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*articles extracted from the Wellsboro Agitator and Gazette June, 1890.
--Osceola, June 19, 1890.—Our quiet little village is the scene of much excitement occasioned by a terrible flood and washout here on the evening of June 17th, causing the loss of dwelling houses and property of all kinds and the lives of two persons—Mrs. Betsey Tripp and her daughter, Miss Mary Thompson.
 Tuesday evening about 6:30 or 7 o’clock it commenced raining, the shower coming from the northwest, not hard at first, but gradually increasing until it was a terrible rain literally falling in sheets and covering the surface of the ground with a lake of water.  Holden Brook soon became a raging torrent.  Every bridge across the creek or the road toward Woodhull, but one, was swept away.  Near the building known as the cheese factory the creek—or one part of it—turned toward the public road, cutting off and destroying two or three acres of flat land on the farm of James E. Peters, better known as the Stanton Crandall farm, also washing as out the cellar wall of the house of G. H. Perry, which was unoccupied.
 Just above the tannery, dam and bridge the torrent again divided, leaving the regular channel and passing down through the back part of L. M. Swan’s garden, carrying off the back part of the next house, occupied by Garrison Miller, was carried two or three rods and partly swung around into the highway, the front part torn off and the house nearly torn to pieces.  The next house, occupied by James Miller, was carried back and down stream toward the drying loft of J. W. Hammond & Co.’s tannery and nearly torn in pieces.  The next house that of Lewis Carr was swept away from its foundation and carried down back against the house occupied by Edward Whitmore some twenty or more rods from where it formerly stood.  The house next in this row of buildings, occupied by Charles Terrell, was carried in the same channel and landed a little further down and to the south of Whitmore’s house.  The house standing next to Terrill’s and the last one in the row above the tannery office was swung around from the foundation, tipped up some and a lot of flood trash driven under it.
 These tenant-houses were one and a half story, all owned by the Tannery Company, and stood facing the public road about 50 feet apart and were substantially built and well painted houses.  They were about eight or ten rods from the regular channel of the creek, and between them and the creek was built the house for drying leather.  They were occupied by the families of men who were earning their living by daily labor.  As the flood came upon them so suddenly no time was given them to remove any of their goods.  Charles Terrill and wife were in their house when it went down the stream and were taken out after it landed.  Another long one-story building, unoccupied at the time, was carried down the current and wrecked ten or fifteen rods below its former site.
 The tannery drying house, situated just south of this row of buildings, was badly wrecked and the flood trash piled up against its north side.  A break was made under it in one place and the water flowed under, breaking down the foundation, destroying quite a quantity of oil, etc., and carrying away some of the dry leather.  The Company’s barn, in which were three horses, hay, etc., was part of it carried away, horses and all, and entirely broken to pieces.  The part that was left standing full of hay was moved about the width of the barn.  Two of the horses were pulled out of the water some distance below, and the third one was drowned and lies under the flood trash against the dry-house.  Below, the flood trash was piled against the trestle of the Addison and Pennsylvania railway, which soon gave way, leaving the track and ties suspended about the chasm.  From this place the current swept everything in its way till it struck the trestle of the Fall Brook Company’s railway above the river bridge.
 The bridge across the Holden at Cowanesque street was carried away; also the house occupied by Mrs. Ann Atherton, which was torn to pieces, almost everything in the house being lost.  On the north side of Cowanesque street near the Holden Brook bridge the current carried the lumber shed of S. Tenney’s blacksmith shop across the street, where it lodged against a tree in Dr. Bosworth garden.  South of Cowanesque street a strong current swept through Dr. Bosworth’s garden east of his barn and across Holden street through Mrs. Gifford’s garden, breaking through the grade of the Fall Brook Company’s railway, which was cut through and swung out into the river.
 A strong current also swept from the Holden east along Cowanesque street and around the corner of Dr. Bosworth’s store, cutting a hole four or five feet deep at the northeast corner, and swept down Holden street to the channel in front of Mr. L. P. Davis’s house.  In fact, the whole corner from Holden brook as far east as A. Cadugan’s store was one vast sheet of water which could not be crossed with safety.  The family of Dr. C. H. Bosworth was taken across the street by means of a rope stretched from a tree at the corner of the store to the meat market.  L. P. Davis’s house was turned around and the back end carried off, and the flood washed through it, destroying or badly damaging everything in the lower part of the house.  The two blacksmith shops of James Gleason and Frank Mills were carried from their foundations and piled up against the railway trestle.
 The saddest feature of the whole was the drowning of the two women above referred to.  They lived in a small one story house standing on the west side of Holden street next to Mr. L. P. Davis’s house on the north.  Mr. Davis, after the family had gone upstairs, looked out of the window and saw the two in the room on that side of the house with a lamp.  They went into the other part of the house, leaving that part of the house dark.  It is supposes that immediately after they passed out the front door, attempting to go across the street, and were swept away by the current down Holden street.  This was about 8:30 p.m.  Mr. Truman Crandall, who lives on Tuscarora street, was standing on the wall at the west end of his lot.  He heard Mary Thompson’s voice calling for help as she was swept out into the river through the cut in the railway, but no power on earth could have helped them at that time.  This was the last heard of them, and no one will ever know just how it happened.  If they had stayed in the house they would have been safe, as the house stands as it stood before the flood.  But it is not to be wondered at that they became frightened.  Mrs. Tripp was a little past seventy years of age and was the widow of George Tripp, deceased.  Her daughter Mary was unmarried and was forty seven years old.
 This is by far the worst wash out in the history of Osceola.  The high water was almost wholly confined to Holden brook though Camp brook was quite high.  The Cowanesque was not at all over its bank.
 The work searching for the bodies of the drowned has been prosecuted with vigor, but thus far without avail.  The bed of the river has been dragged with hooks from the point of entrance to below the dam, and the now parties are working farther down the river.


