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Title: History of the Johnstown Flood - Including all the Fearful Record; the Breaking of the South - Fork Dam; the Sweeping Out of the Conemaugh Valley; the - Over-Throw of Johnstown; the Massing of the Wreck at the - Railroad Bridge; Escapes, Rescues, Searches for Survivors - and the Dead; Relief Organizations, Stupendous Charities, - etc., etc. With Full Accounts also of the Destruction on - the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers, and the Bald Eagle - Creek.
Author: Johnson, Willis Fletcher, 1857-1931
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Johnstown Flood - Including all the Fearful Record; the Breaking of the South - Fork Dam; the Sweeping Out of the Conemaugh Valley; the - Over-Throw of Johnstown; the Massing of the Wreck at the - Railroad Bridge; Escapes, Rescues, Searches for Survivors - and the Dead; Relief Organizations, Stupendous Charities, - etc., etc. With Full Accounts also of the Destruction on - the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers, and the Bald Eagle - Creek." ***

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[Illustration: MAP OF THE DELUGED CONEMAUGH DISTRICT.]



                               HISTORY

                                 OF

                         THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD.

                              INCLUDING

     ALL THE FEARFUL RECORD; THE BREAKING OF THE SOUTH FORK DAM;
      THE SWEEPING OUT OF THE CONEMAUGH VALLEY; THE OVER-THROW
              OF JOHNSTOWN; THE MASSING OF THE WRECK AT
           THE RAILROAD BRIDGE; ESCAPES, RESCUES, SEARCHES
                   FOR SURVIVORS AND THE DEAD; RELIEF
                               ETC., ETC.

                    WITH FULL ACCOUNTS ALSO OF THE

      DESTRUCTION ON THE SUSQUEHANNA AND JUNIATA RIVERS, AND THE
                            BALD EAGLE CREEK.

                                   BY

                         WILLIS FLETCHER JOHNSON.

                           _ILLUSTRATED._

                          EDGEWOOD PUBLISHING CO.,
                                  1889.
                           Copyright, 1889, by
                         WILLIS FLETCHER JOHNSON.



PREFACE.


The summer of 1889 will ever be memorable for its appalling disasters by
flood and flame. In that period fell the heaviest blow of the nineteenth
century--a blow scarcely paralleled in the histories of civilized lands.
Central Pennsylvania, a centre of industry, thrift and comfort, was
desolated by floods unprecedented in the records of the great waters. On
both sides of the Alleghenies these ravages were felt in terrific power,
but on the western slope their terrors were infinitely multiplied by the
bursting of the South Fork Reservoir, letting out millions of tons of
water, which, rushing madly down the rapid descent of the Conemaugh
Valley, washed out all its busy villages and hurled itself in a deadly
torrent on the happy borough of Johnstown. The frightful aggravations
which followed the coming of this torrent have waked the deepest
sympathies of this nation and of the world, and the history is demanded
in permanent form, for those of the present day, and for the generation
to come.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  The Conemaugh Valley in Springtime--Johnstown and its
    Suburbs--Founded a Hundred Years ago--The Cambria Iron
    Works--History of a Famous Industry--American Manufacturing
    Enterprise Exemplified--Making Bessemer Steel--Social and
    Educational Features--The Busiest City of its Size in the
    State,                                                         15

  CHAPTER II.

  Conemaugh Lake--Remains of an Old-time Canal System--Used for
    the Pleasure of Sportsmen--The Hunting and Fishing
    Club--Popular Distrust Growing into Indifference--The Old
    Cry of "Wolf!"--Building a Dam of Straw and Mud--Neglect
    Ripening into Fitness for a Catastrophe,                       31

   CHAPTER III.

   Dawning of the Fatal Day--Darkness and Rain--Rumors of
     Evil--The Warning Voice Unheeded--A Whirlwind of Watery
     Death--Fate of a Faithful Telegrapher--What an Eye-Witness
     Saw--A Solid Wall of Water Rushing Down the Valley,          42

   CHAPTER IV.

   The Pathway of the Torrent--Human Beings Swept away like
     Chaff--The Twilight of Terror--The Wreck of East
     Conemaugh--Annihilation of Woodvale--Locomotives Tossed
     about like Cockle-shells by the mighty Maelstrom,            51

   CHAPTER V.

   "Johnstown is Annihilated"--Appearance of the Wreck--An Awful
     Sabbath Spectacle--A Sea of Mud and Corpses--The City in a
     Gigantic Whirlpool--Strange Tokens of the Fury of the
     Flood--Scene from the Bridge--Sixty Acres of Débris--A
     Carnival of Slaughter,                                       66

   CHAPTER VI.

   Pictures of the Flood Drawn by Eye-witnesses--A Score of
     Locomotives Swallowed up--Railroad Cars Swept
     away--Engineers who would not Abandon their Posts--Awful
     Scenes from a Car Window--A Race for Life--Victims of the
     Flood,                                                       81

   CHAPTER VII.

   Some Heroes of the Flood--The Ride of Collins Graves at
     Williamsburg Recalled--John G. Parke's Heroic
     Warning--Gallant Self-Sacrifice of Daniel Peyton--Mrs. Ogle,
     the Intrepid Telegraph Operator--Wholesale Life Saving by
     Miss Nina Speck,                                             97

   CHAPTER VIII.

   Stories of Suffering--A Family Swept away at a Stroke--Beside
     a Sister's Corpse--A Bride Driven Mad--The Unidentified
     Dead--Courage in the Face of Death--Thanking God his Child
     had not Suffered--One Saved out of a Household of
     Thirteen--Five Saved out of Fifty-Five,                     108

   CHAPTER IX.

   Stories of Railroad Men and Travelers who were in the Midst of
     the Catastrophe--A Train's Race with the Wave--Houses
     Crushed like Eggshells--Relics of the Dead in the Tree
     tops--A Night of Horrors--Fire and Flood Commingled--Lives
     Lost for the Sake of a Pair of Shoes,                       119

   CHAPTER X.

   Scenes in a House of Refuge--Stealing from the Dead--A
     Thousand Bodies seen Passing over the Bridge--"Kill us or
     Rescue us!"--Thrilling Escapes and Agonizing
     Losses--Children Born amid the Flood--A Night in Alma
     Hall--Saved through Fear,                                   137

   CHAPTER XI.

   The Flight to the Mountains--Saving a Mother and her Babe--The
     Hillsides Black with Refugees--An Engineer's Story--How the
     Dam gave away--Great Trees Snapped off like Pipe-stems by
     the Torrent,                                                147

   CHAPTER XII.

   A Desperate Voyage--Scenes like those after a Great
     Battle--Mother and Babe Dead together--Praying as they
     Drifted to Destruction--Children Telling the Story of
     Death--Significant Greetings between Friends--Prepared for
     any News,                                                   154

   CHAPTER XIII.

   Salutations in the City of the Dead--Crowds at the
     Morgues--Endless Trains of Wagons with Ghastly
     Freight--Registering the Survivors--Minds Unsettled by the
     Tragedy--Horrible Fragments of Humanity Scattered through
     Piles of Rubbish,                                           161

   CHAPTER XIV.

   Recognizing the Dead--Food and Clothing for Destitute
     Survivors--Looking for the Lost--The Bereaved Burying their
     Dead--Drowned Close by a Place of Safety--A Heroic
     Editor--One who would not be Comforted,                     171

   CHAPTER XV.

   A Bird'seye View of the Ruined City--Conspicuous Features of
     the Disaster--The Railroad Lines--Stones and Iron Tossed
     about like Driftwood--An Army Officer's Valuable Services in
     Restoring and Maintaining Order,                            179

   CHAPTER XVI.

   Clearing a Road up the Creek--Fantastic Forms of Ruin--An
     Abandoned Locomotive with no Rail to Run on--Iron Beams Bent
     like Willow Twigs--Night in the Valley--Scenes and Sounds of
     an Inferno,                                                 188

   CHAPTER XVII.

   Sights that Greeted Visitors--Wreckage Along the Valley--Ruins
     of the Cambria Iron Works--A Carnival of Drink--Violence and
     Robbery--Camping on the Hillsides--Rich and Poor alike
     Benefit,                                                    198

   CHAPTER XVIII.

   The First Train Load of Anxious Seekers--Hoping against
     Hope--Many Instances of Heroism--Victims Seen Drifting down
     beyond the Reach of Help--Unavailing Efforts to Rescue the
     Prey of the Flood,                                          207

   CHAPTER XIX.

   Newspaper Correspondents Making their Way in--The Railroads
     Helpless--Hiring a Special Train--Making Desperate
     Speed--First faces of the Flood--Through to Johnstown at
     Last,                                                       216

   CHAPTER XX.

   The Work of the Reporters--Strange Chronicles of Heroism and
     of Woe--Deadly Work of the Telegraph Wires--A Baby's Strange
     Voyage--Prayer wonderfully Answered--Steam against Torrent,
                                                                 228

   CHAPTER XXI.

   Human Ghouls and Vampires on the Scene--A Short Shrift for
     Marauders--Vigilance Committees Enforcing Order--Plunderers
     of the Dead Relentlessly Dispatched--Outbursts of Righteous
     Indignation,                                                238

   CHAPTER XXII

   The Cry for Help and the Nation's Answer--President Harrison's
     Eloquent and Effective Appeal--Governor Beaver's Message--A
     Proclamation by the Governor of New York--Action of the
     Commissioner of Pensions--Help from over the Sea,           249

   CHAPTER XXIII.

   The American Heart and Purse Opened Wide--A Flood of Gold
     against the Flood of Water--Contributions from every Part
     of the Country, in Sums Large and Small,                    265

   CHAPTER XXIV.

   Benefactions of Philadelphia--Organization of Charity--Train
     loads of Food and Clothing--Generous spirit of Convicts in
     the Penitentiary--Contributions from over the Sea--Queen
     Victoria's sympathy--Letter from Florence Nightingale,      281

   CHAPTER XXV.

   Raising a Great Relief Fund in New York--Where the Money
     came from--Churches, Theatres and Prisons join in the good
     work--More than One Hundred Thousand Dollars a Day--A few
     Names from the Great Roll of Honor,                         292

   CHAPTER XXVI.

   Breaking up the Ruins and Burying the Dead--Innumerable
     Funerals--The Use of Dynamite--The Holocaust at the
     Bridge--The Cambria Iron Works--Pulling out Trees with
     Locomotives,                                                299

   CHAPTER XXVII.

   Caring for the Sufferers--Noble Work of Miss Clara Barton
     and the Red Cross Society--A Peep into a Hospital--Finding
     Homes for the Orphans--Johnstown Generous in its Woe--A
     Benevolent Eating House,                                    309

   CHAPTER XXVIII.

   Recovering from the Blow--The Voice of the Locomotive Heard
     again--Scenes Day by Day amid the Ruins and at the
     Morgue--Strange Salvage from the Flood--A Family of
     Little Children,                                            319

   CHAPTER XXIX.

   The City Filled with Life Again--Work and Bustle on Every
     Hand--Railroad Trains Coming In--Pathetic Meetings of
     Friends--Persistent Use of Dynamite to Break Up the
     Masses of Wreckage--The Daily Record of Work Amid the
     Dead,                                                       341

   CHAPTER XXX.

   Scenes at the Relief Stations--The Grand Army of the
     Republic in Command--Imposing Scenes at the Railroad
     Station--Cars Loaded with Goods for the Relief of the
     Destitute,                                                  353

   CHAPTER XXXI.

   General Hastings' Headquarters--Duties of the Military
     Staff--A Flood of Telegrams of Inquiry Pouring In--Getting
     the Post-office to Work Again--Wholesale Embalming--The
     Morgue in the Presbyterian Church--The Record of the
     Unknown Dead--A Commemorative Newspaper Club,               358

   CHAPTER XXXII.

   A Cross between a Military and a Mining Camp--Work of the
     Army Engineers--Equipping Constables--Pressure on the
     Telegraph Lines--Photographers not Encouraged--Sight-seers
     Turned Away--Strange Uses for Coffins,                      370

   CHAPTER XXXIII.

   Sunday Amid the Ruins--Services in One Church and in the
     Open Air--The Miracle at the Church of the Immaculate
     Conception--Few Women and Children Seen--Disastrous
     Work of Dynamite--A Happy Family in the Wreck,              378

   CHAPTER XXXIV.

   Plans for the Future of Johnstown--The City to be Rebuilt
     on a Finer Scale than Ever Before--A Real Estate Boom
     Looked For--Enlarging the Conemaugh--Views of
     Capitalists,                                                387

   CHAPTER XXXV.

   Well-known People who Narrowly Escaped the Flood--Mrs.
     Halford's Experience--Mrs. Childs Storm bound--Tales
     Related by Travelers--A Theatrical Company's Plight,        393

   CHAPTER XXXVI.

   The Ubiquitous Reporter Getting There--Desperate Traveling
     through a Storm-swept Country--Special Trains and Special
     Teams--Climbing Across the Mountains--Rest for the Weary
     in a Hay Mow,                                               402

   CHAPTER XXXVII.

   The Reporter's Life at Johnstown--Nothing to Eat, but Much
     to Do--Kindly Remembrances of a Kindly Friend--Driven
     from Bed by Rats--Three Hours of Sleep in Seventy-two--A
     Picturesque Group,                                          410

   CHAPTER XXXVIII.

   Williamsport's Great Losses--Flooded with Thirty-four Feet
     of Water--Hundreds of Millions of Feet of Lumber Swept
     Away--Loss of Life--Incidents of Rescue and of Death--The
     Story of Garret Crouse and his Gray Horse,                  421

   CHAPTER XXXIX.

   The Juniata Valley Ravaged by the Storm--Losses at Tyrone,
     Huntingdon and Lewistown--Destruction at Lock Haven--A
     Baby's Voyage Down Stream--Romantic Story of a Wedding,     435

   CHAPTER XL.

   The Floods along the Potomac--The National Capital
     Submerged--A Terrible Record in Maryland--Gettysburg
     a Sufferer--Tidings of Devastation from Many Points in
     Several States,                                             444



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                PAGE

  MAP OF THE DELUGED CONEMAUGH DISTRICT,                           1

  JOHNSTOWN AS LEFT BY THE FLOOD,                                 19

  RUINS OF JOHNSTOWN VIEWED FROM PROSPECT HILL,                   37

  GENERAL VIEW OF THE RUINS, LOOKING UP STONY CREEK,              55

  RUINS, SHOWING THE PATH OF THE FLOOD,                           73

  TYPICAL SCENE IN JOHNSTOWN,                                     91

  JOHNSTOWN--VIEW CORNER OF MAIN AND CLINTON STREETS,            109

  VIEW ON CLINTON STREET, JOHNSTOWN,                             127

  MAIN AND CLINTON STREETS, LOOKING SOUTHWEST,                   145

  RUINS, CORNER OF CLINTON AND MAIN STREETS,                     163

  RUINS, FROM SITE OF THE HULBURT HOUSE,                         181

  THE DÉBRIS ABOVE THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD BRIDGE,             199

  RUINS OF THE CAMBRIA IRON WORKS,                               217

  RUINS OF THE CAMBRIA IRON COMPANY'S STORE,                     235

  THIRD STREET, WILLIAMSPORT, PA., DURING THE FLOOD,             253

  WRECK OF THE IRON BRIDGE AT WILLIAMSPORT, PA.,                 271

  WRECK OF THE LUMBER YARDS AT WILLIAMSPORT, PA.,                289

  250,000,000 FEET OF LOGS AFLOAT IN THE SUSQUEHANNA,            307

  LAST TRAINS IN AND OUT OF HARRISBURG,                          325

  COLUMBIA, PA., UNDER THE FLOOD,                                343

  PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE AT SIXTH STREET, WASHINGTON, D. C.,        361

  SEVENTH STREET, WASHINGTON, D. C., IN THE FLOOD,               379

  FOURTEENTH STREET, WASHINGTON, D. C., IN THE FLOOD,            397

  THE FLOOD IN WASHINGTON, D. C., OPPOSITE HARRIS'S THEATRE,     415



CHAPTER I.


Springtime in the mountains. Graceful slopes and frowning precipices
robed in darkest green of hemlock and spruce. Open fields here and there
verdant with young grass and springing grain, or moist and brown beneath
the plow for the planting time. Hedgerow and underwood fragrant with
honeysuckle and wild blackberry bloom; violets and geraniums purpling
the forest floor. Conemaugh creek and Stony creek dash and plunge and
foam along their rocky channels to where they unite their waters and
form the Conemaugh river, hastening down to the Ohio, to the
Mississippi, to the Mexican Gulf. Trout and pickerel and bass flash
their bronze and silver armor in the sparkling shallows of the streams
and in the sombre and placid depths of the lake up yonder behind the old
mud dam. Along the valley of the Conemaugh are ranged villages, towns,
cities: Conemaugh, Johnstown, Cambria, Sang Hollow, Nineveh, and others,
happy and prosperous. Conemaugh nestles at the very foot of the
Alleghenies; all railroad trains eastward bound stop there to catch
their breath before beginning the long climb up to Altoona. Sang Hollow
nestles by the river amid almost tropical luxuriance of vegetation; yon
little wooded islet in mid-stream a favorite haunt of fishermen. Nineveh
is rich in bog iron and coal, and the whirr of the mill-wheel is heard.
Johnstown, between the two creeks at their junction, is the queen city
of the valley. On either side the creek, and beyond, the steep mountain
sides; behind, the narrow valley reaching twenty miles back to the lake;
before, the Conemaugh river just beginning its romantic course. Broken
hillsides streaked with torrents encompass it. Just a century ago was
Johnstown founded by one Joseph Johns, a German settler. Before then its
beauteous site was occupied by an Indian village, Kickenapawling. Below
this was the head of navigation on the Conemaugh. Hither came the
wagoners of the Alleghenies, with huge wains piled high with merchandise
from seaboard cities, and placed it on flat-bottomed boats and started
it down the river-way to the western markets. The merchandise came up
from Philadelphia and Baltimore by river, too; up the Susquehanna and
Juniata, to the eastern foot-hills, and there was a great portage from
the Juniata to the Conemaugh; the Kittanning Trail, then the Frankstown
Turnpike. Later came the great trunk railroad whose express trains now
go roaring down the valley.

Johnstown is--nay, Johnstown was!--a busy and industrious place. The
people of the town were the employees of the Cambria Iron and Steel
Company, their families, and small storekeepers. There was not one rich
man in the town. Three-quarters of the 28,000 people lived in small
frame tenement houses on the flats by the river around the works of the
Cambria Company. The Cambria Company owns almost all the land, and the
business and professional men and the superintendents of the company
live on the hills away up from the creeks. The creeks become the
Conemaugh river right at the end of the town, near where the big stone
Pennsylvania Railroad bridge crosses the river.

The borough of Johnstown was on the south bank of Conemaugh creek, and
the east bank of Stony creek, right in the fork. It had only about a
third of the population of the place. It had never been incorporated
with the surrounding villages, as the Cambria Company, which owned most
of the villages and only part of Johnstown, did not wish to have them
consolidated into one city.

Conemaugh was the largest village on the creek between the lake and
Johnstown. It is often spoken of as part of Johnstown, though its
railroad station is two or three miles up the creek from the Johnstown
station. The streets of the two towns run into each other, and the space
between the two stations is well built up along the creek. Part of the
Cambria Iron and Steel Company's works are at Conemaugh, and five or six
thousand of the workingmen and their families lived there. The business
was done in Johnstown borough, where almost all the stores of Johnstown
city were.

The works of the Cambria Company were strung along from here down into
Johnstown proper. They were slightly isolated to prevent a fire in one
spreading to the others, and because there was not much flat land to
build on. The Pennsylvania road runs along the river, and the works were
built beside it.

[Illustration: JOHNSTOWN AS LEFT BY THE FLOOD.]

Between Conemaugh and Johnstown borough was a string of tenements along
the river which was called Woodvale. Possibly 3000 workmen lived in
them. They were slightly built of wood, many of them without cellars or
stone foundations. There were some substantially built houses in the
borough at the fork. Here the flats widen out somewhat, and they had
been still further increased in extent by the Cambria Company, which
filled up part of the creek beds with refuse and the ashes from their
works. This narrowed the beds of the creeks. The made land was not
far above the water at ordinary times. Even during the ordinary spring
floods the waters rose so high that it flowed into the cellars of the
tenements, and at times into the works. The natural land was occupied by
the business part of the town, where the stores were and the
storekeepers had their residences. The borough had a population of about
9000. On the north bank of the river were a third as many more people
living in tenements built and owned by the Cambria Company. Further
down, below the junction of the two creeks, along both banks of the
Conemaugh river, were about 4000 employees of the Cambria Company and
their families. The place where they lived was called Cambria or Cambria
City. All these villages and boroughs made up what is known as the city
of Johnstown.

The Cambria Company employed about 4000 men in its works and mines.
Besides these were some railroad shops, planing mills, flour mills,
several banks and newspapers. Only the men employed by the Cambria
Company and their families lived on the flats and made ground. The
Cambria Company owned all this land, and made it a rule not to sell it,
but to lease it. The company put rows of two-story frame tenements close
together, on their land close to the works, the cheaper class of
tenements in solid blocks, to cheapen their construction. The better
tenements were separate buildings, with two families to the house. The
tenements rented for from $5 to $15 a month, and cost possibly, on the
average, $500 to build. They were all of wood, many of them without
cellars, and were built as cheaply as possible. The timbers were mostly
pine, light and inflammable. It was not an uncommon thing for a fire to
break out and to burn one or two rows of tenements. But the different
rows were not closely bunched, but were sprinkled around in patches near
the separate works, and it was cheaper for the company to rebuild
occasionally than to put up brick houses.

Besides owning the flats, the Cambria Company owned the surrounding
hills. In one of the hills is limestone, in another coal, and there is
iron ore not far away. The company has narrow-gauge roads running from
its mines down to the works. The city was at the foot of these three
hills, which meet in a double V shape. Conemaugh creek flowing down one
and Stony creek flowing down the other. The hills are not so far distant
that a man with a rifle on any one could not shoot to either of the
others. They are several hundred feet high and so steep that roads run
up them by a series of zigzag grades. Few people live on these hills
except on a small rise of ground across the river from Johnstown. In
some places the company has leased the land for dwelling houses, but it
retains the ownership of the land and of the coal, iron and limestone in
it. The flats having all been occupied, the company in recent years had
put up some tenements of a better class on the north bank of the river,
higher up than the flood reached. The business part of the town also was
higher up than the works and the tenements of the company.

In normal times the river is but a few hundred feet wide. The bottom is
stony. The current is so fast that there is little deposit along the
bank. It is navigable at no time, though in the spring a good canoeist
might go down it if he could steer clear of the rocks. In the summer the
volume of water diminishes so much that a boy with a pair of rubber
boots on can wade across without getting his feet wet, and there have
been times when a good jumper could cross the river on the dry stones.
Below Johnstown, after Stony creek has joined the Conemaugh creek, the
volume of water increases, but the Conemaugh throughout its whole length
is nothing but a mountain stream, dry in the summer and roaring in the
spring. It runs down into the Kiskiminitas river and into the Allegheny
river, and then on to Pittsburgh. It is over 100 miles from Johnstown to
Pittsburgh following the windings of the river, twice as far as the
straight line.

Johnstown was one of the busiest towns of its size in the State. Its
tonnage over the Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Ohio roads was larger
than the tonnage of many cities three times its size. The Iron and Steel
Company is one of the largest iron and steel corporations in the world.
It had its main rolling mills, Bessemer steel works, and wire works at
Johnstown, though it also has works in other places, and owns ore and
coal mines and leases in the South, in Michigan, and in Spain, besides
its Pennsylvania works. It had in Johnstown and the surrounding villages
4000 or 5000 men usually at work. In flush times it has employed more
than 6000. So important was the town from a railroad point of view that
the Baltimore and Ohio ran a branch from Rockwood, on its main line to
Pittsburgh, up to Johnstown, forty-five miles. It was one of the main
freight stations on the Pennsylvania road, though the passenger business
was so small in proportion that some express trains do not stop there.
The Pennsylvania road recently put up a large brick station, which was
one of the few brick buildings on the flats. Some of the Cambria
Company's offices were also of brick, and there was a brick lodging
house for young men in the employ of the company. The Pennsylvania road
had repair shops there, which employed a few hundred men, and the
Baltimore and Ohio branch had some smaller shops. Johnstown had several
Catholic and Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. It
had several daily and weekly papers. The chief were the _Tribune_, the
_Democrat_, and the _Freie Presse_.

The Cambria Iron Works, the great industry of Johnstown, originated in a
few widely separated charcoal furnaces built by pioneer iron workers in
the early years of the century. As early as 1803 General Arthur St.
Clair engaged in the iron business, and erected the Hermitage furnace
about sixteen miles from the present site of Johnstown. In 1809 the
working of ores was begun near Johnstown. These were primitive furnaces,
where charcoal was the only fuel employed, and the raw material and
product were transported entirely on wagons, but they marked the
beginning of the manufacture of iron in this country.

The Cambria Iron Company was chartered under the general law in 1852,
for the operation of four old-fashioned charcoal furnaces in and near
Johnstown, which was then a village of 1300 inhabitants, to which the
Pennsylvania railroad had just been extended. In 1853 the construction
of four coke furnaces was begun, but it was two years before the first
was finished. England was then shipping rails into this country under a
low duty, and the iron industry here was struggling for existence. The
company at Johnstown was aided by a number of Philadelphia merchants,
but was unable to continue in business, and suspended in 1854. At a
meeting of the creditors in Philadelphia soon afterward a committee was
appointed, with Daniel J. Morrell as Chairman, to visit the works at
Johnstown and recommend the best means, if any, to save themselves from
loss. In his report, Mr. Morrell strongly urged the Philadelphia
creditors to invest more money and continue the business. They did so,
and Matthew Newkirk was made President of the company. The company again
failed in 1855, and Mr. Morrell then associated a number of gentlemen
with him, and formed the firm of Wood, Morrell & Co., leasing the works
for seven years. The year 1856 was one of great financial depression,
and 1857 was worse, and, as a further discouragement, the large furnace
was destroyed by fire in June, 1857. In one week, however, the works
were in operation again, and a brick building was soon constructed. When
the war came, and with it the Morrill tariff of 1861, a broader field
was opened up, and in 1862 the present company was formed.

The years following the close of the war brought about an unprecedented
revival in railroad building. In 1864 there were but 33,908 miles of
railroad in the United States, while in 1874 there were 72,741 miles, or
more than double. There was a great demand for English steel rails,
which advanced to $170 per ton. Congress imposed a duty of $28 a ton on
foreign rails, and encouraged American manufacturers to go into the
business. The Cambria Company began the erection of Bessemer steel works
in 1869, and sold the first steel rails in 1871, at $104 a ton.

The company had 700 dwelling-houses, rented to employees. The works and
rolling mills of the company were situated upon what was originally a
river flat, where the valley of the Conemaugh expanded somewhat, just
below Johnstown, and now part of Millville. The Johnstown furnaces, Nos.
1, 2, 3 and 4, formed one complete plant, with stacks 75 feet high and
16 feet in diameter at the base. Steam was generated in forty boilers
fired by furnace gas, for eight vertical, direct-acting blowing engines.
Nos. 5 and 6 blast furnaces formed together a second plant, with stacks
75 feet high and 19 feet in diameter. The Bessemer plant was the sixth
started in the United States (July, 1871). The main building was 102
feet in width by 165 feet in length. The cupolas were six in number.
Blast was supplied from eight Baker rotary pressure blowers, driven by
engines 16 x 24 inches at 110 revolutions per minute. The Bessemer works
were supplied with steam by a battery of twenty-one tubular boilers. The
best average, although not the very highest work done in the Bessemer
department, was 103 heats of 8-1/2 tons each for each twenty-four
hours. The best weekly record reached 4847 tons of ingots, and the best
monthly record 20,304 tons. The best daily output was 900 tons of
ingots. All grades of steel were made in the converters, from the
softest wire and bridge stock to spring stock. The open-hearth building,
120 x 155 feet, containing three Pernot revolving hearth furnaces of
fifteen tons capacity each, supplied with natural gas. The rolling mill
was 100 feet in width by 1900 feet in length, and contained a 24-inch
train of two stands of three-high rolls, and a ten-ton traveling crane
for changing rolls. The product of the mill was 80,000 pounds per turn.
The bolt and nut works produced 1000 kegs of finished track bolts per
month, besides machine bolts. The capacity of the axle shop was 100
finished steel axles per day. The "Gautier steel department" consisted
of a brick building 200 x 50 feet, where the wire was annealed, drawn
and finished; a brick warehouse 373 x 43 feet, many shops, offices,
etc.; the barb-wire mill, 50 x 250 feet, where the celebrated Cambria
link barb wire was made, and the main merchant mill, 725 x 250 feet.
These mills produced wire, shafting, springs, plough-shares, rake and
harrow teeth, and other kinds of agricultural implement steel. In 1887
they produced 50,000 tons of this material, which was marketed mainly in
the Western States. Grouped with the principal mills thus described
were the foundries, pattern and other shops, draughting offices and time
offices, etc., all structures of a firm and substantial character.

The company operated about thirty-five miles of railroad tracks,
employing in this service twenty-four locomotives, and owned 1500 cars.
To the large bodies of mountain land connected with the old charcoal
furnaces additions have been made of ores and coking coals, and the
company now owns in fee simple 54,423 acres of mineral lands. It has 600
beehive coke ovens in the Connellsville district, and the coal producing
capacity of the mines in Pennsylvania owned by the company is 815,000
tons per year.

In continuation of the policy of Daniel J. Morrell, the Cambria Iron
Company has done a great deal for its employees. The Cambria Library was
erected by the Iron Company and presented to the town. The building was
43 x 68-1/2 feet, and contained a library of 6914 volumes. It contained
a large and valuable collection of reports of the United States and the
State, and it is feared that they have been greatly damaged. The Cambria
Mutual Benefit Association is composed of employees of the company, and
is supported by it. The employees receive benefits when sick or injured,
and in case of death their families are provided for. The Board of
Directors of this association also controls the Cambria Hospital, which
was erected by the Iron Company in 1866, on Prospect Hill, in the
northern part of the town. The company also maintained a club house, and
a store which was patronized by others, as well as by its employees.



CHAPTER II.


Twenty miles up Conemaugh creek, beyond the workingmen's villages of
South Fork and Mineral Point, was Conemaugh lake. It was a part of the
old and long disused Pennsylvania Canal system. At the head of Conemaugh
creek, back among the hills, three hundred feet or more above the level
of Johnstown streets, was a small, natural lake. When the canal was
building, the engineers took this lake to supply the western division of
the canal which ran from there to Pittsburgh. The Eastern division ended
at Hollidaysburgh east of the summit of the Alleghanies, where there was
a similar reservoir. Between the two was the old Portage road, one of
the first railroads constructed in the State. The canal was abandoned
some years ago, as the Pennsylvania road destroyed its traffic. The
Pennsylvania Company got a grant of the canal from the State. Some years
after the canal was abandoned the Hollidaysburgh reservoir was torn
down, the water gradually escaping into the Frankstown branch of the
Juniata river. The people of the neighborhood objected to the existence
of the reservoir after the canal was abandoned, as little attention was
paid to the structure, and the farmers in the valley below feared that
the dam would break and drown them. The water was all let out of that
reservoir about three years ago.

The dam above Johnstown greatly increased the small natural lake there.
It was a pleasant drive from Johnstown to the reservoir. Boating and
fishing parties often went out there. Near the reservoir is Cresson, a
summer resort owned by the Pennsylvania road. Excursion parties are made
up in the summer time by the Pennsylvania Company, and special trains
are run for them from various points to Cresson. A club called the South
Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was organized some years ago, and got the
use of the lake from the Pennsylvania Company. Most of the members of
the club live in Pittsburgh, and are prominent iron and coal men.
Besides them there are some of the officials of the Pennsylvania road
among the members. They increased the size of the dam until it was not
far from a hundred feet in height, and its entire length, from side to
side at the top, was not far from nine hundred feet. This increased the
size of the lake to three miles in length and a mile and a quarter in
width. It was an irregular oval in shape. The volume of water in it
depended on the time of the year.

Some of the people of Johnstown had thought for years that the dam might
break, but they did not think that its breaking would do more than flood
the flats and damage the works of the Cambria Company.

When the Hunting and Fishing Club bought the site of the old reservoir a
section of 150 feet had been washed out of the middle. This was rebuilt
at an expense of $17,000 and the work was thought to be very strong. At
the base it was 380 feet thick and gradually tapered until at the top it
was about 35 feet thick. It was considered amply secure, and such faith
had the members of the club in its stability that the top of the dam was
utilized as a driveway. It took two years to complete the work, men
being engaged from '79 to '81. While it was under process of
construction the residents of Johnstown expressed some fears as to the
solidity of the work, and requested that it be examined by experts. An
engineer of the Cambria Iron Works, secured through Mr. Morrell, of that
institution, one provided by Mr. Pitcairn, of the Pennsylvania Railroad,
and Nathan McDowell, chosen by the club itself, made a thorough
examination. They pronounced the structure perfectly safe, but suggested
some precautionary measures as to the stopping of leaks, that were
faithfully carried out. The members of the club themselves discovered
that the sewer that carried away the surplus or overflow from the lake
was not large enough in times of storm. So five feet of solid rock were
cut away in order to increase the mouth of the lake. Usually the surface
of the water was 15 feet below the top of the dam, and never in recent
years did it rise to more than eight feet. In 1881, when work was going
on, a sudden rise occurred, and then the water threatened to do what it
did on this occasion. The workmen hastened to the scene and piled débris
of all sorts on the top and thus prevented a washout.

For more than a year there had been fears of a disaster. The foundations
of the dam at South Fork were considered shaky early in 1888, and many
increasing leakages were reported from time to time.

"We were afraid of that lake," said a gentleman who had lived in
Johnstown for years; "We were afraid of that lake seven years ago. No
one could see the immense height to which that artificial dam had been
built without fearing the tremendous power of the water behind it. The
dam must have had a sheer height of 100 feet, thus forcing the water
that high above its natural bed, and making a lake at least three miles
long and a mile wide, out of what could scarcely be called a pond. I
doubt if there is a man or woman in Johnstown who at some time or other
had not feared and spoken of the terrible disaster that has now come.

"People wondered, and asked why the dam was not strengthened, as it
certainly had become weak; but nothing was done, and by and by they
talked less and less about it, as nothing happened, though now and then
some would shake their heads as if conscious the fearful day would come
some time when their worst fears would be transcended by the horror of
the actual occurrence."

There is not a shadow of doubt but that the citizens of Cambria County
frequently complained, and that at the time the dam was constructed a
vigorous effort was made to put a stop to the work. It is true that the
leader in this movement was not a citizen of Johnstown, but he was and
is a large mine owner in Cambria County. His mine adjoins the reservoir
property. He was frequently on the spot, and his own engineer inspected
the work. He says the embankment was principally of shale and clay, and
that straw was used to stop the leaking of water while the work was
going on. He called on the sheriff of Cambria County and told him it was
his duty to apply to the court for an injunction. The sheriff promised
to give the matter his attention, but, instead of going before court,
went to the Cambria Company for consultation. An employee was sent up
to make an inspection, and as his report was favorable to the reservoir
work the sheriff went no further. But the gentleman referred to said
that he had not failed to make public his protest at the time and to
renew it frequently. This recommendation for an injunction and protest
were spoken of by citizens of Altoona as a hackneyed subject.

Confirmation has certainly been had at South Fork, Conemaugh, Millvale
and Johnstown. The rumor of an expected break was prevalent at these
places, but citizens remarked that the rumor was a familiar incident of
the annual freshets. It was the old classic story of "Wolf, wolf." They
gave up the first floors to the water and retired upstairs to wait until
the river should recede, as they had done often before, scouting the
oft-told story of the breaking of the reservoir.

[Illustration: RUINS OF JOHNSTOWN, VIEWED FROM PROSPECT HILL.]

An interesting story, involving the construction and history of the
Conemaugh lake dam, was related by J. B. Montgomery, who formerly lived
in Western Pennsylvania, and is now well known in the West as a railroad
contractor. "The dam," said he, "was built about thirty-five years ago
by the State of Pennsylvania, as a feeder for the western division of
the Pennsylvania Canal. The plans and specifications for the dam were
furnished by the Chief Engineer of the State. I am not sure, but it is
my impression, that Colonel William Milnor Roberts held the office at
the time. Colonel Roberts was one of the most famous engineers in the
country. He died several years ago in Chili. The contractors for the
construction of the dam were General J. K. Moorhead and Judge H. B.
Packer, of Williamsport, a brother of Governor Packer. General Moorhead
had built many dams before this on the rivers of Pennsylvania, and his
work was always known to be of the very best. In this case, however, all
that he had to do was to build the dam according to the specifications
furnished by the State. The dam was built of stone and wood throughout,
and was of particularly solid construction. There is no significance in
the discovery of straw and dirt among the ruins of the dam. Both are
freely used when dams are being built, to stop the numerous leaks.

"The dam had three waste-gates at the bottom, so arranged that they
could be raised when there was too much water in the lake, and permit
the escape of the surplus. These gates were in big stone arches, through
which the water passed to the canal when the lake was used as a feeder.

"In 1859 the Pennsylvania Railroad Company purchased the canal from the
State, and the dam and lake went into the possession of that company.
Shortly afterward the Pennsylvania Company abandoned the western
division of the canal, and the dam became useless as a feeder. For
twenty-five years the lake was used only as a fish-pond, and the dam
and the gates were forgotten. Five years ago the lake was leased to a
number of Pittsburgh men, who stocked it with bass, trout, and other
game fish. I have heard it said that the waste-gates had not been opened
for a great many years. If this is so, no wonder the dam broke.
Naturally the fishermen did not want to open the gates after the lake
was stocked, for the fish would have run out. A sluiceway should have
been built on the side of the dam, so that when the water reached a
certain height the surplus could escape. The dam was not built with the
intention that the water should flow over the top of it under any
circumstances, and if allowed to escape in that way the water was bound
to undermine it in a short time. With a dam the height of this the
pressure of a quantity of water great enough to overflow it must be
something tremendous.

"If it is true that the waste-gates were never opened after the
Pittsburgh men had leased the lake, the explanation of the bursting of
the dam is to be found right there. It may be that the dam had not been
looked after and strengthened of late years, and it was undoubtedly
weakened in the period of twenty-five years during which the lake was
not used. After the construction of the dam the lake was called the
Western Reservoir. The south fork of the Conemaugh, which fed the lake,
is a little stream not over ten feet wide, but even when there were no
unusual storms it carried enough water to fill the lake full within a
year, showing how important it was that the gates should be opened
occasionally to run off the surplus."

Mr. Montgomery was one of a party of engineers who inspected the dam
when it was leased by the Pennsylvania Company, five years ago. It then
needed repairs, but was in a perfectly safe condition if the water was
not allowed to flow over it.



CHAPTER III.


Friday, May 31st, 1889. The day before had been a solemn holiday. In
every village veterans of the War for the Union had gathered; in every
cemetery flowers had been strewn upon the grave-mounds of the heroic
dead. Now the people were resuming the every-day toil. The weather was
rainy. It had been wet for some days. Stony Creek and Conemaugh were
turbid and noisy. The little South Fork, which ran into the upper end of
the lake, was swollen into a raging torrent. The lake was higher than
usual; higher than ever. But the valley below lay in fancied security,
and all the varied activities of life pursued their wonted round.

Friday, May 31st, 1889. Record that awful date in characters of funereal
hue. It was a dark and stormy day, and amid the darkness and the storm
the angel of death spread his wings over the fated valley, unseen,
unknown. Midday comes. Disquieting rumors rush down the valley. There is
a roar of an approaching storm--approaching doom! The water swiftly
rises. A horseman thunders down the valley: "To the hills, for God's
sake! To the hills, for your lives!" They stare at him as at a madman,
and their hesitating feet linger in the valley of the shadow of death,
and the shadow swiftly darkens, and the everlasting hills veil their
faces with rain and mist before the scene that greets them.

This is what happened:--

The heavy rainfall raised the lake until its water began to pour over
the top of the dam. The dam itself--wretchedly built of mud and
boulders--saturated through and through, began to leak copiously here
and there. Each watery sapper and miner burrowed on, followers swiftly
enlarging the murderous tunnels. The whole mass became honeycombed. And
still the rain poured down, and still the South Fork and a hundred minor
streams sent in their swelling floods, until, with a roar like that of
the opening gates of the Inferno belching forth the legions of the
damned, the wall gave way, and with the rush of a famished tiger into a
sheepfold, the whirlwind of water swept down the valley on its errand of
destruction--

            "And like a horse unbroken,
              When first he feels the rein,
            The furious river struggled hard,
              And tossed his tawny mane,
            And burst the curb, and bounded,
              Rejoicing to be free,
            And, whirling down in mad career,
            Battlement and plank and pier,
              Rushed headlong to the sea!"

According to the statements of people who lived in Johnstown and other
towns on the line of the river, ample time was given to the inhabitants
of Johnstown by the railroad officials and by other gentlemen of
standing and reputation. In hundreds of cases this warning was utterly
disregarded, and those who heeded it early in the day were looked upon
as cowards, and many jeers were uttered by lips that now are cold. The
people of Johnstown also had a special warning in the fact that the dam
in Stony Creek, just above the town, broke about noon, and thousands of
feet of lumber passed down the river. Yet they hesitated, and even when
the wall of water, almost forty feet high, was at their doors, one man
is said by a survivor to have told his family that the stream would not
rise very high.

How sudden the calamity is illustrated by an incident which Mr. Bender,
the night chief operator of the Western Union in Pittsburgh, relates:
"At 3 o'clock that Friday afternoon," said he, "the girl operator at
Johnstown was cheerfully ticking away that she had to abandon the office
on the first floor, because the water was three feet deep there. She
said she was telegraphing from the second story and the water was
gaining steadily. She was frightened, and said many houses were flooded.
This was evidently before the dam broke, for our man here said something
encouraging to her, and she was talking back as only a cheerful girl
operator can, when the receiver's skilled ear caught a sound on the wire
made by no human hand, which told him that the wires had grounded, or
that the house had been swept away in the flood from the lake, no one
knows which now. At 3 o'clock the girl was there, and at 3.07 we might
as well have asked the grave to answer us."

The water passed over the dam about a foot above its top, beginning at
about half-past 2. Whatever happened in the way of a cloud-burst took
place in the night. There had been little rain up to dark. When the
workmen woke in the morning the lake was full, and rising at the rate of
a foot an hour. It kept on rising until 2 P. M., when it began breaking
over the dam and undermining it. Men were sent three or four times
during the day to warn people below of their danger. When the final
break came at 3 o'clock, there was a sound like tremendous and continued
peals of thunder. Trees, rocks and earth shot up into mid-air in great
columns and then started down the ravine. A farmer who escaped said that
the water did not come down like a wave, but jumped on his house and
beat it to fragments in an instant. He was safe on the hillside, but his
wife and two children were killed.

Herbert Webber, who was employed by the Sportsmen's Club at the lake,
tells that for three days previous to the final outburst, the water of
the lake forced itself out through the interstices of the masonry, so
that the front of the dam resembled a large watering pot. The force of
the water was so great that one of these jets squirted full thirty feet
horizontally from the stone wall. All this time, too, the feeders of the
lake, particularly three of them, more nearly resembled torrents than
mountain streams, and were supplying the dammed up body of water with
quite 3,000,000 gallons of water hourly.

At 11 o'clock that Friday morning, Webber says he was attending to a
camp about a mile back from the dam, when he noticed that the surface of
the lake seemed to be lowering. He doubted his eyes, and made a mark on
the shore, and then found that his suspicions were undoubtedly well
founded. He ran across the country to the dam, and there saw, he
declares, the water of the lake welling out from beneath the foundation
stones of the dam. Absolutely helpless, he was compelled to stand there
and watch the gradual development of what was to be the most disastrous
flood of this continent.

According to his reckoning it was 2.45 when the stones in the centre of
the dam began to sink because of the undermining, and within eight
minutes a gap of twenty feet was made in the lower half of the wall
face, through which the water poured as though forced by machinery of
stupendous power. By 3 o'clock the toppling masonry, which before had
partaken somewhat of the form of an arch, fell in, and then the
remainder of the wall opened outward like twin gates, and the great
storage lake was foaming and thundering down the valley of the
Conemaugh.

Webber became so awestruck at the catastrophe that he declares he was
unable to leave the spot until the lake had fallen so low that it showed
bottom fifty feet below him. How long a time elapsed he says he does not
know before he recovered sufficient power of observation to notice this,
but he does not think that more than five minutes passed. Webber says
that had the dam been repaired after the spring freshet of 1888 the
disaster would not have occurred. Had it been given ordinary attention
in the spring of 1887 the probabilities are that thousands of lives
would have been saved.

Imagine, if you can, a solid piece of ground, thirty-five feet wide and
over one hundred feet high, and then, again, that a space of two hundred
feet is cut out of it, through which is rushing over seven hundred
acres of water, and you can have only a faint conception of the terrible
force of the blow that came upon the people of this vicinity like a clap
of thunder out of a clear sky. It was irresistible in its power and
carried everything before it. After seeing the lake and the opening
through the dam it can be readily understood how that out-break came to
be so destructive in its character.

The lake had been leaking, and a couple of Italians were at work just
over the point where the break occurred, and in an instant, without
warning, it gave way and they went down in the whirling mass of water,
and were swept into eternity.

Mr. Crouse, proprietor of the South Fork Fishing Club Hotel, says: "When
the dam of Conemaugh lake broke the water seemed to leap, scarcely
touching the ground. It bounded down the valley, crashing and roaring,
carrying everything before it. For a mile its front seemed like a solid
wall twenty feet high." The only warning given to Johnstown was sent
from South Fork village by Freight Agent Dechert. _When the great wall
that held the body of water began to crumble at the top he sent a
message begging the people of Johnstown for God's sake to take to the
hills._ He reports no serious accidents at South Fork.

Richard Davis ran to Prospect Hill when the water raised. As to Mr.
Dechert's message, he says just such have been sent down at each flood
since the lake was made. _The warning so often proved useless that
little attention was paid to it this time._ "I cannot describe the mad
rush," he said. "At first it looked like dust. That must have been the
spray. I could see houses going down before it like a child's play
blocks set on edge in a row. As it came nearer I could see houses totter
for a moment, then rise and the next moment be crushed like egg shells,
against each other."

Mr. John G. Parke, of Philadelphia, a civil engineer, was at the dam
superintending some improvements in the drainage system at the lake. He
did all he could with the help of a gang of laborers to avert the
catastrophe and to warn those in danger. His story of the calamity is
this:--

"For several days prior to the breaking of the dam, storm after storm
swept over the mountains and flooded every creek and rivulet. The waters
from these varied sources flowed into the lake, which finally was not
able to stand the pressure forced upon it. Friday morning I realized the
danger that was threatened, and although from that time until three
o'clock every human effort was made to prevent a flood, they were of no
avail. When I at last found that the dam was bound to go, I started out
to tell the people, and by twelve o'clock everybody in the Conemaugh
region did or should have known of their danger. Three hours later my
gravest fears were more than realized. It is an erroneous idea, however,
that the dam burst. It simply moved away. The water gradually ate into
the embankment until there was nothing left but a frail bulwark of wood.
This finally split asunder and sent the waters howling down the
mountains."



CHAPTER IV.


The course of the torrent from the broken dam at the foot of the lake to
Johnstown is almost eighteen miles, and with the exception of one point,
the water passed through a narrow V-shaped valley. Four miles below the
dam lay the town of South Fork, where the South Fork itself empties into
the Conemaugh river. The town contained about 2000 inhabitants. About
four-fifths of it has been swept away. Four miles further down on the
Conemaugh river, which runs parallel with the main line of the
Pennsylvania Railroad, was the town of Mineral Point. It had 800
inhabitants, 90 per cent. of the houses being on a flat and close to the
river. Terrible as it may seem, very few of them have escaped. Six miles
further down was the town of Conemaugh, and here alone there was a
topographical possibility--the spreading of the flood and the breaking
of its force. It contained 2500 inhabitants, and has been almost wholly
devastated. Woodvale, with 2000 people, lay a mile below Conemaugh in
the flat, and one mile further down were Johnstown and its
suburbs--Cambria City and Conemaugh borough, with a population of
30,000. On made ground, and stretched along right at the river's verge,
were the immense iron works of the Cambria Iron and Steel Company, who
have $5,000,000 invested in their plant. Besides this there are many
other large industrial establishments on the bank of the river.

The stream of human beings that was swept before the angry floods was
something most pitiful to behold. Men, women and children were carried
along frantically shrieking for help, but their cries availed them
nothing. Rescue was impossible. Husbands were swept past their wives,
and children were borne along, at a terrible speed, to certain death,
before the eyes of their terrorized and frantic parents. Houses,
out-buildings, trees and barns were carried on the angry flood of waters
as so much chaff. Cattle standing in the fields were overwhelmed, and
their carcasses strewed the tide. The railroad tracks converging on the
town were washed out, and wires in all directions were prostrated.

Down through the Packsaddle came the rushing waters. Clinging to
improvised rafts, constructed in the death battle from floating boards
and timbers, were agonized men, women and children, their heart-rending
shrieks for help striking horror to the breasts of the onlookers. Their
cries were of no avail. Carried along at a railway speed on the breast
of this rushing torrent, no human ingenuity could devise a means of
rescue.

It is impossible to describe briefly the suddenness with which the
disaster came. A warning sound was heard at Conemaugh a few minutes
before the rush of water came, but it was attributed to some
meteorological disturbance, and no trouble was borrowed because of the
thing unseen. As the low, rumbling noise increased in volume, however,
and came nearer, a suspicion of danger began to force itself even upon
the bravest, which was increased to a certainty a few minutes later,
when, with a rush, the mighty stream spread out in width, and when there
was no time to do anything to save themselves. Many of the unfortunates
were whirled into the middle of the stream before they could turn
around; men, women and children were struggling in the streets, and it
is thought that many of them never reached Johnstown, only a mile or two
below.

At Johnstown a similar scene was enacted, only on a much larger scale.
The population is greater and the sweeping whirlpool rushed into a
denser mass of humanity. The imagination of the reader can better depict
the spectacle than the pen of the writer can give it. It was a twilight
of terror, and the gathering shades of evening closed in on a panorama
of horrors that has few parallels in the history of casualties.

When the great wave from Conemaugh lake, behind the dam, came down the
Conemaugh Valley, the first obstacle it struck was the great viaduct
over the South Fork. This viaduct was a State work, built to carry the
old Portage road across the Fork. The Pennsylvania Railroad parallels
the Portage road for a long distance, and runs over the Fork. Besides
sweeping the viaduct down, the bore, or smaller bores on its wings,
washed out the Portage road for miles. One of the small bores went down
the bed of a brook which comes into the Conemaugh at the village of
South Fork, which is some distance above the viaduct. The big bore
backed the river above the village. The small bore was thus checked in
its course and flowed into the village.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF THE RUINS, LOOKING UP STONY CREEK.]

The obstruction below being removed, the backed-up water swept the
village of South Fork away. The flood came down. It moved steadily, but
with a velocity never yet attained by an engine moved by power
controllable by man. It accommodated itself to the character of the
breaks in the hill. It filled every one, whether narrow or broad. Its
thrust was sideways and downward as well as forward. By side thrusts it
scoured every cave and bend in the line of the mountains, lessening
its direct force to exert power laterally, but at the same time moving
its centre straight on Johnstown. It is well to state that the Conemaugh
river is tortuous, like most streams of its kind. Wherever the mountains
retreat, flats make out from them to the channel of the stream. It was
on such flats that South Fork and Mineral Point villages and the
boroughs of Conemaugh, Franklin, Woodvale, East Conemaugh and Johnstown
were built.

After emerging from the South Fork, with the ruins of the great viaduct
in its maw, it swept down a narrow valley until just above the village
of Mineral Point. There it widened, and, thrusting its right wing into
the hollow where the village nestled, it swept away every house on the
flat. These were soon welded into a compact mass, with trees and logs
and general drift stuff. This mass followed the bore. What the bore
could not budge, its follower took up and carried.

The first great feat at carrying and lifting was done at East Conemaugh.
It tore up every building in the yard of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It
took locomotives and carried them down and dug holes for their burials.
It has been said that the flood had a downward thrust. There was proof
of this on the banks of the river, where there was a sort of breakwater
of concreted cinders, slag, and other things, making a combination
harder than stone. Unable to get a grip directly on these banks, the
flood jumped over them, threw the whole weight of the mass of logs and
broken buildings down on the sand behind them, scooped this sand out,
and then, by backward blows, knocked the concrete to pieces. In this it
displayed almost the uttermost skill of human malice.

After crossing the flat of East Conemaugh and scooping out of their
situations sixty-five houses in two streets, as well as tearing
passenger trains to pieces, drowning an unknown number of persons, and
picking up others to dash against whatever obstacles it encountered, it
sent a force to the left, which cut across the flat of Franklin borough,
ripped thirty-two houses to pieces, and cut a second channel for the
Conemaugh river, leaving an island to mark the place of division of the
forces of the flood. The strength of the eastern wing can be estimated
from the fact that the iron bars piled in heaps in the stock yard of the
Cambria Iron Company were swept away, and that some of them may be found
all along the river as far as Johnstown.

After this came the utter wiping out of the borough of Woodvale, on the
flat to the northeast of Johnstown and diagonally opposite it. Woodvale
had a population of nearly 3000 people. It requires a large number of
houses to shelter so many. Estimating 10 to a family, which is a big
estimate, there were 300 houses in Woodvale. There were also a woolen
mill, a flour mill, the Gautier Barb Wire Mills of the Cambria Iron
Company, and the tannery of W. H. Rosenthal & Co. Only the flour mill
and the middle section of the bridge remain. The flat is bare otherwise.
The stables of the Woodvale Horse Railroad Company went out with the
water; every horse and car in them went also.

