From History of Cumberland, MD., by William Harrison Lowdermilk (1878)

April 14. A terrible calamity befell the town, on this date, whereby the greater part of the inhabitants were in a few short hours rendered homeless. It was Sunday, and the bells were calling the people to church, at 10 o'clock in the morning, when the start ling cry of "fire" was given. A volume of smoke was seen issuing from the cabinet shop of William Shryer, on Mechanic street. An excited multitude of people quickly gathered at the scene of the fire, and endeavored to stay it, but in vain, as the dry wooden building, and its highly inflammable contents furnished rich food for the eager flames. The wind blew quite strong from the west, and the means for suppressing fires being of the most inadequate character, in a short while the houses adjoining became ignited, and the roaring flames went leaping, flashing and surging down the street, enveloping house after house, in quick succession, until every building from the place of the origin of the fire to Russell's carriage shop, near Harrison street, a distance of more than a quarter of a mile, was involved in the general ruin. When it became apparent that nothing could be done to check the conflagration, the people at once went to work to save the contents of the stores and houses, but even in this they were able to do but little, owing to the great rapidity with which the flames spread. The destruction of both the newspapers of the town prevented any detailed account of the disaster from being published here at the time, and when the papers had been re-established it did not occur to the publishers to give a minute history of it. The following letter appeared in the Hagerstown  "Herald and Torch Light," several days after the misfortune :
"Cumberland, April 15, 1833. Seventy-five houses comprising the heart of our town now lie in ruins. The fire originated in a cabinet maker's shop, three doors north of the "Civilian" printing office. Many citizens have nothing left. The "Civilian" office is burnt, except its account books. All the stores but one are burnt — Bruce & Beall's. Mr. Shriver's large 3-story tavern. Mr. Fechtig's tavern and the Bank. The fire commenced at 10 o'clock, and the wind being high, the flames soon spread, leaving little time to move goods. Nothing now remains but parts of walls and chimneys, where once the principal part of the town stood. The "Advocate" office also burnt, saving only the cast iron press (badly damaged) and a few type. The ruins commence at Mr. Gustavus Beall's mill, and extend down to Mr. Elnathan Russell's carriage shop; the mill and Russell's house are saved, but on both sides of the street, between these there is not one house standing — distance about 1 mile. The principal sufferers are : George Hoblitzell, 3 or 4 houses, James, Everstine, 3 houses, Dr. Lawrence, 1 house, George Wineow, 1 house, B. S. Pigman 2 houses, Lowndes 1 store, John T. Sigler, 2 houses, Late John Scott, 1 house, Dr. S. P. Smith & R. Worthington, 3 houses, Bank property, 3 or 4 houses, Henry Wineow, 1 house and $1,500 cash. J. M. Buchanan, 1 house, George Hoffman, 2 houses, Shriver, 3 houses, Mrs. Gephart, 1 house, Dr. J. M. Smith. 2 houses, Samuel Hoblitzell, 1 house, George Hebb, 2 houses. Thomas Dowden 2 houses, George Deetz, 1 house, S. Bowden, 1 house, John G. Hoffman, 2 houses, Butler's store, 2 houses, Robert McCleary 3 or 4 houses, Adam Fisher 1 or 2 houses, Captain Lynn, 1 house, Martin Rizer of M., 1 house, Robert Swann, 2 houses, Mrs. Saylor, 1 house.

