PACAMBRI-L ArchivesArchiver > PACAMBRI > 2005-04 > 1112466206
From: "Batha Karr" <>
Subject: Re: [PaCambri] Father Modestus letter
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 11:23:34 -0700
Thanks for putting your grandfather's letter on the board for us to read. My
relatives talked about this flood. Ruth Trunk Marsh, one of my Ling cousins
Mother never forgot 1936. Her first child, me Ruth Trunk was born 22 January
1936. Johnstown's second disastrous flood struck that spring. We all lived
in Eighth Ward at the time by the White Swan Bar and Grill. Spring was in
the air. The winter snow and ice was melting and although it had been
raining Granddad Sherman Sheridan Reed the morning of March 17 went to
Portage to pick up a buggy for me that Mother wanted. By afternoon he was
not back. The Stonycreek River rose at 18" an hour all day. By 3 in the
afternoon flood warnings were out. Our house was surrounded by water. She
had me, Grandma Bessie Reed and Great-granddad William Ling to deal with.
Everyone went to the second floor with mother bringing the only food she had
in the house - six loaves of bread and oranges. The water kept rising.
Grandma Bessie and Great-granddad had to be helped into the attic. He was
sick and could not get around well.
Granddad Reed found our house under water to the second story when he
came back from Portage with the buggy. There was no way he could get to the
house. Dad went for help at the fire station across the street, but there
was nothing they could do.
Sometime that night the lights went out, not just ours but everyones.
Johnstown was in total darkness. The water started going down after
midnight. We were not the only family trapped in their home. The flood
level is recorded on the outside of the Penn Traffic building which is next
to the city fire station.
Mother always told me concreting the Johnstown river banks after the
1937 Flood was quite a project.
Mary Reed Trunk was short, had dark hair and blue eyes. She grew up in
Portage, Cambria County, Pennsylvania and educated in the Portage pubic
schools, graduating from the Portage High School in 1931. After marrying my
father Thomas Clifford Trunk in 1935, they moved to the 8th Ward in
Johnstown to live with her parents Sherman Sheridan and Elizabeth Pearl
(Ling) Reed. Grandfather Ling had lost his money and property in Portage
during the Depression and moved from Portage to Franklin Street in
Four generations lived there together: my grandparents, Sherman
Sheridan and Elizabeth Pearl (Ling) Reed and their three children: Sherman
Sheridan Reed Jr., William Hezekiah Reed and my mother Mary Elizabeth.
Mother and Dad (Thomas Clifford Trunk) married in 1935 and moved in with
mother's parents. I was born in 1936 and my brother Sherman Trunk in 1937 on
lower Franklin Street.
Later there was a house at 200 Sell Street in Roxbury Dad was going to
rent for he, mother and us two kids, but Grandfather Sherman Sheridan Reed
rented it first. So when the move came, we all moved. My brother Tommy Trunk
was born in 1948 when we lived in this house. Sell Street is in the Roxbury
section of Johnstown. My two uncles Sherman Sheridan Reed and William
Hezekiah Reed were in the service.
My mother has a sweet heart and I never heard her say bad things about
people. She is a little person being 4 foot 10 inches and weighing 85 pounds
when she was married. She never hit us kids and with so many living together
she put up with a lot.
She belonged to the Evangelical Church pastored by Reverend Hammer. He
baptized the three of us: me, Ruth; Sherman William "Buddy", and Thomas
Dad and she were married 54 years when he died in 1989.
----- Original Message -----
From: "R. Don Troxel" <>
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 3:55 PM
Subject: [PaCambri] Father Modestus letter
> >From Father Modestus to My grandfather, JD Hopfer Portage,Pa. 1936
> 11 March 24,1936
> 741 Railroad Str
> Tuesday, St Patrick's Day at l0 A.M_Baumer Street was under
> At 12 Stoney creek also under water; at 2 P.M.the Mayor ordered all
> stores closed and the streets evacuated. The people climed the hill in
> front of St Joseph church to reach Daisytown. The Frankstown road was
> black with truck loads of people, the side walk black with people as
> far as You could see, the steep hillside was covered with people
> crawling up like a drove of ants..All on account of-the false report
> that the Quemahoning and Wilmore dams had burst. Two deaths from
> fright;10 reported drowned.
> Wednesday 4 P.M..was asked to carry two satchels with the St.Joseph
> Sunday offering up to Daisytown. This I refused, but said I would go
> to Anselmn Farabaugh's house as it was not in danger of the f1cod
> about 3 blocks away. When I got there I found the whole family with
> about 6 other families on the street ready to go to Daisytown. I told
> them I came to hold down the Farabaugh house but if they choused they
> could go on to Daisytown. Well they all remained with me in the
> house..About 5:30 they all went home for their supper. I ate supper at
> 6 PM., there. At 7:30 the elec-light replaced the candle light. So I
> asked the Missis to send two of her daughters to the next house to
> remain with the bedfast man and tell his wife to come over for a
> change from the sick room. We played pinockl uritil 10 PM. In the mean
> while a family of 6 came about 9 P.M.. with blankets to pass the night
> . Well 10 PM. is my-time to be at home in bed so I went.
> home and had a good nights rest. Well at any rate that section of
> Johnstown slept in their beds.
> Mrs Annie Farabaugh Dishard's house was flooded.She tramped to Daley-
> town and is with her cousin Shellhammers. Mrs Fred Farabaugh Reavel
> Riddle was flooded from home and is safe. August Borkey(of Patton)
> flooded and safe. Mrs Homer Wirtner Lutringer Resslerl,staff
> photographer was takirig photos for the Johnstown evening Tribune and
> suffered a slight stroke.
> He and family are with Ben Lutringer on Grove Avenue. I have heard
> nothing of Cameron Bottom Farabaugh in Coopersdale.,
> The business section of the town has about all the store windows
> broken, frame buildings ruined. Pianos ?and furniture floated down to
> Pittsburgh. Cambria City and Coopersdale were abot the hardest hit, 7
> Churches in Cambria City and no Mass in them last Sunday. At ST.
> Joseph here Mass at 6/7/8/9/10/11/12. People frcm Cambria City and St
> Johns church with several hundred soldiers were at the church
> services. I said Mass at. Daisytown and 7,30 & 10
> The Daisytown St Gregory Hall is headquarters of the Red Cross,
> Commissary and sleeping place for women The men are at the Daisytown
> hall. The Colord people were in the U.B church. Some were in ST
> Gregory Church Tuesday night. St.Joseph hall here is headquarters of
> the Penn Gass & Electric Co. There are 7 -16ft tables in the hall for
> their meals. Some sleep in the same A few families are sleeping in the
> school hall.. The State Police and about a 1000 army men are on duty.
> A pass is requiered on the streets. On the corner below the church
> corner there are two These soldiers attended Mass in squads in. ST
> .Joseph Church.
> The Penn Electric and Gass Co. Men are here from Erie, Warren, in fact
> from all Western Pa. It is a horrible site down town.
> In highest esteem
> Fr. Modestus, O. S. B.
> R. Don Troxel
> 1012 Webster Ave
> Portage, PA 15946
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