Child found thumping on a wrecked piano

Pathetic Scenes

Some of the really pathetic scenes of the flood are just coming to the public ear. John Henderson, his wife, his three children, and the mother of Mrs. Henderson remained in their house until they were carried out by the flood, when they succeeded in getting upon some drift. Mr. Henderson took the babe from his wife, but the little thing soon succumbed to the cold and the child died in its father’s arms. He clung to it until it grew cold and stiff and then, kissing it, let it drop into the water. His mother-in-law, an aged lady, was almost as fragile as the babe, and in a few minutes Mr. Henderson, who had managed to get near to the board upon which she was floating saw that she, too, was dying. He did what little he could to help her, but the cold and the shock combined were too much. Assuring himself that the old lady was dead, Mr. Henderson turned his attention to his own safety and allowed the body to float down the stream.

In the meantime Mrs. Henderson, who had become separated from her husband, had continued to keep her other two children for some time, but finally a great wave dashed them from her arms and out of her sight. They were clinging to some driftwood, however, and providentially were driven into the very arms of their father, who was some distance down the stream quite unconscious of the proximity of his loved ones. Another whirl of the flood and all were driven over into some eddying water in Stony Creek and carried by backing water to Kernville, where all were rescued. Mrs. Henderson had nearly the same experience.

Dr. Holland’s Awful Plunge

Dr. Holland, a physician who lived on Vine street, saw both of his children drown before his eyes, but they were not washed out of the building. He took both of them in his arms and bore them to the roof, caring nothing for the moment for the rising water. Finally composing himself, he kissed them both and watched them float away. His father arrived here to-day to assist his son and take home with him the bodies of the children, which have been recovered. Dr. Holland, after the death of his children, was carried out into the flood and finally to a building, in the window of which a man was standing. The doctor held up his hands; the man seized them and dextrously slipping a valuable ring from the finger of one hand, brutally threw him out into the current again. The physician was saved, however, and has been looking for the thief and would-be murderer ever since.

Crushed in His Own House

David Dixon, an engineer in the employ of the Cambria Iron Works, was with his family in his house on Cinder Street, when the flood struck the city. The shock overturned his house against that of his neighbor, Evans, and he, with his infant daughter, Edith, was pinned between the houses as a result of the upturning. Both houses were carried down against the viaduct of the Pennsylvania Railroad and there, in sight of his wife and children, excepting a 15-year-old lad, he was drowned, the water rising and smothering him because of his inability to get from between the buildings. His wife was badly crushed and it is thought will be an invalid the remainder of her days. The children, including the babe in its father’s arms, were all saved, and the other boy, Joe, one of the brightest, bravest, handsomest little fellows in the world, was in his news-stand near the Pennsylvania passenger station, and was rescued with difficulty by Edward Decker, another boy, just as the driftwood struck the little store and lifted it high off its foundation.

Babies who Died Together

This morning two little children apparently not over three and four years old, were taken from the water clasped in each other’s arms so tightly that they could not be separated, and they were coffined and buried together.

A bright girl, in a gingham sun-bonnet and a faded calico dress came out of the ruins of a fine old brick house next the Catholic church on Jackson street this afternoon. She had a big platter under her arm and announced to a bevy of other girls that the china was all right in the cupboard, but there was so much water in there that she didn’t dare go in. She chatted away quite volubly about the fire in the Catholic church, which also destroyed the house of her own mother, Mrs. Foster. “I know the church took fire after the flood,” she said, “for mother looked out of the window and said: ‘My God! Not only flood, but fire!'” It was a burning house from Conemaugh that struck the house the other side of the church and set it on fire.

Aunt Tabby’s Trunk

“I didn’t think last Tuesday I’d be begging to-day, Emma,” interrupted a young man from across the stream of water which ran down the centre of Main Street. “I’m sitting on your aunt Tabby’s trunk.” The girl gave a cry, half of pained remembrance, half of pleasure. “Oh, my dear Aunt Tabby!” she cried, and, rushing across the rivulet, she threw herself across the battered leather trunk–sole surviving relic of Aunt Tabby; but Aunt Tabby and the finding thereof was a light among other shadows of the day.