The change was wrought in five minutes. Robert Miller, who lost two of
his children and his mother-in-law, thus describes the scene: "I was
standing near the Woodvale Bridge, between Maple avenue and Portage
street, in Johnstown. The river was high, and David Lucas and I were
speculating about the bridges, whether they would go down or not. Lucas
said, 'I guess this bridge will stand; it does not seem to be weakened.'
Just then we saw a dark object up the river. Over it was a white mist.
It was high and somehow dreadful, though we could not make it out. Dark
smoke seemed to form a background for the mist. We did not wait for
more. By instinct we knew the big dam had burst and its water was coming
upon us. Lucas jumped on a car horse, rode across the bridge, and went
yelling into Johnstown. The flood overtook him, and he had to abandon
his horse and climb a high hill.

"I went straight to my house in Woodvale, warning everybody as I ran. My
wife and mother-in-law were ready to move, with my five children, so we
went for the hillside, but we were not speedy enough. The water had come
over the flat at its base and cut us off. I and my wife climbed into a
coal car with one of the children, to get out of the water. I put two
more children into the car and looked around for my other children and
my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law was a stout woman, weighing about two
hundred and twelve pounds. She could not climb into a car. The train was
too long for her to go around it, so she tried to crawl under, leading
the children.

"The train was suddenly pushed forward by the flood, and she was knocked
down and crushed, so were my children, by the same shock. My wife and
children in the car were thrown down and covered with coal. I was taken
off by the water, but I swam to the car and pulled them from under a lot
of coal. A second blow to the train threw our car against the hillside
and us out of it to firm earth. I never saw my two children and
mother-in-law after the flood first struck the train of coal cars. I
have often heard it said that the dam might break, but I never paid any
attention to it before. It was common talk whenever there was a freshet
or a big pack of ice."

The principal street of Woodvale was Maple avenue. The Conemaugh river
now rushes through it from one side of the flat to the other. Its
pavement is beautifully clean. It is doubtful that it will ever be
cleared by mortal agency again.

Breaking down the barbed steel wire mill and the tannery at the bridge,
the flood went across the regular channel of the river and struck the
Gautier Steel Works, made up of numerous stanch brick buildings and one
immense structure of iron, filled with enormous boilers, fly wheels, and
machinery generally. The buildings are strewn through Johnstown. Near
their sites are some bricks, twisted iron beams, boilers, wheels, and
engine bodies, bound together with logs, driftwood, tree branches, and
various other things, woven in and out of one another marvelously. These
aggregations are of enormous size and weight. They were not too strong
for the immense power of the destroying agent, for a twenty-ton
locomotive, taken from the Gautier Works, now lies in Main street,
three-quarters of a mile away. It did not simply take a good grip upon
them; it was spreading out its line for a force by its left wing, and
hit simultaneously upon Johnstown flat, its people and houses, while its
right wing did whatever it could in the way of helping the destructive
work. The left wing scoured the flat to the base of the mountain. With a
portion of the centre it then rushed across Stony creek. The remainder
of the central force cleared several paths in diverging directions
through the town.

While the left and centre were tearing houses to pieces and drowning
untold lives, the right had been hurrying along the base of the northern
hills, in the channel of the Conemaugh river, carrying down the houses,
bridges, human beings and other drift that had been picked up on the way
from South Fork.

Thus far the destruction at Johnstown had not been one-quarter what it
is now. But the bed of the Conemaugh beyond Johnstown is between high
hills that come close together. The cut is bridged by a viaduct. The
right wing, with its plunder, was stopped by the bridge and the bend.
The left and centre came tearing down Stony creek. There was a collision
of forces. The men, women, children, horses, other domestic animals,
houses, bridges, railroad cars, logs and tree branches were jammed
together in a solid mass, which only dynamite can break up. The outlet
of Stony creek was almost completely closed and the channel of the
Conemaugh was also choked. The water in both surged back. In Stony creek
it went along the curve of the base of the hill in front of which
Kernville is built. Dividing its strength, one part of the flood went up
Stony creek a short distance and moved around again into Johnstown. It
swept before it many more houses than before and carried them around in
a circle, until they met and crashed against other houses, torn from the
point of Johnstown flat by a similar wave moving in a circle from the
Conemaugh.

The two waves and their burdens went around and around in
slowly-diminishing circles, until most of the houses had been ground to
pieces. There are living men, women and children who circled in these
frightful vortices for an hour. Lawyer Rose, his wife, his two brothers
and his two sisters are among those. They were drawn out of their house
by the suction of the retreating water, and thus were started on a
frightful journey. Three times they went from the Kernville side of the
creek to the centre of the Johnstown flat and past their own dwelling.
They were dropped at last on the Kernville shore. Mr. Rose had his
collar bone broken, but the others were hurt only by fright, wetting and
some bruises.

Some of the back water went up the creek and did damage at Grubtown and
Hornerstown. More of it, following the line of the mountain, rushed in
at the back of Kernville. It cut a clear path for itself from the lower
end of the village to the upper end, diagonally opposite, passing
through the centre. It sent little streams to topple homes over in side
places and went on a round trip into the higher part of Johnstown,
between the creek and the hill. It carried houses from Kernville to the
Johnstown bank of the creek, and left them there. Then it coursed down
the bank, overturning trains of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and
also houses, and keeping on until it had made the journey several times.

How so marvelous a force was exerted is illustrated in the following
statement from Jacob Reese, of Pittsburg, the inventor of the basic
process for manufacturing steel. Mr. Reese says:--

"When the South Fork dam gave way, 16,000,000 tons of water rushed down
the mountain side, carrying thousands of tons of rocks, logs and trees
with it. When the flood reached the Conemaugh Valley it struck the
Pennsylvania Railroad at a point where they make up the trains for
ascending the Allegheny Mountains. Several trains with their locomotives
and loaded cars were swept down the valley before the flood wave, which
is said to have been fifty feet high. Cars loaded with iron, cattle, and
freight of all kinds, with those mighty locomotives, weighing from
seventy to one hundred tons each, were pushed ahead of the flood, trucks
and engines rolling over and over like mere toys.

"Sixteen million tons of water gathering fences, barns, houses, mills
and shops into its maw. Down the valley for three miles or more rushed
this mighty avalanche of death, sweeping everything before it, and
leaving nothing but death and destruction behind it. When it struck the
railroad bridge at Johnstown, and not being able to force its way
through that stone structure, the débris was gorged and the water dammed
up fifty feet in ten minutes.

"This avalanche was composed of more than 100,000 tons of rocks,
locomotives, freight cars, car trucks, iron, logs, trees and other
material pushed forward by 16,000,000 tons of water falling 500 feet,
and it was this that, sliding over the ground, mowed down the houses,
mills and factories as a mowing machine does a field of grain. It swept
down with a roaring, crushing sound, at the rate of a mile a minute, and
hurled 10,000 people into the jaws of death in less than half an hour.
And so the people called it the avalanche of death."



CHAPTER V.


"Johnstown is annihilated," telegraphed Superintendent Pitcairn to
Pittsburg on Friday night. "He came," says one who visited the place on
Sunday, "very close to the facts of the case. Nothing like it was ever
seen in this country. Where long rows of dwelling-houses and business
blocks stood forty-eight hours ago, ruin and desolation now reign
supreme. Probably 1500 houses have been swept from the face of the earth
as completely as if they had never been erected. Main street, from end
to end, is piled fifteen and twenty feet high with débris, and in some
instances it is as high as the roofs of the houses. This great mass of
wreckage fills the street from curb to curb, and frequently has crushed
the buildings in and filled the space with reminders of the terrible
calamity. There is not a man in the place who can give any reliable
estimate of the number of houses that have been swept away. City
Solicitor Kuehn, who should be very good authority in this matter,
places the number at 1500. From the woolen mill above the island to the
bridge, a distance of probably two miles, a strip of territory nearly a
half mile in width has been swept clean, not a stick of timber or one
brick on top of another being left to tell the story. It is the most
complete wreck that imagination could portray.

"All day long men, women, and children were plodding about the desolate
waste looking in vain to locate the boundaries of their former homes.
Nothing but a wide expanse of mud, ornamented here and there with heaps
of driftwood, remained, however, for their contemplation. It is
perfectly safe to say that every house in the city that was not located
well up on the hillside was either swept completely away or wrecked so
badly that rebuilding will be absolutely necessary. These losses,
however, are nothing compared to the frightful sacrifice of precious
human lives to be seen on every hand.

"During all this solemn Sunday Johnstown has been drenched with the
tears of stricken mortals, and the air is filled with sobs and sighs
that come from breaking hearts. There are scenes enacted here every hour
and every minute that affect all beholders profoundly. When homes are
thus torn asunder in an instant, and the loved ones hurled from the arms
of loving and devoted mothers, there is an element of sadness in the
tragedy that overwhelms every heart.

"A slide, a series of frightful tosses from side to side, a run, and you
have crossed the narrow rope bridge which spanned the chasm dug by the
waters between the stone bridge and Johnstown. Crossing the bridge is an
exciting task, yet many women accomplished it rather than remain in
Johnstown. The bridge pitched like a ship in a storm. Within two inches
of your feet rushed the muddy waters of the Conemaugh. There were no
ropes to easily guide, and creeping was more convenient than walking.
One had to cross the Conemaugh at a second point in order to reach
Johnstown proper. This was accomplished by a skiff ferry. The ferryman
clung to a rope and pulled the boat over.

"After landing one walks across a desolate sea of mud, in which there
are interred many human bodies. It was once the handsome portion of the
town. The cellars are filled up with mud, so that a person who has never
seen the city can hardly imagine that houses ever stood where they did.
Four streets solidly built up with houses have been swept away. Nothing
but a small, two-story frame house remains. It was near the edge of the
wave and thus escaped, although one side was torn off. The walk up to
wrecks of houses was interrupted in many places by small branch streams.
Occasionally across the flats could be seen the remains of a victim.
The stench arising from the mud is sickening. Along the route were
strewn tin utensils, pieces of machinery, iron pipes, and wares of every
conceivable kind. In the midst of the wreck a clothing store dummy, with
a hand in the position of beckoning to a person, stands erect and
uninjured.

"It is impossible to describe the appearance of Main street. Whole
houses have been swept down this one street and become lodged. The wreck
is piled as high as the second-story windows. The reporter could step
from the wreck into the auditorium of the opera house. The ruins consist
of parts of houses, trees, saw logs and reels from the wire factory.
Many houses have their side walls and roofs torn up, and one can walk
directly into what had been second-story bed-rooms, or go in by way of
the top. Further up town a raft of logs lodged in the street, and did
great damage. At the beginning of the wreckage, which is at the opening
of the valley of the Conemaugh, one can look up the valley for miles and
not see a house. Nothing stands but an old woolen mill.

"Charles Luther is the name of the boy who stood on an adjacent
elevation and saw the whole flood. He said he heard a grinding noise far
up the valley, and looking up he could see a dark line moving slowly
toward him. He saw that it was houses. On they came, like the hand of a
giant clearing off his table. High in the air would be tossed a log or
beam, which fell back with a crash. Down the valley it moved and across
the little mountain city. For ten minutes nothing but moving houses were
seen, and then the waters came with a roar and a rush. This lasted for
two hours, and then it began to flow more steadily."

Seen from the high hill across the river from Johnstown, the Conemaugh
Valley gives an easy explanation of the terrible destruction which it
has suffered. This valley, stretching back almost in a straight line for
miles, suddenly narrows near Johnstown. The wall of water which came
tearing down toward the town, picking up all the houses and mills in the
villages along its way, suddenly rose in height as it came to the narrow
pass. It swept over the nearest part of the town and met the waters of
Stony creek, swollen by rains, rushing along with the speed of a
torrent. The two forces coming together, each turned aside and started
away again in a half-circle, seeking an outlet in the lower Conemaugh
Valley. The massive stone bridge of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company,
at the lower base of the triangle, was almost instantly choked up with
the great mass of wreckage dashed against it, and became a dam that
could not be swept away, and proved to be the ruin of the town and the
villages above. The waters checked here, formed a vast whirlpool, which
destroyed everything within its circle. It backed up on the other side
of the triangle, and devastated the village of Kernville, across the
river from Johnstown.

The force of the current was truly appalling. The best evidence of its
force is exhibited in the mass of débris south of the Pennsylvania
bridge. Persons on the hillsides declare that houses, solid from their
foundation stones, were rushed on to destruction at the rate of thirty
miles an hour. On one house forty persons were counted; their cries for
help were heard far above the roaring waters. At the railroad bridge the
house parted in the middle, and the cries of the unfortunate people were
smothered in the engulfing waters.

At the Cambria Iron Works a huge hickory struck the south brick wall of
the rolling mill at an angle, went through it and the west wall, where
it remains. A still more extraordinary incident is seen at the
foot-bridge of the Pennsylvania station, on the freight track built for
the Cambria Iron Works. The sunken track and bridge are built in a
curve. In clearing out the track the Cambria workmen discovered two huge
bridge trusses intact, the larger one 30 feet long and 10 feet high. It
lay close to the top of the bridge and had been driven into the cut at
least fifty feet.

It was with an impulse to the right side of the mountain that the great
mass of water came down the Conemaugh river. It was a mass of water with
a front forty feet high, and an eighth of a mile wide. Its velocity was
so great that its first sweep did little damage on either side. It had
no time to spread. Where it burst from the gap it swept south until it
struck the bridge, and, although it was ten feet or more deep over the
top of the bridge, the obstruction of the mass of masonry was so great
that the head of the rush of water was turned back along the
Pennsylvania Railroad bluff on the left, and, sweeping up to where it
met the first stream again, licked up the portion of the town on the
left side of the triangular plain. A great eddy was thus formed. Through
the Stony Creek Gap to the right there was a rush of surplus water. In
two minutes after the current first burst through, forty feet deep, with
a solid mass of water whirling around with a current of tremendous
velocity, it was a whirlpool vastly greater than that of ten Niagaras.
The only outlet was under and over the railroad bridge, and the
continuing rush of the waters into the valley from the gap was greater
for some time than the means of escape at the bridge.

[Illustration: RUINS SHOWING THE PATH OF THE FLOOD.]

"Standing now at the bridge," says a visitor on Monday, "where this vast
whirlpool struggled for exit, the air is heavy with smoke and foul with
nameless odors from a mass of wreckage. The area of the triangular
space where the awful whirlpool revolved is said to be about four square
miles. The area of the space covered by this smoking mass is sixty
acres. The surface of this mass is now fifteen feet below the top of the
bridge and about thirty below the point on the bluff where the surface
of the whirlpool lashed the banks. One ragged mass some distance above
the bridge rises several feet above the general level, but with that
exception the surface of the débris is level. It has burned off until it
reached the water, and is smouldering on as the water gradually lowers.
On the right bank, at about where was the highest water level, a
detachment of the Pittsburg Fire Department is throwing two fitful
streams of water down into the smoke, with the idea of gradually
extinguishing the fire. In the immensity of the disaster with which they
combat their feeble efforts seem like those of boys with squirt guns
dampening a bonfire. About the sixty acres of burning débris, and to the
left of it from where it begins to narrow toward Stony Creek Gap, there
is a large area of level mud, with muddy streams wandering about in it.
This tract of mud comprises all of the triangle except a thin fringe of
buildings along the bluff on the Pennsylvania Railroad. A considerable
number of houses stand on the high ground on the lower face of the
central mountain and off to the right into Stony Creek Gap. The fringe
along the Pennsylvania Railroad is mostly of stores and other large
brick buildings that are completely wrecked, though not swept away. The
houses on the higher ground are unharmed; but down toward the edge they
fade away by degrees of completeness in their wreckage into the yellow
level of the huge tract over which the mighty whirlpool swept. Off out
of sight, in Stony Creek Gap, are fringes of houses on either side of
the muddy flat.

"This flat is a peculiar thing. It is level and uninteresting as a piece
of waste ground. Too poor to grow grass, there is nothing to indicate
that it had ever been anything else than what it is. It is as clean of
débris and wreckage as though there had never been a building on it. In
reality it was the central and busiest part of Johnstown. Buildings,
both dwellings and stores, covered it thickly. Its streets were paved,
and its sidewalks of substantial stone. It had street-car lines, gas and
electric lights, and all the other improvements of a substantial city of
15,000 or 20,000 inhabitants. Iron bridges spanned the streams, and the
buildings were of substantial character. Not a brick remains, not a
stone nor a stick of timber in all this territory. There are not even
hummocks and mounds to show where wreckage might be covered with a layer
of mud. They are not there, they are gone--every building, every
street, every sidewalk and pavement, the street railways, and everything
else that covered the surface of the earth has vanished as utterly as
though it had never been there. The ground was swept as clean as though
some mighty scraper had been dragged over it again and again. Not even
the lines of the streets can be remotely traced.

"'I have visited Johnstown a dozen times a year for a long time,' said a
business man to-day, 'and I know it thoroughly, but I haven't the least
idea now of what part of it this is. I can't even tell the direction the
streets used to run.'

"His bewilderment is hardly greater than that of the citizens
themselves. They wander about in the mud for hours trying to find the
spot where the house of some friend or relative used to stand. It takes
a whole family to locate the site of their friend's house with any
reasonable certainty.

"Wandering over this muddy plain one can realize something of what must
have been the gigantic force of that vast whirlpool. It pressed upon the
town like some huge millstone, weighing tens of thousands of tons and
revolving with awful velocity, pounding to powder everything beneath.
But the conception of the power of that horrible eddy of the flood must
remain feeble until that sixty acres of burning débris is inspected. It
seems from a little distance like any other mass of wreckage, though
vastly longer than any ever before seen in this country. It must have
been many times more tremendous when it was heaped up twenty feet higher
over its whole area and before the fire leveled it off. But neither then
nor now can the full terror of the flood that piled it there be
adequately realized until a trip across parts where the fire has been
extinguished shows the manner in which the stuff composing it is packed
together. It is not a heap of broken timbers lying loosely thrown
together in all directions. It is a solid mass. The boards and timbers
which made up the frame buildings are laid together as closely as sticks
of wood in a pile--more closely, for they are welded into one another
until each stick is as solidly fixed in place as though all were one. A
curious thing is that wherever there are a few boards together they are
edge up, and never standing on end or flat. The terrible force of the
whirlpool that ground four square miles of buildings into this sixty
acres of wreckage left no opportunity for gaps or holes between pieces
in the river. Everything was packed together as solidly as though by
sledge-hammer blows.

"But the boards and timber of four square miles of buildings are not all
that is in that sixty-acre mass. An immense amount of débris from
further up the valley lies there. Twenty-seven locomotives, several
Pullman cars and probably a hundred other cars, or all that is left of
them, are in that mass. Fragments of iron bridges can be seen sticking
out occasionally above the wreckage. They are about the only things the
fire has not leveled, except the curious hillock spoken of, which is an
eighth of a mile back from the bridge, where the flames apparently raged
less fiercely. Scattered over the area, also, are many blackened logs
that were too big to be entirely burned, and that stick up now like spar
buoys in a sea of ruin. Little jets of flame, almost unseen by daylight,
but appearing as evening falls, are scattered thickly over the surface
of the wreckage.

"Of the rest of Johnstown, and the collection of towns within sight of
the bridge, not much is to be said. They are, to a greater or less
extent, gone, as Johnstown is gone. Far up the gap through which came
the flood a large brick building remains standing, but ruined. It is all
that is left of one of the biggest wire mills and steel works in the
country. Turning around below the bridge are the works of the Cambria
Iron Company. The buildings are still standing, but they are pretty well
ruined, and the machinery with which they were filled is either totally
destroyed or damaged almost beyond repair. High up on the hill at the
left and scattered up on other hills in sight are many dwellings, neat,
well kept, and attractive places apparently, and looking as bright and
fresh now as before the awful torrent wiped out of existence everything
in the valley below.

"This is Johnstown and its immediate vicinity as nearly as words can
paint it. It is a single feature, one section out of fifteen miles of
horror that stretches through this once lovely valley of the Allegheny.
What is true of Johnstown is true of every town for miles up and down.
The desolation of one town may differ from the desolation in others as
one death may differ from another; but it is desolation and death
everywhere--desolation so complete, so relentless, so dreadful that it
is absolutely beyond the power of language fairly to tell the tale."



CHAPTER VI.


Mr. William Henry Smith, General Manager of the Associated Press, was a
passenger on a railroad train which reached the Conemaugh Valley on the
very day of the disaster. He writes as follows of what he saw:

"The fast line trains that leave Chicago at quarter past three and
Cincinnati at seven P.M. constitute the day-express eastward from
Pittsburg, which runs in two sections. This train left Pittsburg on time
Friday morning, but was stopped for an hour at Johnstown by reports of a
wash-out ahead. It had been raining hard for over sixteen hours, and the
sides of the mountains were covered with water descending into the
valleys. The Conemaugh River, whose bank is followed by the Pennsylvania
Railroad for many miles, looked an angry flood nearly bankfull.
Passengers were interested in seeing hundreds of saw-logs and an
enormous amount of driftwood shoot rapidly by, and the train pursued its
way eastward. At Johnstown there was a long wait, as before stated. The
lower stories of many houses were submerged by the slack-water, and the
inhabitants were looking out of the second-story windows. Horses were
standing up to their knees in water in the streets; a side-track of the
railroad had been washed out; loaded cars were on the bridge to keep it
steady, and the huge poles of the Western Union Telegraph Company,
carrying fifteen wires, swayed badly, and several soon went down. The
two sections ran to Conemaugh, about two miles eastward of Johnstown,
and lay there about three hours, when they were moved on to the highest
ground and placed side by side. The mail train was placed in the rear of
the first section, and a freight train was run onto a side track on the
bank of the Conemaugh. The report was that a bridge had been washed out,
carrying away one track and that the other track was unsafe. There was a
rumor also that the reservoir at South Fork might break. This made most
of the passengers uneasy, and they kept a pretty good look-out for
information. The porters of the Pullman cars remained at their posts,
and comforted the passengers with the assurance that the Pennsylvania
Railroad Company always took care of its patrons. A few gentlemen and
some ladies and children quietly seated themselves, apparently
contented. One gentleman, who was ill, had his berth made up and
retired, although advised not to do so.

"Soon the cry came that the water in the reservoir had broken down the
barrier and was sweeping 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 was a race for life. There was
seen the black head of the flood, now the monster Destruction, whose
crest was high raised in the air, and with this in view even the weak
found wings for their feet. No words can adequately describe the terror
that filled every breast, or the awful power manifested by the flood.
The round-house had stalls for twenty-three locomotives. There were
eighteen or twenty of these standing there at this time. There was an
ominous crash, and the round-house and locomotives disappeared.
Everything in the main track of the flood was first lifted in air and
then swallowed up by the waters. A hundred houses were swept away in a
few minutes. These included the hotel, stores, and saloons on the front
street and residences adjacent. The locomotive of one of the trains was
struck by a house and demolished. The side of another house stopped in
front of another locomotive and served as a shield. The rear 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
upon it as it floated. The coupling broke, and the car moved out upon
the bosom of the waters. As it would roll the men would shift their
position. The situation was desperate, and they were given up for lost.
Two or three hardy men seized ropes and ran along the mountain side to
give them aid. Later it was reported that the men escaped over some
driftwood as their car was carried near a bank. It is believed there
were several women and children inside the car. Of course they were
drowned. As the fugitives on the mountain side witnessed the awful
devastation they were moved as never before in their lives. They were
powerless to help those seized upon by the waters; the despair of those
who had lost everything in life and the wailing of those whose relatives
or friends were missing filled their breasts with unutterable sorrow.

"The rain continued to fall steadily, but shelter was not thought of.
Few passengers saved anything from the train, so sudden was the cry 'Run
for your lives, the reservoir has broken!'

"Many were without hats, and as their baggage was left on the trains,
they were without the means of relieving their unhappy condition. The
occupants of the houses still standing on the high ground threw them
open to those who had lost all, and to the passengers of the train.

"During the height of the flood, the spectators were startled by the
sound of two locomotive whistles from the very midst of the waters. Two
engineers, with characteristic courage, had remained at their posts, and
while there was destruction on every hand, and apparently no escape for
them, they sounded their whistles. This they repeated at intervals, the
last time with triumphant vigor, as the waters were receding from the
sides of their locomotives. By half-past five the force of the reservoir
water had been spent on the village of Conemaugh, and the Pullman cars
and locomotive of the second section remained unmoved. This was because,
being on the highest and hardest ground, the destructive current of the
reservoir flood had passed between that and the mountain, while the
current of the river did not eat it away. But the other trains had been
destroyed. A solitary locomotive was seen embedded in the mud where the
round-house had stood.

"As the greatest danger had passed, the people of Conemaugh gave their
thoughts to their neighbors of the city of Johnstown. Here was centred
the great steel and iron industries, the pride of Western Pennsylvania,
the Cambria Iron Works being known everywhere. Here were churches,
daily newspapers, banks, dry-goods houses, warehouses, and the
comfortable and well-built homes of twelve thousand people. In the
contemplation of the irresistible force of that awful flood, gathering
additional momentum as it swept on toward the Gulf, it became clear that
the city must be destroyed, and that unless the inhabitants had
telegraphic notice of the breaking of the reservoir they must perish. A
cry of horror went up from the hundreds on the mountain-side, and a few
instinctively turned their steps toward Johnstown. The city was
destroyed. All the mills, furnaces, manufactories, the many and varied
industries, the banks, the residences, all, all were swallowed up before
the shadows of night had settled down upon the earth. Those who came
back by daybreak said that from five thousand to eight thousand had been
drowned. Our hope is that this is an exaggeration, and when the roll is
called most will respond. In the light of this calamity, the destruction
at Conemaugh sinks into insignificance."

Mr. George Johnston, a lumber merchant of Pittsburg, was another
witness. "I had gone to Johnstown," he says, "to place a couple of
orders. I had scarcely reached the town, about three o'clock in the
afternoon, when I saw a bulletin posted up in front of the telegraph
office, around which quite a crowd of men had congregated. I pushed my
way up, and read that the waters were so high in the Conemaugh that it
was feared the three-mile dam, as it was called, would give way. I know
enough about Johnstown to feel that my life was not worth a snap once
that dam gave way. Although the Johnstown people did not seem to pay
much attention to the warning, I was nervous and apprehensive. I had
several parties to see, but concluded to let all but one go until some
later day. So I hurried through with my most urgent transactions and
started for the depot. The Conemaugh had then gotten so high that the
residents of the low-lying districts had moved into upper stories. I
noticed a number of wagons filled with furniture hurrying through the
streets. A few families, either apprehensive of the impending calamity
or driven from their houses by the rising waters, had started for the
surrounding hills. Johnstown, you know, lies in a narrow valley, and
lies principally on the V-shaped point between the converging river and
Stony Creek.

"I was just walking up the steps to the depot when I heard a fearful
roar up the valley. It sounded at first like a heavy train of cars, but
soon became too loud and terrible for that. I boarded a train, and as I
sat at the car window a sight broke before my view that I will remember
to my dying day. Away up the Conemaugh came a yellow wall, whose crest
was white and frothy. I rushed for the platform of the car, not knowing
what I did, and just then the train began to move. Terrified as I was, I
remember feeling that I was in the safest place and I sank back in a
seat. When I looked out again what had been the busy mill yards of the
Cambria Iron Company was a yellow, turbulent sea, on whose churned
currents houses and barns were riding like ships in a brook. The water
rushing in upon the molten metal in the mills had caused deafening
explosions, which, coupled with the roar and grinding of the flood, made
a terrifying din. Turning to the other side and looking on down the
valley, I saw the muddy water rushing through the main streets of the
town. I could see men and horses floundering about almost within call.
House-tops were being filled with white-faced people who clung to each
other and looked terror-stricken upon the rising flood.

"It had all come so quickly that none of them seemed to realize what had
happened. The conductor of my train had been pulling frantically at the
bell-rope, and the train went spinning across the bridge. I sat in my
seat transfixed with horror. Houses were spinning through beneath the
bridge, and I did not know at what moment the structure would melt away
under the train. The conductor kept tugging at the bell-rope and the
train shot ahead again. We seemed to fairly leap over the yellow
torrents, and I wondered for an instant whether we had not left the
rails and were flying through the air. My heart gave a bound of relief
when we dashed into the forest on the hillside opposite the doomed town.
As the train sped along at a rate of speed that made me think the
engineer had gone mad, I took one look back upon the valley. What a
sight it was! The populous valley for miles either way was a seething,
roaring cauldron, through whose boiling surface roofs of houses and the
stand-pipes of mills protruded. The water was fairly piling up in a well
farther up, and I saw the worst had not yet come. Then I turned my eyes
away from the awful sight and tried not to even think until Pittsburg
was reached.

"I cannot see how it is possible for less than five thousand lives to
have been sacrificed in Johnstown alone. At least two-thirds of the town
was swept away. The water came so quickly that escape from the low
districts was impossible. People retreated to the upper floors of their
residences and stores until the water had gotten too deep to allow their
escape. When the big flood came the houses were picked up like
pasteboard boxes or collapsed like egg-shells. The advance of the flood
was black with houses, logs, and other debris, so that it struck
Johnstown with the solid force of a battering-ram. None but
eye-witnesses of the flood can comprehend its size and awfulness as it
came tumbling, roaring down upon the unprotected town."

[Illustration: TYPICAL SCENE IN JOHNSTOWN.]

The appearance of the flood at Sang Hollow, some miles below Johnstown,
is thus pictured by C. W. Linthicum, of Baltimore:

"My train left Pittsburg on Friday morning for Johnstown. The train was
due at Sang Hollow at two minutes after four, but was five minutes late.
At Sang Hollow, just as we were about to pull out, we heard that the
flood was coming. Looking ahead, up the valley, we saw an immense wall
of water thirty feet high, raging, roaring, rushing toward us. The
engineer reversed his engine and rushed back to the hills at full speed,
and we barely escaped the waters. We ran back three hundred yards, and
the flood swept by, tearing up track, telegraph poles, trees, and
houses. Superintendent Pitcairn 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
more, but many were afraid to let go of the debris. It was an awful
sight. The immense volume of water was roaring along, whirling over huge
rocks, dashing against the banks and leaping high into the air, and this
seething flood was strewn with timber, trunks of trees, parts of houses,
and hundreds of human beings, cattle, and almost every living animal.
The fearful peril of the living was not more awful than the horrors of
hundreds of distorted, bleeding corpses whirling along the avalanche of
death. We counted one hundred and seven people floating by and dead
without number. A section of roof came by on which were sitting a woman
and girl. A man named C. W. Heppenstall, of Pittsburg, waded and swam to
the roof. He brought the girl in first and then the woman. They told us
they were not relatives. The woman had lost her husband and four
children, and the girl her father and mother, and entire family. A
little boy came by with his mother. Both were as calm as could be, and
the boy was apparently trying to comfort the mother. They passed
unheeding our proffered help, and striking the bridge below, went down
into the vortex like lead.

"One beautiful girl came by with her hands raised in prayer, and,
although we shouted to her and ran along the bank, she paid no
attention. We could have saved her if she had caught the rope. An old
man and his wife whom we saved said that eleven persons started from
Cambria City on the roof with him, but that the others had dropped off.

"At about eight P. M. we started for New Florence. All along the river
we saw corpses without number caught in the branches of trees and
wedged in corners in the banks. A large sycamore tree in the river
between Sang Hollow and New Florence seemed to draw into it nearly all
who floated down, and they went under the surface at its roots like
lead. When the waters subsided two hundred and nine bodies were found at
the root of this tree. All night the living and the dead floated by New
Florence. At Pittsburg seventy-eight bodies were found on Saturday, and
as many more were seen floating by. Hundreds of people from ill-fated
Johnstown are wandering homeless and starving on the mountain-side. Very
few saved anything, and I saw numbers going down the stream naked. The
suffering within the next few days will be fearful unless prompt relief
is extended."

H. M. Bennett and S. W. Keltz, engineer and conductor of engine No.
1,165, an extra freight, which happened to be lying at South Fork when
the dam broke, tell a graphic story of their wonderful flight and escape
on the locomotive before the advancing flood. At the time mentioned
Bennett and Keltz were in the signal tower at that point awaiting
orders. The fireman and flagman were on the engine, and two brakemen
were asleep in the caboose. Suddenly the men in the tower heard a loud
booming roar in the valley above them. They looked in the direction of
the sound, and were almost transfixed with horror to see two miles
above them a huge black wall of water, at least one hundred and fifty
feet in height, rushing down the valley upon them.

One look the fear-stricken men gave the awful sight, and then they made
a rush for the locomotive, at the same time giving the alarm to the
sleeping brakemen in the caboose with loud cries, but with no avail. It
was impossible to aid them further, however, so they cut the engine
loose from the train, and the engineer, with one wild wrench, threw the
lever wide open, and they were away on a mad race for life. For a moment
it seemed that they would not receive momentum enough to keep ahead of
the flood, and they cast one despairing glance back. Then they could see
the awful deluge approaching in its might. On it came, rolling and
roaring like some Titanic monster, tossing and tearing houses, sheds,
and trees in its awful speed as if they were mere toys. As they looked
they saw the two brakemen rush out of the cab, but they had not time to
gather the slightest idea of the cause of their doom before they, the
car, and signal tower were tossed high in the air, to disappear forever
in engulfing water.

Then with a shudder, as if at last it comprehended its peril, the engine
leaped forward like a thing of life, and speeded down the valley. But
fast as it went, the flood gained upon them. Hope, however, was in the
ascendant, for if they could but get across the bridge below the track
would lean toward the hillside in such a manner that they would be
comparatively safe. In a few breathless moments the shrieking locomotive
whizzed around the curve and they were in sight of the bridge. Horror
upon horrors! Ahead of them was a freight train, with the rear end
almost on the bridge, and to get across was simply impossible! Engineer
Bennett then reversed the lever and succeeded in checking the engine as
they glided across the bridge, and then they jumped and ran for their
lives up the hillside, as the bridge and tender of the locomotive they
had been on were swept away like a bundle of matches in the torrent.



CHAPTER VII.


There have been many famous rides in history. Longfellow has celebrated
that of Paul Revere. Read has sung of Sheridan's. John Boyle O'Reilly
has commemorated in graceful verse the splendid achievement of Collins
Graves, who, when the Williamsburg dam in Massachusetts broke, dashed
down the valley on horseback in the van of the flood, warning the people
and saving countless lives:

          "He draws no rein, but he shakes the street
          With a shout and a ring of the galloping feet,
          And this the cry that he flings to the wind:
          'To the hills for your lives! The flood is behind!'

          "In front of the roaring flood is heard
          The galloping horse and the warning word.
          Thank God! The brave man's life is spared!
          From Williamsburg town he nobly dared
          To race with the flood and take the road
          In front of the terrible swath it mowed.
          For miles it thundered and crashed behind,
          But he looked ahead with a steadfast mind:
          'They must be warned,' was all he said,
          As away on his terrible ride he sped."

There were two such heroes in the Conemaugh Valley. Let their deeds be
told and their names held in everlasting honor. One was John G. Parke, a
young civil engineer of Philadelphia, a nephew of the General John G.
Parke who commanded a corps of the Union Army. He was the first to
discover the impending break in the South Fork dam, and jumping into the
saddle he started at breakneck speed down the valley shouting: "The dam;
the dam is breaking; run for your lives!" Hundreds of people were saved
by this timely warning. Reaching South Fork Station, young Parke
telegraphed tidings of the coming inundation to Johnstown, ten miles
below, fully an hour before the flood came in "a solid wall of water
thirty feet high" to drown the mountain-bound town.

Some heeded the note of alarm at Johnstown; others had heard it before,
doubted, and waited until death overtook them. Young Parke climbed up
into the mountains when the water was almost at his horse's heels, and
saw the deluge pass.

Less fortunate was Daniel Peyton, a rich young man of Johnstown. He
heard at Conemaugh the message sent down from South Fork by the gallant
Parke. In a moment he sprang into the saddle. Mounted on a grand, big,
bay horse, he came riding down the pike which passes through Conemaugh
to Johnstown, like some angel of wrath of 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
awe-struck and wondering. No 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 narrow alleys, grinding, twisting,
hurling, over-turning, crashing--annihilating the weak and the strong.
It was the charge of the flood, wearing its coronet of ruin and
devastation, which grew at every instant of its progress. Forty feet
high, some say, thirty according to others, was this sea, and it
travelled with a swiftness like that which lay in the heels of Mercury.

On and on raced the rider, on and on rushed the wave. Dozens of people
took heed of the warning and ran up to the hills.

Poor, faithful rider! It was an unequal contest. Just as he turned to
cross the railroad bridge the mighty wall fell upon him, and horse,
rider, and bridge all went out into chaos together.

A few feet further on several cars of the Pennsylvania Railroad train
from Pittsburg were caught up and hurried into the cauldron, and the
heart of the town was reached.

The hero had turned neither to the right nor left for himself, but rode
on to death for his townsmen. When found Peyton was lying face upward
beneath the remnants of massive oaks, while hard by lay the gallant
horse that had so nobly done all in his power for humanity before he
started to seek a place of safety for himself.

Mrs. Ogle, the manager of the Western Union telegraph office, who died
at her post, will go down in history as a heroine of the highest order.
Notwithstanding the repeated notifications which she received to get out
of reach of the approaching danger, she stood by the instruments with
unflinching loyalty and undaunted courage, sending words of warning to
those in danger in the valley below. When every station in the path of
the coming torrent had been warned, she wired her companion at South
Fork: "This is my last message," and as such it shall always be
remembered as her last words on earth, for at that very moment the
torrent engulfed her and bore her from her post on earth to her post of
honor in the great beyond.

Miss Nina Speck, daughter of the Rev. David Speck, pastor of the First
United Brethren Church, of Chambersburg, was in Johnstown visiting her
brother and narrowly escaped death in the flood. She arrived home clad
in nondescript clothing, which had been furnished by an old colored
washerwoman, and told the following story of the flood:

"Our house was in Kernsville, a part of Johnstown through which Stony
Creek ran. Although we were a square from the creek, the back-water from
the stream had flooded the streets in the morning and was up to our
front porch. At four o'clock on Friday afternoon we were sitting on the
front porch watching the flood, when we heard a roar as of a tornado or
mighty conflagration.

"We rushed up-stairs and got out upon the bay-window. There an awful
sight met our eyes. Down the Conemaugh Valley was advancing a mighty
wall of water and mist with a terrible roar. Before it were rolling
houses and buildings of all kinds, tossing over and over. We thought it
was a cyclone, the roar sounding like a tempest among forest trees. We
started down-stairs and out through the rear of the house to escape to
the hillside near by. But before we could get there the water was up to
our necks and we could make no progress. We turned back and were
literally dashed by the current into the house, which began to move off
as soon as [we] were in it again. From the second-story window I saw a
young man drifting toward us. I broke the glass from the frames with my
hands and helped him in, and in a few minutes more I pulled in an old
man, a neighbor, who had been sick.

"Our house moved rapidly down the stream and fortunately lodged against
a strong building. The water forced us out of the second-story up into
the attic. Then we heard a lot of people on our roof begging us for
God's sake to let them in. I broke through the roof with a bed-slat and
pulled them in. Soon we had thirteen in all crouched in the attic.

"Our house was rocking, and every now and then a building would crash
against us. Every moment we thought we would go down. The roofs of all
the houses drifting by us were covered with people, nearly all praying
and some singing hymns, and now and then a house would break apart and
all would go down. On Saturday at noon we were rescued, making our way
from one building to the next by crawling on narrow planks. I counted
hundreds of bodies lying in the debris, most of them covered over with
earth and showing only the outlines of the form."

Opposite the northern wall of the Methodist Church the flood struck the
new Queen Anne house of John Fronheiser, a superintendent in the Cambria
Works. He was at home, as most men were that day, trying to calm the
fears of the women and children of the family during the earlier flood.
Down went the front of the new Queen Anne house, and into the wreck of
it fell the Superintendent, two elder children, a girl and a boy. As the
flood passed he heard the boy cry: "Don't let me drown, papa; break my
arms first!" and the girl: "Cut off my legs, but don't let me drown!"

And as he heard them, came a wilder cry from his wife drifting down with
the current, to "Save the baby." But neither wife nor baby could be
saved, and boy and girl stayed in the wreck until the water went down
and they were extricated.

Horror piled on horror is the story from Johnstown down to the viaduct.
Horror shot through with intense lights of heroism, and here and there
pervaded with gleams of humor. It is known that one girl sang as she was
whirled through the flood, "Jesus, lover of my soul," until the water
stopped her singing forever. It is known that Elvie Duncan, daughter of
the Superintendent of the Street Car Company, when her family was
separated and she was swept away with her baby sister, kept the little
thing alive by chewing bread and feeding it to her. It is known that
John Dibart, banker, died as helplessly in his splendid house as did
that solitary prisoner in his cell; that the pleasant park, with the
chain fence about it, was so completely annihilated that not even one
root of the many shade trees within its boundaries remains. It is known
also that to a leaden-footed messenger boy, who was ambling along Main
Street, fear lent wings to lift him into the _Tribune_ office in the
second story of the Post Office, and that the Rosensteels, general
storekeepers of Woodvale, were swept into the windows of their friends,
the Cohens, retail storekeepers of Main Street, Johnstown, two miles
from where they started. It is known that the Episcopal Church, at
Locust and Market Streets, went down like a house of cards, or as the
German Lutheran had gone, in the path of the flood, and that Rector
Diller, his wife and child, and adopted daughter went with it, while of
their next-door neighbors, Frank Daly, of the Cambria Company, and his
mother, the son was drowned and the mother, not so badly hurt in body as
in spirit, died three nights after in the Mercy Hospital, Pittsburg.

But while the flood was driving people to silent death down the valley,
there was a sound of lamentation on the hills. Hundreds who had climbed
there to be out of reach during the morning's freshet saw the city in
the valley disappearing, and their cries rose high above the crash and
the roar. Little time had eyes to watch or lips to cry. O'Brien, the
disabled Millville storekeeper, was one of the crowd in the park. He saw
a town before him, then a mountain of timber approaching; then a dizzy
swirl of men at the viaduct, a breaking of the embankment to the east of
it, the forming of a whirlpool there that ate up homes and those that
dwelt in them, as a cauldron of molten iron eats up the metal scraps
that are thrown in to cool it, and then a silence and a subsidence.

It was a quarter of four o'clock. At half-past three there had been a
Johnstown. Now there was none.



CHAPTER VIII.


Volumes might be written of the sufferings endured and valor exhibited
by the survivors of the flood, or of the heart-rending grief with which
so many were stricken. At Johnstown an utterly wretched woman named Mrs.
Fenn stood by a muddy pool of water trying to find some trace of a once
happy home. She was half crazed with grief, and her eyes were red and
swollen. As a correspondent stepped to her side she raised her pale,
haggard face and remarked:

"They are all gone. O God! be merciful to them! My husband and my seven
dear little children have been swept down with the flood, and I am left
alone. We were driven by the awful flood into the garret, but the water
followed us there. Inch by inch it kept rising, until our heads were
crushing against the roof. It was death to remain. So I raised a window,
and one by one, placed my darlings on some driftwood, trusting to the
great Creator. As I liberated the last one, my sweet little boy, he
looked at me and said: 'Mamma, you always told me that the Lord would
care for me; will He look after me now?' I saw him drift away with his
loving face turned toward me, and, with a prayer on my lips for his
deliverance, he passed from sight forever. The next moment the roof
crashed in, and I floated outside, to be rescued fifteen hours later
from the roof of a house in Kernsville. If I could only find one of my
darlings I could bow to the will of God, but they are all gone. I have
lost everything on earth now but my life, and I will return to my old
Virginia home and lay me down for my last great sleep."

A handsome woman, with hair as black as a raven's wing, walked through
the depot where a dozen or more bodies were awaiting burial. Passing
from one to another, she finally lifted the paper covering from the face
of a woman, young, and with traces of beauty showing through the stains
of muddy water, and with a cry of anguish she reeled backward to be
caught by a rugged man who chanced to be passing. In a moment or so she
had calmed herself sufficiently to take one more look at the features of
her dead. She stood gazing at the corpse as if dumb. Finally, turning
away with another wild burst of grief, she said: "And her beautiful hair
all matted and her sweet face so bruised and stained with mud and
water!" The dead woman was the sister of the mourner. The body was
placed in a coffin a few minutes later and sent away to its narrow
house.

A woman was seen to smile, one morning just after the catastrophe, as
she came down the steps of Prospect Hill, at Johnstown. She ran down
lightly, turning up toward the stone bridge. She passed the little
railroad station where the undertakers were at work embalming the dead,
and walked slowly until she got opposite the station. Then she stopped
and danced a few steps. There was but a small crowd there. The woman
raised her hands above her head and sang. She became quiet and then
suddenly burst into a frenzied fit of weeping and beat her forehead with
her hands. She tore her dress, which was already in rags.

"I shall go crazy," she screamed, "if they do not find his body."

The poor woman could not go crazy, as her mind had been already
shattered.

"He was a good man," she went on, while the onlookers listened
pityingly. "I loved him and he loved me."

"Where is he?" she screamed. "I must find him."

And she started at the top of her speed down the track toward the river.
Some men caught her. She struggled desperately for a few moments, and
then fainted.

Her name was Eliza Adams, and she was a bride of but two months. Her
husband was a foreman at the Cambria Iron Works and was drowned.

[Illustration: JOHNSTOWN--VIEW COR. MAIN AND CLINTON STS.]

The body of a beautiful young girl of twenty was found wedged in a mass
of ruins just below the Cambria Iron Works. She was taken out and laid
on the damp grass. She was tall, slender, of well-rounded form, clad in
a long red wrapper, with lace at her throat and wrists. Her feet were
encased in pretty embroidered slippers. Her face was a study for an
artist. Features clear cut as though chiseled from Parian marble; and,
strangely enough, they bore not the slightest disfigurement, and had not
the swelled and puffed appearance that was present in nearly all the
other drowned victims. A smile rested on her lips. Her hair, which had
evidently been golden, was matted with mud and fell in heavy masses to
her waist.

"Does any one know her?" was asked of the silent group that had gathered
around.

No one did, and she was carried to the improvised morgue in the
school-house, and now fills a grave as one of the "unidentified dead."

Miss Rose Clark was fastened in the debris at the railroad bridge, at
Johnstown. The force of the water had torn all of her garments off and
pinned her left leg below the water between two beams. She was more
calm than the men who were trying to rescue her. The flames were coming
nearer, and the intense heat scorching her bare skin. She begged the men
to cut off the imprisoned leg. Finally half of the men turned and fought
the fire, while the rest endeavored to rescue Miss Clark. After six
hours of hard work, and untold suffering by the brave little lady she
was taken from the ruins in a dead faint. She was one mass of bruises,
from her breast to her knees, and her left arm and leg were broken.

Just below Johnstown, on the Conemaugh, three women were working on the
ruins of what had been their home. An old arm-chair was taken from the
ruins by the men. When one of the women saw the chair, it brought back a
wealth of memory, probably the first since the flood occurred, and
throwing herself on her knees on the wreck she gave way to a flood of
tears.

"Where in the name of God," she sobbed, "did you get that chair? It was
mine--no, I don't want it. Keep it and find for me, if you can, my
album. In it are the faces of my husband and little girl."

Patrick Downs was a worker in one of the mills of the Cambria Iron
Works. He had a wife and a fourteen-year-old daughter, Jessie Downs, who
was a great favorite with the sturdy, hard-handed fellow-workmen of her
father.

She was of rare beauty and sweetness. Her waving, golden-yellow hair,
brushed away from a face of wondrous whiteness, was confined by a ribbon
at the neck. Lustrous Irish blue eyes lighted up the lovely face and
ripe, red lips parted in smiles for the workmen in the mills, every one
of whom was her lover.

Jessie was in the mill when the flood struck the town, and had not been
seen since till the work of cleaning up the Cambria plant was begun in
earnest. Then, in the cellar of the building a workman spied a little
shoe protruding from a closely packed bed of sandy mud. In a few moments
the body of Jessie Downs was uncovered.

The workmen who had been in such scenes as this for six days stood about
with uncovered heads and sobbed like babies. The body had not been
bruised nor hurt in any way, the features being composed as if in sleep.

The men gathered up the body of their little sweetheart and were
carrying it through the town on a stretcher when they met poor Patrick
Downs. He gazed upon the form of his baby, but never a tear was in his
eye, and he only thanked God that she had not suffered in contest with
the angry waves.

He had but a moment before identified the body of his wife among the
dead recovered, and the mother and child were laid away together in one
grave on Grove Hill, and the father resumed work with the others.

Dr. Lowman is one of the most prominent physicians of Western
Pennsylvania. His residence in Johnstown was protected partially from
the avalanche of water by the Methodist Church, which is a large stone
structure. Glancing up-stream, the Doctor saw advancing what seemed to
be a huge mountain. Grasping the situation, he ran in and told the
family to get to the top floors as quickly as possible. They had
scarcely reached the second floor when the water was pouring into the
windows. They went higher up, and the water followed them, but it soon
reached its extreme height.

While the family were huddled in the third story the Doctor looked out
and saw a young girl floating toward the window on a door. He smashed
the glass, and, at the great risk of his own life, succeeded in hauling
the door toward him and lifting the girl through the window. She had not
been there long when one corner of the building gave way and she became
frightened. She insisted on taking a shutter and floating down-stream.
In vain did the Doctor try to persuade her to forego such a suicidal
attempt. She said that she was a good swimmer, and that, once out in the
water, she had no fears for her ultimate safety. Resisting all
entreaties and taking a shutter from the window, she plunged out into
the surging waters, and has not since been heard from.

When the girl deserted the house, Dr. Lowman and his family made their
way to the roof. While up there another corner of the house gave way.
After waiting for several hours, the intervening space between the bank
building and the dwelling became filled with drift. The Doctor gathered
his family around him, and after a perilous walk they all reached the
objective point in safety. Dr. Lowman's aged father was one of the
party. When his family was safe Dr. Lowman started to rescue other
unfortunates. All day Saturday he worked like a beaver in water to his
neck, and he saved the lives of many.

No man returns from the valley of death with more horrible remembrance
of the flood than Dr. Henry H. Phillips, of Pittsburg. He is the only
one known to be saved out of a household of thirteen, among whom was his
feeble old mother and other near and dear friends. His own life was
saved by his happening to step out upon the portico of the house just as
the deluge came. Dr. Phillips had gone to Johnstown to bring his mother,
who was an invalid, to his home in the East End. They had intended
starting for Pittsburg Friday morning, but Mrs. Phillips did not feel
able to make the journey, and it was postponed until the next day. In
the meantime the flood began to come, and during the afternoon of Friday
the family retired to the upper floors of the house for safety. There
were thirteen in the house, including little Susan McWilliams, the
twelve-year-old daughter of Mr. W. H. McWilliams, of Pittsburg, who was
visiting her aunt, Mrs. Phillips; Dr. L. T. Beam, son-in-law of Mrs.
Phillips; another niece, and Mrs. Dowling, a neighbor. The latter had
come there with her children because the Phillips house was a brick
structure while her own was frame. Its destruction proved to be the more
sudden and complete on account of the material.

The water was a foot deep on the first floor, and the family were
congratulating themselves that they were so comfortably situated in the
upper story, when Dr. Phillips heard a roaring up toward the Cambria
Iron Works. Without a thought of the awful truth, he stepped out upon
the portico of the house to see what it meant. A wall of water and
wreckage loomed up before him like a roaring cloud. Before he could turn
back or cry out he saw a house, that rode the flood like a chip, come
between him and his vision of the window. Then all was dark, and the
cold water seemed to wrap him up and toss him to a house-top three
hundred yards from where that of his mother had stood. Gathering his
shattered wits together the Doctor saw he was floating about in the
midst of a black pool. Dark objects were moving all about him, and
although there was some light, he could not recognize any of the
surroundings. For seventeen hours he drifted about upon the wreckage
where fate had tossed him. Then rescuers came, and he was taken to safe
quarters. A long search has so far failed to elicit any tidings of the
twelve persons in the Phillips' house.

Mr. G. B. Hartley, of Philadelphia, was one of the five out of
fifty-five guests of the Hurlburt House who survived.

"The experience I passed through at Johnstown on that dreadful Friday
night," said Mr. Hartley to a correspondent, "is like a horrible
nightmare in a picture before me. When the great rush of water came I
was sitting in the parlors of the Hurlburt House. Suddenly we were
startled to hear several loud shouts on the streets. These cries were
accompanied by a loud, crashing noise. At the first sound we all rushed
from the room panic-stricken. There was a crash and I found myself
pinned down by broken boards and debris of different kinds. The next
moment I felt the water surging in. I knew it went higher than my head
because I felt it. The water must have passed like a flash or I would
not have come out alive. After the shock I could see that the entire
roof of the hotel had been carried off. Catching hold of something I
manged to pull myself up on to the roof. The roof had slid off and lay
across the street. On the roof I had a chance to observe my
surroundings. Down on the extreme edge of the roof I espied the
proprietor of the hotel, Mr. Benford. He was nearly exhausted, and it
required every effort for him to hold to the roof. Cautiously advancing,
I managed to creep down to where he was holding. I tried to pull him up,
but found I was utterly powerless. Mr. Benford was nearly as weak as
myself, and could do very little toward helping himself. We did not give
up, however, and in a few minutes, by dint of struggling and putting
forth every bit of strength, Mr. Benford managed to crawl upon the roof.
Crouching and shivering on another part of the roof were two girls, one
a chamber-maid of the hotel, and the other a clerk in a store that was
next to it. The latter was in a pitiable plight. Her arm had been torn
from its socket. I took off my overcoat and gave it to her. Mr. Benford
did the same thing for the other, for it was quite chilly. A young man
was nursing his mother, who had had her scalp completely torn off. He
asked me to hold her head until he could make a bandage. He tore a thick
strip of cloth and placed it round her head. The blood saturated it
before it was well on. Soon after this I was rescued more dead than
alive."



CHAPTER IX.


Many of the most thrilling sights and experiences were those of railroad
employees and passengers. Mr. Henry, the engineer of the second section
of express train No. 8, which runs between Pittsburg and Altoona, was at
Conemaugh when the great flood came sweeping down the valley. He was
able to escape to a place of safety. His was the only train that was not
injured, even though it was in the midst of the great wave. The story as
related by Mr. Henry is most graphic.

"It was an awful sight," he said. "I have often seen pictures of flood
scenes and I thought they were exaggerations, but what I witnessed last
Friday changes my former belief. To see that immense volume of water,
fully fifty feet high, rushing madly down the valley, sweeping
everything before it, was a thrilling sight. It is engraved indelibly on
my memory. Even now I can see that mad torrent carrying death and
destruction before it.

"The second section of No. 8, on which I was, was due at Johnstown
about quarter past ten in the morning. We arrived there safely and were
told to follow the first section. When we arrived at Conemaugh the first
section and the mail were there. Washouts further up the mountain
prevented our going on, so we could do nothing but sit around and
discuss the situation. The creek at Conemaugh was swollen high, almost
overflowing. The heavens were pouring rain, but this did not prevent
nearly all the inhabitants of the town from gathering along its banks.
They watched the waters go dashing by and wondered whether the creek
would get much higher. But a few inches more and it would overflow its
banks. There seemed to be a feeling of uneasiness among the people. They
seemed to fear that something awful was going to happen. Their
suspicions were strengthened by the fact that warning had come down the
valley for the people to be on the lookout. The rains had swollen
everything to the bursting point. The day passed slowly, however. Noon
came and went, and still nothing happened. We could not proceed, nor
could we go back, as the tracks about a mile below Conemaugh had been
washed away, so there was nothing for us to do but to wait and see what
would come next.

"Some time after three o'clock Friday afternoon I went into the train
dispatcher's office to learn the latest news. I had not been there long
when I heard a fierce whistling from an engine away up the mountain.
Rushing out I found dozens of men standing around. Fear had blanched
every cheek. The loud and continued whistling had made every one feel
that something serious was going to happen. In a few moments I could
hear a train rattling down the mountain. About five hundred yards above
Conemaugh the tracks make a slight curve and we could not see beyond
this. The suspense was something awful. We did not know what was coming,
but no one could get rid of the thought that something was wrong at the
dam.

"Our suspense was not very long, however. Nearer and nearer the train
came, the thundering sound still accompanying it. There seemed to be
something behind the train, as there was a dull, rumbling sound which I
knew did not come from the train. Nearer and nearer it came; a moment
more and it would reach the curve. The next instant there burst upon our
eyes a sight that made every heart stand still. Rushing around the
curve, snorting and tearing, came an engine and several gravel cars. The
train appeared to be putting forth every effort to go faster. Nearer it
came, belching forth smoke and whistling long and loud. But the most
terrible sight was to follow. Twenty feet behind came surging along a
mad rush of water fully fifty feet high. Like the train, it seemed to
be putting forth every effort to push along faster. Such an awful race
we never before witnessed. For an instant the people seemed paralyzed
with horror. They knew not what to do, but in a moment they realized
that a second's delay meant death to them. With one accord they rushed
to the high lands a few hundred feet away. Most of them succeeded in
reaching that place and were safe.

"I thought of the passengers in my train. The second section of No. 8
had three sleepers. In these three cars were about thirty people, who
rushed through the train crying to the others 'Save yourselves!' Then
came a scene of the wildest confusion. Ladies and children shrieked and
the men seemed terror-stricken. I succeeded in helping some ladies and
children off the train and up to the high lands. Running back, I caught
up two children and ran for my life to a higher place. Thank God, I was
quicker than the flood! I deposited my load in safety on the high land
just as it swept past us.

"For nearly an hour we stood watching the mad flood go rushing by. The
water was full of debris. When the flood caught Conemaugh it dashed
against the little town with a mighty crash. The water did not lift the
houses up and carry them off, but crushed them up one against the other
and broke them up like so many egg-shells. Before the flood came there
was a pretty little town. When the waters passed on there was nothing
but a few broken boards to mark the central portion of the city. It was
swept as clean as a newly-brushed floor. When the flood passed onward
down the valley I went over to my train. It had been moved back about
twenty yards, but it was not damaged. About fifteen persons had remained
in the train and they were safe. Of the three trains ours was the
luckiest. The engines of both the others had been swept off the track,
and one or two cars in each train had met the same fate. What saved our
train was the fact that just at the curve which I mentioned the valley
spread out. The valley is six or seven hundred yards broad where our
train was standing. This, of course, let the floods pass out. It was
only about twenty feet high when it struck our train, which was about in
the middle of the valley. This fact, together with the elevation of the
track, was all that saved us. We stayed that night in the houses in
Conemaugh that had not been destroyed. The next morning I started down
the valley and by four o'clock in the afternoon had reached Conemaugh
furnace, eight miles west of Johnstown. Then I got a team and came home.

"In my tramp down the valley I saw some awful sights. On the tree
branches hung shreds of clothing torn from the unfortunates as they
were whirled along in the terrible rush of the torrent. Dead bodies were
lying by scores along the banks of the creeks. One woman I helped drag
from the mud had tightly clutched in her hand a paper. We tore it out of
her hand and found it to be a badly water-soaked photograph. It was
probably a picture of the drowned woman."

Pemberton Smith is a civil engineer employed by the Pennsylvania
Railroad. On Friday, when the disaster occurred, he was at Johnstown,
stopping at the Merchants' Hotel. What happened he described as follows:

"In the afternoon, with four associates, I spent the time playing
checkers in the hotel, the streets being flooded during the day. At
half-past four we were startled by shrill whistles. Thinking a fire was
the cause, we looked out of the window. Great masses of people were
rushing through the water in the street, which had been there all day,
and still we thought the alarm was fire. All of a sudden the roar of the
water burst upon our ears, and in an instant more the streets were
filled with debris. Great houses and business blocks began to topple and
crash into each other and go down as if they were toy-block houses.
People in the streets were drowning on all sides. One of our company
started down-stairs and was drowned. The other four, including myself,
started up-stairs, for the water was fast rising. When we got on the
roof we could see whole blocks swept away as if by magic. Hundreds of
people were floating by, clinging to roofs of houses, rafts, timbers, or
anything they could get a hold of. The hotel began to tremble, and we
made our way to an adjoining roof. Soon afterward part of the hotel went
down. The brick structures seemed to fare worse than frame buildings, as
the latter would float, while the brick would crash and tumble into one
great mass of ruins. We finally climbed into a room of the last building
in reach and stayed there all night, in company with one hundred and
sixteen other people, among the number being a crazy man. His wife and
family had all been drowned only a few hours before, and he was a raving
maniac. And what a night! Sleep! Yes, I did a little, but every now and
then a building near by would crash against us, and we would all jump,
fearing that at last our time had come.

"Finally morning dawned. In company with one of my associates we climbed
across the tops of houses and floating debris, built a raft, and poled
ourselves ashore to the hillside. I don't know how the others escaped.
This was seven o'clock on Saturday morning. We started on foot for South
Fork, arriving there at three P. M. Here we found that all communication
by telegraph and railroad was cut off by the flood, and we had naught
to do but retrace our steps. Tired and footsore! Well, I should say so.
My gum-boots had chafed my feet so I could hardly walk at all. The
distance we covered on foot was over fifty miles. On Sunday we got a
train to Altoona. Here we found the railroad connections all cut off, so
we came back to Johnstown again on Monday. And what a desolate place! I
had to obtain a pass to go over into the city. Here it is:

     "Pass Pemberton Smith through all the streets.
                "ALEC. HART, Chief of Police.
     "A. J. MAXHAM, Acting Mayor."

"The tragic pen-pictures of the scenes in the press dispatches have not
been exaggerated. They cannot be. The worse sight of all was to see the
great fire at the railroad-bridge. It makes my blood fairly curdle to
think of it. I could see the lurid flames shoot heavenward all night
Friday, and at the same time hundreds of people were floating right
toward them on top of houses, etc., and to meet a worse death than
drowning. To look at a sight like this and not be able to render a
particle of assistance seemed awful to bear. I had a narrow escape,
truly. In my mind I can hear the shrieks of men, women, and children,
the maniac's ravings, and the wild roar of a sea of water sweeping
everything before it."

[Illustration: VIEW ON CLINTON ST., JOHNSTOWN.]

Among the lost was Miss Jennie Paulson, a passenger on a railroad
train, whose fate is thus described by one of her comrades:

"We had been making but slow progress all the day. Our train lay at
Johnstown nearly the whole day of Friday. We then proceeded as far as
Conemaugh, and had stopped from some cause or other, probably on account
of the flood. Miss Paulson and a Miss Bryan were seated in front of me.
Miss Paulson had on a plaid dress, with shirred waist of red cloth
goods. Her companion was dressed in black. Both had lovely corsage
bouquets of roses. I had heard that they had been attending a wedding
before they left Pittsburg. The Pittsburg lady was reading a novel
entitled _Miss Lou_. Miss Bryan was looking out of the window. When the
alarm came we all sprang toward the door, leaving everything behind us.
I had just reached the door when poor Miss Paulson and her friend, who
were behind me, decided to return for their rubbers, which they did. I
sprang from the car into a ditch next the hillside, in which the water
was already a foot and a-half deep, and, with the others, climbed up the
mountain side for our very lives. We had to do so, as the water glided
up after us like a huge serpent. Any one ten feet behind us would have
been lost beyond a doubt. I glanced back at the train when I had reached
a place of safety, but the water already covered it, and the Pullman
car in which the ladies were was already rolling down the valley in the
grasp of the angry waters."

Mr. William Scheerer, the teller of the State Banking Company, of
Newark, N. J., was among the passengers on the ill-fated day express on
the Pennsylvania Railroad that left Pittsburg at eight o'clock A. M., on
the now historic Friday, bound for New York.

There was some delays incidental to the floods in the Conemaugh Valley
before the train reached Johnstown, and a further delay at that point,
and the train was considerably behind time when it left Johnstown. Said
Mr. Scheerer: "The parlor car was fully occupied when I went aboard the
train, and a seat was accordingly given me in the sleeper at the rear
end of the train. There were several passengers in this car, how many I
cannot say exactly, among them some ladies. It was raining hard all the
time and we were not a very excited nor a happy crowd, but were whiling
away the time in reading and in looking at the swollen torrent of the
river. Very few of the people were apprehensive of any danger in the
situation, even after we had been held up at Conemaugh for nearly five
hours.

"The railroad tracks where our train stopped were full fourteen feet
above the level of the river, and there was a large number of freight
and passenger cars and locomotives standing on the tracks near us and
strung along up the road for a considerable distance. Between the road
and the hill that lay at our left there was a ditch, through which the
water that came down from the hill was running like a mill-race. It was
a monotonous wait to all of us, and after a time many inquiries were
made as to why we did not go ahead. Some of the passengers who made the
inquiry were answered laconically--'Wash-out,' and with this they had to
be satisfied. I had been over the road several times before, and knew of
the existence of the dangerous and threatening dam up in the South Fork
gorge, and could not help connecting it in my mind with the cause of our
delay. But neither was I apprehensive of danger, for the possibility of
the dam giving away had been often discussed by passengers in my
presence, and everybody supposed that the utmost damage it would do when
it broke, as everybody believed it sometime would, would be to swell a
little higher the current that tore down through the Conemaugh Valley.

"Such a possibility as the carrying away of a train of cars on the great
Pennsylvania road was never seriously entertained by anybody. We had
stood stationary until about four o'clock, when two colored porters went
through the car within a short time of each other, looking and acting
rather excited. I asked the first one what the matter was, and he
replied that he did not know. I inferred from his reply that if there
was any thing serious up, the passengers would be informed, and so I
went on reading. When the next man came along I asked him if the
reservoir had given way, and he said he thought it had.

"I put down my book and stepped out quickly to the rear platform, and
was horrified at the sight that met my gaze up the valley. It seemed as
if a forest was coming down upon us. There was a great wall of water
roaring and grinding swiftly along, so thickly studded with the trees
from along the mountain sides that it looked like a gigantic avalanche
of trees. Of course I lingered but an instant, for the mortal danger we
all were in flashed upon me at the first sight of that terrible
on-coming torrent. But in that instant I saw an engine lifted bodily off
the track and thrown over backward into the whirlpool, where it
disappeared, and houses crushed and broken up in the flash of an eye.

"The noise was like incessant thunder. I turned back into the car and
shouted to the ladies, three of whom alone were in the car at the
moment, to fly for their lives. I helped them out of the car on the side
toward the hill, and urged them to jump across the ditch and run for
their lives. Two of them did so, but the third, a rather heavy lady, a
missionary, who was on her way to a foreign station, hesitated for an
instant, doubtful if she could make the jump. That instant cost her her
life. While I was holding out my hand to her and urging her to jump, the
rush of waters came down and swept her, like a doll, down into the
torrent. In the same instant an engine was thrown from the track into
the ditch at my feet. The water was about my knees as I turned and
scrambled up the hill, and when I looked back, ten seconds later, it was
surging and grinding ten feet deep over the track I had just left.

"The rush of waters lasted three-quarters of an hour, while we stood
rapt and spell-bound in the rain, looking at the ruin no human agency
could avert. The scene was beyond the power of language to describe. You
would see a building standing in apparent security above the swollen
banks of the river, the people rushing about the doors, some seeming to
think that safety lay indoors, while others rushed toward higher ground,
stumbling and falling in the muddy streets, and then the flood rolled
over them, crushing in the house with a crash like thunder, and burying
house and people out of sight entirely. That, of course, was the scene
of only an instant, for our range of vision was only over a small
portion of the city.

"We sought shelter from the rain in the home of a farmer who lived high
up on the side-hill, and the next morning walked down to Johnstown and
viewed the ruins. It seemed as if the city was utterly destroyed. The
water was deep over all the city and few people were visible. We
returned to Conemaugh and were driven over the mountains to Ebensburg,
where we took the train for Altoona, but finding we could get no further
in that direction we turned back to Ebensburg, and from there went by
wagon to Johnstown, where we found a train that took us to Pittsburg. I
got home by the New York Central."



CHAPTER X.


Edward H. Jackson, who worked in the Cambria Iron Works, told the
following story:

"When we were going to work Friday morning at seven o'clock, May 31st,
the water in the river was about six inches below the top of the banks,
the rains during the night having swollen it. We were used to floods
about this time of the year, the water always washing the streets and
running into the cellars, so we did not pay much attention to this
fact. It continued rising, and about nine o'clock we left work in order
to go back to our homes and take our furniture and carpets to the upper
floors, as we had formerly done on similar occasions. At noon the water
was on our first floors, and kept rising until there was five feet of
water in our homes. It was still raining hard. We were all in the upper
stories about half-past four, when the first intimation we had of
anything unusual was a frightful crash, and the same moment our house
toppled over. Jumping to the windows, we saw the water rushing down the
streets in immense volumes, carrying with it houses, barns, and, worst
of all, screaming, terrified men, women, and children. In my house were
Colonel A. N. Hart, who is my uncle, his wife, sister, and two children.
They watched their chance, and when a slowly moving house passed by they
jumped to the roof and by careful manoeuvring managed to reach Dr. S.
M. Swan's house, a three-story brick building, where there were about
two hundred other people. I jumped on to a tender of an engine as it
floated down and reached the same house. All the women and children were
hysterical, most of the men were paralyzed by terror, and to describe
the scene is simply impossible. From the windows of this house we threw
ropes to persons who floated by on the roofs of houses, and in this way
we saved several.

"Our condition in the house was none of the pleasantest. There was
nothing to eat; it was impossible to sleep, even had any one desired to
do so; when thirsty we were compelled to catch the rain-water as it fell
from the roof and drink it. Other people had gone for safety in the same
manner as we had to two other brick houses, H. Y. Hawse's residence and
Alma Hall's, and they went through precisely the same experience as we
did. Many of our people were badly injured and cut, and they were
tended bravely and well by Dr. W. E. Matthews, although he himself was
badly injured. During the evening we saved by ropes W. Forrest Rose, his
wife, daughter, and four boys. Mr. Rose's collar-bone and one rib were
broken. After a fearful night we found, when day broke, that the water
had subsided, and I and some others of the men crawled out upon the
rubbish and debris to search for food, for our people were starving. All
we could find were water-soaked crackers and some bananas, and these
were eagerly eaten by the famished sufferers.

"Then, during the morning, began the thieving. I saw men bursting open
trunks, putting valuables in their pockets, and then looking for more. I
did not know these people, but I am sure they must have lived in the
town, for surely no others could have got there at this time. A meeting
was held, Colonel Hart was made Chief of Police, and he at once gave
orders that any one caught stealing should be shot without warning.
Notwithstanding this we afterward found scores of bodies, the fingers of
which were cut off, the fiends not wishing to waste time to take off the
rings. Many corpses of women were seen from which the ears had been cut,
in order to secure the diamond earrings.

"Then, to add to our horrors, the debris piled up against the bridge
caught fire, and as the streets were full of oil, it was feared that the
flames would extend backwards, but happily for us this was not the case.
It was pitiful to hear the cries of those who had been caught in the
rubbish, and, after having been half drowned, had to face death as
inevitable as though bound to a stake. The bodies of those burned to
death will never be recognized, and of those drowned many were so badly
disfigured by being battered against the floating houses that they also
will be unrecognizable. It is said that Charles Butler, the assistant
treasurer of the Cambria Iron Works, who was in the Hurlburt House,
convinced that he could not escape and wishing his body to be
recognized, pinned his photograph and a letter to the lapel of his coat,
where they were found when his body was recovered. I have lost
everything I owned in the world," said Mr. Jackson, in conclusion, "and
hundreds of others are in the same condition. The money in the banks is
all right, however, for it was stowed away in the vaults."

Frank McDonald, a railroad conductor, says:

"I certainly think I saw one thousand bodies go over the bridge. The
first house that came down struck the bridge and at once took fire, and
as fast as the others came down they were consumed. I believe I am safe
in saying I saw one thousand bodies burn. It reminded me of a lot of
flies on fly-paper struggling to get away, with no hope and no chance
to save them. I have no idea that had the bridge been blown up the loss
of life would have been any less. They would have floated a little
further with the same certain death. Then, again, it was impossible for
any one to have reached the bridge in order to blow it up, for the
waters came so fast that no one could have done it."

Michael Renesen tells a wonderful story of his escape. He says he was
walking down Main Street when he heard a rumbling noise, and, looking
around, he imagined it was cloud, but in a minute the water was upon
him. He floated with the tide for some time, when he was struck with
some floating timber and borne underneath the water. When he came up he
was struck again, and at last he was caught by a lightning rod and held
there for over two hours, when he was finally rescued.

Mrs. Anne Williams was sitting sewing when the flood came on. She heard
some people crying and jumped out of the window and succeeded in getting
on the roof of an adjoining house. Under the roof she heard the cries of
men and women, and saw two men and a woman with their heads just above
the water, crying "For God's sake, either kill us outright or rescue
us!"

Mrs. Williams cried for help for the drowning people, but none came,
and she saw them give up one by one.

James F. McCanagher had a thrilling experience in the water. He saw his
wife was safe on land, and thought his only daughter, a girl aged about
twenty-one, was also saved, but just as he was making for the shore he
saw her and went to rescue her. He succeeded in getting within about ten
feet of land, when the girl said, "Good-bye, father," and expired in his
arms before he reached the shore.

James M. Walters, an attorney, spent Friday night in Alma Hall, and
relates a thrilling story. One of the most curious occurrences of the
whole disaster was how Mr. Walters got to the hall. He has his office on
the second floor. His home is at No. 135 Walnut Street. He says he was
in the house with his family when the waters struck it. All was carried
away. Mr. Walters' family drifted on a roof in another direction; he
passed down several streets and alleys until he came to the hall. His
dwelling struck that edifice and he was thrown into his own office.
About three hundred persons had taken refuge in the hall and were on the
second, third, and fourth stories. The men held a meeting and drew up
some rules which all were bound to respect.

Mr. Walters was chosen president, and Rev. Mr. Beale was put in charge
of the first floor, A. M. Hart of the second floor, Dr. Matthews of the
fourth floor. No lights were allowed, and the whole night was spent in
darkness. The sick were cared for, the weaker women and children had the
best accommodation that could be had, while the others had to wait. The
scenes were most agonizing. Heartrending shrieks, sobs, and moans
pierced the gloomy darkness. The crying of children mingled with the
suppressed sobs of the women. Under the guardianship of the men all took
more hope. No one slept during all the long, dark night. Many knelt for
hours in prayer, their supplications mingling with the roar of the
waters and the shrieks of the dying in the surrounding houses.

In all this misery two women gave premature birth to children, Dr.
Matthews is a hero--several of his ribs were crushed by a falling
timber, and his pains were most severe. Yet through all he attended the
sick. When two women in a house across the street shouted for help, he,
with two other brave young men, climbed across the drift and ministered
to their wants. No one died during the night, but a woman and children
surrendered their lives on the succeeding day as a result of terror and
fatigue. Miss Rose Young, one of the young ladies in the hall, was
frightfully cut and bruised. Mrs. Young had a leg broken. All of Mr.
Walters' family were saved.

Mrs. J. F. Moore, wife of a Western Union Telegraph employee in
Pittsburg, escaped with her two children from the devastated city just
one hour before the flood had covered their dwelling-place. Mr. Moore
had arranged to have his family move Thursday from Johnstown and join
him in Pittsburg. Their household goods were shipped on Thursday and
Friday. The little party caught the last train which made the trip
between Johnstown and Pittsburg.

Mrs. Moore told her story. "Oh! it was terrible," she said. "The
reservoir had not yet burst when we left, but the boom had broken, and
before we got out of the house the water filled the cellar. On the way
to the depot the water was high up on the carriage wheels. Our train
left at quarter to two P. M., and at that time the flood had begun to
rise with terrible rapidity. Houses and sheds were carried away and two
men were drowned almost before our eyes. People gathered on the roofs to
take refuge from the water, which poured into the lower rooms of their
dwellings, and many families took flight and became scattered. Just as
the train pulled out I saw a woman crying bitterly. Her house had been
flooded and she had escaped, leaving her husband behind, and her fears
for his safety made her almost crazy. Our house was in the lower part of
the town, and it makes me shudder to think what would have happened had
we remained in it an hour longer. So far as I know, we were the only
passengers from Johnstown on the train."

Mrs. Moore's little son told the reporter that he had seen the rats
driven out of their holes by the flood and running along the tops of the
fences.

One old man named Parsons, with his wife and children, as soon as the
water struck their house, took to the roof and were carried down to the
stone bridge, where the back wash of the Stony Creek took them back up
along the banks and out of harm's way, but not before a daughter-in-law
became a prey to the torrent. He has lived here for thirty-five years,
and had acquired a nice, comfortable home. To-day all is gone, and as he
told the story he pointed to a rather seedy-looking coat he had on. "I
had to ask a man for it. It's hard, but I am ruined, and I am too old to
begin over again."

Mr. Lewis was a well-to-do young man, and owned a good property where
now is a barren waste. When the flood came the entire family of eight
took to the roof, and were carried along on the water. Before they
reached the stone bridge, a family of four that had floated down from
Woodvale, two and a half miles distant, on a raft, got off to the roof
of the Lewis House, where the entire twelve persons were pushed to the
bank of the river above the bridge, and all were saved. When Mr. Lewis
was telling his story he seemed grateful to the Almighty for his safety
while thousands were lost to him.

Another young man who had also taken to a friendly roof, became
paralyzed with fear, and stripping himself of his clothes flung himself
from the housetop into the stream and tried to swim. The force of the
water rushed him over to the west bank of the river, where he was picked
up soon after.

A baby's cradle was fished out of a ruin and the neatly tucked-in sheets
and clothes, although soiled with mud, gave evidence of luxury. The
entire family was lost, and no one is here to lay claim to baby's crib.
In the ruin of the Penn House the library that occupied the extension
was entirely gone, while the brick front was taken out and laid bare the
parlor floor, in which the piano, turned upside down, was noticeable,
while several chandeliers were scattered on top.

[Illustration: MAIN AND CLINTON STREETS, LOOKING SOUTHWEST.]



CHAPTER XI.


The first survivors of the Johnstown wreck who arrived at Pittsburg were
Joseph and Henry Lauffer and Lew Dalmeyer. They endured considerable
hardship and had several narrow escapes with their lives. Their story of
the disaster can best be told in their own language. Joe, the youngest
of the Lauffer brothers, said:

"My brother and I left on Thursday for Johnstown. The night we arrived
there it rained continually, and on Friday morning it began to flood. I
started for the Cambria store at a quarter-past eight on Friday, and in
fifteen minutes afterward I had to get out of the store in a wagon, the
water was running so rapidly. We then arrived at the station and took
the day express and went as far as Conemaugh, where we had to stop. The
limited, however, got through, and just as we were about to start the
bridge at South Fork gave way with a terrific crash, and we had to stay
there. We then went to Johnstown. This was at a quarter to ten in the
morning, when the flood was just beginning. The whole city of Johnstown
was inundated and the people all moved up to the second floor.

"Now this is where the trouble occurred. These poor unfortunates did not
know the reservoir would burst, and there are no skiffs in Johnstown to
escape in. When the South Fork basin gave way mountains of water twenty
feet high came rushing down the Conemaugh River, carrying before them
death and destruction. I shall never forget the harrowing scene. Just
think of it! thousands of people, men, and women, and children,
struggling and weeping and wailing as they were being carried suddenly
away in the raging current. Houses were picked up as if they were but a
feather, and their inmates were all carried away with them, while cries
of 'God help me!' 'Save me!' 'I am drowning!' 'My child!' and the like
were heard on all sides. Those who were lucky enough to escape went to
the mountains, and there they beheld the poor unfortunates being crushed
to death among the debris without any chance of being rescued. Here and
there a body was seen to make a wild leap into the air and then sink to
the bottom.

"At the stone bridge of the Pennsylvania Railroad people were dashed to
death against the piers. When the fire started there hundreds of bodies
were burned. Many lookers-on up on the mountains, especially the woman,
fainted."

Mr. Lauffer's brother, Harry, then told his part of the tale, which was
not less interesting. He said: "We had a series of narrow escapes, and I
tell you we don't want to be around when anything of that kind occurs
again.

"The scenes at Johnstown have not in the least been exaggerated, and,
indeed, the worst is to be heard. When we got to Conemaugh and just as
we were about to start the bridge gave way. This left the day express,
the accommodation, a special train, and a freight train at the station.
Above was the South Fork water basin, and all of the trains were well
filled. We were discussing the situation when suddenly, without any
warning, the whistles of every engine began to shriek, and in the noise
could be heard the warning of the first engineer, 'Fly for your lives!
Rush to the mountains, the reservoir has burst.' Then with a thundering
peal came the mad rush of waters. No sooner had the cry been heard than
those who could rushed from the train with a wild leap and up the
mountains. To tell this story takes some time, but the moments in which
the horrible scene was enacted were few. Then came the avalanche of
water, leaping and rushing with tremendous force. The waves had angry
crests of white, and their roar was something deafening. In one
terrible swath they caught the four trains and lifted three of them
right off the track, as if they were only a cork. There they floated in
the river. Think of it, three large locomotives and finely finished
Pullmans floating around, and above all the hundreds of poor
unfortunates who were unable to escape from the car swiftly drifting
toward death. Just as we were about to leap from the car I saw a mother,
with a smiling, blue-eyed baby in her arms. I snatched it from her and
leaped from the train just as it was lifted off the track. The mother
and child were saved, but if one more minute had elapsed we all would
have perished.

"During all of this time the waters kept rushing down the Conemaugh and
through the beautiful town of Johnstown, picking up everything and
sparing nothing.

"The mountains by this time were black with people, and the moans and
sighs from those below brought tears to the eyes of the most
stony-hearted. There in that terrible rampage were brothers, sisters,
wives and husbands, and from the mountain could be seen the
panic-stricken marks in the faces of those who were struggling between
life and death. I really am unable to do justice to the scene, and its
details are almost beyond my power to relate. Then came the burning of
the debris near the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge. The scene was too
sickening to endure. We left the spot and journeyed across country and
delivered many notes, letters, etc., that were intrusted to us."

The gallant young engineer, John G. Parke, whose ride of warning has
already been described, relates the following:

"On Thursday night I noticed that the dam was in good order and the
water was nearly seven feet from the top. When the water is at this
height the lake is then nearly three miles in length. It rained hard on
Thursday night and I rode up to the end of the lake on the eventful day
and saw that the woods around there was teeming with a seething cauldron
of water. Colonel Unger, the president of the fishing club that owns the
property, put twenty-five Italians to work to fix the dam. A farmer in
the vicinity also lent a willing hand. To strengthen the dam a plow was
run along the top of it, and earth was then thrown into the furrows. On
the west side a channel was dug and a sluice was constructed. We cut
through about four feet of shale rock, when we came to solid rock which
was impossible to cut without blasting. Once we got the channel open the
water leaped down to the bed-rock, and a stream fully twenty feet wide
and three feet deep rushed out on that end of the dam, while great
quantities of water were coming in by the pier at the other end. And
then in the face of this great escape of water from the dam, it kept
rising at the rate of ten inches an hour.

"At noon I fully believed that it was practically impossible to save the
dam, and I got on a horse and galloped down to South Fork, and gave the
alarm, telling the people at the same time of their danger, and advising
them to get to a place of safety. I also sent a couple of men to the
telegraph tower, two miles away, to send messages to Johnstown and
Cambria and to the other points on the way. The young girl at the
instrument fainted when the news reached her, and was carried away.
Then, by the timely warning given, the people at South Fork had an
opportunity to move their household goods and betake themselves to a
place of safety. Only one person was drowned in that place, and he was
trying to save an old washtub that was floating down-stream.

"It was noon when the messages were sent out, so that the people of
Johnstown had just three hours to fly to a place of safety. Why they did
not heed the warning will never be told. I then remounted my horse and
rode to the dam, expecting at every moment to meet the lake rushing down
the mountain-side, but when I reached there I found the dam still
intact, although the water had then reached the top of it. At one P. M.
I walked over the dam, and then the water was about three inches on it,
and was gradually gnawing away its face. As the stream leaped down the
outer face, the water was rapidly wearing down the edge of the
embankment, and I knew that it was a question of but a few hours. From
my knowledge I should say there was fully ten million tons of water in
the lake at one o'clock, while the pressure was largely increased by the
swollen streams that flowed into it, but even then the dam could have
stood it if the level of the water had been kept below the top. But,
coupled with this, there was the constantly trickling of the water over
the sides, which was slowly but surely wearing the banks away.

"The big break took place at just three o'clock, and it was about ten
feet wide at first and shallow; but when the opening was made the
fearful rushing waters opened the gap with such increasing rapidity that
soon after the entire lake leaped out and started on its fearful march
of death down the Valley of the Conemaugh. It took but forty minutes to
drain that three miles of water, and the downpour of millions of tons of
water was irresistible. The big boulders and great rafters and logs that
were in the bed of the river were picked up, like so much chaff, and
carried down the torrent for miles. Trees that stood fully seventy-five
feet in height and four feet through were snapped off like pipe-stems."



CHAPTER XII.


One of the most thrilling incidents of the disaster was the performance
of A. J. Leonard, whose family reside in Morrellville. He was at work,
and hearing that his house had been swept away, determined at all
hazards to ascertain the fate of his family. The bridges having been
carried away, he constructed a temporary raft, and clinging to it as
close as a cat to the side of a fence, he pushed his frail craft out in
the raging torrent and started on a chase which, to all who were
watching, seemed to mean an embrace in death.

Heedless of cries "For God's sake, go back, you will be drowned," and
"Don't attempt it," he persevered. As the raft struck the current he
threw off his coat and in his shirt sleeves braved the stream. Down
plunged the boards and down went Leonard, but as it rose he was seen
still clinging. A mighty shout arose from the throats of the hundreds on
the banks, who were now deeply interested, earnestly hoping he would
successfully ford the stream.

Down again went his bark, but nothing, it seemed, could shake Leonard
off. The craft shot up in the air apparently ten or twelve feet, and
Leonard stuck to it tenaciously. Slowly but surely he worked his boat to
the other side of the stream, and after what seemed an awful suspense he
finally landed, amid ringing cheers of men, women, and children.

The scenes at Heanemyer's planing-mill at Nineveh, where the dead bodies
are lying, are never to be forgotten. The torn, bruised, and mutilated
bodies of the victims are lying in a row on the floor of the
planing-mill, which looks more like the field of Bull Run after that
disastrous battle than a workshop. The majority of the bodies are nude,
their clothing having been torn off. All along the river bits of
clothing--a tiny shoe, a baby dress, a mother's evening wrapper, a
father's coat--and, in fact, every article of wearing apparel
imaginable, may be seen hanging to stumps of trees and scattered on the
bank.

One of the most pitiful sights of this terrible disaster came to notice
when the body of a young lady was taken out of the Conemaugh River. The
woman was apparently quite young, though her features were terribly
disfigured. Nearly all the clothing excepting the shoes was torn off
the body. The corpse was that of a mother, for, although cold in death,
she clasped a young male babe, apparently not more than a year old,
tightly in her arms. The little one was huddled close up to the face of
the mother, who, when she realized their terrible fate, had evidently
raised it to her lips to imprint upon its lips the last kiss it was to
receive in this world. The sight forced many a stout heart to shed
tears. The limp bodies, with matted hair, some with holes in their
heads, eyes knocked out, and all bespattered with blood were a ghastly
spectacle.

Mr. J. M. Fronheiser, one of the Superintendents in the Cambria Iron
Works, lived on Main Street. His house was one of the first to go, and
he himself, his wife, two daughters, son, and baby were thrown into the
raging torrent. His wife and eldest daughter were lost. He, with the
baby, reached a place of safety, and his ten-year-old boy and
twelve-year-old girl floated near enough to be reached. He caught the
little girl, but she cried:

"Let me go, papa, and save brother; my leg is broken and my foot is
caught below."

When he told her he was determined to rescue her, she exclaimed:

"Then, papa, get a sharp knife and cut my leg off. I can stand it."

The little fellow cried to his father: "You can't save me, papa. Both
my feet are caught fast, and I can't hold out any longer. Please get a
pistol and shoot me."

Captain Gageby, of the army, and some neighbors helped to rescue both
children. The girl displayed Spartan fortitude and pluck. All night long
she lay in a bed without a mattress or medical attention in a garret,
the water reaching to the floor below, without a murmur or a whimper. In
the morning she was carried down-stairs, her leg dangling under her, but
when she saw her father at the foot of the stairs, she whispered to
Captain Gageby:

"Poor papa; he is so sad." Then, turning to her father, she threw a kiss
with her hands and laughingly said, "Good morning, papa; I'm all right."

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company's operators at Switch Corner, "S. Q.,"
which is near Sang Hollow, tell thrilling stories of the scenes
witnessed by them on Friday afternoon and evening. Said one of them:

"In order to give you an idea of how the tidal wave rose and fell, let
me say that I kept a measure and timed the rise and fall of the water,
and in forty-eight minutes it fell four and a half feet.

"I believe that when the water goes down about seventy-five children and
fifty grown persons will be found among the weeds and bushes in the
bend of the river just below the tower.

"There the current was very strong, and we saw dozens of people swept
under the trees, and I don't believe that more than one in twenty came
out on the other side."

"They found a little girl in white just now," said one of the other
operators.

"O God!" said the chief operator. "She isn't dead, is she?"

"Yes; they found her in a clump of willow bushes, kneeling on a board,
just about the way we saw her when she went down the river." Turning to
me he said:

"That was the saddest thing we saw all day yesterday. Two men came down
on a little raft, with a little girl kneeling between them, and her
hands raised and praying. She came so close to us we could see her face
and that she was crying. She had on a white dress and looked like a
little angel. She went under that cursed shoot in the willow bushes at
the bend like all the rest, but we did hope she would get through
alive."

"And so she was still kneeling?" he said to his companion, who had
brought the unwelcome news.

"She sat there," was the reply, "as if she was still praying, and there
was a smile on her poor little face, though her mouth was full of mud."

Driving through the mountains a correspondent picked up a ragged little
chap not much more than big enough to walk. From his clothing he was
evidently a refugee.

"Where are your folks?" he was asked.

"We're living at Aunty's now."

"Did you all get out?"

"Oh! we're all right--that is, all except two of sister's babies. Mother
and little sister wasn't home, and they got out all right."

"Where were you?"

"Oh! I was at sister's house. We was all in the water and fire. Sister's
man--her husband, you know--took us up-stairs, and he punched a hole
through the roof, and we all climbed out and got saved."

"How about the babies?"

"Oh! sister was carrying two of them in her arms, and the bureau hit her
and knocked them out, so they went down."

The child had unconsciously caught one of the oddest and most
significant tricks of speech that have arisen from the calamity. Nobody
here speaks of a person's having been drowned, or killed, or lost, or
uses any other of the general expressions for sudden death. They have
simply "gone down." Everybody here seems to avoid harsh words in
referring to the possible affliction of another. Euphonistic phrases are
substituted for plain questions. Two old friends met for the first time
since the disaster.

"I'm glad to see you," exclaimed the first. "Are you all right?"

"Yes, I'm doing first rate," was the reply.

The first friend looked awkwardly about a moment, and then asked with
suppressed eagerness:

"And--and your family--are they all--well?"

There was a world of significance in the hesitation before the last
word.

"Yes. Thank God! not one of them went down."

A man who looked like a prosperous banker, and who had evidently come
from a distance drove through the mountains toward South Fork. On the
way he met a handsome young man in a silk hat, mounted on a mule. The
two shook hands eagerly.

"Have you anything?"

"Nothing. What have you?"

"Nothing."

The younger man turned about and the two rode on silently through the
forest road. Inquiry later developed the fact that the banker-looking
man was really a banker whose daughter had been lost from one of the
overwhelmed trains. The young man was his son. Both had been searching
for some clue to the young woman's fate.



CHAPTER XIII.


It was not "good morning" in Johnstown nor "good night" that passed as a
salutation between neighbors who meet for the first time since the
deluge but "How many of your folks gone?" It is always "folks," always
"gone." You heard it everywhere among the crowds that thronged the
viaduct and looked down upon the ghastly twenty acres of unburied dead,
from which dynamite was making a terrible exhumation of the corpses of
two thousand mortals and five hundred houses. You heard it at the rope
bridge, where the crowds waited the passage of the incessant file of
empty coffins. You heard it upon the steep hillside beyond the valley of
devastation, where the citizens of Johnstown had fled into the borough
of Conemaugh for shelter. You heard it again, the first salutation,
whenever a friend, who had been searching for _his_ dead, met a
neighbor: "Are any of your friends gone?"

It was not said in tears or even seemingly in madness. It had simply
come to be the "how-d'ye-do" of the eleven thousand people who survived
the twenty-nine thousand five hundred people of the valley of the
Conemaugh.

Still finding bodies by scores in the debris: still burying the dead and
caring for the wounded; still feeding the famishing and housing the
homeless, was the record for days following the one on which Johnstown
was swept away. A perfect stream of wagons bearing the dead as fast as
they were discovered was constantly filing to the various improvised
morgues where the bodies were taken for identification. Hundreds of
people were constantly crowding to these temporary houses, one of which
was located in each of the suburban boroughs that surround Johnstown.
Men armed with muskets, uniformed sentinels, constituting the force that
guarded the city while it was practically under martial law, stood at
the doors and admitted the crowd by tens.

[Illustration: RUINS, CORNER MAIN AND CLINTON STS.]

In the central dead-house in Johnstown proper there lay two rows of
ghastly dead. To the right were twenty bodies that had been identified.
They were mostly women and children, and they were entirely covered with
white sheets, and a piece of paper bearing the name was pinned at the
feet. To the left were eighteen bodies of the unknown dead. As the
people passed they were hurried along by an attendant and gazed at the
uncovered faces seeking to identify them. All applicants for
admission, if it was thought they were prompted by idle curiosity, were
not allowed to enter. The central morgue was formerly a school-house,
and the desks were used as biers for the dead bodies. Three of the
former pupils lay on the desks dead, with white pieces of paper pinned
on the white sheets that covered them, giving their names.

But what touching scenes are enacted every hour about this mournful
building! Outside the sharp voices of the sentinels are constantly
shouting: "Move on." Inside weeping women and sad-faced, hollow-eyed men
are bending over loved and familiar faces. Back on the steep grassy hill
which rises abruptly on the other side of the street are crowds of
curious people who have come in from the country round about to look at
the wreckage strewn around where Johnstown was.

"Oh! Mr. Jones," a pale-faced woman asks, walking up, sobbing, "can't
you tell me where we can get a coffin to bury Johnnie's body?"

"Do you know," asks a tottering old man, as the pale-faced woman turns
away, "whether they have found Jennie and the children?"

"Jennie's body has just been found at the bridge," is the answer, "but
the children can't be found."

Jennie is the old man's widowed daughter, and was drowned, with her two
children, while her husband was at work over at the Cambria Mills.

Just a few doors below the school-house morgue is the central office of
the "Registry Bureau." This was organized by Dr. Buchanan and H. G.
Connaugh, for the purpose of having a registry made of all those who had
escaped. They realized that it would be impossible to secure a complete
list of dead, and that the only practicable thing was to get a complete
list of the living. Then they would get all the Johnstown names, and by
that means secure a list of the dead. That estimate will be based on
figures secured by the subtraction of the total registry saved from
total population of Johnstown and surrounding boroughs.

"I have been around trying to find my sister-in-law, Mrs. Laura R.
Jones, who is lost," said David L. Rogers.

"How do you know she is lost?" he was asked.

"Because I can't find her."

When persons can't be found it is taken as conclusive evidence that they
have been drowned. It is believed that the flood has buried a great many
people below the bridge in the ground lying just below the Cambria
Works. Here the rush of waters covered the railroad tracks ten feet deep
with a coating of stones. Whether they will ever be dug for remains to
be seen. Meantime, those who are easier to reach will be hunted for.
There are many corpses in the area of rubbish that drifted down and
lodged against the stone bridge of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Out of
this rubbish one thousand bodies have already been taken. The fire that
was started by the driftwood touching against the burning Catholic
Church as it floated down was still burning.

Walk almost anywhere through the devastated district and you will hear
expressions like this: "Why, you see that pile of wreckage there. There
are three bodies buried beneath that pile. I know them, for I lived next
door. They are Mrs. Charles E. Kast and her daughter, who kept a tavern,
and her bartender, C. S. Noble."

Henry Rogers, of Pittsburg, is here caring for his relatives. "I am
scarcely in a condition to talk," he says. "The awful scenes I have just
witnessed and the troubles of my relatives have almost unnerved me. My
poor aunt, Mrs. William Slick, is now a raving maniac. Her husband was
formerly the County Surveyor. He felt that the warning about the dam
should not be disregarded. Accordingly he made preparations to go to a
place of safety. His wife was just recovering from an illness, but he
had to take her on horseback, and there was no time to get a carriage.
They escaped, but all their property was washed away. Mrs. Slick for a
time talked cheerfully enough, and said they should be thankful they had
escaped with their lives. But on Sunday it was noticed that she was
acting strangely. By night she was insane. I suppose the news that some
relatives had perished was what turned her mind. I am much afraid that
Mrs. Slick is not the only one in Johnstown whose reason has been
dethroned by the calamity. I have talked with many citizens, and they
certainly seem crazy to me. When the excitement passes off I suppose
they will regain their reason. The escape of my uncle, George R. Slick,
and his wife, I think was really providential. They, too, had determined
to heed the warning that the dam was unsafe. When the flood came they
had a carriage waiting at the front door. Just as they were entering it,
the water came. How it was, my aunt cannot tell me, but they both
managed to catch on to some debris, and were thus floated along. My aunt
says she has an indistinct recollection of some one having helped her
upon the roof of a house. The person who did her this service was lost.
All night they floated along on the roof. They suffered greatly from
exposure, as the weather was extremely chilly. Next morning they were
fortunately landed safely. My uncle, however, is now lying at the point
of death. I have noticed a singular coincidence here. Down in the lower
end of the city stood the United Presbyterian parsonage. The waters
carried it two miles and a half, and landed it in Sandy Vale Cemetery.
Strange as it may seem, the sexton's house in the cemetery was swept
away and landed near the foundations of the parsonage. I have seen this
myself, and it is commented on by many others."

In one place the roofs of forty frame houses were packed in together
just as you would place forty bended cards one on top of another. The
iron rods of a bridge were twisted into a perfect spiral six times
around one of the girders. Just beneath it was a woman's trunk, broken
up and half filled with sand, with silk dresses and a veil streaming out
of it. From under the trunk men were lifting the body of its owner,
perhaps, so burned, so horribly mutilated, so torn limb from limb that
even the workmen, who have seen so many of these frightful sights that
they have begun to get used to them, turned away sick at heart. In one
place was a wrecked grocery store--bins of coffee and tea, flour, spices
and nuts, parts of the counter and the safe mingled together. Near it
was the pantry of a house, still partly intact, the plates and saucers
regularly piled up, a waiter and a teapot, but not a sign of the
woodwork, not a recognizable outline of a house.

In another place was a human foot, and crumbling indications of a boot,
but no signs of a body. A hay-rick, half ashes, stood near the centre
of the gorge. Workmen who dug about it to-day found a chicken coop, and
in it two chickens, not only alive but clucking happily when they were
released. A woman's hat, half burned; a reticule, with part of a hand
still clinging to it; two shoes and part of a dress told the story of
one unfortunate's death. Close at hand a commercial traveler had
perished. There was his broken valise, still full of samples, fragments
of his shoes, and some pieces of his clothing.

Scenes like these were occurring all over the charred field where men
were working with pick and axe and lifting out the poor, shattered
remains of human beings, nearly always past recognition or
identification, except by guess-work, or the locality where they were
found. Articles of domestic use scattered through the rubbish helped to
tell who some of the bodies were. Part of a set of dinner plates told
one man where in the intangible mass his house was. In one place was a
photograph album with one picture still recognizable. From this the body
of a child near by was identified. A man who had spent a day and all
night looking for the body of his wife, was directed to her remains by
part of a trunk lid.



CHAPTER XIV.


The language of pathos is too weak to describe the scenes where the
living were searching for their loved and lost ones among the dead.

"That's Emma," said an old man before one of the bodies. He said it as
coolly as though he spoke of his daughter in life, not in death, and as
if it were not the fifth dead child of his that he had identified.

"Is that you, Mrs. James," said one woman to another on the foot-bridge
over Stony Creek.

"Yes, it is, and we are all well," said Mrs. James.

"Oh, have you heard from Mrs. Fenton?"

"She's left," said the first woman, "but Mr. Fenton and the children are
gone."

The scenes at the different relief agencies, where food, clothing, and
provisions were given out on the order of the Citizens Committee, were
extremely interesting. These were established at the Pennsylvania
Railroad depot, at Peter's Hotel, in Adams Street, and in each of the
suburbs.

At the depot, where there was a large force of police, the people were
kept in files, and the relief articles were given out with some
regularity, but at such a place as Kernsville, in the suburbs, the
relief station was in the upper story of a partly wrecked house.

The yard was filled with boxes and barrels of bread, crackers, biscuit,
and bales of blankets. The people crowded outside the yard in the
street, and the provisions were handed to them over the fence, while the
clothing was thrown to them from the upper windows. There was apparently
great destitution in Kernsville.

"I don't care what it is, only so long as it will keep me warm," said
one woman, whose ragged clothing was still damp.

The stronger women pushed to the front of the fence and tried to grab
the best pieces of clothing which came from the windows, but the people
in the house saw the game and tossed the clothing to those in the rear
of the crowd. A man stood on a barrel of flour and yelled out what each
piece of clothing was as it came down.

At each yell there was a universal cry of "That's just what I want. My
boy is dying; he must have that. Throw me that for my poor wife," and
the likes of that. Finally the clothing was all gone, and there were
some people who didn't get any. They went away bewailing their
misfortune.

A reporter was piloted to Kernsville by Kellog, a man who had lost his
wife and baby in the flood.

"She stood right thar, sir," said the man, pointing to a house whose
roof and front were gone. "She climbed up thar when the water came first
and almost smashed the house. She had the baby in her arms. Then another
house came down and dashed against ours, and my wife went down with the
baby raised above her head. I saw it all from a tree thar. I couldn't
move a step to help 'em."

Coming back, the same reporter met a man whose face was radiant. He
fairly beamed good nature and kindness.

"You look happy," said the reporter.

"Yes, sir; I've found my boy," said the man.

"Is your house gone?" asked the reporter.

"Oh, of course," answered the man. "I've lost all I've got except my
little boy," and he went on his way rejoicing.

A wealthy young Philadelphian named Ogle had become engaged to a
Johnstown lady, Miss Carrie Diehl. They were to be wedded in the middle
of June, and were preparing for the ceremony. The lover heard of the
terrible flood, but, knowing that the residence of his dear one was up
in the hills, felt little fear for her safety. To make sure, however, he
started for Johnstown. Near the Fourth Street morgue he met Mr. Diehl.

"Thank God! you are safe," he exclaimed, and then added: "Is Carrie
well?"

"She was visiting in the valley when the wave came," was the mournful
reply. Then he beckoned the young man to enter the chamber of death.

A moment later Mr. Ogle was kneeling beside the rough bier and was
kissing the cold, white face. From the lifeless finger he slipped a ring
and in its place put one of his own. Then he stole quietly out.

"Mamma! mamma!" cried a child. She had recognized a body that no one
else could, and in a moment the corpse was ticketed, boxed, and
delivered to laborers, who bore it away to join the long funeral
procession.

A mother recognized a baby boy. "Keep it a few minutes," she asked the
undertaker in charge. In a few moments she returned, carrying in her
arms a little white casket. Then she hired two men to bear it to a
cemetery. No hearses were seen in Johnstown. Relatives recognized their
dead, secured the coffins, got them carried the best way they could to
the morgues, then to the graveyards. A prayer, some tears, and a few
more of the dead thousands were buried in mother earth.

A frequent visitor at these horrible places was David John Lewis. All
over Johnstown he rode a powerful gray horse, and to each one he met
whom he knew he exclaimed: "Have you seen my sisters?" Hardly waiting
for a reply, he galloped away, either to seek ingress into a morgue or
to ride along the river banks. One week before Mr. Lewis was worth
$60,000, his all being invested in a large commission business. After
the flood he owned the horse he rode, the clothes on his back, and that
was all. In the fierce wave were buried five of his near relatives,
sons, and his sisters Anna, Louise, and Maggie. The latter was married,
and her little boy and babe were also drowned. They were all dearly
loved by the merchant, who, crazed with grief and mounted on his horse,
was a conspicuous figure in the ruined city.

William Gaffney, an insurance agent, had a very pitiful duty to perform.
On his father's and wife's side he lost fourteen relatives, among them
his wife and family. He had a man to take the bodies to the grave, and
he himself dug graves for his wife and children, and buried them. In
speaking of the matter he said: "I never thought that I could perform
such a sad duty, but I had to do it, and I did it. No one has any idea
of the feelings of a man who acts as undertaker, grave-digger, and
pall-bearer for his own family."

The saddest sight on the river bank was Mr. Gilmore, who lost his wife
and family of five children. Ever since the calamity this old man was
seen on the river bank looking for his family. He insisted on the
firemen playing a stream of water on the place where the house formerly
stood, and where he supposed the bodies lay. The firemen, recognizing
his feelings, played the stream on the place, at intervals, for several
hours, and at last the rescuers got to the spot where the old man said
his house formerly stood. "I know the bodies are there, and you must
find them." When at last one of the men picked up a charred skull,
evidently that of a child, the old man exclaimed: "That is my child.
There lies my family; go on and get the rest of them." The workmen
continued, and in a few minutes they came to the remains of the mother
and three other children. There was only enough of their clothing left
to recognize them by.

On the floor of William Mancarro's house, groaning with pain and grief,
lay Patrick Madden, a furnaceman of the Cambria Iron Company. He told of
his terrible experience in a voice broken with emotion. He said: "When
the Cambria Iron Company's bridge gave way I was in the house of a
neighbor, Edward Garvey. We were caught through our own neglect, like a
great many others, and a few minutes before the houses were struck
Garvey remarked that he was a good swimmer, and could get away no matter
how high the water rose. Ten minutes later I saw him and his son-in-law
drowned.

"No human being could swim in that terrible torrent of débris. After the
South Fork Reservoir broke I was flung out of the building, and saw,
when I rose to the surface of the water, my wife hanging upon a piece of
scantling. She let it go and was drowned almost within reach of my arm,
and I could not help or save her. I caught a log and floated with it
five or six miles, but it was knocked from under me when I went over the
dam. I then caught a bale of hay and was taken out by Mr. Morenrow.

"My wife is certainly drowned, and six children. Four of them were:
James Madden, twenty-three years old; John, twenty-one years; Kate,
seventeen years; and Mary, nineteen years."

A spring wagon came slowly from the ruins of what was once Cambria. In
it, on a board and covered by a muddy cloth, were the remains of Editor
C. T. Schubert, of the Johnstown _Free Press_, German. Behind the wagon
walked his friend Benjamin Gribble. Editor Schubert was one of the most
popular and well-known Germans in the city. He sent his three sons to
Conemaugh Borough on Thursday, and on Friday afternoon he and his wife
and six other children called at Mr. Gribble's residence. They noticed
the rise of the water, but not until the flood from the burst dam washed
the city did they anticipate danger. All fled from the first to the
second floor. Then, as the water rose, they went to the attic, and Mr.
Schubert hastily prepared a raft, upon which all embarked. Just as the
raft reached the bridge, a heavy piece of timber swept the editor
beneath the surface. The raft then glided through, and all the rest were
rescued. Mr. Schubert's body was found beneath a pile of broken timbers.

A pitiful sight was that of an old, gray-haired man named Norn. He was
walking around among the mass of débris, looking for his family. He had
just sat down to eat his supper when the crash came, and the whole
family, consisting of wife and eight children, were buried beneath the
collapsed house. He was carried down the river to the railroad bridge on
a plank. Just at the bridge a cross-tie struck him with such force that
he was shot clear upon the pier, and was safe. But he is a mass of
bruises and cuts from head to foot. He refused to go to the hospital
until he found the bodies of his loved ones.



CHAPTER XV.


Five days after the disaster a bird's-eye view was taken of Johnstown
from the top of a precipitous mountain which almost overhangs it. The
first thing that impresses the eye, wrote the observer, is the fact that
the proportion of the town that remains uninjured is much smaller than
it seems to be from lower-down points of view. Besides the part of the
town that is utterly wiped out, there are two great swaths cut through
that portion which from lower down seems almost uninjured. Beginning at
Conemaugh, two miles above the railroad bridge, along the right side of
the valley looking down, there is a strip of an eighth by a quarter of a
mile wide, which constituted the heart of a chain of continuous towns,
and which was thickly built over for the whole distance, upon which now
not a solitary building stands except the gutted walls of the Wood,
Morrell & Co. general store in Johnstown, and of the Gautier wire mill
and Woodvale flour mill at Woodvale. Except for these buildings, the
whole two-mile strip is swept clean, not only of buildings, but of
everything. It is a tract of mud, rocks, and such other miscellaneous
débris as might follow the workings of a huge hydraulic placer mining
system in the gold regions. In Johnstown itself, besides the total
destruction upon this strip, extending at the end to cover the whole
lower end of the city, there is a swath branching off from the main
strip above the general store and running straight to the bluff. It is
three blocks wide and makes a huge "Y," with the gap through which the
flood came for the base and main strip and the swaths for branches.
Between the branches there is a triangular block of buildings that are
still standing, although most of them are damaged. At a point exactly
opposite the corner where the branches of the "Y" meet, and distant from
it by about fifty yards, is one of the freaks of the flood. The
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station, a square, two-story brick building,
with a little cupola at the apex of its slanting roof, is apparently
uninjured, but really one corner is knocked in and the whole interior is
a total wreck. How it stood when everything anywhere near it was swept
away is a mystery. Above the "Y"-shaped tract of ruin there is another
still wider swath, bending around in Stony Creek, save on the left,
where the flood surged when it was checked and thrown back by the
railroad bridge. It swept things clean before it through Johnstown and
made a track of ruin among the light frame houses for nearly two miles
up the gap. The Roman Catholic Church was just at its upper edge. It is
still standing, and from its tower the bell strikes the hours regularly
as before, although everybody now is noticing that it always sounds like
a funeral. Nobody ever noticed it before, but from the upper side it can
be seen that a huge hole has been knocked through the side of the
building. A train of cars could be run through it. Inside the church is
filled with all sorts of rubbish and ruin. A little further on is
another church, which curiously illustrates the manner in which fire and
flood seemed determined to unite in completing the ruin of the city.
Just before the flood came down the valley there was a terrific
explosion in this church, supposed to have been caused by natural gas.
Amid all the terrors of the flood, with the water surging thirty feet
deep all around and through it, the flames blazed through the roof and
tower, and its fire-stained walls arise from the débris of the flood,
which covers its foundations. Its ruins are one of the most conspicuous
and picturesque sights in the city.

[Illustration: RUINS FROM SITE OF THE HURLBURT HOUSE.]

Next to Adams Street, the road most traveled in Johnstown now is the
Pennsylvania Railroad track, or rather bed, across the Stony Creek, and
at a culvert crossing just west of the creek. More people have been
injured here since the calamity than at any other place. The railroad
ties which hold the track across the culvert are big ones, and their
strength has not been weakened by the flood, but between the ties and
between the freight and passenger tracks there is a wide space. The
Pennsylvania trains from Johnstown have to stop, of course, at the
eastern end of the bridge, and the thousands of people whom they daily
bring to Johnstown from Pittsburgh have to get into Johnstown by walking
across the track to the Pennsylvania Railroad depot, and then crossing
the pontoon foot-bridge that has been built across the Stony Creek. All
day long there is a black line of people going back and forth across
this course. Every now and then there is a yell, a plunge, a rush of
people to the culvert, a call for a doctor, and cries of "Help" from
underneath the culvert. Some one, of course, has fallen between the
freight and passenger tracks, or between the ties of the tracks
themselves. In the night it is particularly dangerous traveling to the
Pennsylvania depot this way, and people falling then have little chance
of a rescue. So far at least thirty persons have fallen down the
culvert, and a dozen of them, who have descended entirely to the ground,
have escaped in some marvelous manner with their lives. Several
Pittsburghers have had their legs and arms broken, and one man cracked
his collar-bone. It is to be hoped that these accidents will keep off
the flock of curiosity-seekers, in some degree at least. The presence of
these crowds seriously interferes with the work of clearing up the town,
and affects the residents here in even a graver manner, for though many
of those coming to Johnstown to spend a day and see the ruins bring
something to eat with them, many do not do so, and invade the relief
stands, taking the food which is lavishly dealt out to the suffering.
Though the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge is as strong as ever,
apparently, beyond the bridge, the embankment on which the track is
built is washed away, and people therefore do not cross the bridge, but
leave the track on the western side, and, clambering down the abutments,
cross the creek on a rude foot-bridge hastily erected, and then through
the yard of the Open-Hearth Works and of the railroad up to the depot.
This yard altogether is about three-quarters of a mile long, but so
deceptive are distances in the valley that it does not look one-third
that. The bed of this yard, three-quarters of a mile long, and about the
same distance wide, is the most desolate place here. The yard itself is
fringed with the crumbling ruins of the iron works and of the railroad
shops. The iron works were great, high brick buildings, with steep iron
roofs. The ends of these buildings were smashed in, and the roofs bend
over where the flood struck them, in a curve.

But it is the bed of the yard itself that is desolate. In appearance it
is a mass of stones and rocks and huge boulders, so that it seems a vast
quarry hewn and uncovered by the wind. There is comparatively little
débris here, all this having been washed away over to the sides of the
buildings, in one or two instances filling the buildings completely.
There is no soft earth or mud on the rocks at all, this part of
Johnstown being much in contrast with the great stretch of sand along
the river. In some instances the dirt is washed away to such a depth
that the bed-rock is uncovered.

The fury of the waters here may be gathered from this fact: piled up
outside the works of the Open-Hearth Company were several heaps of
massive blooms--long, solid blocks of pig iron, weighing fifteen tons
each. The blooms, though they were not carried down the river, were
scattered about the yard like so many logs of wood. They will have to be
piled up again by the use of a derrick. The Open-Hearth Iron Works
people are making vigorous efforts to clear their buildings. The yards
of the company were blazing last night with the burning débris, but it
will be weeks before the company can start operations.

In the Pennsylvania Railroad yard all is activity and bustle. At the
relief station, and at the headquarters of General Hastings, in the
signal tower, the man who is the head of all operations there, and the
directing genius of the place, is Lieutenant George Miller, of the Fifth
United States Infantry. Lieutenant Miller was near here on his vacation
when the flood came. He was one of the first on the spot, and was about
the only man in Johnstown who showed some ability as an organizer and a
disciplinarian. A reporter who groped his way across the railroad track,
the foot-bridge, and the quarries and yards at reveille found Lieutenant
Miller in a group of the soldiers of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania
Regiment telling them just what to do.



CHAPTER XVI.


Travel was resumed up the valley of Conemaugh Creek for a few miles
about five days after the flood, and a weird sight was presented to the
visitor. No pen can do justice to it, yet some impressions of it must be
recorded. Every one has seen the light iron beams, shafts, and rods in a
factory lying in twisted, broken, and criss-cross shape after a fire has
destroyed the building. In the gap above Johnstown water has picked up a
four-track railroad covered with trains, freight, and passengers, and
with machine shops, a round-house, and other heavy buildings with heavy
contents, and it has torn the track to pieces, twisted, turned, and
crossed it as fire never could. It has tossed huge freight locomotives
about like barrels, and cars like packing-boxes, torn them to pieces,
and scattered them over miles of territory. It has in one place put a
stream of deep water, a city block wide, between the railroad and the
bluff, and in another place it has changed the course of the river as
far in the other direction and left a hundred yards inland the tracks
that formerly skirted the banks.

Add to this that in the midst of all this devastation, fire, with the
singular fatality that has made it everywhere the companion of the flood
in this catastrophe, has destroyed a train of vestibule cars that the
flood had wrecked; that the passengers who remained in the cars through
the flood and until the fire were saved, while their companions who
attempted to flee were overwhelmed and drowned; and that through it all
one locomotive stood and still stands comparatively uninjured in the
heart of this disaster, and the story of one of the most marvelous
freaks of this marvelous flood is barely outlined. That locomotive
stands there on its track now with its fires burning, smoke curling from
the stack, and steam from its safety valve, all ready to go ahead as
soon as they will build a track down to it. It is No. 1309, a fifty-four
ton, eight driver, class R, Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive. George
Hudson was its engineer, and Conductor Sheely had charge of its train.
They, with all the rest of the crew, escaped by flight when they saw the
flood.

The wonders of this playground, where a giant force played with masses
of iron, weighing scores of tons each, as a child might play with
pebbles, begins with a bridge, or a piece of a bridge, about thirty feet
long, that stands high and dry upon two ordinary stone abutments at
Woodvale. The part of the bridge that remains spanned the Pennsylvania
tracks. The tracks are gone, the bridge is gone on either side, the
river is gone to a new channel, the very earth for a hundred yards
around has been scraped off and swept away, but this little span remains
perched up there, twenty feet above everything, in the midst of a desert
of ruins--the only piece of a bridge that is standing from the railroad
bridge to South Forks. It is a light iron structure, and the abutments
are not unusually heavy. That it should be kept there, when everything
else was twisted and torn to pieces, is one other queer freak of this
flood. Near by are the wrecks of two freight trains that were standing
side by side when the flood caught them. The lower ends of both trains
are torn to pieces, the cars tossed around in every direction, and many
of them carried away. The whole of the train on the track nearest the
river was smashed into kindling wood. Its locomotive is gone entirely,
perhaps because this other train acted as a sort of buffer for the
second one. The latter has twenty-five or thirty cars that are
uninjured, apparently. They could move off as soon as that wonderful
engine, No. 1309, that stands with steam up at their head, gets ready
to pull out. A second look, however, shows that the track is in many
places literally washed from beneath the cars. Some of the trucks also
are turned half way around and standing with wheels running across the
track. But the force that did this left the light wood box cars
themselves unharmed. They were loaded with dressed beef and provisions.
They have been emptied to supply the hungry in Johnstown.

In front of engine 1309 and this train the water played one of its most
fantastic tricks with the rails. The débris of trees, logs, planks, and
every description of wreckage is heaped up in front of the engine to the
headlight, and is packed in so tightly that twenty men with ropes and
axes worked all day without clearing all away. The track is absolutely
gone from the front of the engine clear up to beyond Conemaugh. Parts of
it lie about everywhere, twisted into odd shapes, turned upside down,
stacked crosswise one above the other, and in one place a section of the
west track has been lifted clear over the right track, runs along there
for a ways, and then twists back into its proper place. Even stranger
are the tricks the water has played with the rails where they have been
torn loose from the ties. The rails are steel and of the heaviest weight
used. They were twisted as easily as willow branches in a spring
freshet in a country brook. One rail lies in the sand in the shape of a
letter "S." More are broken squarely in two. Many times rails have been
broken within a few feet of a fishplate, coupling them to the next rail,
and the fragments are still united by the comparatively weak plates.
Every natural law would seem to show that the first place where they
should have broken was at the joints.

There is little to indicate the recent presence of a railroad in the
stretch from this spot up to the upper part of Conemaugh. The little
plain into which the gap widened here, and in which stood the bulk of
the town, is wiped out. The river has changed its course from one side
of the valley to the other. There is not the slightest indication that
the central part of the plain was ever anything but a flood-washed gulch
in some mountain region. At the upper end of the plain, surrounded by a
desert of mud and rock, stands a fantastic collection of ruined railroad
equipments. Three trains stood there when the flood swept down the
valley. On the outside was a local passenger train with three cars and a
locomotive. It stands there yet, the cars tilted by the washing of the
tracks, but comparatively uninjured. Somehow a couple more locomotives
have been run into the sand bank. In the centre a freight train stood on
the track, and a large collection of smashed cars has its place now. It
was broken all to pieces. Inside of all was the day express, with its
baggage and express cars, and at the end three vestibule cars. It was
from this train that a number of passengers--fifteen certainly, and no
one knows how many more--were lost. When the alarm came most of the
passengers fled for the high ground. Many reached it; others hesitated
on the way, tried to run back to the cars, and were lost. Others stayed
on the cars, and, after the first rush of the flood, were rescued alive.
Some of the freight cars were loaded with lime, and this leaped over the
vestibule cars and set them on fire. All three of the vestibule cars
were burned down to the trucks. These and the peculiar-shaped iron
frames of the vestibules are all that show where the cars stood.

The reason the flood, that twisted heavy steel rails like twigs just
below, did not wipe out these three trains entirely is supposed to be
that just in front of them, and between them and the flood, was the
round-house, filled with engines. It was a large building, probably
forty feet high to the top of the ventilators in the roof. The wave of
wrath, eye-witnesses say, was so high that these ventilators were
beneath it. The round-house was swept away to its very foundations, and
the flood played jackstraws with the two dozen locomotives lodged in it,
but it split the torrent, and a part of it went down each side of the
three trains, saving them from the worst of its force. Thirty-three
locomotives were in and about the round-house and the repair shops near
by. Of these, twenty-six have been found, or at least traced, part of
them being found scattered down into Johnstown, and one tender was found
up in Stony Creek. The other seven locomotives are gone, and not a trace
of them has been found up to this time. It is supposed that some of them
are in the sixty acres of débris above the bridge at Johnstown. All the
locomotives that remain anywhere within sight of the round-house, all
except those attached to the trains, are thrown about in every
direction, every side up, smashed, broken, and useless except for old
iron. The tenders are all gone. Being lighter than the locomotives, they
floated easier, and were quickly torn off and carried away. The engines
themselves were apparently rolled over and over in whichever direction
the current that had hold of them ran, and occasionally were picked up
bodily and slammed down again, wheels up, or whichever way chanced to be
most convenient to the flood. Most of them lie in five feet of sand and
gravel, with only a part showing above the surface. Some are out in the
bed of the river.

A strange but very pleasant feature of the disaster in Conemaugh itself
is the comparatively small loss of life. As the townspeople figure it
out, there are only thirty-eight persons there positively known to have
perished besides those on the train. This was partly because the
buildings in the centre of the valley were mostly stores and factories,
and also because more heed appears to have been paid to the warnings
that came from up the valley. At noon the workmen in the shops were
notified that there was danger, and that they had better go home. At one
o'clock word was given that the dam was likely to go, and that everybody
must get on high ground. Few remained in the central part of the valley
when the high wave came through the gap.

Doré never dreamed a weirder, ghastlier picture than night in the
Conemaugh Valley since the flood desolated it. Darkness falls early from
the rain-dropping, gray sky that has palled the valley ever since it
became a vast bier, a charnel-house fifteen miles long. The smoke and
steam from the placers of smouldering débris above the bridge aid to
hasten the night. Few lights gleam out, except those of the scattered
fires that still flicker fitfully in the mass of wreckage. Gas went out
with the flood, and oil has been almost entirely lacking since the
disaster. Candles are used in those places where people think it worth
while to stay up after dark. Up on the hills around the town bright
sparks gleam out like lovely stars from the few homes built so high.
Down in the valley the gloom settles over everything, making it look,
from the bluffs around, like some vast death-pit, the idea of entering
which brings a shudder. The gloomy effect is not relieved, but rather
deepened, by the broad beams of ghastly, pale light thrown across the
gulf by two or three electric lights erected around the Pennsylvania
Railroad station. They dazzle the eye and make the gloom still deeper.

Time does not accustom the eyes to this ghastly scene. The flames rising
and falling over the ruins look more like witches' bale-fires the longer
they are looked at. The smoke-burdened depths in the valley seem
deserted by every living thing, except that occasionally, prowling
ghoul-like about the edges of the mass of débris, may be seen, as they
cross the beams of electric light, dark figures of men who are drawn to
the spot day and night, hovering over the place where some chance
movement may disclose the body of a wife, mother, or daughter gone down
in the wreck. They pick listlessly away at the heaps in one spot for
awhile and then wander aimlessly off, only to reappear at another spot,
pulling feverishly at some rags that looked like a dress, or poking a
stick into some hole to feel if there is anything soft at the bottom. At
one or two places the electric lights show, with exaggerated and
distorted shadows, firemen in big hats and long rubber coats, standing
upon the edge of the bridge, steadily holding the hose, from which two
streams of water shoot far out over the mass, sparkle for a moment like
silver in the pale light, and then drop downward into the blackness.

For noise, there is heavy splashing of the Conemaugh over the rapids
below the bridge, the petulant gasping of an unseen fire-engine, pumping
water through the hose, and the even more rapid but greater puffing of
the dynamo-engine that, mounted upon a flat car at one end of the
bridge, furnishes electricity for the lights. There is little else
heard. People who are yet about gather in little groups, and talk in low
tones as they look over the dark, watchfire-beaconed gulf. Everybody in
Johnstown looks over that gulf in every spare moment, day or night.
Movement about is almost impossible, for the ways are only foot-paths
about the bluffs, irregular and slippery. Every night people are badly
hurt by falls over bluffs, through the bridge, or down banks. Lying
about under sheds in ruined buildings, and even in the open air,
wherever one goes, are the forms, wrapped in blankets, of men who have
no better place to sleep, resembling nothing so much as the corpses that
men are seen always to be carrying about the streets in the daytime.

[Illustration: THE DÉBRIS ABOVE THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD BRIDGE.]



CHAPTER XVII.


One of the first to reach Johnstown from a distance was a New York
_World_ correspondent, who on Sunday wrote as follows:--

"I walked late yesterday afternoon from New Florence to a place opposite
Johnstown, a distance of four miles. I describe what I actually saw. All
along the way bodies were seen lying on the river banks. In one place a
woman was half buried in the mud, only a limb showing. In another was a
mother with her babe clasped to her breast. Further along lay a husband
and wife, their arms wound around each other's necks. Probably fifty
bodies were seen on that one side of the river, and it must be
remembered that here the current was the swiftest, and consequently
fewer of the dead were landed among the bushes. On the opposite side
bodies could also be seen, but they were all covered with mud. As I
neared Johnstown the wreckage became grand in its massive
proportions. In order to show the force of the current I will say that
three miles below Johnstown I saw a grand piano lying on the bank, and
not a board or key was broken. It must have been lifted on the crest of
the wave and laid gently on the bank. In another place were two large
iron boilers. They had evidently been treated by the torrent much as the
piano had been.

"The scenes, as I neared Johnstown, were the most heart-rending that man
was ever called to look upon. Probably three thousand people were
scattered in groups along the Pennsylvania Railroad track and every one
of them had a relative lying dead either in the wreckage above, in the
river below, or in the still burning furnace. Not a house that was left
standing was in plumb. Hundreds of them were turned on their sides, and
in some cases three or four stood one on top of the other. Two miles
from Johnstown, on the opposite side of the river from where I walked,
stood one-half of the water-works of the Cambria Iron Company, a
structure that had been built of massive stone. It was filled with
planks from houses, and a large abutment of wreckage was piled up fully
fifty feet in front of it. A little above, on the same side, could be
seen what was left of the Cambria Iron Works, which was one of the
finest plants in the world. Some of the walls are still standing, it is
true, but not a vestige of the valuable machinery remains in sight. The
two upper portions of the works were swept away almost entirely, and
under the pieces of fallen iron and wood could be seen the bodies of
more than forty workmen.

"At this point there is a bend in the river and the fiery furnace
blazing for a quarter of a mile square above the stone bridge came into
view.

"'My God!' screamed a woman who was hastening up the track, 'can it be
that any are in there?'

"'Yes; over a thousand,' replied a man who had just come from the
neighborhood, and it is now learned that he estimated the number at one
thousand too low.

"The scenes of misery and suffering and agony and despair can hardly be
chronicled. One man, a clerk named Woodruff, was reeling along
intoxicated. Suddenly, with a frantic shout, he threw himself over the
bank into the flood and would have been carried to his death had he not
been caught by some persons below.

"'Let me die,' he exclaimed, when they rescued him. 'My wife and
children are gone; I have no use for my life.' An hour later I saw
Woodruff lying on the ground entirely overcome by liquor. Persons who
knew him said that he had never tasted liquor before.

"Probably fifty barrels of whisky were washed ashore just below
Johnstown, and those men who had lost everything in this world sought
solace in the fiery liquid. So it was that as early as six o'clock last
night the shrieks and cries of women were intermingled with drunkards'
howls and curses. What was worse than anything, however, was the fact
that incoming trains from Pittsburgh brought hundreds of toughs, who
joined with the Slavs and Bohemians in rifling the bodies, stealing
furniture, insulting women, and endeavoring to assume control of any
rescuing parties that tried to seek the bodies under the bushes and in
the limbs of trees. There was no one in authority, no one to take
command of even a citizens' posse could it have been organized. A
lawless mob seemed to control this narrow neck of land that was the only
approach to the city of Johnstown. I saw persons take watches from dead
men's jackets and brutally tear finger-rings from the hands of women.
The ruffians also climbed into the overturned houses and ransacked the
rooms, taking whatever they thought valuable. No one dared check them in
this work, and, consequently, the scene was not as riotous as it would
have been if the toughs had not had sway. In fact, they became beastly
drunk after a time and were seen lying around in a stupor. Unless the
military is on hand early to-morrow there may be serious trouble, for
each train pours loads of people of every description into the vicinity,
and Slavs are flocking like birds of prey from the surrounding country.

"Here I will give the latest conservative estimate of the dead--it is
between seven and eight thousand drowned and two thousand burned. The
committee at Johnstown in their last bulletin placed the number of lives
lost at eight thousand. In doing so they are figuring the inhabitants of
their own city and the towns immediately adjoining. But it must be
remembered that the tidal wave swept ten miles through a populous
district before it even reached the locality over which this committee
has supervision. It devastated a tract the size and shape of Manhattan
Island. Here are a few facts that will show the geographical outlines of
the terrible disaster: The Hotel Hurlburt of Johnstown, a massive
three-story building of one hundred rooms, has vanished. There were in
it seventy-five guests at the time of the flood. Two only are now known
to be alive. The Merchants' Hotel is leveled. How many were inside it is
not known, but as yet no one has been seen who came from there or heard
of an inmate escaping. At the Conemaugh round-house forty-one
locomotives were swept down the stream, and before they reached the
stone bridge all the iron and steel work had been torn from their
boilers. It is almost impossible in this great catastrophe to go more
into details.

"I stood on the stone bridge at six o'clock and looked into the seething
mass of ruin below me. At one place the blackened body of a babe was
seen; in another, fourteen skulls could be counted. Further along the
bones became thicker and thicker, until at last at one place it seemed
as if a concourse of people who had been at a ball or entertainment had
been carried in a bunch and incinerated. At this time the smoke was
still rising to the height of fifty feet, and it is expected that when
it dies down the charred bodies will be seen dotting the entire mass.

"A cable had been run last night from the end of the stone bridge to the
nearest point across--a distance of three hundred feet. Over this cable
was run a trolley, and a swing was fastened under it. A man went over,
and he was the first one who visited Johnstown since the awful disaster.
I followed him to-day.

"I walked along the hillside and saw hundreds of persons lying on the
wet grass, wrapped in blankets or quilts. It was growing cold and a
misty rain had set in. Shelter was not to be had, and houses on the
hillsides that had not been swept away were literally packed from top to
bottom. The bare necessities of life were soon at a premium, and loaves
of bread sold at fifty cents. Fortunately, however, the relief train
from Pittsburgh arrived at seven o'clock. Otherwise the horrors of
starvation would have been added. All provisions, however, had to be
carried over a rough, rocky road a distance of four miles (as I knew,
who had been compelled to walk it), and in many cases they were seized
by the toughs, and the people who were in need of food did not get it.

"Rich and poor were served alike by this terrible disaster. I saw a girl
standing in her bare feet on the river's bank, clad in a loose petticoat
and with a shawl over her head. At first I thought she was an Italian
woman, but her face showed that I was mistaken. She was the belle of the
town--the daughter of a wealthy Johnstown banker--and this single
petticoat and shawl were not only all that was left her, but all that
was saved from the magnificent residence of her father. She had escaped
to the hills not an instant too soon.

"The solicitor of Johnstown, Mr. George Martin, said to me to-day:--

"'All my money went away in the flood. My house is gone. So are all my
clothes, but, thank God, my family are safe.'"



CHAPTER XVIII.


The first train that passed New Florence, bound east, was crowded with
people from Pittsburgh and places along the line, who were going to the
scene of the disaster with but little hope of finding their loved ones
alive. It was a heart-rending sight. Not a dry eye was in the train.
Mothers moaned for their children. Husbands paced the aisles and wrung
their hands in mute agony. Fathers pressed their faces against the
windows and endeavored to see something, they knew not what, that would
tell them in a measure of the dreadful fate that their loved ones had
met with. All along the raging Conemaugh the train stopped, and bodies
were taken on the express car, being carried by the villagers who were
out along the banks. Oh, the horror and infinite pity of it all! What a
journey has been that of the last half hour! Swollen corpses lay here
and there in piles of cross-ties, or on the river banks along the
tangled greenery.

It was about nine o'clock when the first passenger train since Friday
came to the New Florence depot with its load of eager passengers. They
were no idle travelers, but each had a mission. Here and there men were
staring out the windows with red eyes. Among them were tough-looking
Hungarians and Italians who had lost friends near Nineveh, while many
were weeping, on all sides. Two of the passengers on the train were man
and wife from Johnstown. He was dignified and more or less
self-possessed. She was anxious, and tried hard to control her feelings.
From every newcomer and possible source of information she sought news.

"Ours is a big, new brick house," said she with a brave effort, but with
her brown eyes moist and red lips trembling. "It is a three-story house,
and I don't think there is any trouble, do you?" said she to me, and
without waiting for my answer, she continued with a sob, "There are my
four children in the house and their nurse, and I guess father and
mother will go over to the house, don't you?"

In a few moments all those in the car knew the story of the pair, and
many a pitying glance was cast at them. Their house was one of the first
to go.

The huge wave struck Bolivar just after dark, and in five minutes the
Conemaugh rose from six to forty feet, and the waters spread out over
the whole country. Soon houses began floating down, and clinging to the
débris were men, women, and children shrieking for aid. A large number
of citizens gathered at the county bridge, and they were reinforced by a
number from Garfield, a town on the opposite side of the river. They
brought ropes, and these were thrown over into the boiling waters as
persons drifted by, in efforts to save them. For half an hour all
efforts were fruitless, until at last, when the rescuers were about
giving up all hope, a little boy astride a shingle roof managed to catch
hold of one of the ropes. He caught it under his left arm and was thrown
violently against an abutment, but managed to keep hold and was pulled
onto the bridge amid the cheers of the onlookers. The lad was at once
taken to Garfield and cared for. The boy is about sixteen years old and
his name is Hessler. His story of the calamity is as follows:--

"With my father I was spending the day at my grandfather's house in
Cambria City. In the house at the time were Theodore, Edward, and John
Kintz, John Kintz, Jr., Miss Mary Kintz, Mrs. Mary Kintz, wife of John
Kintz, Jr.; Miss Treacy Kintz, Mrs. Rica Smith, John Hirsch and four
children, my father, and myself. Shortly after five o'clock there was a
noise of roaring waters and screams of people. We looked out the door
and saw persons running. My father told us to never mind, as the waters
would not rise further. But soon we saw houses swept by, and then we ran
up to the floor above. The house was three stories, and we were at last
forced 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 my bed
was soon afloat. Gradually it was lifted up. The air in the room grew
close, and the house was moving. Still the bed kept rising and pressed
the ceiling. At last the posts pushed the plaster. It yielded, and a
section of the roof gave way. Then I suddenly found myself on the roof
and was being carried down stream. After a little this roof commenced to
part, and I was afraid I was going to be drowned, but just then another
house with a shingle roof floated by, and I managed to crawl on it and
floated down until nearly dead with cold, when I was saved. After 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 were rising fast.
John Kintz, Jr., was also on a tree. Miss Mary Kintz and Mrs. Mary Kintz
I saw drown. Miss Smith was also drowned. John Hirsch was in a tree, but
the four children were drowned. The scenes were terrible. Live bodies
and corpses were floating down with me and away from me. I would see a
person shriek and then disappear. All along the line were people who
were trying to save us, but they could do nothing, and only a few were
caught."

An eye-witness at Bolivar Block station tells a story of heroism which
occurred at the lower bridge which crosses the Conemaugh at that point.
A young man, with two women, were seen coming down the river on part of
a floor. At the upper bridge a rope was thrown down to them. This they
all failed to catch. Between the two bridges he was noticed to point
toward the elder woman, who, it is supposed, was his mother. He was then
seen to instruct the women how to catch the rope which was being lowered
from the other bridge. Down came the raft with a rush. The brave man
stood with his arms around the two women. As they swept under the bridge
he reached up and seized the rope. He was jerked violently away from the
two women, who failed to get a hold on the rope. Seeing that they would
not be rescued, he dropped the rope and fell back on the raft, which
floated on down the river. The current washed their frail craft in
toward the bank. The young man was enabled to seize hold of a branch of
a tree. He aided the two women to get up into the tree. He held on with
his hands and rested his feet on a pile of driftwood. A piece of
floating débris struck the drift, sweeping it away. The man hung with
his body immersed in the water. A pile of drift soon collected, and he
was enabled to get another insecure footing. Up the river there was a
sudden crash, and a section of the bridge was swept away and floated
down the stream, striking the tree and washing it away. All three were
thrown into the water and were drowned before the eyes of the horrified
spectators, just opposite the town of Bolivar.

At Bolivar a man, woman, and child were seen floating down in a lot of
drift. The mass soon began to part, and, by desperate efforts, the
husband and father succeeded in getting his wife and little one on a
floating tree. Just then the tree was washed under the bridge, and a
rope was thrown out. It fell upon the man's shoulders. He saw at a
glance that he could not save his dear ones, so he threw the means of
safety on one side and clasped in his arms those who were with him. A
moment later and the tree struck a floating house. It turned over, and
in an instant the three persons were in the seething waters, being
carried to their death.

An instance of a mother's love at Bolivar is told. A woman and two
children were floating down the torrent. The mother caught a rope, and
tried to hold it to her and her babe. It was impossible, and with a look
of anguish she relinquished the rope and sank with her little ones.

A family, consisting of father and mother and nine children, were washed
away in a creek at Lockport. The mother managed to reach the shore, but
the husband and children were carried out into the Conemaugh to drown.
The woman was crazed over the terrible event.

A little girl passed under the Bolivar bridge just before dark. She was
kneeling on part of a floor, and had her hands clasped as if in prayer.
Every effort was made to save her, but they all proved futile. A
railroader who was standing by remarked that the piteous appearance of
the little waif brought tears to his eyes. All night long the crowd
stood about the ruins of the bridge which had been swept away at
Bolivar. The water rushed past with a roar, carrying with it parts of
houses, furniture, and trees. No more living persons are being carried
past. Watchers, with lanterns, remained along the banks until daybreak,
when the first view of the awful devastation of the flood was witnessed.
Along the bank lay the remnants of what had once been dwelling-houses
and stores; here and there was an uprooted tree. Piles of drift lay
about, in some of which bodies of the victims of the flood will be
found.

Harry Fisher, a young telegraph operator, who was at Bolivar when the
first rush of waters began, says: "We knew nothing of the disaster
until we noticed the river slowly rising, and then more rapidly. News
reached us from Johnstown that the dam at South Fork had burst. Within
three hours the water in the river rose at least twenty feet. Shortly
before six o'clock ruins of houses, beds, household utensils, barrels,
and kegs came floating past the bridges. At eight o'clock the water was
within six feet of the roadbed of the bridge. The wreckage floated past,
without stopping, for at least two hours. Then it began to lessen, and
night coming suddenly upon us, we could see no more. The wreckage was
floating by for a long time before the first living persons passed.
Fifteen people that I saw were carried down by the river. One of these,
a boy, was saved, and three of them were drowned just directly below the
town. Hundreds of animals lost their lives. The bodies of horses, dogs,
and chickens floated past in numbers that could not be counted."

Just before reaching Sang Hollow, the end of the mail line on the
Pennsylvania Railroad, is "S. O." signal tower, and the men in it told
piteous stories of what they saw.

A beautiful girl came down on the roof of a building, which was swung in
near the tower. She screamed to the operators to save her, and one big,
brawny, brave fellow walked as far into the river as he could, and
shouted to her to guide herself into shore with a bit of plank. She was
a plucky girl, full of nerve and energy, and stood upon her frail
support in evident obedience to the command of the operator. She made
two or three bold strokes, and actually stopped the course of the raft
for an instant. Then it swerved, and went out from under her. She tried
to swim ashore, but in a few seconds she was lost in the swirling water.
Something hit her, for she lay on her back, with face pallid and
expressionless.

Men and women, in dozens, in pairs, and singly; children, boys, big and
little, and wee babies, were there among the awful confusion of water,
drowning, gasping, struggling, and fighting desperately for life. Two
men, on a tiny raft, shot into the swiftest part of the current. They
crouched stolidly, looking at the shores, while between them, dressed in
white, and kneeling with her face turned heavenward, was a girl six or
seven years old. She seemed stricken with paralysis until she came
opposite the tower, and then she turned her face to the operator. She
was so close they could see big tears on her cheeks, and her pallor was
as death. The helpless men on shore shouted to her to keep up her
courage, and she resumed her devout attitude, and disappeared under the
trees of a projecting point a short distance below. "We couldn't see her
come out again," said the operator, "and that was all of it."



CHAPTER XIX.


An interesting story of endeavor was related on Monday by a
correspondent of the New York _Sun_, who made his way to the scene of
disaster. This is what he wrote:--

Although three days have passed since the disaster, the difficulty of
reaching the desolated region is still so great that, under ordinary
circumstances, no one would dream of attempting the trip. The
Pennsylvania Railroad cannot get within several miles of Johnstown, and
it is almost impossible to get on their trains even at that. They run
one, two, or three trains a day on the time of the old through trains,
and the few cars on each train are crowded with passengers in a few
minutes after the gates open. Then the sale of tickets is stopped, the
gates are closed, and all admission to the train denied. No extra cars
will be put on, no second section sent out, and no special train run on
any account, for love or money. The scenes at the station when the
gates are shut are sorrowful. Men who have come hundreds of miles to
search for friends or relatives among the dead stand hopelessly before
the edict of the blue-coated officials from eight in the morning until
one in the afternoon. There is no later train on the Pennsylvania road
out of Pittsburgh, and the agony of suspense is thus prolonged. Besides
that, the one o'clock train is so late in getting to Sang Hollow that
the work of beginning a search is practically delayed until the next
morning.

[Illustration: RUINS OF THE CAMBRIA IRON WORKS.]

The _Sun's_ special correspondents were of a party of fifteen or twenty
business men and others who had come from the East by way of Buffalo,
and who reached Pittsburgh in abundant time to have taken the
Pennsylvania Railroad train at eight o'clock, had the company wished to
carry them. With hundreds of others they were turned away, and appeals
even to the highest official of the road were useless, whether in the
interest of newspaper enterprise or private business, or in the sadder
but most frequent case where men prayed like beggars for an opportunity
to measure the extent of their bereavement, or find if, by some happy
chance, one might not be alive out of a family. The sight-seeing and
curious crowd was on hand early, and had no trouble in getting on the
train. Those who had come from distant cities, and whose mission was of
business or sorrow, were generally later, and were left. No effort was
made to increase the accommodations of the train for those who most
needed them. The _Sun's_ men had traveled a thousand miles around to
reach Pittsburgh. Their journey had covered three sides of the State of
Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia at the extreme southeast, through New
Jersey and New York to Buffalo by way of Albany and the New York
Central, and thence by the Lake Shore to Ashtabula, O., passing through
Erie at the extreme northwest corner of the State; thence down by the
Pittsburgh and Lake Erie road to Youngstown, O., and so into Pittsburgh
by the back door, as it were. Circumstances and the edict of the
Pennsylvania Railroad were destined to carry them still further around,
more than a hundred miles, nearly south of Pittsburgh, almost across the
line into Maryland, and thence fifty miles up before they reached their
destination.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ordinarily does not attempt to compete
for business from Pittsburgh into Johnstown. Its only route between
those two cities leads over small branch lines among the mountains south
of Johnstown, and is over double the length of the Pennsylvania main
line route. The first train to reach Johnstown, however, was one over
the Baltimore and Ohio lines, and, although they made no attempt to
establish a regular line, they did on Sunday get two relief trains out
of Pittsburgh and into Johnstown. Superintendent Patten, of the
Baltimore and Ohio, established headquarters in a box car two miles
south of Johnstown, and telegraphed to Acting Superintendent McIlvaine,
at Pittsburgh, to take for free transportation all goods offered for the
relief of the sufferers. No passenger trains were run, however, except
the regular trains on the main line for Cumberland, Md., and the
branches from the main line to Johnstown were used entirely by wildcat
trains running on special orders, with no object but to get relief up as
quickly as possible. Nothing had left Pittsburgh for Johnstown, however,
to-day up to nine o'clock. Arrangements were made for a relief train to
go out early in the afternoon, to pick up cars of contributed goods at
the stations along the line and get them into Johnstown some time during
the night. "No specials" was also the rule on the Baltimore and Ohio,
but Acting Superintendent McIlvaine recognized in the _Sun_, with its
enormous possibilities in the way of spreading throughout the country
the actual situation of affairs in the devastated district, a means of
awaking the public to the extent of the disaster that would be of more
efficient relief to the suffering people than even train-loads of food
and clothing. The _Sun's_ case was therefore made exceptional, and when
the situation was explained to him he consented, for a sum that appalled
the representatives of some other papers who heard it, but which was,
for the distance to be covered, very fair, to set the _Sun's_ men down
in Johnstown at the earliest moment that steam and steel and iron could
do it.

In fifteen minutes one of the Baltimore and Ohio light passenger
engines, with Engineer W. E. Scott in charge and Fireman Charles Hood
for assistant, was hitched to a single coach out in the yard. Conductor
W. B. Clancy was found somewhere about and put in command of the
expedition. Brakeman Dan Lynn was captured just as he was leaving an
incoming train, and although he had been without sleep for a day, he
readily consented to complete the crew of the _Sun's_ train. There was
no disposition to be hoggish in the matter, and at a time like this the
great thing was to get the best possible information as to affairs at
Johnstown spread over the country in the least possible time. The
facilities of the train were therefore placed at the disposal of other
newspaper men who were willing to share in the expense. None of them,
however, availed themselves of this chance to save practically a whole
day in reaching the scene, except the artist representing _Harper's
Weekly_, who had accompanied the _Sun_ men this far in their race
against time from the East. As far as the New York papers were
concerned, there were no men except those from the _Sun_ to take the
train. If any other New York newspaper men had yet reached Pittsburgh at
all, they were not to be found around the Baltimore and Ohio station,
where the _Sun_ extended its invitation to the other representatives of
the press. There were a number of Western newspaper men on hand, but
journalism in that section is not accustomed to big figures except in
circulation affidavits, and they were staggered at the idea of paying
even a share of the expense that the _Sun_ was bearing practically
alone.

At 9.15 A. M., therefore, when the special train pulled out of the
Baltimore and Ohio station, it had for passengers only the _Sun_ men and
_Harper's_ artist. As it started Acting Superintendent McIlvaine was
asked:--

"How quickly can we make it?"

"Well, it's one hundred and forty-six miles," he replied, "and it's all
kinds of road. There's an accommodation train that you will have to look
out for until you pass it, and that will delay you. It's hard to make
any promise about time."

"Can we make it in five hours?" he was asked.

"I think you can surely do that," he replied.

How much better than the acting superintendent's word was the
performance of Engineer Scott and his crew this story shows. The
special, after leaving Pittsburgh, ran wild until it got to McKeesport,
sixteen miles distant. At this point the regular train, which left
Pittsburgh at 8.40, was overtaken. The regular train was on a siding,
and the special passed through the city with but a minute's stop. Then
the special had a clear track before it, and the engineer drove his
machine to the utmost limit of speed consistent with safety. It is
nineteen miles from McKeesport to West Newton, and the special made this
distance in twenty minutes, the average time of over a mile a minute
being much exceeded for certain periods. The curves of the road are
frightful, and at times the single car which composed the train was
almost swung clear off the track. The _Sun_ men recalled vividly the
ride of Horace Greeley with Hank Monk, and they began to reflect that
there was such a thing as riding so fast that they might not be able to
reach Johnstown at all. From Layton's to Dawson the seven and one-half
miles were made in seven minutes, while the fourteen miles from Layton's
to Connellsville were covered in fourteen minutes precisely. On the
tender of the engine the cover of the water-tank flew open and the water
splashed out. Coal flew from the tender in great lumps, and dashed
against the end of the car. Inside the car the newspaper men's grips and
belongings went flying around on the floor and over seats like mad. The
Allegheny River, whose curves the rails followed, seemed to be right
even with the car windows, so that one could look straight down into the
water, so closely to it was the track built. In Connellsville there was
a crowd to see the special. On the depot was the placard:--

"Car will leave at 3 P. M. to-day with food and clothing for Johnstown."

In Connellsville the train stopped five minutes and underwent a thorough
inspection. Then it shoved on again. At Confluence, twenty-seven miles
from Connellsville, a bridge of a Baltimore and Ohio branch line across
the river was washed away, but this didn't interfere with the progress
of the special. For sixty miles on the road is up hill at a grade of
sixty-five feet to the mile, and the curves, if anything, are worse, but
there was no appreciable diminution in the speed of the train. Just
before reaching Rockwood the first real traces of the flood were
apparent. The waters of the Castlemore showed signs of having been
recently right up to the railroad tracks, and driftwood and débris of
all descriptions lay at the side of the rails. Nearly all bridges on the
country roads over the river were washed away and their remnants
scattered along the banks.

Rockwood was reached at 12.05 P. M. Rockwood is eighty-seven miles from
McKeesport, and this distance, which is up an extremely steep grade,
was therefore made in two hours, which includes fifteen minutes' stop.
The distance covered from Pittsburgh was one hundred and two miles in
two hours. Rockwood is the junction of the main line of the Baltimore
and Ohio road at its Cambria branch, which runs to Johnstown. The
regular local train from there to Johnstown was held to allow the
_Sun's_ special to pass first.

The _Sun's_ special left Rockwood at 12.20 in charge of Engineer Oliver,
who assumed charge at that point. He said that the branch to Johnstown
was a mountain road, with steep grades, very high embankments, and
damaged in spots, and that he would have to use great precaution in
running. He gave the throttle a yank and the train started with a jump
that almost sent the newspaper men on their heads. Things began to dance
around the car furiously as the train dashed along at a great pace, and
the reporters began to wonder what Engineer Oliver meant by his talk
about precautions. All along the route up the valley at the stations
were crowds of people, who stared in silence as the train swept by. On
the station platforms were piled barrels of flour, boxes of canned
goods, and bales of clothing. The roads leading in from the country to
the stations were full of farmers' wagons laden with produce of all
kinds for the sufferers.

The road from Rockwood to Johnstown lies in a deep gully, at the bottom
of which flows little Stony Creek, now swollen to a torrent. Wooden
troughs under the track carry off the water which trickles down from the
hills, otherwise the track would be useless. As it is there are frequent
washouts, which have been partly filled in, and for ten miles south of
Johnstown all trains have to be run very slowly. The branches of trees
above the bank which have been blown over graze the cars on the railroad
tracks. The _Sun's_ special arrived in Johnstown at two o'clock.



CHAPTER XX.


The experience of the newspaper correspondents in the Conemaugh valley
was the experience of a lifetime. Few war correspondents, even, have
been witnesses of such appalling scenes of horror and desolation. Day
after day they were busy recording the annals of death and despair,
conscious, meanwhile, that no expressions of accumulated pathos at their
command could do justice to the theme. They had only to stand in the
street wherever a knot of men had gathered, to hear countless stories of
thrilling escapes. Hundreds of people had such narrow escapes that they
hardly dared to believe that they were saved for hours after they
reached solid ground. William Wise, a young man who lived at Woodvale,
was walking along the road when the rush of water came down the valley.
He started to rush up the side of the hills, but stopped to help a young
woman; Ida Zidstein, to escape; lost too much time, and was forced to
drag the young woman upon a high pile of metal near the road. They had
clung there several hours, and thought that they could both escape, as
the metal pile was not exposed to the full force of the torrent. A
telegraph pole came dashing down the flood, its top standing above the
water, from which dangled some wires. The pole was caught in an eddy
opposite the pile. It shot in toward the two who were clinging there. As
the pole swung around, the wires came through the air like a whip-lash,
and catching in the hair of the young woman, dragged her down to instant
death. The young man remained on the heap of metal for hours before the
water subsided so as to allow him to escape.

One man named Homer, with his child, age six, was on one of the houses
which were first carried away. He climbed to the roof and held fast
there for four hours, floating all the way to Bolivar, fifteen miles
below.

A young hero sat upon the roof of his father's house, holding his mother
and little sister. Once the house swung in toward a brick structure
which still rested on its foundation. As one house struck the other, the
boy sprang into one of the windows. As he turned to rescue his mother
and sister, the house swung out again, and the boy, seeing that there
was no possibility of getting them off, leaped back to their side. A
second time the house was stopped--this time by a tree. The boy helped
his mother and sister to a place of safety in the tree, but before he
could leave the roof, the house was swept on and he was drowned.

One man took his whole family to the roof of his floating house. He and
one child escaped to another building, but his wife and five children
were whirled around for hours, and finally carried down to the bridge
where so many people perished in the flames. They were all rescued.

District Attorney Rose, his wife, two brothers and two sisters were
swept across the lower portion of the town. They had been thrown into
the water, and were swimming, the men assisting the women. Finally, they
got into a back current, and were cast ashore at the foot of the hills
back of Knoxville.

One merchant of Johnstown, after floating about upon a piece of wreckage
for hours, was carried down to the stone bridge. After a miraculous
escape from being burned to death, he was rescued and carried ashore. He
was so dazed and terrified by his experience, however, that he walked
off the bridge and broke his neck.

One man who was powerless to save his wife, after he had leaped from a
burning building to a house floating by, was driven insane by her
shrieks for help.

An old gentleman of Verona rescued a modern Moses from the bulrushes.
Verona is on the east bank of the Allegheny river, twelve miles above
Pittsburg. Mr. McCutcheon, while standing on the river bank watching the
drift floating by, was compelled by instinct to take a skiff and row out
to one dense mass of timber. As he reached it, he was startled to find
in the centre, out of the reach of the water, a cradle covered with the
clothing. As he lifted the coverings aside a pretty five-months-old boy
baby smiled on him. The little innocent, unconscious of the scenes it
had passed through, crowed with delight as the old man lifted it
tenderly, cradle and all, into his skiff and brought it ashore.

Among the miraculous escapes is that of George J. Lea and family. When
the rush of water came there were eight people on the roof of Lea's
house. The house swung around and floated for nearly half an hour before
it struck the wreck above the stone bridge. A three-year-old girl, with
sunny, golden hair and dimpled cheeks, prayed all the while that God
would save them, and it seemed that God really answered the prayer and
directed the house against the drift, enabling every one of the eight to
get off.

H. M. Bennett and S. W. Keltz, engineer and conductor of engine No. 1165
and the extra freight, which happened to be lying at South Fork when the
dam broke, tell a graphic story of their wonderful flight and escape on
the locomotive before the advancing flood. Bennett and Keltz were in
the signal tower awaiting orders. The fireman and flagman were on the
engine, and two brakemen were asleep in the caboose. Suddenly the men in
the tower heard a roaring sound in the valley above them. They looked in
that direction and were almost transfixed with horror to see, two miles
above them, a huge black wall of water, at least 150 feet in height,
rushing down the valley. The fear-stricken men made a rush for the
locomotive, at the same time giving the alarm to the sleeping brakemen
in the caboose, but with no avail. It was impossible to aid them
further, however, so Bennett and Keltz cut the engine loose from the
train, and the engineer, with one wild wrench, threw the lever wide
open, and they were away on a mad race for life. It seemed that they
would not receive momentum enough to keep ahead of the flood, and they
cast one despairing glance back. Then they could see the awful deluge
approaching in its might. On it came, rolling and roaring, tossing and
tearing houses, sheds and trees in its awful speed as if they were toys.
As they looked, they saw the two brakemen rush out of the caboose, but
they had not time to gather the slightest idea of the cause of their
doom before they, the car and signal tower were tossed high in the air,
to disappear forever. Then the engine leaped forward like a thing of
life, and speeded down the valley. But fast as it went, the flood
gained upon it. In a few moments the shrieking locomotive whizzed around
a curve, and they were in sight of a bridge. Horror upon horrors! ahead
of them was a freight train, with the rear end almost on the bridge, and
to get across was simply impossible. Engineer Bennett then reversed the
lever, and succeeded in checking the engine as they glided across the
bridge. Then the men jumped and ran for their lives up the hillside. The
bridge and the tender of the engine they had been on were swept away
like a bundle of matches.

A young man who was a passenger on the Derry express furnishes an
interesting account of his experiences. "When we reached Derry," he
said, "our train was boarded by a relief committee, and no sooner was it
ascertained that we were going on to Sang Hollow than the contributions
of provisions and supplies of every kind were piled on board, filling an
entire car. On reaching Sang Hollow the scene that presented itself to
us was heart-rending. The road was lined with homeless people, some with
a trunk or solitary chair, the only thing saved from their household
goods, and all wearing an aspect of the most hopeless misery. Men were
at work transferring from a freight car a pile of corpses at least sixty
in number, and here and there a ghastly something under a covering
showed where the body of some victim of the flood lay awaiting
identification or burial in a nameless grave. Busy workers were engaged
in clearing away the piles of driftwood and scattered articles of
household use which cumbered the tracks and the roads. These piles told
their own mournful story. There were beds, bureaus, mattresses, chairs,
tables, pictures, dead horses and mules, overcoats, remnants of dresses
sticking on the branches of trees, and a thousand other odd pieces of
flotsam and jetsam from ruined homes. I saw a man get off the train and
pick up an insurance policy for $30,000. Another took away as relics a
baby's chair and a confirmation card in a battered frame. On the banks
of the Little Conemaugh creek people were delving in the driftwood,
which was piled to a depth of six or seven feet, unearthing and carrying
away whatever could be turned to account. Under those piles, it is
thought, numbers of bodies are buried, not to be recovered except by the
labor of many days. A woman and a little girl were brought from
Johnstown by some means which I could not ascertain. The woman was in
confinement, and was carried on a lounge, her sole remaining piece of
property. She was taken to Latrobe for hospital treatment. I cannot
understand how it is that people are unable to make their way from Sang
Hollow to Johnstown. The distance is short, and it should certainly be a
comparatively easy task to get over it on foot or horseback. However,
there seems to be some insuperable obstacle. All those who made the trip
on the train with me in order to obtain tidings of their friends in
Johnstown, were forced to return as I did.

"The railroad is in a terrible condition. The day express and the
limited, which left Pittsburg on Friday morning, are lying between
Johnstown and Conemaugh on the east, having been cut off by the flood.
Linemen were sent down from our train at every station to repair the
telegraph wires which are damaged. Tremendous efforts are being exerted
to repair the injury sustained by the railroad, and it is only a
question of a couple of days until through communication is
reëstablished. Our homeward trip was marked by a succession of sad
spectacles. At Blairsville intersection two little girls lay dead, and
in a house taken from the river was the body of a woman. Some idea of
the force of the flood may be had from the statement that freight cars,
both loaded and empty, had been lifted bodily from the track, and
carried a distance of several blocks, and deposited in a graveyard in
the outskirts of the town, where they were lying in a mass mixed up with
tombstones and monuments."

[Illustration: RUINS OF THE CAMBRIA IRON CO'S STORE.]



CHAPTER XXI.


Where the carcass is, there will the vultures be gathered together. It
is humiliating to human nature to record it, but it is nevertheless
true, that amid all the suffering and sacrifice, and heroism and
generosity that was displayed in this awful time, there arose some of
the basest passions of unbridled vice. The lust of gain led many
skulking wretches to rob and despoil, and even to mutilate the bodies of
the dead. Pockets were searched. Jewels were stolen. Finger-rings and
ear-rings were torn away, the knife often being used upon the poor, dead
clay to facilitate the spoliation. Against this savagery the better
elements of the populace sternly revolted. For the time there was no
organized government. But outraged and indignant humanity soon
formulates its own code of laws. Pistol and rope and bludgeon, in the
hand of honesty, did effective work. The reports of summary lynchings
that at first were spread abroad were doubtless exaggerated, but they
had a stern foundation of truth; and they had abundant provocation.

