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"Terrible Horror" article from the Journal of Industry newspaper

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Newspaper coverage of the Mill River flood of 1874, in which 139 residents of the Mill valley in western Massachusetts died after a reservoir dam burst, was in keeping with public taste for stories of survival and the death of innocents, emphasized the horrors of the disaster. But as the headline of this article "Terrible Horror" makes clear, the event was so awful that no exaggeration was necessary to hold an audience's interest. One third of the dead were under age ten, most killed at home with their mothers unable to hear any warnings. Several heroes raced ahead of the floodwave to alarm the factories, so comparatively few factory workers died. Twelve women became widows and nine men, widowers. Twelve more men lost their wives and all their children. Five entire nuclear families, both parents and all the children perished.


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