Foreman Studt Statement

Q. Where were you employed in May last?
A. I was employed on the Penna. Railroad.

Q. Were you a division foreman?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What was the length of your division?
A. Two miles and a half.

Q. Where did it commence and where did it end?
A. It commenced a short distance above Lilly station and ended at Bens Creek.

Q. Do you recollect the rain that fell up there, and produced th [sic] the flood?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Go on and tell us in your own way when it commenced raining; how hard it ra ned, [sic] and what was the effect of the rain on the road.
A. It commenced raining in the evening--

Q. What evening?
A. On Thursday before the flood. It rained all night pretty much, and the water commenced to raise, and at five o'clock it was as high as I had seen it for some time, and Friday, it kept on raising, and about six o'clock, I suppose it was about 2 to 3 feet higher than it had ever been before.

Q. Where was this water?
A. In the Conemaugh river. It is in the North Fork, as some people call it.

Q. Did it continue raining all that Thursday night?
A. Yes, sir; in heavy showers. On Friday morning the water commenced to rise. I got up after 3 o'clock. I didn't trust the water very much, for fear it would get out on the track. I built a fire in the kitchen, and was sitting in the kitchen looking at the water passing the house; and about five o'clk. [sic] I heard a heavier roar of the water and I went out, and seen it passing out of its channel. It was then higher than I ever seen it. I seen a fence going off a wall where it had never taken a fence away before. I went to the watchman who had just then come up the road, and asked him how the water was below, that is, about a mile and a quarter w est [sic] of Lilly; he said "It isn't out of its way yet, but it's pretty high." I says "You had better go down now ; you will be very apt to find the water over the track before you get down." He started down. First Western due at our place at 4.47, it was a little late that morning, I heard if flagged; and then I called another man out right away from the watch house where he w as, [sic] (and hurried up my breakfast, to get it before I went out, so that when I was out, I could stay out.) I got my breakfast, and hurried do wn [sic] with a man to re lieve [sic] the watchman, and when I got down there w as [sic] two feet and a half of water on the track one mile west of Lilly. I sent the other hand I had along, to the west side of the water, for fear it would wash through the tracks; I said, "It will wash the south track away first; let nothing come up."

Q. What time of day was it when you arrived there?
A. About six o'clock in the themorning. [sic] Second No. 7 came alongwest, [sic] and I stopped them right above the water, and I says "You can't go through there" and the engineer says "We'll get through if the track is there yet; we'll risk it anyhow ", so he went through it, and I went along with him down until he was through. Then the water commenced to cross over the south track; they were on the north track, and the north track wasn't so dangerous as the south track after all. It had a better foundation, as the south track had been a filling. As soon as ever it got through, I says to the flagman to go down; "it will go before half and hour."

Q. What did you do to let the people west know about the condition of things?
A. I telegraphed to R. P. and Mitchell that the track couldn't be used.

Q. From what point did you telegraph?
A. From Lillys.

Q. What time of day was it you telegraphed R. P. from Lilly?
A. (About) 7 o'clock or somewheres.

Q. What did you telegraph?
A. That the north track couldn't be used, and the south track was going at that time.

Q. In your judgment, w as [sic] it safe to tak e [sic] trains through?
A. It was unsafe to take the north track, and the south track, you know, would wash out right away.

Q. Go on and tell us what took place during the day. Was there any more track washed out?
A. Well, our supervisor Mitchell came down, and I told him that both tracks couldn't be used between Lilly and Sonman, and Mitchell said he would like to see it, and we took shifting local engine and went down, and I says to Mitchell "This is going to be the worst we ever had." There was a regular stream running across our tracks, and below was a dump, and I says "If that dump breaks right here in the sharp of the curve, it will give us more trouble than that above." Then Michell went on down and I came up again, and I seen that the north track was washed away there I suppose over 100 feet.

Q. Did it continue to rain that day?
A. It slacked a little about noon, and the water commenced to fall a little in the evening.

Q. What time was the water at its heighest? [sic]
A. About ten o'clock in the forenoon of Friday.

Q. How much higher was the water then than you ever seen it any time before?
A. I estimated about four feet in the main stream.Three [sic] or four feet.

Q. At Bens Creek was the water much dammed against that embankment?
A. It wasn't dammed at Bens Creek, but the culvert was almost full. After it got full, the water ran down the track and ran into Bens creek along with the stream.

Q. How much track was torn up altogether on your division by that flood, do you suppose?
A. There was 210 feet of south track washed out; not altogether; but a portion of it--one [sic] rail, and some parts of it, both rails washed out, and the north track not quite so far.

Q. Had anythinglike [sic] that ever occurred on the road before?
A. It had\ [sic], but I wasn't there. The reason it did before, was that drift wood got in the channel, and that threw the water across, but this time, there was nothing in the channel. There was 75 feet of the north track, I think, that was torn down about four feet.

Q. How many years have you been living up in that country?
A. Since 65; 23 years.

Q. Did you ever see a flood that approached this one?
A. No, sir.

Q. Did you ever see such an extraordinary rain-fall as this?
A. No, sir.

Q. Were there any dams swept out in that neighborhood?
A. No, sir; we only had one dam and that held good. There was one at Lilly and that wasn't torn out.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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