Watt Statement

Q. Where were you employed at the time of the Johnstown flood?
A. I was ticket agent at Johnstown.

Q. How long had you been there?
A. Since the 11th of March 1889.

Q. Did you at any time Friday received any warning in relation to the South Fork dam being unsafe?
A. Well, they did at the station, but I was at home. I left the station about 8.45 on Friday morning, and had gone home over in town, and didn't get back to the station until Saturday evening.

Q. You don't know anything about any messages then?
A. Yes, I do. I saw a message after I got back, but as to what it was, I don't positively remember. I knew it was something in relation to the South Fork reservoir being liable to burst at any moment, and to try to warn the people of Johnstown, signed by R. P. , and also a message from the operator at South Fork, but I wasn't there at the time, and I didn't pay a great deal of attention to them afterwards.

Q. Where were you when the flood came?
A. I was at home. My house was on Lincoln Street.

Q. Was you house flooded?
A. Yes, sir, we staid on the roof until the worst got past, and then got back into the attic and remained there until Saturday morning. Saturday morning, we started out a little hole we cut in the roof, and climbed out through other houses and got up town and got a lunch. We got down over the river by a boat over to the station, and got over there about four o'clock Saturday evening.

Q. How high was the water before the dam broke?
A. I suppose the water was ten feet deep around our house when the flood broke.

Q. With reference to the locality of your house and the station house, shove [sic] or below in Johnstown?
A. Our house stood a great deal lower than the station,directly [sic] opposite the station.

Q. Had you a family?
A. I had my wife and grandmother.

Q. And there was ten feet of water in that house?
A. Yes, sir. Our house is just a new house, and the man that built it put it about six feet above the foundation, and we though the water never would touch it, but we had at least four feet of water on the lower floor before the dam broke. I waded down stairs at 11 o'clock, and then the water got so high it was coming in over the tops of my gum boots, and it kept on raising until half-past three, when I know at the least calculation, it was four feet deep. The flood struck us at 4.07.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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