Besides others, mostly brick houses, and two story log buildings. At a meeting at the Court House, in Cumberland, composed of the citizens of the town, the Court, the Bar and Juries, assembled on the ?? of April, for the purpose of instituting an inquiry into the extent of the calamity occasioned by the late destructive fire, and of devising means for the relief of the sufferers, the following proceedings were had : Upon motion of Wm. Price, Esq., the Hon. John Buchanan, Chief Justice of Maryland, was appointed Chairman, who in a feeling and appropriate address explained the object of the meeting. Upon motion of John Hoye, Esq., Wm. Price was appointed Secretary. Upon motion of Bene S. Pigman, the chair appointed the following Committee, to enquire into the extent of the calamity occasioned by the late fire, together with the number and description of the sufferers, and report thereon to the meeting, viz : John McHenry, Thomas I McKaig, A. W. McDonald, Wm. Price, B. S. Pigman, David Shriver, George Hebb, Dr. Samuel P. Smith, John Hoye, Dr. John M. Lawrence, Dr. James Smith, David Lynn, Robert Swann, and Richard Beall, who having retired for the purpose, afterwards returned and submitted the following report : The committee appointed to ascertain the calamity by which the town has been visited, together with the number and description of the sufferers have in the execution of the melancholly duty assigned them, ascertained the following particulars for the information of the meeting: It is ascertained that the entire business portion of Cumberland has been destroyed. All the taverns, and all the stores in the place, but one, are now in ashes; about thirty flourishing mechanics, all in prosperous business, have been reduced to ruin, and their families left without a shelter to cover them. The three physicians of the town have lost nearly all their property and medicines. It is believed that two thirds of the inhabitants are houseless. The value of property destroyed and the description of citizens to whom it belonged, the committee have estimated and classed as follows: 7 Merchants, whose loss in real and personal property and goods is estimated at $94,000 3 Physicians $12,000 . 3 Hotels, including the losses of the owners $50,000, 30 Mechanics, (real and personal property, stock, &c).. $71,000 Citizens not included in above description $31,000 Citizens not residing in the town $14,000 Total loss $262,000.
Upon motion of Mr. Pigman, a committee was appointed to draft an address to the people of the United States, inviting their aid in behalf of the Cumberland sufferers. Upon motion of Mr. Pigman, it was Resolved, That the Chairman of the present meeting be the Chairman of said committee. The following gentlemen composed the committee : Hon. John Buchanan, Hon. Thomas Buchanan, Hon. Abraham Shriver A. W. McDonald, John McHenry, Wm. Price, James Dixon, Frederick A. Schley, and John King, Esq. Upon motion the following gentlemen, residents of Cumberland, who are not sufferers by the fire, were appointed a committee to receive donations, distribute them, and of correspondence, viz : John Hoye, Thomas I. McKaig, Richard Bell, Rev. L. H. Johns, Wm. McMahon and James P. Carleton. Upon motion of Thomas I. McKaig, Esq., it was unanimously Resolved, That the thanks of the meeting are due to the Hon. John Buchanan, for the dignified and able manner in which he presided over its deliberations. Upon motion of Mr. Buchanan, it was Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the Chairman and Secretary and published. John Buchanan, Chairman, William Price, Secretary.
N. B. — There being now no press in Cumberland the proceedings are forwarded to Hagerstown for publication.
The fact that the scope of the fire embraced that part of Mechanic street, along which the demented Quaker, Harris, had so often walked while predicting a terrible calamity to befall the town, led many persons to conclude that the old man really had possessed some powers as a prophet, and the superstitious were thoroughly convinced that he had been sent by some supernatural power as a messenger to warn the people of "wrath to come."
The following is a full list of the persons who sustained losses in the disastrous fire, 14th of April : George Hoblitzell, lost 6 houses, Jonathan Butler, store goods and house furniture, George Wineow 1 house, ! Edward Johnson, household furniture, Wm. Shryer, stock and furniture, Joseph Everstine 3 houses, furniture, shoes and leather, Charles Howell, house furniture, John Gephart, 2 houses, Widow Saylor, 1 house, A. King and family, clothing and furniture. Widow Anders, furniture, &c, Dr. J. Smith, 2 houses, medicines, &c, John Rutter, house, furniture and leather, J. G. Hoffman, 2 houses, tinware and furniture, Dr. S. P. Smith, 2 houses, medicines and furniture, Geo. Hoffman, 3 houses and furniture, J. M. Buchanan, 1 house, G. S. Evans, furniture and $800 in money, Widow Frithey, 1 house and furniture, S. Bowden, 1 house,
Robert Swanm, 2 houses, David Shriver, 6 houses, John Murrell's heirs, 2 houses, E. Moblev, furniture, tools and wagon stuff, M. Rizer of M., 1 house and furniture, Kershners heirs, 1 house, Geo. Deetz, 1 house and furniture, Geo. Lowdermilk, house furniture, John Deetz, house furniture, Widow Gephart, 1 house and furniture, Widow Oglebay, furniture, R. McCleary, 7 houses, tools, stock and furniture, Blocher & Harry, 1 printing press, type and office furniture. John Cress, blacksmith tools and iron, Post office, furniture and papers, David Lynn, 1 house, James Sires, furniture and tools, Widow Koontz, 2 houses, Sarah Koontz, furniture, M. Fisher, 2 houses, furniture and stock, John Fisher, $500 in money, Wm. Fisher, $100 in money, H. Wineow, 1 house, grain, furniture and $1,500. Thos. Dowden, 1 house, shop, furniture and tools, Jas. Black, grain and furniture, The Bank, 6 houses, Jacob Fechtig, furniture, &c, S. Slicer, furniture, &c, Widow Scott, furniture, &c; John Scott's heirs, 2 houses, George Hebb, 2 houses, with furniture and goods, A. McNeill, tools and jewelry, John Wright, tools, jewelry and furniture, B. Mattingly, furniture and cloth, R. Worthington, 1 house, furniture and goods, Smith, Worthington & Co., 1 house, J. F. Sigler, 1 house, saddlery and furniture, Dr. Lawrence, 1 house, medicine . and furniture, Messrs. Lowndes, 1 house and store goods, furniture and $700, S. Hoblitzell, furniture, &c, B. S. Pigman, 3 houses, P. A. S. Pigman, furniture, S. Pritehard, tools and clothing, L. W.Stockton, 2 mail coaches, J. W. Weaver, 1 mail coach, R. D. Carleton, furniture, &c, Eleanor Merryman, clothing, John Beall, clothing, John P. Lowdermilk, clothing, Sophia Johnson, clothing, Elizabeth Bevans, clothing, H. B. Wolfe, tools, books and furniture, Samuel Charles, The Civilian office entire, J. Wolf, tools, leather and shoes. J. Marr, tools, &c, H. Smouse, 1 carryall, T. Adams, furniture, &c, B. W. Howard, furniture, &c, W. V. Buskirk, furniture, law library and papers, Bruce & Beall, part of stock of goods, Krebs & Falls, store goods and furniture, S. & G. Shockey, hats, fur and tools, John M. Carleton, clothing, &c, Nancy Davis, clothing, &c, Edmund Hoffman, furniture, &c, W. W. Weaver, furniture, &c, Hoblitzell, clothing, &c, M. Rizer, Jr., a lot of bacon &c, J. B. Wright, money and clothing, Louthan & Offutt, stock of goods, &c

James Reeside, who was for a number of years, largely engaged in the stage-coach business on the Cumberland Road, upon hearing of the disaster, caused his son to write the following letter to the Postmaster here:

Philadelphia, April 18, 1833.
J. P. Carleton, Esq.,
P. M., Cumberland, Md.

Dear Sir : It is with regret that we have this day heard the sad news of the conflagration at Cumberland, that once flourishing town, and the loss and condition of its inhabitants, among whom we lived so long. My father is confined to his bed, and not able to write, but requests to say to you that one half of all his property, in the town of Cumberland situated on the west side of Will's Creek, shall be sold for the benefit of the sufferers; he also requests me to say to you, as soon as two[?] committee is appointed for their relief, he will immediately transfer the property by deed or otherwise for that purpose.

