1874 Williamsburg, Massachusetts, Mill River Valley Dam Failure article. Tom Malmay

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1874 Williamsburg, Massachusetts, Mill River Valley Dam Failure article. Tom Malmay - VOL. XXnii.KO. 7072. KEW-YOEK, MONDAY, MAY 18,...
VOL. XXnii.KO. 7072. KEW-YOEK, MONDAY, MAY 18, 1874. PBICB FOUB CETS. MILL RIVER VALLEY. PETAIL8 OF THE GREAT DISASTER. FIGHT MILES OF THE VALLEY DEVASTATED IT m TORRENT ' IK OJOB hour scenes and incidents oxi - HUNDRED ,. AND rOKTT-EIOHT BODIES ; RECOVERED -RELIEF TOR THE LIVING. Northampton, HaM May K-At 7 o'clock this morning tbe great bell of Northampton old church tolled solemnly, calling the people together to search for missing bodies. ' Notice were placed inconspicuous places, ajrbirb read : , "An able-bodied mea are summoned to tha relief pit tbe people of Mill Bivev Valley . Accordingly, Main atreet wee filled witb men ,.nnd youths, eager to Join in whatever expedition waa . afoot.. .Lieut. Got. Talbot, of thi State, waa bare and aided the-J local authorities in organising tbe relief train, rwhich, full of men, left Kortbampton Depot at 7:30 o'clock for Florence, Leeds, and Haydenville. - Wsgons and every kind of vehicle were pre seed mto similar service. Parties started out on toot and worked along tbe woods skirting tbe riTer and railroad. More bodies hare boen found tbia morning, and tbe number now said to bare been drowned exoeeds ninety. Of ourse many more are believed to Lara met a similar fate. Bumors as to tbe dams having leaked lor tbe last week or two are rife, but it ds also stated tlt they had been inspected on Friday and reported all right. PIBTREBSINO SCENES ALONG THK COURSE OF j . ; TH TOMIST. . ' - Spaatal Diipmtthtm W tftm-TmrU Tlmm. ' NOKTHAMFTOir, Masew, May 17. At t 7 . o'clock, in company with several hundreds bf vehicle and thousands of pedestrians, a number of Northampton jentlcm en started in lug . gien for Mill Rirer, with the fcitention of following it up from tbe lower bridges, through the Talley, to the reservoir. The first point reached was the piers of the. late Prospect Street Bridge, sear Florence, or about half a mile ' from Northampton Town HalL The bridge, which had. been in good condition, waa gone, baring been swept ' away by the flood. Tbe banks of tbe river and the adjoining meadows that spread oat here between the slopes 'about Lai fa mile in width, were covered with driftwood, pieces of houses, fragments of furniture, scraps of clothing, bedding and farm .implements. Kot a blade of grass waa ' visible, as a thick ooating of mud hid ever 'vestige of . the once fertile meadows from view." At this -point howevernot much (interest waa manifested by the crowd. All seemed anxious to push on to Leeds, a mile and a half further np, where the greatest amount of suffering and damage had been inflicted upon the people. At the lower . end of the valley the river was impassable for vehicles, and pedestrians were only able to keep .the river in view by walking and picking' their way through the woods, and wagons aod men on horseback struck off .by another road toward Leeds; On the wayside, x a lew rods from an open portion of that embankment, stands Mr. Warner's 'Carpenter ahep, now ' Tendered famous by baring been tbe " morgue" for the bodies of those found in and near Florence yesterday. ' Forty-four. bodies had been ' placed within its narrow limits in "tiers. Only nineteen of them remained this morning. " The, rest had been taken away by friends who bad Identified them as former residents of the upper Tillages. In. front of this shop were gathered , muny women and children, striving to obtain a . glimpse Of the victims, in hope of being able to ' recognise ' them as friends or relatives known to be missing last night. The door was kept closed, and only one or two persons at a time were admitted, so as to avoid confusion and to facilitate the work of those engaged in preparing the bodies for interment. The corpses, covered with white sheeting, . were ranged in rows, . with slips . of paper - on which, their names were written pinned to the'-covertures. Coffins ot varnished pine and hard wood had been sent np from Northampton, Weetfield, and other places, for the dead, and many of these ghastly receptacles stood on. the roadside and on the carpenters' beaches in tbe shop. Some of tho bodies were already coffined, and waiting the arrival of friends with vehicles to take them to places where burial could be-obtaincd. -teidiadat waker'b (HOP. . Tho names of. the nineteen persons lying at Warner's were :.. j ." E. P. Hubbard, '". . Mrs. James Fenneesy, Mrs. Patrick, . " ' . Mrs. E. B. Kingsley, ' William Kiagsley, ' Miss Bronyett, of Leeds? 1 Merrick Wood, -Xetta Kingsley. daughtei Mr. Donaelt, -y, Mrs. Bronyett, ' Mrs. Mann, P. W. Scully, Mrs. Brenner, t ' Miss Mary Anne Msgce, "..''''"' Mrs. Fenneesey. Three unrecognised ladies and a baby. Th kodies were totally divested of clothing when found, and nearly all of them had been so bruised and wounded as to warrant the belief that the poor creatures must have been killed by the falling timbers and houses, rather than drowned. At! 7:30 o'clock persons from Leeds, IlaydenvQle, Skinnerville, and Williamsburg, began to appear, and took away many of the dead., Not a tear was shed by the survivors. They seemed to be benumbed by grief, and their white faces and mechanical actions spoke volume. All along tbe meadows and river bank tt this point, parties of men, laborers, mechanics, storekeepers, and others, armed with picks, axes, and crowbars and spades, worked, away at the mounds of drift-wood and wreck in quest of bodies. Dozens of people were missing, of whom no trace had yet been seen. But the great majority of the volunteers pushed on to Leeds. THK SCENE nOX THK OOOK