Sad Accident Was Endeavoring to Swim from Boat to Shore When Taken With Cramps. All Newton was shocked and the hearts of all the people of the city beat in sympathy with the parents when it was learned this morning that Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Plummer’s son Marshall, a bright, lovable lad of fourteen years, had been drowned in Little River near Claassens Mill, eighteen miles northwest of the city. At first the friends were unwilling to believe that such a misfortune had happened but telephone reports from the scene of the accident confirmed the story and all hope that the news might be erroneous was at an end. As telephoned from a farm-house at the scene of the accident, the lad was boating with three of his companions when the accident happened. He was one of the party of boys who marched out to the mill with the Y.M.C.A. camping party in charge of Secretary Moore and Virgil Donaldson. With the three boys he got into a boat this morning and rowed about for a while. Finally, according to the report, he left the boat to swim to shore. He was seized with cramps and sank before help could be summoned. One of the boys in the boat swam to his aid but could not save him. The body was found and brought to the surface after an hour and a half’s work.
News of the accident was promptly telephoned to town and to the parents who were almost prostrated by the awful story. Ezra Branine took the parents, a couple of their neighbors and a physician to the scene of the accident in his automobile. Shortly after noon today an undertaker was summoned from town and the body was brought here late this afternoon. It is at such times as these that friends feel the utter inadequacy of words to express their sympathy with those afflicted or to convey comfort and hope. The boy was their only child, their pride and joy, and the blow is one that is indeed hard to bear. The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Friday, June 19, 1908. Page 2.
Was Close To Shore
Marshall Plummer’s Drowning Was In A Peculiar Way. His Efforts To Save Himself Were Hampered By His Clothing Which Fell About His Feet. It was a sad company of boys that wended their way into Newton last evening from the Y.M.C.A. camp out at Claassen’s mill. The unfortunate accident that cost the life of one of their companions yesterday morning disheartened the boys and they immediately broke camp and came to town. The body had been brought to Newton about four o’clock in the afternoon and the grief-stricken parents and returned shortly before. From members of the party the details of the accident are received. The boys of the camp had been bathing. Still wearing their bathing suits, some of the older boys manned a couple of boats and went up the river to put out some trot lines. Returning, they stopped at a point half a mile above the dam to dis-embark and to put off their bathing suits and don their clothes. Some of the boys had gone ashore and only Marshall Plummer and Robert Mayberry remained in the boats.
An amusing incident happened when Marshall prepared to jump into the water and to go ashore, and he in common with the rest of the boys, was laughing heartily. It is the belief of his companions that Marshall swallowed a large quantity of water when his face struck the water and that he choked upon it. To add to his troubles his clothing slipped down around his feet, so that he had no use of his legs. As he struggled in the water the boys thought he was playing, and Bruce Woodbury was the first to realize that his playmate was in trouble. He promptly waded to the rescue, the boat being only twelve feet from the shore. Reaching for Marshall’s body he caught a good hold but the drowning boy grasped him around the head and nearly pulled down into deeper water. He freed himself and then reached for Plummer’s body but it had gone down. When it arose, he again grasped it, but was again forced to free himself from the clutches of the drowning boy. When the body came up the third time, Woodbury could only clutch him by the hair, which was too short for him to get a good hold. The boy sank this time never to come to the surface again alive. Mr. Moore, who was giving his attention to some smaller boys farther down the stream, was promptly summoned as also was Virgil Donaldson. They dived repeatedly in the effort to get the body but failed. Farmers, and expert swimmers from the country round, were summoned and they swam and dived for nearly two hours before the body was finally located and brought to the surface.
The place where the drowning occurred was less than three feet from a point where the water was so shallow that a person could wade to shore. Marshall was a good swimmer and only the day before had swimmed across the river at this point. The only theory his friends have of the accident is that he was choked with water when he struck the surface and that in his struggles his clothing became entangled about his feet and made him powerless. Continuous efforts were made to resuscitate him after his body had been recovered and the work was kept up until a physician arrived. At times it seemed as if he might be breathing but the hopes of this proved groundless. The funeral services over the body of Marshall Plummer will be held tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 o’clock at the mouse, 219 West Seventh street. Rev. W.V. Burns will conduct. The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Saturday, June 20, 1908. Pages 2 & 5.
Marshall Plummer’s Funeral
The funeral of Marshall Plummer was held yesterday afternoon at the home and was attended by a vast assemblage of friends and family. The sermon was preached by Rev. W.V. Burns of the M.E. Church and a quartet consisting of Mrs. B.O. Hagen, Miss Lois Burns, Mr. Charles Kirkhuff, and Mr. Bert Walker sang. Mr. Kirkhuff also sang a solo during the services. The pall bearers were made up of the associates of the deceased.
A profusion of beautiful flowers were sent in by friends of the family and together with the many acts of kindness extended by neighbors and friends are a source of great comfort to Mr. and Mrs. Plummer. Interment was made in the city cemetery. The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Monday, June 22, 1908. Page 1.