Seymour, IN Fred Kerl Drowning, Jul 1907

Seymour Daily Republican newspaper, Seymour, IN
Monday 15 July 1907; Front Page, Column 1


Fred Kerl Loses His Life While Swimming to White River

Fred Kerl, age about sixteen, son of August Kerl, 620 W. Laurel Street, was drowned about ten o'clock Sunday morning while attempting to swim across White River.

He and a number of companions had gone in bathing about a half mile below the New Ford Bridge. They had arrived at the river shortly after 9:30 and after they were there a short time he bantered some other member of the party to swim across the river with him. The other party, it is said, not only refused to make the attempt but plead with young Kerl not to try it.

The current was swift and the young man was carried down the river about a quarter of a mile. Frank Coombs followed him and was within about five feet of him when the boy sank for the last time in mid stream. Coombs had swum so far that he was almost exhausted and did well to save himself without attempting further to rescue the boy.

The report of the accident reached the city about 10:45 and searching parties were organized at once and hurried to the river bank. The river had been up for the past few days on account of the recent rains and the water is very muddy. It was evident that it would be quite a task to recover the body.

After dinner the crowd on the river bank was increased to about two hundred people. Many were swimming back and forth across the stream and diving here and there and wading in the shallower water near the banks. There was about seven feet of water in mid stream and here a number of men were going up and down the river and back and forth searching the bottom of the river with poles and hooks.

Later in the afternoon a drag was made with some wire netting but it was difficult to manage and no good results came from this attempt. About 5:30 Mr. Masoher's gasoline launch arrived with an extra boat to assist in the search. At supper time many returned to the city but others remained out and worked till nine o'clock, when the returned without the body.

Young Kerl had worked at several of the factories here and some time ago went to Indianapolis and secured employment. He came home Saturday afternoon to spend Sunday and, we understand, was to have returned to Indianapolis today.

Quite a number of men returned to the river this morning early to continue the search.

LATER - The body was found about 3:15 this afternoon three quarters of a mile down stream from where he went in.

Seymour Daily Republican newspaper, Seymour, IN
Tuesday 16 July 1907; Front Page, Column 6



Body of Fred Kerl Located Tuesday Afternoon

The body of Fred Kerl, who was drowned in White River Sunday morning about ten o'clock, was found about one o'clock Tuesday afternoon after being in the water about fifty-one hours.

There were some fifty men and boys at the river during the day Monday. Along in the middle part of the day they began to use dynamite in an attempt to raise the body. They began near the bend of the river, about a quarter of a mile below where the body was last seen, and charge after charge of dynamite was exploded during the afternoon and evening without results.

There was some delay Monday afternoon on account of the false report that the body had been found. Some of those who had started out to the river with eatables for those who were searching and with other supplies, met persons coming to the city who reported that the body had been recovered, and they turned back. It is said that an object floating down the river was mistaken for the body and that some person started to the city with the report before an investigation had been made. The coroner had been notified but was called up again a few minutes later and told not to come.