OSCEOLA. June 26, 1890—The most disastrous flood that ever visited this section came upon us last Tuesday evening about nine o’clock.  It commenced raining about seven o’clock in the evening.  The storm seemed centered up north of us on Holden brook.  The water came down in perfect torrents and by nine o’clock the flood came rushing down Holden brook, carrying everything before it.  A number of tannery houses were swept away.  Nearly all the piles in the narrow gauge trestle were taken out leaving the track suspended in the air.  O. S. Kimball’s shoe shop was moved; S. Tinney’s lumber sheds were carried across the main road and landed in Dr. Bosworth’s garden.  Dr. Bosworth’s barn was moved from its foundation, and L. P. Lewis’s residence was moved from it foundation and badly wrecked.  Two blacksmiths shops were carried further down the stream.  Mrs. Betsey Tripp’s house was not moved, but she and her daughter, Miss Mary Thompson, are missing and it is supposed that in trying to escape from the house they were carried down the turbulent stream and drowned.  The river is being searched for the bodies, but nothing has been seen of them as yet.
 The flood trash came down and lodged against the broad gauged trestle as in the June flood last year.  About twenty houses and barns were moved from their foundations, and a good share of them was badly wrecked.  Some of the families in the tannery houses lost nearly all their effects.
 The search for the bodies of Mrs. Tripp and her daughter has been kept up, but without avail.  A part of the dress skirt, supposed to have been worn by one of them, has been found hanging to some barbed wire that had been carried down the stream, but that is all up to this date.
 The village has been thronged with visitors from all up and down the valley since Wednesday morning.
 The barn from the farm of Linus Toles was moved down the stream about 75 yards and left standing on the farm of G. L. Catlin.
 Mrs. Ann Atherton, who lived in a home at the right end of Holden brook bridge, owned by Mrs. L. B. Cadugan, was got our of the house and a part of her household goods were saved; but before they could all be got out the house was carried down the stream and went to pieces when it struck the pile of flood trash that was lodged against the Fall Brook trestle.  A subscription of $100 has been raised for relief, which will be a great help to her in getting her started again.  It is a very commendable move on the part of those who started the project and carried it to a successful termination.
 Others of the flood sufferers have received substantial proofs of the generosity of the more fortunate citizens of Osceola and the adjoining town of Elkland.
 The following additional particulars regarding the disastrous storm are taken from the excellent report of the Elkland Journal.  The principal sufferers are Henry Klipple, Gat Miller, James Miller, Louis Carr, Dunk Mosher and Charles Terrill.  Mrs. Terrill was sick in bed when the flood came upon them, and was rescued with difficulty.  The tannery yard of R. Hammond & Co. was badly washed and gullied by the water and two bridges connecting buildings on opposite sides of the creek were carried off and the dry house, which contained a large quantity of finished leather, was undermined, and partially wrecked.  They also lost one horse and all their wagons and harnesses.  The loss is estimated at about $10,000.
 Below the tannery the gardens of Augustus Smith, J. W. Elliott, A. S. Crandall and R. Casbeer were washed out and covered with debris.  When the storm was at his barn, which stood on the bank of the creek, to look after his cow.  When he started to return to the house the barn was entirely surrounded by the flood, and he was kept a prisoner until the water subsided.
 [most of this article is unreadable] (continuing with the story relating to Mrs. Tripp and Mary Thompson)—When the water started to come into the house they became panic stricken, and rushing out in the storm and darkness were overwhelmed in the flood.  Several persons heard their cries for help as they were borne away by the angry waters, but were powerless to save them.  A large party of men has been dragging the creek and river since Wednesday morning, but their bodies have not yet been found.

