On this anniversary of the 1889 Flood. I thought it would be interesting to take the time to look at how the flood impacted one family from the Cambria City neighborhood. A lot of folks had ancestors that either died or lived through the disaster - it's almost like a badge of honor - at least it is to me - lucky enough to have had stories about the disaster passed down. I have often talked about my own relatives in regards to the flood. But today - a new story - sent in by cousin Jude Waples and it's all about her family -The Schafers: You are looking at a picture of Jacob Schafer. He was born in 1840 in Prussia and died in the Johnstown Flood. He was a member of the household (servant or soldier?) at the Royal residence of Wilhelm I in Brandenburg, Prussia. In this picture, he is
holding the reins of the Emperor's White Stallion. Her mother says he was
Captain of the Horse under William I, but in this photo, he is quite young
and his uniform looks like he was part of the Horse Guard who rode with the
Johnstown pre-1889. He was married to Maria Mann. The Schafer or Schaeffer, there are various spellings, arrived in America
in 1873 from Prussia. Records show they place their home in Hesse Cassel.
They left from Bremen.
Jacob work as a Roll Turner at the Cambria Iron Works.
The Schafer Family owned a 'Saloon'...in those days more like a B&B or
boarding house. Jacob lived at 301 Chestnut Street in Cambria City. But also owned the house at 302 Chestnut.
Several Families which married into the Schafer family also lived on
Chestnut including the Klink, Miller and Gloor families.
This is a picture of their daughter Amelia and her husband Charles Frederick Gloor.At the time of the Johnstown Flood, Maria and her husband Jacob, daughter
Amelia - (with her newborn daughter Katherine in her arms) and youngest
brother William, ran to a brick hotel that was close by. They thought it
would be safer. When the water hit, the corner of the building collapsed and
William was swept off the building. Both parents lost their lives trying to
save him. William was saved further down river by a farmer who pulled him
from the water. He was blinded by the debris. He was about
10 years of age. He never married and lived with his sister Louisa (Klink)
until his death in 1942. Jacob's body was found beneath the rubble and
identified by a ring at the Morrellville morgue.
Jacob is buried in the Grandview Cemetery. It is thought that Maria was
swept back down (from the backwash) to the Stone Bridge where she died in the fire that erupted
there. Her body was never recovered. She may be among the unidentified
buried at Grandview.
George, Augusta, William and Louisa. Jacob and Maria had two other children
who died prior to the flood, an infant and Minnie who died about age five
of sunstroke. But that's not even the most interesting bit.
, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. He had over 300 children, legend has it. Her and her brother were the only two he recognised. She was a paramour to many people, including her own father and brother...and died, as a nun.
of Frederick. Jude says the all have his eyes, deep set blue eyes. Especially the
Shaffers as they got older. My Lenz cousin connection of the family is through Amelia - who in the pictures I have of her - had the most amazing eyes - you know - the kind that just draw you in - even now - after all these years.