Doddridge County Roots

A West Virginia Genealogy


Female 1882 - 1991  (108 years)

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  • Name Elsie SCHAFFER 
    Born 20 Sep 1882  [1
    Gender Female 
    Died 9 Jan 1991  Cambria Co, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Buried Forest Lawn Cemetery, Conemaugh Twp, Cambria Co, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • **Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - January 10, 1991

      Elsie Frum, 108, the oldest survivor to remember the deadly Johnstown flood of 1889, died in her sleep early yesterday.

      Mrs. Frum was 6 when she and her family fled to a hilltop and watched a horrifying wall of water roar through Johnstown on May 31, 1889, killing 2,209 people in one of the nation's worst natural disasters.

      Mrs. Frum told the Associated Press in 1989 that she vividly recalled the steady, shrill whistle that warned of the impending flood. "My father ran into the house and said, 'Run! The dam has broken!' And we ran. We just got out in time."

      "It was terrible," she said. "It sounded like thunder. It took everything, everything in front of it - (railroad) engines, the roundhouse. It took all the buildings."

      Mrs. Frum died at her home in a Johnstown suburb about 2 a.m.

      She had been confined to her bed since suffering a fractured hip in 1989 and had been ill for the last six months, said her daughter, Eveyln Fondelier.

      "She really could give you some stories if you asked, but she didn't talk too much about it to us kids," said Fondelier, 78, who lived with her mother.

      Mrs. Frum once said she would just as soon forget the flood, but that was difficult after she gained near-celebrity status in her Western Pennsylvania home town as the oldest survivor. She gave more than 30 interviews for the flood's centennial and was an honored guest at an annual banquet honoring flood survivors.

      The banquet will continue to be held to commemorate the flood, said Kip Solomon, spokeswoman for the Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

      "Of course, we'll always continue to honor her memory," Solomon said. ''She was part of the folklore."

      The few remaining flood survivors were infants when the disaster occurred.

      Mrs. Frum is survived by another daughter, Margaret Bowers, 86; a son, Charles Frum, 75; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.

      A funeral will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at John Henderson Co. Funeral Home in Johnstown. Burial will follow at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
      additional information courtesy of RJensen in the forums.
    Person ID I129763  Doddridge County Roots
    Last Modified 4 Nov 2020 

    Family Charles Wesley FRUM,   b. 8 Nov 1887, Marion Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Nov 1954, Johnstown, Cambria Co, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Family ID F56735  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Forest Lawn Cemetery, Conemaugh Twp, Cambria Co, PA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S5] Headstone.

    2. [S14] Obituary.