--OSCEOLA. July 3, 1890—The body of Miss Mary Thompson, one of the ladies who was drowned during the flood of the 17th ultimo, was found in an eddy of the Cowanesque river a little way below the iron bridge Elkland and Nelson on Saturday night by a party from Nelson who were spearing fish in the river.  The body was lodged on some willows where the water was high, and when found was partially out of the water.  It was out of the main current, and when the fishermen came opposite they were guided to it by the smell arising from it.  They went and procured a team and wagon and with great difficulty placed it into the wagon and brought it to Osceola just at daylight on Sunday morning.  Mr. John Thompson was notified, and he went to the wagon and fully identified it as the body of his sister, Miss Mary Thompson.  The body was very much discolored and swollen to double its normal proportions, so that they had a box made and it was taken to the cemetery and buried as soon as possible.
 The funeral services of Mrs. Tripp and her daughter were held at the M. E. Church, of which they were members, on Sunday morning at eleven o’clock following the burial of Miss Thompson.  Rev.  J. O. Jarman officiated, assisted by Dr. S. H. Moon, of the Presbyterian Church.  The church was filled to its utmost capacity.

--OSCEOLA. July 10, 1890—Vague reports are in circulation concerning the conduct of the parties who found the body of the late Mary Thompson, a victim of the Osceola flood.  Something scandalous is hinted at; but it would seem to be the part of wisdom to stir up the matter as little as possible unless specific charges can be made.

