Johnstown Flood Stories

                      John and Joe Plummer 
                  and the Johnstown Flood of 1889

     John and Joe Plummer were both engineers on the Pennsylvania
Railroad on May 31, 1889, the day of the Johnstown Flood. Both John
and Joe had their homes in Conemaugh Borough (a suburb, 2 miles up-
stream from the City of Johnstown, Pa.), and Joe was to lose everything
in the flood. John was working that day and as he headed through the
town of South Fork, Pa. (about 8 miles upstream from Conemaugh) headed
toward Johnstown when he heard the news that the South Fork dam had 
broken. (South Fork dam was situated about 2 1/2 miles up a tributary
stream, east of the town of South Fork). John continued with his train
toward Johnstown, "I guess he let her go", opened his window, keeping
the whistle blowing and ringing the bell, yelling "head for the hills,
the South Fork dam has just broken".  When John and train reached 
Conemaugh, Joe was waiting for him and stopped him.  After some 
discussion, after which Joe threatened to hit John over the head with 
an umbrella if he didn't abandon his freight train and head for the 
hills. They reached high ground safely, and observed the "wall" of 
water roar through Conemaugh, upsetting the locomotive John had 
None of their families were injured in the flood.
         --From notes of Chessie (Plummer) Fisher, daughter of Joe.

         The Engagement Ring and the Johnstown Flood of 1889

    Joseph (Joe) Plummer (1862-1940) was married to Elizabeth (Lizzy)
(Masterson) Plummer, and as is the custom in weddings, an engagement
ring is an important part of the pre-marriage tradition.  Joe had
gotten Lizzy a beautiful ring which she prized very highly, so highly
that she wore it on only special occasions, prefering to keep it
secure in a little box, which was kept in a drawer upstairs in the 
bedroom of their home in Conemaugh, Pa. -- Then came the Johnstown
Flood of 1889, which completely wiped-out their entire home of all
their possessions, including the highly prized engagement ring.
    Several weeks after the flood, and during the clean-up, a neighbor
who lived down-stream, found the ring in a mass of flood debris, and
returned it to Lizzy. The ring was passed from Lizzy's most senior
daughters and is now in the proud possession of Chessie (Plummer)
                --From notes of Chessie (Plummer) Fisher-1984


Plummer, John. "The Three Plummer Stories". "Richard Plummer American 
Heritage 1767-1984". Pennsylvania, 1984. Pg. 7

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