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From our archives: Lend a hand to Johnstown victims

What we thought: 125 years ago

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(National Park Service)
Debris fills a street in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after a May 31, 1889, catastrophic flood caused by a dam failure struck the town. More than 2,200 people were killed. A Gazette editorial on June 14, 1889, called on local residents to give generously to help victims of the flood.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Gazette on June 14, 1889.

Aid the sufferers

at Johnstown

A meeting of citizens assembled in the Council rooms Thursday afternoon pursuant to the call of Mayor Lawrence. Earnest and appealing speeches were made by various citizens present, in regard to the pressing need for aid at Johnstown. [The Johnstown Flood occurred in Pennsylvania on May 31, 1889; more than 2,200 people were killed.]

On motion of Capt. J.W. Niles, Mayor Lawrence appointed committees to make an immediate canvass of the different wards of the city, and solicit subscriptions of cash.

It was moved and carried that subscription papers be placed at each of the banks, and at the drug stores of Mr. D.B. Strickler and Mr. A.R. Hendricks.

The committees were instructed to begin their work at once and complete same by next Monday morning, so a report can be made to treasurer, Mayor Lawrence, at 9 o’clock on that day.

There is pressing need of clothing at Johnstown, nearly all of the sufferers having escaped with only what was on their backs. Many are almost without apparel.

Any article of clothing in good repair that can be spared that you wish to donate to the sufferers may be left at the office of the Sterling Water Company. Col. Watson will immediately box it up, and ship it to Johnstown. The railroad and express companies will transport same without charge.

The condition of affairs at Johnstown is without a parallel for misery, suffering and destitution, in this country. Thousands had their all suddenly swept from them and barely escaped with their lives. They are now in need of immediate succor.

It is the duty of our people to contribute toward their relief and to do so at once. Other cities around us are sending liberal amounts of money, and our people should meet the committees with open purses, so Sterling can do the same.

Besides the caring for the living at Johnstown, a vast sum of money is needed to clear away the debris. Besides the broken, crushed houses, there are thousands of bodies wedged into this mass. If allowed to remain there long, the hot weather will cause them to decay, and finally cause a pestilence.

It will take 10,000 men 90 days to complete this work, and at $2.50 per day, will require two and one-half millions of money.

Sterling should raise at least $500 for this cause.

Couldn’t get there

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Campbell left last Saturday for Lancaster, Pa. When they reached Pittsburgh, they found that the railroads of the state were so badly crippled by the recent flood at Johnstown and along the river that it was impossible to reach the place they desired without making a great detour and remaining at stations some time. They thought it best to return home at once.

Don’t get shot

During this pleasant weather, the members of Company E may be found quite often engaged in rifle practice at the sporting butt, up the river.

At such times, a red flag is flung to the breeze on the top of the embankment, so that parties rowing up the river may avoid that part of the river in range of the rifle balls.

It is seldom that a ball will pass beyond the butt, but they are liable to do so, and people should not place themselves needlessly in danger.

No more pump

At last the [Rock Falls] city fathers have had that familiar object, the old town pump, removed from the intersection of Main and May streets. It has been there many years, and its water has refreshed many a thirsty wayfarer. The well has been covered over with a plate of iron.

Boon to drinkers

The Peoria Journal says that [Thomas] Edison is perfecting what will be a boon to drinking men. He calls it the toddygraph.

It is a machine so constructed that after a man has taken one drink, he can breathe in it, and afterward the effects of the drink can be reproduced as many times as he chooses by applying his lips to a small tube and turning a crank.

A man with a toddygraph concealed under his coat has no excuse for going out between acts when he takes his wife to the theater.

Better leave now

There will be an eclipse of the sun on June 27th, but it will not be visible in the United States. If any of our readers desire to see this eclipse, they will have to go to South Africa to do so, and they had better start right away if they expect to get there in time.

Foul balls

We think that if the young [Milledgeville] men who play base ball on Sunday knew the feeling that exists on account of it, they would not do it again.

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