James Rada Jr.

“Look! Up in the sky!”

“It’s a bird.”

“It’s a plane.”

“It’s a poultry farmer?”

On March 1, 1914, a powerful blizzard struck the East Coast. The winter storm hit many of the mid-Atlantic states. Allegany County got about 10 inches of snow, which is mild compared to some other areas that received four times that amount. However, the county had to deal with fierce and destructive winds. The Cumberland Evening Times reported that the wind blew at hurricane velocity all day and picked up speed in the evening.

The newspaper reported, “Tin roofs were ripped asunder, and carried away, chimneys were dismantled, wires town down, and heavy damage done to plate-glass fronts in stores and buildings.”

Thousands of dollars in damage were reported as small buildings and chimneys toppled and windows shattered.

Although no accidents were reported along the rail lines, trains ran late because of the time needed to clear the tracks of snow. People feared for the railroad men going up and down the mountains if they had to go outside because the wind might blow them off the train.

The area’s mountains may have compressed and channeled the winds along paths where they accelerated to greater speeds.

This may explain, in part, what happened to John Moore in Cash Valley.

Moore was one of the owners of the Dale Poultry Farm. In February 1911, Moore, along with Professor Dennis Boyle, Frank Herriman and Daniel C. Moore, purchased the former Hahne Farm at the intersection of Cash Valley and Jenning’s Run Valley. They announced their intention to start a poultry farm.

“The farm will be fully equipped with the most modern system of coops, yards, feeding appliances and incubators. Only the higher classed breeds of chickens, those especially suited for table purposes, will be stocked,” the Cumberland Evening Times reported.

The location was along the Erie extension of the Western Maryland Railroad and near the C&P Railroad, so it would be relatively easy to transport chickens to markets in the east and west like Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Moore was outside during the blizzard, checking on his stock, when the wind loosened his hat and carried it off.

“Mr. Moore reached for the hat and was engaged in a whirlwind that carried him almost a mile, landing him against the side of a building and causing him to fall unconscious to the ground,” the Cumberland Evening Times reported.

This seems almost unbelievable, especially when Moore was reported to be six feet tall and weigh nearly 300 pounds, but the newspaper received its information from the Cumberland Police.

Also, incidents of heavy objects being swept up and carried off in storms with hurricane-level winds have happened.

Moore spent most of the next day giving his battered body a rest, although he did go into Cumberland to visit a doctor.

Moore apparently only stayed in the poultry business until late 1915. A newspaper advertisement offered a “97 Acre Limestone Farm” for sale in November 1915. “It is considered the best tomato farm in Allegany County,” the ad promised.

The farm was located three miles west of Cumberland and had 1,000 “thoroughbred” chickens, six head of cattle, two horses and five hogs. It also had two orchards with peaches, apples, pears and plums. It was a turnkey operation that came with all the equipment, barn, outbuildings, blacksmith shop and a 10-room house.

John Moore was listed as the contact person.

James Rada Jr. can be reached at jimrada@yahoo.com or 410-698-3571.

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