Billings, MT. Boat Capsizes, July 1909


Billings, Mont., July 25. -- (AP) -- Four lives were lost this afternoon by the capsizing of a boat filled with Sons of Hermann picknickers on the Yellowstone River, two miles south of this city.
Among the drowned is JOHN STAFFELL, a Montana pioneer. He was dragged to his death by three young girls, who seized him when the boat overturned, and perished with him. They were PRESSIE WEST, aged 16; MINNIE TAGGONER, aged 15; and a child of 6, not identified.
Although the craft was capable of safely bearing but three persons, eight picnickers, under the guidance of MR. STAFFELL, got into the boat, and when it was about 150 feet from the bank the 15-year-old daughter of J. C. Bland leaned over the side of the boat, causing it to ship water. This frightened the girl, and with a scream she leaped from her seat into the water, capsizing the boat and throwing all into the swirling current, which quickly bore them into midstream.
The Bland girl managed to cling to the boat and was rescued, as was three of her companions.

Los Angeles Herald California 1909-07-26