Chesterfield, NH Lake Spofford Drowning, May 1882
The difficulties in the way of searching for the bodies, either by dragging or otherwise, are very considerable. The water varies in depth from five to forty feet, and at the bottom are many rocks and boulders, between which the bodies may be lying and over which grapnets may repeatedly glide without touching the bodies. It now seems impossible that the bodies will be discovered before they float in the natural course fo decomposition and formation of gases. In hot weather, with the water at summer warmth, from three to five (or nine days at the farthest) would be sufficient to bring them up. Now, however, the water is very cold and will retard rather than hasten decomposition. In this connection the probability must be considered that the bodies are so entangled in the rocks or otherwise that they will never rise by natural means.
Of course it can never be known just how the accident happened. The most reasonable theory is that a hat was blown off and in trying to reach it either Rietzel fell in the water or the boat was overturned, or that an attempt was made to change seats when the overturn happened. In any case great certainty is felt that Conly lost his life in trying to save Reitzel. He was himself an expert swimmer, and the fact of his two coats being found, pulled off at different times, points to the conclusion named. The chances are the Reitzel, in his mortal terror, seized Conly in a way which made him helpless, and both went down. It will be by no means strange if the bodies are eventually found locked together and indicating how they went down.
Surprise has been felt by many people that Miss Kellogg did not, when here, authorize any and all reasonable efforts to be made for the recovery of the bodies at her expense. What her duty was in this respect we cannot undertake to say. It is true, however, that Miss Kellogg and Mrs. Emma (Abbott) Witherell are engaged in getting up a grand concert to be given in New York at an early day for the benefit of Conly's family, which consists of a wife and two sons. Eight hundred dollars in subscriptions have already been raised, Miss Kellogg and Mrs. Witherell each giving $100. R. S. Menamin of Philadelphia, brother-in-law of Conly and publisher fo the Printer's Circular, has telegraphed that, by order of Miss Kellogg and Mrs. Witherall, drafts may be made on Miss Kellogg's manager for expenses incurred in the search for the bodies.
A statement published in the New York Herald--said to have been made to a reported by Miss Kellogg--to the effect that Lake Spofford is "a specially dangerous body of water," that the boat owner is censured for allowing the boat to go without ballast, etc., is without foundation in fact. The boat used by the drowned man is a smooth-built Whitehall or Adirondack boat and as safe as any craft can be. It is true she did not carry ballast, and it is also true that it is not the usual custom of boatmen to carry ballast, the only advantage of so doing being the superior steadiness given the boat with a bag of sand in the bow to balance a second person sitting in the stern.
Lake Spofford has been peculiarly free from deaths by drowning, the last such accident before this having happened in 1827 when James Brooks, a brother of George and F. W. Brooks, was drowned there.
Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, VT 2 Jun 1882