Writing on that tragic Sunday, one correspondent says: "The way of the
transgressor in the desolated valley of the Conemaugh is hard indeed.
Each hour reveals some new and horrible story of suffering and outrage,
and every succeeding hour brings news of swift and merited punishment
meted out to the fiends who have dared to desecrate the stiff and
mangled bodies in the city of the dead, and torture the already
half-crazed victims of the cruelest of modern catastrophes. Last night a
party of thirteen Hungarians were noticed stealthily picking their way
along the banks of the Conemaugh toward Sang Hollow. Suspicious of their
purpose, several farmers armed themselves and started in pursuit. Soon
their most horrible fears were realized. The Hungarians were out for
plunder. They came upon the dead and mangled body of a woman, lying upon
the shore, upon whose person there were a number of trinkets of jewelry
and two diamond rings. In their eagerness to secure the plunder, the
Hungarians got into a squabble, during which one of the number severed
the finger upon which were the rings, and started on a run with his
fearful prize. The revolting nature of the deed so wrought upon the
pursuing farmers, who by this time were close at hand, that they gave
immediate chase. Some of the Hungarians showed fight, but, being
outnumbered, were compelled to flee for their lives. Nine of the brutes
escaped, but four were literally driven into the surging river and to
their death. The thief who took the rings was among the number of the
involuntary suicides."

At 8.30 o'clock this morning an old railroader, who had walked from Sang
Hollow, stepped up to a number of men who were on the platform station
at Curranville, and said:--

"Gentlemen, had I a shot-gun with me half an hour ago, I would now be a
murderer, yet with no fear of ever having to suffer for my crime. Two
miles below here I watched three men going along the banks stealing the
jewels from the bodies of the dead wives and daughters of men who have
been robbed of all they hold dear on earth."

He had no sooner finished the last sentence than five burly men, with
looks of terrible determination written on their faces, 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, so it is
stated, they had overtaken two of their victims, who were then in the
act of cutting 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:--

"Throw up your hands, or I'll blow your heads off!"

With blanched faces and trembling forms, they obeyed the order and
begged for mercy. They were searched, and, as their pockets were emptied
of their ghastly finds, the indignation of the crowd intensified, and
when a bloody finger of an infant encircled with two tiny gold rings was
found among the plunder in the leader's pocket, a cry went up, "Lynch
them! Lynch them!" Without a moment's 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. After half an hour the ropes were cut and the bodies
lowered and carried to a pile of rocks in the forest on the hill above.
It is hinted that an Allegheny county official was one of the most
prominent in this justifiable homicide.

One miserable wretch who was caught in the act of mutilating a body was
chased by a crowd of citizens, and when captured was promptly strung up
to a telegraph pole. A company of officers rescued him before he was
dead, much to the disgust of many reputable people, whose feelings had
been outraged by the treatment of their deceased relations. Shortly
after midnight an attempt was made to rob the First National Bank,
which, with the exception of the vaults, had been destroyed. The
plunderers were discovered by the citizens' patrol, which had been
established during the night, and a lively chase ensued. A number of
the thieves--six, it is said--were shot. It is not known whether any
were killed or not, as their bodies would have been washed away almost
immediately if such had been the case.

A number of Hungarians collected about a number of bodies at Cambria
which had been washed up, and began rifling the trunks. After they had
secured all the contents they turned their attention to the dead.

The ghastly spectacle presented by the distorted features of those who
had lost their lives during the flood had no influence upon the ghouls,
who acted more like wild beasts than human beings. They took every
article from the clothing on the dead bodies, not leaving anything of
value or anything that would serve to identify the remains.

After the miscreants had removed all their plunder to dry ground a
dispute arose over a division of the spoils. A pitched battle followed,
and for a time the situation was alarming. Knives and clubs were used
freely. As a result several of the combatants were seriously wounded and
left on the ground, their fellow-countrymen not making any attempt to
remove them from the field of strife.

A Hungarian was caught in the act of cutting off a dead woman's finger,
on which was a costly ring. The infuriated spectators raised an outcry
and the fiend fled. He was hotly pursued, and after a half-hour's hard
chase, was captured and hanged to a telegraph pole, but was cut down and
resuscitated by officers. Liquor emboldened the ghouls, and Pittsburg
was telegraphed for help, and the 18th and 14th Regiments, Battery B and
the Washington Infantry were at once called out for duty, members being
apprised by posters in the newspaper windows.

One correspondent wrote: "The number of drunken men is remarkable.
Whiskey seems marvelously plenty. Men are actually carrying it around in
pails. Barrels of the stuff are constantly located among the drifts, and
_men are scrambling over each other and fighting like wild beasts_ in
their mad search for it. At the cemetery, at the upper end of town, I
saw a sight that rivals the Inferno. A number of ghouls had found a lot
of fine groceries, among them a barrel of brandy, with which they were
fairly stuffing themselves. One huge fellow was standing on the strings
of an upright piano singing a profane song, every little while breaking
into a wild dance. A half-dozen others were engaged in a hand-to-hand
fight over the possession of some treasure stolen from a ruined house,
and the crowd around the barrel were yelling like wild men."

These reports were largely discredited and denied by later and probably
more trustworthy authorities, but there was doubtless a considerable
residue of truth in them.

There were so many contradictory stories about these horrible doings
that our painstaking correspondent put to "Chall" Dick, the Deputy
Sheriff, this "leading question": "Did you shoot any robbers?" Chall did
not make instant reply, but finally looked up with a peculiar expression
on his face and said:--

"There are some men whom their friends will never again see alive."

"Well, now, how many did you shoot?" was the next question.

"Say," said Chall. "On Saturday morning I was the first to make my way
to Sang Hollow to see if I could not get some food for people made
homeless by the flood. There was a car-load of provisions there, but the
vandals were on hand. They broke into the car and, in spite of my
protestations, carried off box after box of supplies. I only got half a
wagon load. They were too many for me. I know when I have no show. There
was no show there and I got out.

"As I was leaving Sang Hollow and got up the mountain road a piece, I
saw two Hungarians and one woman engaged in cutting the fingers off of
corpses to get some rings. Well, I got off that team and--well, there
are three people who were not drowned and who are not alive."

"Where are the bodies?"

"Ain't the river handy there? I went down to Sang Hollow on Sunday, but
I went fixed for trouble that time. When I got into the hollow the
officers had in tow a man who claimed he was arrested because he had
bummed it on the freight train. A large crowd of men were trying to
rescue the fellow. I rode into that crowd and scattered it. I got
between the crowd and officers, who succeeded in getting their man in
here. The fellow had been robbing the dead and had a lot of jewelry on
his person. I see by the papers that Consul Max Schamberg, of Pittsburg,
asserts that the Huns are a law-abiding race, and that when they were
accused of robbing the dead they were simply engaged in trying to
identify some of their friends. Consul Schamberg does not know what he
is talking about. I know better, for I saw them engaged in robbing the
dead.

"Those I caught at it will never do the like again. Why, I saw them let
go of their friends in the water to catch a bedstead with a mattress on
it. That's the sort of law-abiding citizens the Huns are."

Down the Cambria road, past which the dead of the river Conemaugh swept
into Nineveh in awful numbers, was witnessed a wretched scene--that of a
young officer of the National Guard in full uniform, and a poor
deputy-sheriff, who had lost home, wife, children and all, clinched
like madmen and struggling for the former's revolver. If the officer of
the Guard had won, there might have been a tragedy, for he was drunk.
The homeless deputy-sheriff, with his wife and babies swept to death
past the place where they struggled, was sober and in the right.

The officer was a first lieutenant. His company came with that regiment
into this valley of distress to protect survivors from ruffianism and
maintain the peace and dignity of the State. The man with whom he fought
for the weapon was almost crazy in his own woe, but singularly cool and
self-possessed regarding the safety of those left living.

It was one o'clock in the afternoon when a Philadelphia _Press_
correspondent noticed on the Cambria road the young officer with his
long military coat cut open, leaning heavily for support upon two
privates. He was crying in a maudlin way, "You just take me to a place
and I'll drink soft stuff." They entreated him to return at once to the
regimental headquarters, even begged him, but he cast them aside and
went staggering down the road to the line, where he met the grave-faced
deputy face to face. The latter looked in the white of his eyes and
said: "You can't pass here, sir."

"Can't pass here?" he cried, waving his arms. "You challenge an officer?
Stand aside!"

"You can't pass here!" this time quietly, but firmly; "not while you're
drunk."

"Stand aside!" yelled the lieutenant. "Do you know who I am? You talk to
an officer of the National Guard."

"Yes; and listen," said the man in front of him so impatiently that it
hushed his antagonist's tirade. "I talk to an 'officer' of the National
Guard--I who have lost my wife, my children and all in this flood no man
has yet described; we who have seen our dead with their bodies mutilated
and their fingers cut from their hands by dirty foreigners for a little
gold, are not afraid to talk for what is right, even to an officer of
the National Guard."

While he spoke another great, dark, stout man, who looked as if he had
suffered, came up, and upon taking in the situation every vein in his
forehead swelled purple with rage.

"You dirty cur," he cried to the officer; "you dirty, drunken cur, if it
was not for the sake of peace I'd lay you out where you stand."

"Come on," yelled the Lieutenant, with an oath.

The big man sent out a terrible blow that would have left the Lieutenant
senseless had not one of the privates dashed in between, receiving part
of it and warding it off. The Lieutenant got out of his military coat.
The privates seized the big man and with another correspondent, who ran
to the scene, held him back. The Lieutenant put his hand to his pistol
pocket, the deputy seized him, and the struggle for the weapon began.
For a moment it was fierce and desperate, then another private came to
the deputy's assistance. The revolver was wrested from the drunken
officer and he himself was pushed back panting to the ground.

The deputy seized the military coat he had thrown on the ground, and
with it and the weapon started to the regimental headquarters. Then the
privates got around him and begged him, one of them with tears in his
eyes, not to report their officer, saying that he was a good man when he
was sober. He studied a long while, standing in the road, while the
officer slunk away over the hill. Then he threw the disgraced uniform to
them, and said: "Here, give them to him; and, mind you, if he does not
go at once to his quarters, I'll take him there, dead or alive."



CHAPTER XXII.


While yet the first wild cry of anguish was thrilling among the startled
hills of the Conemaugh, the great heart of the nation answered it with a
mighty throb of sympathy. On Tuesday afternoon, at Washington, the
President called a gathering of eminent citizens to devise measures of
relief. The meeting was held in Willard's Hall, on F street, above
Fourteenth, and President Harrison made such an eloquent appeal for
assistance that nearly $10,000 was raised in the hour and a half that
the meeting was in session.

As presiding officer the Chief Magistrate sat in a big arm-chair on the
stage. On his right were District Commissioner Douglass, Hine and
Raymond, and on his left sat Postmaster-General Wanamaker and Private
Secretary Halford. In the audience were Secretaries Noble, Proctor and
Tracy, Attorney-General Miller, Congressman Randall and Senators and
Representatives from all parts of the country.

President Harrison called the meeting to order promptly at 3 o'clock. A
dead silence fell over the three hundred people as the President stepped
to the front of the platform and in a clear, distinct voice appealed for
aid for the thousands who had been bereft of their all by the terrible
calamity. His voice trembled once or twice as he dwelt upon the scene of
death and desolation, and a number of handkerchiefs were called into use
at his vivid portrayal of the disaster.

Upon taking the chair the President said:--

"Every one here to-day is distressingly conscious of the circumstances
which have convened this meeting. It would be impossible to state more
impressively than the newspapers have already done the distressing
incidents attending the calamity which has fallen upon the city of
Johnstown and the neighboring hamlets, and upon a large section of
Pennsylvania situated upon the Susquehanna river. The grim pencil of
Doré would be inadequate to portray the horrors of this visitation. In
such meetings as we have here in the national capital and other like
gatherings that are taking place in all the cities of this land, we have
the only rays of hope and light in the general gloom. When such a
calamitous visitation falls upon any section of our country we can do no
more than to put about the dark picture the golden border of love and
charity. [Applause.] It is in such fires as these that the brotherhood
of man is welded.

"And where is sympathy and help more appropriate than here in the
national capital? I am glad to say that early this morning, from a city
not long ago visited with pestilence, not long ago itself appealing to
the charitable people of the whole land for relief--the city of
Jacksonville, Fla.--there came the ebb of that tide of charity which
flowed toward it in the time of its need, in a telegram from the
Sanitary Relief Association authorizing me to draw upon them for $2000
for the relief of the Pennsylvania sufferers. [Applause.]

"But this is no time for speech. While I talk men and women are
suffering for the relief which we plan to give. One word or two of
practical suggestion, and I will place this meeting in your hands to
give effect to your impatient benevolence. I have a despatch from the
Governor of Pennsylvania advising me that communication has just been
opened with Williamsport, on a branch of the Susquehanna river, and that
the losses in that section have been appalling; that thousands of people
there are homeless and penniless, and that there is an immediate call
for food to relieve their necessities. He advises me that any supplies
of food that can be hastily gathered here should be sent via Harrisburg
to Williamsport, where they will be distributed. I suggest, therefore,
that a committee be constituted having in charge the speedy collection
of articles of food.

"The occasion is such that the bells might well be rung through your
streets to call the attention of the thoughtless to this great
exigency--in order that a train load of provisions may be despatched
to-night or in the early morning to this suffering people.

"I suggest, secondly, as many of these people have had the entire
furnishings of their houses swept away and have now only temporary
shelter, that a committee be appointed to collect such articles of
clothing, and especially bed clothing, as can be spared. Now that the
summer season is on, there can hardly be a house in Washington which
cannot spare a blanket or a coverlet.

"And, third, I suggest that from the substantial business men and
bankers there be appointed a committee who shall collect money, for
after the first exigency is past there will be found in those
communities very many who have lost their all, who will need aid in the
construction of their demolished homes and in furnishing them so that
they may be again inhabited.

"Need I say in conclusion that, as a temporary citizen of Washington, it
would give me great satisfaction if the national capital should so
generously respond to this call of our distressed fellow citizens as
to be conspicuous among the cities of our land. [Applause.] I feel that,
as I am now calling for contributions, I should state that on Saturday,
when first apprised of the disaster at Johnstown, I telegraphed a
subscription to the Mayor of that city. I do not like to speak of
anything so personal as this, but I felt it due to myself and to you
that I should say so much as this."

[Illustration: THIRD STREET, WILLIAMSPORT, DURING THE FLOOD.]

The vice presidents elected included all the members of the Cabinet,
Chief Justices Fuller, Bingham and Richardson, M. G. Emery, J. A. J.
Cresswell, Dr. E. B. Clark, of the Bank of the Republic; C. L. Glover,
of the Riggs Bank; Cashier James, of the Bank of Washington; B. H.
Warner, Ex-Commissioners Webb and Wheatley, Jesse B. Wilson, Ex-Minister
Foster and J. W. Thompson. The secretaries were S. H. Kaufmann, Beriah
Wilkins, E. W. Murphy and Hallett Kilbourne; treasurer, E. Kurtz
Johnson.

While subscriptions were being taken up, the President intimated that
suggestions would be in order, and a prompt and generous response was
the result. The Adams Express Company volunteered to transport all
material for the relief of the distressed people free of charge, and the
Lamont Opera Company tendered their services for a benefit, to be given
in aid of the sufferers. The managers offered the use of their theatre
free of charge for any performances. Numerous other offers of
provisions and clothing were made and accepted.

Then President Harrison read a number of telegrams from Governor Beaver,
in which he gave a brief synopsis of the horrors of the situation and
asked for the government pontoon bridge.

"I regret to say," added the President, "that the entire length of the
pontoon bridge is only 550 feet. Governor Beaver advises me that the
present horrors are not alone to be dreaded, but he fears that
pestilence may come. I would therefore suggest that disinfectants be
included in the donations. I think we should concentrate our efforts and
work, through one channel, so that the work may be expeditiously done.
In view of that fact we should have one headquarters and everything
should be sent there. Then it could be shipped without delay."

The use of Willard Hall was tendered and decided upon as a central
point. The District Commissioners were appointed a committee to receive
and forward the contributions. When the collections had been made, the
amounts were read out and included sums ranging from $500 to $1.

The President, in dismissing the meeting, said:--

"May I express the hope that this work will be earnestly and thoroughly
pushed, and that every man and woman present will go from this meeting
to use their influence in order that these supplies of food and
clothing so much and so promptly needed may be secured, and that either
to-night or to-morrow morning a train well freighted with relief may go
from Washington."

In adjourning the meeting, President Harrison urged expediency in
forwarding the materials for the sufferers. Just before adjournment a
resolution was read, thanking the President for the interest he had
taken in the matter. President Harrison stepped to the front of the
platform then, and declined the resolution in a few graceful remarks.

"I appreciate the resolution," he said, "but I don't see why I should be
thanked any more than the others, and I would prefer that the resolution
be withdrawn."

Pension Commissioner Tanner, on Monday, sent the following telegram to
the United States Pension agent at Pittsburg:--

"Make special any current vouchers from the towns in Pennsylvania ruined
by floods and pay at once on their receipt. Where certificates have been
lost in floods send permit to execute new voucher without presenting
certificate to magistrate. Permits signed in blank forwarded to-day.
Make special all original certificates of pensioners residing in those
towns and pay on receipt of vouchers, regardless of my instruction of
May 13th."

The Governor of Pennsylvania issued the following:--

                   "COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
                           "EXECUTIVE CHAMBER,
                   "HARRISBURG, PA., June 3d, 1889.

  "_To the People of the United States:--_

"The Executive of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has refrained
hitherto from making any appeal to the people for their benefactions, in
order that he might receive definite and reliable information from the
centres of disaster during the late floods, which have been
unprecedented in the history of the State or nation. Communication by
wire has been established with Johnstown to-day. The civil authorities
are in control, the Adjutant General of the State coöperating with them;
order has been restored and is likely to continue. Newspaper reports as
to the loss of life and property have not been exaggerated.

"The valley of the Conemaugh, which is peculiar, has been swept from one
end to the other as with the besom of destruction. It contained a
population of forty thousand to fifty thousand people, living for the
most part along the banks of a small river confined within narrow
limits. The most conservative estimates place the loss of life at 5000
human beings, and of property at twenty-five millions. Whole towns have
been utterly destroyed. Not a vestige remains. In the more substantial
towns the better buildings, to a certain extent, remain, but in a
damaged condition. Those who are least able to bear it have suffered the
loss of everything.

"The most pressing needs, so far as food is concerned, have been
supplied. Shoes and clothing of all sorts for men, women and children
are greatly needed. Money is also urgently required to remove the
débris, bury the dead and care temporarily for the widows and orphans
and for the homeless generally. Other localities have suffered to some
extent in the same way, but not in the same degree.

"Late advices seem to indicate that there is great loss of life and
destruction of property along the west branch of the Susquehanna and in
localities from which we can get no definite information. What does
come, however, is of the most appalling character, and it is expected
that the details will add new horrors to the situation.

"The responses from within and without the State have been most generous
and cheering. North and South, East and West, from the United States and
from England, there comes the same hearty, generous response of sympathy
and help. The President, Governors of States, Mayors of cities, and
individuals and communities, private and municipal corporations, seem to
vie with each other in their expressions of sympathy and in their
contributions of substantial aid. But, gratifying as these responses
are, there is no danger of their exceeding the necessities of the
situation.

"A careful organization has been made upon the ground for the
distribution of whatever assistance is furnished, in kind. The Adjutant
General of the State is there as the representative of the State
authorities, and is giving personal attention, in connection with the
Chief Burgess of Johnstown and a committee of relief, to the
distribution of the help which is furnished.

"Funds contributed in aid of the sufferers can be deposited with Drexel
& Co., Philadelphia; Jacob C. Bomberger, banker, Harrisburg, or William
R. Thompson & Co., bankers, Pittsburg. All money contributed will be
used carefully and judiciously. Present wants are fairly met.

"A large force will be employed at once to remove the débris and bury
the dead, so as to avoid disease and epidemic.

"The people of the Commonwealth and others whose unselfish generosity is
hereby heartily appreciated and acknowledged may be assured that their
contributions will be made to bring their benefactions to the immediate
and direct relief of those for whose benefit they are intended.

                                             "JAMES A. BEAVER.

"By the Governor, CHARLES W. STONE, Secretary of the Commonwealth."

Governor Hill, of New York, also issued the following proclamation:--

                                            STATE OF NEW YORK.

"A disaster unparalleled of its kind in the history of our nation has
overtaken the inhabitants of the city of Johnstown and surrounding towns
in our sister State of Pennsylvania. In consequence of a mighty flood
thousands of lives have been lost, and thousands of those saved from the
waters are homeless and in want. The sympathy of all the people of the
State of New York is profoundly aroused in behalf of the unfortunate
sufferers by the calamity. The State, in its capacity as such, has no
power to aid, but the generous-hearted citizens of our State are always
ready and willing to afford relief to those of their fellow countrymen
who are in need, whenever just appeal has been made.

"Therefore, as the Governor of the State of New York, I hereby suggest
that in each city and town in the State relief committees be formed,
contributions be solicited and such other appropriate action be taken as
will promptly afford material assistance and necessary aid to the
unfortunate. Let the citizens of every portion of the State vie with
each other in helping with liberal hand this worthy and urgent cause.

"Done at the Capitol, this third day of June, in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine."

                                               DAVID B. HILL.

By the Governor, WILLIAM G. RICE, _Sec._

Nor were Americans in foreign lands less prompt with their offerings. On
Wednesday, in Paris, a meeting of Americans was held at the United
States Legation, on a call in the morning papers by Whitelaw Reid, the
United States Minister, to express the sympathy of the Americans in
Paris with the sufferers by the Johnstown calamity. In spite of the
short notice the rooms of the Legation were packed, and many went away
unable to gain admittance. Mr. Reid was called to the chair, and Mr.
Ernest Lambert was appointed secretary. The following resolutions were
offered by Mr. Andrew Carnegie and seconded by Mr. James N. Otis:--

_Resolved_, That we send across the Atlantic to our brethren,
overwhelmed by the appalling disaster at Johnstown, our most profound
and heartfelt sympathy. Over their lost ones we mourn with them, and in
every pang of all their misery we have our part.

_Resolved_, That as American citizens we congratulate them upon and
thank them for the numerous acts of noble heroism displayed under
circumstances calculated to unnerve the bravest. Especially do we honor
and admire them for the capacity shown for local self-government, upon
which the stability of republican institutions depends, the military
organizations sent from distant points to preserve order during the
chaos that supervened having been returned to their homes as no longer
required within forty-eight hours of the calamity. In these few hours
the civil power recreated and asserted itself and resumed sway without
the aid of counsel from distant authorities, but solely by and from the
inherent power which remains in the people of Johnstown themselves.

_Resolved_, That the thanks of this meeting be cordially tendered to Mr.
Reid for his prompt and appropriate action in this matter, and for
services as chairman of this meeting.

_Resolved_, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded at once by
telegraph to the Mayors of Johnstown, Pittsburg and Philadelphia.

Brief and touching speeches were made by General Lawton, late United
States Minister to Austria; the Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, General Meredith
Read and others.

The resolutions were then unanimously adopted, and a committee was
appointed to receive subscriptions. About 40,000 francs were subscribed
on the spot. The American bankers all agreed to open subscriptions the
next day at their banking houses. "Buffalo Bill" subscribed the entire
receipts of one entertainment, to be given under the auspices of the
committee.

Besides those already named, there were present Benjamin Brewster, Louis
von Hoffman, Charles A. Pratt, ex-Congressman Lloyd Bryce, Clarence
Dinsmore, Edward Tuck, Professor Chanler, the Rev. Dr. Stoddard and
others from New York; Colonel Otis Ritchie, of Boston; General Franklin
and Assistant Commissioner Tuck; George W. Allen, of St. Louis;
Consul-General Rathbone, and a large number of the American colony in
Paris. It was the largest and most earnest meeting of Americans held in
Paris for many years.

The Municipal Council of Paris gave 5000 francs to the victims of the
floods.

In London, the American Minister, Mr. Robert T. Lincoln, received from
his countrymen there large contributions. Mr. Marshall R. Wilder, the
comedian, gave an evening of recitations to swell the fund. Generous
contributions also came from Berlin and other European cities.



CHAPTER XXIII.


Spontaneously as the floods descended upon the fated valley, the
American people sprang to the relief of the survivors. In every city and
town subscription lists were opened, and clothing and bedding and food
were forwarded by the train-load. Managers gave theatrical performances
and baseball clubs gave benefit games to swell the fund. The Mayors of
New York, Philadelphia and other large cities took personal charge of
the collection and forwarding of funds and goods. In New York a meeting
of representative citizens was called by the Mayor, and a committee
formed, with General Sherman as chairman, and the presidents of the
Produce Exchange and the Chamber of Commerce among the vice-chairmen,
while the president of the Stock Exchange acted as treasurer. The
following appeal was issued:--

  "_To the People of the City of New York:_--

"The undersigned have been appointed a committee by a meeting held at
the call of the Mayor of the city to devise means for the succor and
relief of the sufferers in the Conemaugh Valley. A disaster of
unparalleled magnitude has overtaken the people of that valley and
elsewhere. Without warning, their homes have been swept away by an
unexpected and unprecedented flood. The daily journals of this city
contain long lists of the dead, and the number of those who perished is
still unknown. The survivors are destitute. They are houseless and
homeless, with scant food and no shelter, and the destructive waters
have not yet subsided.

"In this emergency their cry for help reaches us. There has never been
an occasion in our history that the appeal to our citizens to be
generous in their contributions was of greater moment than the present.
That generosity which has distinguished them above the citizens of every
other city, and which was extended to the relief of the famishing in
Ireland, to the stricken city of Charleston, to the plague-smitten city
of Jacksonville, and so on through the record of every event where man
was compelled to appeal to man, will not be lacking in this most recent
calamity. Generous contributions have already reached the committee. Let
the amount increase until they swell into a mighty river of benevolence.

"The committee earnestly request, as the want is pressing and succor to
be effectual must be speedy, that all contributions be sent at as early
a date as possible. Their receipt will be promptly acknowledged and
they will be applied, through responsible channels, to the relief of the
destitute and suffering."

All the exchanges, newspapers and other public agencies took up the
work, and hundreds of thousands of dollars rolled in every day. Special
collections were taken in the churches, and large sums were thus
realized.

In Philadelphia the work of relief was entered into in a similar manner,
with equally gratifying results. By Tuesday evening the various funds
established in that city for the sufferers had reached a total of
$360,000. In addition over 100,000 packages of provisions, clothing,
etc., making fully twenty car-loads, had been started on the way. The
leading business houses tendered the service of their delivery wagons
for the collection of goods, and some of them placed donation boxes at
their establishments, yielding handsome returns.

At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Railroad
Company the following resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote:--

"_Resolved_, That in addition to the $5000 subscribed by this company at
Pittsburg, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company hereby makes an extra
donation of $25,000 for the assistance of the sufferers by the recent
floods at Johnstown and other points upon the lines of the Pennsylvania
Railroad and the other affiliated roads, the contribution to be expended
under the direction of the Committee on Finance."

At the same time the members of the Board and executive officers added a
contribution, as individuals, of $5000.

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company subscribed $10,000 to the
Citizens' Fund.

In pursuance of a call issued by the Citizens' Permanent Relief
Association, a largely-attended meeting was held at the Mayor's office.
Drexel & Co., the treasurers of the fund, started the fund with a
contribution of $10,000. Several subscriptions of $1000 each were
announced. Many subscriptions were sent direct to Drexel & Co.'s banking
house, including $5000 from the Philadelphia brewers, $5000 from the
Baldwin Locomotive Works and other individual contributors.

But the great cities had no monopoly of benefactions. How every town in
the land responded to the call may be imagined from a few items clipped
at random from the daily papers, items the like of which for days
crowded many columns of the public press:--

_Bethlehem, Penn., June 3._--The Bethlehem Iron Company to-day
contributed $5000 for the relief of the sufferers.

_Johnstown, Penn., June 3._--Stephen Collins, of the Pittsburg
post-office, and several other members of the Junior Order of United
American Mechanics, were here to-day to establish a relief fund. They
have informed the committees that the members of this strong
organization are ready to do their best for their sufferers.

_Buffalo, June 3._--A meeting was held at the Mayor's office to-day to
devise means for the aid of the flood sufferers. The Mayor sent $1000 by
telegraph this afternoon. A committee was appointed to raise funds. The
Merchants' Exchange also started a relief fund this morning. A relief
train on the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad left here for
Pittsburg to-night with contributions of food and clothing.

_Albany, June 3._--_The Morning Express_ to-day started a subscription
for the relief of the sufferers. A public meeting, presided over by
Mayor Maher, was held at noon to-day, and a number of plans were adopted
for securing funds. There is now on hand $1000. Another meeting was held
this evening. The offertory in the city churches will be devoted to the
fund.

_Poughkeepsie, June 3._--A general movement was begun here to-day to aid
the sufferers in Pennsylvania. Mayor Rowley issued a proclamation and
people have been sending money to _The Eagle_ office all day. Factory
operatives are contributing, clergymen are taking hold of the matter,
and to-night the Retail Dealers' Association held a public meeting at
the Court House to appoint committees to go about among the merchants
with subscription lists. Mrs. Brazier, proprietress of a knitting
factory, sent off sixty dozen suits of under-wear to the sufferers
to-day.

_Troy, June 3._--Subscriptions exceeding $1500 for the relief of the
Pennsylvania flood sufferers were received to-day by _The Troy Press_.
The Mayor has called a public meeting for to-morrow.

_Washington, June 3._--A subscription for the relief of the sufferers by
the Johnstown flood was started at the Post-office Department to-day by
Chief Clerk Cooley. First Assistant Postmaster-General Clarkson headed
the list with $100. The indications are that nearly $1000 will be raised
in this Department. Postmaster-General Wanamaker had already subscribed
$1000 in Philadelphia.

_The Post_ has started a subscription for the relief of the Johnstown
sufferers. It amounts at present to $810. The largest single
contribution is $250 by Allen McLane.

[Illustration: WRECK OF TRUSS BRIDGE, AT WILLIAMSPORT.]

_Trenton, June 3._--In the Board of Trade rooms to-night over $1000 was
subscribed for the benefit of Johnstown sufferers. Contributions made
to-day will swell the sum to double that amount. Committees were
appointed to canvass the city.

_Chicago, June 3._--Mayor Cregier called a public meeting, which was
held at the City Hall to-day, to take measures for the relief of the
Johnstown sufferers. John B. Drake, of the Grand Pacific, headed a
subscription with $500.

_Hartford, Conn., June 3._--The House to-day concurred with the Senate
in passing the resolution appropriating $25,000 for the flood sufferers.

_Boston, June 3._--The House this afternoon admitted a bill
appropriating $10,000 for the relief of the sufferers.

A citizens' committee will receive subscriptions. It was announced that
$4600 had already been subscribed. Dockstader's Minstrels will give a
benefit to-morrow afternoon in aid of the sufferers' fund.

_Pittsfield, Mass., June 3._--A meeting was held here to-night and about
$300 was raised for the Johnstown sufferers. The town will be canvassed
to-morrow. Senator Dawes attended the meeting, made an address and
contributed liberally.

_Charleston, S. C., June 3._--At a meeting of the Charleston Cotton
Exchange to-day $500 was subscribed for the relief of the flood
sufferers.

_Fort Worth, Texas, June 3._--The Texas Spring Palace Association
to-night telegraphed to George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, that
to-morrow's receipts at the Spring Palace will be given to the sufferers
by the flood.

_Nashville, Tenn., June 3._--_The American_ to-day started a fund for
the relief of the Johnstown sufferers.

_Utica, June 4._--Utica to-day sent $2000 to Johnstown.

_Ithaca, June 4._--Cornell University has collected $800 for the
sufferers.

_Troy, June 4._--_The Troy Times_ sent this afternoon $1200 to the Mayor
of Pittsburg. _The Press_ sent $1000, making $2000 forwarded by _The
Press_.

_Boston, June 4._--The House to-day amended its bill of yesterday and
appropriated $30,000.

The Citizens' Committee has received $12,000, and Governor Ames' check
for $250 was received.

_New Bedford, Mass., June 4._--Mayor Clifford has sent $500 to the
sufferers.

_Providence, R. I., June 4._--A meeting of business men this morning
raised $4000 for the sufferers.

_Erie, Penn., June 4._--In mass meeting last night ex-Congressman W. L.
Scott led with a $1500 subscription for Johnstown, followed by ex-Judge
Galbraith with $500. The list footed up $6000 in a quarter of an hour.
Ward committees were appointed to raise it to $10,000. In addition to a
general subscription of $1000, which was sent forward yesterday, it is
rumored that a private gift of $5000 was also sent.

_Toledo, June 4._--Two thousand dollars have been obtained here for the
flood sufferers.

_Cleveland, June 4._--Over $16,000 was subscribed yesterday, which,
added to the $5000 raised on Sunday, swells Cleveland's cash
contributions to $21,000. Two car-loads of provisions and clothing and
twenty-one car-loads of lumber went forward to Johnstown.

_Cincinnati, June 4._--Subscriptions amounting to $10,000 were taken on
'Change yesterday.

_Milwaukee, June 4._--State Grand Commander Weissert telegraphed $250 to
the Pennsylvania Department yesterday.

_Detroit, June 4._--The relief fund already reaches nearly $1000.
Ex-Governor Alger and Senator James McMillan have each telegraphed $500
to the scene of the disaster.

_Chicago, June 4._--A meeting of business men was held this morning to
collect subscriptions. Several large subscriptions, including one of
$1000 by Marshall Field & Co., were received. The committees expect to
raise $50,000 within twenty four hours.

Governor Fifer has issued a proclamation urging the people to take
measures for rendering aid. The Aldermen of Chicago subscribed among
themselves a purse of $1000. The jewelers raised $1500. On the Board of
Trade one member obtained $5000, and another $4000.

From a citizens' meeting in Denver to-night $2500 was raised.

President Hughitt announces that the Chicago and Northwestern, the
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, and the Fremont, Elkhorn and
Missouri Valley Railways will transport, free of charge, all provisions
and clothing for the sufferers.

_Kansas City, Mo., June 4._--At the mass meeting last night a large sum
was subscribed for the sufferers.

_Chattanooga, June 3._--Chattanooga to-day subscribed $500.

_Wilmington, Del., June 4._--Over $2700 has been raised here for the
sufferers. A carload of supplies was shipped last night. Two doctors
have offered their services.

_Knoxville, Tenn., June 4._--The relief committee to-day raised over
$1500 in two hours for the sufferers in Johnstown and vicinity.

_Saratoga, June 4._--The village of Saratoga Springs has raised $2000.
Judge Henry Hilton subscribed one-half the amount. A committee was
appointed to-night to solicit additional subscriptions.

_Carlisle, Penn., June 4._--Aid for the sufferers has been pouring in
from all sections of the Cumberland Valley. From this city $700 and a
supply of clothing and provisions have been sent. Among the
contributions to-day was $100 from the Indian children at the Government
training school.

_Charleston, S. C., June 4._--The City Council to-day voted $1000 for
the relief of the Pennsylvania sufferers. The Executive Committee of the
Chamber of Commerce subscribed $380 in a few minutes, and appointed
three committees to canvass for subscriptions. The Merchants' Exchange
is at work and general subscriptions are starting.

_St. Louis, June 4._--Generous subscriptions for the Conemaugh Valley
sufferers have been made here. The Merchants' Exchange has called a mass
meeting for to-morrow.

_Middletown, June 4._--To-day the Mayor telegraphed the Mayor of
Johnstown to draw on him for $1000.

_Poughkeepsie, June 4._--Mayor Rowley to-day sent $1638 to Drexel & Co.,
Philadelphia. As much more was subscribed to-day.

_Auburn, June 5._--Auburn has subscribed $2000.

_Lockport, N. Y., June 5._--The Brewers' National Convention at Niagara
Falls this morning contributed $10,000.

_St. Johnsbury, Vt., June 5._--Grand Master Henderson issued an
invitation to-day to Odd Fellows in Vermont to contribute toward the
sufferers.

_Newburg, N. Y., June 5._--Newburg has raised about $2000 for the
sufferers.

_Worcester, Mass., June 5._--Subscriptions to the amount of $2400 were
made here to-day.

_Boston, June 5._--The total of the subscriptions received through
Kidder, Peabody & Co. to-day amounted to $35,400. The Fall River Line
will forward supplies free of charge.

_Providence, June 5._--The subscriptions here now exceed $11,000.

_Minneapolis, June 5._--The Citizens' Committee to-day voted to send
2000 barrels of flour to the sufferers.

_Chicago, June 5_.--It is estimated that Chicago's cash contributions to
date aggregate about $90,000.

_St. Louis, June 5._--The town of Desoto in this State has contributed
$200. Litchfield, Ill., has also raised $200.

_Los Angeles, Cal., June 5._--This city has forwarded $2000 to Governor
Beaver.

_Macon, June 5._--The City Council last night appropriated $200 for the
sufferers.

_Chattanooga, Tenn., June 5._--A. B. Forrest Camp, No. 3, Confederate
Veterans of Chattanooga, have contributed $100 to the relief fund. J. M.
Duncan, general manager of the South Tredegar Iron Company, of this
city, who a few years ago left Johnstown for Chattanooga as a young
mechanic, sent $1000 to-day to the relief fund. Another $1000 will be
sent from the proceeds of a popular subscription.

_Savannah, June 5._--The Savannah Benevolent Association subscribed
$1000 for the sufferers.

_Binghamton, June 5._--More than $2600 will be sent to Johnstown from
this city. Lieutenant-Governor Jones telegraphed that he would subscribe
$100.

_Albany, June 5._--Mayor Maher has telegraphed the Mayor of Pittsburg to
draw on him for $3000. The fund being raised by _The Morning Express_
amounts to over $1141.

_Lebanon, Penn., June 5._--This city will raise $5000 for the sufferers.

_Rochester, June 5._--Over $400 was subscribed to the Red Cross relief
fund to-day and $119 to a newspaper fund besides.

_Cleveland, June 5._--The cash collected in this city up to this evening
is $38,000. Ten car-loads of merchandise were shipped to Johnstown
to-day, and a special train of twenty-eight car-loads of lumber, from
Cleveland dealers, left here to-night.

_Fonda, N. Y., June 5._--The people of Johnstown, N. Y., instead of
making an appropriation with which to celebrate the Fourth of July, will
send $1000 to the sufferers at Johnstown, Pa.

_New Haven, June 5._--Over $2000 has been collected here.

_Wilmington, Del., June 5._--This city's fund has reached $470. The
second car-load of supplies will be shipped to-morrow.

_Glens Falls, N. Y., June 5._--Subscriptions here to-day amounted to
$622.

_Poughkeepsie, June 5._--Up to this evening $2736 have been raised in
this city for Johnstown.

_Washington, June 7._--The total cash contributions of the employees of
the Treasury Department to date, amounting to $2070, were to-day handed
to the treasurer of the Relief Fund of Washington. The officers and
clerks of the several bureaus of the Interior Department have subscribed
$2280. The contributions in the Government Printing Office aggregate
$1275. Chief Clerk Cooley to-day transmitted to the chairman of the
local committee $600 collected in the Post-office Department.

_Syracuse, N. Y., June 7._--Mayor Kirk to-day sent to Governor Beaver a
draft for $3000.

_Utica, N. Y., June 7._--Ilion has raised $1100, and has sent six cases
of clothing to Johnstown.

The Little Falls subscription is $700 thus far.

The Utica subscription is now nearly $6000.

Thus the gifts of the people flowed in, day by day, from near and from
far, from rich and from poor, to make less dark the awful desolation
that had set up its fearful reign in the Valley of the Conemaugh.



CHAPTER XXIV.


The city of Philadelphia with characteristic generosity began the work
of raising a relief fund on the day following the disaster, the Mayor's
office and Drexel's banking house being the chief centres of receipt.
Within four days six hundred thousand dollars was in hand. A most
thorough organization and canvass of all trades and branches of business
was made under the following committees:

        Machinery and Iron--George Burnham, Daniel A. Waters, William
     Sellers, W. B. Bement, Hamilton Disston, Walter Wood, J. Lowber
     Welsh, W. C. Allison, Charles Gilpin, Jr., E. Y. Townsend,
     Dawson Hoopes, Alvin S. Patterson, Charles H. Cramp, and John H.
     Brill.

        Attorneys--Mayer Sulzberger, George S. Graham, George W.
     Biddle, Lewis C. Cassidy, William F. Johnson, Joseph Parrish,
     Hampton L. Carson, John C. Bullitt, John R. Read, and Samuel B.
     Huey.

        Physicians--William Pepper, Horatio C. Wood, Thomas G. Morton,
     W. H. Pancoast, D. Hayes Agnew, and William W. Keen.

        Insurance--R. Dale Benson, C. J. Madeira, E. J. Durban, and
     John Taylor. Chemicals--William Weightman, H. B. Rosengarten,
     and John Wyeth.

        City Officers--John Bardsley, Henry Clay, Robert P. Dechert,
     S. Davis Page, and Judge R. N. Willson.

        Paper--A. G. Elliott, Whitney Paper Company, W. E. & E. D.
     Lockwood, Alexander Balfour, and the Nescochague Paper
     Manufacturing Company.

        Coal--Charles F. Berwind, Austin Corbin, Charles E.
     Barrington, and George B. Newton.

        Wool Dealers--W. W. Justice, David Scull, Coates Brothers,
     Lewis S. Fish & Co., and Theodore C. Search.

        Commercial Exchange--Walter F. Hagar and William Brice.

        Board of Trade--Frederick Fraley, T. Morris Perot, John H.
     Michener, and Joel Cook.

        Book Trade, Printing, and Newspapers--Charles Emory Smith,
     Walter Lippincott, A. K. McClure, Charles E. Warburton, Thomas
     MacKellar, William M. Singerly, Charles Heber Clark, and William
     V. McKean.

        Furniture--Charles B. Adamson, Hale, Kilburn & Co., John H.
     Sanderson, and Amos Hillborn & Co.

        Bakers and Confectioners--Godfrey Keebler, Carl Edelheim,
     Croft & Allen, and H. O. Wilbur & Sons.

        China, etc.--R. J. Allen, and Tyndale, Mitchell & Co.

        Lumber--Thomas P. C. Stokes, William M. Lloyd Company, Henry
     Bayard & Co., Geissel & Richardson, and D. A. Woelpper.

        Cloth and Tailors' Trimmings--Edmund Lewis, Henry N. Steel,
     Joseph R. Keim, John Alburger, and Samuel Goodman.

        Notions, etc.--Joel J. Baily, John Field, Samuel Clarkson,
     John C. Sullivan, William Super, John C. File, and W. B.
     Hackenberg.

        Clothing--H. B. Blumenthal, William Allen, Leo Loeb, William
     H. Wanamaker, Alan H. Reed, Morris Newberger, Nathan Snellenburg,
     Samuel Goodman, and John Alburger. Dry Goods
     Manufacturers--Lincoln Godfrey, Lemuel Coffin, N. Parker
     Shortridge, and W.H. Folwell.

        Wholesale Dry Goods--Samuel B. Brown, John M. Howett, Henry H.
     Ellison, and Edward T. Steel.

        Retail Dry Goods--Joseph G. Darlington, Isaac H. Clothier,
     Granville B. Haines, and Henry W. Sharpless.

        Jewelers--Mr. Bailey, of Bailey, Banks & Biddle; James E.
     Caldwell, and Simon Muhr.

        Straw Goods, Hats, and Millinery--John Adler, C. H. Garden &
     Co., and Henry Tilge.

        City Railways--Alexander M. Fox, William H. Kemble, E. B.
     Edwards, John F. Sullivan, and Charles E. Ellis.

        Photography--F. Gutekunst, A. K. P. Trask, and H. C. Phillips.

        Pianos and Musical--W. D. Dutton, Schomacker Piano Company,
     and C. J. Heppe.

        Plumbers--William Harkness, Jr., J. Futhey Smith, C. A.
     Blessing, and Henry B. Tatham.

        Liquors and Brewers--Joseph F. Sinnott, Bergner & Engel, John
     Gardiner, and John F. Belz.

        Hotels--E. F. Kingsley, Thomas Green, L. U. Maltby, C. H.
     Reisser, and H. J. Crump.

        Butchers--Frank Bower and Shuster Boraef.

        Woolen Manufacturers--William Wood, George Campbell, Joseph P.
     Truitt, and John C. Watt.

        Retail Grocers--George B. Woodman, George A. Fletcher, Robert
     Ralston, H. B. Summers, and E. J. Howlett.

        Boots and Shoes--John Mundell, John G. Croxton, Henry Z.
     Ziegler, and A. A. Shumway.

        Theatrical--J. Fred. Zimmerman, Israel Fleishman, and T. F.
     Kelly.

        Tobacco Trade--M. J. Dohan, L. Bamberger, E. H. Frishmuth,
     Jr., Walter Garrett, M. E. McDowell, J. H. Baltz, Henry Weiner,
     and George W. Bremer.

        Hosiery Manufactures--J. B. Allen and James B. Doak, Jr. Real
     Estate--Adam Everly, John M. Gummey, and Lewis H. Redner.

        Cordage--E. H. Fitler, John T. Bailey, and Charles Lawrence.

        Patent Pavement--Dr. L. S. Filbert and James Stewart, Jr.

        Bankers and Brokers--Winthrop Smith, Robert H. Glendenning,
     George H. Thomas, William G. Warden, Lindley Smyth, Thomas
     Cochran, J. L. Erringer, Charles H. Banes, Wharton Barker, and
     Jacob Naylor.

        Wholesale Grocers and Sugar Refiners--Francis B. Reeves,
     Edward C. Knight, Adolph Spreckels, William Janney, and Charles
     C. Harrison.

        Shirt Manufacturers and Dealers--Samuel Sternberger and Jacob
     Miller.

        Carpets--James Dobson, Robert Dornan, Hugh McCallum, John F.
     Orne, John R. White, and Thomas Potter, Jr.

        Saddlery Hardware, etc.--William T. Lloyd, of Lloyd & Supplee;
     Conrad B. Day, George DeB. Keim, Charles Thackara, John C.
     Cornelius, William Elkins, Jr., and James Peters.

By Tuesday the tide of relief was flowing strongly. On that day between
eight and nine thousand packages of goods were sent to the freight depot
of the Pennsylvania Railroad, to be forwarded to the sufferers. Wagons
came in an apparently endless stream and the quantity of goods received
far exceeded that of any previous day. Eight freight cars, tightly
packed, were shipped to Johnstown, while five car-loads of provisions
were sent to Williamsport, and one of provisions to Lewistown.

The largest consignment of goods from an individual was sent to
Williamsport by W. M. McCormick. He was formerly a resident of
Williamsport, and when he heard that the people of that city were
suffering for want of provisions, he immediately went out and ordered a
car-load of flour (one hundred and twenty-five barrels) and a car-load
of groceries and provisions, consisting of dried and smoked meats,
sugar, crackers, and a large assortment of other necessaries. Mr.
McCormick said he thought that several of his friends would go in with
him when they knew of the venture, but if they did not he would foot all
the bills himself.

The saddest incident of the day was the visit of a handsome young lady,
about twenty-three years of age. She was accompanied by an older lady,
and brought three packages of clothing. It was Miss Clydia Blackford,
whose home was in Johnstown. She said sobbingly that every one of her
relatives and friends had been lost in the floods, and her home entirely
wiped out. The gift of the packages to the sufferers of her old home
seemed to give her a sort of sad pleasure. She departed with tears in
her eyes.

When the convicts in the Eastern Penitentiary learned of the disaster
through the weekly papers which arrived on Wednesday and Thursday--the
only papers they are allowed to receive--a thing that will seem
incongruous to the outside world happened. The criminal, alone in his
cell, was touched with the same sympathy and desire to help fellow-men
in sore distress as the good people who have been filling relief depots
with supplies and coffers with money. Each as he read the story of the
flood would knock on his wicket and tell the keeper he wanted to give
some of his money.

The convicts, by working over and above their daily task, are allowed
small pay for the extra time. Half the money so earned goes to the
county from which the convict comes and half to the convict himself. The
maximum amount a Cherry Hill inmate can make in a week for himself is
one dollar.

The keepers told Warden Cassidy of the desire expressed all along that
the authorities receive their contributions. The convicts can do what
they please with their over-time money, by sending it to their friends,
and several had already sent small sums out of the Penitentiary to be
given to the Johnstown sufferers. The warden very promptly acceded to
the general desire and gave the keepers instructions. There are about
one thousand one hundred and ten men imprisoned in the institution, and
of this number one hundred and forty-six persons gave five hundred and
forty-two dollars and ninety-six cents. It would take one convict
working all his extra time ten years to earn that sum.

There was one old man, a cripple, who had fifteen dollars to his credit.
He said to the keeper: "I've been doing crooked work nearly all my life,
and I want to do something square this time. I want to give all the
money coming to me for these fellers out there." The warden, however,
had made a rule prohibiting any individual from contributing more than
five dollars. The old man was told this, but he was determined. "Look
here," said he; "I'll send the rest of my money out to my folks and tell
them to send it."

Chief of Police Mayer, in denying reports that there was an influx of
professional thieves into the flooded regions to rob the dead, said:
"The thieves wouldn't do anything like that; there is too much of the
gentleman in them." But here were thieves and criminals going into their
own purses out of that same "gentlemanly" part of them.

Up to Saturday, June 8th, the cash contributions in Philadelphia,
amounted to $687,872.68. Meantime countless gifts and expressions of
sympathy came from all over the world. The Lord Mayor of Dublin,
Ireland, raised a fund of $5,000. Archbishop Walsh gave $500.

Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British Minister at Washington, called on the
President on June 7th, in company with Secretary Blaine, and delivered
a message from Queen Victoria expressing her deep sympathy for the
sufferers by the recent floods in Pennsylvania. The President said in
reply:

"Mr. Minister: This message of sympathy from Her Majesty the Queen will
be accepted by our people as another expression of her own generous
character, as well as of the friendliness and good-will of her people.
The disasters which have fallen upon several communities in the State of
Pennsylvania, while extreme and full of the most tragic and horrifying
incidents, have fortunately been limited in territorial extent. The
generosity of our own citizens will promptly lessen to these stricken
people every loss that is not wholly irretrievable; and these the
sympathy of the Queen and the English people will help to assuage. Will
you, Mr. Minister, be pleased to convey to the Queen the sincere thanks
of the American people."

[Illustration: WRECK OF THE LUMBER YARDS AT WILLAMSPORT, PA.]

A newspaper correspondent called upon the illustrious Miss Florence
Nightingale, at her home in London, and asked her to send a message to
America regarding the floods. In response, she wrote:

     "I am afraid that I cannot write such a message as I would wish to
     just at this moment. I am so overdone. I have the deepest
     sympathy with the poor sufferers by the floods, and with Miss Clara
     Barton, of the Red Cross Societies, and the good women who are
     hastening to their help. I am so overworked and ill that I can feel
     all the more but write all the less for the crying necessity.

     (Signed)                                "FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE."

Though Miss Nightingale is sixty-nine years old, and an invalid, this
note was written in a hand indicating all the strength and vigor of a
schoolgirl. She is seldom able to go out now, though when she can she
dearly loves to visit the Nightingale Home for Training Nurses, which
constitutes such an enduring monument and noble record of her life. But,
though in feeble health, Miss Nightingale manages to do a great deal of
work yet. From all parts of the world letters pour in upon her, asking
advice and suggestions on matters of hospital management, of health and
of education, all of which she seldom fails to answer.

Last, but not least, let it be recorded that the members of the club
that owned the fatal lake sent promptly a thousand blankets and many
thousands of dollars to the sufferers from the floods, which had been
caused by their own lack of proper supervision of the dam.



CHAPTER XXV.


New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburg were, of course, the three chief
centres of charitable contributions, and the sources from which the
golden flood of relief was poured into the devastated valley. One of the
earliest gifts in New York city was that of $1,200, the proceeds of a
collection taken on Sunday morning, June 2d, in the West Presbyterian
Church, after an appeal by the Rev. Dr. John R. Paxton, the pastor. The
next day a meeting of prominent New York business men was held at the
Mayor's office, and a relief committee was formed. At this meeting many
contributions were announced. Isidor Wormser said that the Produce
Exchange had raised $15,000 for the sufferers. Ex-Mayor Grace reported
that the Lackawanna Coal and Iron Company had telegraphed the Cambria
Iron Company to draw upon it for $5,000 for the relief of the Cambria's
employees. Mayor Grant announced that he had received letters and checks
during the forenoon aggregating the sum of $15,000, and added his own
for $500. Subscriptions of $1,000 each were offered as fast as the
Secretary could record them by Kuhn, Loeb & Co., Jesse Seligman, Calvin
S. Brice, Winslow, Lanier & Co., Morris K. Jesup, Oswald Ottendorfer, R.
H. Macy & Co., M. Schiff & Co., and O. B. Potter. Sums of $500 were
subscribed with equal cheerfulness by Eugene Kelly, Sidney Dillon, the
Chatham National Bank, Controller Myers, Cooper, Hewitt & Co., Frederick
Gallatin, Tefft, Weller & Co., City Chamberlain Croker, and Tiffany &
Co. Numerous gifts of less sums quickly followed. Elliott F. Shepard
announced that the _Mail and Express_ had already sent $10,000 to
Johnstown. Before the Committee on Permanent Organization had time to
report, the Secretary gave out the information that $27,000 had been
subscribed since the meeting was called to order. Before the day was
over no less than $75,000 had been received at the Mayor's office,
including the following subscriptions:

     Pennsylvania Relief Committee of the Maritime Association of the
     Port of New York, Gustav H. Schwab, Treasurer, $3,435; Chatham
     National Bank, $500; Morris K. Jesup, $1,000; William Steinway,
     $1,000; Theodore W. Myers, $500; J. G. Moore, $1,000; J. W. Gerard,
     $200; Platt & Bowers, $250; Henry L. Hoguet, $100; Harry Miner,
     $200; Tefft, Weller & Co., $500; Louis May, $200; Madison Square
     Bank, $200; Richard Croker, $500; Tiffany & Co., $500; John Fox,
     $200; Jacob H. Schiff, $1,000; Nash & Brush, $100; Oswald
     Ottendorfer, $1,000; William P. St. John, $100; George Hoadly, for
     Hoadly, Lauterbach & Johnson, $250; Edwin Forrest Lodge, Order of
     Friendship, $200; W. T. Sherman, $100; W. L. Stone, $500; John R.
     Dos Passos, $250; G. G. Williams, $100; Coudert Bros., $250;
     _Staats-Zeitung_, $1,166; Cooper, Hewitt & Co., $500; Frederick
     Gallatin, $500; R. H. Macy & Co., $1,000; Mr. Caldwell, $100; C. N.
     Bliss, $500; Ward & Olyphant, $100; Eugene Kelly, $500; Lackawanna
     Coal and Iron Company, through Mayor Grace, $5,000; W. R. Grace,
     $500; G. Schwab & Bros., $300; Kuhn, Loeb & Co., $1,000; Central
     Trust Co., $1,000; Calvin S. Brice, $1,000; J. S. Seligman & Co.,
     $1,000; Sidney Dillon, $500; Winslow, Lanier & Co., $1,000; Hugh J.
     Grant, $500; Orlando B. Potter, $1,000.

