures 
next to his dead wife's Bilile — somehow it was sa\-ed\\hen his house moved 
off— and reads to the little assemblage clustering around his knee a chaiUer 
from ••The Siokv of John^iown." 


Names or Victim^^ ok the Jthnstown I'lood 


.F May 31 


iSSi), WHOSE BoDn;-< wefk K. 


Adams. Hciirv CIny. 
Alexander, John G. 
Alexander, Mr*..l..hii G. 
Alexander, Aui.ilia. 



Artliur, .Mrs. Willi; 
.Mbetter, MKs. 
Atkinson, J. .Iin. 

AKer. .\ii..;u-.l 
.\liler, Mi^s Lnuis.l. 
.\lilcr. Gouge. 
Ahler, Louis. 
Abler, l.iilu. 
.\lHer. Lena. 
Aiidersuii, Samuel. 
Auble> . Kale. 
Albeilei. Mr,. Terc 

All, -Mrs. Ceciv^e. 
Allison. Mnrence. 
Amps. Ml. 
Amps. Mrs. 
Amps, ^^l^^. 
Aaron, Mrs. H. p., 
Aaron, son of .Mrs. H. B. 

llaldwin. Gi 
Barbnr, Hai 

, Sadie. 

Kiiller, Sarah A. 
Ho.-us, William. 
Bending, Jessie. 
Bending, Elizabeth. 
Barrett, James. 
Kciiford. Mrs. F,. E. 
Benford, son of .Mrs. 
Beiiiord. Jennie or Je 

, Mr 


, .Ml 

eth M. 
i. .Molli. 

Eoyer, Solomon. 
Blough, Kmaniiel. 
Bnchanan.John S. 
Buchanan, R. L. 
Beam, Charles. 
Beam, I)r. L. T. 
Bishof. I'harles. 
Barley, Viola. 

Bowman, . 

Baker, Mrs. Nelson. 
Brennan, Mrs. Edward. 
Brennan, Mary. 


.vm.m, .\ 

el I.e. 

Brady, J,.h,i 


itly, Wil 
an. Will 



-nes. Li.-, 



iiker. .Ml 



ckcr. He 



kley. n. 



nkey. Dr 

. C. 1 

Benshort". A 




IJ .^ 


ir. .Mrs. 

Behuke. Ch 



1111. Ur. W. C. 


im, Mrs, 



.;er. Cbai 



iford. .M, 



iford. .\l. 


Bracken, Mm 
Kopp, Mamie. 
Bitner, A. B. 
Bowers. Geor 
Bair. Rosa. 
Kridijes, Kmn 
Bosle. Charle 

Bovle, Thomas. 
Bishop, Julius. 
BaKle>, Wilham. 
Bradley, 1 honias. 
Eaumer, Littie 
Benshotl. .\dam. 
Bantly, Mr:-. Wdli: 
Bantly, child of W 
Bowman. Charles 
Brinille, .Mollie. 
Byrne, Ella. 
Brawley, M,i,£;i:ie. 
Brawle>, C.eoige. 
Brawley, Jacob. 
Buchanan, Kate J. 
Bendin.i;, Mrs. 
Byers, Callieiine. 
Eurket, Frank. 
Brown, Peter. 
Earley, Mrs 
Bradly, Mrs. Eliza 



Bopp, Jacob. 
Bloch. Louisa. 
Benii;h,John C. 
Eairg, Charles. 
Boehler, Annie, 
Barker, .Mrs. E-. 
Brady, Mrs.J. 
Bopp, Monacia. 
Bunting. .Mrs. 



si ^ 




THE STORY or jonxsrow.w 

Constable, Phillip. 
Clark, Mrs. J. B. 
Crnii in, Daniel. 
Co.x. James G. 
C.lrlin. Jonatll.ln. 
CaiToll, Thomas. 
Campbell, I'eler. 




Christie, A. C 
Conmors. Mrs 
Craig,.!. J. 
Craig, .Mr.s.;..I. 
Cooper. Otho. 
Cunz, Robbie. 
Cunz, Ly.lia. 
CoaJ. John. 
Coad, Mrs. John. 

