Chapter 23

     Spontaneously as the floods descended upon the fated valley, the American people sprang to the relief of the survivors. In every city and town subscription lists were opened, and clothing and bedding and food were forwarded by the train-load. Managers gave theatrical performances and baseball clubs gave benefit games to swell the fund. The Mayors of New York, Philadelphia and other large cities took personal charge of the collection and forwarding of funds and goods. In New York a meeting of representative citizens was called by the Mayor, and a committee formed, with General Sherman as chairman, and the presidents of the Produce Exchange and the Chamber of Commerce among the vice-chairmen, while the president of the Stock Exchange acted as treasurer. The following appeal was issued:--
     "To the People of the City of New York:--
     "The undersigned have been appointed a committee by a meeting held at the call of the Mayor of the city to devise means for the succor and relief of the sufferers in the Conemaugh Valley. A disaster of unparalleled magnitude has overtaken the people of that valley and elsewhere. Without warning, their homes have been swept away by an unexpected and unprecedented flood. The daily journals of this city contain long lists of the dead, and the number of those who perished is still unknown. The survivors are destitute. They are houseless and homeless, with scant food and no shelter, and the destructive waters have not yet subsided.
     "In this emergency their cry for help reaches us. There has never been an occasion in our history that the appeal to our citizens to be generous in their contributions was of greater moment than the present. That generosity which has distinguished them above the citizens of every other city, and which was extended to the relief of the famishing in Ireland, to the stricken city of Charleston, to the plague-smitten city of Jacksonville, and so on through the record of every event where man was compelled to appeal to man, will not be lacking in this most recent calamity. Generous contributions have already reached the committee. Let the amount increase until they swell into a mighty river of benevolence.
     "The committee earnestly request, as the want is pressing and succor to be effectual must be speedy, that all contributions be sent at as early a date as possible. Their receipt will be promptly acknowledged and they will be applied, through responsible channels, to the relief of the destitute and suffering."
     All the exchanges, newspapers and other public agencies took up the work, and hundreds of thousands of dollars rolled in every day. Special collections were taken in the churches, and large sums were thus realized.
     In Philadelphia the work of relief was entered into in a similar manner, with equally gratifying results. By Tuesday evening the various funds established in that city for the sufferers had reached a total of $360,000. In addition over 100,000 packages of provisions, clothing, etc., making fully twenty car-loads, had been started on the way. The leading business houses tendered the service of their delivery wagons for the collection of goods, and some of them placed donation boxes at their establishments, yielding handsome returns.
     At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company the following resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote:--
     "Resolved, That in addition to the $5000 subscribed by this company at Pittsburg, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company hereby makes an extra donation of $25,000 for the assistance of the sufferers by the recent floods at Johnstown and other points upon the lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the other affiliated roads, the contribution to be expended under the direction of the Committee on Finance."
     At the same time the members of the Board and executive officers added a contribution, as individuals, of $5000.
     The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company subscribed $10,000 to the Citizens' Fund.
     In pursuance of a call issued by the Citizens' Permanent Relief Association, a largely-attended meeting was held at the Mayor's office. Drexel & Co., the treasurers of the fund, started the fund with a contribution of $10,000. Several subscriptions of $1000 each were announced. Many subscriptions were sent direct to Drexel & Co.'s banking house, including $5000 from the Philadelphia brewers, $5000 from the Baldwin Locomotive Works and other individual contributors.
     But the great cities had no monopoly of benefactions. How every town in the land responded to the call may be imagined from a few items clipped at random from the daily papers, items the like of which for days crowded many columns of the public press:--
     Bethlehem, Penn., June 3.--The Bethlehem Iron Company to-day contributed $5000 for the relief of the sufferers.
     Johnstown, Penn., June 3.--Stephen Collins, of the Pittsburg post-office, and several other members of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, were here to-day to establish a relief fund. They have informed the committees that the members of this strong organization are ready to do their best for their sufferers.