     Through _The Tribune_, $319.75; through _The Sun_, $87.50; from
     Tammany Society, through Richard Croker, $1,000; Joseph Pulitzer,
     $2,000; Lazard Fréres, $1,000; Arnold, Constable & Co., $1,000; D.
     H. King, Jr., $1,000; August Belmont & Co., $1,000; New York Life
     Insurance Co., $500; John D. Crimmins, $500; Nathan Manufacturing
     Co., $500; Hugh N. Camp, $250; National Railway Publishing Co.,
     $200; William Openhym & Sons, $200; New York Transfer Co., $200;
     Warner Brothers, $100; L. J. and I. Phillips, $100; John Davel &
     Sons, $100; Hoole Manufacturing Co., $100; Hendricks Brothers,
     $100; Rice & Bijur, $100; C. A. Auffmordt, $100; Thomas C. T.
     Crain, $100; J. J. Wysong & Co., $100; Megroz, Portier, & Megroz &
     Co., $100; Foster, Paul & Co., $100; S. Stein & Co., $100; James
     McCreery & Co., $100; Lazell, Dalley & Co., $100; George W.
     Walling, $100; Thomas Garner & Co., $100; John Simpson, $100; W. H.
     Schieffelin & Co., $100; through A. Schwab, $1,400; H. C. F. Koch &
     Co., $100; George T. Hoadly, $250; G. Sidenburg & Co., $100; Ward &
     Oliphant, $100; Robert Bonner, $1,000; Horace White, $100; A. H.
     Cridge, $250; Edward Shriever, $300; C. H. Ludington, $100;
     Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company of New York, $200; Warner
     Brothers, $100; _New York Times_ (cash), $100; cash items, $321.20;
     Bennett Building, $105.

Shortly after the opening of the New York Stock Exchange a subscription
was started for the benefit of the Johnstown sufferers. The Governing
Committee of the Exchange made Albert King treasurer of the Exchange
Relief Fund, and, although many leading members were absent from the
floor, as is usual on Monday at this season of the year, the handsome
sum of $14,520 was contributed by the brokers present at the close of
business. Among the subscriptions received were:

        Vermilye & Co., $1,000; Moore & Schley, $1,000; L. Von
     Hoffman & Co., $500; N. S. Jones, $500; Speyer & Co., $500;
     Homans & Co., $500; Work, Strong & Co., $250; Washington E.
     Connor, $250; Van Emberg & Atterbury, $250; Simon Borg & Co.,
     $250; Chauncey & Gwynne Bros., $250; John D. Slayback, $250;
     Woerishoffer & Co., $250; S. V. White, $250; I. & S. Wormser,
     $250; Henry Clews & Co., $250; Ladenberg, Thalmann & Co.,
     $250; John H. Davis & Co., $200; Jones, Kennett & Hopkins,
     $200; H. B. Goldschmidt, $200; other subscriptions, $7,170.

Generosity rose higher still on Tuesday. Early in the day $5,000 was
received by cable from the London Stock Exchange. John S. Kennedy also
sent $5,000 from London. John Jacob Astor subscribed $2,500 and William
Astor $1,000. Other contributions received at the Mayor's office were
these:

        Archbishop Corrigan, $250; Straiton & Storm, $250; Bliss,
     Fabyan & Co., $500; Funk & Wagnalls, $100; Nathan Straus,
     $1,000; Sidney Dillon, $500; Winslow, Lanier & Co., $1,000;
     Henry Hilton, $5,000; R. J. Livingston, $1,000; Peter Marie,
     $100; The Dick & Meyer Co., Wm. Dick, President, $1,000;
     Decastro & Donner Sugar Refining Co., $1,000; Havemeyers &
     Elder Sugar Refining Co., $1,000; Frederick Gallatin, $500;
     Continental National Bank, from Directors, $1,000; F. O.
     Mattiessen & Wiechers' Sugar Refining Co., $1,000; Phelps,
     Dodge & Co., $2,500; Knickerbocker Ice Co., $1,000; First
     National Bank, $1,000; Apollinaris Water Co., London, $1,000;
     W. & J. Sloane, $1,000; Tefft, Weller & Co., $500; New York
     Stock Exchange, $20,000; Board of Trade, $1,000; Central Trust
     Co, $1,000; Samuel Sloan, $200.

The following contributions were made in ten minutes at a special
meeting of the Chamber of Commerce:

        Brown Brothers & Co., $2,500; Morton, Bliss & Co., $1,000;
     H. B. Claflin & Co., $2,000; Percy R. Pyne, $1,000; Fourth
     National Bank, $1,000; E. D. Morgan & Co., $1,000; C. S.
     Smith, $500; J. M. Ceballas, $500; Barbour Brothers & Co.,
     $500; Naumberg, Kraus & Co., $500; Thos. F. Rowland, $500;
     Bliss, Fabyan & Co., $500; William H. Parsons & Co., $250;
     Smith, Hogg & Gardner, $250; Doerun Lead Company, $250; A. R.
     Whitney & Co., $250; Williams & Peters, $100; Joy, Langdon &
     Co., $250; B. L. Solomon's Sons, $100; D. F. Hiernan, $100; A.
     S. Rosenbaum, $100; Henry Rice, $100; Parsons & Petitt, $100;
     Thomas H. Wood & Co., $100; T. B. Coddington, $100; John I.
     Howe, $50; John Bigelow, $50; Morrison, Herriman & Co., $250;
     Frederick Sturges, $250; James O. Carpenter, $50; C. H.
     Mallory, $500; George A. Low, $25; Henry W. T. Mali & Co.,
     $500; C. Adolph Low, $50; C. C. Peck, $20. Total, $15,295.

Thousands of dollars also came in from the Produce Exchange, Cotton
Exchange, Metal Exchange, Coffee Exchange, Real Estate Exchange, etc.
The Adams Express Co. gave $5,000, and free carriage of all goods for
the sufferers. The Mutual Life Insurance Co., gave $10,000. And so all
the week the gifts were made. Jay Gould, gave $1,000; the Jewish Temple
Emanuel, $1,500; The Hide and Leather Trade, $5,000; the Commercial
Cable Co., $500; the Ancient Order of Hibernians, $270; J. B. & J. H.
Cornell, $1,000; the New York Health Department, $500; Chatham National
Bank, $500; the boys of the House of Refuge on Randall's Island,
$258.22. Many gifts came from other towns and cities.

        Kansas City, $12,000; Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce,
     $22,106; Washington Post Office, $600; Boston, $94,000;
     Willard (N. Y.) Asylum for Insane, $136; Washington Government
     Printing Office, $1,275; Saugerties, N. Y., $850; Ithaca, N.
     Y., $1,600; Cornell University, $1,100; Whitehall, N. Y.,
     $600; Washington Interior Department, $2,280; Schenectady, N.
     Y., $3,000; Albany, $10,500; Washington Treasury Department,
     $2,070; Augusta, Ga., $1,000; Charleston, S. C., $3,500;
     Utica, N. Y., $6,000; Little Falls, N. Y., $700; Ilion, N. Y.,
     $1,100; Trenton, N. J., $12,000; Cambridge, Mass., $3,500;
     Haverhill, Mass., $1,500; Lawrence, Mass., $5,000; Salem,
     Mass., $1,000; Taunton, Mass., $1,010; New London, Conn.,
     $1,120; Newburyport, Mass., $1,500.

No attempt has been made above to give anything more than a few random
and representative names of givers. The entire roll would fill a volume.
By the end of the week the cash contributions in New York city amounted
to more than $600,000. Collections in churches on Sunday, June 9th,
aggregated $15,000 more. Benefit performances at the theatres the next
week brought up the grand total to about $700,000.



CHAPTER XXVI.


And now begins the task of burying the dead and caring for the living.
It is Wednesday morning. Scarcely has daylight broken before a thousand
funerals are in progress on the green hill-sides. There were no hearses,
few mourners, and as little solemnity as formality. The majority of the
coffins were of rough pine. The pall-bearers were strong ox-teams, and
instead of six pall-bearers to one coffin, there were generally six
coffins to one-team. Silently the processions moved, and silently they
unloaded their burdens in the lap of mother earth. No minister of God
was there to pronounce a last blessing as the clods rattled down, except
a few faithful priests who had followed some representatives of their
faith to the grave.

All day long the corpses were being hurried below ground. The
unidentified bodies were grouped on a high hill west of the doomed city,
where one epitaph must do for all, and that the word "unknown."

Almost every stroke of the pick in some portions of the city resulted in
the discovery of another victim, and, although the funerals of the
morning relieved the morgues of their crush, before night they were as
full of the dead as ever. Wherever one turns the melancholy view of a
coffin is met. Every train into Johnstown was laden with them, the
better ones being generally accompanied by friends of the dead. Men
could be seen staggering over the ruins with shining mahogany caskets on
their shoulders.

In the midst of this scene of death and desolation a relenting
Providence seems to be exerting a subduing influence. Six days have
elapsed since the great disaster, and the temperature still remains low
and chilly in the Conemaugh valley. When it is remembered that in the
ordinary June weather of this locality from two to three days are
sufficient to bring an unattended body to a degree of decay and
putrefaction that would render it almost impossible to prevent the
spread of disease throughout the valley, the inestimable benefits of
this cool weather are almost beyond appreciation.

The first body taken from the ruins was that of a boy, Willie Davis, who
was found in the debris near the bridge. He was badly bruised and
burned. The remains were taken to the undertaking rooms at the
Pennsylvania Railroad station, where they were identified. The boy's
mother has been making a tour of the different morgues for the past few
days, and was just going through the undertaking rooms when she saw the
remains of her boy being brought in. She ran up to the body and demanded
it. She seemed to have lost her mind, and caused quite a scene by her
actions. She said that she had lost her husband and six children in the
flood, and that this was the first one of the family that had been
recovered. The bodies of a little girl named Bracken and of Theresa and
Katie Downs of Clinton Street were taken out near where the remains of
Willie Davis were found.

Two hundred experienced men with dynamite, a portable crane, a
locomotive, and half a dozen other appliances for pulling, hauling, and
lifting, toiled all of Wednesday at the sixty-acre mass of debris that
lies above the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge at Johnstown. "As a result,"
wrote a correspondent, "there is visible, just in front of the central
arch, a little patch of muddy water about seventy-five feet long by
thirty wide. Two smaller patches are in front of the two arches on each
side of this one, but both together would not be heeded were they not
looked for especially. Indeed, the whole effect of the work yet done
would not be noticed by a person who had never seen the wreck before.
The solidity of the wreck and the manner in which it is interlaced and
locked together exceeds the expectations of even those who had examined
the wreck carefully, and the men who thought that with dynamite the mass
could be removed in a week, now do not think the work can be done in
twice this time. The work is in charge of Arthur Kirk, a Pittsburg
contractor. Dynamite is depended upon for loosening the mass, but it has
to be used in small charges for fear of damaging the bridge, which, at
this time, would be another disaster for the town. As it is, the south
abutment has been broken a little by the explosions.

"After a charge of dynamite had shaken up a portion of the wreck in
front of the middle arch, men went to work with long poles, crowbars,
axes, saws, and spades. All the loose pieces that could be got out were
thrown into the water under the bridge, and then, beginning at the
edges, the bits of wreck were pulled, pushed and cut out, and sent
floating away. At first the work of an hour was hardly perceptible, but
each fresh log of timber pulled out loosened others and made better
progress possible. When the space beneath the arch was cleared, and a
channel thus made through which the debris could be floated off, a huge
portable crane, built on a flat-car and made for raising locomotives and
cars, was run upon the bridge over the arch and fastened to the track
with heavy chains. A locomotive was furnished to pull the rope, instead
of the usual winch with a crank handle. A rope from the crane was
fastened by chains or grapnels to a log, and then the locomotive pulled.
About once in five times the log came out. Other times the chain slipped
or something else made the attempt a failure. Whenever a big stick came
out men with pikes pushed off all the other loosened debris that they
could get at. Other men shoveled off the dirt and ashes which cover the
raft so thickly that it is almost as solid as the ground.

"When a ten-foot square opening had been made back on the arch, the
current could be seen gushing up like a great spring from below, showing
that there was a large body of it being held down there by the weight of
the debris. The current through the arch became so strong that the
heaviest pieces in the wreck were carried off readily once they got
within its reach. One reason for this is that laborers are filling up
the gaps on the railroad embankment approaching the bridge in the north,
through which the river had made itself a new bed, and the water thus
dammed back has to go through or under the raft and out by the
bridge-arches. This both buoys up the whole mass and provides a means of
carrying off the wooden part of the debris as fast as it can be
loosened.

"Meanwhile an attack on the raft was being made through the adjoining
arch in another way. A heavy winch was set up on a small island in the
river seventy-five yards below the bridge, and ropes run from this were
hitched to heavy timbers in the raft, and then pulled out by workmen at
the winch. A beginning for a second opening in the raft was made in this
way. One man had some bones broken and was otherwise hurt by the
slipping of the handle while he was at work at the winch this afternoon.
The whole work is dangerous for the men. There is twenty feet of swift
water for them to slip into, and timbers weighing tons are swinging
about in unexpected directions to crush them.

"So far it is not known that any bodies have been brought out of the
debris by this work of removal, though many logs have been loosened and
sent off down the river beneath the water without being seen. There will
probably be more bodies back toward the centre of the raft than at the
bridge, for of those that came there many were swept over the top. Some
went over the arches and a great many were rescued from the bridge and
shore. People are satisfied now that dynamite is the only thing that can
possibly remove the wreck and that as it is being used it is not likely
to mangle bodies that may be in the debris any more than would any other
means of removing it. There are no more protests heard against its
use."

Bodies continue to be dug out of the wreck in the central portion all
day. A dozen or so had been recovered up to nightfall, all hideously
burned and mangled. In spite of all the water that has been thrown upon
it by fire engines and all the rain that has fallen, the debris is still
smouldering in many spots.

Work was begun in dead earnest on Wednesday on the Cambria Iron Works
buildings. The Cambria people gave out the absurd statement that their
loss will not exceed $100,000. It will certainly take this amount to
clean the works of the debris, to say nothing of repairing them. The
buildings are nearly a score in number, some of them of enormous size,
and they extend along the Conemaugh River for half a mile, over a
quarter of a mile in width. Their lonely chimneys, stretching high out
of the slate roofs above the brick walls, make them look not unlike a
man-of-war of tremendous size. The buildings on the western end of the
row are not damaged a great deal, though the torrent rolled through
them, turning the machinery topsy-turvy; but the buildings on the
eastern end, which received the full force of the flood, fared badly.
The eastern ends are utterly gone, the roofs bent over and smashed in,
the chimneys flattened, the walls cracked and broken, and, in some
cases, smashed entirely. Most of the buildings are filled with drift.
The workmen, who have clambered over the piles of logs and heavy drift
washed in front of the buildings and inside, say that they do not
believe that the machinery in the mills is damaged very much, and that
the main loss will fall on the mills themselves. Half a million may
cover the loss of the Cambria people, but this is a rather low estimate.
They have nine hundred men at work getting things in shape, and the
manner in which they have had to go to work illustrates the force with
which the flood acted. The trees jammed in and before the buildings were
so big and so solidly wedged in their places that no force of men could
pull them out, and temporary railroad tracks were built up to the mass
of debris. Then one of the engines backed down from the Pennsylvania
Railroad yards, and the workmen, by persistent effort, managed to get
big chains around parts of the drift. These chains were attached to the
engine, which rolled off puffing mightily, and in this way the mass of
drift was pulled apart. Then the laborers gathered up the loosened
material, heaped it in piles a distance from the buildings, and burned
them. Sometimes two engines had to be attached to some of the trees to
pull them out, and there are many trees which cannot be extricated in
this manner. They will have to be sawed into parts, and these parts
lugged away by the engines.

[Illustration: 250,000,000 FEET OF LOGS AFLOAT IN THE SUSQUEHANNA.]



CHAPTER XXVII.


Upon a pretty little plateau two hundred feet above the waters of Stony
Creek, and directly in front of a slender foot-bridge which leads into
Kernsville, stands a group of tents which represents the first effort of
any national organization to give material sanitary aid to the unhappy
survivors of Johnstown.

It is the camp of the American National Association of the Red Cross,
and is under the direction of that noble woman, Miss Clara Barton of
Washington, the President of the organization in this country. The camp
is not more than a quarter of a mile from the scene of operations in
this place, and, should pestilence attend upon the horrors of the flood,
this assembly of trained nurses and veteran physicians will be known all
over the land. That an epidemic of some sort will come, there seems to
be no question. The only thing which can avert it is a succession of
cool days, a possibility which is very remote.

Miss Barton, as soon as she heard of the catastrophe, started
preparations for opening headquarters in this place. By Saturday morning
she had secured a staff, tents, supplies, and all the necessary
appurtenances of her work, and at once started on the Baltimore and Ohio
Road. She arrived here on Tuesday morning, and pitched her tents near
Stony Creek. This was, however, a temporary choice, for soon she removed
her camp to the plateau upon which it will remain until all need for
Miss Barton will have passed. With her came Dr. John B. Hubbell, field
agent; Miss M. L. White, stenographer; Gustave Angerstein, messenger,
and a corps of fifteen physicians and four trained female nurses, under
the direction of Dr. O'Neill, of Philadelphia.

Upon their arrival they at once established quartermaster and kitchen
departments, and in less than three hours these divisions were fully
equipped for work. Then when the camp was formally opened on the plateau
there were one large hospital tent, capable of accommodating forty
persons, four smaller tents to give aid to twenty persons each, and four
still smaller ones which will hold ten patients each. Then Miss Barton
organized a house-to-house canvass by her corps of doctors, and began to
show results almost immediately.

The first part of the district visited was Kernsville. There great want
and much suffering were discovered and promptly relieved. Miss Barton
says that in most of the houses which were visited were several persons
suffering from nervous prostration in the most aggravated form, many
cases of temporary insanity being discovered, which, if neglected, would
assume chronic conditions. There were a large number of persons, too,
who were bruised by their battling on the borders of the flood, and were
either ignorant or too broken-spirited to endeavor to aid themselves in
any particular. The majority of these were not sufficiently seriously
hurt to require removal from their homes to the camp, and so were given
medicines and practical, intelligent advice how to use them.

There were fifteen persons, however, who were removed from Kernsville
and from a district known as the Brewery, on the extreme east of
Johnstown. Three of the number were women and were sadly bruised. One
man, Caspar Walthaman, a German operative at the Cambria Iron Works, was
the most interesting of all. He lived in a little frame house within
fifty yards of the brewery. When the flood came his house was lifted
from its foundations and was tossed about like a feather in a gale,
until it reached a spot about on a line with Washington Street. There
the man's life was saved by a great drift, which completely surrounded
the house, and which forced the structure against the Prospect Hill
shore, where the shock wrecked it. Walthaman was sent flying through the
air, and landed on his right side on the water-soaked turf. Fortunately
the turf was soft and springy with the moisture, and Walthaman had
enough consciousness left to crawl up the hillside, and then sank into
unconsciousness.

At ten o'clock Saturday morning some friends found him. He was taken to
their home in Kernsville. He was scarcely conscious when found, and
before he had been in a place of safety an hour he had lost his mind,
the reaction was so great. His hair had turned quite white, and the
places where before the disaster his hair had been most abundant, on the
sides of his head, were completely denuded of it. His scalp was as
smooth as an apple-cheek. The physicians who removed him to the Red
Cross Hospital declared the case as the most extraordinary one resulting
from fright that had ever come under their observation. Miss Barton
declares her belief that not one of the persons who are now under
treatment is seriously injured, and is confident they will recover in a
few days.

Her staff was reinforced by Mrs. and Dr. Gardner, of Bedford, who,
during the last great Western floods, rendered most excellent assistance
to the sufferers. Both are members of the Relief Association. The squad
of physicians and nurses was further added to by more from
Philadelphia, and then Miss Barton thought she was prepared to cope with
anything in the way of sickness which might arise.

The appearance of the tents and the surroundings are exceedingly
inviting. Everything is exquisitely neat, the boards of the tent-floors
being almost as white as the snowy linen of the cots. This contrast to
the horrible filth of the town, with its fearful stenches and its
dead-paved streets, is so invigorating that it has become a place of
refuge to all who are compelled to remain here.

The hospital is an old rink on the Bedford pike, which has been
transformed into an inviting retreat. Upon entering the door the visitor
finds himself in a small ante-room, to one side of which is attached the
general consulting-room. On the other side, opposite the hall, is the
apothecary's department, where the prescriptions are filled as carefully
as they would be at a first-class druggist's. In the rear of the medical
department and of the general consultation-room are the wards. There are
two of them--one for males and the other for females. A long, high,
heavy curtain divides the wards, and insures as much privacy as the most
modest person would wish. Around the walls in both wards are ranged the
regulation hospital beds, with plenty of clean and comfortable
bed-clothes.

Patients in the hospital said they couldn't be better treated if they
were paying the physician for their attendance. The trained nurses of
the Red Cross Society carefully look after the wants of the sick and
injured, and see that they get everything they wish. People who have an
abhorrence of going into these hospitals need have no fear that they
will not be well treated.

The orphans of the flood--sadly few there are of them, for it was the
children that usually went down first, not the parents--are looked after
by the Pennsylvania Children's Aid Society, which has transferred its
headquarters for the time being from Philadelphia to this city. There
was a thriving branch of this society here before the flood, but of all
its officers and executive force two only are alive. Fearing such might
be the situation, the general officers of the society sent out on the
first available train Miss H. E. Hancock, one of the directors, and Miss
H. W. Hinckley, the Secretary. They arrived on Thursday morning, and
within thirty minutes had an office open in a little cottage just above
the water-line in the upper part of the city. Business was ready as soon
as the office, and there were about fifty children looked after before
evening. In most cases these were children with relatives or friends in
or near Johnstown, and the society's work has been to identify them and
restore them to their friends.

As soon as the society opened its office all cases in which children
were involved were sent at once to them, and their efforts have been of
great benefit in systematizing the care of the children who are left
homeless. Besides this, there are many orphans who have been living in
the families of neighbors since the flood, but for whom permanent homes
must be found. One family has cared for one hundred and fifty-seven
children saved from the flood, and nearly as many are staying with other
families. There will be no difficulty about providing for these little
ones. The society already has offers for the taking of as many as are
likely to be in need of a home.

The Rev. Morgan Dix, on behalf of the Leake and Watts Orphan Home in New
York, has telegraphed an offer to care for seventy-five orphans.
Pittsburg is proving itself generous in this as in all other matters
relating to the flood, and other places all over the country are
telegraphing offers of homes for the homeless. Superintendent Pierson,
of the Indianapolis Natural Gas Company, has asked for two; Cleveland
wants some; Altoona would like a few; Apollo, Pa., has vacancies the
orphans can fill, and scores of other small places are sending in
similar offers and requests. A queer thing is that many of the officers
are restricted by curious provisions as to the religious belief of the
orphans. The Rev. Dr. Griffith, for instance, of Philadelphia, says
that the Angora (Pa.) Home would like some orphans, "especially Baptist
ones," and Father Field, of Philadelphia, offers to look after a few
Episcopal waifs.

The work of the society here has been greatly assisted by the fact that
Miss Maggie Brooks, formerly Secretary of the local society here, but
living in Philadelphia at the time of the flood, has come here to assist
the general officers. Her acquaintance with the town is invaluable.

Johnstown is generous in its misery. Whatever it has left it gives
freely to the strangers who have come here. It is not much, but it shows
a good spirit. There are means by which Johnstown people might reap a
rich harvest by taking advantage of the necessities of strangers. It is
necessary, for instance, to use boats in getting about the place, and
men in light skiffs are poling about the streets all day taking
passengers from place to place. Their services are free. They not only
do not, but will not accept any fee. J. D. Haws & Son own large
brick-kilns near the bridge. The newspaper men have possession of one of
the firm's buildings and one of the firm spends most of his time in
running about trying to make the men comfortable. A room in one of the
firm's barns filled with straw has been set apart solely for the
newspaper men, who sleep there wrapped in blankets as comfortably as in
beds. There is no charge for this, although those who have tried one
night on the floors, sand-piles, and other usual dormitories of the
place, would willingly pay high for the use of the straw. Food for the
newspaper and telegraph workers has been hard to get except in crude
form. Canned corned beef, eaten with a stick for a fork, and dry
crackers were the staples up to Tuesday, when a house up the hill was
discovered where anybody who came was welcome to the best the house
afforded. There was no sugar for the coffee, no vinegar for the lettuce,
and the apple butter ran out before the siege was raised, but the defect
was in the circumstances of Johnstown, and not in the will of the
family.

"How much?" was asked at the end of the meal.

They were poor people. The man probably earns a dollar a day.

"Oh!" replied the woman, who was herself cook, waiter, and lady of the
house, "we don't charge anything in times like these. You see, I went
out and spent ten dollars for groceries at a place that wasn't washed
away right after the flood, and we've been living on that ever since. Of
course we don't ask any of the relief, not being washed out. You men are
welcome to all I can give."

She had seen the last of her ten dollars worth of provisions gobbled up
without a murmur, and yet didn't "charge anything in times like these."
Her scruples did not, however, extend so far as to refusing tenders of
coin, inasmuch as without it her larder would stay empty. She filled it
up last night, and the news of the place having spread, she has been
getting a continual meal from five in the morning until late at night.
Although she makes no charge, her income would make a regular restaurant
keeper dizzy.

So far as the Signal Service is concerned, the amount of rainfall in the
region drained by the Conemaugh River cannot be ascertained. Mrs. H. M.
Ogle, who had been the Signal Service representative in Johnstown for
several years and also manager of the Western Union office there,
telegraphed at eight o'clock Friday morning to Pittsburg that the river
marked fourteen feet, rising; a rise of thirteen feet in twenty-four
hours. At eleven o'clock she wired: "River twenty feet and rising,
higher than ever before; water in first floor. Have moved to second.
River gauges carried away. Rainfall, two and three-tenth inches." At
twenty-seven minutes to one P. M. Mrs. Ogle wired: "At this hour north
wind; very cloudy; water still rising."

Nothing more was heard from her by the bureau, but at the Western Union
office at Pittsburg later in the afternoon she commenced to tell an
operator that the dam had broken, that a flood was coming, and before
she had finished the conversation a singular click of the instrument
announced the breaking of the current. A moment afterward the current of
her life was broken forever.

Sergeant Stewart, in charge of the Pittsburg bureau, says that the fall
of water on the Conemaugh shed at Johnstown up to the time of the flood
was probably two and five-tenth inches. He believes it was much heavier
in the mountains. The country drained by the little Conemaugh and Stony
Creek covers an area of about one hundred square miles. The bureau,
figuring on this basis and two and five-tenth inches of rainfall, finds
that four hundred and sixty-four million six hundred and forty thousand
cubic feet of water was precipitated toward Johnstown in its last hours.
This is independent of the great volume of water in the lake, which was
not less than two hundred and fifty million cubic feet.

It is therefore easily seen that there was ample water to cover the
Conemaugh Valley to the depth of from ten to twenty-five feet. Such a
volume of water was never known to fall in that country in the same
time.

Colonel T. P. Roberts, a leading engineer, estimates that the lake
drained twenty-five square miles, and gives some interesting data on the
probable amount of water it contained. He says: "The dam, as I
understand, was from hill to hill, about one thousand feet long and
about eighty-five feet high at the highest point. The pond covered above
seven hundred acres, at least for the present I will assume that to be
the case. We are told also that there was a waste-weir at one end
seventy-five feet wide and ten feet below the comb or top of the dam.
Now we are told that with this weir open and discharging freely to the
utmost of its capacity, nevertheless the pond or lake rose ten inches
per hour until finally it overflowed the top, and, as I understand, the
dam broke by being eaten away at the top.

"Thus we have the elements for very simple calculation as to the amount
of water precipitated by the flood, provided these premises are
accurate. To raise seven hundred acres of water to a height of ten feet
would require about three hundred million cubic feet of water, and while
this was rising the waste-weir would discharge an enormous volume--it
would be difficult to say just how much without a full knowledge of the
shape of its side-walls, approaches, and outlets--but if the rise
required ten hours the waste-weir might have discharged perhaps ninety
million cubic feet. We would then have a total of flood water of three
hundred and ninety million cubic feet. This would indicate a rainfall of
about eight inches over the twenty-five square miles. As that much does
not appear to have fallen at the hotel and dam it is more than likely
that even more than eight inches was precipitated in places farther up.
These figures I hold tentatively, but I am much inclined to believe that
there was a cloud burst."

Of course, the Johnstown disaster, great as it was, was by no means the
greatest flood in history, since Noah's Deluge. The greatest of modern
floods was that which resulted from the overflow of the great Hoang-Ho,
or Yellow River, in 1887. This river, which has earned the title of
"China's Sorrow," has always been the cause of great anxiety to the
Chinese Government and to the inhabitants of the country through which
it flows. It is guarded with the utmost care at great expense, and
annually vast sums are spent in repairs of its banks. In October, 1887,
a number of serious breaches occurred in the river's banks about three
hundred miles from the coast. As a result the river deserted its natural
bed and spread over a thickly-populated plain, forcing for itself
finally an entire new road to the sea. Four or five times in two
thousand years the great river had changed its bed, and each time the
change had entailed great loss of life and property.

In 1852 it burst through its banks two hundred and fifty miles from the
sea and cut a new bed through the northern part of Shaptung into the
Gulf of Pechili. The isolation in which foreigners lived at that time in
China prevented their obtaining any information as to the calamitous
results of this change, but in 1887 many of the barriers against
foreigners had been removed and a general idea of the character of the
inundation was easily obtainable.

For several weeks preceding the actual overflow of its banks the
Hoang-Ho had been swollen from its tributaries. It had been unusually
wet and stormy in northwest China, and all the small streams were full
and overflowing. The first break occurred in the province of Honan, of
which the capital is Kaifeng, and the city next in importance is Ching
or Cheng Chou. The latter is forty miles west of Kaifeng and a short
distance above a bend in the Hoang-Ho. At this bend the stream is borne
violently against the south shore. For ten days a continuous rain had
been soaking the embankments, and a strong wind increased the already
great force of the current. Finally a breach was made. At first it
extended only for a hundred yards. The guards made frantic efforts to
close the gap, and were assisted by the frightened people in the
vicinity. But the breach grew rapidly to a width of twelve hundred
yards, and through this the river rushed with awful force. Leaping over
the plain with incredible velocity, the water merged into a small stream
called the Lu-chia. Down the valley of the Lu-chia the torrent poured
in an easterly direction, overwhelming everything in its path.

Twenty miles from Cheng Chou it encountered Chungmou, a walled city of
the third rank. Its thousands of inhabitants were attending to their
usual pursuits. There was no telegraph to warn them, and the first
intimation of disaster came with the muddy torrent that rolled down upon
them. Within a short time only the tops of the high walls marked where a
flourishing city had been. Three hundred villages in the district
disappeared utterly, and the lands about three hundred other villages
were inundated.

The flood turned south from Chungmou, still keeping to the course of the
Lu-chia, and stretched out in width for thirty miles. This vast body of
water was from ten to twenty feet deep. Several miles south of Kaifeng
the flood struck a large river which there joins the Lu-chia. The result
was that the flood rose to a still greater height, and, pouring into a
low-lying and very fertile plain which was densely populated, submerged
upward of one thousand five hundred villages.

Not far beyond this locality the flood passed into the province of
Anhui, where it spread very widely. The actual loss of life could not be
computed accurately, but the lowest intelligent estimate placed it at
one million five hundred thousand, and one authority fixed it at seven
million. Two million people were rendered destitute by the flood, and
the suffering that resulted was frightful. Four months later the
inundated provinces were still under the muddy waters. The government
officials who were on guard when the Hoang-Ho broke its banks were
condemned to severe punishment, and were placed in the pillory in spite
of their pleadings that they had done their best to avert the disaster.

The inundation which may be classed as the second greatest in modern
history occurred in Holland in 1530. There have been many floods in
Holland, nearly all due to the failure of the dikes which form the only
barrier between it and the sea. In 1530 there was a general failure of
the dikes, and the sea poured in upon the low lands. The people were as
unprepared as were the victims of the Johnstown disaster. Good
authorities place the number of human beings that perished in this flood
at about four hundred thousand, and the destruction of property was in
proportion.

[Illustration: LAST TRAINS IN AND OUT OF HARRISBURG.]

In April, 1421, the River Meuse broke in the dikes at Dort, or
Dordrecht, an ancient town in the peninsula of South Holland, situated
on an island. Ten thousand persons perished there and more than one
hundred thousand in the vicinity. In January, 1861, there was a
disastrous flood in Holland, the area sweeping over forty thousand
acres, and leaving thirty thousand villages destitute, and again in 1876
severe losses resulted from inundations in this country.

The first flood in Europe of which history gives any authentic account
occurred in Lincolnshire, England, A. D. 245, when the sea passed over
many thousands of acres. In the year 353 a flood in Cheshire destroyed
three thousand human lives and many cattle. Four hundred families were
drowned in Glasgow by an overflow of the Clyde in 758. A number of
English seaport towns were destroyed by an inundation in 1014. In 1483 a
terrible overflow of the Severn, which came at night and lasted for ten
days, covered the tops of mountains. Men, women, and children were
carried from their beds and drowned. The waters settled on the lands and
were called for one hundred years after the Great Waters.

A flood in Catalonia, a province of Spain, occurred in 1617, and fifty
thousand persons lost their lives. One of the most curious inundations
in history, and one that was looked upon at the time as a miracle,
occurred in Yorkshire, England, in 1686. A large rock was split assunder
by some hidden force, and water spouted out, the stream reaching as high
as a church steeple. In 1771 another flood, known as the Ripon flood,
occurred in the same province.

In September, 1687, mountain torrents inundated Navarre, and two
thousand persons were drowned. Twice, in 1787 and in 1802, the Irish
Liffey overran its banks and caused great damage. A reservoir in Lurca,
a city of Spain, burst in 1802, in much the same way as did the dam at
Johnstown, and as a result one thousand persons perished. Twenty-four
villages near Presburg, and nearly all their inhabitants, were swept
away in April, 1811, by an overflow of the Danube. Two years later large
provinces in Austria and Poland were flooded, and many lives were lost.
In the same year a force of two thousand Turkish soldiers, who were
stationed on a small island near Widdin, were surprised by a sudden
overflow of the Danube and all were drowned. There were two more floods
in this year, one in Silesia, where six thousand persons perished, and
the French army met such losses and privations that its ruin was
accelerated; and another in Poland, where four thousand persons were
supposed to have been drowned. In 1816 the melting of the snow on the
mountains surrounding Strabane, Ireland, caused destructive floods, and
the overflow of the Vistula in Germany laid many villages under water.
Floods that occasioned great suffering occurred in 1829, when severe
rains caused the Spey and Findhorn to rise fifty feet above their
ordinary level. The following year the Danube again overflowed its
banks and inundated the houses of fifty thousand inhabitants of Vienna.
The Saone overflowed in 1840, and poured its turbulent waters into the
Rhine, causing a flood which covered sixty thousand acres. Lyons was
flooded, one hundred houses were swept away at Avignon, two hundred and
eighteen at La Guillotiere, and three hundred at Vaise, Marseilles, and
Nimes. Another great flood, entailing much suffering, occurred in the
south of France in 1856.

A flood in Mill River valley in 1874 was caused by the bursting of a
badly constructed dam. The waters poured down upon the villages in the
valley much as at Johnstown, but the people received warning in time,
and the torrent was not so swift. Several villages were destroyed and
one hundred and forty-four persons drowned. The rising of the Garonne in
1875 caused the death of one thousand persons near Toulouse, and twenty
thousand persons were made homeless in India by floods in the same year.
In 1882 heavy floods destroyed a large amount of property and drowned
many persons in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

The awful disaster in the Conemaugh Valley calls attention to the fact
that there are many similar dams throughout the United States. Though
few of these overhang a narrow gorge like the one in which the borough
of Johnstown reposed, there is no question that several of the dams now
deemed safe would, if broken down by a sudden freshet, sweep down upon
peaceful hamlets, cause immense damage to property and loss of life. The
lesson taught by the awful scenes at Johnstown should not go unheeded.

Croton Lake Dam was first built with ninety feet of masonry overfall,
the rest being earth embankment. On January 7th, 1841, a freshet carried
away this earth embankment, and when rebuilt the overfall of the dam was
made two hundred and seventy feet long. The foundation is two lines of
cribs, filled with dry stone, and ten feet of concrete between. Upon
this broken range stone masonry was laid, the down-stream side being
curved and faced with granite, the whole being backed with a packing of
earth. The dam is forty feet high, its top is one hundred and sixty-six
feet above tidewater, and it controls a reservoir area of four hundred
acres and five hundred million gallons of water. The Boyd's Corner Dam
holds two million seven hundred and twenty-seven thousand gallons, and
was built during the years 1866 and 1872. It stands twenty-three miles
from Croton dam, and has cut-stone faces filled between with concrete.
The extreme height is seventy-eight feet, and it is six hundred and
seventy feet long. Although this dam holds a body of water five times
greater than that at Croton Lake, it is claimed by engineers that
should it give way the deluge of water which would follow would cause
very little loss of life and only destroy farming lands, as below it the
country is comparatively level and open. Middle Branch Dam holds four
billion four hundred thousand gallons, and was built during 1874 and
1878. It is composed of earth, with a centre of rubble masonry carried
down to the rock bottom. It is also considered to be in no danger of
causing destruction by sudden breakage, as the downpour of water would
spread out over a large area of level land. Besides these there are
other Croton water storage basins formed by dams as follows: East
Branch, with a capacity of 4,500,000,000 gallons; Lake Mahopac,
575,000,000 gallons; Lake Kirk, 565,000,000 gallons; Lake Gleneida,
165,000,000 gallons; Lake Gilead, 380,000,000 gallons; Lake Waccabec,
200,000,000 gallons; Lake Lonetta, 50,000,000 gallons; Barrett's ponds,
170,000,000 gallons; China pond, 105,000,000 gallons; White pond,
100,000,000 gallons; Pines pond, 75,000,000 gallons; Long pond,
60,000,000 gallons; Peach pond, 230,000,000 gallons; Cross pond,
110,000,000 gallons, and Haines pond, 125,000,000 gallons, thus
completing the storage capacity of the Croton water system of
14,000,000,000 gallons. The engineers claim that none of these
last-named could cause loss of life or any great damage to property,
because there exist abundant natural outlets.

At Whitehall, N. G., there is a reservoir created by a dam three hundred
and twenty feet long across a valley half a mile from the village and
two hundred and sixty-six feet above it. A break in this dam would
release nearly six million gallons, and probably sweep away the entire
town. Norwich, N. Y., is supplied by an earthwork dam, with centre
puddle-wall, three hundred and twenty-three feet long and forty feet
high. It imprisons thirty million gallons and stands one hundred and
eighty feet above the village. At an elevation of two hundred and fifty
feet above the town of Olean N. Y., stands an embankment holding in
check two million, five hundred thousand gallons. Oneida, N. Y., is
supplied by a reservoir formed by a dam across a stream which controls
twenty-two million, three hundred and fifty thousand gallons. The dam is
nearly three miles from the village and at an altitude of one hundred
and ninety feet above it. Such are some of the reservoirs which threaten
other communities of our fair land.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


It is now the Thursday after the disaster, and amid the ruins of
Johnstown people are beginning to get their wits together. They have
quit the aimless wandering about amid the ruins, that marked them for a
crushed and despairing people. Everybody is getting to work and
forgetting something of the horror of the situation in the necessity of
thinking of what they are doing. The deadly silence that has prevailed
throughout the town is ended, giving place to the shouts of hundreds of
men pulling at ropes, and the crash of timbers and roofs as they pull
wrecked buildings down or haul heaps of débris to pieces. Hundreds more
are making an almost merry clang with pick and shovel as they clear away
mud and gravel, opening ways on the lines of the old streets.
Locomotives are puffing about, down into the heart of the town now, and
the great whistle at the Cambria Iron Works blew for noon yesterday and
to-day for the first time since the flood silenced it. To lighten the
sombre aspect of the ruined area, heightened by the cold gray clouds
hanging low about the hills, were acres of flame, where debris is being
got rid of. Down in what was the heart of the city the soldiers have
gone into camp, and little flags snap brightly in the high wind from
their acres of white tents.

The relief work seems now to be pretty thoroughly organized, and
thousands of men are at work under the direction of the committee. The
men are in gangs of about a hundred each, under foremen, with mounted
superintendents riding about overseeing the work.

The first effort, aside from that being made upon the gorge at the
bridge, is in the upper part of the city and in Stony Creek Gap, where
there are many houses with great heaps of debris covering and
surrounding them. Three or four hundred men were set at work with ropes,
chains, and axes upon each of these heaps, tearing it to pieces as
rapidly as possible. Where there are only smashed houses and furniture
in the heap the work is easy, but when, as in most instances, there are
long logs and tree-trunks reaching in every direction through the mass,
the task of getting them out is a slow and difficult one. The lighter
parts of the wreck are tossed into heaps in the nearest clear space and
set on fire. Horses haul the logs and heavier pieces off to add them to
other blazing piles. Everything of any value is carefully laid aside,
but there is little of it. Even the strongest furniture is generally in
little bits when found, but in one heap this morning were found two
mirrors, one about six feet by eight in size, without a crack in it, and
with its frame little damaged; the other one, about two feet by three in
size, had a little crack at the bottom, but was otherwise all right.

Every once in a while the workmen about these wreck-heaps will stop
their shouting and straining at the ropes, gather into a crowd at some
one spot in the ruins, and remain idle and quiet for a little while.
Presently the group will stir itself a little, fall apart, and out of it
will come six men bearing between them on a door or other improvised
stretcher a vague form covered with a canvas blanket. The bearers go off
along the irregular paths worn into the muddy plain, toward the
different morgues, and the men go to work again.

These little groups of six, with the burden between them, are as
frequent as ever. One runs across them everywhere about the place.
Sometimes they come so thick that they have to form in line at the
morgue doors. The activity with which work was prosecuted brought
rapidly to light the dark places within the ruins in which remained
concealed those bodies that the previous desultory searching had not
brought to light. Many of the disclosures might almost better have never
seen the light, so heart-rending were they. A mother lay with three
children clasped in her arms. So suddenly had the visitation come upon
them that the little ones had plainly been snatched up while at play,
for one held a doll clutched tightly in its dead hand, and in one hand
of another were three marbles. This was right opposite the First
National Bank building, in the heart of the city, and near the same spot
a family of five--father, mother, and three children--were found dead
together. Not far off a roof was lifted up, and dropped again in horror
at the sight of nine bodies beneath it. There were more bodies, or
fragments of bodies, found, too, in the gorge at the bridge, and from
the Cambria Iron Works the ghastly burden-bearers began to come in with
the first contributions of that locality to the death list. The passage
of time is also bringing to the surface bodies that have been lying
beneath the river further down, and from Nineveh bodies are continually
being sent up to Morrellville, just below the iron works, for
identification.

Wandering about near the ruins of Wood, Morrell & Co.'s store a
messenger from Morrellville found a man who looked like the pictures of
the Tennessee mountaineers in the _Century Magazine_, with an addition
of woe and misery upon his gaunt, hairy face that no picture could ever
indicate. He was tall and thin, and bent, and, from his appearance,
abjectly poor. He was telling two strangers how he had lived right
across from the store, with his wife and eight children. When the high
water came and word was brought that the dam was in danger, he told his
wife to get the children together and come with him. The water was deep
in the streets, and the passage to the bluff would have been difficult.
She laughed at him and told him the dam was all right. He urged her,
ordered her, and did everything else but pick her up bodily and carry
her out, but she would not come. Finally he set the example and dashed
out, himself, through the water, calling to his wife to follow. As his
feet began to touch rising ground, he saw the wall of water coming down
the valley. He climbed in blind terror up the bank, helped by the rising
water, and, reaching solid ground, turned just in time to see the water
strike his house.

"When I turned my back," he said, "I couldn't look any longer."

Tears ran down his face as he said this. The messenger coming up just
then said:--

"Your wife has been found. They got her down at Nineveh. Her brother has
gone to fetch her up."

The man went away with the messenger.

"He didn't seem much rejoiced over the good news about his wife,"
remarked one of the strangers, who had yet to learn that Johnstown
people speak of death and the dead only indirectly whenever possible.

It was the wife's body, not the wife, that had been found, and that the
messenger was to fetch up. The bodies of this man's eight children have
not yet been found. He is the only survivor of a family of ten.

Queer salvage from the flood was a cat that was taken out alive last
evening. Its hair was singed off and one eye gone, but it was able to
lick the hand of the man who picked it up and carried it off to keep, he
said, as a relic of the flood. A white Wyandotte rooster and two hens
were also dug out alive, and with dry feathers, from the centre of a
heap of wrecked buildings.

The work of clearing up the site of the town has progressed so far that
the outlines of some of the old streets could be faintly traced, and
citizens were going about hunting up their lots. In many cases it was a
difficult task, but enough old landmarks are left to make the
determination of boundary lines by a new survey a comparatively easy
matter.

The scenes in the morgues are disgusting in the highest degree. The
embalmers are at work cutting and slashing with an apathy born of four
days and nights of the work, and such as they never experienced before.
The boards on which the bodies lie are covered with mud and slime, in
many instances.

Men with dynamite, blowing up the drift at the Pennsylvania Railroad
bridge, people in the drift watching for bodies, people finding bodies
in the ruins and carrying them away on stretchers or sheets, the
bonfires of blazing débris all over the town, the soldiers with their
bayonets guarding property or taking thieves into custody, the
tin-starred policemen with their base ball clubs promenading the streets
and around the ruins, the scenes of distress and frenzy at the relief
stations, the crash of buildings as their broken remnants fall to the
ground--this is the scene that goes on night and day in Johnstown, and
will go on for an indefinite time. Still, people have worked so in the
midst of such excitement, with the pressure of such an awful horror on
their minds that they can get but little rest even when they wish to.
Men in this town are too tired to sleep. They lie down with throbbing
brains that cannot stop throbbing, so that even the sense of thinking is
intense agony.

The undertakers and embalmers claim that they are the busiest men in
town, and that they have done more to help the city than any other
workmen. The people who attend the morgues for the purpose of
identifying their friends and relatives are hardly as numerous as
before. Many of them are exhausted with the constant wear and tear, and
many have about made up their minds that their friends are lost beyond
recovery, and that there is no use looking for them any longer. Others
have gone to distant parts of the State, and have abandoned Johnstown
and all in it.

A little girl in a poor calico dress climbed upon the fence at the Adams
Street morgue and looked wistfully at the row of coffins in the yard.
People were only admitted to the morgue in squads of ten each, and the
little girl's turn had not come yet. Her name was Jennie Hoffman. She
was twelve years old. She told a reporter that out of her family of
fourteen the father and mother and oldest sister were lost. They were
all in their home on Somerset Street when the flood came. The father
reached out for a tree which went sweeping by, and was pulled out of the
window and lost. The mother and children got upon the roof, and then a
dash of water carried her and the eldest daughter off. A colored man on
an adjoining house took off the little girls who were left--all of them
under twelve years of age, except Jennie--and together they clambered
over the roofs of the houses near by and escaped.



CHAPTER XXIX.


Day after day the work of reparation goes on. The city has been blotted
out. Yet the reeking ruins that mark its site are teeming with life and
work more vigorous than ever marked its noisy streets and panting
factories. As men and money pour into Johnstown the spirit of the town
greatly revives, and the people begin to take a much more favorable view
of things. The one thing that is troubling people just now is the lack
of ready money. There are drafts here in any quantity, but there is no
money to cash them until the money in the vaults of the First National
Bank has been recovered. It is known that the vaults are safe and that
about $500,000 in cash is there. Of this sum $125,000 belongs to the
Cambria Iron Company. It was to pay the five thousand employés of the
works. The men are paid off every two weeks, and the last pay-day was to
have been on the Saturday after the fatal flood. The money was brought
down to Johnstown, on the day before the flood, by the Adams Express
Company, and deposited in the bank. After the water subsided, and it was
discovered that the money was safe, a guard was placed around the bank
and has been maintained ever since.

When the pay-day of the Cambria Iron Company does come it will be an
impressive scene. The only thing comparable to it will be the roll-call
after a great battle. Mothers, wives, and children will be there to
claim the wages of sons, and husbands, and fathers. The men in the
gloomy line will have few families to take their wages home to. The
Cambria people do not propose to stand on any red-tape rules about
paying the wages of their dead employés to the surviving friends and
relatives. They will only try to make reasonably sure that they are
paying the money to the right persons.

An assistant cashier, Thomas McGee, in the company's store saved $12,000
of the company's funds. The money was all in packages of bills in bags
in the safe on the ground floor of the main building of the stores. When
the water began to rise he went up on the second floor of the building,
carrying the money with him. When the crash of the reservoir torrent
came Mr. McGee clambered upon the roof, and just before the building
tottered and fell he managed to jump on the roof of a house that went
by. The house was swept near the bank. Mr. McGee jumped off and fell
into the water, but struck out and managed to clamber up the bank. Then
he got up on the hills and remained out all night guarding his treasure.

[Illustration: COLUMBIA, PA., UNDER THE FLOOD.]

At dawn of Thursday the stillness of the night, which had been punctured
frequently by the pistol and musket shots of vigilant guards scaring off
possible marauders, was permanently fractured by the arousing of gangs
of laborers who had slept about wherever they could find a soft spot in
the ruins, as well as in tents set up in the centre of where the town
used to be. The soldiers in their camps were seen about later, and the
railroad gang of several hundred men set out up the track toward where
they had left off work the night before. Breakfast was cooked at
hundreds of camp-fires, and about brick-kilns, and wherever else a fire
could be got. At seven o'clock five thousand laborers struck pick and
shovel and saw into the square miles of débris heaped over the city's
site. At the same time more laborers began to arrive on trains and march
through the streets in long gangs toward the place where they were
needed. Those whose work was to be pulling and hauling trailed along in
lines, holding to their ropes. They looked like gangs of slaves being
driven to a market. By the time the forenoon was well under way, seven
thousand laborers were at work in the city under the direction of one
hundred foremen. There were five hundred cars and as many teams, and
half a dozen portable hoisting engines, besides regular locomotives and
trains of flat cars that were used in hauling off débris that could not
be burned. With this force of men and appliances at work the ruined
city, looked at from the bluffs, seemed to fairly swarm with life,
wherever the flood had left anything to be removed. The whole lower part
of the city, except just above the bridge, remained the deserted mud
desert that the waters left. There was no cleaning up necessary there.
Through the upper part of the city, where the houses were simply smashed
to kindling wood and piled into heaps, but not ground to pieces under
the whirlpool that bore down on the rest of the city, acres of bonfires
have burned all day. The stifling smoke, blown by a high wind, has made
life almost unendurable, and the flames have twirled about so fiercely
in the gusts as to scorch the workmen some distance away. Citizens whose
houses were not damaged beyond salvation have almost got to work in
clearing out their homes and trying to make them somewhere near
habitable. In the poorer parts of the city often one story and a half
frame cottages are seen completely surrounded by heaps of débris tossed
up high above their roofs. Narrow lanes driven through the débris have
given the owners entrance to their homes.

With all the work the apparent progress was small. A stranger seeing the
place for the first time would never imagine that the wreck was not just
as the flood left it. The enormity of the task of clearing the place
grows more apparent the more the work is prosecuted, and with the force
now at work the job cannot be done in less than a month. It will hardly
be possible to find room for any larger force.

The railroads added largely to the bustle of the place. Long freight
trains, loaded with food and clothing for the suffering, were
continually coming in faster than they could be unloaded. Lumber was
also arriving in great quantities, and hay and feed for the horses was
heaped up high alongside the tracks. Hundreds of men were swarming over
the road-bed near the Pennsylvania station, strengthening and improving
the line. Work was begun on frame sheds and other temporary buildings in
several places, and the rattle of hammers added its din to the shouts of
the workmen and the crash of falling wreckage.

Some sort of organization is being introduced into other things about
the city than the clearing away of the débris. The Post-office is
established in a small brick building in the upper part of the city.
Those of the letter carriers who are alive, and a few clerks, are the
working force. The reception of mail consists of one damaged street
letter-box set upon a box in front of the building and guarded by a
carrier, who has also to see that there is no crowding in the long lines
of people waiting to get their turn at the two windows where letters and
stamps are served out. A wide board, stood up on end, is lettered
rudely, "Post-office Bulletin," and beneath is a slip of paper with the
information that a mail will leave the city for the West during the day,
and that no mail has been received. There are many touching things in
these Post-office lines. It is a good place for acquaintances who lived
in different parts of the city to find out whether each is alive or
dead.

"You are through all right, I see," said one man in the line to an
acquaintance who came up this morning.

"Yes," said the acquaintance.

"And how's your folks? They all right, too?" was the next question.

"Two of them are--them two little ones sitting on the steps there. The
mother and the other three have gone down."

Such conversations as this take place every few minutes. Near the
Post-office is the morgue for that part of the city, and other lines of
waiting people reach out from there, anxious for a glimpse at the
contents of the twenty-five coffins ranged in lines in front of the
school-building, that does duty for a dead-house. Only those who have
business are admitted, but the number is never a small one. Each walks
along the lines of coffins, raises the cover over the face, glances in,
drops the cover quickly, and passes on. Men bearing ghastly burdens on
stretchers pass frequently into the school-house, where the undertakers
prepare the bodies for identification.

A little farther along is the relief headquarters for that part of the
city, and the streets there are packed all day long with women and
children with baskets on their arms. So great is the demand that the
people have to stand in line for an hour to get their turn. A large
unfinished building is turned into a storehouse for clothing, and the
people throng into it empty-handed and come out with arms full of
underclothing and other wearing apparel. At another building the
sanitary bureau is serving out disinfectants.

The workmen upon the débris in what was the heart of the city have now
reached well into the ruins and are getting to where the valuable
contents of jewelry and other stores may be expected to be found, and
strict watch is being kept to prevent the theft of any such articles by
the workmen or others. In the ruins of the Wood, Morrell & Co. general
store a large amount of goods, chiefly provisions and household
utensils, has been found in fairly good order. It is piled in a heap as
fast as gotten out, and the building is being pulled down.

About the worst heap of wreckage in the centre of the city is where the
Cambria Library building stood, opposite the general store. This was a
very substantial and handsome building and offered much obstruction to
the flood. It was completely destroyed, but upon its site a mass of
trees, logs, heavy beams, and other wreckage was left, knotted together
into a mass only extricable by the use of the ax and saw. Two hundred
men have worked at it for three days and it is not half removed yet.

The Cambria Iron Company have several acres of gravel and clay to remove
from the upper end of its yard. Except for an occasional corner of some
big iron machine that projects above the surface no one would ever
suspect that it was not the original earth. In one place a freight car
brake-wheel lies just on the surface of the ground, apparently dropped
there loosely. Any one who tries to kick it aside or pick it up finds
that it is still attached to its car, which is buried under a solid mass
of gravel and broken rock. Several lanes have been dug through this mass
down to the old railroad tracks, and two or three of the little yard
engines of the iron company, resurrected with smashed smoke-stacks and
other light damage, but workable yet, go puffing about hardly visible
above the general level of the new-made ground.

The progress of the work upon the black and still smoking mass of
charred ruins above the bridge is hardly perceptible. There is clear
water for about one hundred feet back from the central arch, and a
little opening before the two on each side of it. When there is a
good-sized hole made before all three of these arches, through which the
bulk of the water runs, it is expected that the stuff can be pulled
apart and set afloat much more rapidly. Dynamiter Kirk, who is
overseeing the work, used up the last one hundred pounds of the
explosive early this afternoon, and had to suspend operations until the
arrival of two hundred pounds more that was on the way from Pittsburgh.
The dynamite has been used in small doses for fear of damaging the
bridge. Six pounds was the heaviest charge used. Even with this the
stone beneath the arches of the bridge is charred and crumbling in
places, and some pieces have been blown out of the heavy coping. The
whole structure shakes as though with an earthquake at every discharge.

The dynamite is placed in holes drilled in logs matted into the surface
of the raft, and its effect being downward, the greatest force of the
explosion is upon the mass of stuff beneath the water. At the same time
each charge sent up into the air, one hundred feet or more, a fountain
of dirt, stones, and blackened fragments of logs, many of them large
enough to be dangerous. The rattling crash of their fall upon the bridge
follows hard after the heavy boom of the explosion. One of the worst and
most unexpected objects with which the men on the raft have to contend
is the presence in it of hundreds of miles of telegraph wire wound
around almost everything there and binding the whole mass together.

No bodies have yet been brought to the surface by the operations with
dynamite, but indications of several buried beneath the surface are
evident. A short distance back from where the men are not at work,
bodies continue to be taken out from the surface of the raft at the rate
of ten or a dozen a day. The men this afternoon came across hundreds of
feet of polished copper pipe, which is said to have come from a Pullman
car. It was not known until then that there was a Pullman car in that
part of the raft. The remnants of a vestibule car are plainly seen at a
point a hundred feet away from this.



CHAPTER XXX.


The first thing that Johnstown people do in the morning is to go to the
relief stations and get something to eat. They go carrying big baskets,
and their endeavor is to get all they can. There has been a new system
every day about the manner of dispensing the food and clothing to the
sufferers. At first the supplies were placed where people could help
themselves. Then they were placed in yards and handed to people over the
fences. Then people had to get orders for what they wanted from the
Citizens Committee, and their orders were filled at the different relief
stations. Now the whole matter of receiving and dispensing relief
supplies has been placed in the hands of the Grand Army of the Republic
men. Thomas A. Stewart, commander of the Department of Pennsylvania, G.
A. R., arrived with his staff and established his headquarters in a tent
near the headquarters of the Citizens Committee, and opposite the
temporary post-office. Over this tent floats Commander Stewart's flag,
with purple border, bearing the arms of the State of Pennsylvania. The
members of his staff are: Quartermaster-General Tobin Taylor and his
assistant H. J. Williams, Chaplain John W. Sayres, and W. V. Lawrence,
quartermaster-general of the Ohio Department. The Grand Army men have
made the Adams Street relief station a central relief station, and all
the others, at Kernville, the Pennsylvania depot, Cambria City, and
Jackson and Somerset Street, sub-stations. The idea is to distribute
supplies to the sub-stations from the central station, and thus avoid
the jam of crying and excited people at the committee's headquarters.

The Grand Army men have appointed a committee of women to assist them in
their work. The women go from house to house, ascertaining the number of
people quartered there, the number of people lost from there in the
flood, and the exact needs of the people. It was found necessary to have
some such committee as this, for there were women actually starving, who
were too proud to take their places in line with the other women with
bags and baskets. Some of these people were rich before the flood. Now
they are not worth a dollar. A _Sun_ reporter was told of one man who
was reported to be worth $100,000 before the flood, but who now is
penniless, and who has to take his place in the line along with others
seeking the necessaries of life.

Though the Adams Street station is now the central relief station, the
most imposing display of supplies is made at the Pennsylvania Railroad
freight and passenger depots. Here, on the platforms and in the yards,
are piled up barrels of flour in long rows, three and four barrels high;
biscuits in cans and boxes, where car-loads of them have been dumped;
crackers, under the railroad sheds in bins; hams, by the hundred, strung
on poles; boxes of soap and candles, barrels of kerosene oil, stacks of
canned goods, and things to eat of all sorts and kinds. The same is
visible at the Baltimore and Ohio road, and there is now no fear of a
food famine in Johnstown, though of course everybody will have to rough
it for weeks. What is needed most in this line is cooking utensils.
Johnstown people want stoves, kettles, pans, knives, and forks. All the
things that have been sent so far have been sent with the evident idea
of supplying an instant need, and that is right and proper, but it would
be well now, if, instead of some of the provisions that are sent,
cooking utensils would arrive. Fifty stoves arrived from Pittsburgh this
morning, and it is said that more are coming.

At both the depots where the supplies are received and stored a big
rope-line incloses them in an impromptu yard, so as to give room to
those having them in charge to walk around and see what they have got.
On the inside of this line, too, stalk back and forth the soldiers, with
their rifles on their shoulders, and, beside the lines pressing against
the ropes, there stands every day, from daylight until dawn, a crowd of
women with big baskets, who make piteous appeals to the soldiers to give
them food for their children at once, before the order of the relief
committee. Those to whom supplies are dealt out at the stations have to
approach in a line, and this line is fringed with soldiers, Pittsburgh
policemen, and deputy sheriffs, who see that the children and weak women
are not crowded out of their places by the stronger ones. The supplies
are not given in large quantities, but the applicants are told to come
again in a day or so and more will be given them. The women complain
against this bitterly, and go away with tears in their eyes, declaring
that they have not been given enough. Other women utter broken words of
thankfulness and go away, their faces wreathed in smiles.

One night something in the nature of a raid was made by Father McTahney,
one of the Catholic priests here, on the houses of some people whom he
suspected of having imposed upon the relief committee. These persons
represented that they were destitute, and sent their children with
baskets to the relief stations, each child getting supplies for a
different family. There are unquestionably many such cases. Father
McTahney found that his suspicions were correct in a great many cases,
and he brought back and made the wrong-doers bring back the provisions
which they had obtained under false pretenses.

The side tracks at both the Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
depots are filled with cars sent from different places, bearing relief
supplies to Johnstown. The cars are nearly all freight cars, and they
contain the significant inscriptions of the railroad officials: "This
car is on time freight. It is going to Johnstown, and must not be
delayed under any circumstances." Then, there are the ponderous labels
of the towns and associations sending the supplies. They read this way:
"This car for Johnstown with supplies for the sufferers." "Braddock
relief for Johnstown." "The contributions of Beaver Falls to Johnstown."
The cars from Pittsburgh had no inscriptions. Some cars had merely the
inscription, in great big black letters on a white strip of cloth
running the length of the car, "Johnstown." One car reads on it:
"Stations along the route fill this car with supplies for Johnstown, and
don't delay it."



CHAPTER XXXI.


At the end of the week Adjutant-General Hastings moved his headquarters
from the signal tower and the Pennsylvania Railroad depot to the eastern
end of the Pennsylvania freight depot. Here the general and his staff
sleep on the hard floor, with only a blanket under them. They have their
work systematized and in good shape, though about all they have done or
will do is to prevent strangers and others who have no business here
from entering the city. The entire regiment which is here is disposed
around the city in squads of two or three men each. The men are
scattered up and down the Conemaugh, away out on the Pennsylvania and
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad tracks, along Stony Creek on the southern
side of the town, and even upon the hills. It is impossible for any one
to get into town by escaping the guards, for there is a cordon of
soldiers about it. General Hastings rides around on a horse, inspecting
the posts, and the men on guard present arms to him in due form, he
returning the salute. The sight is a singular one, for General Hastings
is not in uniform, and in fact wears a very rusty civilian's dress. He
wears a pair of rubber boots covered with mud, and a suit of old,
well-stained, black clothes. His coat is a cutaway. His appearance among
his staff officers is still more dramatic, for the latter, being ordered
out and having time to prepare, are in gold lace and feathers and
glittering uniforms.

General Hastings came here right after the flood, on the spur of the
moment, and not in his official capacity. He rides his horse finely and
looks every inch a soldier. He has established in his headquarters in
the freight depot a very much-needed bureau for the answering of
telegrams from friends of Johnstown people making inquiries as to the
latter's safety. The bureau is in charge of A. K. Parsons, who has done
good work since the flood, and who, with Lieutenant George Miller, of
the Fifth Infantry, U. S. A., General Hastings' right-hand man, has been
with the general constantly. The telegrams in the past have all been
sent to the headquarters of the Citizens Committee, in the Fourth Ward
Hotel, and have laid there, along with telegrams of every sort, in a
little heap on a little side table in one corner of the room.
Three-quarters of them were not called for, and people who knew that
telegrams were there for them did not have the patience to look through
the heap for them. Finally some who were not worried to death took the
telegrams, opened them all, and pinned them in separate packages in
alphabetical order and then put them back on the table again, and they
have been pored over, until their edges are frayed, by all the people
who crowded into the little low-roofed room where Dictator Scott and his
messengers are. There were something like three thousand telegrams there
in all. Occasionally a few are taken away, but in the majority of cases
they remain there. The persons to whom they were sent are dead or have
not taken the trouble to come to headquarters and see if their friends
are inquiring after them. Of course the Western Union Telegraph Company
makes no effort to deliver the messages. This would be impossible.

[Illustration: PENNSYLVANIA AVE., COR. SIXTH ST., WASHINGTON, D. C.]

The telegrams addressed to the Citizens Committee headquarters are all
different in form, of course, but they all breathe the utmost anxiety
and suspense. Here are some samples:--

Is Samuel there? Is there any hope? Answer me and end this suspense.

                                                  SARAH.

  _To anybody in Johnstown_:

Can you give me any information of Adam Brennan?

                                           MARY BRENNAN.

Are any of you alive?

                                                  JAMES.

Are you all safe? Is it our John Burn that is dead? Is Eliza safe?
Answer.

It is worth repeating again that the majority of these telegrams will
never be answered.

The Post-office letter carriers have only just begun to make their
rounds in that part of the town which is comparatively uninjured. Bags
of first-class mail matter are alone brought into town. It will be weeks
before people see the papers in the mails. The supposition is that
nobody has time to read papers, and this is about right. The letter
carriers are making an effort, as far as they can, to distribute mail to
the families of the deceased people. Many of the letters which arrive
now contain money orders, and while great care has to be taken in the
distribution, the postal authorities recognize the necessity of getting
these letters to the parties addressed, or else returning them to the
Dead Letter Office as proof of the death of the individuals in question.
It is no doubt that in this way the first knowledge of the death of many
will be transmitted to friends.

It is fair to say that the best part of the energies of the State of
Pennsylvania at present are all turned upon Johnstown. Here are the
leading physicians, the best nurses, some of the heaviest contractors,
the brightest newspaper men, all the military geniuses, and, if not the
actual presence, at least the attention, of the capitalists. The
newspapers, medical reviews, and publications of all sorts teem with
suggestions. Johnstown is a compendium of business, and misery, and
despair. One class of men should be given credit for thorough work in
connection with the calamity. These are the undertakers. They came to
Johnstown, from all over Pennsylvania, at the first alarm. They are the
men whose presence was imperatively needed, and who have actually been
forced to work day and night in preserving bodies and preparing them for
burial. One of the most active undertakers here is John McCarthy, of
Syracuse, N. Y., one of the leading undertakers there, and a very
public-spirited man. He brought a letter of introduction from Mayor
Kirk, of Syracuse, to the Citizens Committee here. He said to a
reporter:--

"It is worthy of mention, perhaps, that never before in such a disaster
as this have bodies received such careful treatment and has such a
wholesale embalming been practiced. Everybody recovered, whether
identified or not, whether of rich man or poor man, or of the humblest
child, has been carefully cleaned and embalmed, placed in a neat coffin,
and not buried when unidentified until the last possible moment. When
you reflect that over one thousand bodies have been treated in this way
it means something. It is to be regretted that some pains were not
taken to keep a record of the bodies recovered, but the undertakers
cannot be blamed for that. They should have been furnished with clerks,
and that whole matter made the subject of the work of a bureau by
itself. We have had just all we could do cleaning and embalming the
bodies."

The unsightliest place in Johnstown is the morgue in the Presbyterian
Church. The edifice is a large brick structure in the centre of the
city, and was about the first church building in the city. About one
hundred and seventy-five people took refuge there during the flood.
After the first crash, when the people were expecting another every
instant, and of course that they would perish, the pastor of the church,
the Rev. Mr. Beale, began to pray fervently that the lives of those in
the church might be spared. He fairly wrestled in prayer, and those who
heard him say that it seemed to be a very death-struggle with the demon
of the flood itself. No second crash came, the waters receded, and the
lives of those in the church were spared. The people said that it was
all due to the Rev. Mr. Beale's prayer. The pews in the church were all
demolished, and the Sunday-school room under it was flooded with the
angry waters, and filled up to the ceiling with débris. The Rev. Mr.
Beale is now general morgue director in Johnstown, and has the
authority of a dictator of the bodies of the dead. In the Presbyterian
Church morgue the bodies are, almost without exception, those which have
been recovered from the ruins of the smashed buildings. The bodies are
torn and bruised in the most horrible manner, so that identification is
very difficult. They are nearly all bodies of the prominent or
well-known residents of Johnstown. The cleaning and embalming of the
bodies takes place in the corners of the church, on either side of the
pulpit. As soon as they have a presentable appearance, the bodies are
placed in coffins, put across the ends of the pews near the aisles, so
that people can pass around through the aisles and look at them. Few
identifications have yet been made here. In one coffin is the body of a
young man who had on a nice bicycle suit when found. In his pockets were
forty dollars in money. The bicycle has not been found. It is supposed
that the body is that of some young fellow who was on a bicycle tour up
the Conemaugh River, and who was engulfed by the flood.

The waters played some queer freaks. A number of mirrors taken out of
the ruins with the frames smashed and with the glass parts entirely
uninjured have been a matter for constant comment on the part of those
who have inspected the ruins and worked in them. When the waters went
down, the Sunday-school rooms of the Presbyterian Church just referred
to were found littered with playing cards. In a baby's cradle was found
a dissertation upon infant baptism and two volumes of a history of the
Crusades. A commercial man from Pittsburgh, who came down to look at the
ruins, found among them his own picture. He never was in Johnstown but
two or three times before, and he did not have any friends there. How
the picture got among the ruins of Johnstown is a mystery to him.

About the only people who have come into Johnstown, not having business
there connected with the clearing up of the city, are people from a
great distance, hunting up their friends and relatives. There are folks
here now from almost every State in the Union, with the exception,
perhaps, of those on the Pacific coast. There are people, too, from
Pennsylvania and States near by, who, receiving no answer to their
telegrams, have decided to come on in person. They wander over the town
in their search, at first frantically asking everybody right and left if
they have heard of their missing friends. Generally nobody has heard of
them, or some one may remember that he saw a man who said that he
happened to see a body pulled out at Nineveh or Cambria City, or
somewhere, that looked like Jack So-and-So, naming the missing one. At
the morgues the inquirer is told that about four hundred unidentified
dead have already been buried, and on the fences before the morgues and
on the outside house walls of the buildings themselves he reads several
hundred such notices as these, of bodies still unclaimed:--

A woman, dark hair, blue eyes, blue waist, dark dress, clothing of fine
quality; a single bracelet on the left arm; age, about twenty-three.

An old lady, clothing undistinguishable, but containing a purse with
twenty-seven dollars and a small key.

A young man, fair complexion, light hair, gray eyes, dark blue suit,
white shirt; believed to have been a guest at the Hurlburt House.

A female; supposed to belong to the Salvation Army.

A man about thirty-five years old, dark-complexioned, brown hair, brown
moustache, light clothes, left leg a little shortened.

A boy about ten years old, found with a little girl of nearly same age;
boy had hold of girl's hand; both light-haired and fair-complexioned,
and girl had long curls; boy had on dark clothes, and girl a gingham
dress.

       *       *       *       *       *

The people looking for their friends had lots of money, but money is of
no use now in Johnstown. It cannot hire teams to go up along the
Conemaugh River, where lots of people want to go; it cannot hire men as
searchers, for all the people in Johnstown not on business of their own
are digging in the ruins; it cannot even buy food, for what little food
there is in Johnstown is practically free, and a good square meal cannot
be procured for love nor money anywhere. Under these discouragements
many people are giving up the search and going home, either giving their
relatives up for dead or waiting for them to turn up, still maintaining
the hope that they are alive.

Johnstown at night now is a wild spectacle. The major part of the town
is enveloped in darkness, and lights of all colors flare out all around,
so that the city looks something like a night scene in a railroad yard.
The burning of immense piles of débris is continued at night, and the
red glare of the flames at the foot of the hills seems like witch-fires
at the mouth of caverns. The camp-fires of the military on the hills
above the Conemaugh burn brightly. Volumes of smoke pour up all over the
town. Along the Pennsylvania Railroad gangs of men are working all night
long by electric light, and the engines, with their great headlights and
roaring steam, go about continually. Below the railroad bridge stretches
away the dark, sullen mass of the drift, with its freight of human
bodies beyond estimate. Now and then, from the headquarters of the
newspaper men, can be heard the military guards on their posts
challenging passers-by.



CHAPTER XXXII.


It is now a week since the flood, and Johnstown is a cross between a
military camp and a new mining town, and is getting more so every day.
It has all the unpleasant and disagreeable features of both, relieved by
the pleasures of neither. Everywhere one goes soldiers are lounging
about or standing guard on all roads leading into the city, and stop
every one who cannot show a pass. There is a mass of tents down in the
centre of the ruins, and others are scattered everywhere on every
cleared space beside the railroad tracks and on the hills about. A corps
of engineers is laying pontoon bridges over the streams, pioneers are
everywhere laying out new camps, erecting mess sheds and other rude
buildings, and clearing away obstructions to the ready passage of supply
wagons. Mounted men are continually galloping about from place to place
carrying orders. At headquarters about the Pennsylvania Railroad depot
there are dozens of petty officers in giddy gold lace, and General
Hastings, General Wiley, and a few others in dingy clothes, sitting
about the shady part of the platform giving and receiving orders. The
occasional thunder of dynamite sounds like the boom of distant cannon
defending some outpost. Supplies are heaped up about headquarters, and
are being unloaded from cars as rapidly as locomotives can push them up
and get the empty cars out of the way again. From cooking tents smoke
and savory odors go up all day, mingled with the odor carbolic from
hospital tents scattered about. It is very likely that within a short
time this military appearance will be greatly increased by the arrival
of another regiment and the formal declaration of martial law.

On the other hand the town's resemblance to a new mining camp is just as
striking. Everything is muddy and desolate. There are no streets nor any
roads, except the rough routes that the carts wore out for themselves
across the sandy plain. Rough sheds and shanties are going up on every
hand. There are no regular stores, but cigars and drink--none
intoxicating, however--are peddled from rough board counters. Railroads
run into the camp over uneven, crooked tracks. Trains of freight cars
are constantly arriving and being shoved off onto all sorts of sidings,
or even into the mud, to get them out of the way. Everybody wears his
trousers in his boots, and is muddy, ragged, and unshaven. Men with
picks and shovels are everywhere delving or mining for something that a
few days ago was more precious than gold, though really valueless now.
Occasionally they make a find and gather around to inspect it as miners
might a nugget. All it needs to complete the mining camp aspect of the
place is a row of gambling hells in full blast under the temporary
electric lights that gaudily illuminate the centre of the town.

Matters are becoming very well systematized, both in the military and
the mining way. Martial law could be imposed to-day with very little
inconvenience to any one. The guard about the town is very well kept,
and the loafers, bummers, and thieves are being pretty well cleared out.
The Grand Army men have thoroughly organized the work of distributing
supplies to the sufferers by the flood, the refugees, and contraband of
this camp.

The contractors who are clearing up the débris have their thousands of
men well in hand, and are getting good work out of them, considering the
conditions under which the men have to live, with insufficient food,
poor shelter, and other serious impediments to physical effectiveness.
All the men except those on the gorge above the bridge have been
working amid the heaps of ruined buildings in the upper part of the
city. The first endeavor has been to open the old streets in which the
débris was heaped as high as the house-tops. Fair progress has been
made, but there are weeks of work at it yet. Only one or two streets are
so far cleared that the public can use them. No one but the workmen are
allowed in the others.

Up Stony Creek Gap, above the contractors, the United States Army
engineers began work on Friday under command of Captain Sears, who is
here as the personal representative of the Secretary of War. The
engineers, Captain Bergland's company from Willet's Point, and
Lieutenant Biddle's company from West Point, arrived on Friday night,
having been since Tuesday on the road from New York. Early in the
morning they went to work to bridge Stony Creek, and unloaded and
launched their heavy pontoons and strung them across the streams with a
rapidity and skill that astonished the natives, who had mistaken them,
in their coarse, working uniforms of over-all stuff, for a fresh gang of
laborers. The engineers, when there are bridges enough laid, may be set
at other work about town. They have a camp of their own on the outskirts
of the place. There are more constables, watchmen, special policemen,
and that sort of thing in Johnstown than in any three cities of its
size in the country. Naturally there is great difficulty in equipping
them. Badges were easily provided by the clipping out of stars from
pieces of tin, but every one had to look out for himself when it came to
clubs. Everything goes, from a broomstick to a base ball bat. The bats
are especially popular.

"I'd like to get the job of handling your paper here," said a young
fellow to a Pittsburgh newspaper man. "You'll have to get some newsman
to do it anyhow, for your old men have gone down, and I and my partner
are the only newsmen in Johnstown above ground."

The newsdealing business is not the only one of which something like
that is true.

There has been a great scarcity of cooking utensils ever since the
flood. It not only is very inconvenient to the people, but tends to the
waste of a good deal of food. The soldiers are growling bitterly over
their commissary department. They claim that bread, and cheese, and
coffee are about all they get to eat.

The temporary electric lights have now been strung all along the
railroad tracks and through the central part of the ruins, so that the
place after dark is really quite brilliant seen from a distance,
especially when to the electric display is added the red glow in the
mist and smoke of huge bonfires.

Anybody who has been telegraphing to Johnstown this week and getting no
answers, would understand the reason for the lack of answers if he could
see the piles of telegrams that are sent out here by train from
Pittsburgh. Four thousand came in one batch on Thursday. Half of them
are still undelivered, and yet there is probably no place in the country
where the Western Union Company is doing better work than here. The
flood destroyed not only the company's offices, but the greater part of
their wires in this part of the country. The office they established
here is in a little shanty with no windows and only one door which won't
close, and it handles an amount of outgoing matter, daily, that would
swamp nine-tenths of the city offices in the country. Incoming business
is now received in considerable quantities, but for several days so
great was the pressure of outgoing business that no attempt was made to
receive any dispatches. The whole effort of the office has been to
handle press matter, and well they have done it. But there will be no
efficient delivery service for a long time. The old messenger boys are
all drowned, and the other boys who might make messenger boys are also
most of them drowned, so that the raw material for creating a service is
very scant. Besides that, nobody knows nowadays where any one else
lives.

The amateur and professional photographers who have overrun the town for
the last few days came to grief on Friday. A good many of them were
arrested by the soldiers, placed under a guard, taken down to the Stony
Creek and set to lugging logs and timbers. Among those arrested were
several of the newspaper photographers, and these General Hastings
ordered released when he heard of their arrest. The others were made to
work for half a day. They were a mad and disgusted lot, and they vowed
all sorts of vengeance. It does seem that some notice to the effect that
photographers were not permitted in Johnstown should have been posted
before the men were arrested. The photographers all had passes in
regular form, but the soldiers refused even to look at these.

More sightseers got through the guards at Bolivar on Friday night, and
came to Johnstown on the last train. Word was telegraphed ahead, and the
soldiers met them at the train, put them under arrest, kept them over
night, and in the morning they were set to work in clearing up the
ruins.

The special detail of workmen who have been at work looking up safes in
the ruins and seeing that they were taken care of, reports that none of
the safes have been broken open or otherwise interfered with. The
committee on valuables reports that quantities of jewelry and money are
being daily turned into them by people who have found them in the ruins.
Often the people surrendering this stuff are evidently very poor
themselves. The committee believes that as a general thing the people
are dealing very honestly in this matter of treasure-trove from the
ruins.

Three car-loads of coffins was part of the load of one freight train.
Coffins are scattered everywhere about the city. Scores of them seem to
have been set down and forgotten. They are used as benches, and even, it
is said, as beds.

Grandma Mary Seter, aged eighty-three years, a well-known character in
Johnstown, who was in the water until Saturday, and who, when rescued,
had her right arm so injured that amputation at the shoulder was
necessary, is doing finely at the hospital, and the doctors expect to
have her around again before long.

One enterprising man has opened a shop for the sale of relics of the
disaster, and is doing a big business. Half the people here are relic
cranks. Everything goes as a relic, from a horseshoe to a two-foot
section of iron pipe. Buttons and little things like that, that can
easily be carried off, are the most popular.

[Illustration: SEVENTH STREET, WASHINGTON, D. C., UNDER THE FLOOD.]



CHAPTER XXXIII.


A mantle of mist hung low over the Conemaugh Valley when the people of
Johnstown rose on Sunday morning, June 9th; but about the time the two
remaining church bells began to toll, the sun's rays broke through the
fog, and soon the sky was clear save for a few white clouds which sailed
lazily to the Alleghenies. Never in the history of Johnstown did
congregations attend more impressive church services. Some of them were
held in the open air, others in half-ruined buildings, and one only in a
church. The ceremonies were deeply solemn and touching. Early in the
forenoon German Catholics picked their way through the wreck to the
parsonage of St. Joseph's, where Fathers Kesbernan and Ald said four
masses. Next to the parsonage there was a great breach in the walls made
by the flood, and one-half of the parsonage had been carried away. At
one end of the pastor's reception-room had been placed a temporary
altar lighted by a solitary candle. There were white roses upon it,
while from the walls, above the muddy stains, hung pictures of the
Immaculate Conception, the Crucifixion, and the Virgin Mary. The room
was filled with worshipers, and the people spread out into the lateral
hall hanging over the cellar washed bare of its covering. No chairs or
benches were in the room. There was a deep hush as the congregation
knelt upon the damp floors, silently saying their prayers. With a
dignified and serene demeanor, the priest went through the services of
his church, while the people before him were motionless, the men with
bowed heads, the women holding handkerchiefs to their faces.

Back of this church, on the side of a hill, there gathered another
congregation of Catholics. Their church and parsonage and chapel had all
been destroyed, and they met in a yard near their cemetery. A pretty
arbor, covered with vines, ran back from the street, and beneath this
stood their priest, Father Tahney, who had worked with them over a
quarter of a century. His hair was white, but he stood erect as he
talked to his people. Before him was a white altar. This, too, was
lighted with a single candle. The people stood before him and on each
side, reverently kneeling on the grass as they prayed. Three masses were
said by Father Tahney and by Father Matthews, of Washington, and then
the white-haired priest spoke a few words of encouragement to his
listeners. He urged them to make a manful struggle to rebuild their
homes, to assist one another in their distress, and to be grateful to
all Americans for the helping hand extended to them. Other Catholic
services were held at the St. Columba's Church, in Cambria, where Father
Troutwein, of St. Mary's Church, Fathers Davin and Smith said mass and
addressed the congregation. Father Smith urged them not to sell their
lands to those who were speculating in men's misery, but to be
courageous until the city should rise again.

At the Pennsylvania station a meeting was held on the embankment
overlooking the ruined part of the town. The services were conducted by
the Rev. Mr. McGuire, chaplain of the 14th Regiment. The people sang
"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," and then Mr. McGuire read the
psalm beginning "I will bless the Lord at all times." James Fulton,
manager of the Cambria Iron Works, spoke encouraging words. He assured
them that the works would be rebuilt, and that the eight thousand
employés would be cared for. Houses would be built for them and
employment given to all in restoring the works. There was a strained
look on men's faces when he told them in a low voice that he held the
copy of a report which he had drawn up on the dam, calling attention to
the fact that it was extremely dangerous to the people living in the
valley.

One of the peculiar things a stranger notices in Johnstown is the
comparatively small number of women seen in the place. Of the throngs
who walk about the streets searching for dead friends, there is not one
woman to ten men. Occasionally a little group of two or three women with
sad faces will pick their way about, looking for the morgues. There are
a few Sisters of Charity, in their black robes, seen upon the streets,
and in the parts of the town not totally destroyed the usual number of
women are seen in the houses and yards. But, as a rule, women are a
rarity in Johnstown now. This is not a natural peculiarity of Johnstown,
nor a mere coincidence, but a fact with a dreadful reason behind it.
There are so many more men than women among the living in Johnstown now,
because there are so many more women than men among the dead. Of the
bodies recovered there are at least two women for every man. Besides the
fact that their natural weakness made them an easier prey to the flood,
the hour at which the disaster came was one when the women would most
likely be in their homes and the men at work in the open air or in
factory yards, from which escape was easy.

Children also are rarely seen about the town, and for a similar reason.
They are all dead. There is never a group of the dead discovered that
does not contain from one to three or four children for every grown
person. Generally the children are in the arms of the grown persons, and
often little toys and trinkets clasped in their hands indicate that the
children were caught up while at play, and carried as far as possible
toward safety.

Johnstown when rebuilt will be a city of many widowers and few children.
In turning a school-house into a morgue the authorities probably did a
wiser thing than they thought. It will be a long time before the
school-house will be needed for its original purpose.

The miracle, as it is called, that happened at the Church of the
Immaculate Conception, has caused a tremendous sensation. A large number
of persons will testify as to the nature of the event, and, to put it
mildly, the circumstances are really remarkable. The devotions in honor
of the Blessed Virgin celebrated daily during the month of May were in
progress on that Friday when the water descended on Cambria City. The
church was filled with people at the time, but when the noise of the
flood was heard the congregation hastened to get out of the way. They
succeeded as far as escaping from the interior is concerned, and in a
few minutes the church was partially submerged, the water reaching
fifteen feet up the sides and swirling around the corners furiously. The
building was badly wrecked, the benches were torn out, and in general
the entire structure, both inside and outside, was fairly dismantled.
Yesterday morning, when an entrance was forced through the blocked
doorway the ruin appeared to be complete. One object alone had escaped
the water's wrath. The statue of the Blessed Virgin, that had been
decorated and adorned because of the May devotions, was as unsullied as
the day it was made. The flowers, the wreaths, the lace veil were
undisturbed and unsoiled, although the marks on the wall showed that the
surface of the water had risen above the statue to a height of fifteen
feet, while the statue nevertheless had been saved from all contact with
the liquid. Every one who has seen the statue and its surroundings is
firmly convinced that the incident was a miraculous one, and even to the
most skeptical the affair savors of the supernatural.

A singular feature of the great flood was discovered at the great stone
viaduct about half way between Mineral Point and South Fork. At Mineral
Point the Pennsylvania Railroad is on the south side of the river,
although the town is on the north side. About a mile and a half up the
stream there was a viaduct built of very solid masonry. It was
originally built for the old Portage Road. It was seventy-eight feet
above the ordinary surface of the water. On this viaduct the railroad
tracks crossed to the north side of the river and on that side ran into
South Fork, two miles farther up. It is the general opinion of engineers
that this strong viaduct would have stood against the gigantic wave had
it not been blown up by dynamite. But at South Fork there was a dynamite
magazine which was picked up by the flood and shot down the stream at
the rate of twenty miles an hour. It struck the stone viaduct and
exploded. The roar of the flood was tremendous, but the noise of this
explosion was heard by farmers on the Evanston Road, two miles and a
half away. Persons living on the mountain sides, in view of the river,
and who saw the explosion, say that the stones of the viaduct at the
point where the magazine struck it, were thrown into the air to the
height of two hundred feet. An opening was made, and the flood of death
swept through on its awful errand.



CHAPTER XXXIV.


It is characteristic of American hopefulness and energy that before work
was fairly begun on clearing away the wreck of the old city, plans were
being prepared for the new one that should arise, Ph[oe]nix-like, above
its grave. If the future policy of the banks and bankers of Johnstown is
to be followed by the merchants and manufacturers of the city the
prospects of a magnificent city rising from the present ruins are of the
brightest. James McMillen, president of the First National and Johnstown
Savings Banks, said:

"The loss sustained by the First National Bank will be merely nominal.
It did a general commercial business and very little investing in the
way of mortgages. When the flood came the cash on hand and all our
valuable securities and papers were locked in the safe and were in no
way affected by the water. The damage to the building itself will be
comparatively small. Our capital was one hundred thousand dollars, while
our surplus was upwards of forty thousand dollars. The depositors of
this bank are, therefore, not worrying themselves about our ability to
meet all demands that may be made upon us by them. The bank will open up
for business within a few days as if nothing had happened.

"As to the Johnstown Savings Bank it had probably $200,000 invested in
mortgages on property in Johnstown, but the wisdom of our policy in the
past in making loans has proven of great value to us in the present
emergency. Since we first began business we have refused to make loans
to parties on property where the lot itself would not be of sufficient
value to indemnify us against loss in case of the destruction of the
building. If a man owned a lot worth $2,000 and had on it a building
worth $100,000 we would refuse to loan over the $2,000 on the property.
The result is that the lots on which the buildings stood in Johnstown,
on which $200,000 of our money is loaned, are worth double the amount,
probably, that we have invested in them.

"What will be the effect of the flood on the value of lots in Johnstown
proper? Well, instead of decreasing, they have already advanced in
value. This will bring outside capital to Johnstown, and a real estate
boom is bound to follow in the wake of this destruction. All the people
want is an assurance that the banks are safe and will open up for
business at once. With that feeling they have started to work with a
vim. We have in this bank $300,000 invested in Government bonds and
other securities that can be converted into cash on an hour's notice. We
propose to keep these things constantly before our business men as an
impetus to rebuilding our principal business blocks as soon as
possible."

"What do you think of the idea projected by Captain W. R. Jones, to
dredge and lower the river bed about thirty feet and adding seventy per
cent. to its present width, as a precautionary measure against future
washouts?"

"I not only heartily indorse that scheme, but have positive assurance
from other leading business men that the idea will be carried out, as it
certainly should be, the moment the work of cleaning away the debris is
completed. Besides that, a scheme is on foot to get a charter for the
city of Johnstown which will embrace all those surrounding boroughs. In
the event of that being done, and I am certain it will be, the plan of
the city will be entirely changed and made to correspond with the best
laid-out cities in the country. In ten years Johnstown will be one of
the prettiest and busiest cities in the world, and nothing can prevent
it. The streets will be widened and probably made to start from a common
centre, something after the fashion of Washington City, with a little
more regard for the value of property. With the Cambria Iron Company,
the Gautier Steel Works, and other manufactories, as well as yearly
increasing railroad facilities, Johnstown has a start which will grow in
a short time to enormous proportions. From a real estate standpoint the
flood has been a benefit beyond a doubt. Another addition to the city
will be made in the shape of an immense water-main to connect with a
magnificent reservoir of the finest water in the world to be located in
the mountains up Stony Creek for supplying the entire city as
contemplated in the proposed new charter. This plant was well under way
when the flood came, and about ten thousand dollars had already been
expended on it which has been lost."

Mr. John Roberts, the surviving partner of the banking-house of John
Dibert & Company, said:

"Aside from the loss to our own building we have come out whole and
entire. We had no money invested in mortgages in Johnstown that is not
fully indemnified by the lots themselves. Most of our money is invested
in property in Somerset County, where Mr. Dibert was raised. We will
exert every influence in our power to place the city on a better footing
than was ever before. The plan of raising the city or lowering the bed
of the river as well as widening its banks will surely be carried out.
In addition, I think the idea of changing the plan of the city and
embracing Johnstown and the surrounding buroughs in one large city will
be one of the greatest benefits the flood could have wrought to the
future citizens of Johnstown and the Conemough Valley.

"I have been chairman of our Finance Committee of Councils for ten years
past, and I know the trouble we have had with our streets and alleys and
the necessity of a great change. In order to put the city in the proper
shape to insure commercial growth and topographical beauty, we will be
ready for business in a few days, and enough money will be put into
circulation in the valley to give the people encouragement in the work
of rebuilding."



CHAPTER XXXV.


Among the travelers who were in or near the Conemaugh Valley at the time
of the flood, and who thus narrowly escaped the doom that swallowed up
thousands of their fellow-mortals, was Mr. William Henry Smith, General
Manager of the Associated Press. He remained there for some time and did
valuable work in directing the operations of news-gatherers and in the
general labors of relief.

The wife and daughter of Mr. E. W. Halford, private secretary to
President Harrison, were also there. They made their way to Washington
on Thursday, to Mr. Halford's inexpressible relief, they having at first
been reported among the lost. On their arrival at the Capital they went
at once to the Executive Mansion, where the members of the Executive
household were awaiting them with great interest. The ladies lost all
their baggage, but were thankful for their almost miraculous delivery
from the jaws of death. Mrs. Harrison's eyes were suffused with tears
as she listened to the dreadful narrative. The President was also
deeply moved. From the first tidings of the dire calamity his thoughts
have been absorbed in sympathy and desire to alleviate the sufferings of
the devastated region. The manner of the escape of Mrs. Halford and her
daughter has already been told. When the alarm was given, she and her
daughter rushed with the other passengers out of the car and took refuge
on the mountain side by climbing up the rocky excavation near the track.
Mrs. Halford was in delicate health owing to bronchial troubles. She has
borne up well under the excitement, exposure, fatigue, and horror of her
experiences.

Mrs. George W. Childs was also reported among the lost, but incorrectly.
Mr. Childs received word on Thursday for the first time direct from his
wife, who was on her way West to visit Miss Kate Drexel when detained by
the flood. Indirectly he had heard she was all right. The telegram
notified him that Mrs. Childs was at Altoona, and could not move either
way, but was perfectly safe.

George B. Roberts, President of the Pennsylvania Railway Company, was
obliged to issue the following card: "In consequence of the terrible
calamity that has fallen upon a community which has such close relations
to the Pennsylvania Railway Company, Mr. and Mrs. George B. Roberts
feel compelled to withdraw their invitations for Thursday, June 6th."
Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Pugh also felt obliged to withdraw their
invitations for Wednesday, June 5th.

The Rev. J. A. Ranney, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and his wife were passengers
on one of the trains wrecked by the Conemaugh flood. Mr. Ranney said:

"Mrs. Ranney and I were on one of the trains at Conemaugh when the flood
came. There was but a moment's warning and the disaster was upon us. The
occupants of our car rushed for the door, where Mrs. Ranney and I became
separated. She was one of the first to jump, and I saw her run and
disappear behind the first house in sight. Before I could get out the
deluge was too high, and, with a number of others, I remained in the
car. Our car was lifted up and dashed against a car loaded with stone
and badly wrecked, but most of the occupants of this car were rescued.
As far as I know all who jumped from the car lost their lives. The
remainder of the train was swept away. I searched for days for Mrs.
Ranney, but could find no trace of her. I think she perished. The mind
cannot conceive the awful sight presented when we first saw the danger.
The approaching wall of water looked like Niagara, and huge engines were
caught up and whirled away as if they were mere wheel-barrows."

D. B. Cummins, of Philadelphia, the President of the Girard National
Bank, was one of the party of four which consisted of John Scott,
Solicitor-General of the Pennsylvania Railroad; Edmund Smith,
ex-Vice-President of the same company; and Colonel Welsh himself, who
had been stopping in the country a few miles back of Williamsport.

Mr. Cummins, in talking of the condition of things in that vicinity and
of his experience, said: "We were trout-fishing at Anderson's cabin,
about fourteen miles from Williamsport, at the time the flood started.
We went to Williamsport, intending to take a train for Philadelphia. Of
course, when we got there we found everything in a frightful condition,
and the people completely disheartened by the flood. Fortunately the
loss of life was very slight, especially when compared with the terrible
disaster in Johnstown. The loss, from a financial standpoint, will be
very great, for the city is completely inundated, and the lumber
industry seriously crippled. Besides, the stagnation of business for any
length of time produces results which are disastrous."

[Illustration: FOURTEENTH STREET, WASHINGTON, D. C., IN THE FLOOD.]

The first passengers that came from Altoona to New York by the
Pennsylvania Railroad since the floods included five members of the
"Night Off" Company, which played in Johnstown on Thursday night, about
whom considerable anxiety was felt for some time, till E. A. Eberle
received telegrams from his wife, the contents of which he at once gave
to the press. Mrs. Eberle was among the five who arrived.

"No words can tell the horrors of the scenes we witnessed," she said in
answer to a request for an account of her experiences, "and nothing that
has been published can convey any idea of the awful havoc wrought in
those few but apparently never-ending minutes in which the worst of the
flood passed us.

"Our company left Johnstown on Friday morning. We only got two miles
away, as far as Conemaugh, when we were stopped by a landslide a little
way ahead. About noon we went to dinner, and soon after we came back
some of our company noticed that the flood had extended and was washing
away the embankment on which our train stood. They called the engineer's
attention to the fact, and he took the train a few hundred feet further.
It was fortunate he did so, for a little while after the embankment
caved in.

"Then we could not move forward or backward, as ahead was the landslide
and behind there was no track. Even then we were not frightened, and it
was not till about three o'clock, when we saw a heavy iron bridge go
down as if it were made of paper, that we began to be seriously alarmed.
Just before the dam broke a gravel train came tearing down, with the
engine giving out the most awful shriek I ever heard. Every one
recognized that this was a note of warning. We fled as hard as we could
run down the embankment, across a ditch, and for a distance equal to
about two blocks up the hillside. Once I turned to look at the vast wall
of water, but was hurried on by my friends. When I had gone about the
distance of another block the head of the flood had passed far away, and
with it went houses, cars, locomotives, everything that a few minutes
before had made up a busy scene. The wall of water looked to be fifty
feet high. It was of a deep yellow color, but the crest was white with
foam.

"Three of us reached the house of Mrs. William Wright, who took us in
and treated us most kindly. I did not take any account of time, but I
imagine it was about an hour before the water ceased to rush past the
house. The conductor of our train, Charles A. Wartham, behaved with the
greatest bravery. He took a crippled passenger on his back in the rush
up the hill. A floating house struck the cripple, carried him away and
tore some of the clothes off Wartham's back, and he managed to struggle
on and save himself. Our ride to Ebensburg, sixteen miles, in a lumber
wagon without springs, was trying, but no one thought of complaining.
Later in the day we were sent to Cresson and thence to Altoona."



CHAPTER XXXVI.


No travelers in an upheaved and disorganized land push through with more
pluck and courage than the newspaper correspondents. Accounts have
already been given of some of their experiences. A writer in the New
York _Times_ thus told of his, a week after the events described:

"A man who starts on a journey on ten minutes' notice likes the journey
to be short, with a promise of success and of food and clothes at its
end. Starting suddenly a week ago, the _Times's_ correspondent has since
had but a small measure of success, a smaller measure of food, and for
nights no rest at all; a long tramp across the Blue Hills and Allegheny
Mountains, behind jaded horses; helping to push up-hill the wagon they
tried to pull or to lift the vehicle up and down bridges whose
approaches were torn away, or in and out of fords the pathways to which
had disappeared; and in the blackness of the night, scrambling through
gullies in the pike road made by the storm, paved with sharp and
treacherous rocks and traversed by swift-running streams, whose roar was
the only guide to their course. All this prepared a weary reporter to
welcome the bed of straw he found in a Johnstown stable loft last
Monday, and on which he has reposed nightly ever since.

"And let me advise reporters and other persons who are liable to sudden
missions to out-of-the-way places not to wear patent leather shoes. They
are no good for mountain roads. This is the result of sad experience.
Wetness and stone bruises are the benisons they confer on feet that
tread rough paths.

"The quarter past twelve train was the one boarded by the _Times's_
correspondent and three other reporters on their way hither a week ago
Friday night. It was in the minds of all that they would get as far as
Altoona, on the Pennsylvania Road, and thence by wagon to this place.
But all were mistaken. At Philadelphia we were told that there were
wash-outs in many places and bridges were down everywhere, so that we
would be lucky if we got even to Harrisburg. This was harrowing news. It
caused such a searching of time-tables and of the map of Pennsylvania as
those things were rarely ever subjected to before. It was at last
decided that if the Pennsylvania Railroad stopped at Harrisburg an
attempt would be made to reach the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at
Martinsburg, West Virginia, by way of the Cumberland Railroad, a train
on which was scheduled to leave Harrisburg ten minutes after the arrival
of the Pennsylvania train.

"It was only too evident to us, long before we reached Harrisburg, that
we would not get to the West out of that city. The Susquehanna had risen
far over its banks, and for miles our train ran slowly with the water
close to the fire-box of the locomotive and over the lower steps of the
car platform. At last we reached the station. Several energetic
Philadelphia reporters had come on with us from that lively city,
expecting to go straight to Johnstown. As they left the train one cried:
'Hurrah, boys, there's White. He'll know all about it.' White stood
placidly on the steps, and knew nothing more than that he and several
other Philadelphia reporters, who had started Friday night, had got no
further than the Harrisburg station, and were in a state of wonderment,
leaving them to think our party caught.

"As the Cumberland Valley train was pulling out of the station, its
conductor, a big, genial fellow, who seemed to know everybody in the
valley, was loth to express an opinion as to whether we would get to
Martinsburg. He would take us as far as he could, and then leave us to
work out our own salvation. He could give us no information about the
Baltimore and Ohio Road. Hope and fear chased one another in our midst;
hope that trains were running on that road, and fear that it, too, had
been stopped by wash-outs. In the latter case it seemed to us that we
should be compelled to return to Harrisburg and sit down to think with
our Philadelphia brethren.

"The Cumberland Valley train took us to Hagerstown, and there the big and
genial conductor told us it would stay, as it could not cross the
Potomac to reach Martinsburg. We were twelve miles from the Potomac and
twenty from Martinsburg. Fortunately, a construction train was going to
the river to repair some small wash-outs, and Major Ives, the engineer
of the Cumberland Valley Road, took us upon it, but he smiled pitifully
when we told him we were going across the bridge.

"'Why, man,' he said to the _Times's_ correspondent, 'the Potomac is
higher than it was in 1877, and there's no telling when the bridge will
go.'

"At the bridge was a throng of country people waiting to see it go down,
and wondering how many more blows it would stand from foundering
canal-boats, washed out of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, whose lines
had already disappeared under the flood. A quick survey of the bridge
showed that its second section was weakening, and had already bent
several inches, making a slight concavity on the upper side.

"No time was to be lost if we were going to Martinsburg. The country
people murmured disapproval, but we went on the bridge, and were soon
crossing it on the one-foot plank that served for a footwalk. It was an
unpleasant walk. The river was roaring below us. To yield to the
fascination of the desire to look between the railroad ties at the
foaming water was to throw away our lives. Then that fear that the tons
of drift stuff piled against the upper side of the bridge, would
suddenly throw it over, was a cause of anything but confidence. But we
held our breath, balanced ourselves, measured our steps, and looked far
ahead at the hills on the Western Virginia shore. At last the firm
embankment was reached, and four reporters sent up one sigh of relief
and joy.

"Finding two teams, we were soon on our way to Martinsburg.

"The Potomac was nine feet higher than it was ever known to be before,
and it was out for more than a mile beyond the tracks of the Cumberland
Valley Railroad at Falling Waters, where it had carried away several
houses. This made the route to Martinsburg twice as long as it otherwise
would have been. To weary, anxious reporters it seemed four times as
long, and that we should never get beyond the village of Falling Waters.
It confronted us at every turn of the crooked way, until it became a
source of pain. It is a pretty place, but we were yearning for
Johnstown, not for rural beauty.

"All roads have an end, and Farmer Sperow's teams at last dragged us
into Martinsburg. Little comfort was in store for us there. No train had
arrived there for more than twenty-four hours. Farmer Sperow was called
on to take us back to the river, our instructions being to cross the
bridge again and take a trip over the mountains. Hope gave way to utter
despair when we learned that the bridge had fallen twenty minutes after
our passage. We had put ourselves into a pickle. Chief Engineer Ives and
his assistant, Mr. Schoonmaker joined us a little while later. They had
followed us across the bridge and been cut off also. They were needed at
Harrisburg, and they backed up our effort to get a special train to go
to the Shenandoah Valley Road's bridge, twenty-five miles away, which
was reported to be yet standing.

"The Baltimore and Ohio officials were obdurate. They did not know
enough about the tracks to the eastward to experiment with a train on
them in the dark. They promised to make up a train in the morning.
Wagons would not take us as soon. A drearier night was never passed by
men with their hearts in their work. Morning came at last and with it
the news that the road to the east was passable nearly to Harper's
Ferry. Lots of Martinsburg folks wanted to see the sights at the Ferry,
and we had the advantage of their society on an excursion train as far
as Shenandoah Junction, where Mr. Ives had telegraphed for a special to
come over and meet us if the bridge was standing.

"The telegraph kept us informed about the movement of the train. When we
learned that it had tested and crossed the bridge our joy was modified
only by the fear that we had made fools of ourselves in leaving
Harrisburg, and that the more phlegmatic Philadelphia reporters had
already got to Johnstown. But this fear was soon dissipated. The
trainman knew that Harrisburg was inundated and no train had gone west
for nearly two days. A new fear took its place. It was that New York
men, starting behind us, had got into Johnstown through Pittsburg by way
of the New York Central and its connections. No telegrams were penned
with more conflicting emotions surging through the writer than those by
which the _Times's_ correspondent made it known that he had got out of
the Martinsburg pocket and was about to make a wagon journey of one
hundred and ten miles across the mountains, and asked for information as
to whether any Eastern man had got to the scene of the flood.

"The special train took us to Chambersburg, where Superintendent
Riddle, of the Cumberland Valley Road, had information that four
Philadelphia men were on their way thither, and had engaged a team to
take them on the first stage of the overland trip. A wild rush was made
for Schiner's livery, and in ten minutes we were bowling over the pike
toward McConnellsburg, having already sent thither a telegraphic order
for fresh teams. The train from Harrisburg was due in five minutes when
we started. As we mounted each hill we eagerly scanned the road behind
for pursuers. They never came in sight.

"In McConnellsburg the entire town had heard of our coming, and were out
to greet us with cheers. They knew our mission and that a party of
competitors was tracking us. Landlord Prosser, of the Fulton Hotel, had
his team ready, but said there had been an enormous wash-out near the
Juniata River, beyond which he could not take us. We would have to walk
through the break in the pike and cross the river on a bridge tottering
on a few supports. Telegrams to Everett for a team to meet us beyond the
river and take us to Bedford, and to the latter place for a team to make
the journey across the Allegehenies to Johnstown settled all our plans.

"As well as we could make it out by telegraphic advices, we were an hour
ahead of the Philadelphians. Ten minutes was not, therefore, too long
for supper. Landlord Prosser took the reins himself and we started
again, with a hurrah from the populace. As it was Sunday, they would
sell us nothing, but storekeeper Young and telegraph operator Sloan
supplied us with tobacco and other little comforts, our stock of which
had been exhausted. It will gratify our Prohibition friends to learn
that whisky was not among them. McConnellsburg is, unfortunately, a dry
town for the time being. It was a long and weary pull to the top of
Sidling Hill. To ease up on the team, we walked the greater part of the
way. A short descent and a straight run took us to the banks of Licking
Creek.

