Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remember the Johnstown Flood?

In 1866, 13-year-old Howard Pyle, then visiting Washington, D.C., wrote to his father, “Please tell me in thy letter wether I can stay [in] Baltimore and if I can ask mother what number streat uncle Davis Hoops lives.”

Davis Haines Hoopes (1803-1873) was married to Pyle’s mother’s sister, Mary West Painter (1808-1885), who lived with the Pyle family in Wilmington for several years before her death.

And on this date in 1889, Davis and Mary’s grandson (thus Pyle’s first cousin once removed), Walter Ernest Hoopes (who was then Secretary of the Johnson Steel Street Rail Company), as well as Walter’s wife, Maria, and their two sons, Ernest and Allen, were “swept away and perished” in the Johnstown Flood.

Their deaths resulted in a curious legal proceeding detailed here and elsewhere.

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