Yours with respect,
James Reeside, Jr. 
Immediate steps were taken for the relief of the sufferers, and from all parts of the country contributions were received. Up to June, $15,000, had been distributed amongst them. Those who could afford to do so, set about rebuilding, and the new houses were generally of a much better character than those destroyed.

Posted October 19, 2013


From History of Western MD., Vol 2, by Scharf (1882)

At about twenty minutes past one o'clock on Saturday, Sept 5, 1874, a fire broke out in the loft of the store of Beall & Koch, on Main Street, nearly opposite St. Michael's Catholic church.  The flames gaining headway soon extended to the adjoining roofs of Keller and the old Franklin Block.  This row of buildings, including Marx Wineland's extensive store, next caught fire, and being very dry wooden structures, were in a few minutes a sheet of flames.  From the Franklin Block the fire moved southward on Broadway, and crossed Mechanic Street to a large stable owned by the Hoblitzell heirs.  From Mechanic Street the fire swept around on Water Steet, in both directions.  The Cumberland fire engine arrived about three o'clock, and after a sharp struggle comquered the flames.

The losses on Main, or Union, Street were as follows:
Beall, Koch & Co., dry-goods dealers, building and goods, $30,000; J.J. Keller, grocer, building and goods, $15,000; Marx Wineland, dry-good dealer, building and goods, $45,000.  These establishments were insured to the value of two-thirds of the property destroyed.  John Huntley, hardware dealer, $3,000, said to have been uninsured; Madame VanKlaiser, millinery, $1,500; T.S. Metzger & Co., stationery, $1,000, insured; August Theopil, confectioner, $1,000.  These four establishments were in what was known as the Franklin Block, owned by the Hoblitzell heirs, loss in building about $6,000.  English Lutheran church, damaged to the amount of $10,000, insured; Lutheran parsonage, some $1,000, insured; Hitchins Bros., dry-goods dealers, damage to stock by removal, $300; Frostburg Mining Journal office, damage to stock by removal, $100; Peter Payne, damage to property, $300.

On Broadway the following losses occurred:
L.M. Gorsuch's stable, owned by Hoblitzell heirs, $1,500, insured; L.B. Porter, liquor dealer and grocer, Porter's Hall building, containing Porter's establishment, barber-shop, and saloon, $15,000, insured; Douglas Percy, damage to buildings, $600, insured; William R. Percy, grocer, damage to building and goods. $600, insured.

The losses on Mechanic Street were Hitchins Bros., three tenement-houses, $1,800, insured; Mrs. Joseph Keller, two tenement-houses, $1,000, insured, $700; Philip Michael's, black smith and wagon-maker, $1,000, insured; McCormick & Locke, wagon-makers, loss $1,200; Nelson Beall, small dwelling and office, $800; Dr. Englar's stable $800, insured.

On Water Street the following property was destroyed:
Mrs. Joseph Preston, corner Mechanic and Water, saloon and bowling-alley, $500; Hoblitzell heirs, three double dwelling-houses, $4,500, insured; J.W. Tomblinson[sic], wagon-maker, shop and stock, $1,000, no insurance; Mrs. Sarah Taylor, brick residence, $2,000; Levi Taylor's residence, $1,200; Geo. Humbertson, three dwellings, $1,800, no insurance.

Totals, Main, or Union, Street, $114,700; Broadway, $17,600; Mechanic, $6,600; Water, $11,000.  Aggregate loss, $149,900.



From History of Western Maryland, Vol 2, by Scharf, 1882


The conflagration which occurred at Lonaconing Sept. 7, 1881, destroyed all that business portion of the town extending from the Merchants' Hotel on Bridge Street, near the Cumberland and Pennsylvania depot, to Main Street, and on both sides of Main Steet to Castle Run, taking in about ten acres of ground.  Eighty-three persons were burned out of homes and business places, and the total loss was estimated at from $100,000 to $150,000, upon which there were $65,000 insurance.  The fire started in a stable in rear of P.T. Tully & Co.'s store, on the east side of Main Street, about 12:15 pm, just as the family of Mr. Hanlon, one of the firm, were sitting down to dinner.  Had the fire broken out at night there would have been a terrible loss of life, so rapidly did the wooden structures, which were built very close to each other, burn.  After the stable caught, the fire extended to the store, and there being a wind blowing, which shifted several times, the fire swept along Main Street as far north as the building extended, and as far south as Bridge Street, where Brady's Hotel stood.  It then swept down Bridge Street to the railroad, where it destroyed several buildings on the west side, the last building burned on that side being the Merchants' Hotel, kept by William Atkinson, who also kept a store adjoining.  Here the fire stopped.  Among the lucky merchants whose property was saved was Peter Peebles, who kept a general merchandise store opposite the Merchants' Hotel; W. E. Henshaw, John S. Combs, and John Ryan, in the same line of business.  One hotel only escaped, that kept by Mr. Jackson, near the depot.

The largest and most valuable buildings burned were those of D. R. Sloan & Co., Rechabite Hall, the German Lutheran church and parsonage, Dixon's Hotel (on Main Street), the Merchants' and Brady's Hotels (on Bridge Street), and Joseph Meyers' row of buildings on Bridge Street.

Within one hour after the fire started the Westernport fire department arrived and did good service with a little hand-engine called "The Old Defender," which, up to a short time prior to the fire, belonged to the Pioneer Engine Company, of Cumberland, and which did valuable service in the Cumberland fire of April 14, 1833.  It was sold to the town of Westernport for three hundred dollars.  The steamer from Cumberland would not work, and the Cumberland firemen, who were willing and anxious to do anything in their power, were obliged to return home after a short stay on the scene.  Had there been an engine of any kind in Lonaconing at the breaking out of the fire,  much valuable property could have been saved.  Fortunately, the principal loss fell upon those who were able to rebuild, although many lost everything. 

The list of buildings burned, with estimated losses and insurance, so far as can be ascertained, is a follows:
the large stable, two-story frame building, and general merchandise store of P.T. Tully & Co., loss $10,000, insurance $6,000; Mr. Hobinghall, loss $4,500, insurance $3,000; Sampson's double block, valued at $5,000; H. Edwards & Co., general clothing establishment, $5,000; Thomas Engleby, general merchandise, loss $12,000 insurance $6,000; McKenley, butcher, loss not known; Williams' butcher-shop (the last two in buildings belonging to G. H. Fresh), Sowder's bakery, a barber-shop, and Dean's saddlery, loss $7,000, insurance $2,000; Scott, a shoemaker, Margin's confectionery, Baughman's wholesale liquor house, David Davidson's grocery, and Joseph Myers' row of building, valued at $20,000, insurance $5,000.  In this row were Mr. Eichorn, furniture saved; Samuel Barber, tin-shop; Jack Williams, barber-shop; Mr. McCousland, jeweler.  These were all on one side of Main Street.  On the opposite side were Samuel Barber, Jr., tin-shop, loss $1,000; James Bogan, confectionery; Brady's Hotel, Stable-house, carriage-shed, and Kavanaugh's saloon, loss $10,000, partly insured; then west to James Dickinson, confectionery; David Dickson, hotel, corner Bridge and Main Streets, loss $5,000, partly insured; D. R. Sloan & Co., two-story brick (the only brick store burned), loss $18,000, insurance $12,000; Sloan & Douglas' drug-store, $2,500 loss, insurance $1,700; O.T. McDonald, dentist, loss $1,000, no insurance; Lloyd Durst, butcher; Stafford's saloon, loss $350; Lizzie Bell & Brother, general merchandise, loss $15,000; H. R. Kimmel & Co., furniture, loss $2,000 in goods, $3,200 in cash; John Perry & Son's residences and general merchandise store, loss $2,000, insurance $9,000 [over-insured or typo? Perhaps the loss was $12,000?]  On Douglas' Avenue Dr. Williams' two-story frame, W. Mongan's two-story frame, and Mrs. Bell's, John and David Peebles', and John Bell's houses were destroyed; also a building used as a school-house belonging to the George's Creek Coal and Iron Company.  Crossing the bridge, the flames swept up Bridge Street, and up the railroad, consuming the Merchants' Hotel, loss $12,000, insurance $6,000; W. McIndoe, post-office, loss $2,500; David and Solon Koontz four houses, $3,200, and Mrs. Donaldson's dwelling, $600, belonging to M. Bannon.

James Carrigan, a tailor from Baltimore, located in Frostburg, had his arm cut off in jumping from the special train containing the Cumberland engine when it arrived at Lonaconing.  David Dickson was badly burned, being forced in one instance to pass through the flames to save his life; James Hohing had his wrist burned by a falling joist; Edward Lewis, of Frostburg, had his arm and neck burned, ad Robert Sommerville, of Barton, had hs foot badly sprained.  Hector Bell lost five hundred and twenty-five dollars in hair material and hair-work; insurance, two hundred dollars.

During the fire the streets were filled with intoxicated men, and there were numerous fights.  There was a great panic, and whisky-barrels were broken open and their contents drank by boys and men.  The Cumberland and Pennsylvania depot had a narrow escape.  The Cumberland Telephone Company lost several hundred dollars in poles and wires.  The diaster was the most serious that has happened in the county since the Cumberland fire of 1833.


FOLK, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur

Homestead Couple Injured Returning From Funeral
Frostburg, March 15—Arthur Folk and his wife Stella (Chambers) Folk, Homestead. Pa., were seriously injured Sunday night, when their car crashed head-on into a west-bound bus near Elizabeth, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Folk had been here for the funeral of Mr. Folk's sister, Mrs. Rose Wiegand, Cumberland, who was buried in Frostburg Saturday afternoon. After spending Sunday with Mrs. Folk's brother, Leo Chambers, Uhl street, Mr. and Mrs. Folk left early in the evening to return to their home. According to information received here. Mr. Folk applied his brakes on a slippery road, near Elizabeth, and his car skidded and crashed into a bus. Mr. Folk's condition is regarded as very serious, having sustained a crushed chest, when he was caught by the impact between the steering wheel and the seat. He is a patient at the McKeesport Hospital. His wife sustained a fractured right ankle and X-rays have been taken to determine if there are any internal injuries.
Both Mr. and Mrs. folk have been frequent visitors at the Chambers home, since leaving here a number of years ago.  Mr. Chambers is a patient at the Homestead Hospital.
Wednesday, 15 March 1944; Evening Times (Cumberland, MD)
Note:Mrs. Folk died of her injuries one month later (April, 1944) and Mr. Folk never fully recovered and passed away December, 1945.

Posted September 9, 2011

Rocket Center, WV Ballistics Laboratory Explosion, May 1961


Cumberland, Md. (AP) -- Two buildings were blown up Monday by solid fuel used to hurl rockets into orbit, and nine workers were missing in the explosion's wake.
One of six other men hurt in the blast and fire was in serious condition. Three were in good condition in hospitals, and the other two were released after treatment.
GARDNER, CHARLES, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Gardner, Hopwood, who has been one of the safety directors at the plant for more than a year, escaped injury in the blast, his parents were notified.
"A big black hole in the ground," was one description of the scene after the morning explosion at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory. It is operated by Hercules Powder Co. of Wilmington, Del., for the Navy.

