plummer statement

Q. Were you Mr. Hess' fireman the day of the flood?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, go on and tell us where you where you went to after you left Conemaugh that mroning? [sic]
A. Well, from Conemaugh in the morning, we starter to Cambria. We went down to dig a washout on the track there away. We got down there, and were there until nearly 11 o'clock as near as I can tell. Then we got orders to go to a washout between Wilmore and Summerhill, and we started, and only got as far as above the deep cut at No. 6 bridge, and a couple hundred yards above the deep cut, the north track was washed clear away for I suppose 30 yards anyway, as near as I can tell, and Hess and our conductor went up to Mineral Point tower, and I staid there until they came down. After they came back, we came down to "AO" tower, and there got orders toreturn [sic] to Conemaugh and do what they could there. We then started towards Conemaugh, and stopped about two or three hundred yards above Conemaugh and were laying there, and were watching the water rising and noticed drift wood/ [sic] and logs rising up over the bank. Hess said "The lake's broke, and we started then, and he pulled the whistle until we got clear into Conemaugh.

Q. What was the character of the whistle? Was it an alarm?
A. Yes, sir, he pulled it for an alarm.

Q. Did you run pretty rapidly into Conemaugh?
A. No, sir, not over ten or twelve miles an hour. We had 7 or 8 mud trucks ahaed [sic] of the engine and were on the eastbound track and were going west; we went as rapidly as we could safely.

Q. Do you think you did everything on that train to warn the people of the cominf [sic] flood that you could?
A. Yes, sir, we did all we could to warn them.

Q. Where did you stop your engine?
A. We stopped our en(g)ine about in front of where Mr. Zane lived.

Q. How long was it after you got there/until [sic] the flood came?
A. I don't know; I don't think we were there two minutes until the flood came. My brother was up on the bank and saw it coming; I didn't see it coming at all; he saw it coming though and saw where it was, and he ran down and grabbed hold of me and ( )ou( )ed Hess with his umbrella, and told us to run, and I just got up on the bank a piece and looked around and saw the water upsetting the tank of the engine.

Q. How high did the water run (?) over your engine?
A. High enough to cover the en(g)ine entirely.

Q. How far was that from the telegraph tower at Conemaugh
A. A(b)out 200 yards, I suppose.

Q. How deep do you suppose the water ran over the tracks where your engine stood?
A. I should say 15 to 20 feet high.

Q. How wide is the valley there from one side to the other where the water came down?
A. I believe it is about 250 yards wide.

Q. So that immense volume of water, carrying trees, houses, and everything, was 250 yards broad?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. And how high, do you suppose?
A. I should say about 20 feet as near as I could judge.

Q. As you approached Conemaugh on your en(g)ine, did you see the people running? Did they seem to take notice of what your signal meant?
A. No, sir, I didn't see anyone running; the view was obstructed, we couldn't see.

Q. How long had you been running with Hess?
A. About three weeks.

Q. How long have you been railroading?
A. Two years next month.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

733 Lake Road
South Fork, PA 15956


(814) 886-6170

Contact Us