Coad, Willie. 
Carroll. Rosic. 
Cullen. .\nnie. 
Clark, Thomas. 
Cormelson. .Maijjic. 
Constable. .Mrs. 
Clark. Mrs. Owen. 
Craig. Mrs. C.uharir 
Corr, .Mrs Saiah P. 
Creed. IXuiil. 
Cope, Mrs .Marsarc 
Coleman, Jessie. 
Craig, Christopher. 
Crais. .\nnie 
CullUon, Mrs, Franl 

Cush, P., Sr. 




r. Mr 

Cush. Joseph. 
Cush, J. Daniel. 
Curry, Robert IS. 
Cub>, Mrs. p:iua 
Casey, William 
Custer. W. H. 
Clark. J. H. 
Creed, Eliza 
Cadugau Mrs Willi; 
Cadugan. .Annie. 
Cole, John. 

Cush. Mrs. V. 

De .Mrs. John. 
Da\ is, Thomas. 
Driscoll, Jessie. 
Delancy, Mrs. 
Doughert>. .Mary. 
Davis, M:5. .Varoii. 

Davis. Mrs. Phillip. 
Dobbins. Mrs. J. R. 
Davis, . M.I. . 
Dinioml. Frank 
DeFran. e, -Mrs. H. T. 


, Mai 

Diehl, Carrie. 
Dillon. James. 
Dibert, Blanche 
Downey. Mrs. N 
Davis, Frank. 


Mrs. Walt. 


. .Miss Delia, 


:.. .\ugnsi. 


, William L. 


, Clara. 

De W, 

lid, Charles 


id, Mrs. .Vni 


Rev. .\. V 


, Isaac 


. Mrs. M.irn 


I. Lola. 




. Frederick. 


ng. Mrs. M. 


ng, Cathari 



1. Mrs Dr 
, Thomas. 

Downs. Mrs, Catharine. 
Dailcy. Mrs. .\nn. 
Dolan. Michael. 
Doyle, Maggie. 
Downs, Kate. 
Downs. Teresa, 
Dorris. .August. 
D.iw, W. F. 
Day, John R. 
Das dangluer-.r John R. 
Dorse\. John 1). 
Dougherty. Maggie. 
Dougherty. Mary. 
Davis, .Mrs. Thcmas. 
Davis, Reese. 


Evans, .Mrs Xoah. 
English. John. 
Eager, Annie. 
Eldridge. Abram. 
Eldridge, Samuel. 
Eldridge. Pennell, 

F.skdal, James. 
Ev.ans, Kate. 
E\aiis, Lizzie. 
Evans. Mrs. 
Evans, Maggi. 
Eck, Lillle. 

Evans, Luke, 
Evans, Daisy. 
Evans. Herbert. 
Edwards, Ann R. 
Eck, Mary Ann. 
Eck, Mrs. Maiv,, 
Fitzharris. Christ, .pher, 
F'itzharris, Mr=, Margaret. 
Fit/harris, Saillc. 
Fitzharris. Katie. 
Fitzharris. Christopher, Sr. 
Fitzharris, Marv, 
Fitzharris, daughte 


, Mrs, J. J. 
, Bessie. 


Flcagle, Annie. 

FiM.-her. Wolfgang. 

Fa.gaii. Patrick. 

Fagan, .Mrs, V. 

Fagaii. dau'<liter..f Patrick 

Fagan, daughter 
Fitzner, Annie. 
Fisher, Noah. 

Fisher, . 

Fisher, George. 
Fisher, Mrs. J. G 
Fisher. John H. 
.1 orbc-!.. Rachael 


Fradler, F.Iinira. Ffdmiaii. \V. M. Feiin. Bismark. 

Findloy, Elviia. ForKusch, child. Kisli. Luna. 

Fox, Martin. Kink. .Mary. Frank, Mrs. John. 

Flynn, .Man. Fisher, iKiuatius. Flivk. Lcroy. 

Ferris. Francis. Frank. JCatic-. Foiot, Frank. 

Fritz, Katiu. Foparty, Thomas. Foils. Fr.mcis. 

Fritz. Ma^ijic- Fitzgerald. Mrs. Frank. John. Sr. 

Frederick, .\li-. Fenn.Jolm. 1- ledcncks, Mr-.. 

F'itzpatri. k, .\ium. Fenii, ( ;eneveive 


Garman. Crace. Ga-el.) . Sarah Card, .\., Sr. 

GrolT, Mcllie Clark. Grtcinvald, Ko^^.i. C.iln..,rc, .\nthonv. 

Geddes, Paul. Gordon. Miss. Gihnyre, .\biani I.. 

Geddes, Marion. Gallagher, Mr^. Lizzie. Gilmure, Ella. 

Geddes, George. Gallai;her, Prol'. Gillen, Lanra. 

Gill. Willie. Gagchy. Mrs. Koht. Goldenbuii;, Henr> 

Greenwxvl. Gee. Gromley, Lillie. Gaidiier, R.ise, 

Given, Jane. Gerbcr. Mrs. John. Goui;heno!ir. Franl, 

Given. Uen.iamin. Grady, Mrs. John. Gillas, David. 

Golde, .Mrs. H. GrilTin. Miss. Gaither, Harrv. 

Greenwood, Jennie. Gallagher. Thomas. Gardner, Mis' lohn 

Geis, Mrs Gardner, M.s. J., hn. Gr,.dv. Mrs. I ,'l,n. 

Horton. Peter. Harriss. Mas^-ie. Hughes, Then. 

Hamilton, child of.V. H. Harriss. Sarah. Hotfinan. Willi 

Haniilton. .\le.v.. Jr. Harriss. \V. L. Ho«ells, .Mr,, NL I 

Hamilton. I.ntlier Hotfni.m, Charles V.. Hamilton, Mrs. .Me 

Koran. W. P.. Holmes. Mrs. .colored.) Harmsh, Blanche 

Howells. Mrs. Hite, Samuel. Hessler, Andrew, 

Hirsch, Kddie. . House, .Mollie. Hciny, Aut;nst. 

Hoopes, \V. E. Hellrisle. .Mr. Heiny, .Mr' 

Howard, James. Hellri-le. Kliz.aheth. Harris, Mrs. N. 

Hughes, NL.ry. Heffley, Kduar.l. Holtznian. Joseph. 

Hughes. lla:.;-^ie. 

Hurst, Nathaniel. 

Hess. \V. r.. 

Howells, Wni. 

Hester, .Mr.-.. 

Hammer, Mr. 

fLankey. Mrs. 

Hamilton. Laura. 


Halleran, Mrs. 

Halleran, .M.ay. 

Harris, Frank, 

Holfgard, Conrad 

Holmes, Julia. 

Haynes, \V. E. 

Hennekamp. Oscar. 

Hennekainp. Reuben. 

Hennekamp, Samuel. 

Howe, Mrs. 

Howe, Thomas. 

Howe, son of Thomas. 

Howe, Mrs. i;. 

Howe, Gertrude. 

Howe, .NLss. Hammer, Daniel. 

Hornick.John P. Hurclun.m, M.C. 

Hipp, Jessie. Hotlman, H.irrv. 

Hov.e, W F. H„lT, (M.ttlrie 

Haniss. Mrs. NLlutT. Hill, child of 11. V. 




. W. 



11, Cli 


B P,. 



. .Mri 

1. ICI 











e. .M 



e. Kl 








. Mr' 







rs. L 




rey. Willi 


Halstead, Ph 




1, Pf! 





1, .Ml 




1. He 




, Fini 




W. 1 



1, Pel 




1, .Ma 



1. Fl. 




1. Fr> 









1, .NLi 








, Mr- 


m G. 



11, Kl 



n, Fl 












^ child. 




an, E. 


iberger. .Mrs. 


, Ella. 


s, Mrs. W. U. 


nthal. Harry. 


in, Harry. 


r. Mis. .\nna. 


rd, Edward. 


Ill, Eugene. 


, Mrs. Georg 




1, Mrs. Charl. 


.s. Fanny. 


s, Laura C. 


, C. C. 


, -Mrs. C. C. 




an. Will. 


1, GcigeC. 


.n. Miss. 


r, Mrs 


;r, .tndrew. 


:T,)/n' or /(i//.\\ 



Jo.iv.-?.. Thomas. 
Jones. Mrs. T. \V. 
Jones, Mrs. \V. \V. 
Jones, Mis. Sll.i.l. 
Jones, Eli/a. 
Jones, Annie. 
Jones, Richard G. 
Jones, Thomas. 
Jones, James. 
Jones, Edi;.ir. 
Jones, Thomas i2). 
Jones, Mrs S. M. 
James, Mullie. 
James, Mrs. John \V. 
Jacobs, Lewis. 
Jacob\', Tniey., Mrs. !',.ul, 
Jnst.Lhil.l,.:" I'.iul 
Juhn-.r,, JmIui 
Jolnis,.n. Ml-, JmHi, 
Jagler, Annie. . 
Johnson, Da\'id. 
James, Benjamin. 
Jenkins, Thomas. 
James, Lena. 
James, .Magsie. 
Jenkins, Mrs. Snsa. 
Johnson, L)a\ Ri 12). 
Junes, Racliael. 
Jones, Alice. 
Jones, Emma. 
Jones, Ahner., 1.1,1. 
Jack,.in, Mr, 
Janicb.J.Miii K. 
JohnsuM. Ccral.line. 
Julinson, Eii.i. 
Jolmson, Luhi. 
Johnson, Dulhe. 
JohnsoiK L.ittie. 
Johnson, Lillie. 
Johnson, Frederick. 

Johnson, (.•■ertrliJe. 
Jack, Mrs. Jennie. 
Janoski, .Mrs. Lena. 
Just, Eddie. 
Jones, Tomm\. 
Jones, Annie. 

Kies, Charles A. 
Kunkle, Lizzie. 
Kiio.^c, Mrs. Thomas. 
Klllm, Thomas. 
Kirhn, Eddie. 
Kirlin, Frank. 
Kecdy, Mrs. Mar^'. 
Keedy, Howard. 
Knorr, Mrs. 
Knorr, Bertha. 
Kieiv;er, Katie. 
Kat/ensteiTi, Mrs. 
Knee, George D. 
Keilline, Mrs. Cathai 
Keitlinc, .\Lin . 
Keifer, Mrs. John A. 
Kirkhride. Lydia. 
Kenna. Mrs. Alice. 


, d.iUBhter of .Mrs. 
, Mr. 

Kimpel, Cllristian. 
Kelley, Mrs. H. 
Kirkhride. Ida. 
Kcsi;. W. K. 
Knorr, Emma. 
Knld, Joshua. 
King, Laura, 
Kedan. Mis, 
Kintz. Mrs John, 
Kennedy. .M,*J Frank. 

Kintz, Catharine. 
Knahle, Leonard. 
Kellex, Charles. 
Kirliii, .Mrs. Thomas. 
Kiih>, Mi-,, Wiili.iin. 
Kral/er, .Mrs. H.-liry. 
Kilgore. Alexander. 
Kilgore, Alexander, Jr 
Kinney, Agnes. 
Kast, Clara. 

Karns, Joseph. 
Kidd, Mrs. Sarah. 
Kane. lohn. 

Leitenbersjer, Mrs Ma 
Lynch, M.ny. 
Lyncll, John. 
Lambrcski, Mrs. 
Lambreski, Maty. 
Little. A. 
Luckhart, .Mrs. 
Layton, Ella. 
Layton, .May. 
Layton. David. 
Loni.;, Samuel. 
Lewis. Jamc-s. 
Lenhart, Mrs. Samuel. 
Lenhart. Emma. 
Leniiavt. Annie. 

Ludwir;. Mrs. Kale O. 
Ludwig. IKiiry. 
Larmer. James. 
Lichtcnberger, James. 
Llewellyn, Mrs. J.J. 
Lydeii, .Mar\-. 
Lamber. .Miss. 
Lewis, Orrie P. 
Leecli. Mrs. 
Lucas. Maria (colored). 
Levergood. Luc\ . 
Lavely. Sailie. 
Levergood. Jane. 
Luther, Minnie. 
Lenhart. Annie. 
Lee. Dr. I, K 




Lightner, Mrs. Jam 
Luhtenberg, Mrs. 1 
Lindle, ^L^ry. 
Luckhart, Louis. 
Leilenherger. Miss 
Lenhart. Samuel. 
Linton. Minnie. 
Leech, .Mice 
Leitellherger, Xail.. 
Leitenlier:;er, l.e.dl 
Lavelle, Mi.h.iel. 
Lewis, .Viian.itii. 

, //'/'/ AVI/. V. 


MUT tin. James Sr. 
MurUinJamc, ,h. 
Murtli.i, Mrs. Jnmes. 
Miirllia. Frank. 
Murtha, -Maiy. 
Murllia. Lilly. 
McGec. John, 
Mullili, Peler. 
Murray. J.-^mes. 
Merle, child of J.C. 
McHugli, r.ertnule. 
.McHiii;!!, Mi.v U. A. 
McHiii;h.Jnhii !.., Jennie. 
Ma>hew, Harry. 
M.^^he^^. Ernest. 
.\layhcw, .Vnnie. 
McDi\itt. Mattie. 
Miller. Mrs. 
Murphy, M.J. 
Murphy, J. J. 
Murphy. Bessie. 
Murphy, MisS. 
Murphy, Willie. 
Murjihy, Rose. 
Murphy, Kate. 
Macka, August. 
Monteverdo (childl. 
Monteverdo (child). 
Maiers, M. 
Myers, Elizabeth. 
.\Uers. Phillip, Jr. 


Marboin,^. Iir. II. W. 
Malzi. Jacob. 
Niuilt.^unlery, Alex. 
Marshall, Charles. 
McCoy, Mr. 
Murray, Nellie. 
Marshall, William. 
Meisel, Christ, 
Madden. Mrs. p 

Monteverib., . 

Monteverdo. . 

Meredith. Mr, 
Malcom, Cora. 



Masters, Margaret 
Masterton, Miss. 
Maloy, M.S. 
Miller, Robert. 
Maurer, John. 
Morrow, Captahi. 
Miii,i;le, Sarah. 
Maiks. \Villiam. 
Myers. Hernhard. 
McGuire. Kate. 
McAulilie. l.aura. 
Ma>he\\ .Joseph. 
Matthew , Joseph. 
McKinstiv. Annie 


ly, !■ 



i>, J- 












, Ml 

Muss 1 

-, Ch 




. Ceor:; 



cy. 1 



h>, Wal 



, Mr 

s. c. r.. 

















y.J. p. 









11. M 




>. Mrs.. 

I. P. 









(seven . 

• f fair 








1, Mr 

s. Marg 



. He 


\i.\on. Mrs. R. 
Xi.von, Emma. 
Nixon, Eddie. 
Nathan, Adnlph. 
Nean . Kate. 

Nich, Frai 
Nich, Mar 

ent. Mar 

OComiell, Captain 
O'Counell, Mary. 
O'Connell, Ellen. 
O'Connor. Rosie. 
O'Donnell, Frank. 
O'Donnell, Julia. 
O'Donnell (child). 
Overbeck, William 
O'Neal. John. 
Oswald, Mrs. 

Oswald, Charles. 
O'Neal (child). 
Ovecdurf, Jacob. 
Overdorf, Isaac. 
Owens. William. Sr. 
Owens, Willie. 


, Tomi 
, Ann. 

Oesterman, Joseph. 

Oyler, Georf;e R. 
Owens, Da\ id. 

, Mr 

. Noah. 

Oberlander, Robert. 
O'Neal, Mrs. E. E. 
O'Neal (child). 
0>ler, Mari-. 
Ott, Mrs. 

Prosser, Fannie 

Phillips, J.uie 

Potts, J.n.e 

Powell, child ..I H. P. 

Powell, child of H. 
Poland, son of Pi 1 
Poland, dailijhter oi 


THE S Ti IRV ( '/■• JO//.\S TtniW. 

rhillip'i, Mr 


I M.l 

Potter, Josc|ili. Sr. 
Potter, Mrs .(..^epli, Sr. 
Pottci, Xnr.i 
Pike, \V. \V. 
Pike. \V. \V., Jr. 
Pike, Stewart. 
Pike, Fn!,nie. 
rhi'.lip, Mrs. Robeit. 
Phillips, Juhn. 

Peiiroil, William 
PritdiarJ, H.rir 
Park, William. 
Park, Mrs. 
Park. Miss. 
Park, Miss. 



Peydoii, Camiihell. 
Peydon,.k.hii W. 
P^vdori, Julia. 
Pevdoii, GeoiL'iaiia 

Polk, Mrs. Joliii 
Polk, John. 
Polk (cliild). 
Powell, soil of H. P. 
Pringle, Mary. 
Plummer, AKin. 
Peninger, Mrs. 
Purse, Mary. 
Peppier, Mrs. 

Rogers, .Mrs David. 
Kobinsun, Thomas. 
Rowland, Rose. 
Rowland, Km ma. 
Rubritz, Peter. 
Ruhritz, Massfie. 
Reillv, Kate. 
Richards. J. B. 
Robb, Liz/.ie. 
Robb, .\melia. 
Rohh. Norma. 
Robb, Ge<irKe. 
Robb, Mrs (".. P.. 
Randolph, r.e..ri;e, Jr. 
Roth, John 
Riddle. John G. 
Roth, .Mrs. Kmil. 
Ripple, Jackson. 
Recke, .\le\ander. 
Reckc, Mrs. .\le.\ande 

Rosenslccl. .Mrs. J, J 
Rose, Ilarrx G. 
Rogers, Mrs. .Mary. 
Ross, Joseph 
Roberts, Mrs Mul.u 
Ream, Mrs .\d...ipli 
Reese. Annie. 
Roebrick, G. 
Rhodes, Link. 
Rhodes. Mrs. Unk. 


, Mr 

Ryan, Mrs. John. 
Ryan, John. 
Roland, Louis. 
Roland, Mrs. Louis 
Rubritz, Teney. 
Rapp, Geori^e. 
Roberts, Howard. 
Raiuiev , Mrs. J. A. 
Reese, John. 
Ripple, .M.,^-gie. 

Riley, Frank. 
Rilev, M3r\ . 


Rod-crs. Mrs. P. 
Ryan, P.essie. 
Robine (childl. 
Robine (child). 
Ressler, John R. 
Reese, Gertie. 
Ross. John n. 
Rosenfelt, Solomo 


Ryan, ^Ll::.;;ie 
Ryan, \ i/.-ie. 
Rich. Mr- \\i 
Hitter, Mr. 
Rausch, John. 

Swank. Mrs. Morre 
Snell. Marv. 
Stophel, Kail. 
Schatz, Mrs. E. 
Schatz, .Annie. 
Stufl, John W. 
Stuft, Mrs. John W. 
Spareline. J.-Iiii, 
Schatz, J. 
Suder, Homer. 
Shellhamer, Patrick, 
Statler, Mrs. Geo-qe 
Seibert, Henry. 
Stiiuly, Mis. 
Streum, John, 
Straiise, Moses. 
St. John, C. P. 
Schaller, Mrs. 
Schaller, Rose. 
Spoiler, Lee. 
Spoiler, Mrs. 

Shomaker, JmIuiS, 
Slioiiiaker, Kdith NL 
Shomaker, Irene. 
Shomaker, Walter S. 
Schiiable. John. 
Schnable, Conrad. 
Schnable. .Mis. C. 
Suineford, Mrs. F.dward. 
Swineford, Mary A. 
Schick. Cjrus H. 
Slinson, Eliza. 
Stahn. Frederick. 
Sharkey, Mary, 
Seiitz, .NLary. 
Stophel, Maruaret C. 
Surans, David. 
Sp.t/.. Waller D. 
Swank, Mrs. N. 
Swank, Jacob. 
Swank, — -. 
Swank, . 

Swank , . 

Speer, Mrs. L. E. 
Strayer, Mrs. J. B. 
Straver. Myrtle. 
Statler, Frank. 
Snyder, Mar\ . 
Swank, Frederick. 
Schmitz, Guslave. 
Schutz, Jacob. 
Savior, Henry. 
Schonviski, Miss 
Schittenhelm, Antony. 
Schittenhclm, Ant>.ny,Jr, 
Schrv, William. 
Schubert, C. T. 
Steives. Lewis. 
Slick. Josephine. 
Strauss. Charles. 
Stern. Bella. 
Skinner, John. 
Skeebau.^h, Mrs. 

Schaffer. J.-icob. 
Snell, Mr. 
Schirlliaur. John. 
Schiver, Gciise. 
Schrivcr, NVal. 
Stinsrnan, James. 
Sparc-liiii.-, Jacob. 
Shai plor, Jacob, Sr. 
Scharpler, Jacch. 
Saluiity. E. 

