Three Children Meet their Watery Grave in Local Rivers – Lane County, Oregon – July 1880


A boy meets a watery grave in the Willamette.  Body not yet recovered.

Thursday afternoon a distressing accident happened near the bridge at this place, by which a son of Mr Jarett was drowned.  It appears that Mr. J., who has a boom constructed across the river for the purpose of catching posts dislodged by the late high water, was engaged in this business Thursday afternoon and his son, aged near nine years was standing probably two-thirds of the way across the river on the boom.  He was seen by his father just previous, but while Mr. Jarett’s back was turned a moment he, by some mischance, fell headlong into the water, which at this place was deep and swift.  On turning again toward the boom, Mr. J. at once noticed his disappearance and although all possible hast was made to the spot, the cruel flood had already closed over the son.  Word was at once passed to town, and plenty of willing hands went immediately to the river to assist in recovering the body.  Search with grappling irons was carried on till 10:30 that night and next morning was continued without success.  Several blasts of giant powder was exploded in the water at intervals below the boom, and at the time of going to press, 3 o’clock Friday afternoon, the boy had not yet been discovered.”  Oregon State Journal (Eugene), July 17, 1880, pg. 5, col. 3.  University of Oregon Knight Library, Newspaper Collection.

The following week another drowning was reported:

McKenzie River – Lane Co. Oregon


Two children drowned in the McKenzie.  One body recovered.

It becomes our painful duty to record another distressing accident by drowning, and again the victims are innocent children.  Last Saturday afternoon a boy and girl of John Gilbert’s, who lives about eight miles from town, near Hamerslay’s ferry on the McKenzie river, with another child, were playing on the bank of the river, and in the course of their sport went on a large rock which juts out into the water, and were engaged in throwing a small line into the current, when the boy, aged only seven years, slipped into the ? flood.  The little girl, nine years of age, with true heroism, strove with all her might to pull from the water her brother, but the slippery rock did not furnish a sure foothold, and she, too, was carried way.  There, in the solitude of the forest, with the roaring of the waters, instead of a mother’s soothing voice, these poor children sank from sight.  At last accounts the body of the boy had been recovered.  The high stage of the river makes it unlikely that the other body will be found.  The parents have the true sympathy of the community in their sad loss.” Oregon State Journal (Eugene), July 24, 1880, pg 5, col. 3. University of Oregon Knight Library, Newspaper Collection.


About gtoftdahl

Researching in Oregon Newspapers
This entry was posted in Eugene History, Lane County Oregon History and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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