Amsterdam, NY Flooding Disaster, Feb 1842


Accounts from the west are rife with disasters by the flood, of which we have some indications here. The following from one of the agents of Pomroy & Co.'s express, was received on Saturday the 5th inst.:

Fonda, Friday P. M.
"There is no prospect of getting further to-day. The track is covered with water here and west of this, for ten or twelve miles, and some parts of it are gone.
The bridge over the Mohawk at Amsterdam will probably go down the stream to-day.
One of the abutments (that about the centre of the stream) has commenced giving way -- about 8 feet of exposed end having gone already. Two bridges over the creek at Fonda (the Cuyadotta) are gone. About 200 feet of the dam at JONES' Mills are also gone -- damage about $1000. The west track of the railroad, in the deep cut west of Schenectady, is gone."
From other sources, we learn that the Mohawk rose at Schenectady on Saturday morning, 18 feet above the ordinary summer level -- inundating the houses in the south west part of the city up to the sills of the first story windows.
At Amsterdam the dams on the creek gave way on Thursday evening, deluging the entire village. The bridge over the Mohawk at that place was swept away on Friday, floating down bodily to within two miles of Schenectady.
We hear of damage west of Utica.
The western mail, due on Friday, did not reach this city until Saturday afternoon. Finding it impossible to proceed on the railroad from Herkimer to Little Falls, the mail and passengers were conveyed round by the way of Johnstown.
New York paper.

Futher Particulars. -- The New York papers are filled with accounts of the disasters occasioned by the late floods, along the valleys of the Susquehanna, the Mohawk, the Chemango, and other rivers. The Mohawk, bridge at Utica was carried away about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 10th inst.:
"Pieces of float wood struck the bridge -- a tremendous crash, succeeded by the cry of the guard for help, was heard, and away went the bridge, carrying with it two of the guard, who had been unable to make their escape. The timbers floated rapidly down the current until they struck Miller's bridge, half a mile below, which it did with great force, when a part bilged under water. JOHN McGEE, a young man of great daring, made an extraordinary leap, and succeeded in saving himself. Unfortunately, MR. GEORGE WOODFORD was upon the sinking end of the bridge, and in imminent danger of being crushed. With great presence of mind, in an instant, he tore off his overcoat, and dove deep into the waters passing entirely beneath the timbers, and not rising to the surface until he had passed both bridges. Not having been able to free himself from his boots and other garments, he became much exhausted by this wonderful feat; but at this moment he secured floating planks, and placing himself upon them, was carried down the stream at a rapid rate near half a mile when his raft struck upon a quantity of lodged brush and floodwood. On this pile he endeavored to save himself; but in getting upon it, he lost his planks. The horror of his situation may be imagined. Midnight, darkness prevailed -- he was in the midst of a rapid current, surrounded by floating ice, and a heavy rain was beating on his bare head; he feels the pile beneath him giving way; in a moment all is desolved, and again he is compelled to swim for life. Becoming greatly chilled, he finds his strength fast failing him; he is borne down by the flood; one effort more; he makes for a tree; with the utmost difficulty he reaches it, and climbs inito its branches. Here he commenced calling loudly for assistance, and fortunately was heard by MR. ROGERS and others, who were in search. Lights and a boat were procured and MR. W. was released from his perilous situation. Seldom is recorded so remarkable an escape from death."

Three Lives Lost. -- MR. WILLIAM V. SHAVER, a respectable citizen of Little Falls, who had been with two of his sons in a wagon to visit a daughter, returning home on Sunday night, in attempting to ford a swollen stream which empties into the Mohawk, got into a deep, rapid current from which he could not rescue himself. His cries for relief were heard, but no relief could reach him. The neighbors however, rallied and extricated the horses alive and in the course of the night found the remains of one of the boys; and in the morning they found the body of MR. SHAVER, with that of his youngest son clinging, in death, to his back! And thus perished the Father and two Sons. The boy was tied to his Father's back with the whiplash.
Albany Eve. Jour.

The Freshet. -- The late freshet appears to have been very disastrous along the valley of the Chenango. We learn from the Oxford Times that so sudden and unexpected was the rise, that whole flocks of sheep were carried away by the current.
At Canajoharie, as we learn from the Radii, on Friday morning the buildings attached to the distillery were washed away with 4 or 500 hogs, which were taken down the stream.
A miller by the name of WINKY, went among the ice to procure wood, when the water came in such a torrent that he was swept away in the mass, in full view of his agonized family.

The Republican Compiler Gettysburg Pennsylvania 1842-02-21