moore statement

Q. W here [sic] were you employed at the time of the big flood at Johnstown?
A. At the passenger depot as Assistant Ticket Agent.

Q. How long had you been there?
A. In the neighborhood of two years and a half; I can't just tell the exact time, but in that neighborhood.

Q. What, if anything, do you know about a message being received from either Conemaugh or South Fork, or any point in reference to the condition of the South Fork dam?
A. We received a message, as near as I can tell, about 11.40, signed "RP" stating that the South Fork dam was in danger, and to notify people in Johnstown to prepare for the worst.

Q. Who gave you/that [sic] message?
A. I got it from Miss North, the operator.

Q. What did you do after you got that message?
A. I went up and down the platform and notified everybody on the platform that I had received such a message, and I handed it to two parties, John Reese and Wm. Stremmel, and let them read it, and they laughed at it, and said it was the same old story we have had for several years. I told them "Well, there's the message."

Q. To whom was it directed?
A. Thomas H. Watt, the Ticket Agent.

Q. Where was it from?
A. It was signed by "R.P.", and I think it was from "OD", Pitts,burgh [sic]; I wouldn't be positive.

Q. Do you know whether that message was telephoned or sent over to the central office at Johnstown?
A. It was sent to the Agent at Johnstown, and I didn't know whether Mr. Deckert had received such a message or not,and [sic] I went up and told about it, and he said he had just telephoned it over then.

Q. What time was that?
A. It was sometime between 11 and 12 o'clock; as near as I can recollect, about 11.40.

Q. Had the Day Expresses passed or not?
A. Yes, sir, they had gone up , and the Special with Mr. Trump had gone up.

Q. You had no opportunity of advising the conductors of either of those trains of that message?
A. No, sir.
I went to work that morning as usual about eight o'clock. I run the night trains, and Mr. Watt runs the morning trains, and the water was then up about his house three or four feet, and he remarked that he had a notion to go over and get his folks out and get them home, as his wife was not very stout; and I advised him to do so, as it would be damp about his place for some time. So he went over, and he was over home getting his folks out, and he couldn't get back. That's why I got the message instead of him.

Q. Do you recollect who delivered that to you?
A. I wouldn't be positive, but I think I got it from Miss North herself. There was another message received about two o'clock; [sic]

Q. Who received that message?
A. I did.

Q. Who was that from?
A. I don't remember.

Q. Do you know from what point?
A. No, sir, I don't.

Q. What was the substance of that message?
A. The substance of that message was that the dam was very full and liable to break.

Q. What did you do in reference to notifying the people about that?
A. I couldn't do anything at all.

Q. For what reason?
A. Because there was no was to get over to notify the people; the water was too high; and it wouldn't have made any difference if we had notified them; they wouldn't have paid any attention to it. There was one man, a Mr. Reese, who went to work and made a raft, and got his wife and two little children out, and went back for his father and mother, and they refused to leave the property, and they staid there. They said there was no danger. And they were lost.

Q. Where was your house that you lived in?
A. Do you know where the Methodist Church is?Well, [sic] it is the only stone building there is left on the street;--on [sic] the corner of Clinton & ------- [sic] Locust Street. My house was carried away, and I lost my wife.

Q. Your wife was swept out by the flood, and drowned?
A. Yes, sir; I never saw her after I went to work that morning.

Q. Was her body recovered?
A. Yes, sir.

By E. S. Hatchelor.

Q. Didn't you receive a message from some other point with "Please note", or something or that kind on it?
A. No, sir, I don't think I did. I wouldn't be positive about that. I think the message I received was direct from "H.P.".

Q. How did it read?
A. As near as I can tell you, "South Fork dam is liable to break; notify the people of Johnstown to prepare for the worst", and w e [sic] took that as official notice to notify them, and that is what we tried to do.

Q. That was the first or second message?
A. That was the first.

Q. And what was the other one?
A. The other one was that the dam was overflowing, and was dangerous.

Q. That was about 3 o'clock?
A. About 2.40.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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