BOC8E. Tbe next place from which a good view of the enacts of the work of devastation could be obtained was the bluff in front of the Cook House, below Leeds. From this eminence, .north and south as far aa the Ilaydenville bend, the valley lays before the spectator. Leeds, immediately north and underneath, . looked like a vast swamp filled with lumber and kindling-wood. Of it fifty large frame and tenement houses, only six remain untutored, and these were on the slopes close to the railroad track, and above the Nonotuck Mill, on both aides of the river. The cause of the terrible force of tho water was here apparent. . The torrent had to pass through a rale, little wider than a Western gulch, certainly not mors than one-third of a mile in the broadest part. The houses were built along the hank from the Xonotnck Dam, north of th village, and sn a declivfcv therefrom to she Cook House Dam. When the upper or Hill's Dam gave way, the raging torrent gained fresh Impetus, and easily bore away everything in its path. From Cook's Bluff all the situation was readily taken in, and the reason for the lucky escape of the people of Florence was found in tbe topography of the place.. At Cook's Dam the river winds southwest around the base or a bill, about lot) feet above the valley leveL This ridge stood as a barrier between the torrent and the Florence meadows beyond. The river, with the stone bridge across it, formed the only outlet to the furious ' current, which was successfully turned aside, by the bluff, and was forced to empty itself through, over, and under the bridge and dam, which were torn away and hurled into the meadows. These onen out wide for many acres of grass land, and the wsters spread themselves and lost their impetus, untO they reached the gully leading into the town of Kortbampton, where they again accumulated, and, growing turbulent, tore away bridges, embankments, and trees along the river bank. The meadows recurring a little beyond again distributed and dispersed tbe flood, and rendered it powerless to injure. The meadows and northern side of Cook Bluff embankment were strewn with large trees, the remains of jthe factories and boarding-houses of Leeds, no larger than kindling-wood, and. piled fifty or sixty feet high. Every conceivable article of furniture was represented in these timber-heaps, under which it is feared are buried tho unfortunate beings who were borne down in the general ruin. Already, by 8 o'clock, gangs of men with horses were working and pulling at the mounds, searching for the remains. Women, true to their domestio instincts, clung around the shattered remnants of their once happy homes, hoping to recover some trifle or treasure torn from' them by the ruthless element. On the bluff was a woman ; with a babe in her arms gazing at tbe factory ruins. All she could in reply to any questions about the place put to her was. " My John and nay boy lie under thoae timbera. These words she uttered in a dazed sort of way whenever anybody addressed her. So great was. everybody's personal interest in the wreck before them that few found time or interest in the poor creature, who, alter all, was only one among hundreds of the stricken. LEEDS THK APFBOACniXO FLOOD. In the little town of Leeds ell semblance of a Tillage wss destroyed, and here again the place looked like a gully through which a tiny stream ran that bad recently been overflown and its banks for; a mile or two up tbe glen been washed by heavy rains. Of Warner's brick button fsctory, which- employed seventy hands, only a portion of the chimney stands. Even the very site of the foundstion is hidden from view , by the mud coating invariably marking the track of yesterday's torrent. The story of the disaster ' at Leeds, as told by Mr. K. Cross, tbe keeper ot the store on the Bail-road bluff, is as follows: A little before 8 o'clock, while all the people of this place were just coing to work or finishing their breakfasts, their attention was attracted by the appearance of Myron Day, from Harden ville, on a horse, shouting wildly "The reservoir is broken, pare yourselves ; tor the flood is , at hand." He rushed for the bridge 1 over ' the dam and had got about I half way over it when the roar of the coming waters wore heard by the inhabitants, who by fhisltime stood at their doorsteps. He dashed toward Florence and the people loosed north toward the north dam, and there saw whst seemed to them as the crest of an enormous moving wood-pile, fifty feet high. They knew what it was, and rushed wildly up the slopes to safe quarters. ' Their houses were left just as they stood, with tables spread for breakfast and children getting ready for school. In Ices than three minutes the stone dam had given way, and the great column of water, laden with frame Louses, pianos, sewing-machines, boilers, iron wheels, huge grist mill machinery, cows, sheep, poultry .and human beings from JIaydcneville. plunged into tho valley of Leedsstriking first tho grest factory boarding-house, i run by Cant. Vaughn, and built to accommodate forty people- This it tore away at once, with Capt. Vaughn, and a young "lady, whose name, is unknown yet, and plunged along in is wild course, through Main street, toward Warner's factory. Every house in the street was turned over and off like a cork, and indeed most of them were shattered to atoms. The stone snd iron bridges built last Fall were carried with the rest and helped tosdd to the general destruction.