     Buffalo, June 3.--A meeting was held at the Mayor's office to-day to devise means for the aid of the flood sufferers. The Mayor sent $1000 by telegraph this afternoon. A committee was appointed to raise funds. The Merchants' Exchange also started a relief fund this morning. A relief train on the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad left here for Pittsburg to-night with contributions of food and clothing.
     Albany, June3.--The Morning Express to-day started a subscription for the relief of the sufferers. A public meeting, presided over by Mayor Maher, was held at noon to-day, and a number of plans were adopted for securing funds. There is now on hand $1000. Another meeting was held this evening. The offertory in the city churches will be devoted to the fund.
     Poughkeepsie, June 3.--A general movement was begun here to-day to aid the sufferers in Pennsylvania. Mayor Rowley issued a proclamation and people have been sending money to The Eagle office all day. Factory operatives are contributing, clergymen are taking hold of the matter, and to-night the Retail Dealers' Association held a public meeting at the Court House to appoint committees to go about among the merchants with subscription lists. Mrs. Brazier, proprietress of a knitting factory, sent off sixty dozen suits of underwear to the sufferers to-day.
     Troy, June 3.--Subscriptions exceeding $1500 for the relief of the Pennsylvania flood sufferers were received to-day by The Troy Press. The Mayor has called a public meeting for to-morrow.
     Washington, June 3.--A subscription for the relief of the sufferers by the Johnstown flood was started at the Post-office Department today by Chief Clerk Cooley. First Assistant Postmaster-General Clarkson headed the list with $100. The indications are that nearly $1000 will be raised in this Department. Postmaster-General Wanamaker had already subscribed $1000 in Philadelphia.
     The Post has started a subscription for the relief of the Johnstown sufferers. It amounts at present to $810. The largest single contribution is $250 by Allen McLane.
     Trenton, June 3.--In the Board of Trade rooms to-night over $1000 was subscribed for the benefit of Johnstown sufferers. Contributions made today will swell the sum to double that amount. Committees were appointed to canvass the city.


     Chicago, June 3.--Mayor Cregier called a public meeting, which was held at the City Hall to-day; to take measures for the relief of the Johnstown sufferers. John B. Drake, of the Grand Pacific, headed a subscription with $500.
     Hartford, Conn., June 3.--The House to-day concurred with the Senate in passing the resolution appropriating $25,000 for the flood sufferers.
     Boston, June 3.--The House this afternoon admitted a bill appropriating $10,000 for the relief of the sufferers.
     A citizens' committee will receive subscriptions. It was announced that $4600 had already been subscribed. Dockstader's Minstrels will give a benefit to-morrow afternoon in aid of the sufferers' fund.
     Pittsfield, Mass., June 3.--A meeting was held here to-night and about $300 was raised for the Johnstown sufferers. The town will be canvassed to-morrow. Senator Dawes attended the meeting, made an address and contributed liberally.
     Charleston, S. C., June 3.--At a meeting of the Charleston Cotton Exchange to-day $500 was subscribed for the relief of the flood sufferers.
     Fort Worth, Texas, June 3.--The Texas Spring Palace Association to-night telegraphed to George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, that to-morrow's receipts at the Spring Palace will be given to the sufferers by the flood.
     Nashville, Tenn., June 3.--The American to-day started a fund for the relief of the Johnstown sufferers.
     Utica, June 4.--Utica to-day sent $2000 to Johnstown.
     Ithaca, June 4.--Cornell University has collected $800 for the sufferers.
     Troy, June 4.--The Troy Times sent this afternoon $1200 to the Mayor of Pittsburg. The Press sent $1000, making $2000 forwarded by The Press.
     Boston, June 4.--The House to-day amended its bill of yesterday and appropriated $30,000.
     The Citizens' Committee has received $12,000, and Governor Ames' check for $250 was received.
