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The Mill River Disaster.
Verdict of the Coroner's Jury.

SPRINGFIELD, July 3. The verdict of the coroner's jury in the Mill River disaster investigation is published in full in to-night's Springfield Union. It censures the Legislature for inadequate and defective legislation on the subject of reservoirs; the mill owners for their parsimonious disregard of life and property; the engineers for ambiguous and inefficient specifications; the contractors for manifest delinquencies and want of thoroughness in their work, and finally the County Commissioners for accepting a dam so shabbily built, when they had the power to order its entire reconstruction.

"A full and Graphic Account of the Terrible Mill River Disaster, in Hampshire County, Mass., May 16, 1874, with Full Details of the Loss of Life and Property at Williamsburg, Skinnerville, Haydenville and Leeds."
The above is the title of a nicely printed 48 page pamphlet published by Geo. H. Wood." For sale at the News Room by A.F. P. Conant, agent for its sale in this village.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The coroner's inquest investigated the cause of the Mill River flood deaths. A jury of prominent men from Hampshire County called 42 witnesses, including the principals involved in the construction of the Williamsburg dam (which broke and caused the flood) as well as professional engineers knowledgeable in dam construction. The jury deliberated for several weeks and reached this verdict which assessed blame on all of the parties involved in the dam's design, construction, and operation. But the verdict's breadth was also its weakness; it spread the blame so thinly that it stuck to no one. There were no indictments and no civil suits. In 1874, the flood was the deadliest dam failure in the U.S.


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"The Mill River Disaster" article from the Journal of Industry newspaper

publisher   Journal of Industry
date   Jul 11, 1874
location   Orange, Massachusetts
height   5.75"
width   2.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.006

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See Also...

Page from Josiah Allen diary regarding Mill River Disaster Flood

Page from Amasa Jones diary regarding Mill River Disaster Flood

"Mill River Calamity" from "Harper's Weekly"

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