Over the broad, fair valley,

Filling the heart with fear,

Comes the sound of tramping horses,

And the news of danger near.

'Tis the enemy approaching,

One can hear the muffled drum,

And the marching of the soldiers,

As on and on they come.

Soon the air is rent in sunder,

Bullets flying sharp and fast,

Many stout hearts fail and tremble,

Every moment seems their last.

On the ground lie dead and dying,

Young and old alike must fall;

None to come and aid the sufferer,

Fight they must for freedom's call.

Many are the anxious loved ones

Praying for the war to cease,

Waiting for the right to conquer,

Bringing freedom, rest, and peace.



May 31st, 1889, is a day that will long be remembered with horror by the

people in the beautiful valley of the Conemaugh, in Pennsylvania. On

that date occurred the terrible disaster which is known to the world and

will be named in history as the "Johnstown Flood."

For many days previous to that date it had been raining hard, and great

floods extended over a vast region of country in Pennsylvania, New York

and the District of Columbia. Never before had there been such a fall of

rain in that region within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. The

waters in the river and creeks of that beautiful valley rose rapidly and

overflowed their banks, while the people looked on in wonder, but

seemingly not in fear. Suddenly there appeared to their wondering gaze a

great bay horse galloping at break-neck speed and bearing a rider who

waved his hands to them and cried: "South Fork dam will burst. To the

hills for your lives." Only a few heeded his words of warning, while

many mocked and jeered. On dashed the rider to warn still others of the

impending danger, and, alas, to be himself and horse dashed to death by

the massive timbers of a falling bridge. South Fork dam did break, and

the mighty waters of Conemaugh Lake were hurled with resistless force

upon the doomed people of that beautiful valley. The terrible details of

the appalling disaster would fill several volumes larger than this. On

rushed the mighty waters, sweeping onward in their flood dwellings,

churches and buildings of every description, whether of wood, brick or

stone, until Johnstown was reached and destroyed. The town was literally

lifted from its foundations. Thousands of men, women and children were

caught up and swirled away in the pitiless flood, and their agonizing

but vain appeals for help could be heard amidst the mighty roar of the

waters. Many acts of heroism were performed by brave men and women--yes,

and boys--in rescuing victims of the flood. Only one of them concerns us

here. Charles Hepenthal, a schoolboy, seventeen years of age, who was on

his way to Bellefonte from his home at East Liberty, Pa., on the evening

of the flood, stood quietly among the passengers on the express train,

as they crowded to view the terrible havoc done by the flood. As the

flood reached the train, at Sang Hollow, a small frame house came

pitching down the mad tide, an eddy floated it in, near to the train, so

close that the wailing cries of an infant were heard, piercing their way

through the roar. Charles Hepenthal's heart was touched and his courage

was equal to the emergency. He determined to rescue that little wailing

waif from a watery grave. Strong men urged him to desist, insisting that

he would only sacrifice his own life for nothing--that it was impossible

for any one to survive in the surging waters. But the boy was resolved.

He cut the bell cord from the cars, tied it fast to his body, and out

into the whirling gulf he went; he gained the house, secured the infant

and returned through the maddened waters with the rescued babe in his

arms. A shout went up from the passengers on the train. "Wait!" he

cried; "there is still another in the house, I must save her!" and,

seizing a plank to use as a support, he plunged again into the surging

waters. Ah! his struggle this time was harder, for his precious load was

heavy. In the floating house on his first visit he found a little girl,

apparently ten years old, disrobed and kneeling beside her bed, on which

lay the screaming infant, praying to her Father in heaven to save her

and her baby brother from the fury of the flood. "God has heard my

prayer," she cried, as Charles entered the door. "Oh, save the baby,

quick," and then fainted away on the floor. When Charles had landed the

babe in safety and returned again for the girl, he found her still

unconscious on the floor, and the water was fast flowing in at the door.

In another minute she would have been drowned. But the brave boy's manly

arms were soon around her, and with his precious load the young hero

fought his way back to land and was given three times three cheers and a

"tiger" by the passengers of the day express.


In the latter part of 1880, at a time when the Washington monument had

reached a height of 160 feet, an adventurous and patriotic cat ascended

the interior of the shaft by means of the ropes and tubing. When the

workmen arrived at the upper landing the next morning, and began to

prepare for the day's work, pussy took fright and, springing to the

outer edge, took a "header" of 160 feet to the hard earth below. In the

descent which was watched closely by two score of men, the cat spread

herself out like a flying squirrel and alighted on all fours. After

turning over on the ground a few times in a dazed manner, she prepared

to leave the grounds and had gotten almost beyond the shadow of the

monument, when a dog belonging to one of the workmen pounced upon her

and killed her, she, of course, not being in her best running trim,

after performing such an extraordinary feat. One of the men procured the

body of the dead feline, smoothed out her silky coat, and turned the

remains over to a representative of the Smithsonian Institution, who

mounted the skin and placed it under a glass case. The label on the case

tells this wonderful story in a few words: "This cat on September 23,

1880, jumped from the top of Washington's monument and lived."

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