- Some of tho people could not "escape in time, and were compelled to. take chances with their dwellings. The Qulgley family occupied a large frame building, in the rear of which was an extension. When the flood struck the house the extension part separated, about three feet from the other wing. Fortunately for the people, they were in the part which .escaped utter demolition, the fate of the other. The Dunkins House was vacated in time by its owner, and two .minutes later was rolled over and over. The family were saved by one of the little factory boys, Johnny Bride, who, seeing the water coming over the dam, gave his folks the alarm, enabling them to get to the bank just as the water struck their house. The factory stood further south than any of the buildings, and its hands seeing the fate of the village fled to the railroad track at once. Mr. Balph Isbam, the book-keeper,, and another of the hands, however, stuck to the place, remaining in tbe tower in the hope ot escaping. No sooner had the water struck the building than the tower toppled over and the men were killed. Another great boarding-house at this end of the valley was literally rubbed out. Nothing but a sewing-machine imbedded in the mud showed that any house had ever stood there. , v . TIBST SIGHT OF TONS HOMELESS.) In less than ah hour all tbe damage had been done, and the water began to subside. It was over fifty feet deep in the centre at first, but settled gradually to six or eight. . Tbe people sat upon the tracks and knolls, homeless and bereaved- Only twenty-five bouses of the fifty remained, and eighteen of these were ruins, and uninhabitable. Eight hundred people had to be accommodated with shelter and clothing for tbe night, and there were only seven houses, to cover them alL Supplies and assistance came from Northampton at once, but the people still remained upon the banks, looking at their desolate villaee. The rain fell iwinred down, wetting tne poor uunss, u wllin the flood. All through 1 day M1 niiht nersons strained their eyes to catch glimpses of the missing ones, who might be clinging, perhaps, to a part of the wreck. Others hunted np and down through the crowds, or, when tho noise of the waters subsided, called out across the flood to tho opposite banks, inquiring whether any of the missing ones were on either side. At length the donbU of some as to the fat of their relatives and friends were set at rest by the discovery of the dead bodies at Florence, and there the Leeds people went. The immediate wants of the survivors were pre-videdwTorlast night W the bthabitants of the vicinity, so all they had to do was to look for their friends and await the events of the morning. THE LOST AT LEEDS. The valley was crowded at 8 o'clock, and the dobria was being removed. The dead lay in the school-house, and were removed during the day. Among those known to have been lost are: Mrs. Mary Woodward. Mr. Dunning. Eveline Sherwood. An unknown lady. t Mrs. Hurley.. The Bronyetts, nine in all. -Mrs. Hannon and three children. Mr. Balph Isham. Eleven of the Fitzgerald. Four of the Fennesseys. The Misses Cogans and mother, school teachers. Mrs. Dunlea. Mrs. 8. J. Ryan. Miss Came Bonney. A. Clancey. Charles Fitzgerald. Ellen Fennessey. ' -Patrick O'Neill. Aneline Fitzgerald, an " . Sarah Shaughnesy. This morning five more unknown were found. One of them was a little fair-haired boy ; another a young Isdy, and the others, a man and two babes. These were taken on stretchers from town to town. REM ASKABLE ESCAPES. Many instances of marvelous preservation are related, among which is that of young Fennessey, six years old. He floated two miles, clinging to a piece of lumber, and was rescued. After having gone over dams and bridges he lives almost unhurt. - ' AT HATDEimLLB. From Leeds to Haydenville the people rushed to-day after having seen all that was to be seen at tho former place, and there were at least 8,000 spectators at one time, early in the morning, at tbe Haydens - place.. Every -vestige of the street along the river bank for three-quarters of a mile bad vanished. Outside of tbe church door were tho coffins containing the recovered dead, laid in rows, and in the little mission chapel were others still uncovered for purposes of recognition. There were at Hay-denrille : ' Mrs. Jerome Hill man. . Mrs. Jacob HilL . Mr. Eli Brvsnt. Bobert Harden. Mrs, Morris. Miss J. Williams. "' Two children of Edward Fara Mr. Kaplinger. . Mrs. Hogan. Edward Moheley. . Mrs. Moses. . Francis Boqder. 1 -.Three children of Mr. Miller. Mrs. John Wilson and three children. Mrs. Luke Foecy and daughter, with two children. Mrs. Lewis Messie, and daughter, with three children. : '' . Stephen Riley and wife. Twenty-three bodies found there, out of thirty-three lost. Lieut. Gov. Talbot, of Massachusetts, all the Harden brothers, Mr. Gere, and tne'prominent men of Springfield, Westfield, and other places, vrere at HaydenviUe, from which to Skinnerville, a continuous line of vehicles and thousands of pedestrians were moving. Houses all along the route stood on their sides or on end like Saratoga trunks, and many of them were carried away half a mile or more from their original locations. ' i SKrjnrEKSVTLME. Not a trace of Skinner silk mQl can be seen, except fragments of the machinery, pieces of boarding, bricCs, and other materials. Not a dwelling-house except Mr. Skinner's is standing, and even that is seriously damaged, the piazza and western end having been crushed in and torn away. ; Tho once beautiful ' grounds surrounding this mansion have been wiped out of all shape, and nothing remains but tho half ruined house. From this place to Williamsburg the way is strewn with pieces of wood, large trees, and boulders. The roads between the two places are completely destroyed, so that visitors have to drive through the river to avoid the wrecks which rendered any other approach im-possiUle. WTLUAMSBTntO. ' Williamsburg presented a sad appearance, at noon yesterday, perhaps, the saddest of ail, as there were more people to mourn tbe loss of property, and persons drowned. No mQl stands there in a condition to be worked. Even