--NELSON. July 8, 1890—Below is a true statement concerning the finding of the body of Miss Mary Thompson, who was drowned June 17th.
 Last Saturday night we procured two bags of pine, a torch and spears and went to the river, near the mouth of Thornbottom Creek, to fish.  We had not gone far when we saw another fishing crew coming behind us.  They soon overtook us.  We speared up the river a ways until their oil gave out, and then they went home.  We went on until we reached the Ellison cuddy, and there we stopped on a gravel bar to renew our torch and then started out when Loney Finch says:  “What smells so?”  We went up the river a ways, but could smell nothing.  We came back down to where we first discovered the smell.  We crossed the river the old dug road.
 While looking around C. A. Finch discovered a body hanging on a low willow over the water and about half out of the water.  On further examination it proved to be the body of the missing Mary Thompson.
 We went home about midnight, got A. D. Persing’s horses and C. A. Finch’s wagon and drove over to the river  and put the body in the wagon, and drove up to Osceola, reaching there about four o’clock.  We went to I. P. VanZile’s , called him up and told him we had found one of the bodies of the drowned women and had brought it to Osceola.  He then went to John Thompson’s and told him they had found the body of his sister.  He then came and looked in the wagon and said “Oh, it is Mary, Yes, it is Mary.”  He then went to L. R. Davis’s and got a coffin.  We then told them if they would put the body in the coffin and bury it, we would go home satisfied.  But they could get no one to help, and if we would stay and bury the body they would pay us for it.  I. P. VanZile said they would give is $5 a piece, and wanted us to wait until George Fisk came down from Knoxville to attend the funeral.  They would get the money and pay us before we came home.
 After the funeral we went to VanZile’s, got our team and drove up to John Thompson’s to see if they had got the money of Mr. Fisk, as we were hungry and tired and would like to go home.  He asked id $5 a piece was satisfactory.  Most of them were satisfied, but Mr. Persing thought he ought to have $10 because he furnished the team.  Mr. Thompson gave us $25.  He said he would willingly give is $100 if he could, as he thought we had earned it.  He thanked us kindly for what we had done, and thought we had done them a great kindness.  Mrs. Albert Crandall invited us to dinner, which favor we gladly accepted.  We then came home, reaching here between three and four o’clock.
 This is not from reports this is from those who were there.  Local papers please copy.  Signed:  C. A. Finch, A. D. Persing, Loney Finch, and Claude Stevens.  [related story below at July 15th]

--OSCEOLA.—LETTER TO THE EDITOR.—On July 8th you published a “Personal Statement” signed by C. A. Finch, A. D. Persing, Loney Finch, and Claud Stevens, that contains such a mass of falsehoods and insults to the people of Osceola that it must not go unnoticed.  They have thrown down the gauntlet and must not complain if they are severely handled.
 Early Sunday morning, June 20th, the above named stopped in front of the store and dwelling of I. P. VanZile, uncle of the dead girl, with the body of Mary Thompson, and calling him out, C. A. Finch asked him if there was a reward of $100 offered for the body, saying he understood there was the others looking on with hungry eyes; VanZile said there had no reward been offered, “but no doubt you will be paid for your trouble.”  He and John Thompson, Mary’s brother, then asked them, as they were still hitched to the wagon to haul it into the cemetery, leave the wagon and came back there to breakfast.  They brought their team, and all ate breakfast at VanZile’s.
 Neither VanZile, Thompson nor any one else asked either of these fellows to help bury the body, or to handle it in any way.  When the box was got ready, these four fellows crowded others away and were insultingly officious in putting the body in the ground, and hurried the operation in a very suspicious way.  Yet they publish—“But they could get no one to help, and if we would stay and bury the body they would pay us for it.”   There were twenty eight people of Osceola at the burial, and scores of willing hands would have helped had a chance been given, but these thugs prevented, as far as they could, any interference by others.
 Mary had about $40 with her when she left the house, and they were putting the body in the box it was proposed to search her pockets, when C. A. Finch spoke quick as a gash—“You can’t do that; you couldn’t find her pocket if you did.”  A bystander said:  “I think the way “Gust” speaks he knows you couldn’t find it.”
 All the time they stayed in town they were demanding pay, Finch and Persing repeatedly saying they wouldn’t do the job over for $100 and what an awful job it was to lead and bring up the body.  James Gleason and VanZile agreed with them to take $20 for their trouble, although they demanded all the way from $100 down.
 After the funeral they drove in front of John Thompson’s and loudly demanded their pay.  John said:  “It is Sunday, and I am a poor man and haven’t the money, but I will get it and bring it down to you early in the morning.”  Persing swore he’d not leave the town till he had his pay.  They were very profane, and swore so loud where the friends were preparing dinner that the people got disgusted with it and ordered them to stop; but Mrs. A. S. Crandall, who was helping the Thompson’s get dinner, more wise than men, asked them in to dinner, and when their mouths were full of John Thompson’s dinner, they stopped swearing.  She also wrote an order on her husband and got the $20 to pay them.  But Persing then demanded another $5, which was paid, and they took their glutted carcasses out of Osceola.
 Jacob Brooks located the body by the scent early Saturday morning while on his way to Elkland; smelt it again on his return, and told Sam Finch, his wife, and Lyman Bliss, who lives next to C. A. Finch.  Philo Stevens, father of Claud Stevens says:  “They finished making their torches just about 10 o’clock, and as the clock was on the stroke of eleven Claud came in saying they had found the body of Mary Thompson and he was going to help take it to Osceola.”  His father said, You must eat some supper before you go.  Claus said, I’ve just ate supper over to Finch’s.  They brought home no fish.  This, Philo Stevens told to seven Osceolans Sunday afternoon before the return trip of the four.
 Mary never left home without a little hand bag in her hand, in which she carried her money and other trinkets.  No one ever saw her without it.  C. A. Finch told J. D. Campbell, “She was gripped on the willow branch limb so tight with one had we had to break one of her fingers to get her loose.  So she must have come down there alive.”  One hand was mutilated.  A lady where one of the Finch’s works says they had been hunting for the bodies nearly every night, expecting a reward would be offered of $75 or $100.  These fellows knew where the body was before they made their torches, provided themselves with carbolic acid, --{their bottle refilled at Osceola}—went directly to Ellison’s eddy, got the team and wagon and backed up to the body and loaded it into the wagon.  They brought the body of Mary Thompson five miles over a rough road lying on her face, with nothing between her and the rough, dirty boards of a filthy farm wagon box, the body covered with a little hay and an old carpet; and for what?  Money!  Nothing else.
 They had no thought of human kindness or decency.  Human feelings did not actuate them, for when a lady told Persing how glad she was they had found one of them, and hoped they would find the other, he grunted out, “Huh?  I didn’t know as it makes any difference whether she is found or not; we get neither thanks nor victuals for this one.”
 What a home-coming for poor Mary Thompson, who has many a time worn herself out to make some sick one more comfortable, some corpse more presentable.
 I have written this at the request of John Thompson.  Respectfully yours in the cause of humanity.  C. L. Hoyt.