"Harrisonville was just beyond, and Harrisonville had been under a
raging flood, which had weakened the props of the bridge and washed out
the road for fifty feet beyond it. The only thing to do was to unhitch
and lead the horses over the bridge and through the gully. This was
difficult, but it was finally accomplished. The more difficult task was
to get the wagon over. A long pull, with many strong lifts, in which
some of the natives aided, took it down from the bridge and through the
break, but at the end there were more barked shins and bruised toes than
any other four men ever had in common.

"It was a quick ride from Everett to Bedford, for our driver had a good
wagon and a speedy team. Arriving at Bedford a little after two o'clock
in the morning, we found dispatches that cheered us, for they told us
that we had made no mistake, and might reach the scene of disaster
first. Only a reporter who has been on a mission similar to this can
tell the joy imparted by a dispatch like this:

"'NEW YORK--Nobody is ahead of you. Go it.'

"At four o'clock in the morning we started on our long trip of forty
miles across the Alleghenies to Johnstown. Pleasantville was reached at
half-past six A. M. Now the road became bad, and everybody but the
driver had to walk. Footsore as we were, we had to clamber over rocks
and through mud in a driving rain, which wet us through. For ten miles
we went thus dismally. Ten miles from Johnstown we got in the wagon, and
every one promptly went to sleep, at the risk of being thrown out at any
time as the wagon jolted along. Tired nature could stand no more, and we
slumbered peacefully until four half-drunken special policemen halted us
at the entrance to Johnstown. Argument with them stirred us up, and we
got into town and saw what a ruin it was."



CHAPTER XXXVII.


Nor was the life of the correspondents at Johnstown altogether a happy
one. The life of a newspaper man is filled with vicissitudes. Sometimes
he feeds on the fat of the land, and at others he feeds on air; but as a
rule he lives comfortably, and has as much satisfaction in life as other
men. It may safely be asserted, however, that such experiences as the
special correspondents of Eastern papers have met with in Johnstown are
not easily paralleled. When a war correspondent goes on a campaign he is
prepared for hardship and makes provision against it. He has a tent,
blankets, heavy overcoat, a horse, and other things which are
necessaries of life in the open air. But the men who came hurrying to
Johnstown to fulfill the invaluable mission of letting the world know
just what was the matter were not well provided against the suffering
set before them.

The first information of the disaster was sent out by the Associated
Press on the evening of its occurrence. The destruction of wires made it
impossible to give as full an account as would otherwise have been sent,
but the dispatches convinced the managing editors of the wide-awake
papers that a calamity destined to be one of the most fearful in all
human history had fallen upon the peaceful valley of the Conemaugh. All
the leading Eastern papers started men for Philadelphia at once. From
Philadelphia these men went to Harrisburg. There were many able
representatives in the party, and they are ready to wager large amounts
that there was never at any place a crowd of newspaper men so absolutely
and hopelessly stalled as they were there. Bridges were down and the
roadway at many places was carried away.

Then came the determined and exhausting struggle to reach Johnstown. The
stories of the different trips have been told. From Saturday morning
till Monday morning the correspondents fought a desperate battle against
the raging floods, risking their lives again and again to reach the
city. At one place they footed it across a bridge that ten minutes later
went swirling down the mad torrent to instant destruction. Again they
hired carriages and drove over the mountains, literally wading into
swollen streams and carrying their vehicles across. Finally one party
caught a Baltimore and Ohio special train and got into Johnstown.

It was Monday. There was nothing to eat. The men were exhausted, hungry,
thirsty, sleepy. Their work was there, however, and had to be done.
Where was the telegraph office? Gone down the Conemaugh Valley to
hopeless oblivion. But the duties of a telegraph company are as
imperative as those of a newspaper. General Manager Clark, of
Pittsburgh, had sent out a force of twelve operators, under Operator
Munson as manager _pro tem._, to open communications at Johnstown. The
Pennsylvania Railroad rushed them through to the westerly end of the
fatal bridge. Smoke and the pall of death were upon it. Ruin and
devastation were all around. To get wires into the city proper was out
of the question. Nine wires were good between the west end of the bridge
and Pittsburgh. The telegraph force found, just south of the track, on
the side of the hill overlooking the whole scene of Johnstown's
destruction, a miserable hovel which had been used for the storage of
oil barrels. The interior was as dark as a tomb, and smelled like the
concentrated essence of petroleum itself. The floor was a slimy mass of
black grease. It was no time for delicacy. In went the operators with
their relay instruments and keys; out went the barrels. Rough shelves
were thrown up to take copy on, and some old chairs were subsequently
secured. Tallow dips threw a fitful red glare upon the scene. The
operators were ready.

Toward dusk ten haggard and exhausted New York correspondents came
staggering up the hillside. They found the entire neighborhood infested
with Pittsburgh reporters, who had already secured all the good places,
such as they were, for work, and were busily engaged in wiring to their
offices awful tales of Hungarian depredations upon dead bodies, and
lynching affairs which never occurred. One paper had eighteen men there,
and others had almost an equal number. The New York correspondents were
in a terrible condition. Some of them had started from their offices
without a change of clothing, and had managed to buy a flannel shirt or
two and some footwear, including the absolutely necessary rubber boots,
on the way. Others had no extra coin, and were wearing the low-cut shoes
which they had on at starting. One or two of them were so worn out that
they turned dizzy and sick at the stomach when they attempted to write.
But the work had to be done. Just south of the telegraph office stands a
two-story frame building in a state of dilapidation. It is flanked on
each side by a shed, and its lower story, with an earth floor, is used
for the storage of fire bricks. The second-story floor is full of great
gaps, and the entire building is as draughty as a seive and as dusty as
a country road in a drought. The Associated Press and the _Herald_ took
the second floor, the _Times_, _Tribune_, _Sun_, _Morning Journal_,
_World_, Philadelphia _Press_, Baltimore _Sun_, and Pittsburgh _Post_
took possession of the first floor, using the sheds as day outposts.
Some old barrels were found inside. They were turned up on end, some
boards were picked up outdoors and laid on them, and seats were
improvised out of the fire-bricks. Candles were borrowed from the
telegraph men, who were hammering away at their instruments and turning
pale at the prospect, and the work of sending dispatches to the papers
began.

Not a man had assuaged his hunger. Not a man knew where he was to rest.
All that the operators could take, and a great deal more, was filed, and
then the correspondents began to think of themselves. Two tents, a
colored cook, and provisions had been sent up from Pittsburgh for the
operators. The tents were pitched on the side of the hill, just over the
telegraph "office," and the colored cook utilized the natural gas of a
brick-kiln just behind them. The correspondents procured little or
nothing to eat that night. Some of them plodded wearily across the
Pennsylvania bridge and into the city, out to the Baltimore and Ohio
tracks, and into the car in which they had arrived. There they slept,
in all their clothing, in miserably-cramped positions on the seats. In
the morning they had nothing to wash in but the polluted waters of the
Conemaugh. Others, who had no claim on the car, moved to pity a night
watchman, who took them to a large barn in Cambria City. There they
slept in a hay-loft, to the tuneful piping of hundreds of mice, the
snorting of horses and cattle, the nocturnal dancing of dissipated rats,
and the solemn rattle of cow chains.

[Illustration: SEVENTH STREET, WASHINGTON, DURING THE FLOOD.]

In the morning all hands were out bright and early, sparring for food.
The situation was desperate. There was no such thing in the place as a
restaurant or a hotel; there was no such thing as a store. The few
remaining houses were over-crowded with survivors who had lost all. They
could get food by applying to the Relief Committee. The correspondents
had no such privilege. They had plenty of money, but there was nothing
for sale. They could not beg nor borrow; they wouldn't steal. Finally,
they prevailed upon a pretty Pennsylvania mountain woman, with fair
skin, gray eyes, and a delicious way of saying "You un's," to give them
something to eat. She fried them some tough pork, gave them some bread,
and made them some coffee without milk and sugar. The first man that
stayed his hunger was so glad that he gave her a dollar, and that
became her upset price. It cost a dollar to go in and look around after
that.

Then Editor Walters, of Pittsburgh, a great big man with a great big
heart, ordered up $150 worth of food from Pittsburgh. He got a German
named George Esser, in Cambria City, to cook at his house, which had not
been carried away, and the boys were mysteriously informed that they
could get meals at the German's. He was supposed to be one of the dread
Hungarians, and the boys christened his place the Café Hungaria. They
paid fifty cents apiece to him for cooking the meals, but it was three
days before the secret leaked out that Mr. Walters supplied the food. If
ever Mr. Walters gets into a tight place he has only to telegraph to New
York, and twenty grateful men will do anything in their power to repay
his kindness.

Then the routine of Johnstown life for the correspondents became
settled. At night they slept in the old car or the hay-mow or elsewhere.
They breakfasted at the Café Hungaria. Then they went forth to their
work. They had to walk everywhere. Over the mountains, through briers
and among rocks, down in the valley in mud up to their knees, they
tramped over the whole district lying between South Fork and New
Florence, a distance of twenty-three miles, to gather the details of the
frightful calamity. Luncheon was a rare and radiant luxury. Dinner was
eaten at the café. Copy was written everywhere and anywhere.

Constant struggles were going on between correspondents and policemen or
deputy sheriffs. The countersign was given out incorrectly to the
newspaper men one night, and many of them had much trouble. At night the
boys traversed the place at the risk of life and limb. Two _Times_ men
spent an hour and a half going two miles to the car for rest one night.
The city--or what had been the city--was wrapped in Cimmerian darkness,
only intensified by the feeble glimmer of the fires of the night guards.
The two correspondents almost fell through a pontoon bridge into the
Conemaugh. Again they almost walked into the pit full of water where the
gas tank had been. At length they met two guards going to an outlying
post near the car with a lantern. These men had lived in Johnstown all
their lives. Three times they were lost on their way over. Another
correspondent fell down three or four slippery steps one night and
sprained his ankle, but he gritted his teeth and stuck to his work. One
of the _Times_ men tried to sleep in a hay-mow one night, but at one
o'clock he was driven out by the rats. He wandered about till he found a
night watchman, who escorted him to a brick-kiln. Attired in all his
clothing, his mackintosh, rubber boots, and hat, and with his
handkerchief for a pillow, he stretched himself upon a plank on top of
the bricks inside the kiln and slept one solitary hour. It was the third
hour's sleep he had enjoyed in seventy-two hours. The next morning he
looked like a paralytic tramp who had been hauled out of an ash-heap.

Another correspondent fell through an opening in the Pennsylvania bridge
and landed in a culvert several feet below. His left eye was almost
knocked out, and he had to go to one of the hospitals for treatment. But
he kept at his work. The more active newspaper men were a sight by
Wednesday. They knew it. They had their pictures taken. They call the
group "The Johnstown Sufferers." Their costumes are picturesque. One of
them--a dramatically inclined youth sometimes called Romeo--wears a pair
of low shoes which are incrusted with yellow mud, a pair of gray stained
trousers, a yellow corduroy coat, a flannel shirt, a soft hat of a dirty
greenish-brown tint, and a rubber overcoat with a cape. And still he is
not happy.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.


The storm that filled Conemaugh Lake and burst its bounds also wrought
sad havoc elsewhere. Williamsport, Pa., underwent the experience of
being flooded with thirty-four feet of water, of having the Susquehanna
boom taken out with two hundred million feet of logs, over forty million
feet of sawed lumber taken, mills carried away and others wrecked,
business and industrial establishments wrecked, and a large number of
lives lost. The flood was nearly seven feet higher than the great high
water of 1865.

Early on Friday news came of the flood at Clearfield, but it was not
before two o'clock Saturday morning that the swelling water began to
become prominent, the river then showing a rise averaging two feet to
the hour. Steadily and rapidly thereafter the rise continued. The rain
up the country had been terrific, and from Thursday afternoon,
throughout the night, and during Friday and Friday night, the rain fell
here with but little interruption. After midnight Friday it came down in
absolute torrents until nearly daylight Saturday morning. As a result of
this rise, Grafins Run, a small stream running through the city from
northwest to southeast, was raised until it flooded the whole territory
on either side of it.

Soon after daylight, the rain having ceased, the stream began to
subside, and as the river had not then reached an alarming height, very
few were concerned over the outlook. The water kept getting higher and
higher, and spreading out over the lower streets. At about nine o'clock
in the forenoon the logs began to go down, filling the stream from bank
to bank. The water had by this time reached almost the stage of 1865. It
was coming up Third Street to the Court-house, and was up Fourth Street
to Market. Not long after it reached Third Street on William, and
advanced up Fourth to Pine. Its onward progress did not stop, however,
as it rose higher on Third Street, and soon began to reach Fourth Street
both at Elmira and Locust Streets. No one along Fourth between William
and Hepburn had any conception that it would trouble them, but the
sequel proved they were mistaken.

Soon after noon the water began crossing the railroad at Walnut and
Campbell Streets, and soon all the country north of the railroad was
submerged, that part along the run being for the second time during the
day flooded. The rise kept on until nine o'clock at night, and after
that hour it began to go slowly the other way. By daylight Sunday
morning it had fallen two feet, and that receding continued during the
day. When the water was at its highest the memorable sight was to be
seen of a level surface of water extending from the northern line of the
city from Rural Avenue on Locust Street, entirely across the city to the
mountain on the south side. This meant that the water was six feet deep
on the floors of the buildings in Market Square, over four feet deep in
the station of the Pennsylvania Railroad and at the Park Hotel. Fully
three-quarters of the city was submerged.

The loss was necessarily enormous. It was heaviest on the lumbermen. All
the logs were lost, and a large share of the cut lumber.

The loss of life was heavy.

A general meeting of lumbermen was held, to take action on the question
of looking after the lost stock. A comparison as to losses was made, but
many of those present were unable to give an estimate of the amount they
had lost. It was found that the aggregate of logs lost from the boom was
about two hundred million feet, and the aggregate of manufactured lumber
fully forty million feet. The only saw-mill taken was the Beaver mill
structure, which contained two mills, that of S. Mack Taylor and the
Williamsport Lumber Company. It went down stream just as it stood, and
lodged a few miles below the city.

A member of the Philadelphia _Times_' staff telegraphed from
Williamsport:--

"Trusting to the strong arms of brave John Nichol, I safely crossed the
Susquehanna at Montgomery in a small boat, and met Superintendent
Westfall on the other side on an engine. We went to where the Northern
Central crosses the river again to Williamsport, where it is wider and
swifter. The havoc everywhere is dreadful. Most of the farmers for miles
and miles have lost their stock and crops, and some their horses and
barns. In one place I saw thirty dead cattle. They had caught on the top
of a hill, but were drowned and carried into a creek that had been a
part of a river. I could see where the river had been over the tops of
the barns a quarter of a mile from the usual bank. A man named Gibson,
some miles below Williamsport, lost every animal but a gray horse, which
got into the loft and stayed there, with the water up to his body.

"A woman named Clark is alive, with six cows that she got upstairs.
Along the edges of the washed-out tracks families with stoves and a few
things saved are under board shanties. We passed the saw-mill that, by
forming a dam, is responsible for the loss of the Williamsport bridges.
The river looked very wild, but Superintendent Westfall and I crossed it
in two boats. It is nearly half a mile across. Both boats were carried
some distance and nearly upset. It was odd, after wading through mud
into the town, to find all Williamsport knowing little or nothing about
Johnstown or what had been happening elsewhere. Mr. Westfall was beset
by thousands asking about friends on the other side, and inquiring when
food can be got through.

"The loss is awful. There have not been many buildings in the town
carried off, but there are few that have not been damaged. There is
mourning everywhere for the dead. Men look serious and worn, and every
one is going about splashed with mud. The mayor, in his address, says:
'Send us help at once--in the name of God, at once. There are hundreds
utterly destitute. They have lost all they had, and have no hope of
employment for the future. Philadelphia should, if possible, send
provisions. Such a thing as a chicken is unknown here. They were all
carried off. It is hard to get anything to eat for love or money. Flour
is needed worse than anything else.'

"I gave away a cooked chicken and sandwiches that I had with me to two
men who had had nothing to eat since yesterday morning. The flood
having subsided, all the grim destitution is now uncovered. Last night a
great many grocery and other stores were gutted, not by the water, but
by hungry, desperate people. They only took things to eat.

"A pathetic feature of the loss of life is the great number of children
drowned. In one case two brothers named Youngman, up the river, who have
a woolen mill, lost their wives and children and their property, too, by
the bursting of the dam. Everything was carried away in the night. They
saved themselves by being strong. One caught in a tree on the side of
the mountain across the river and remained there from Saturday night
until late Sunday, with the river below him."

Among the many remarkable experiences was that of Garrett L. Crouse,
proprietor of a large kindling-wood mill, who is also well known to many
Philadelphia and New York business men. Mr. Crouse lives on the north
side of West Fourth Street, between Walnut and Campbell. On Saturday he
was down town, looking after his mill and wood, little thinking that
there was any flood in the western part of the city. At eleven o'clock
he started to go home, and sauntered leisurely up Fourth Street. He soon
learned the condition of things and started for Lycoming Street, and
was soon in front of the Rising Sun Hotel, on Walnut Street, wading in
the water, which came nearly to his neck. Boats passing and repassing
refused to take him in, notwithstanding that he was so close to his
home. The water continued to rise and he detached a piece of board-walk,
holding on to a convenient tree. In this position he stayed two hours in
the vain hope that a boat would take him on.

At this juncture a man with a small boat hove in sight and came so close
that Mr. Crouse could touch it. Laying hold of the boat he asked the
skipper how much he would take to row him down to Fourth Street, where
the larger boats were running.

"I can't take you," was the reply; "this boat only holds one."

"I know it only holds one, but it will hold two this time," replied the
would-be passenger. "This water is getting unpleasantly close to my
lower lip. It's a matter of life and death with me, and if you don't
want to carry two your boat will carry one; but I'll be that one."

The fellow in the boat realized that the talk meant business, and the
two started down town. At Pine Street Mr. Crouse waited for a big boat
another hour, and when he finally found one he was shivering with cold.
The men in the boat engaged to run him for five dollars, and they
started.

It was five o'clock when they reached their destination, when they rowed
to their passenger's stable and found his horses up to their necks in
the flood.

"What will you charge to take these two horses to Old Oaks Park?" he
asked.

"Ten dollars apiece," was the reply.

"I'll pay it."

They then rowed to the harness room, got the bridles, rowed back to the
horses and bridled them. They first took out the brown horse and landed
her at the park, Mr Crouse holding her behind the boat. They returned
for the gray and started out with her, but had scarcely left the stable
when her head fell back to one side. Fright had already exhausted her.
They took her back to the house porch, when Mr. Crouse led her upstairs
and put her in a bed-room, where she stayed high and dry all night. On
Sunday morning the folks who were cleaning up were surprised to see a
gray horse and a man backing down a plank out of the front door of a
Fourth Street residence.

It was Garrett Crouse and his gray horse, and when the neighbors saw it
they turned from the scene of desolation about them and warmly applauded
both beast and master. This is how a Williamsport man got home during
the flood and saved his horses. It took him five hours and cost him
twenty-five dollars.

Mr. James R. Skinner, of Brooklyn, N. Y., arrived home after a series of
remarkable adventures in the floods at Williamsport.

"I went to Williamsport last Thursday," said Mr. Skinner, "and on Friday
the rain fell as I had never seen it fall before. The skies seemed
simply to open and unload the water. The Susquehanna was booming and
kept on rising rapidly, but the people of Williamsport did not seem to
be particularly alarmed. On Saturday the water had risen to such a
height that the people quit laughing and gathered along the sides of the
torrent with a sort of awe-stricken curiosity.

"A friend of mine, Mr. Frank Bellows, and myself went out to see the
grand spectacle, and found a place of observation on the Pennsylvania
Railroad bridge. Great rafts of logs were swept down the stream, and now
and then a house would be brought with a crash against the bridge.
Finally, one span gave way and then we beat a hasty retreat. By wading
we reached the place of a man who owned a horse and buggy. These we
hired and started to drive to the hotel, which is on the highest ground
in the city. The water was all the time rising, and the flood kept
coming in waves. These waves came with such frequency and volume that we
were forced to abandon the horse and buggy and try wading. With the
water up to our armpits we got to an outhouse, and climbing to the top
of it made our way along to a building. This I entered through a window,
and found the family in the upper stories. Floating outside were two
canoes, one of which I hired for two dollars and fifty cents. I at once
embarked in this and tried to paddle for my hotel. I hadn't gone a
hundred feet when I capsized. Going back, I divested myself of my coat,
waistcoat, shoes, and stockings. I tried again to make the journey, and
succeeded very well for quite a distance, when the canoe suddenly struck
something and over it went. I managed to hold the paddle and the canoe,
but everything else was washed away and lost. After a struggle in the
water, which was running like a mill-race, I got afloat again and
managed to lodge myself against a train of nearly submerged freight
cars. Then, by drawing myself against the stream, I got opposite the
hotel and paddled over. My friend Bellows was not so fortunate. The
other canoe had a hole in it, and he had to spend the night on the roof
of a house.

"The trainmen of the Pennsylvania road thought to sleep in the cars, but
were driven out, and forced to take refuge in the trees, from which they
were subsequently rescued. The Beaver Dam mill was moved from its
position as though it was being towed by some enormous steam tug. The
river swept away everything that offered it any resistance. Saturday
night was the most awful I ever experienced. The horrors of the flood
were intensified by an inky darkness, through which the cries of women
and children were ceaselessly heard. Boatmen labored all night to give
relief, and hundreds were brought to the hotel for safety.

"On Sunday the waters began to subside, and then the effects were more
noticeable. All the provision stores were washed out completely, and one
of the banks had its books, notes, and greenbacks destroyed. I saw rich
men begging for bread for their children. They had money, but there was
nothing to be bought. This lack of supplies is the greatest trouble that
Williamsport has to contend with, and I really do not see how the people
are to subsist.

"Sunday afternoon Mr. C. H. Blaisdell, Mr. Cochrane, a lumberman and
woodman, a driver, and myself started in a wagon for Canton, with
letters and appeals for assistance. The roads were all washed away, and
we had to go over the mountains. We had to cut our way through the
forests at times, hold the wagon up against the sides of precipices,
ford streams, and undergo a thousand hardships. After two days of travel
that even now seems impossible, we got into Canton more dead than alive.
The soles were completely gone from my boots, and I had on only my
night-shirt, coat, and trousers, which I had saved from the flood. A
relief corps was at once organized, and sent with provisions for the
sufferers. But it had to take a roundabout way, and I do not know what
will become of those poor people in the meantime."

Mr. Richard P. Rothwell, the editor of the New York _Engineering and
Mining Journal_, and Mr. Ernest Alexander Thomson, the two men who rowed
down the Susquehanna River from Williamsport, Pa., to Sunbury, and
brought the first news of the disaster by flood at Williamsport, came
through to New York by the Reading road. The boat they made the trip in
was a common flat-bottom rowboat, about thirteen feet long, fitted for
one pair of oars. There were three men in the crew, and her sides were
only about three inches above the water when they were aboard. The third
was Mr. Aaron Niel, of Phoenixville, Pa. He is a trotting-horse owner.

Mr. Thomson is a tall, athletic young man, a graduate of Harvard in '87.
He would not acknowledge that the trip was very dangerous, but an idea
of it can be had from the fact that they made the run of forty-five
miles in four and one-half hours.

"My brother, John W. Thomson, myself, and Mr. Rothwell," he said, "have
been prospecting for coal back of Ralston. It began to rain on Friday
just after we got into Myer's Hotel, where we were staying. The rain
fell in torrents for thirty-two hours. The water was four or five feet
deep in the hotel when the railroad bridge gave way, and domestic
animals and outhouses were floating down the river by scores. The bridge
swung around as if it were going to strike the hotel. Cries of distress
from the back porch were heard, and when we ran out we found a parrot
which belonged to me crying with all his might, 'Hellup! hellup!
hellup!' My brother left for Williamsport by train on Friday night. We
followed on foot. There were nineteen bridges in the twenty-five miles
to Williamsport, and all but three were gone.

"In Williamsport every one seemed to be drinking. Men waited in rows
five or six deep in front of the bars of the two public houses, the Lush
House and the Concordia. We paid two dollars each for the privilege of
sleeping in a corner of the bar-room. Mr. Rothwell suggested the boat
trip when we found all the wagons in town were under water. The whole
town except Sauerkraut Hill was flooded, and it was as hard to buy a
boat as it was to get a cab during the blizzard. It was here we met
Niel. 'I was a raftsman,' he said, 'on the Allegheny years ago, and I
may be of use to you,' and he was. He sat in the bow, and piloted, I
rowed, and Mr. Rothwell steered with a piece of board. Our danger was
from eddies, and it was greatest when we passed the ruins of bridges. We
started at 10.15, and made the run to Montgomery, eighteen miles, in one
and a quarter hours. In places we were going at the rate of twenty miles
an hour. There wasn't a whole bridge left on the forty-five miles of
river. As we passed Milton we were in sight of the race-track, where
Niel won a trot the week before. The grand stand was just toppling into
the water.

"I think I ought to row in a 'Varsity crew now," Mr. Thomson concluded.
"I don't believe any crew ever beat our time."



CHAPTER XXXIX.


There was terrible destruction to life and property throughout the
entire Juniata Valley by the unprecedented flood. Between Tyrone and
Lewistown the greatest devastation was seen and especially below
Huntingdon at the confluence of the Raystown branch and the Juniata
River. During the preceding days of the week the rain-filled clouds
swept around the southeast, and on Friday evening met an opposing strata
of storm clouds, which resulted in an indescribable down-pour of rain of
twelve hours' duration.

The surging, angry waters swept down the river, every rivulet and
tributary adding its raging flood to the stream, until there was a sea
of water between the parallel hills of the valley. Night only added to
the terror and confusion. In Huntingdon City, and especially in the
southern and eastern suburbs, the inhabitants were forced to flee for
their lives at midnight on Thursday, and by daybreak the chimneys of
their houses were visible above the rushing waters. Opposite the city
the people of Smithfield found safety within the walls of the State
Reformatory, and for two days they were detained under great privations.

Some conception of the volume of water in the river may be had from the
fact that it was thirty-five feet above low-water mark, being eight feet
higher than the great flood of 1847. Many of the inhabitants in the low
sections of Huntingdon, who hesitated about leaving their homes, were
rescued, before the waters submerged their houses, with great
difficulty.

Huntingdon, around which the most destruction is to be seen of any of
the towns in the Juniata Valley, was practically cut off from all
communication with the outside world, as all the river bridges crossing
the stream at that point were washed away. There was but one bridge
standing in the county, and that was the Huntingdon and Broad Top
Railroad bridge, which stood isolated in the river, the trestle on the
other end being destroyed. Not a county bridge was left, and this loss
alone approximated $200,000.

The gas works were wrecked on Thursday night and the town was left in
darkness.

Just below where the Juniata and Raystown branch meet, lived John Dean
and wife, aged seventy-seven each, and both blind. With them resided
John Swaner and wife. Near by lived John Rupert, wife and three small
children. When the seething current struck these houses they were
carried a half mile down the course of the stream and lodged on the ends
amid stream.

The Ruperts were soon driven to the attic, and finally, when it became
evident that they must perish, the frantic mother caught up two bureau
drawers, and placed her little children in them upon the angry waves,
hoping that they might be saved; but all in vain.

The loss of life by the flood in Clinton County, in which Lock Haven is
situated, was heavy. Twenty of those lost were in the Nittany Valley,
and seven in Wayne Township. Lock Haven was very fortunate, as the
inhabitants there dwelling in the midst of logs on the rivers are
accustomed to overflows. There were many sagacious inhabitants who,
remembering the flood of 1865, on Saturday began to prepare by removing
their furniture and other possessions to higher ground for safety. It
was this full and realizing sense of the danger that gave Lock Haven
such immunity from loss of life.

The only case of drowning in Lock Haven was of James Guilford, a young
man who, though warned not to do so, attempted to wade across the main
street, where six feet of the overflowed river was running, and was
carried off by the swift current. The other dead include William Confur
and his wife and three children, all carried off and drowned in their
little home as it floated away, and the two children of Jacob Kashne.

Robert Armstrong and his sister perished at Clintondale under peculiarly
dreadful circumstances. At Mackeyville, John Harley, Andrew R. Stine,
wife and two daughters, were drowned, while the two boys were saved. At
Salona, Alexander M. Uting and wife, Mrs. Henry Snyder were drowned. At
Cedar Springs, Mrs. Luther S. Eyler and three children were drowned. The
husband was found alive in a tree, while his wife was dead in a
drift-pile a few rods away. At Rote, Mrs. Charles Cole and her two
children were drowned, while he was saved. Mrs. Charles Barner and her
children were also drowned, while the husband and father was saved. This
is a queer coincidence found all through this section, that the men are
survivors, while the wives and children are victims.

The scenes that have been witnessed in Tyrone City during the time from
Friday evening, May 31st, to Monday evening, June 3d, are almost
indescribable. On Friday afternoon, May 31st, telephone messages from
Clearfield gave warning of a terrible flood at that place, and
preparations were commenced by everybody for high water, although no
one anticipated that it would equal in height that of 1885, which had
always in the past served as high-water mark in Lock Haven.

All of that Friday rain descended heavily, and when at eight o'clock in
the evening the water commenced rising, the rain was falling in
torrents. The river rose rapidly, and before midnight was over the top
of the bank. Its rapid rising was the signal for hasty preparations for
higher water than ever before witnessed in the city. As the water
continued rising, both the river and Bald Eagle Creek, the vast scope of
land from mountain to mountain was soon a sea of foaming water.

The boom gave away about two o'clock Saturday morning, and millions of
feet of logs were taken away. Along Water Street, logs, trees, and every
conceivable kind of driftwood went rushing by the houses at a fearful
rate of swiftness. The night was one to fill the stoutest heart with
dread, and the dawn of day on Saturday morning was anxiously awaited by
thousands of people.

In the meantime men in boats were busy during the night taking people
from their houses in the lower portions of the city, and conveying them
to places of imagined security.

When day dawned on June 1st, the water was still rising at a rapid rate.
The city was then completely inundated, or at least all that portion
lying east of the high lands in the Third and Fourth Wards. It was
nearly three o'clock Saturday afternoon before the water reached the
highest mark. It then was about three feet above the high-water mark of
1885.

At four o'clock Saturday evening the flood began to subside, slowly at
first, and it was nearly night on Sunday before the river was again
within its banks. Six persons are reported missing at Salona, and the
dead bodies of Mrs. Alexander Whiting and Mrs. William Emenheisen were
recovered at Mill Hall and that of a six-year old child near by. The
loss there is terrible, and the community is in mourning over the loss
of life.

G. W. Dunkle and wife had a miraculous escape from drowning early
Saturday A. M. They were both carried away on the top of their house
from Salona to Mill Hall, where they were both rescued in a remarkable
manner. A window in the house of John Stearn was kicked out, and Mr. and
Mrs. Dunkle taken in the aperture, both thus being rescued from a watery
grave.

Near by a baby was saved, tied in a cradle. It was a pretty,
light-haired light cherub, and seemed all unconscious of the peril
through which it passed on its way down the stream. The town of Mill
Hall was completely gutted by the flood, entailing heavy loss upon the
inhabitants.

The town of Renovo was completely wrecked. Two spans of the river bridge
and the opera-house were swept away. Houses and business places were
carried off or damaged and there was some loss of life. At Hamburg seven
persons were drowned by the flood, which carried away almost everything
in its path.

Bellefonte escaped the flood's ravages, and lies high and dry. Some
parts of Centre County were not so fortunate, however, especially in
Coburn and Miles Townships, where great destruction is reported. Several
persons were drowned at Coburn, Mrs. Roust and three children among the
number. The bodies of the mother and one child were recovered.

James Corss, a well-known resident of Lock Haven, and Miss Emma Pollock,
a daughter of ex-Governor Pollock of Philadelphia, were married at the
fashionable Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, at noon of
Wednesday, June 5th. The cards were sent out three weeks before, but
when it was learned that the freshet had cut off Lock Haven from
communication with the rest of the world, and several telegrams to the
groom had failed to bring any response, it was purposed to postpone the
wedding. The question of postponement was being considered on Tuesday
evening, when a dispatch was brought in saying that the groom was on his
way overland. Nothing further was heard from him, and the bride was
dressed and the bridal party waiting when the groom dashed up to the
door in a carriage at almost noon.

After an interchange of joyful greetings all around, the bride and groom
set out at once for the church, determined that they should not be late.
On the way to the church the bride fainted. As the church came into view
she fainted again, and she was driven leisurely around Rittenhouse
Square to give her a chance to recover. She got better promptly. The
groom stepped out of the carriage and went into the church by the vestry
way. The carriage then drove round to the main entrance, and the bride
alighted with her father and her maids, and, taking her proper place in
the procession, marched bravely up the aisle, while the organ rang out
the well-remembered notes of Mendelssohn's march. The groom met her at
the chancel, the minister came out, and they were married. A reception
followed.

The bride and groom left on their wedding-journey in the evening. Before
they went the groom told of his journey from Lock Haven. He said that
the little lumber town had been shut out from the rest of the world on
Friday night. He is a widower, and, accompanied by his grown daughter,
he started on his journey on Monday at two o'clock. They drove to
Bellefonte, a distance of twenty-five miles, and rested there on Monday
night. They drove to Leedsville on Tuesday morning. There, by hiring
relays of horses and engaging men to carry their baggage and row them
across streams, they succeeded in reaching Lewistown, a distance of
sixty-five miles, by Tuesday night. At Lewistown they found a direct
train for Philadelphia, and arrived there on Wednesday forenoon.



CHAPTER XL.


The opening of the month of June will long be remembered with sadness
and dismay by thousands of people in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland
and the two Virginias. In the District of Columbia, too, it was a time
of losses and of terror. The northwestern and more fashionable part of
Washington, D. C., never looked more lovely than it did on Sunday, but
along a good part of the principal business thoroughfare, Pennsylvania
avenue, and in the adjacent streets to the southward, there was a dreary
waste of turbid, muddy water, that washed five and six feet deep the
sides of the houses, filling cellars and basements and causing great
inconvenience and considerable loss of property. Boats plied along the
avenue near the Pennsylvania Railroad station and through the streets of
South Washington. A carp two feet long was caught in the ladies'
waiting-room at the Baltimore and Potomac station, and several others
were caught in the streets by boys. These fish came from the Government
Fish Pond, the waters of the Potomac having covered the pond and allowed
them to escape.

Along the river front the usually calm Potomac was a wide, roaring,
turbulent stream of dirty water, rushing madly onward, and bearing on
its swift-moving surface logs, telegraph poles, portions of houses and
all kinds of rubbish. The stream was nearly twice its normal width, and
flowed six feet and more deep through the streets along the river front,
submerging wharves, small manufacturing establishments, and lapping the
second stories of mills, boat-houses and fertilizing works in
Georgetown. It completely flooded the Potomac Flats, which the
Government had raised at great expense to a height in most part of four
and five feet, and inundated the abodes of poor negro squatters, who had
built their frame shanties along the river's edge. The rising of the
waters has eclipsed the high-water mark of 1877. The loss was enormous.

The river began rising early on Saturday morning, and from that time
continued to rise steadily until five o'clock Sunday afternoon, when the
flood began to abate, having reached a higher mark than ever before
known. The flood grew worse and worse on Saturday, and before noon the
river had become so high and strong that it overflowed the banks just
above the Washington Monument, and backing the water into the sewer
which empties itself at this point, began to flow along the streets on
the lower levels.

By nightfall the water in the streets had increased to such an extent as
to make them impassable by foot passengers, and boats were ferrying
people from the business part of the town to the high grounds in South
Washington. The street cars also continued running and did a thriving
business conveying pleasure-seekers, who sat in the windows and bantered
one another as the deepening waters hid the floor. On Louisiana avenue
the produce and commission houses are located, and the proprietors
bustled eagerly about securing their more perishable property, and
wading knee-deep outside after floating chicken-coops. The grocery
merchants, hotel men and others hastily cleared out their cellars and
worked until the water was waist-deep removing their effects to higher
floors.

Meanwhile the Potomac, at the Point of Rocks, had overflowed into the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the two became one. It broke open the
canal in a great many places, and lifting the barges up, shot them down
stream at a rapid rate. Trunks of trees and small houses were torn from
their places and swept onward.

The water continued rising throughout the night, and about noon of
Sunday reached its maximum, three feet six inches above high-water mark
of 1877, which was the highest on record. At that time the city
presented a strange spectacle. Pennsylvania avenue, from the Peace
monument, at the foot of the Capitol, to Ninth street, was flooded with
water, and in some places it was up to the thighs of horses. The cellars
of stores along the avenue were flooded, and so were some of the main
floors. In the side streets south of the avenue there was six to eight
feet of water, and yawls, skiffs and canoes were everywhere to be seen.
Communication except by boat was totally interrupted between North and
South Washington. At the Pennsylvania Railroad station the water was up
to the waiting-room.

Through the Smithsonian and Agricultural Department grounds a deep
stream was running, and the Washington Monument was surrounded on all
sides by water.

A dozen lives lost, a hundred poor families homeless, and over
$2,000,000 worth of property destroyed, is the brief but terrible record
of the havoc caused by the floods in Maryland. Every river and mountain
stream in the western half of the State has overflowed its banks,
inundating villages and manufactories and laying waste thousands of
acres of farm lands. The losses by wrecked bridges, washed-out roadbeds
and land-slides along the western division of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad, from Baltimore to Johnstown, reach half a million dollars or
more. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, that political bone of contention
and burden to Maryland, which has cost the State many millions, is a
total wreck. The Potomac river, by the side of which the canal runs,
from Williamsport, Md., to Georgetown, D. C., has swept away the locks,
towpaths, bridges, and, in fact, everything connected with the canal.
The probability is that the canal will not be restored, but that the
canal bed will be sold to one of the railroads that have been trying to
secure it for several years. The concern has never paid, and annually
has increased its enormous debt to the State.

The Western Maryland Railroad Company and the connecting lines, the
Baltimore and Harrisburg, and the Cumberland Valley roads, lose heavily.
On the mountain grades of the Blue Ridge there are tremendous washouts,
and in some sections the tracks are torn up and the road-bed destroyed.
Several bridges were washed away. Dispatches from Shippensburg,
Hagerstown and points in the Cumberland Valley state that the damage to
that fertile farming region is incalculable. Miles of farm lands were
submerged by the torrents that rushed down from the mountains. Several
lives were lost and many head of cattle drowned. At the mountain town of
Frederick, Md., the Monocacy river, Carroll creek and other streams
combined in the work of destruction.

Friday night was one of terror to the people of that section. The
Monocacy river rose rapidly from the time the rain ceased until last
night, when the waters began to fall. The back-water of the river
extended to the eastern limit of the city, flooding everything in its
path and riding over the fields with a fierce current that meant
destruction to crops, fences and everything in its path. At the
Pennsylvania Railroad bridge the river rose thirty feet above low-water
mark. It submerged the floor of the bridge and at one time threatened it
with destruction, but the breaking away of 300 feet of embankment on the
north side of the bridge saved the structure. With the 300 feet of
embankment went 300 feet of track. The heavy steel rails were twisted by
the waters as if they had been wrenched in the jaws of a mammoth vise.
The river at this point and for many miles along its course overflowed
its banks to the width of a thousand feet, submerging the corn and wheat
fields on either side and carrying everything before it. Just below the
railroad bridge a large wooden turnpike bridge was snapped in two and
carried down the tide. In this way a half-dozen turnpike bridges at
various points along the river were carried away. The loss to the
counties through the destruction of these bridges will foot up many
thousand dollars.

Mrs. Charles McFadden and Miss Maggie Moore, of Taneytown, were drowned
in their carriage while attempting to cross a swollen stream. The horse
and vehicle were swept down the stream, and when found were lodged
against a tree. Miss Moore was lying half-way out of the carriage, as
though she had died in trying to extricate herself. Mrs. McFadden's body
was found near the carriage. At Knoxville considerable damage was done,
and at Point of Rocks people were compelled to seek the roofs of their
houses and other places of safety. A family living on an island in the
middle of the river, opposite the Point, fired off a gun as a signal of
distress. They were with difficulty rescued. In Frederick county, Md.,
the losses aggregate $300,000.

The heaviest damage in Maryland was in the vicinity of Williamsport,
Washington county. The railroads at Hagerstown and Williamsport were
washed out. The greatest loser is the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Its
new iron bridge across the Potomac river went down, nothing being left
of the structure except the span across the canal. The original cost of
the bridge was $70,000. All along the Potomac the destruction was great.
At and near Williamsport, where the Conococheague empties into the
Potomac, the loss was very heavy.

At Falling Waters, where only a few days before a cyclone caused death
and destruction, two houses went down in the angry water, and the little
town was almost entirely submerged. In Carroll County, Md., the losses
reached several hundred thousand dollars. George Derrick was drowned at
Trevanion Mills, on Pipe creek. Along the Patapsco river in Howard
county great damage was done to mills and private property. Near
Sykesville the water undermined the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad track
and a freight train was turned over an embankment. William Hudson was
standing on the Suspension Bridge, at Orange Grove, when the structure
was swept away, and he was never seen again.

Port Deposit, near the mouth of the Susquehanna river, went under water.
Residents along the river front left their homes and took refuge on the
hills back of the town. The river was filled with thousands of logs from
the broken booms up in the timber regions. From the eastern and southern
sections of the State came reports of entire fruit farms swept away. Two
men were drowned in the storm by the capsizing of a sloop near
Salisbury.

A number of houses on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers near Harper's
Ferry were destroyed by the raging waters which came thundering down
from the mountains, thirty to forty feet higher than low-water mark.
John Brown's fort was nearly swept away. The old building has withstood
a number of floods. There is only a rickety portion of it standing,
anyhow, and that is now covered with mud and rubbish. While the crowds
on the heights near Harper's Ferry were watching the terrible work of
destruction, a house was seen coming down the Potomac. Upon its roof
were three men wildly shouting to the people on the hills to save them.
Just as the structure struck the railroad bridge, the men tried to catch
hold of the flooring and iron work, but the swift torrent swept them all
under, and they were seen no more. What appeared to be a babe in a
cradle came floating down behind them, and a few moments later the body
of a woman, supposed to be the mother of the child, swept by. Robert
Connell, a farmer living upon a large island in the Potomac, known as
Herter Island, lost all his wheat crop and his cattle. His family was
rescued by Clarence Stedman and E. A. Keyser, an artist from Washington,
at the risk of their lives. The fine railroad bridge across the
Shenandoah, near Harper's Ferry, was destroyed. The Ferry Mill Company
sustained heavy losses.

Along the South Mountains, in Washington and Alleghany counties, Md.,
the destruction was terrible. Whole farms, including the houses and
barns, were swept away and hundreds of live stock killed. Between
Williamsport, Md., and Dam No. 6 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
twenty-six houses were destroyed, and it is reported that several
persons were drowned. The homeless families are camping out on the
hills, being supplied with food and clothing by the citizens of
Williamsport.

Joseph Shifter and family made a narrow escape. They were driven to the
roof of their house by the rising waters, and just a minute before the
structure collapsed the father caught a rowboat passing by, and saved
his wife and little ones.

The town of Point of Rocks, on the Potomac river, twelve miles eastward
of Harper's Ferry, was half-submerged. Nearly $100,000 worth of property
in the town and vicinity was swept away. The Catholic Church there is
500 feet from the river. The extent of the flood here may be imagined
when it is stated that the water was up to the eaves of the church.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal has been utterly lost, and what formerly
was the bed of the canal is now part of the Potomac river. There were
but few houses in Point of Rocks that were not under water. The
Methodist Church had water in its second story. The two hotels of which
the place boasts, the American and the St. Charles, were full of water,
and any stranger in town had to hunt for something to eat.

Every bridge in Frederick county, Md., was washed away. Some of these
bridges were built as long ago as 1834, and were burned by the
Confederate and Union forces at various times in 1864, afterward being
rebuilt. At Martinsburg, W. Va., a number of houses were destroyed.
Little Georgetown, a village on the Upper Potomac, near Williamsport,
Md., was entirely swept away.

Navigation on Chesapeake Bay was seriously interrupted by the masses of
logs, sections of buildings and other ruins afloat. Several side-wheel
steamers were damaged by the logs striking the wheels. Looking southward
for miles from Havre de Grace, the mouth of the Susquehanna, and far out
into the bay the water was thickly covered with the floating wood.
Crowds of men and boys were out on the river securing the choicest logs
of hard wood and bringing them to a safe anchorage. By careful count it
was estimated that 200 logs, large and small, were swept past Havre de
Grace every minute. At that rate there would be 12,000 logs an hour. It
is estimated that over 70,000,000 feet of cut and uncut timber passed
Havre de Grace within two days. Large rafts of dressed white pine boards
floated past the city. The men who saved the logs got from 25 cents to
$1 for each log for salvage from the owners, who sent men down the river
to look after the timber. Enough logs have been saved to give three
years' employment to men, and mills will be erected to saw up the stuff.

Not within the memory of the oldest inhabitants had Petersburg,
Virginia, been visited by a flood as fierce and destructive as that
which surprised it on Saturday and Sunday. The whole population turned
out to see the sight.

The storm that did such havoc in Virginia and West Virginia on Thursday
reached Gettysburg on Saturday morning. The rain began at 7 o'clock
Friday morning and continued until 3 o'clock Saturday. It was one
continuous down-pour during all that time. As a result, the streams were
higher than they had been for twenty-five years. By actual measurement
the rain-fall was 4.15 inches between the above hours. Nearly every
bridge in the county was either badly damaged or swept away, and farmers
who lived near the larger streams mourn for their fences carried away
and grain fields ruined. Both the railroads leading to the town had
large portions of their embankments washed out and many of their bridges
disturbed. On the Baltimore and Harrisburg division of the Western
Maryland Railroad the damage was great. At Valley Junction 1000 feet of
the embankment disappeared, and at Marsh creek, on the new branch of the
road to Hagerstown, four divisions of the bridge were swept away.

But at Pine Grove and Mount Holly perhaps the greatest damage was done.
The large Laudel dam, which supplies the water to run the forge at Pine
Grove furnace, and which covers thirty acres of land, burst. It swept
away part of the furnace and a house. The occupants were saved by men
wading in water up to their waists. Every bridge, with one exception, in
Mount Holly was swept away by the flood occasioned by the breaking of
the dam which furnished water for the paper mills at that place.

The water at Elmira, N. Y., on Saturday night was from a foot to a foot
and a half higher than ever before known. The Erie Railroad bridge was
anchored in its place by two trains of loaded freight cars. The water
rose to the cars, which, with the bridge, acted as a dam, and forced the
water back through the city on the north side of the Chemung river,
where the principal business houses are located. The water covered the
streets to a depth of two or three feet, and the basements of the stores
were quickly flooded, causing thousands of dollars of damage. The only
possible way of entering the Rathbone House, the principal hotel of the
city and on the chief business street, was by boats, which were rowed
directly into the hotel office. On the south side of the river the
waters were held in check for several hours by the ten-foot railroad
embankment, but hundreds of families were driven into the upper stories
of their houses. Late in the evening, two thousand feet of the
embankment was forced away, and the water carried the railroad tracks
and everything else before it. An extensive lumber yard in the path of
the rushing water was swept away. Many horses were drowned, and the
people living on the flats were rescued with great difficulty by the
police and firemen.

A terrible rain-storm visited Andover, N. Y. All the streams were
swollen far above high-water mark, and fields and roads were overflowed.
No less than a dozen bridges in this town were carried away, and newly
planted crops were utterly ruined. The water continued to rise rapidly
until 4 o'clock. At that hour the two dams at the ponds above the
village gave away, and the water rushed wildly down into the village.
Nearly every street in the place was overflowed, and in many cases
occupants of houses were driven to the upper floors for safety. Owen's
large tannery was flooded and ruined. Almost every rod of railroad track
was covered and much of it will have to be rebuilt. The track at some
points was covered fifteen feet with earth.

At Wellsville, N. Y., the heavy rain raised creeks into rivers and
rivers into lakes. Never, in the experience of the oldest inhabitant,
had Wellsville been visited with such a flood. Both ends of the town
were submerged, water in many cases standing clear to the roofs of
houses.

Canisteo, N. Y., was invaded by a flood the equal of which had never
been known or seen in that vicinity before. Thursday afternoon a
drizzling rain began and continued until it became a perfect deluge.
The various creeks and mountain rills tributary to the Canisteo river
became swollen and swept into the village, inundating many of the
streets to the depth of three feet and others from five to seven feet.
The streets were scarcely passable, and all stores on Main and the
adjacent streets were flooded to a depth of from one to two feet and
much of the stock was injured or spoiled. Many houses were carried away
from their foundations, and several narrow escapes from death were made.

One noble deed, worthy of special mention, was performed by a young man,
who waded into the water where the current was swift and caught a baby
in his arms as it was thrown from the window of a house that had just
been swept from its foundation.

The Fire Department Building, one of the most costly blocks in town, was
undermined by the flood and the greater part fell to the ground with a
crash. The town jail was almost destroyed.

The inundation in the coal, iron and lumber country around Sunbury,
Penn., occasioned much destruction and suffering, while no less than
fifty lives were lost. The Susquehanna, Allegheny, Bald Eagle,
Sinnamahoning and Huntingdon Railways suffered greatly, and the losses
incurred reach, in round numbers, $2,000,000. In Clearfield, Clinton,
Lycoming, Elk, Cameron, Northumberland, Centre, Indiana, McKean,
Somerset, Bedford, Huntingdon, Blair and Jefferson counties the
rain-storm was one of unprecedented severity. The mountain streams grew
into great rivers, which swept through the country with irresistible
fury and force, and carried devastation in all directions.

The destruction in the Allegheny Valley at and near Dubois, Red Bank,
New Bethlehem and Driftwood was immense, hardly a saw-mill being left
standing.



Transcriber's Notes

Corrections

The use of larger or small capitals for "P.M." and "A.M." varies and
have been left intact. Several apparent errors were noted, but have been
allowed to stand, and are included in this list. The spelling of
'Pittsburgh' frequently omits the final 'h'. Both variants are retained.
Variants in other place names are retained as well.

An apparent confusion on p. 279: "_Fonda, N. Y., June 5._--The people of
Johnstown, N. Y...." is retained. Fonda and Johnstown N.Y. were and are
neighboring communities.

In lists of contributions, missing or incorrect punctuation has been
rendered consistent.

The following corrections were made where the errors are clearly
inadvertent. Several instances of possibly nonstandard spelling have
been noted with 'sic', which have been retained.

p. viii | 13[7]                              | Completed page number.
        |                                    |
p.   17 | Franks[]town Turnpike              | Missing hyphen at page
        |                                    |   break.
        |                                    |
p.   43 | here and there[.] Each             | Added stop.
        |                                    |
p.   97 | [']To the hills                    | Added single quote.
        |                                    |
p.  101 | as soon as [we] were in it         | Added 'we'.
        |                                    |
p.  129 | The Pitt[t]sburg lady              | Removed extra 't'.
        |                                    |
p   135 | so we [we] did not pay much        | Removed redundant 'we'.
        |                                    |
p.  149 | especially the [woman], fainted.   | sic
        |                                    |
p.  151 | that were intrusted to us.["]      | Closing quote added.
        |                                    |
p.  177 | and Mary, nineteen years."         | Added missing quote.
        |                                    |
p.  182 | SITE OF THE HU[R]LBURT             | Elsewhere spelled
        |                                    |   Hurlburt.
        |                                    |
p.  204 | the Hotel Hurlbu[r]t               | Elsewhere spelled
        |                                    |   Hurlburt.
        |                                    |
p.  224 | train was on a sid[]ing            | Missing hyphen on
        |                                    |  line break.
        |                                    |
p.  225 | to[-]day                           | Missing hyphen added.
        |                                    |
p.  287 | amounted to $687,872[,/.]68        | Comma replaced with
        |                                    |   decimal.
        |                                    |
p.  294 | Thomas Garner & Co[.]              | Period added.
        |                                    |
p.  297 | Saugerties[,] N. Y., $850;         | comma added.
        |                                    |
p.  301 | débris / debris                    | Both the accented and
        |                                    |   unaccented spellings
        |                                    |   are retained, here and
        |                                    |   elsewhere.
        |                                    |
p.  306 | nine hundred men [a]t work         | Added missing 'a'.
        |                                    |
p.  317 | was discovered w[h]ere anybody     | Added missing 'h'.
        |                                    |
p.  319 | there was ample water t[e/o] cover | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
        | amount of water i[n/t] contained   | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
p.  320 | ninety million cubic feet[.]       | Added missing '.'
        |                                    |
p.  321 | Ho[u/a]ng-ho                       | Changed to agree with
        |                                    |   other instances.
        |                                    |
p.  322 | But the b[r]each grew              | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
p.  327 | A large rock was split assunder    | sic
        |                                    |
p.  328 | and caused great dam[s/a]ge        | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
p.  329 | the Danube again o[u/v]erflowed    | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
        | its turbulent waters i[u/n]to      | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
p.  332 | At Whitehall, [N.G./N.Y.]          | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
        | one hundred and nin[e]ty feet      | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
p.  358 | Baltimore and Ohio Rail[a/r]oad    | Corrected typo.
        |                                    |
p.  377 | turned in[]to them by people       | sic
        |                                    |
p.  407 | Allegehenies                       | sic
        |                                    |
p.  414 | draughty as a seive                | sic
        |                                    |
p.  434 | ever beat our time[.]"             | Added '.'
        |                                    |
p.  458 | [Caniesto/Canisteo] river          | Corrected typo.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Johnstown Flood - Including all the Fearful Record; the Breaking of the South - Fork Dam; the Sweeping Out of the Conemaugh Valley; the - Over-Throw of Johnstown; the Massing of the Wreck at the - Railroad Bridge; Escapes, Rescues, Searches for Survivors - and the Dead; Relief Organizations, Stupendous Charities, - etc., etc. With Full Accounts also of the Destruction on - the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers, and the Bald Eagle - Creek." ***

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