Ushered In The Great Ice Flood, Which
Wrecked and Inundated Many Homes.
Carried off Bridges and Left Mountains
of Ice In its Track Along the River.

The sun shines brightly on Port Jervis
today , the anniversary of the birth of St.
Patrick, and the "wearing of the green"
is in evidence in many homes where the
good old saint is held in reverence. The
scenes through which Port Jervis and her
sister village of Matamoras have just
passed and tho fears of impending danger
serve to recall the scenes which were witnessed
in this village twenty-nine years
ago on March 17th, 1875 when the breaking
loose of the rivers from their icy fetters
caused terrible devastation all along
the Delaware and great destruction of
property in this village.
In the front windows of THE GAZETTE
are displayed a number of the scenes witnessed
in the ice flood of 1875, in which
are shown the blowing up of the gorge
with nitroglycerine, the carrying off of
bridges, houses wrecked and ruined
families fleeing to the high ground, and
other incidents connected with that event.
The flood had its beginning the day before
St. Patrick's at Deposit, 90 miles up
the river.
The torrents of ice and water traveled
only five miles an hour, but every mile
of its progress was watched and telegraphed
to Port Jervis. The telegraph office
 and river banks were crowded all
through the night. From Port Jervis,
extending up the river, was a solid mass
of ice four miles, piled high with blocks
of ice.
Everybody was astir on the morning of
St. Patrick's Day. At 1 o'clock the police
were sent through the town from house
to house, warning everybody that the
flood was but 20 miles above, and that its
speed was accelerated every minute. Fifteen
minutes later the streets were filled
with hurrying, frightened throngs of men,
women and children. In the meantime
an engine was despatched to the railroad
bridge, four miles above here, and there
the men awaited the coming of the tide.
Gradually the ice in the river began to rise
and within an hour had reached the
spans that supported the structure. Still
there were no violent indications of danger,
but suddenly the bridge trembled
and moved visibly to one side. The engineer
jerked back the bar and the engine
moved off the bridge. Three minutes
later the bridge was borne down the
river with the flood which had become a
raging torrent of tumbling ice blocks.
Under a full head of steam the engine
reached this village in time to issue a
final warning.
As the locomotive came into Port Jervis
some half a dozen other locomotives sent 
forth a shrill scream that defies description.
In less than fifteen minutes
two thousand persons were on the streets,
soon wagon alter wagon came rattling
down the flats, and such a tumbling out
of furniture was never before seen in Port
Jervis. Men were seen loaded with goods
and women and children running, all
seeking places of safety. The hillsides
were lined with spectators, while the continual
shrieking of locomotives and the
ringing of bells added to the confusion
and sent terror into the hearts of many.
Near 7 o'clock a great blast was made
of 50 pounds of nitroglycerine. This had
been previously placed under the ice at
the strongest point of the dam to await
the critical moment when the rise of 
water would make the weakening of the
structure advantageous. This had the effect
of weakening the mass. It threw
large fragments 500 feet into the air and
destroyed the real point of resistance. At
half-past eight o'clock the flood was at its
height. The Barrett bridge withstood
the terrible battering of the ice until the
railroad bridge from above was borne
down against it when its stays snapped like
pipe stems and it passed off in company
with, the other; then the dam gave way
and a shout of satisfaction rent the air,
further danger having passed.
A New York paper commenting on the
flood and the use of explosives to break
up the gorge said, "Had the resolution to
try the effect of blasting been resorted to
a week earlier than it was it is quite
probable that Port Jervis would have escaped
the calamity." 
Reported in The Evening Gazette on March 17th, 1904

Circa 1909 Source: Missouri History Museum

In 1876, The Tri-States Union 
March 17, 1876 stated:
- St. Patrick's day this year will have a double celebration, as it
(the 17th of March) is not only the anniversary of the birth of Ireland's 
patron saint, but also of the evacuation of Boston by the British. 

These back to back storms delivered a One - Two punch.
As it's best to prep ahead - here's suggestions to plan ahead:

At a minimum your kit should include: 

Bottled water (one gallon per person/per day for at least three days)  or at the minimum have water set  aside if you have a gas stove you can poil it on.

Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods that do not need cooking (ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, or juices, protein or granola bars, cereal, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, baby food, comfort foods) - keep these in an easily accessible place - maybe in a storage tub.

Manual can opener
Radio (battery-powered or hand crank), NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries
Flashlight or lantern, with extra batteries 

Cellphone and charger (also an auto, solar, or crank charger in case power is out) 

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities and other basic tools 

Prescription medications (two-week supply) 

Garbage bags, soap, sanitizer, and other personal hygiene items 

Extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, and dentures 

Extra batteries for hearing aids, wheelchairs, or other medical equipment 

Change of clothes, ability to dress in layers,  and sturdy shoes / boots

Copies of insurance policies, bank account records, identification cards (IDs), medical information, and other important documents  - if you need to be evacuated or can't access internet.

Extra cash and traveler’s checks (ATMs may not work during a power outage) Banks may not be open

First-aid kit  

Whistle to signal for help 

Waterproof matches or lighter  - gas stoves hooked to electric need matches to light burners.

Local area maps  

Diapers, wipes, formula, baby food and supplies, if needed 

Water purification tablets

Set water in buckets or large empty plastic soda bottles near toilet to use when you can't flush.

If it's cold enought overnight to freeze, have small plastic bottles or plastic containers filled no more than 2/3 to stick frozen into refrigerator/freezer to help keep food cold longer. Or if there's snow = fill large storage containers with snow instead.

Have critical Power Company & any other utility numbers stored in your cell phone.

Also consider adding:
Watch or battery-operated clock
Household chlorine bleach, which can disinfect drinking water
Camp stove or grill with fuel or canned heat, neither of which should be used indoors
Disposable plates, cups, and utensils
Duct tape, plastic sheeting, or tarp
Seasonal items such as warm clothes for winter and sunscreen for summer
Sleeping bags or blankets
Books, games, puzzles, and other comfort items
Pet collar, leash, harness, crate, food, bowls, current photo, license and medical info 

Info courtesy of Upper Delaware FB page and

After an erratic winter in terms of temperatures, minimal snowfall and warm temperatures  popping up – black bears are already being seen.

                     Support local talent and our MONTAGUE GRANGE!

                                            clipped from
                                     Tri-States Union May 11, 1911


 Excerpted from a Oct. 14, 1918 edition of
 The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis, NY 

Courtesy of   The Evening Gazette newspaper
& an article it ran during WW1

"Epidemics of influenza have visited this country since 1647. It is interesting to know that this first epidemic was brought here from Valencia, Spain. Since that time there have been numerous epidemics of the disease. In 1889 and 1890 an epidemic of Influenza,  starting somewhere in the Orient, spread first to Russia and thence over practically the entire civilized world. Three years later later there
was another flare-up of the disease. Both times the epidemic spread widely over the United States.”

"When crowding is unavoidable, as in street cars, care should be taken to keep the face so turned as not to inhale directly the air breathed out by another person.  It is especially important to beware of the person who coughs or sneezes without covering his mouth and nose. It also follows that one should keep out of crowds and stuffy places as much  as possible - keep homes, offices and workshops  well aired, spend some time out of doors each day, walk to work if at all practicable – in short, make every possible effort to breathe as much pure air as possible.”

"You’re contagious from 1 day before you have any symptoms. 
You stay that way for 5 to 7 days after you start feeling sick. 
Kids may be able to spread the virus for even longer, until all of their symptoms fade."

"What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?

In children

Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

Being unable to eat
Has trouble breathing
Has no tears when crying
Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

In adults

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting
Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough."