north statement

Q. Where were you the time of the big flood?
A. In the telegraph office at Johnst own. [sic]

Q. How long ad [sic] you been there, Miss North?
A. In day time, I had worked there three months, but I had worked over a year there at night; and I boarded there on Diamond Street.

Q. I wish you would state what message, if any, you received about the condition of the South Fork dam, and the time they were received, and from whom, and to whom directed.
A. The first was received--I [sic] don't remember the exact time, but it was between two and three o'clock some time. It was sent there from "OD" office, that is the main office at Pittsburgh, and it had come by way of Mineral Point and South Fork to "OD", and it was sent as a pin message to the Agent.

Q. What do you mean by a pin message?
A. The first message was sent to the Agent at Johnstown "to note", and the other message was sent to be attached to it. As near as I can remember, the dam was reported as running over, and expected to burst at any minute; to notify people at Johnstown to prepare for the worst. Signed Operator at Mineral Point. That was for the Agent, and the Assistant Agent, Mr. Moore, was in the office at the time I received it, and he took it. The next one I got was just the same. I received it between three and four o'clock, for Mr.Trump; [sic] he was on a special train there. It was just the same.

Q. Did you receive any other message?
A. No, sir, I received no other message at all.

Q. Nothing when the dam bursted to notify you of it?
A. No, sir, that was all.

Q. Where did the second message come from?
A. It was from "OD". They say from Mineral Point by way of South Fork to "OD". It was sent to Mr. Trump, on special, and read the same. That was the operator at Mineral Point signed that message.

Q. Were there any copies of those messages preserved?
A. No, sir; we never preserve any; we never have time to take more than just one copy. I don't know whether the Agent kept his copy or not. I kept none. I took it off the wire, and wrote it, and delivered it.

Q. What time did you go on duty that day, Firday? [sic]
A. At 7 o'clock in the morning.

Q. Was it raining then?
A. Yes, sir, very hard; and the Conemaugh river was up to the foot of the Lincoln Bridge as I crossed it.

Q. How was it with reference to the houses at Johnstown?
A. I got over to the tower all right, but the water began to rise, and before the dam had bursted, it was up---we [sic] watched it rising by a fence around the tower there, and before the dam bursted, it was up over the fence.

Q. Was the tower carried away?
A. No, sir.

Q. You staid there?
A. No, sir, when I saw the dam had bursted, I left the tower and went across the r i lroad [sic] track to the hill. I saw the water was so high, and seemed to be taking everything ahead * [sic] of it, and I thought the tower would go too. I suppose it was missed by chance, like a good many other houses.

Q. At the time that message came for Mr. Trump, was be there?
A. He was on the special train, and he came up off the specail [sic] train, and came in the office, and I gave it to him personally. Mr. Chafer was with him in the office.

Q. What time was that first message received?
A. I can't tell exactly; it was between 2 & 3 some time. It said that after 12.30, the dam was reported unsafe. I remember very distinctly.

Q. Had you heard anything about this dam before?
A. I had been in Johnstown over a year and never heard anything about it; and when I did hear of it---we [sic] have a small reservoir at home, and I imagined it was something like that, and never gave it any consideration.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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