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JJ Lyr Req: Night of the Johnstown Flood (54* d) RE: Lyr Req: Night of the Johnstown Flood 21 May 09

Albion W. Tourgee's poem is a wonderful piece of folk art, but alas, there is very little truth in it.

According to the Johnstown Flood Museum, no one has yet been able to find a Daniel Periton or Peyton in all the Conemaugh Valley, and there are no contemporary accounts of a ride by anyone at all.

The reason for this, according to the Rev.David Beale's 1890 book, THROUGH THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD, is that such a ride was impossible.

"The South Fork dam and lake are nine miles in a straight line from Johnstown, and over fourteen miles by the turnpike. This road is the only way by which it is possible to ride from the lake to the city. The greatest speed of a horse for that distance would not accomplish the ride in less than an hour. Then the ride through the streets of Johnstown, provided man and horse were not exhausted, would occupy fifteen minutes more. Now, after the dam broke, the flood traveled as fast as the horse could run. The time of its passage was about twenty-five minutes, and the entire destruction occupied not more than half an hour. But the streets of Johnstown, besides the greater part of the Valley road, were under water. During the hours when this famous hero is said to have galloped through them, there were from four to six feet of water in all our streets; and the housekeepers were engaged in removing carpets and furniture from their lower floors. The impossibility of a horse galloping through Johnstown between noon and 4 o'clock is at once apparent."

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