"City, Survivors to Mark Deadly '28 Dam Break" (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 9) reminded me of letters exchanged between Wyatt Earp and William S. Hart (a famous movie cowboy). Dated May 4, 1928, Earp sent a letter to Hart at his Newhall Ranch, inquiring about the flood: " ... so much confusion about that time ... the St. Francis Dam disaster occurred shortly after ... what a terrible affair! We have wondered if you were affected in any way?"
Hart answered on May 8, 1928: "The breaking of the dam was, as you say, a terrible disaster. Only those who were in it or near it can realize how tragic it all was. The town of Newhall was not harmed in any way but at one time there were 78 bodies in the little shack that had been converted into a morgue. I do not think it will ever be known how many people really lost their lives. A boy in my emply (sic) at the ranch lost his father, two elder brothers, two elder sisters, their husbands and their little children and he, although 16 years of age, is left to support two little girls aged 9 and 7 and a younger brother, 13, and only half of his relatives' bodies were recovered. One family lost eight members. It was all frightful."