Topic: Natural Disaster

New Tales of Horror

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...

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Thrilling Experiences

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...

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View of the Wreck

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,...

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Johnstown and Its Industries

At this point of our narrative a sketch of Johnstown, where the most frightful havoc of the flood occurred, will interest the reader. The following description and history of the Cambria Iron Company’s Works, at Johnstown, is taken from a report prepared by the State Bureau of Industrial Statistics: The great works operated by the Cambria Iron Company originated in a few widely separated charcoal furnaces, which were built by pioneer iron workers in the early years of this century. It was chartered under the general law authorizing the incorporation of iron manufacturing companies, in the year 1852. The...

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Burial of the Victims

Hundreds have been laid away in shallow trenches without forms, ceremonies or mourners. All day long the work of burial has been going on. There was no time for religious ceremonies or mourning and many a mangled form was coffined with no sign of mourning save the honest sympathy of the brave men who handled them. As fast as the wagons that are gathering up the corpses along the stream arrive with their ghastly loads they are emptied and return again to the banks of the merciless Conemaugh to find other victims among the driftwood in the underbrush, or...

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Shadows of Despair

Another graphic account of the fearful calamity is furnished by an eye-witness: The dark disaster of the day with its attendant terrors thrilled the world and drew two continents closer together in the bonds of sympathy that bind humanity to man. The midnight terrors of Ashtabula and Chatsworth evoked tears of pity from every fireside in Christendom, but the true story of Johnstown, when all is known, will stand solitary and alone as the acme of man’s affliction by the potent forces to which humanity is ever subject. The menacing clouds still hover darkly over the valley of death,...

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The Awful Work of Death

The record of June 3rd continues as follows: The horror of the situation does not lessen. The latest estimate of the number of dead is an official one by Adjutant General Hastings, and it places the number between 12,000 and 15,000. The uncovering of hundreds of bodies by the recession of the waters has already filled the air with pestilential odors. The worst is feared for the surviving population, who must breathe this poisoned atmosphere. Sharp measures prompted by sheer necessity have resulted in an almost complete subsidence of cowardly efforts to profit by the results of the disaster....

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Multiplication of Terrors

The handsome brick High School Building is damaged to such an extent that it will have to be rebuilt. The water attained the height of the window sills of the second floor. Its upper stories formed a refuge for many persons. All Saturday afternoon two little girls could be seen at the windows frantically calling for aid. They had spent all night and the day in the building, cut off from all aid. Without food and drinking water their condition was lamentable. Late in the evening the children were removed to higher ground and properly cared for. A number...

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The Horror Increases

During the night thirty-three bodies were brought to one house. As yet the relief force is not perfectly organized and bodies are lying around on boards and doors. Within twenty feet of where this was written the dead body of a colored woman lies. Provision has been made by the Relief Committee for the sufferers to send despatches to all parts of the country. The railroad company has a track through to the bridge. The first train arrived about half-past nine o’clock this morning. A man in a frail craft got caught in the rapids at the railroad bridge,...

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Death and Desolation

The terrible situation on the second day after the great disaster only intensifies the horror. As information becomes more full and accurate, it does not abate one tittle of the awful havoc. Rather it adds to it, and gives a thousand-fold terror to the dreadful calamity. Not only do the scenes which are described appear all the more dreadful, as is natural, the nearer they are brought to the imagination, but it seems only too probable that the final reckoning in loss of life and material wealth will prove far more stupendous than has even yet been supposed. The...

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The Appalling News

On the advent of Summer, June 1st, the country was horror-stricken by the announcement that a terrible calamity had overtaken the inhabitants of Johnstown, and the neighboring villages. Instantly the whole land was stirred by the startling news of this great disaster. Its appalling magnitude, its dreadful suddenness, its scenes of terror and agony, the fate of thousands swept to instant death by a flood as frightful as that of the cataract of Niagara, awakened the profoundest horror. No calamity in the history of modern times has so appalled the civilized world. The following graphic pen-picture will give the...

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Portland Oregon Natural Disastors

Storms have occasionally interrupted business. The Oregonians pay no attention to rain and there is no diminution of traffic or travel or in the number of vehicles on the street, even for the most drenching showers. Cold, freezing weather, however, drives dray-men and hackmen to their quarters, and the finest, clearest days may pass with but the smallest possible work done. Snow sends every-one to shelter. The winter usually passes with but little of this. Some years, however, the fall has been considerable, and in 1883 it came so suddenly as to cause a genuine blockade. It fell on December 16, with east wind and a temperature of 19° above zero. The storm shifting, threw down a vast depth of eighteen inches from the southwest, mingled with rain and hail. The east wind finally getting the mastery, brought clear skies and a low temperature, converting the mass of slush into ice. Business and travel were impeded for six weeks. The walks and streets were unfavorable for ordinary vehicles; street car tracks were useless; railroad lines were blockaded east and west, north and south. The city hibernated. To an eastern man the sight was quite ridiculous, since this was nothing more than ordinary weather on the Atlantic coast. But the Portland people preferred to wait cosily in their homes and let the snow bank up at their front doors, expecting...

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1894 Hinckley Minnesota Forest Fire Deaths

The exact origin of the fire is somewhat indefinite; the one that visited Hinckley must have started in the region south of Mission Creek. Around this little village much of the pine had been cut. There was in the hamlet twenty-six houses, a schoolhouse, a small sawmill a general store, hotel and blacksmith shop. At the time of the fire there were seventy-three people living in, and adjacent to, this village; a great number of the population were away from home, having gone to Dakota for the harvest. The people had been fighting local fires for a month. At...

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