The laboratory is located on the West Virginia side of the Potomac River near the borders of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Shock waves were felt and smoke visible seven miles away in Cumberland, where the injured were taken.

Those missing and presumed dead were identified as:
DEAN, HOWARD D., 22, of Goldsborough Avenue, Romney, W. Va., an operator.
EVICK, MICHAEL ROBERT, 24, of RD 5, Cumberland, an operator.
GEIGER, GEORGE RICHARD, 25, of Corriganville, RD 1, Cumberland, an operator.
GETSON, CHARLES ROBERT, 33, Dudley Street, Lonaconing, a maintenance mechanic.
ISNER, CHARLES JUNIOR,  41, of 146 Frederick Street, crafthelper maintenance mechanic.
KENNEY, DAVID LEE, 27, of 550 Park Avenue, LaVale, an operator.
WHIPP, ROBERT A., 57, of 535 South Main Street, Keyser, W. Va., maintenance mechanic.
WILSON, HERMAN C., 63, of 36 Hill Street, Frostburg, maintenance mechanic.
YOUNG, KENNETH DUANE, 25, of 38 Potomac Street, Ridgeley, an operator.
Hercules and Navy officials said "an intensive search of the area is being conducted in an effort to locate those presently listed as missing," but fire and severe heat hampered efforts. The fire was reported under control.
The nine missing were in the immediate explosion area. The six injured were working nearby.
An investigation was launched immediately to determine the cause of the blast and extent of the damage.
The Morning Herald; Uniontown Pennsylvania, 23 May 1961




Those Lost & Survivors of the Johnstown Flood ~ May 31, 1889

Articles regarding the Johnstown flood 1889, from:
July 3, 1889
"Johnstown, 1:35 p.m.-Patrick Lavelle, wife and one child are safe, also Patrick O'Connell and family. Lavelle's mother is lost. Tim Crowley, of Mt. Savage is safe. Unable at present sending to find Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Dean. Sara Thomas is safe. The dead are buried as fast as found and identified. Rough boxes are used. The debris at the bridge is still a flaming mass of conflagration.
The following Cumberland relatives and friends are reported as all safe: George Alick, George and John Woods, Rev. Amick and family, Sarah and Annie Marburg, George Higsen, Charles Scott, and family and Grant Scott, Jack Edwards and wife, (daughter of Geo. Cromwell), James and Wilson Buckey, George Mellinger, Mrs. Burkenbush, Mrs. Annie Penrod, Mary Gardner. The Higsens are said to be saved and in Pellersville Mrs. Thomas is with them. J.C. Clark and daughter are drowned, Dr. Marbury, Oscar, Nellie and Mrs. Annie Hanekamp are missing. It is believed that Mrs Thomas and Mrs. Higgin are safe.

Rockwood, Pa. 7:10 p.m.-Physicians, lanterns and stimulating medicines are the necessity at Johnstown. Cumberland relief train is leaving Rockwood now. Authentic news at this point increases the horror of the calamity every hour and ten thousand seems not an underestimate of the flood's victims
7:49 p.m.- Seven dead bodies have reached Rockwood bound for Cumberland. The Fredericks family were rescued from the house top.
Johnstown, 7:15 p.m.- Mrs Dean is reported as slightly hurt. Oscar Hanecamp and John Apple are said to be safe. Mrs. S.M. Jones and child are reported to be in the morgue. Mrs. Benford and two daughters, lost in the Halburt House, Mary Murray, Henry Willis and Charley Barth are reported safe.

Rockwood, Pa. 7:45 p.m. - Oscar, Mrs. Annie and Sarah Hanekamp, W. Slick and family, Jethro Oldham, Major Litzenberger of Baltimore are safe. John Hanekamp, Otho Cooper, saved and Jack Katzenstein, lost. David Cobaugh lost his family. A body, stout, well formed, slightly gray hair, and thought to be that of Mrs. S.M. Jones is found and is at the morgue. John Higsen and family and Miss Thomas are reported to have floated a mile and a half down stream and saved at Morrelville. The German Luthern minister and family lost, all other ministers safe. The body of Johnstown has been washed down and Main street is piled with debris forty feet high.
Johnstown, June 5 10:29 p.m.- Those from Mt. Savage saved are Mrs. Walter Walters, John Dowling, Thomas Kenney, wife and part of family; Patrick O'Connell, Mollie Murray, Patrick Green and family, Anthony Barrett, Captain Morrow, James McNamara and John Murphy. The Frostburg lost are Mrs. Richard Dowling and daughter and Mrs. Morrow. "
NOTE: "Thomas Kenney listed above was my husband's g.grandfather. Lost in the flood were wife, Mary (Broderick) Kinney, daughter Margaret (Kinney) Gallagher and her son Thomas age 4, and daughter Mary Ellen. There was also Agnes Kinney, age 10, listed, but we do not know if she was a Kinney or Gallagher." -
(All Above Courtesy of Donna Kinney, submitted by Pat Dailey)
Posted December 20, 2010


See Johnstown Flood 1889  for more information on this devastating flood

B. & 0. WRECK

Several Railroad. Men Killed Near Glencoe, Maryland
On Sand Patch Grade and Dash Down Mountain Side for Eight Miles—Carl Masters in List.
Sacrificing themselves in an attempt to save their runaway freight train from destruction, eight Baltimore & Ohio Railroad men were either killed or crippled for life about 6:15 o'clock yesterday morning. The men comprised the crew of an extra freight train of forty-two cars, heavily laden with coal, which broke loose from the clutch of the brakes on the Sand Patch grade and after dashing madly down the mountainside for over eight miles, was wrecked near Glencoe, Md. The known dead are:
Carl Masters of Hyndman, brakeman.
Newton Martz of Kennell Mills.
The injured are: -
C. L. Ringler, conductor, Old Town Road, Cumberland, badly injured about head, but expected to recover.
Max A. Spetch, fireman, 5 Woodside Avenue Cumberland, both legs crushed and badly injured about body. Condition very critical.
Henry Smith, brakeman, 14 Broadway, Cumberland, injured about head and limbs.
Those who are still missing and who may have been buried in the wreckage" are:
W. S. Small, brakeman, Cumberland.-
--Marcus Simon, fireman.
-- One man not yet identified.
The Bedford Gazette, Bedford, PA.; Friday, 13 December 1912
Posted May 19, 2012

Unknown Russian, B & O Trackwalker, Killed at Rawlings

A Russian whose name is unknown and who was employed as a trackwalker on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was killed at Rawlings yesterday morning, having been struck by accommodation train No. 71. The man's neck was broken, His body was brought to the Butler undertaking rooms here yesterday evening.
Cumb. News 19th.
Keyser Tribune, June 21, 1912
(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted August 14, 2010




Cumberland Md, Aug 18
Baltimore and Ohio passenger train No 14 due in Cumberland at 6 pm struck an outing party of six on the Western Maryland Railway extension one mile west of Frostburg station, near the Borden water station, this afternoon 5:50 o'clock.
  The dead are:
  Mrs. Carrie Schneider, 27 years old, wife of Oscar Schneider, of Orlando, Fla., who was visiting her sister, Mrs. Morris Wetmore, of Frostburg.
  Miss Jennie Schneider, 22 years old.
  Miss Bessie Williams, 32 years old.
  The injured are:
  Miss Edna Raley, 30 years old.
  Miss Minnie Schneider, 30 years old.
  John Dixon, a machinist of Baltimore, who was with the party, escaped uninjured. He is employed on the new addition to the State Normal School at Frostburg.
The party was on an afternoon jaunt and had a camera. Dixon heroically grabbed Miss Bessie Williams, but was too late to save her. The six persons were walking toward Frostburg, returning home, on a curve with their backs toward the approaching train. A freight train had just passed on the west bound track and the party walked over on the eastbound track when it got by.
Passenger Engineer Cunningham saw the danger and blew the whistle, but he was speeding about 30 miles an hour and his train was upon them before he could slow down to any extent. Olin Skidmore was walking along the track with a child in his arms. He knew of the danger to the party ahead and he rushed along frantically and succeeded in pulling Miss Raley from the track. The pilot hit her, however, and her skull is fractured and she is injured internally.
Mrs. Schneider, a daughter-in-law of Henry Schneider, shoe merchant of Union Street, was a home-coming week visitor. Her husband is expected from Florida tomorrow. Miss Jennie Schneider lived at home with her father, Henry Schneider. The dead women are sisters-in-law and Miss Minnie Schneider, who is injured, is a sister of the dead girl. She is a clerk in her father's store.
Miss Bessie Williams was a daughter of Mrs. Helen Williams and the late Thomas J. Williams. He was a clerk in the store of Weinberg & Abramson.

Keyser Tribune, August 30, 1912
(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted August 8, 2010



Feb 21, 1912
A colored girl, an inmate, of the Mineral County Poor House died Friday night of last week, her remains were taken to Piedmont Sat evening for interment.
Keyser Tribune, March 1, 1912
(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010




Jan 10, 1912 Another one of Mr Hart's men was killed at Evitts Creek two weeks ago. He was young and boarded at Walter Chaneys.
Keyser Tribune, January 12, 1912

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010





Three Italians were killed Monday night by No 14, it going down on the westbound track, a broken rail on the eastbound track caused them to walk on the opposite track, they were section hands. Al Short, of Green Spring, was their foreman. One man's head was cut off and one had a leg torn from his body, another had his head cut off across the face; this happened at the culvert at Dan's Run.
Monday week a man was killed there by the accommodation that he expected to go on to Cumberland. The last man killed was named Murphy and boarded at Walter Cheny's.

Keyser Tribune, November 24, 1911

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010







While eastbound passenger train No 72, on the B&O was coming through the cut below the Bloomington bridge on Sat evening it struck three Italians, killing one out right and badly injuring the other two. It seems that while the two were going up the westbound track when they heard a freight train approaching and stepping out of the way into the path of the accommodation with the above results.
Keyser Tribune, January 26, 1912

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010





An Italian who had been working for a Construction Co on the B&O Seventeen Mile grade was injured so severely that he died last Tues. No one knew the whereabouts of his relatives and the body is being held at the Markwood undertaking parlors.
Keyser Tribune, November 10, 1911

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010





Drowned in a Banter
While a party of men employed on the construction of the Western Maryland Railway extension were strolling along the banks of the Casselman river near Fort Hill, they challenged one of their number, an Italian, to swim across the river, so in the attempt to win a $5 bet, he plunged in the water and tried hard to reach the opposite bank, but all was in vain and he was drowned.
Keyser Tribune, October 20, 1911

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010




Drowned in Reservoir
An Italian who had been working on the T. M. & P. R. R. near Town Spring, was drowned in the new reservoir last Friday afternoon. He had wounded a duck which was floating on the lake. Thinking that the bottom sloped gradually he, though unable to swim, waded in after the fowl. He suddenly stepped over a precipice into water that is twenty feet deep and drowned before aid could reach him. His body was gotten out by means of a grab hook about ten o'clock that night, and taken to Markwood's undertaking parlors and from there will be buried in the Catholic cemetery, of Keyser, tomorrow.
Keyser Tribune, October 6, 1911

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010



July 24, 1911
Another Italian was killed by falling at round Bottom last week.
Keyser Tribune, August 4, 1911

(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010





CAVANAUGH, Prof. Clarence

Prof. Clarence Cavanaugh yesterday experienced the fickleness of an oil stove with which he heats his handsome music room in the Ward building. Mr. Cavanaugh having business out of his room for a short while yesterday. Carefully adjusted the burner of his heat producer with the hope of keeping his room comfortable and went about his way. Returning within twenty minutes, he was unpleasantly surprised to find his handsome studio a mass of smoke and soot, caused by the unfaithful oil stove, which resulted in ruining the many valuable articles in the room, consisting of music, cabinet statues, books, carpets, curtains and everything so completely and tastefully arranged in the room. The exact loss is not known at the present.

The Evening Times - Cumberland, Maryland - Tuesday - December 12, 1905 - Page 2
(Courtesy of Bob Thompson)
Posted July 25, 2010




L C Grady, set a trap gun in his barn at Parksley, VA to catch the man writing notes to his daughter, and a negro messenger was killed.
(Courtesy of Patti McDonald)
Posted July 25, 2010




Former Area Man In Crash:
Keyser - Both the Associated Press and United Press International last night, listed H. Jackson of Piedmont as one of the 63 passengers on a Pan-American World Airways Boeing 707 which plunged into a rice paddy in Calcutta, India.  The plane caught fire and 57 persons survived.
Henry Jackson is the husband of Phyllis Athey Jackson who formerly lived with her mother Mrs. Olivia Athey at 434 South Water Street, here.
Mrs. Athey said she received word from Mr. Jackson that he is all right and survived the crash without injury.
Mr. Jackson is a government career employee and has traveled throughout the world for the past 15 or more years.  He and his wife and daughter spent the last three years in the Philippines.
The wife and daughter, Mrs. Athey said, were en route home from the Philippines while Mr. Jackson was en route to another assignment.  Mrs. Jackson and her daughter were scheduled to arrive in Keyser last night.
Mrs. Athey said she talked to her daughter on the phone from Washington yesterday morning and had advised her that Mr. Jackson was in the crash but was all right.
The Jackson's 17 year old daughter graduated from high school in the Philippines just before they left there, Mrs. Athey said.

Cumberland Evening times, 14 June 1968:
(Courtesy of Lee Deetz Fasnacht)
Posted July 3, 2010


KOELKER, John Francis
WM Brakeman Loses Legs In Fall Off Train
John F. Koelker, of Cumberland, in Critical Condition at Keyser Hospital
John F. Keolker 42, of 91 Henderson Avenue, a Western Maryland Railway brakeman, is in a critical condition in Potomac Valley Hospital, Keyser, W.Va., as a result of injuries received at 7 (??) o'clock last evening when he fell between cars of a train at Beryl, W.Va.  Koelker's body was so badly crushed it was necessary to amputate both of his legs and his right hand. At noon today, hospital attaches described his condition as extremely critical. He was taken to the hospital by the Boal Funeral Home, Westernport ambulance.  Koelker entered the employ of the Western Maryland about six months ago, according to company officials here, and was working on an eastbound freight at the time of yesterday's accident. The train had stopped at the Beryl junction _____??(unreadable) to take on additional cars, and was engaged in shifting at the time of the accident. No other members of the crew saw Koelker fall according to reports, and it is presumed he lost his balance and toppled from the car on which he had been standing. Koelker was in the Army for 18 months, serving with a search????(unreadable) outfit and later with an infantry unit. He was honorably discharged about a year ago. He was married last fall and his wife resides at the Henderson avenue address.
Saturday, 28 April 1945; Cumberland Evening Times
Posted May 31, 2013

Three Deaths in Dwelling Fire

LaHUE, Fred; MALONE, Michael [later mentioned as (unnamed) DUGGAN]; McGRAW, Michael


"Harrison, W. Va.: As a result of the destruction of a frame dwelling house of James O'Brien, Harrison, W. Va., by fire Christmas Eve, the bodies of three men, believed to be Michael Malone (reported later as Duggan), Michael McGraw and Fred Lahue, were found in the ruins. O'Brien, it is said, was intoxicated and it is thought upset the stove. Malone was an aged man and retired early..."
"Cumberland Evening Times" Cumberland, Maryland, 27 Dec 1909
(Courtesy of Shawn McGreevy)
Posted January 10, 2010



Pathetic Letter From Child of One of the Victims.
Lots of Flowers for Pap's Grave.  Will Be Lonesome This Christmas Without Him - Message to Little Friends at Monongah.
A year ago yesterday, December 6, the terrible accident in Monongah mine near Fairmont, W. Va., occurred and John Hermann, formerly of Eckhart Mines, was one of the many victims.  His family returned to the old home where they have since resided.  The Fairmont Times, of Saturday, has the following interesting little story relating to the disaster.
Coming as an echo to remind us that the first anniversary of the greatest of all local horrors is close upon us is a letter addressed to "Mr. Paper Man," Fairmont, W. Va.," and from little nine-year old Ileen Herman, whose father, John Herman, was one of the Monongah victims.  She in her childish simplicity of manner, asks us to allow her space in which to reach her little chums at Monongah and to tell them how she and her mother, brother, and sister, miss their father, whose life was snuffed out with that of his fellow workers in the terrible disaster.
It is her first letter, she writes and it shows that the greatest of all sorrows which follow such calamities is the loss of the parent, felt by the widow and her little flock.  Pathetic in the extreme is where Ileen tells about keeping the grave of her father strewn with flowers.  She has a little brother buried at Monongah and she appeals to her former playmates to put flowers on the little mound "just like you do the graves of your papas."  Here is the letter:


