Center, WA Coles Lake Drowning, May 1905


Boys Went Swimming While Parents Were Away.

Coroner Lockhart was notified yesterday morning, although his services were not required, of the drowning at Gibb's Lake of two boys aged ten and twelve years, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Williken.

It appears that the parents were absent at Center during the Decoration day exercises Tuesday and that the boys concluded to have a swim and went to the lake a short distance away. Their clothes were found on the bank after a search and their bodies were found in ten feet of water after a drag of the lake.

It seems that when the parents left that they told the boys to drive in the cows in the evening and when they returned and found them absent they at first supposed that they were on this duty. Time going by and their failure to return caused the uneasiness that led to the search and the subsequent findings the clothes on the bank of the lake. The clothing was not discovered till yesterday morning and the bodies recovered soon after.

Port Townsend Daily Leader, Port Townsend, WA 1 Jun 1905


Frederick Wendleken and Julius Margraff of Center, were in the city yesterday amking[sic] arrangements for the funeral of the two sons of the former, who were drowned on Decoration day in a small lake near Center known at Cole's lake. It was stated in the report of the sad accident that the drowning occurred in Gibb's lake but this turns out to have been an error.

The gentlemen state that from the appearance of things, it would seem that the boys had been swimming on a log near the dam in the lake, as a log was found in the water convenient to the place that they were drowned. They must have been taken with cramps, as the water was not very cold, and were unable to reach shore. The family seems to be afflicted in the matter of accidents as it was only a few years ago that they lost a son be[sic] being burned in a fire at the home.

Port Townsend Daily Leader, Port Townsend, WA 2 Jun 1905