Statement of Brady

Q. Where were you employed on the day of the Johnstown flood?
A. I was front brakeman on Mail Train.

Q. Had you any interruption in the progress of your train until you reached Conemaugh?
A. Why we were stopped at Johnstown for orders of some kind; I don't know what they were. We were nearly on time, I believe, at Conemaugh.

Q. Just go on in your own way and tell us what ook [sic] place at Conemaugh, and what was done with your train.
A. After we arrived at Conemaugh; the order signal was out there and the conductor got the orders; and we backed down on the siding next to the river. We laid there until the water got so high that it was washing out in under our track, and we were ordered to pull out of there. We ran straight up above the telegraph tower, and we remained there until the water came down.

Q. How long was it from the time you reached Conemaugh until the dam broke, or rather the water came down there from the r [sic] dam?
A. That I couldn't answer exactly.

Q. As near as you can tell.
A. I think it was along about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

Q. What, if anything, did you hear at Conemaugh, about messages being received as to the condition of the South Fork dam?
A. The only thing I heard was just what was rumored around there among our own men; I don't know just who, but some of them made the remark that there was a message came to the tower when he was up there, to make everything safe, as the dam ws [sic] was in danger of breaking, as it was running over then.

Q. What time did that message come there, do you suppose?
A. That was in the afternoon some time; I know it was after we came from our dinner; in the neighborhood of two o'clock.

Q. Do you know who the mess ge [sic] was from?
A. No, sir, I didn't see the message. I know that shortly after that, the two Day Expresses were ordered higher up; on higher ground.

Q. When you went there on your train in the morning, was the water in te [sic] Conemaugh over its banks or not?
A. No, sir, it was washing in against the bank pretty lively, and along between 1 and 2 o'clock, it undermined the side track where we had been laying in the earlier part of the day.

Q. Where were you when the flood came?
A. Two of us lit a fire in the rear car to get our clothes dried, and we just go the fire under good headway when this engine came down the mountain blowing the whistle. The excitement commenced right away, and everybody commenced to run. I didn't make any attempt to get out of the car until one of the men called to me to run, and I ran across onto the side of the hill. Runnigfup [sic] the side of the hill, I met a lady who had run out of the Day Expresses, and I gave her some assistance and got her up the hill. As soon as the watr [sic] went down low enough, we all went down and helped the passengers all over--- those that remained in the train;

Q. Which train are you speaking of now?
A. Second Day Express. Everybody got out of our train; there was an opera company---I [sic] think there was ten in the company, and a couple other passengers. We got the passengers all over, and then we turned our attention to this car of lime that was on fire right alongside of the Day Express, but in the middle of the night, it took fire again some time. I remained in Conemaugh then until Sunday. Mr. Trump had two of us stay there, and see to the passengers. We hunted up a wagon and got them to Ebensburg. We did that as soon as we could on Saturday, and had them all gone by 11 or 12 o'clock.

Q. Well, now, apart from the fact that the dam broke and brought the water down there, wasn't your train and the two Day Expresses in a safe enough place?
A. Yes, sir: I think as safe a place as they could have been in. It evidently stands to reason that they were when the second No. 8 all staid there, and I judge first No. 8 would have too only it undermined the track and dropped the cars down. Our train all remained there. It undermined the track and the train just dropped right down.

Q. Were the two Day Expresses where they were on higher ground then where the Mail Train was?
A. Just whether they would be higher or not, I don't know, but a person would suppose they were in a safer place, as they were further away from the river.

Q. How far do you suppose they were away from the river?
A. 150 yards or 100 yards anyhow. They were to the extreme left and we were to the right. We were on the south side of the main track, and they were on the north side.
There was a lady I helped up the hill, I have her address; it is:
Mrs. M. J. Blazdell,
Pelican Rapids,
Otter Trail County, Minn.

Q. Was there any person along with her that was lost?
A. No, sir.

Q. She came off of one of the Day Expresses, did she?
A. Yes, sir, she was on first Day Express.
I ran across her on the street or a little to the left of the street, and as I ran she fell. I picked her up, and I thought once I would have to leave her, but I don't suppose I could have gotten away from her if I had wanted to. I pulled her along; she fained [sic] once, but I managed to get her up. She was a very large woman. She told me the next day she weighed 240 odd pounds.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

733 Lake Road
South Fork, PA 15956


(814) 886-6170

Contact Us