SheIIhanim.T, Lawrence. 
Schiiorr, Charles. 
Stophel, Bertha. 
Statk-r, .\nielia. 
Statier, May. 
Struniel. Julius R. 


Straver, Cora. 


rith, Mrs. Thomas. 

Stick, Nnricv. 

Smitli, .Mrs. John. 

Sweep.),. \i,ri. 



Shalitr, Howard. 

Smith, Miss. 

Smith. Ral|.h, 


lith. William. 

Schultica, Henry. 


lith, Mrs. H. K. 

Silverm.1,1. Mose-;. 



Sarlouis, Hrace. 


lith, child of J. L. 

Sarloui^. i'.,irbara. 


mh, child of J. L. 

Sinyei. Mrs. K. H. 


lith, clwl.lor-J.L. 

Strauss ichilill. 


lith, Mrs, Martin. 

Slitt. Mr. 


hrantz. John. 

Shelley. H. 


lith, Mrs. I'hilip. 

Smith, .\rthur. 

Schult.?, Joseph. 

Smith, Mrs. J. L. 


lioi,\i,ki, . 

Smith. Hcttie H. 


honviski. -. 


Thomas, F.duard. 
Thomas, L\dia, 
Tittle, Cyrus P. 
Thobiim, Thomas. 
Thobiini, Jennie. 
Tross, Mrs. M. 
Tucker, Lillian G. 
Trindle.John \V. 

Tacy. Peter L. 
Thomas, SyU ester. 
Thomas, John. 
Thurn, Levi. 
Temple, Lcroy. 
Tucker, Reuben. 
Tucker, Mrs. 
Thomas. Mrs. Ldward. 


, Mi- 

Trawatha, Mrs. 
Tyler, John, 
Thomas, Jeiikin. 
Tarbell. Mis, Forney. 
Turnei, ^L-.ry. 

iRht. Dan 

Viering, Lizzie. 
Vierins. Mr*, He 

Von.^lt, Henr 
Vonalt, ^r:s. 

Vinton, Mataaret. 
Voefhlly, Mrs. 

While, NLary P. 
Worthiii.-loii. Mar>-. 
Wehn, Mrs R.ich.iel. 
Wehii, Mrs. William. 
VVehm, .Annie. 
Wehm. .\nnieQ. 
Wagoner, Frankie. 
Wa-oner, Dr. John. 
Wagoner, Cora. 
Wells, Jennie. 
Wild, Mrs. Jacob. 
Wheat. Frank. 
Werr\-, .\lbeit. 
Wolf, Jennie. 
Werberger. William. 
Weaver, Mrs. Sue. 
Weaver. John D. 
Williams, Joseph. 
Weiier. Carl. 

Williams, D.J. 

Williams, . 

Wilson, Dr. J, C. 

Winser, . 

White, F.lla. 
White, -M.igirie. 
White, Minnie. 
Will, Mrs. Elizabeth. 
Will. Ca-per. 
Williams, Carrie. 
Wert/, Luther. 
Wonlf, .Mrs. Morris. 
Webber, L. \ 
Webber. .Mi> K W 


, Ml 


Wai;oner, Henr 
Wolford, Frank 
Wieil. Frank. 

Wolford, ,\. 
Wagner, Li/zie. 
Welsh. James. 
Welsh, Thomas. 
Worthingloii, Mrs. 
Wonhingtoii (child). 
Warren, Willie. 
Williams, W.J. 
Wise, Mrs. .Morton. 
Wilson. Charles H. 
Willower, Dertha. 
Wissinger, J. C. 
Weinzerl, Mr. 
Weinzerl, .Mrs. 
Wem/erl. M.irtha. 
Weiii/erl, S.irali. 


, Ml 

W.irkeston, Mi' 


THE STORY Ol' jnjfXST(i\':\. 

Yoinii;, Katie. 
Your-, Air.;LiSlus 
^•„lmg. A. C. 

V.,un-.Sanuic! Vfui,-, Prank. 

Vost. lollic. Voust.lMuar.l. 

Voiing, l-.inii. VoLUin,S:ininc-L 

Zimmcnna.i. Mori;a... 
ZiMimerinaii, Thtjo.lore K. 

ZimnR-niKiii. Miss. ZieKlur, J. B. 

Zeller, Kosc, Zerti. .Misi.