the beautiful private residences which have escaped the general calamity that overtook the southern and eastern extremity of the village only tend to render the' destruction more apparent.' The Selectmen -of the place, tho population of which was 2,500, were busy at the Town Hall in superintending the identification and preparation for burial of the recovered corpses. The James. Brothers, the largest manufacturers in the place, were most active in these solemn duties, and the Town Hall was sad as a dead-house. The drowned were bandaged and stretched and put into their coffins. The room was filled with weeping men and women. Mothers sat by the recovered bodies of their little children; and children by the remains of parents. - - At Smith's store, opposite tho Town HalL a relief committee of ladies sat to receive subscriptions from those able to contribute. A petition to tbe Massachusetta Legislature waa started, asking for help for tho destitute of the district. It bears the signatures of all the prominent men of the neighborhood, and will be presented to-morrow or at tho next meeting of the General Court. The Lieutenant Governor gavo $00 in cash to the Belief Committee, and various sums, with clothes and food, were also given. Prayers in the public square for mercy to the stricken and of thanksgiving for the rescued were made in the afternoon, and in the church services were again held in the evening." MOKE OF THE DEAD. All through the day interments were being mads at tho Williamsburg Cemetery, and among these were many of the following, who, it is said, comprise the full list of the missing from Williamsburg and Skinnerville : Mrs. L. 8. Bowtelle and daughter. . - . " T. J. Hitchcock. i W. H. Adams. . . ' Mrs Wm. Arow. Willie Tilton, Mrs. Wm. Carter. . " Areline Lancore. ' Mrs. E. N. Chandler and daughter- , Jeremiah Ward. E. Knight. Mrs. Patrick Scully, two children and mother. G. Roberts, wife and two children. Mary Ann Magee. . Dr. E. AT. Johnson, wife, three children and mother. Frank Murray and wife. John Atkinson. . Spencer Bartlett and wife. - Mrs. George E. Lamb. George Ashley, from Leverett, E. C Hubbard. Mrs. Merrick Wood and child. ' Michael Burke and three grandchildren. Frederick Bird. James Stevens. Mrs. W. D. Adams and son Willie. Mrs. Eliza Downing, daughter, and mother-in- law. Henry Binningham, wife, and three daughters. Mrs. E. G. Kingsley. '. ' Mrs. E. D. Kingsley and two children. This makes fifty-three. Five unknown were brought in late from Williamsburg. . THE DAM Or THE EXSEKVOIK. Nearly all the visitors went to the reservoir about three miles above, to see if it was possi ble to detect or find the cause of tho disaster. A glance at this place on High Eidge told the whole story. It was quite 'dry when seen, and the people went down into the chasm, which was found to bo about 100 feet wide and forty feet deep. The tale of the . dam having been a wall twenty-five feet thick at base, is all nonsense. It was composed of a very common wall six feet wide at the base, and only two feet wide at the top. This was padded, so to speak, not protected, by a sandy embankment several feet in width, and fronted about two-thirds of the way to the summit. The sand was of a character that yielded at once to water, , and, in point ol fact, according to the statement of persons at tho dam. and those who say they saw it every day, the thing wss leaking so badly as to have caused the keeper to give several warnings to the mill men. They, however, only laughed at him. The reservoir stands more than two hundred feet above the Mill River Valley, and the feed pipes leading from it to Williamsburg' ran through a sort of cafion, not unlike Trenton Falls, New-York; Aa the reservoir waa higher than Williamsburg, ao waa the latter, on our examination, above Haydenville, and the de clivity continued through the cafion to Leeds. Each mQl station bad besides a dam, which gave the stream additional force for working. purposes. When, therefore, the reservoir burst, the billions of gallons of water poured through the canon at a terrifie rate, and emptied from it over Williamsburg as out of a spout. . Every rod it gained greater force, until at Leeds and just above it was absolutely irresistible. GEOBGS CHEHET'S BACE TO WABS THE VIL LAGES. 'Yesterday morning, George Cheney, who, for four years, has been keeper of tho dam, ob served that the fissure had been increased, and a little later saw plainly that the dam was giv ing way and would destroy tho villages. He jumped on his horse and dashed off at full speed to give tbe alarm. He arrived in Williamsburg five or six minutes ahead of the water. He and his horse narrowly escaped with their lives, but they saved those of hundreds. APPnOACH Or THE TOKK.K BT AT WXLLIAXSBUSO. Mrs. James says that when she saw the man, like other people, she rushed into the streets and heard tho frightful roaring of the coming water. It was loader and more appalling than the crash of any thunder she had ever heard, and rooted the listeners to the spot. At last its crest wss seen over the bluff, and a second later it struck a house on the bluff and took it away like a cork. Then it sped on toward Hiram Hill's house, before which stood a row of trees. Tne bed of the flood was studded with great trees torn from their rugged beds in the cafion and these were jammed against Mr. Hill's hedge till tho whole formed a kind of breastwork that sniraenloasly turned the current of the torrent not - only from Mr. Hill's, bat also from the church and the build ings near it. Twenty-four houses on one side Mr. Hill's were swept away, and tho waters poured out upon the Tillage, carrying all before it Skinnerville, Haydenville, and Leeds. Mr. Hill, who is a very devout man, attributes his salvation to the dedication of his home to God, aa inside of the front door are inscribed the words, M God Bless our Home.9 THE DESTEDCnOlf Or WTTIJ tMWBCEQ, Nothing need be said of the devastation of Williamsburg south and east and Skinnerville other than that these places have been com pletely , demolished, and no longer exist either in roads or buildings. At Haydenville tho state of woe as recited to me by tho sons of late Ex-Got. JoelHayden, the proprietors, is very distressing. About 7:43 in' the morning Collins Graves rode down from Williamsburg to warn the people. When he had given the alarm the bands, already at work, in Hayden's brass foundry came out upon tho steps, and were asked by the foreman, Mr. Wentworth, what they were looking for. "The flood," said they. -" Oh, it wont bo here for three days," petulantly , anwered the foreman. The words had scarcely left his month era the thunder of the waters was heard, and its advance guards, in the shape of trees, pieces of buildings and machinery, mads their appearance at the head of Main street.' Tho men and boys dashed across the road and np the slope, and all would have bean saved had not Broder gone back for his shoos to the shop. Before he could get out again the inundation was over the dam, carrying all before, and. over-. taking him, dashed his brains out with a part- of tbe aids of the house. Two hundred and forty-nine ot tho 850 bands were saved. The upper shop, a one-story brick building, 103 by SO for was carried away. The finishing shop, a thsee-story brick building, 125 by 40, is also goaa. with tho packing-room, officers, savings bans, and Hampshire Masonio Lodge. Only a brV of the brick-work remains to tell where tho place stood. The force of the water may bo estimated by its having carried a boiler clean through the brick walls, 2,000 feet up an ascent to the front of Gov. Hayden's family's house. This boOor weighs several tons, being sixteen by five and a half feet. TKEKIBLE SCEESs. " . ,. Mr. Brewster, tho ladies and children of his and other families, so fortunate aa to get to Ugh ground, looked' upon tbe awful scene of homes being made desolate, wives widows, children orphans, and husbands childless and wifeless in a moment Before their very eyes, and within speaking distance, a house was borne on the summit of the torrent with a woman and child looking through the windows and screaming for help.' Dwelling after dwelling along the river bank and Main street for about three-quarters of a mile was carried away. Many women were warned of their danger only by the shouting of the spectators, who wildly eonjured them to take their children and escape. Mrs, Thayer succeeded in rescuing two of hers and placing tnem on the. plateau, but before she could get back to save her other two the flood took them off In the homestead and buried them among the ashes down the river. TACTOKXES XtESTSOTED OK CWtTKXD. Besides the other buUdiacs, Hayden's Maaa- fac taring Company's buildings, at the southern extreme of tho village, were slightly damaged. The gas works were carried away, the tobacco Works entirely destroyed, and a good . part of the cotton works are gone. . Below tbe cotton works the river bends in the shape of a letter U, and on this tongue 'of land stood three double houses and a bridge. The flood surged over these, and tore them away altogether. Mr. Hayden estimates his loss on buildings alone at about $53,003. Mrs. T. n. Ives' dwelling-house, worth $1,000, ' was likewise totally destroyed. ''-. ' BELIEF WOBK TO BKGIX. Measures for immediate relief have been instituted at Haydenville. J Mr: Hayden sent out a notice to rebuild his works, and offers to employ all tboeo who ever worked for him, and as many more as are needy, in clearing away debris and making preparations for tho work. Back wages . will also be paid,1 and persons -in want of Immediate aid will receive it from' Harden, Gere U. Co., bjr apply ing to Mr. Brewster, the book-keeper. Aid is freely- extended by all the townships ill tho vicinity, and the Mayors of New-Haven, Spring field, and Watertown have tendered any as sistance that is asked of them. Watertown places tbe residue of the Chicago fund at the disposal of the sufferers of this region. The living are and will be amply provided for. . Mean while all popular anxiety is felt concerning the dead and missing, who, it is dreaded, will number far more than any one has anticipated heretofore. 1 ne people ox ortnampton believe that there are dosens of French-Canadian operatives, not known in the distrin; for any length of time, buried under the ruins at Leeds, Haydenville, and the meadows between. Hundreds of acres are covered with tne sad remnants of the vulagea which onoe domed a tract of country running eight miles through Hampshire County, and now a barren irate of land, stones, ruins, and corpses. The actual extent of the mortality is unknown thus far, bat is believed to bo about 140, moat of whom have - been recovered. Ladies and children in i ortnampton a . contributing to tho wants of the. living by sending garments to the committee at the Town HalL To devise further aid a citizens' meeting will be held to-morrow at the Town Hall, and in the morning again trains full of men will be sent to clear away and buOd np temporarily, at least, on the ruins of the villages. An excursion train from Springfield ran in to-day. Ay OTHER ACCOUNT OE THE DIS- ASTER. VILLAGES DESTROYED THE THE VA1XET. DUpmtA U Ot jioeUttd fnm. ' Springfield, Mass-, May 17. Tbe most terrible disaster in the annals of Massachusetts occurred in Hampshire County on Saturday. The Williamsburg reservoir, covering a tract of over 100 acres, gave way early in the fore noon, precipitating the vast mass of water it contained tUree miles down steep and narrow valley into the thriving manufacturing village of Williamsburg, and thence further down the valley, through the villages of Haydenville, Leeds, and Florence into the Northampton meadows, where tho stream empties into the Connecticut River. Tbe huge torrent, dashing into Williamsburg with resistless power, swept away in a moment tho manufacturing estab lishments and numbers of dwellings, causing enormous destruction of property and terrible loss of human life. The lower villages suffered only less awfully. THE ntOBABLE LOSS OF LITE. The latest figures of the loss of life make the total 144. divided as follows between the three places : Williamsburg, 60 ; Leeds, . 