Nothing but a Baby

How the Coffins Were Carried
How the Coffins Were Carried

Gruesome incidents came oftener than pathetic ones or serio-comic. General Axline, the Adjutant General of Ohio, was walking down the station platform this afternoon, when a boy came sauntering up from the viaduct with a bundle in a handkerchief. The handkerchief dripped water. “What have you there, my boy?” asked the General. The boy cowered a minute, though the General’s tone was kindly, for the boy, like every one else in Johnstown, was prepared for a gruff accostal every five minutes from some official, from Adjutant General to constable. Finally he answered: “Nothing but a baby, sir,” and began to open his bundle in proof of the truth of his statement. But the big soldier did not put him to the proof. He turned away sick at heart. He did not even ask the boy if he knew whose baby it was.

A strangely utilitarian device was that of a Pittsburgh sergeant of Battery B. With one train from the West came several hundred of the morbidly curious, bent upon all the horrors which they could stomach. A crowd of them crossed the viaduct and stopped to gaze round-eyed upon a pile of empty coffins meant for the bodies of the identified dead found up and across the river in the ruins of Johnstown proper. As they gazed the Sergeant, seeking transportation for the coffins, came along. A somewhat malicious inspiration of military genius lighted his eye. With the best imitation possible of a regular army man, he shouted to the idlers, “Each of you men take a coffin.” The idlers eyed him.

“What for?” one asked.

“You want to go into town, don’t you?” replied the Sergeant. “Well, not one of you goes unless he takes a coffin with him.”

In ten minutes time way was made at the ticklish rope bridge for a file of sixteen coffins, each borne by two of the Sergeant’s unwilling conscripts, while the Sergeant closed up the rear.

Some of the scenes witnessed here were heartrending in the extreme. In one case a beautiful girl came down on the roof of a building which was swung in near the tower. She screamed to the operator to save her and one big, brave fellow walked as far into the river as he could and shouted to her to try to guide herself into the 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. Something hit her, for she lay quietly 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 in 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 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 courage, and she resumed her devout attitude and disappeared under the trees of a projection a short distance below. “We could not see her come out again,” said the operator, “and that was all of it.”

“Do you see that fringe of trees?” said the operator, pointing to the place where the little girl had gone out of sight.

“Well, we saw scores of children swept in there. I believe that when the time comes they will find almost a hundred bodies of children in there among those bushes.”

Floated to their Death

A bit of heroism is related by one of the telegraph operators at Bolivar. He says: “I was standing on the river bank about 7.30 last evening when a raft swept into view. It must have been the floor of a dismantled house. Upon it were grouped two women and a man. They were evidently his mother and sister, for both clung to him as though stupefied with fear as they were whirled under the bridge here. The man could save himself if he had wished by simply reaching up his hand and catching the timber of the structure. He apparently saw this himself, and the temptation must have been strong for him to do so, but in one second more he was seen to resolutely shake his head and clasp the women tighter around the waist.

“On they sped. Ropes were thrown out from the tree tops, but they were unable to catch them, though they grasped for the lines eagerly enough. Then a tree caught in their raft and dragged after them. In this way they swept out of view.”

Still finding bodies by scores in the burning débris; still burying the dead and caring for the wounded; still feeding the famishing and housing the homeless, and this on the fourth day following the one on which Johnstown was swept away. The situation of horror has not changed; there are hundreds, and it is feared thousands, still buried beneath the scattered ruins that disfigure the V-shaped valley in which Johnstown stood. A perfect stream of wagons bearing the dead as fast as they are discovered is constantly filing to the improvised morgues, where the bodies are taken for identification. Hundreds of people are constantly crowding to these temporary houses, one of which is located in each of the suburban boroughs that surround Johnstown. Men armed with muskets, uniformed sentinels, constituting the force that guard the city while it is practically under martial law, stand at the doors and admit the crowd by tens.

