Madera, PA Flood, Mar 1936


The St. Patrick's Day flood spread havoc and destruction in its wake here. The Clearfield Creek overflowed its banks on Tuesday morning and continued to rise steadily throughout the day and night. Near midnight Tuesday the waters had risen to such a height that they overflowed the local bridge and contained to surge up Main street.

The impetus gained by the abundant waters swept all obstruction in its path down the swift current.

The ancient grist mill was in danger of being swept away with its cargo of flour and feed. If it withstood the angry attack of the raging waters the flour and feed would have to be moved to the third floor. Eight young men volunteered to perform this duty and were so absorbed in their task that they failed to notice the rapidly raging water. When their danger was brought to light all exits were under water and the rushing water made it impossible for a raft to be brought to their rescue. Attempts were made for several hours to rescue the marooned men but to no avail. The marooned men had to spend the night in the cool and damp mill which was taking the flood waters like a veteran having survived the Johnstown flood of 1889.

On the following day the courageous Dick Hawkins and "Peg" Conway, two WPA workers showed their metal by embarking in a canoe, will above the mill, and fighting the treacherous cross current were able to get near enough to the mill to catch a rope thrown out to them by one of the marooned men. After that it was just a matter of about an hour before all the men were safe on terrafirma. The rescuers were able to take on but one passenger at a time.

Due credit must be given these two fellows for their gallant efforts in rescuing the stranded men. It took plenty of courage and a kept nerve to paddle the frail craft in the raging cross current. Those rescued were Walter Carson, Pa[ineligible] Hawkins, Sam Pusey, George, Elmer and Ike Coder. Bill and Walter Moore. The latter remained to the last like a true captain of his crew.

The flood reached its zenith about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday and flowed as far as the western edge of C. I. Cornely's store. The high point would have surpassed the high point of the previous Johnstown flood if the store highway had not been raised.

The homes of Ray Richards, Ben [?] Stewart, Fred Norman, Leo McAtvy received the brunt of the attack of the flood. The first floors of these homes were ruined together with some of the furniture that was too heavy to move. Some out buildings such as garaged, coal sheds, etc., were swept down stream to be shattered at the railway bridge.

Clearfield Progress, Clearfield, Pa 24 Mar 1936