     New Bedford, Mass., June 4.--Mayor Clifford has sent $500 to the sufferers.
     Providence, R. I., June 4.--A meeting of business men this morning raised $4000 for the sufferers.
     Erie, Penn., June 4.--In mass meeting last night ex-Congressman W. L. Scott led with a $1500 subscription for Johnstown, followed by ex-Judge Galbraith with $500. The list footed up $6000 in a quarter of an hour. Ward committees were appointed to raise it to $10,000. In addition to a general subscription of $1000, which was sent forward yesterday, it is rumored that a private gift of $5000 was also sent.
     Toledo, June 4.--Two thousand dollars have been obtained here for the flood sufferers.
     Cleveland, June 4.--Over $16,000 was subscribed yesterday, which, added to the $5000 raised on Sunday, swells Cleveland's cash contributions to $21,000. Two car-loads of provisions and clothing and twenty-one car-loads of lumber went forward to Johnstown.
     Cincinnati, June 4.--Subscriptions amounting to $10,000 were taken on 'Change yesterday.
     Milwaukee, June 4.--State Grand Commander Weissert telegraphed $250 to the Pennsylvania Department yesterday.
     Detroit, June 4.--The relief fund already reaches nearly $1000. Ex-Governor Alger and Senator James McMillan have each telegraphed $500 to the scene of the disaster.
     Chicago, June 4.--A meeting of business men was held this morning to collect subscriptions. Several large subscriptions, including one of $1000 by Marshall Field & Co., were received. The committees expect to raise $50,000 within twenty four hours.
     Governor Fifer has issued a proclamation urging the people to take measures for rendering aid. The Aldermen of Chicago subscribed among themselves a purse of $1000. The jewelers raised $1500. On the Board of Trade one member obtained $5000, and another $4000.
     From a citizens' meeting in Denver to-night $2500 was raised.
     President Hughitt announces that the Chicago and Northwestern, the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, and the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railways will transport, free of charge, all provisions and clothing for the sufferers.
     Kansas City, Mo., June 4.--At the mass meeting last night a large sum was subscribed for the sufferers.
     Chattanooga, June 3.--Chattanooga to-day subscribed $500.
     Wilmington, Del., June 4.--Over $2700 has been raised here for the sufferers. A carload of supplies was shipped last night. Two doctors have offered their services.
     Knoxville, Tenn., June 4.--The relief committee to-day raised over $1500 in two hours for the sufferers in Johnstown and vicinity.
     Saratoga, June 4.--The village of Saratoga Springs has raised $2000. Judge Henry Hilton subscribed one-half the amount. A committee was appointed to-night to solicit additional subscriptions.
     Carlisle, Penn., June 4.--Aid for the sufferers has been pouring in from all sections of the Cumberland Valley. From this city $700 and a supply of clothing and provisions have been sent. Among the contributions to-day was $100 from the Indian children at the Government training school.
     Charleston, S. C., June 4.--The City Council to-day voted $1000 for the relief of the Pennsylvania sufferers. The Executive Committee of the Chamber of Commerce subscribed $380 in a few minutes, and appointed three committees to canvass for subscriptions. The Merchants' Exchange is at work and general subscriptions are starting.
     St. Louis, June 4.--Generous subscriptions for the Conemaugh Valley sufferers have been made here. The Merchants' Exchange has called a mass meeting for to-morrow.
     Middletown, June 4.--To-day the Mayor telegraphed the Mayor of Johnstown to draw on him for $1000.
     Poughkeepsie, June 4.--Mayor Rowley to-day sent $1638 to Drexel & Co., Philadelphia. As much more was subscribed to-day.
     Auburn, June 5.-Auburn has subscribed $2000.
     Lockport, N. Y., June 5.--The Brewers' National Convention at Niagara Falls this morning contributed $10,000.
     St. Johnsbury, Vt., June 5.--Grand Master Henderson issued an invitation today to Odd Fellows in Vermont to contribute toward the sufferers.
