icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Online Collection

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.

label levels:

The Mill River flood of 1874 captured the imagination and sympathy of a nation preoccupied with disasters. Three weeks after the flood (in which a reservoir dam failed in western Massachusetts and killed 139, making it the most deadly dam failure in the U.S. at the time), the national magazine "Harper's Weekly" (circulation 160,000) featured the flood's heroes on its cover. When the dam's gatekeeper, George Cheney, saw the dam begin to crumble, he raced downstream on his bareback horse to warn residents of the coming disaster. Collins Graves, a milkman on his morning route, picked up Cheney's alarm and sped ahead of the flood to warn residents in the villages downstream. Cheney and Graves saved the lives of hundreds and achieved national celebrity. Harper's correctly asserted that one of the affects of the flood would be the permanent distrust among people living downstream from man-made reservoirs.


top of page

"Harper's Weekly Journal of Civilization" illustrations of Mill River Disaster Flood

illustrator   Theodore R. Davis
publisher   Harper & Brothers
date   Jun 6, 1874
location   New York, New York
width   11.0"
height   16.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Illustration
accession #   #L05.011

Look Closer icon My Collection icon Transcription icon Detailed info icon

ecard icon Send an e-Postcard of this object

See Also...

"Daily Graphic" newspaper illustration- 'Birdseye View of the Williamsburgh Reservior with the Ruined Dam'

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

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

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback