Johnstown, PA Flood, May 1889
MR. LON T. DALLMYER, a passenger on the express, said that Secretary HALFORD'S wife and daughter were both with him and escaped to the mountain-side in safety.
The Western Union Telegraph company succeeded in opening a temporary office in an abandoned oil house on the mountain side, and have seven good wires working to Pittsburg, but none east.
The chasm between the railroad bridge and the depot has just been spanned by a rope bridge. The river can now be crossed at this place in safety. The skiffs sent from Pittsburg have arrived and will greatly aid in the search for bodies among the debris in the still furiously rushing river.
Several hundred bridge builders and trackmen are repairing the railroad company property, and trains will be able to cross the chasm by tomorrow morning.
Communication Established, But the Half Can Never Be Told.
Johnstown, Pa., June 3. -- Telegraphic communication has again been established from what is left of this once beautiful city to the outside world. Although this has been done, it will be impossible to ever tell the extent of the disasters which has visited us.
The recovery of bodies has taken up the time of thousands all day. The theory now is that most of those killed by the torrent are buried beneath the debris, and the events of the day's work in the ruins, in a large degree justifies this assumption. Six bodies were taken out of one pile of rubbish not eight feet square. The truth is that bodies are almost as plentiful as logs, only the swirl of the waters put the bodies under and the logs and boards on top in the general stacking up of the animate and inanimate. The rigidity of arms standing out at right angles to the bloated and bruised bodies, shows that death in ninety-nine out of one hundred cases took place amid the ruins, that is after the wreck of houses had closed over them.
DR. D. G. FOSTER, who has been here all day, is of the opinion that most of the victims were killed by coming in violent contact with objects in the river and not by drowning.
Three hundred bodies were recovered yesterday.
The eastern end of Main street, through which the waters tore most madly and destructively and in which they left their legacy of wrecked houses, fallen trees and dead bodies in a greater degree than in any other portion of the city, has been cleared and the remains of over fifty taken out of the portion cleared. All over the town the searchers have been equally successful.
As soon as a body is found it is placed on a litter and sent to the morgue, where it is washed and placed on a board for several hours to await identification. The morgue is the Fourth ward school house, and it has been surrounded all day by a crowd of several thousand people. At first the crowd was disposed to stop those bearing the stretchers, uncover the remains and view them, but this was found to be prolific not only of great delay, but also of scenes of agony, that not even the bearers could endure, nor the thousands calmly stand up under. Now a litter is guarded by a file of soldiers with fixed bayonets in charge of a sergeant, and the people are forced aside until the morgue is reached.
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