An in-depth history of the Johnstown Pennsylvania Flood, complete with many images, both drawn and photographed, maps, and videos depicting the horrors of the flood. – On May 28, 1889, a storm formed over Nebraska and Kansas, moving east. When the storm struck the Johnstown-South Fork area two days later it was the worst downpour that had ever been recorded in that section of the country. The US Signal Service estimated that 6 to 10 inches (150 to 250 mm) of rain fell in 24 hours over the entire section. During the night small creeks became roaring torrents ripping out trees and debris. Telegraph lines were downed and rail-lines were washed out. Before daybreak the Conemaugh River that ran through Johnstown was about to leave its banks…Read More
Location: Johnstown Pennsylvania
The following gallery represents over 60 sketches depicting the horrors of the flood. Firemen on duty at the bridge Mother and babe cast up by the waters Johnstown after the Flood The Break Two Hundred Feet Wide The lists of missing and dead An engineer’s terrific race in the valley of death General Hastings directing the police Locomotives swimming in the torrent Johnstown Flood A mother and child perish together Swept away on the train A railroad train delayed by the flood Distributing supplies to the destitute The remains of Cambria City The children Encampment of relief parties Johnstown...Read More
List of dead and missing people in the Johnstown Pennsylvania Flood of 1889. To find out more information about this flood, view pictures and video, visit the main page: The Johnstown Pennsylvania Horror Last Name, First, Age(if known) Address Buried Abbreviations used in the list of dead and missing: GCG:German Catholic Cemetery (Geistown) GC-PL: Grandview Cemetery Private Lot GC-PP: Grandview Cemetery Public Plot-Bodies found but not recovered by family/friends GCS: German Catholic Cemetery (Sandyvale) LYC: Lower Yoder Catholic Cemetery Missing: Body Never Recovered NCR: No Cemetery Record OCG: Old Catholic Graveyard (Conemaugh Borough) SC: Sandyvale Cemetery SM: St. Mary’s...Read More
Never before in our country has there been such a magnificent exhibition of public sympathy and practical charity. As the occasion was the most urgent ever known, so the response has been the greatest. All classes have come to the rescue with a generosity, a thoughtfulness and heartfelt pity sufficient to convince the most stubborn misanthrope that religion is not dead and charity has not, like the fabled gods of Greece, forsaken the earth. The following lines, cut from one of our popular journals, aptly represents the public feeling, and the warm sympathy that moved every heart: I stood...Read More
Governor Beaver has assumed the command. He arrived in Johnstown yesterday, the 8th, and will take personal charge of the work of clearing the town and river. For that purpose $1,000,000 from the State Treasury will be made available immediately. This action means that the State will clear and clean the town. It was a day of prayer but not a day of rest in Johnstown. Faith and works went hand in hand. The flood-smitten people of the Conemaugh, though they met in the very path of the torrent that swept their homes and families into ruin, offered up...Read More
In the following graphic narrative one of the eye-witnesses of the fearful ruin and slaughter represents himself as a guide, and if the reader will consider himself as the party whom the guide is conducting, a vivid impression of the scene of the great destruction may be obtained. “Hello, where on earth did you come from? And what are you doing here, anyhow? Oh! you just dropped in to see the sights, eh? Well, there are plenty of them and you won’t see the like of them again if you live a century. What’s that? You have been wandering...Read More
By slow degrees and painful labor the barren place where Johnstown stood begins again to look a little like the habitations of a civilized community. Daily a little is added to the cleared space once filled with the concrete rubbish of this town, daily the number of willing workers who are helping the town to rise again increases. To-day the great yellow plain which was filled with the best business blocks and residences before the flood is covered with tents for soldiers and laborers and gangs of men at work. The wrecks are being removed or burned up. Those...Read More
War, death, cataclysm like this, America, Take deep to thy proud, prosperous heart. E’en as I chant, lo! out of death, and out of ooze and slime, The blossoms rapidly blooming, sympathy, help, love, From west and east, from south and north and over sea, Its hot spurr’d hearts and hands humanity to human aid moves on; And from within a thought and lesson yet. Thou ever-darting globe! thou Earth and Air! Thou waters that encompass us! Thou that in all the life and death of us, in action or in sleep. Thou laws invisible that permeate them and...Read More
The proportion of the living registered since the flood as against the previous number of inhabitants is even less than was reported yesterday. It was ascertained to-day that many of the names on the list were entered more than once and that the total number of persons registered is not more than 13,000 out of a former population of between 40,000 and 50,000. A new and more exact method of determining the number of the lost was inaugurated this morning. Men are sent out by the Relief Committee, who will go to every abode and obtain the names of...Read More
So vast is the field of destruction that to get an adequate idea from any point level with the town is simply impossible. It must be viewed from a height. From the top of Kernville Mountain just at the east of the town the whole strange panorama can be seen. Looking down from that height many strange things about the flood that appear inexplicable from below are perfectly plain. How so many houses happened to be so queerly twisted, for instance, as if the water had a whirling instead of a straight motion, was made perfectly clear. The town...Read More
A party started in early exploring the huge mass of débris banked against the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge. This collection, consisting of trees, sides of houses, timber and innumerable articles, varies in thickness from three or four feet to twenty feet. It is about four hundred yards long, and as wide as the river. There are thousands of tons in this vast pile. How many bodies are buried there it is impossible to say, but conservative estimates place it at one thousand at least. The corps of workmen who were searching the ruins near the Methodist Church late this evening...Read More
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,...Read More
The accounts contained in the foregoing chapters bring this appalling story of death down to June 4th. We continue the narrative as given from day to day by eye-witnesses, as this is the only method by which a full and accurate description of Johnstown’s unspeakable horror can be obtained. On the morning of June 5th one of the leading journals contained the following announcements, printed in large type, and preceding its vivid account of the terrible situation at Johnstown. Death, ruin, plague! Threatened outbreak of disease in the fate stricken valley. Awful effluvia from corpses! Swift and decisive means...Read More
JOHNSTOWN, Pa., June 3, 1889.–Innumerable tales of thrilling individual experiences, each one more horrible than the others, are told. Frank McDonald, a conductor on the Somerset branch of the Baltimore and Ohio, was at the Pennsylvania Railroad depot in this place when the flood came. He says that when he first saw the flood it was thirty feet high and gradually rose to at least forty feet. “There is no doubt that the South Fork Dam was the cause of the disaster,” said Mr. McDonald. “Fifteen minutes before the flood came Decker, the Pennsylvania Railroad agent read me a...Read More
Each visitor to the scene of the great disaster witnessed sights and received impressions different from all others. The following graphic account will thrill every reader: The most exaggerative imagination cannot too strongly picture the awful harvest of death, the wreck which accompanied that terrible deluge last Friday afternoon. I succeeded in crossing from the north side of the Little Conemaugh, a short distance above the point, to the sandy muddy desert strewn with remnants of the buildings and personal property of those who know not their loss. It is almost an impossibility to gain access to the region,...Read More
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