49 ; Hayden ville, 35. These figures - only represent the per sons whose loss is positively known, though the bodies of all are not yet recovered. Bodies are constantly being found, and, in some cases. those of persons who were not supnoscd to be lost, so that it seems perfectly safe to say that the total loss of life will exceed 150, if, indeed, it does not more nearly approach 200. Lists or fessoks missing The following are lists for each village of the persons who are known to be missing At Wtilia msbwg.i-n. Kingston, S. Bartlett, Viola B. CoUyer, T. J. Hitchcock, Wm. H. Adams. Widow Wm. Snow. Willie Tilton. Mrs. Wm. Carter, &. J. Soacbone, Mrs. X. M. Chandler snd daughter May, Jeremiah Ward, Widow Xlceta KnUtht, Mrs. Patrick BaaUey snd two children, Widow Msry Bren nan, Alexander Kobsrta, wife, snd two children, Mary Anns MeGee. Mrs. George X. Hamo. X. C Eabbard, Mrs. Merrick Wood and child, of Chico-pee : Mlchae.1 Burks and three children of James Burke, Frederick Bird, James Stephens, Mrs. W. D. Adams and soa Willie, Mrs. Elixa Dawning and daughter. Widow Downing, Henry Birmingham, wife, and three children, Mrs. E. O. Xlngaley, MraT X. D. Kiacaley and two children. Dr. . M. Johnson, wife, snd three children. Widow Johnson. Frank Murray and wife, John Atchinaon, Spenosr Bartlett and wife, George Ashley, Mrs. George . Lamb, Frank Train and wife 61. At Skinntrrffls Mrs. Jerome HfflmsB. Mrs. Jacob Hill, Eli Bryant, father of Caps. Joseph Hay den's wife, and Bobbie Hayden, the little son sf Capt Harden. At HaydenvVU Mrs. Korris and daughter. Miss Johanna Williams, Franou Brodaur, John Kaplinger, Mrs. Hoeaa, Edward Msckler, Mrs. Mooter, Mrs. John Wilson aad three children, Mrs. Posey, her married daughter. Mrs. Antonio Brssler, and two other chOdxea j Mrs. Messie, two young .children, aad her married daughter t Mrs. Xapoleon Benvu, with aa infant i Stephen Heiley, wife, and daughter two little children of Edwta - Thayer; thre children of Samuel Miller, Michael Burks, sad Archibald Laaeoubio. " A GEXEBAI. ESTIMATE OT THE LOSSES. . It is utterly impossible as yet to give a detailed estimate of the losses. Aside from buildings destroyed and damaged, bridges have been carried away, roads ruined, and hundreds of acres of meadow land rendered almost valueless. Tbe total loss must far exoeed $1,000,000, and wQl probably come nearer $2,000,000. The following is a general estimate of the losses by places: In WUlianuimrg W. H. Aadriss, aosring null swept swsy, 110,000 ; H. L. Jssaes, mill damaged sad left without water power, 990,000 houses, bares, to, gone. $40,000. At SHnmtrrOU William Skinner's 'silk factory aad twelve tenement-houses destroyed, $130,000 j ether bouasa aad bams, $13,000. At Bmyietuitl Hsyden, Gere A Co.'s brass works, savings bask buildings, and tenements swept away, $350,000 Hsyden Tobacco Company's null carried off, $7,000 ; Hayden Foundry and Machine Company's works damaged, $5,000 ; other bosses snd stores. (30,000; gaa works. $8,000. At Xseas Konotuck Silk Company, earn broken snd several buildings sad houses carried swsy, 23,000; George P. Warner's button factory destroy- r ed aad three tenements, $100,000 other boons, bams, Jte, $20,000. At JTortAmmpion Emery Wheel Company, damage $3,000. At riarrnt The Florence Maanfacturmg Com pany's brash factory, damage to stock. $3.000 Kono- tack Silk Company's silk mill partially ton -away sad stock damaged, $8,000. . . DAMAGE TO THK VILLAGES, The damage to tbe town of Williamsburg by tho loss of bridges, great destruction of roads, and the complete ruia of the best meadow lands, is at present incalcnlabIe,Tbut it is such as seriously to cripple the town. Three bridges were carried away in the village of Williamsburg one wooden and two iron bridges. In the village of Leeds one bridge was taken off, and in the village of Florence one iron and two wooden bridges were swept awsy. ' RATOE3I, OEEB CO. N ' J Hayden, Gere ic Co., of HsydenviHe, one of the most important firms which lost their establishments, will have a card in. tbe Springfield" Republican of to-morrow morning saying that they intend to rebuild their factory at once, and advertising for workmen for that purpose. Their employes will be paid as soon as tbe accounts can be made up, and the firm generally offers aid to those of their workmen in need fit, ; . A COMTLETB LIST OP THOSE XlStrXO FROM LEEPsl The following is a complete list of those miss-ins from the village of Leeds : ' . ' Mrs. Patrick. Charles Patrick and his wife, Miss Julia Patrick and her sistv, Mrs. Ponlea aad her daughter, Mr. Fitzgerald aad two childreo, Charles and. Annie, two children of John Clancy, Mrs. Jane Cocao. Ml uses Annie aad Graoa Cogaa, Andrew Feanessey, wife aad two children, Mrs. Louis Brooette and seven children, Mrs. Hurler, Miss Carrie Bonney, James Fennessey aad wife. lassie Charprnti r. Mary Rose, Patrick O'XrO, -Alexander Lauder, Balph Isham, Ira Dunninc, Samuel Davis. Mr. Smith, Arthur Sharp, a boy, Mr. O'Shanghensy. Mrs. . Hancon aad three children. j Mrs. Sarah J. Bran and child, . Miss Eveline Sber-V A r. r x wM..i.n uiu r Trr I -j Kellie Xenneesy (3. - THE BESEBVOla ABT THE DAK. It appears that serious doubts as to the safety of the reservoir have been entertained ever since it was built, nine years ago, though less the last year or two than in its early history. The gate-keeper has several times expressed fears to his employers, calling special attention once to the point where the break .occurred Imt the examiners tlrajs reported everything safe! ' ' . 'UiPOBTlST TnTDfOST AS TO TBI COJCDITIOM ' OF THE EXSEKVOIK. Vastly more important testimony than this of the gate-keeper, however, is that furnished by Mr. Lewis Bodman, a life-long and well-known resident of Williamsburg, and for many years connected with its manufacturing interests. Mr. Bodman is thoroughly familiar with tbe reservoir, which he helped to pay for, being at that time the owner of the James Mill, which he sold to Mr. James six years ago. Mr. Bodman was interviewed by a reporter of the Springfield Itepubliean, Saturday evening, and gave his opinions with- great frankness. He says that the proprietors were not satisfied with the ervoir when it waa built, and felt that it not safe. Mr. Bodman accompanied "the late Lieut. Gov. Hayden when the reservoir was first filled, which was not until the Spring of 1866. and ssys that they both expected to see it go off at that first triaL' It manifested no special weakness, however, and at various times subsequently it was strengthened, the xaoat important of such operations and one of the most recent being tbe f rip-rapping." Mr. Bodman, however, confesses that be never, felt quite satisfied with! the reservoir during the three years of its history, when he was mill proprietor and so part, owner of it. Since then he has maintained bis interest in the manufacturing enterprines so fully as to keep himself well informed of the reservoir's condition, and he savs that he has. become constantly better satisfied with it, until, had he been asked the day before the disaster whether be considered it safe, he would have unhesitatingly replied in the affirmative. Indeed Mr. Bodman did thus assure a townsman who only a ' week ago, aa if with; some admonition of the fate that overtook him on Saturday, particularly questioned" him as to whether there wss not danger that the reservoir would giro way. This opinion of its safety, Mr. Bodman says, was coincided' with by all the manufacturers, who, he remarked, had the most reason to feel anxiety, if there were any grounds for it, aa having most at stake in tbe matter. Upon being more closely questioned as to his opinion of tbe contractor of tbe reservoir. Mr. Bodman gave j an opinion which fully confirmed the impression that the reporter had- received from a visit to the ruins, namoly, that the workas a whole was not sat isfactory, and that the upper third of the wall was slovenly built. Be says that when the con tractor had reached this stae it was getting lata in tho Fall, and (cold weather was coming on. The engineer was sick some of the time, and did not exercise so constant and close a supervision as his position demanded, and the contractors hurried up their work as rapidiy as possible, with too little regard, Mr. Bodman thinks, to tho qualify of their work. THE HAMSBTBS COCXTT COJfXISSIOXEBS AT- TROVE? THE WOtK. Notwithstanding, . however, Mr. Bodman's confession- that both jhe, and tbe other propri etory of the reservoir were dissatisfied with tbe style of construction, It was examined and accepted by the Commissioners of Hampshire County, wheV have also since then more than once examined it, and advised as to repairs upon it. . I ' THE DIBXCT CAT7SE 0 THE ACCJDEJCT UEKXOWK. The direct cause of, the disaster, aside from tho general weakness of the dam, must remain a subject of specnlstion. The gate-keeper detected no sign of danger when be examined the situation at early dawn, and what the last straw was that broke jthe great back of the reservoir can never be definitely known. ' Perhaps as satisfactory a f beory aa any Is ' the one advanced by a - man familiar with the case, that the frosts had started the earth so that the water had found numerous little courses through it, which finally carried off the first mass of earth Saturday morning, and at once precipitated the catastrophe. The gatekeeper, as already said, has at various times feared a break, from the fact that a stream of water flowed constantly through tho bottom of tbe gateway, while there were also a number of small streams, some of them quite minute, along the bottom on either aide of the centre. dutebeitt vixwa or the weak roorrs or the besebvoie. It is a curious fact, by the way, that while the gate-keeper has always felt most anxions of tbe spot where the break actually came, the proprietors of the reservoir, who had fears as to its safety, felt afraid of the opposite side. As to these little streams of water, a gentleman familiar with the construction of reservoirs says that it la . quite im possible to construct such a dam so that there shall be absolutely no show of water on the lower side. . This gentle-, man was fully conversant with the construction and character of the Williamsburg Beservoir, and says that he never felt there was ground for alarm in such small streams as trickled through it. The soil, he says, was full of springs, and from these springs, he thinks, came most of the little water-flows. DB. J OH SOX OVEOE THE LOST. Most prominent among the victims at Wil liamsburg was Dr. E. M. Johnson, i- thirty-six OstiBJMMst sat JJftk .Pays. LATEST mm BY CABLE. : FRANCE. j ' THE RESiajTATICnf OF THX C BBOOtXi CAE-KXT ACCEPTED K. GOCXAXD TO FOX3C A KIW MINISTRY. . Pabjs, May 17 President MecMahmt ha accepted the resignation of the De Broglie Cabinet, and has la trusted to M. Goulard the formation of a new Ministry, which is expected to be completed to-morrow. f " M. Goulard oa accepting the