--OSCEOLA. July 24, 1890.—Nothing has been discovered as yet of the body of Mrs. Betsey Tripp, who was drowned here in the flood of June 17th.  A party of searchers is going to dig over the gravel bar this evening at the mouth of the stream, where it is supposed she was carried out into the main channel by the freshet.
 Mr. John Thompson has received a threatening postal card signed by “the boys at Nelson, who you will hear from again” if he does not come down in ten days and settle for the slanderous piece that was recently published in the Knoxville Courier.

--OSCEOLA.—Several parties went out again yesterday afternoon (Sunday) to search for the body of Mrs. Betsey Tripp, but they returned without finding and trace of it.  It is thought that it must be buried under some of the many gravel banks which were thrown up by the floods.


OSCEOLA. July 26, 1890—The body of Mrs. Betsey Tripp, who was one of the persons drowned here in the flood on the 7th of June last, was found near Cook’s station on the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim railroad yesterday, and parties here were notified of the fact.  About 2 o’clock in the afternoon John Thompson, a son of the deceases, and I. P. VanZile, her brother, started for the place, taking with them the undertakers from Elkland and everything necessary for bringing the body home.
 The body identified as that of Mrs. Tripp was found about eight feet above low water mark and mostly covered by roots, leaves, small sticks, sand, etc.  It had evidently been left there as the water had gone down.  I understand it was on a pile of flood trash or something of that sort.  Of course the body was badly decomposed, remaining as it had for nearly six weeks at this season of the year.
 The party arrived at this place about nine o’clock last evening and buried the remains in the cemetery.  I am told that the Coroner was notified and a Jury summoned, who found a verdict in accordance with the facts in the case.

The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933
--OSCEOLA. August 5, 1890.—The friends and relatives of the late Mrs. Betsey Tripp desire to express their heartiest thank to Mr. Terrill and others at the place where the body was found, for their kindness and help; also to those at Lawrenceville who so kindly assisted them.

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