     Newburg, N. Y., June 5.--Newburg has raised about $2000 for the sufferers.
     Worcester, Mass., June 5.-Subscriptions to the amount of $2400 were made here to-day.
     Boston, June 5.--The total of the subscriptions received through Kidder, Peabody & Co. to-day amounted to $35,400. The Fall River Line will forward supplies free of charge.
     Providence, June 5.--The subscriptions here now exceed $11,000.
     Minneapolis, June 5.--The Citizens' Committee to-day voted to send 2000 barrels of flour to the sufferers.
     Chicago, June 5.--It is estimated that Chicago's cash contributions to date aggregate about $90,000.
     St. Louis, June 5.--The town of Desoto in this State has contributed $200. Litchfield, Ill., has also raised $200.
     Los Angeles, Cal., June 5.--This city has forwarded $2000 to Governor Beaver.
     Macon, June 5.--The City Council last night appropriated $200 for the sufferers.
     Chattanooga, Tenn., June 5.--A. B. Forrest Camp, No. 3, Confederate Veterans of Chattanooga, have contributed $100 to the relief fund. J. M. Duncan, general manager of the South Tredegar Iron Company, of this city, who a few years ago left Johnstown for Chattanooga as a young mechanic, sent $1000 to-day to the relief fund. Another $1000 will be sent from the proceeds of a popular subscription.
     Savannah, June 5.--The Savannah Benevolent Association subscribed $1000 for the sufferers.
     Binghamton, June 5.--More than $2600 will be sent to Johnstown from this city. Lieutenant-Governor Jones telegraphed that he would subscribe $100.
     Albany, June 5.--Mayor Maher has telegraphed the Mayor of Pittsburg to draw on him for $3000. The fund being raised by The Morning Express amounts to over $1141.
     Lebanon, Penn., June 5.--This city will raise $5000 for the sufferers.
     Rochester, June 5.--Over $400 was subscribed to the Red Cross relief fund today and $119 to 2 newspaper fund besides.
     Cleveland, June 5.--The cash collected in this city up to this evening is $38,000. Ten car-loads of merchandise were shipped to Johnstown today, and a special train of twenty-eight car-loads of lumber, from Cleveland dealers, left here to-night.
     Fonda, N. Y., June 5.--The people of Johnstown, N. Y., instead of making an appropriation with which to celebrate the Fourth of July, will send $1000 to the sufferers at Johnstown, Pa.
     New Haven, June 5.--Over $2000 has been collected here.
     Wilmington, Del., June 5.--This city's fund has reached $470. The second car-load of supplies will be shipped to-morrow.
     Glens Falls, N. Y., June 5.--Subscriptions here to-day amounted to $622.
     Poughkeepsie, June 5.--Up to this evening $2736 have been raised in this city for Johnstown.
     Washington, June 7.--The total cash contributions of the employees of the Treasury Department to date, amounting to $2070, were to-day handed to the treasurer of the Relief Fund of Washington. The officers and clerks of the several bureaus of the Interior Department have subscribed $2280. The contributions in the Government Printing Office aggregate $1275. Chief Clerk Cooley to-day transmitted to the chairman of the local committee $600 collected in the Post-office Department.
     Syracuse, N. Y., June 7.--Mayor Kirk to-day sent to Governor Beaver a draft for $3000.
     Utica, N. Y., June 7.-Ilion has raised $1100, and has sent six cases of clothing to Johnstown.
     The Little Falls subscription is $700 thus far.
     The Utica subscription is now nearly $6000.
     Thus the gifts of the people flowed in, day by day, from near and from far, from rich and from poor, to make less dark the awful desolation that had set up its fearful reign in the Valley of the Conemaugh.

Go to chapter 24
Go Back to the Documents page!

Go back to the PRR index!
This page has been accessed 551 times since December 2, 2007
Last modified on:
©1998-2010 Robert Schoenberg -