Blairsville, PA area Flood, Mar 1936

George Hill, of Huff, West Wheatfield township, was injured in rescuing the members of a family trapped in a home in the flooded district of Huff on Tuesday night. Procuring a boat he took the victims from the home, but all fell into the swirling waters when the boat overturned. They managed to reach a tree, where Hill held them until they were rescued. Hill sustained an ugly gash on his head while engaged in the rescue.

Indiana Weekly Messenger, Indiana, PA 19 Mar 1936


The question of helping to reestablish and re-equip approximately 125 homes of flood victims in the county is now of major importance. Possibly 75 families in the Blairsville, Blacklick and Graften district lost most of their household goods and are needing help to carry on their home life. Each of these cases will have to be investigated to secure the necessary information for supplying the articles needed. There are possibly 50 other families in the same condition in other sections of the county, and this phase of the relief work will involve considerable time and expense.

The inter-county bridges spanning the Conemaugh river at Bolivar, Blairsville, Livermore and Tunnelton and the county bridges at Campbell’s Mills and Aultman over Blacklick creek were swept away by the flood and a number of others were damaged.

In the Blairsville district most of the damage occurred on the Westmoreland county side of the Conemaugh river. Two houses were swepp [sic] away and others were damaged in Bairdstown. Joseph Kawalk, a farmer in the Bairdstown community, lost 1,300 chickens, a cow and four [illegible] and a truck.

Samuel Liggett, a farmer residing in the Huff community, suffered the heaviest loss in that flood-stricken district. He was in Indiana last week serving as a juror in Court and was not aware of the loss he suffered until he reached his home on Thursday at noon. Three of his cows and one horse perished in his barn which was badly flooded and damaged. All his chickens, 100 Leghorn hens, were lost and his poultry house, 18x40 feet and two brooder houses, 12x14 feet, were swept away. At least nine of his 12 acres sown to wheat and rye were utterly ruined and much of his orchard destroyed. Water stood five feet in the first floor of the home, which was badly damaged. His wife and son, Robert, and daughter, Mary who were driven to the second story of the home, remained there until Wednesday noon. Three members of the Blacklick fire department made an effort to take the family from the home on Tuesday night, but failed when their boat overturned. They were thrown into the raging water, but managed to climb up into a nearby tree where they were trapped until rescued on Wednesday morning. Others hard hit in the Huff community were Oliver and Mert Boring, whose homes were swept away, and William Henderson and William Lute, whose dwellings were badly damaged. Water rose four feet higher than during the Johnstown flood in 1889.

The old Stear grist mill, located along Little Mahoning creek at Smicksburg, was wrecked by the flood. The mill, which was for many years operated by water power, was conducted by E. A. Stear, a descendant of the original owner.

When the swirling flood waters of Blacklick creek wrecked the Campbell’s Mills summer resort on Tuesday at midnight, it swept away the old historic mill building originally constructed of logs, which stood on the site of one of the earliest flouring mills erected over 100 years ago by General Charles Campbell, a pioneer. Roy Baker, the proprietor of the resort, watched the old mill slide from its foundation and go over the empty piers of the bridge swept away earlier in the evening. As it was carried down the stream and went over the top of the McCormick bridge it completed its journey some distance below on the Clark Dunlap farm, badly wrecked by its wild ride down the raging creek. The McCormick bridge, although badly damaged by the flood waters, can be repaired and probably will be opened to traffic this week.

Nathaniel Rager, a farmer living in the vicinity of Campbell’s Mills, was hit hard by the flood. His ten cows and a number of hogs perished in the raging waters.

Indiana Weekly Messenger, Indiana, PA 26 Mar 1936