(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Josiah Allen, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, heard the news of the Mill River flood in church the next day. That afternoon, his neighbors readied their teams of horse and oxen to drive them to the stricken region where they would be used to pull away flood debris, such as trees, roofs, and boulders, so that men could search for bodies. His son Ed volunteered (like thousands of others) two days later to search and clear wreckage. Since the disaster occurred during planting season, Mr. Allen had to continue his farm chores of planting and weeding. When the Williamsburg reservoir dam broke on May 16, 1874, it flooded a valley lined with factories and farms and killed 139, making it the deadliest dam failure in the U.S. at the time.