Friday, June 10, 2005

Accidnets Nearly Fatal

This is from the Ypsilanti Commercial of June 11, 1870.

Last Saturday s a young lady and gentiman of this City were on the River between the Woolen Mills and the Paper Factory boat riding for pleasure and to gather specimens, the lady, in attempting to reach a lilly, tipped the boat so far over as to fall into the water, which was not far from twelve feet deep, and must have drowned had it not have been that the gentilman with her, being an expert in the art swimming, even so much so as to be almost swan like, rescued her from the water without harm to either of them. We could give the names of the parties, but think it Wright, perhaps in this case not to do so, but have another case of a still more serious character. As Mr. Fletcher Moore of Saline and Miss Kanouse, of York, were returning from this city to the home of the young lady, on the evening of the same day, and when only about a quarter of a mile from her home, and in a deep ravine which the highway crosses, a sharp flash of lighting came so near and with such force as to completely blind them, meanwhile the horse stumbled off the bridge at a hight of ten to twelve feet, thereby throwing Mr. Moore over a substantial rail fence of more than ordinary hight, and in stricking on the ground received a severe wound on the head, while Miss Kanouse fell off the bridge to the ground but was not seriously hurt--After a few minutes they walked to her home. The carriage was badly broken up and the horse, a valuable animal, killed.


At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sure ain't that deep now. The deepest spot is maybe five ft deep. And usually lily pads grow in shallow areas. Maybe they exaggerated the folly of the woman.

Further upstream, near the Bennet house. A friend made the mistake of standing up in a canoe. This was about 8 years ago. We spun completely upside down before I could tell him not to stand up. We had to canoe another couple hours to Frog Island smelling like the AA waste water treatment plant. I never canoed with him again.

One time, maybe five years ago, several of us kayaked from Dixboro to Frog Island. We had to pull onto the floating dock at Leforge dam to portage around the dam. When we pulled up to the dock there was a man standing on the dock (he seemd slow, or mildly retarded) asking if we had seen a little girl. We all replied that we had not. He said she was just standing on the dock a few minutes ago. I walked around the edge looking (maybe she had wandered off) Then a few more people came running down from the apartments above. Screaming, looking, very concerned. Then you could hear the fire engines.
By then we all had our kayaks off the dock up on the grass. The water was brown like coffee and cream. Couldn't see a thing. So before the fire truck even stopped, one fireman jumped off and ran right off the dock into the water.
He was up to his chest in water. He roamed around, once and awhile reaching down to feel. Then when he was right in front of the dock (where we pulled the layaks out) He reached down again. This time his probing looked more intense. Then with one motion, he flung the girl out by the arm in a huge circular motion and slapped her onto the dock.

All at once eight fireman (four on each side) were pushing on her, one mouth to mouth. At least 15 minutes had passed since we had pulled up. There wasn't much hope. She was dead. People were wailing. We left. Not the relaxing summer float you would expect. And if only someone told us she was right in front of the dock.

I still see children unattended there all the time. There is also no railing overlooking the river 25 ft below on the east side of the dam structure. One can almost predict the newspaper article slated for sometime this summer. And I hope the New aparments being built wall or fence off the river for kids sake. Otherwise its an attractive nuisance waiting to happen.


At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: Boating seems to be hazardous in the Huron, not because of the swift currents or depth of the water. But of the myriad of obstructions that cannot be seen from above the water. Tires, trees, transmissions, grocery carts, etc., all seem to want to grab hold of you when you fall into its midst. When I turned in the canoe, I opend my eye underwater to get my bearing. All I saw was giant tree branches that looked like monsters grabiing for me. Or perhaps it was the malted beverage talking.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to professor Hinsdale, who wrote the well-known book on Native Americans and early Washtenaw, the river used to be an average of about 5 feet deeper in Native American times than it is now with its myriad dams.

YD's story is chilling and scary. He's right of course; there are lots of kids hanging around in that area all the time. Bless the fireman for doing such awful work as fishing around in a river for a child--terrible.

One wonders about the guy on the dock. Really wonders. I'm gonna see if I can find a newspaper story about this tragedy. YD makes a good point about a fence around the river. River on one side, train tracks and a busy, very wide street on the other, college students on a Saturday night in between...a recipe for disaster unfortunately. --ypsidixit


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