Premiership declared his policy would he to carry the constitutional bills through tbe Assembly and complete the organisation of MecMahon's power. ECMOES BXGARDIJCO THE UTf CABIXXTL . Pabis, May 17. It is reported that M. Goulard is forming the new Government from the Bight Centre and the conservative portkm of the Left Centre.' M. Magna and others el tbe late Ministry wQl probably be retained in office. ' The latest advices from Versailles mention Goulsrd as Minister of the Interior; Count Chandordy, Minister of Foreign Affairs ; Magna, 1 M iniater of Finance ; Mathieo-Bodet, Minister of Pubhe Works ; Desseilligny, Minister of Commerce ; Desjsrdins, Minister of Education ; and Gen. Bertaud, Minister of War. . . THE DISSOLUTION OF THE ASSEMBLY USA ED. ' Paris, May 17. The Republican Journals strongly urge the immediate dissolution of the Assembly, which they declare powerless to constitute anything. ft THE POSmO.t OF THE LEGITIMIST PARTY . IT IS REGARDED AS HAVIKO- COKJOTTEO ' 8CICIDE. :," ..'" j Paris, May 17. There is a rnaaoc that the extreme Bight intend to move the restoration of tbe MoDarchj, and If tbo motion foils, irfij ote for disswutfan. . i ) - ! The opinion Is generally expressed that the. Legitimist Party in the Assembly, by fta vote of . Friday, committed political suicide. It is asserted that their policy was inspired front Frehsdorff. ' " 13 ! ? KIW POLITICAL COMBIXATIOXS TEAJTQCtL-LITT PREVAILS. ! . . Paris, May 17. The division between the moderateand extreme Bight renders probable an alliance between the former section -aad the conservative wing of the Left Centre.' new majority may thus be eonstiteted, which will' support the incoming Government and enable IV to go on with the execution of the programme of the Septennato, and bring about the speedy adoption of the constitutional bins.' Tt la bos thought that there is any immediate prospect of a dissolution of tbe Assembly. 1 ' Tranquillity prevails' throughout i France President MscMabon's power is unquestioned. ' GREAT BRITAIN. J SERIOUS RAILROAD ACCTPXST. ; Loxdox, May 17. A collision is repotted, on tbe railway at Merthyr-TydviL Wales, between a coal and a passenger train, Torty persons were seriously injured. ; ' ' 1 ' " , THE EXGLI5H ERIE SHAREHOLDERS ' AGEXT OX THK WAY TO NEW-YORK. Loxdox, May 185 A. MThe steamship Calabria, which sailed from! Queenstowm yesterday, took out as passenger Capt. Tyler, who goes to Xew-Tork to investigate Erie Bail-way affairs. . . ' f ' ' i The steamer Faraday, with the new Atlantis telegraph cable, has sailed from Gravesend. MOVEMENTS OF THE EMPEROR OF I RUSSIA. ; LoxDoir, May 186 A. Mv The Crar went to Windsor yesterday and bid farewell to -. tbe Queen. To-day he visits Guildhell.: All the flass of the city are flying. I - - v ' ; spain. . j f ; . ".; : rumored ia rcai toys of. the hew gov- ERXMEXT. j.V i Loxdox, May 17. Special dispatches from Madrid ssy the new Government intends to revive titles of nobility, and to subsidise the clergy. . ' ;r - V GEX. CONCHA'S ADVANCE. j Madrid, May 17. Gen. Concha Is approaching the Biver Ebro. His head-quarters will be transferred to Miranda, whither stores and reserves are being forwarded.; j reported operations or the cabxists. ; Bayonne, May 17. The Carliats are har-rsseing the Republicans in their mtrenchmeaU near Bilbao. ! f.1 RUSSIA. . THX IMPERIAL DIAMOND THETT. London, May 18. The Cast's nephew, who was arrested in St. Petersburg for theft of diamonds, is the eldest son of the Grand Daks Constantino. t - CUBA. s GIN. PORTTLLO GONE TO SPAIN THB W0-CESTER. f: - ' ;-' Havana, May 18. Gen." . PortQlo . ass sailed for Spain. f - t The United States Steamer Worcester arrived here this morning, and sailed in the even iac ' ' i' . . . -aBBM i - XVVCATXOS OT DBAT-M VTKS. - Boston, May 17. It Is proposed 'to, organise aa sesocUaon in Boston to aid the- Ar-t rssrss of MaesechmeetU in tearalag trades, with a view to Becoming self-supporting, aad to sestet thens m ebtsia-iag collegiate education at the Xattoaal Daaf-Mato CoUec la Washington. A smnil wfq be presented to tbe Legislator for an set ompowerfag Messrs. Fraacls Brooks, James Stnrgla, Beery gal-tonatall, aad Prof.. W. A. Graham is aotd real estate and peieiaielimvMif to toe ralae f tlOOOS, for the furtherance of the above object. - if : ib ; JSTABBI&Q ATTRAY ZS THHJLIHZMIA. . Philadelphia, May 17 This evening Patrick Me Xemara, seed tweaty -eight years, was stakked by Wullsm Murphy at the corner of Granite aad Seek atresia. Both area were drank, aad no eae saw the disturbance. The lnjared man received ire wwaads m the stomach aad two In the hisssi He was re. moved to the hospital m a dsagotses seeillliisi Murphy wss srrested a block away from the soeae of the stabbiBg In ossspaay with McXamarsv The Polios Erst received laforatatioa f the affair through some soys. There is no apparent eases for the stabbing except whisky. .". h ZZTLOQT OX MVXirjSM. K Boston, May 17. Dr. Wm. Wells Brews, colored orator, of this city, deflversdaa tntersatin eulogy on Charles Somaer, te a rather esseU se loce, in tb Msste HalL hers, this ersulag. Wm, Lloyd Garrison presided, and Introdaoed Mr. Brews te a short speech. - j TATAL XXSULT OT AJT ACOJDXXT. ' Philadelphia, May 17WCllam8teTen. eon, of 1,108 Wslaat street, who with a lady sum) Daniell. of Boston, was thrown frees a earriase An the park on Wednesday, etea tme mirntng from the Injuries reeerred. Be was with John Boklen. a yrommens nnsen, waesjetals oeata ta the way several weeks see. - - -i

Clipped from
  1. The New York Times,
  2. 18 May 1874, Mon,
  3. Page 1

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  • 1874 Williamsburg, Massachusetts, Mill River Valley Dam Failure article. Tom Malmay

    Tom_Malmay – 15 Sep 2013

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