Sunday, May 31, 2009

Johnstown Flood of 1889 - Dam failure

Over 2000 people were killed in Johnstown PA back in 1889 when a Dam failed on this day (May 31) sending a mountain of water roaring through the town.

From the NYTimes article of the time:
"One telegraph operator says he counted sixty-three bodies in twenty minutes floating past his office.

A telegraph operator at Sang Harbor, in the Pennsylvania Railroad tower, twelve miles this side of Jamestown, says that at least seventy-five dead bodies have floated past that point."

Some survivors stories from the Johnstown Flood Museum website regarding the flood:

Anna Fenn Maxwell, who lost all of her children in the flood:
"The water rose and floated us until our heads nearly touched the ceiling. . .It was dark and the house was tossing every way. The air was stifling, and I could not tell just the moment the rest of the children had to give up and drown. . .what I suffered, with the bodies of my seven children floating around me in the gloom can never be told."

Rev. H.L. Chapman who survived by racing up the attic of his home just in time:
"I think none of us was afraid to meet God, but we all felt willing to put it off until a more propitious time,"

Read these and other survivor stories HERE.

From the NYTimes article: "At a point near New-Florence eighty-five persons have been seen floating down the river on driftwood."

Go HERE for some pictures of the devestation

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