STEUBEN COUNTY, INDIANA

Obituaries



Ellen P Alcott
Mrs. Eli Griffin
James McKillen
Frederick B Wood, MD
Eben P. Haskell


Misc Obits
Russell Little
Gladys M. McKnight
A. L. Hubbard



DROWNED IN THE LAKES.

The beautiful lakes with which Steuben County abounds look innocent enough, and they afford abundant pleasure to those who seek it, but there are dangers which no ordinary care can avoid, and several persons have ended their lives when trusting too much to the kindly disposition of the water. A prominent case in point occurred Thursday, Dec. 27, 1877, when a fishing expedition resulted in the death of two of Angola's citizens, and the very close escape from drowning of three others. The names of the drowned were Simon L. Yandes and Samuel Truesdell. The others were David Yengling, H. Menzenberger and U. L. Piper.

These five men went to Silver Lake, about three and a half miles west of Angola, for the purpose of fishing, and started from Castell's landing just before dark. The boat was a large, new and stanch row-boat, with capacity for carrying six or eight persons. After rowing around the east side of the lake a half a mile or more, and when it was dark, they struck a light and commenced fishing—having excellent luck. When at or near "Ward's Cove" at the southeast part of the lake, and not very far from shore, by some means which none of the survivors could explain, the boat suddenly tipped over and all went into the water. Yandes and Truesdell were at the time of the mishap seated in the stern engaged in rowing. The others were standing in the boat.

When capsized, all five of the men, though suddenly doused in the water, were entirely free from alarm or fear, and all retained their presence of mind, thinking the accident would amount to nothing more than a good wetting and the loss of a few fish. They were, of course, in sudden darkness, but thinking themselves so near the shore they all called it a wet joke and counseled together as to the best course to take in the dilemma. In attempting to turn the boat right side up, they, however, worked rather precipitously, and it turned several times over and remained bottom side up as before. They then thought it best to cling to it in that condition and try to work it toward the shore. After proceeding about fifteen or twenty feet they found themselves encountering the marl-bed which characterized the bottom in that part of the lake. This was a serious disadvantage to them, for they could not find resting place or solid bottom. They, however, kept trying to advance the boat, and worked manfully and with presence of mind and calmness for half an hour or more, when it was discovered that they were making no headway and that the boat was held by the inverted jack-staff in the thick marl.

Mr. Yengling, who was at the bow, got under the boat and at last succeeded in disengaging the jack-staff. This took some time and the men were getting somewhat tired out with their exertions. They now began to cry for help, hoping that perchance somebody on shore might come to their assistance. But after calling for a long time, no help came. Their struggles in the water and mud, which now had on the surface a large quantity of kerosene oil from the jack-lantern, rendered them anything but comfortable, and some of them began to have fears that their success was by no means certain. The old gentleman, Yandes, was becoming quite exhausted and could do no more than to cling to the stern of the boat and keep his head above water. At last they succeeded in reaching the bogs, but were now unable to get the boat any farther, and there was no bottom to the mud—only a soft quagmire over or through which they found it well-nigh impossible to proceed.

Piper, Yengling and Mentzenberger, however, essayed to make their way through, a distance of about thirty feet, to the harder land. Mentzenberger's strength failed him and he sank between the bogs, but Piper, who seemed to be the stoutest one in the party, assisted him up several times, and they finally reached firmer ground. So also did Yengling, but in a very exhausted condition and unable to get farther. Truesdell and Yandes remained at the boat, having raised their bodies upon it somewhat. They could not venture to strike for the shore, but were told to await help where they were. Piper, after much difficulty, made his way through the woods to Mrs. Ward's house, nearly a half mile distant, and then to John Castell's. Mr. Castell and his hired man proceeded immediately with lanterns to the scene of the disaster, and found Yengling and Mentzenberger nearly chilled to death on the shore, whom they assisted to Mrs. Ward's house.

About the same time Silvester Lock and Ben Wheaton, who had heard the cry for help while a great distance from the lake, came to the scene and found that Truesdell had fallen from his position on the boat and was dead in the mud. Yandes was still alive, but unable to move or scarcely speak. There also came Joseph Sharrett and William Henry and others; when, after much work in bridging the quagmire, Truesdell's body was taken out and Yandes was rescued in an insensible state. Mr. Yandes revived sufficiently to express his desire to be saved, but in about five minutes after he was taken into the house he died. Mr. Piper went to the village and gave an account of the fatal adventure, and several of the citizens started forthwith for the lake. Yengling and Mentzenberger remained in the room with their dead comrades until vehicles from town came to carry them home, which they reached about midnight or after.

The next morning the corpses were brought to town and taken to the homes they had left the evening before, full of life and hope. These homes were now scenes of heartrending sorrow and lamentation. On Sunday morning following the funeral of Mr. Truesdell was held at the Disciples' church, Rev. W. P. Alsworth, Pastor, officiating. In the afternoon, the funeral services of Mr. Yandes were held at the Methodist Episcopal church, Rev. G. B. Work, Pastor, preaching the sermon. The funeral of Mr. Yandes was attended by the Odd Fellows, he belonging to the lodge at Auburn, from which town he had a short time before removed.

Mr. Yandes was born in Wabash County, Ind., in 1832, and was in his forty-sixth year. He was formerly Postmaster at Auburn, DeKalb County, and moved with his family from that place to Angola the summer of 1877. He was a harness-maker by trade, and worked for Israel Kemery at that business at the time of his death. He left a widow and nine children, in straightened circumstances. Mr. Truesdell was born in or near Goshen, Elkhart County, and was in the thirty-fourth year of his age. He was also a harness-maker by trade. He left a wife and three small children
Source: History of Steuben County Indiana  Chicago Interstate Publishing Co 1885




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