Education: Johnstown Flood Museum

Johnstown Area Heritage Association
Primary source: Survivor stories

Survivors describe the Flood

Mr. Josiah T. Evans

Mr. Josiah T. Evans resided on Vine Street, and lived in good style, with his family. His children consisted of Maggie and her four brothers, all younger than she. Maggie was making preparations to visit Europe, expecting much enjoyment in the trip.

On Friday, the 31st of May, at the time of high water, Mr. E. finding the water in his house a foot high and rising, started with his wife, daughter and three youngest sons in a buggy, to go to the hillside. Fondly kissing them, they separated, with the understanding that, if possible, the buggy would be returned, to take the two elder boys to the same refuge.

But Mrs. Evans seems to have been frightened by the rising waters, and entered the house of her friend, Mrs. Pritchard, who was alone with her four children. They all, the two mothers and their seven children, went to the attic, and there, looking out from under the mansard roof, they doubtless watched the ruin around them, until they themselves were swallowed up, when the three-story house was engulfed in the terrible flood, as it swept over that portion of the town, and they were all lost.

Mr. Evans and his two boys meantime remained in their own house, supposing that the mother and those with her were safe; and from the upper windows they beheld the surging waters rise and eventually fall, and they found themselves the next morning in their own house and safe. Had Mrs. E. and the rest of the children remained at home, they too would have been saved; but it was not ordered so of God!

Quoted in Rev. Dr. David Beale's book Through the Johnstown Flood.

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