In the Central Dead House

In the Central dead house in Johnstown proper, as early as 9 o’clock to-day 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 is thought they are prompted by idle curiosity, are not allowed to enter. The central morgue was formerly a school-house, and the desks are used as biers for the dead bodies. Three of the former pupils yesterday lay on the desks dead, with white pieces of paper pinned on to the white sheets that covered them, giving their names.

Looking for Their Loved Ones

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 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 married daughter, and she was drowned, with her two children, while her husband was at work over at the Cambria Mills.

They Ran for Their Lives

Miss Jennie Paulson, who was on the Chicago day express, is dead. She was seen to go back with a companion into the doomed section of the day express in the Conemaugh Valley, and is swept away in the flood.

Last evening, after the evening train had just left Johnstown for Pittsburgh, it was learned that quite a number of the survivors of the wrecked train, who have been at Altoona since last Saturday, were on board. After a short search they were located, and quite an interesting talk was the result. Probably the most interesting interview, at least to Pittsburghers, was that had with Mrs. Montgomery Wilcox, of Philadelphia, who was on one of the Pullman sleepers attached to the lost express train. She tells a most exciting tale and confirms beyond the shadow of a doubt the story of Miss Jennie Paulson’s tragic death.

A Fatal Pair of Rubbers

She says: “We had been making but slow progress all the day. Our train laid at Johnstown nearly the whole day of Friday. We then proceeded as far as Conemaugh, and had stopped for 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 Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh lady was reading a novel. 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.

Chased as by a Serpent

“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 mountainside 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. Quite a number of us reached the house of a Mr. Swenzel, or some such name, one of the railroad men, whom we afterward learned had lost two daughters at Johnstown. We made ourselves as comfortable as possible until the next day, when we proceeded by conveyances as far as Altoona, having no doubt but what we could certainly proceed east from that point. We found the middle division of the Pennsylvania Railroad was, if anything, in a worse condition than the western, so we determined to go as far as Ebensburg by train, whence we reached Johnstown to-day by wagon.”

Mrs. G.W. Childs’ Escape

Swept away on the train
Swept away on the train

Mrs. George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, was also a member of the party. She was on her way West, and reached Altoona on Friday, after untold difficulties. She is almost prostrated by the severe ordeal through which she and many others have passed, and therefore had but little to say, only averring that Mrs. Wilcox and her friends, who were on the lost train, had passed through perils beside which her own sank into insignificance.

Assistant Superintendent Crump telegraphs from Blairsville Junction that the day express, eastbound from Chicago to New York, and the mail train from Pittsburgh bound east, were put on the back tracks in the yard at Conemaugh when the flooded condition of the main tracks made it apparently unsafe to proceed further. When the continued rise of the water made their danger apparent, the frightened passengers fled from the two trains to the hills near by. Many in their wild excitement threw themselves into the raging current and were drowned. It is supposed that about fifteen persons lost their lives in this way.

After the people had deserted the cars, the railroad officials state, the two Pullman cars attached to the day express were set on fire and entirely consumed. A car of lime was standing near the train. When the water reached the lime it set fire to the car and the flames reaching the sleepers they were entirely consumed.

Exhuming the Dead

Three hundred bodies were exhumed to-day. In one spot at Main and Market streets the workmen came upon thirty, among whom were nine members of the Fitzparis family–the father, mother, seven children and the grandfather. Only one child, a little girl of nine years, is left out of a family of ten. She is now being cared for by the citizens’ committee. The body of a beautiful young girl was found at the office of the Cambria Iron Company. When the corpse was conveyed to the morgue a man entered in search of some relatives. The first body he came to he exclaimed: “That’s my wife,” and a few feet further off he recognized in the young girl found at the Cambria Iron Company’s office his daughter, Theresa Downs. Both bodies had been found within a hundred yards of each other.

A dozen instances have occurred where people have claimed bodies and were mistaken. This is due to the over-zeal of people to get their relatives and bury them. Nine children walked into one of the relief stations this morning, led by a girl of sixteen years. They said that their father, mother and two other children had been swallowed up by the flood, the family having originally comprised thirteen persons in all. Their story was investigated by Officer Fowler, of Pittsburgh, and it was found to be true. Near Main street the body of a woman was taken out with three children lying on her. She was about to become a mother.

Nursing Their Sorrows

The afflicted people quietly bear their crosses. The calamity has been so general that the sufferers feel that everybody has been treated alike. Grouped together, the sorrows of each other assist in keeping up the strength and courage of all. In the excitement and hurry of the present, loss of friends is forgotten, but the time will come when it is all over and the world gradually drifts back to business, forgetful that such a town as Johnstown ever existed.

Then it is that sufferers will realize what they have lost. Hearts will then be full of grief and despair and the time for sympathy will be at hand. Michael Martin was one of those on the hillside when the water was rushing through the town. The spectacle was appalling. Women on the hills were shrieking and ringing their hands–in fact, people beyond reach of the flood made more noise than those unfortunate creatures struggling in the water. The latter in trying to save themselves hadn’t time to shriek.

Michael Martin said: “I was on the hillside and watched the flood. You ask me what it looked like. I can’t tell. I never saw such a scene before and never expect to again. On one of the first houses that struck the bridge there was standing a woman wearing a white shawl. When the house struck the bridge she threw up her hands and fell back into the water. A little boy and girl came floating down on a raft from South Fork. The water turned the raft toward the Kernville hill and as soon as it struck the bank he jumped on the hill, dragging his little sister with him. Both were saved.

“I saw three men and three women on the roof of a house. When they were passing the Cambria Iron Works the men jumped off and the women were lost. Mr. Overbeck left his family in McM. row and swam to the club house, then he tried to swim to Morrell’s residence and was drowned. His family was saved. At the corner of the company’s store a man called for help for two days, but no one could reach him. The voice finally ceased and I suppose he died.

A Brave Girl

“Rose Clark was fastened in the débris at the bridge. Her coolness was remarkable and she was more calm than the people trying to get her out. She begged the men to cut her leg off. One man worked six hours before she was released. She had an arm and leg broken. I saw three men strike the bridge and go down. William Walter was saved. He was anchored on Main street and he saw about two hundred people in the water. He believes two-thirds of them were drowned. A frightened woman clung to a bush near him and her long hair stood straight out. About twenty people were holding to those in the neighborhood, but most of them were lost.

“John Reese, a policeman, got out on the roof of his house. In a second afterward the building fell in on his wife and drowned her. She waved a kiss to her husband and then died. Two servant girls were burned in the Catholic priest’s house. The church was also consumed.”

Along the Valley of Death

Fifteen miles by raft and on foot along the banks of the raging Conemaugh and in the refugee trains between Johnstown and Pittsburgh. Such was the trip, fraught with great danger, but prolific of results, which the writer has just completed. All along the line events of thrilling interest mingled with those of heartrending sadness transpired, demonstrating more than ever the magnitude of the horrible tragedy of last Friday.

Just as the day was dawning I left the desolate city of Johnstown, and, wending my way along the shore of the winding Conemaugh to Sheridan, I succeeded in persuading a number of brave and stout-hearted men, who had constructed a raft and were about to start on an extended search for the lost who are known to be strewn all along this fated stream, to take me with them.

The river is still very high, and while the current is not remarkably swift, the still flowing débris made the expedition one of peril. Between the starting point and Nineveh several bodies were recovered. They were mostly imbedded in the sand close to the shore, which had to be hugged for safety all the way. Indeed the greater part of the trip was made on foot, the raft being towed along from the water’s edge by the tireless rescuers.

Just above Sang Hollow the party stopped to assist a little knot of men who were engaged in searching amid the ruins of a hut which lay wedged between a mass of trees on the higher ground. A man’s hat and coat were fished out, but there was no trace of the human being to whom they once belonged. Perhaps he is alive; perhaps his remains are among the hundreds of unidentified dead, and perhaps he sleeps beneath the waters between here and the gulf. Who can tell?

Died in Harness

A little farther down we came across two horses and a wagon lying in the middle of the river. The dumb animals had literally died in harness. Of their driver nothing is known. At this point an old wooden rocker was fished out of the water and taken on shore.

Here three women were working in the ruins of what had once been their happy home. When one of them spied the chair it brought back to her a wealth of memory and for the first time, probably, since the flood occurred she gave way to a flood of tears, tears as welcome as sunshine from heaven, for they opened up her whole soul and allowed pent-up grief within to flow freely out and away.

One Touch of Nature

“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 dead husband and little girl.” When the rough men who have worked days in the valley of death turned away from this scene there was not a dry eye in the crowd. One touch of nature, and the thought of little ones at home, welded them in heart and sympathy to this Niobe of the valley.

At Sang Hollow we came up with a train-load of refugees en route for Pittsburgh. As I entered the car I was struck by two things. The first was an old man, whose silvered locks betokened his four-score years, and the second was a little clump of children, three in number, playing on a seat in the upper end of the coach.

Judge Potts’ Escape

The white-haired patriarch was Judge James Potts, aged 80, one of the best known residents of Johnstown, who escaped the flood’s ravages in a most remarkable manner. Beside him was his daughter, while opposite sat his son. There was one missing to complete the family party, Jennie, the youngest daughter, who went down with the tide and whose remains have not yet been found. The thrilling yet pathetic story of the escape of the old Judge is best told in his own language. Said he:

“You ask me how I was saved. I answer, God alone knows. With my little family I lived on Walnut street, next door to the residence of President McMillan, of the Cambria Iron Company. When the waters surrounded us we made our way to the third floor, and huddled together in one room, determined, if die we must, to perish together.

Encircled by Water

“Higher and higher rose the flood, while our house was almost knocked from its foundations by the ever-increasing mountain of débris floating along. At last the bridge at Woodvale, which had given way a short time before, struck the house and split it asunder, as a knife might have split a piece of paper.

“The force of the shock carried us out upon the débris, and we floated around upon it for hours, finally landing near the bridge. When we looked about for Jennie (here the old man broke down and sobbed bitterly) she was nowhere to be seen. She had obeyed the Master’s summons.”

A Miraculous Escape

The three little girls, to whom I have referred, were the children of Austin Lountz, a plasterer, living back of Water street. They were as happy as happy could be and cut up in childish fashion all the way down. Their good spirits were easily accounted for when it was learned that father, mother, children and all had a miraculous escape, when it looked as if all would be lost. The entire family floated about for hours on the roof of a house, finally landing high upon the hillside.

Elmer G. Speck, traveling salesman of Pittsburgh, was at the Merchants’ Hotel when the flood occurred, having left the Hurlburt House but a few hours before. He said:

“With a number of others I got from the hotel to the hill in a wagon. The sight from our eminence was one that I shall never forget–that I can never fully describe. The whole world appeared to be topsy-turvy and at the mercy of an angry and destroying demon of the elements. People were floating about on housetops and in wagons, and hundreds were clinging to tree-trunks, logs and furniture of every imaginable description.

“My sister, Miss Nina, together with my step-brother and his wife, whom she was visiting, drifted with the tide on the roof of a house a distance of two blocks, where they were rescued. With a number of others I built a raft and in a short time had pulled eleven persons from the very jaws of death. Continuing, Mr. Speck related how a number of folks from Woodvale had all come down upon their housetops. Mr. Curtis Williams and his family picked their way from house to house, finally being pulled in the Catholic church window by ropes.”

Three of a Family Drowned

William Hinchman, with his wife and two children, reached the stone bridge in safety. Here one of the babies was swept away through the arches. The others were also swept with the current, and when they came out on the other side the remaining child was missing, while below Mrs. Hinchman disappeared, leaving her husband the sole survivor of a family of four.

“Did your folks all escape alive?” I asked of George W. Hamilton, late assistant superintendent of the Cambria Iron Company, whom I met on the road near New Florence.

“Oh, no” was his reply. “Out of a family of sixteen seven are lost. My brother, his wife, two children, my sister, her husband and one child, all are gone; that tells the tale. I escaped with my wife by jumping from a second story window onto the moving débris. We landed back of the Morrell Institute safe and sound.”

Hairbreadth Escapes

The stories of hairbreadth escapes and the annihilation of families continue to be told. Here is one of them. J. Paul Kirchmann, a young man, boarded with George Schroeder’s family in the heart of the town, and when the flood came the house toppled over and went rushing away in the swirling current. There were seven in all in the party and Kirchmann found himself wedged in between two houses, with his head under water. He dived down, and when he again came to the surface succeeded in getting on the roof of one of them. The others had preceded him there, and the house floated to the cemetery, over a mile and a half away, where all of them were rescued. Kirchmann, however, had fainted, and for seven or eight hours was supposed to be dead. He recovered, and is now assisting to get at the bodies buried in the ruins.

Saloon-keeper Fitzharris and his family of six had the lives crushed out of them when their house collapsed, and early this morning all of them, the father, mother and five children were taken from the wreck, and are now at the morgue. Emil Young, a jeweler, lived with mother, wife, three sons and daughter over his store on Clinton street, near Main. They were all in the house when the wild rush of water surrounded their home, lifted it from its foundation and carried it away. Young and his daughter were drowned and it was then that his mother and wife showed their heroism and saved the life of the other members of the family.

The mother is 80 years of age, but her orders were so promptly given and so ably executed by the younger Mrs. Young that when the house floated near another in which was a family of nine all were taken off and eventually saved. Even after this trying ordeal the younger woman washed the bodies of her husband and nineteen others and prepared them for burial.

The Whole Family Escaped

Child found thumping on a wrecked piano
Child found thumping on a wrecked piano

Another remarkable escape of a whole family was that of William H. Rosensteel, a tanner, of Woodvale, a suburb of Johnstown. His house was in the track of the storm, and, with his two daughters, Tillie and Mamie, his granddaughter and a dog, he was carried down on the kitchen roof. They floated into the Bon Ton Clothing House, a mile and a half away, on Main street. Here they remained all night, but were taken off by Mrs. Emil Young and went to Pittsburgh.

Jacob I. Horner and his family of eight had their house in Hornerstown thrown down by the water and took refuge in a tree. After awhile they returned to their overturned house, but again got into the tree, from which they were rescued after an enforced stay of a number of hours.

Charles Barnes, a real estate dealer on Main street, was worth $10,000 last Friday and had around him a family of four. To-day all his loved ones are dead and he has only $6 in his pockets.

The family of John Higson, consisting of himself, wife, and young son, lived at 123 Walnut street. Miss Sarah Thomas, of Cumberland, was a visitor, and a hired man, a Swede, also lived in the house. The water had backed up to the rear second-story windows before the great wave came, and about 5 o’clock they heard the screaching of a number of whistles on the Conemaugh. Rushing to the windows they saw what they thought to be a big cloud approaching them. Before they could reach a place of safety the building was lifted up and carried up Stony creek for about one-quarter of a mile. As the water rushed they turned into the river and were carried about three-quarters of a mile further on. All the people were in the attic and as the house was hurled with terrific force against the wreckage piled up against the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge Higson called to them to jump. They failed to do so, but at the second command Miss Thomas leaped through the window, the others followed, and after a dangerous walk over fifty yards of broken houses safely reached the shore.

Walker, James Herbert. The Johnstown Horror! or Valley of Death: being A Complete and Thrilling Account of the Awful Floods and Their Appalling Ruin. H. J. Smith & Co. 1889.

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