|Birth: ||Jul. 4, 1877|
|Death: ||Aug. 30, 1909|
Shanghaied from Memphis, Tennessee to a whaling ship, ship wrecked, survived on a cold island for two weeks, rescued, and sailed on to Sidney, Australia. From there he worked his way to Seattle, Washington and finally back to Arkansas. Below is a transcript from a letter written on 24 Aug 1908 about Willie Aubrey Clower, known as Aubrey. It is written by his sister, Florence Myrtle Clower Key, to their sister Sallie:
Dear Sallie - Gurdon, Aug 24, 1908
I am going to write you good news, but it is a long story but hope I will get it told so you will understand it. We were made so happy yesterday by receiving a long letter from Aubrey telling why he had been silent so long. When he left to come here, he got to Memphis too late for the Little Rock train so had to stay there till 9 o'clock that night. Well he walk around all day that eveing, got his supper, walk around some more, then decided it time to go to the depot. Instead of going down Main St., he just walked along 4th St. and that was along the river and not lighted very well. While crossing one of the dark places, he was struck on the head. When he came to his self he was in such a dark place and found his hands and feet tied so all he could do was to call. When he did so some one answered not very far away but to his supprise the other man (Albertt Morison) by name had been caught about the same way. Well after a while they began to move and they found out they were on a steam boat. They were carried along in this dark little place with only half enough to eat for 12 day then they were transfered to what is called a whaling ship. They are ships that are out to sea two and three years, and they pay men so little that they can't get them so they kidnap them as they did Aubrey. Oh, they were treated so mean and made to work. There was only the Captian and two mates, one negro, 10 dagoes, Albert and Aubrey. They had stolen them all. I can't tell you near all, but Oh, how we all cried and laught but the letter was so sad he said he could have stood the treatment and hard eating but then he would think of the supence we and Fannie (Note: Aubrey's wife) was in he would nearly go crazy. Well they went along for some time still going South till a strom came up. The vessel was wrecked. He and Albert wouldn't go in the life boat with the captian but tied there selves togather and jump in the water. It was so cold they nearly froze. They caught on a piece of timber; the storm didn't calm down till morning then they floated about three miles to an iland. It was all covered with snow. They were froze so stiff tell they could hardly move but he kept rubbing and beating his self till he could walk, he had some matches but had to wait for them to dry and out of they all he got a fire started. Poor Albert was not able to do any thing and had such a cold and his fever was being to rise, well, Aubrey built a good fire then went around to see what he could find, but the iland was small and only found snow and ice. He came back to the fire and staid till morning then went in serch of something to eat, found a few fish came and cooked them over the fire and eat them without salt or bread. Albert was worse and next morning died. Just think poor Aubrey was on a lonely iland and the only person on earth was there dead. He buried him in a cave as he nothing to dig a grave then he was there 14 day before a ship came along. I can't keep from crying every time I think of it. I don't know how he kept from going crazy but he said he know it was our prayers that saved him. When he was the ship he said he nearly went crazy for fear they wouldn't see him but he made a fire then took off his shirt and made a flag and waved it and hollored with all his strength till they say him. They sent a boat out and took him on board. It was a French vessel bound for Sidney Australia. The Captian could talk a little English so he told his story. He was sick for two weeks but as soon has he was able he worked for his passage. They landed in Sidney the 20 of July, started back to the U.S. the next day on the San Predo working his passage. They landed in Seattle Wash. Aug. 19 and will come home as soon as he get money enough but we can't wait for him to make it but will send it to him. I just wish you could have read his letter it was the sadest I ever read. The boy Albert hadn't seen his mother in 4 years and was on his way to see here when he was caught. He gave A. his address and told him to write her what became of him. I forgot to tell where the iland was. The captain of the vessel that picked him up said he was 150 below Cape Horn just think he has been around the globe, he wrote us and Fannie while on board the ship and mailed it in Seattle as soon as he landed....
Everything is very dull so I can't think anny more to write this time but I guess this is enough for one time. I haven't but one thing on my mind any way and that is Aubrey and how God has taken care of him and brought him back so we could hear from him. Just think if he had died out on that iland we would have never have known what became of him. So rejoice with us he is well and on the way home.
Your loving sister, Myrtle
Willie Aubrey Clower is my Great Grand Uncle and Florence Myrtle Clower Key is my Great Grandmother. Her son (my grandfather) remembered when his Uncle Aubrey came home in Arkansas. He arrived on the train in the late afternoon or early evening and the family stayed up all night talking and hearing the "story." The Captain gave Aubrey $10 when they landed in Seattle with which he bought some clothes. Aubrey was killed in a sawmill accident just a year after the letter above.
The original memorial had this information: "Copied by Mrs. Finley Dorris, Mrs. Wm. Ogden, Mrs. Emmett Pryor, Mrs. J. H. Acklen, Mrs. Robert E. Landis. Typed by Mrs. J. F. Draughon. Tennessee Records: Tombstone Inscriptions and Manuscripts (1933.)" My many thanks to these people and James Hill for creating this memorial.
John Simpson Clower (1846 - 1894)
Texanna Parks Alcorn (1855 - 1939)
Florence Myrtle Clower Key (1875 - 1946)*
Willie Aubrey Clower (1877 - 1909)
Mary Anna Clower Moore (1879 - 1965)*
Lula May Clower Wright (1881 - 1964)*
Julia Clower (1884 - 1884)*
Eugene Clower (1885 - 1967)*
Esther J Clower Quinn (1894 - 1918)*
Ruth S. Clower (1894 - 1909)*
W. A. CLOWER
1877 - 1909
Spring Hill Cemetery
Maintained by: Rajordan
Originally Created by: James Hill
Record added: Dec 09, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 32065465