"Eckhart, Md., Dec. 3
Dear Mr. Paper Man-
Will you put my letter in the paper so all my chums will read it.  I want to tell that that Sunday is a year since our papas were all killed.  I will never forget the 6th day of December, 1907.
Our papa was good to us and we miss him.  Won't it be lonesome this Christmas?  We are going to have a tree but we won't have our poor Papa to help Santa Claus to help him this time.  Mama wil have to help him this time.  Will all of you have a tree?
We will not get candy here like in Monogah last Christmas.  We are going to school, but they have no tree.  Willie he did work on the Company farm and gets 75 cents a day.  He works all day.  Santa is going to send me and Stella a doll, Willie a pair of skates and James Reidy a tedy[sic] Bear.  Our baby is called after Dr. Reidy.  He will be one year old a year and a week after the explosion.  Doctor brought him to us to work for Papa.  We put lots of flowers on Papa's grave and it is a better gravyard[sic] than at Monongah.  Did they get all of your papas?
We are very near the mines here and when Mama hears the blasts she get scared.  Mrs. Hesse gave us lots of new dresses, when we came here, and Mama says she is very thankful to everybody for their kinness[sic] to her.
My Papa's name was John Herman.  He was killed in No. Six Monongah mine.  I will tell you a sad story, little boys and girls, about all the Hermans.  Uncle Jake's wife died first, then his baby and then our Papa.  Then Uncle Frank and his wife died inside the same years.  Uncle Jake has six children.  Uncle Frank four and there are four of us.  That is a lot of cousins who have got no Mama.  We have a little brother dead in a Monongah cemetery.  Will some one of you put some flowers on his little grave just like you do on your papa's graves?
Me and Stella are going to school.  Willie will go when it get[sic] too cold.  He likes to work but will never work in the mines.  There is no snow here, is there any out there?  We used to slay-ride down by the Ruckmans and the Deans.  When it snows here will "slay-ride" down the pike.
This is all. Good-bye.  Lots of fun and a happy Christmas to all from


                           Eckhart Mines, Allegany Co., Md."


The Cumberland Evening Times, December 7, 1908
(transcribed as written ~ Genie)

See "Mine Explosion"  for details of Monongah Mine catastophe, the worst mining disaster in American history.

For a short video regarding this mining disaster,

Three years later:

Touching Christmas Letter in the Times Brought Monongah Victim's Daughter Happiness
Little Eileen Harriman is back at Eckhart to see her old playmates after an absence of three years in which she has lived in Chicago.  Possibly not every one has forgotten the touching letter this little girl, then nine years of age, wrote to the Times just before the Christmas of 1908.  The life of her father, Mr. John Harriman was lost in the fearful Monongah, W. Va., mine disaster, December, 6, 1907.  Eight days after the death of her father a little brother was born to Eileen.  The next year was a hard year for the Harriman family.  The widow was left with four small children, the oldest, Eileen, and she of but nine years.  Just before Christmas 1908, Eileen wrote a letter to the Evening Times Santa Claus mail box.  In it she spoke of the poor pleasures that she and her little sister and two brothers had during the year and now that Christmas coming they had not even a Christmas tree or a single toy or present.  The letter was read and its simple sincerity told of truth.  A friend of the family declares that people from all parts of the country wrote the little girl offering presents and words of cheer and inviting her to come and stay with them.  The letter in the Times came to the attention of a Mr. and Mrs. Brandenbury, of Chicago.  They sent Eileen an abundance of presents and later took the child to live with them.  The other children also went away.  Recently the mother, Mrs. Carrie Harriman, became housekeeper at St. Patrick's rectory, Cumberland.  Now Mrs. Brandenbury and little Eileen are visiting Mrs. Elizabeth Lee and Eileen's uncle, Mr. Will Harriman, at Eckhart.  The brother, Willie, has returned from Boston to see his mother and sister, and Mrs. Harriman is again happy in the presence of two of her children.  Eileen has a fine home and is quite happy.  Though but twelve years of age she has already become skilled in music and is receiving a good education.  Little Willie hopes to stay with his mother, but unless he obtains employment he must go back to Boston and the mother will again be left to herself.
Evening Times, Cumberland, Maryland, Wed 14 Aug 1912
(Courtesy of Shawn McGreevy)
Posted October 27, 2012




Three Injured In Explosions In Home, Mine
Garrett County Woman and Daughter Badly Hurt When Dynamite Cap Is Discharged

"Three persons, all residents of Garrett county, are in Memorial Hospital today, as a result of dynamite explosions yesterday and last night. All were reported "somewhat improved" today, but are in serious condition.

Mrs. Anna Friend, 38, wife of C. Andrew Friend, and her daughter, Christina, aged nine, were injured last night at their home near Deer Park, when a dynamite cap exploded in the home while the mother was looking for a needle. Carrying a lamp, she was searching in a large box when the dynamite cap exploded. She suffered severe injuries about the hands and abdomen, while the child, who had been standing nearby, was injured about the face.
Both were taken to an Oakland physician and removed to the local hospital in an ambulance. The woman's husband is a timberman.

Clyde Shaffer, 24, of Freeport, was taken to the hospital following a dynamite explosion yesterday afternoon in the mine of the Nordeck Coal Company, ten miles from Oakland, where he is employed. It was reported that Shaffer had set a small charge to dislodge a coal seam and started to investigate when it did not go off within the regular period of time. As he was bending over, the dynamite exploded, and he was hurled several yards. Shaffer suffered injuries about the face and shoulders. He was treated at the office of Dr. Clift P. Berger in Oakland and removed here in an ambulance."

Source: The Cumberland Evening Times; Cumberland, Maryland; May 10, 1940; page 13.
(Courtesy of Wendy Mammoliti)