Chesterfield, NH Lake Spofford Drowning, May 1882
As regards the time when the accident probably happened, it may be said that on Saturday evening at about half past six Elbridge Hubbard of Chesterfield and his son and Willis Ray of Dummerston were driving on the Westmoreland road to Stowell's brook when they noticed a boat adrift in the water and remarked that some one had lost a boat. They did not take sufficient notice to observe whether the boat was right side up, but about the fact of the boat being seen by them, there is no doubt.
During the forenoon or Saturday the hats of the two men, Conly's overcoat and the undercoat and the oars of the boat were found scattered along the shore. Conly's hat was found about 350 feet east of the spot where the boat was found; his overcoat was 150 feet east of this point and the other coat and hat and the oars were scattered along at points still further east and north of this. Beyond these nothing belonging to the missing men has been found and there is nothing to indicate with any certainty the place where the accident occurred and where the bodies be. The opinion of those who are most familiar with the lake, and who have looked the ground carefully over, is that the bodies are lying off the west side of the island, near the northern point, and not many rods distant from the shore of the island. On Saturday afternoon, when the wind was blowing in the same direction as on Friday, Azor Marshall lay down his boat off the fishing rocks near the Westmoreland road and allowed the boat to drift ashore at its will. It brought up within two rods of the line on which the boat of the missing men was found, a fact which goes to prove the theory of the location of the bodies already mentioned.
On Sunday a large number of people were present at the lake and the work of dragging for the bodies was vigorously prosecuted. During the afternoon the course covered by the boats was marked by buoys and for some time nine boats were dragging in line over regular adjoining boats. On Monday the dragging was continued and toward night a cannon was taken over to the island and repeatedly fired with charges of 2½ lbs. of powder. About the same time an experiment with quicksilver was tried at some one's suggestion. Quicksilver was placed in a loaf of bread and set afloat, the theory being that it would float to a point over the bodies and there remain stationery. The bread was watched until dark without manifesting its supposed mysterious power, the only peculiar thing noticed being that it seemed much of the time to drift against the wind.
Miss Kellogg arrived in Brattleboro from Burlington on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday afternoon drove over to the lake and was shown every point of interest connected with the disaster. Monday afternoon she returned to New York with the members of her company. Monday noon a brother of Conly arrived from Boston and Monday night an older brother of Rietzel came. Both of these have since been at the lake doing all in their power for the recovery of the bodies.
Toward night yesterday about a hundred rock cartridges were exploded in the lake at various points where the bodies are supposed to lie. There was a plainly perceptible agitation of the earth and water by these explosives, but beyond this and killing and bringing up a large number of fish no effect was produced. It has been in contemplation to bring divers here to search for the bodies, and some correspondence has been had in that direction, but as yet no definite decision had been reached, owing in part to the large expense involved in such an operation and in part to the great uncertainty as to the point where the bodies be.