Grove Statement

Q. State if you were the baggage master on the Mail Train on the day of the big flood.
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What time did you leave Pittsburgh?
A. 5.30.

Q. What time did you get to Johnstown?
A. I think order (?) time is 8.29 there, and I think we were about on time.

Q. What was the condition of the flood when you reached Johnstown?
A. The water was running high then.

Q. How was it as to the houses down along Morrellville?
A. It was up on the floor then . I noticed they had a train load of stone on the Cambria Bridge. The Sheridan bridge was gone already.

Q. How long did you remain at Johnstown?
A. Not long; only a few minutes.

Q. Where did you stop next?
A. Conemaugh.

Q. How long did you stay there?
A. We didn't leave there.

Q. For what reason?
A. We understood there was trouble east. They backed us in there at Conemaugh.

Q. On what track?
A. On the river siding on the south side.

Q. did you stay there?
A. We staid there, and the first section of Day Express backed in against us, and they seen the track wasn't safe, and they took them out, and put the Day Express on the station siding.

Q. During the time you were there, were you down at the telegraph office?
A. I was down once when the bridge went away.

Q. What, if anything, did you hear at Conemaugh, about the South Fork dam breaking?
A. A man ran by, and he says "Be prepared to run, as the dam is going to break", just as he ran past.

Q. What time of day do you suppose that was?
A. About three o'clock.

Q. Who was the conductor of your train?
A. Mr. Warthen.

Q. Do you know how many passengers you had on your train?
A. I don't know; not very many. We had the "Night Off" Company; they got on at Johnstown; and a couple others.

Q. They all got out?
A. Yes, sir. When I heard the engine whistle, or a little after, I went back and looked in the car, and in the smoker, and didn't see anybody there.

Q. If the flood hadn't come, do you think any damage would have happened?
A. No, sir.

Q. It was the breaking of the dam that did the damage?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What cars were swept out of your train?
A. None. The current took them down 50 or 60 feet, and the telegraph tower came out and fell on top of the engine, and held the train together.

Q. Was any of the baggage of the opera troupe lost?
A. No, sir.

Q. How long have you been on the road?
A. I have been running as baggage master for over five years.

Q. You have seen floods in the Conemaugh before?
A. Oh yes.

Q. Did you ever see a flood like that?
A. No, sir, I never saw the water as high.

Q. It was an extraordinary one?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. That bridge went away at Conemaugh before the dam broke?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What time did it go out?
A. I should judge about 2 o'clock; I wouldn't be positive.

Q. You are sure it went out before the dam broke?
A. Oh yes; the baggage master of No. 8 hollowed to me, "There goes the bridge".

Q. What bridge was that?
A. The foot bridge; the iron bridge.

Q. Where were the two Day Expresses lying?
A. On the station siding, and the one next to it.

Q. How much further were they away from the river than you were?
A. Really I hardly know; they must have been six or eight tracks further up.

Q. Did you consider them in a safe place under the circumstances?
A. Well, yes, they were on high ground; higher than our train was.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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