|Birth: ||Apr. 25, 1889|
|Death: ||Jul. 19, 1901|
BOY HERO DIES TRYING TO RESCUE A LITTLE GIRL FROM A WATERY GRAVE
CARL JOHNSON AND DELLA DREAMER, TWO TWELVE YEAR OLD CHILDREN, BATHED ONCE TOO OFTEN - NEGRO BOYS TOLD GIRLS THE WATER WAS NOT DEEP. ETHEL ORR MISSED SAME FATE BY HAIR'S BREADTH
Saturday morning at 10:30 o'clock two children were drowned in Spring River near the pump house of the Waterworks Company, 100 feet below the North Main Street bridge. They had been in the water fifteen minutes and both were dead when taken out.
One was little Carl Johnson, son of A. P. Johnson, the pump man at the waterworks, and the other was Della Dreamer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dreamer, who live on North Main Street. Mr. Dreamer is in the employ of the Frisco, and was at Garden City, Kansas when the accident occured. Both were twelve years old.
It has been the custom of a number of children in the north part of town to go bathing in the river every morning and sometimes in the afternoon. Yesterday they went down as usual and two of their number for the last time. Ella and Ethel Orr, Dell Sigler, Della Dreamer and Carl Johnson were all there. The two little Orr girls and the Dreamer girl went into the water. They were clad in loose wrappers, which they used for a bathing costume. the Siglaer girl and the Johnson boy did not go in. She sat on the bank watching them, and the boy had already been in the water fishing with a small minnow sein. He had been accompanied by some negro boys, and they had grown tired and quit fishing.
As the girls had been in the habit of going down to the water wading and bathing, no fear was felt for them by their parents. Then, too, the water at that point at the deepest place is not more than six feet deep, and that is only in one place - the fatal place.
The negro boys, whom no one knew except the boy, and he was dead when taken out, are severely censured for their action. They were out of the water, and called to the girls to wade out farther, as the water was not deep. They had been in seining, and the girls took them at their word and started out. Della Dreamer and Ethel Orr were wading side by side. the water did not get very deep and they seemed to have plenty of confidence.
Suddenly, as the Dreamer girl took a step forward, she sank nearly out of sight. The Orr girl was a little behind her, and missed the step-off into death water. As the Dreamer girl went down she screamed for help, and the next instant she was in deeper water still and sank out of sight.
Heroism was displayed then by the little 12 year-old boy, Carl Johnson, who died trying to rescue his companion. Sitting on the bank when the girl went down the first time there was not a moment's hesitation. He had been literally raised on the river as his father's house was not 200 feet away, and was a strong swimmer and perfect master of a boat. His father had often said he had no fears for the boy for he was as much at home in the water as he was on the land. He was perhaps fifty feet from the girl but he shot across the space like a flash and plunged into the water. At her side in an instant he waited for her to come to the surface. As she did so he reached out and got hold of her dress and started for the bank. At this point the surely fatal thing so dreaded by the bravest and strongest swimmers happened. The girl reached up and tried to get her arm around his neck. He avoided it the first time and was swimming with great power for one so small, but the next instant the girl made another grab for him and this time grasped his neck and down they both went.
There were a number of spectators across the river, people who had camped there, and they were horrified as they saw the two go down together. They were too far away to reach them in time to render assistance and were almost too horror struck to move until they saw the two children sink together. They screamed to them, but it was too late. The children came up three times and each time it could be seen the boy ws locked in deadly embrace. He struggled, but it was useless and when they went down the third time they were seen no more.
As soon as the Dreamer girl stepped into deep water Ethel Orr rushed frantically to the pump house up on a high bank 100 feet from the river to tell Mr. Johnson , who is engineer there. She had not spoken three words until he grasped the situation and started for the water. when he reached the scene the water had closed over his boy and the little girl and did not ripple indicated where their bodies lay. Directed as well as the words of the children could indicate he waded into the water and began the search. The agony he suffered was not shown. He worked systematically and with care. James French, who lives in Kendricktown, was crossing the bridge when Mr. Johnson called to him for help. There was by this time a crowd of people gathered attracted on the bank by the excitement and all joined in the search for the bodies. James French was wading in the deepest place where he could just touch bottom when his foot struck a body and he dived for it. It was the girl and she was on the bottom close to some brush and driftwood in the stream. She was not tangled up in any way. the body was carried to the bank and laid on a cloth and willing hands did all that could be done to bring back breath to the limp form but life was extinct.
J. V. Pearman of the planing mills was in the water with Mr. French and in a few minutes he found the boy's body. It was on the bottom and also close to some driftwood about twelve feet east of the place where the girl lay. He was carried to the shore and Dr. Ketcham, who had arrived by this time, worked with him faithfully but was of no use. He was dead. They had been in the water perhaps twenty minutes before they were taken out.
A great crowd had gathered on the banks of the river by the time the bodies were rescued. Mr. Johnson sat under a tree and great sobs shook his sturdy frame. Mr. Dreamer was at the Johnson home utterly prostrated.
Both bodies were taken to the Johnson place and later the body of the Dreamer girl was taken to her mother's home. Loving hearts and willing hands were there to lend all assistance possible. Mr. Johnson has two daughters, one of whom is in Kansas City, and she was telegraphed for last night. His wife has been dead 10 years and he has raised his two youngest children himself. the one that was drowned was the only boy he had. It was a terrible shock, but he bore up under it bravely. He has been engineer at the pump house ever since the water works were started and has many friends here who sympathize with him in this hour. The undertakers took charge of the body, but as yet no funeral arrangements have been made. The engineer's place at the pump house is filled temporarily by Matt Pringle.
The agony of the father in the death of his only son is in some degree relieved in the knowledge that he died a hero's death. He gave his life in an effort to save his companion from death, a youthful hero whose act of courage is not excelled. He was a bright little fellow and well known about town.
At the little cottage occupied by the Dreamer family, just north of Waddell & Brown's grocery, on North Main Street, there was a pitiful sight. The little golden-haired girl was brought to her home shortly after the drowning and laid upon a couch in the sitting room and efforts were made to save her. Sympathetic neighboring ladies crowded to the home and used every known and available means to restore her consciousness. At first it was thought she was still alive, but as one by one the ladies bent over her searching for some little flutter of life in the still, cold remains, they gave up. Meanwhile the grief-stricken mother was entirely prostrated by the awful blow that had fallen upon her household. Upon being brought from the scene of the drowning she was assisted from the buggy and could not stand and had to be held by two ladies to keep her from falling. then the physician threaded his way between the little awe stricken group to where the child lay. He quickly made a skillful examination and found life extinct. The pitifulness of the scene grew tenser as the sad news was broken to the mother. Up to this time she had hoped that there might be some little hoope of her child's life but when told that there was none she sat with drawn face and moaned and wrung her hands in grief. Kind friends were nearby and assisted in soothing her, but the grief was too great and she could be heard mourning the loss of her child for a block. The father of the little girl is not at home, being employed in the pump station on the Frisco at Golden City, Kansas. He was immediately telegraphed for and arrived on the next train. Della Dreamer was a beautiful child of 12 years of age. she was about the size girls usually are at that age and at the time of her death was clad in a short cotton frock of a pinkish color. She has always attended school and was one of the brightest in her class. In the neighborhood of North Main street where she lives she was a favorite among her companions. After all hope had been given up, the undertakers took charge of the remains and prepared them for burial.
The funeral of Carl Johnson will be held this afternoon from the home, and the services will be conducted by Rev. Mr. Toomay. The hour was set on account of the arrival of the trains from Kansas City, and it is supposed Miss Louie Johnson will arrive in time for the funeral.
The funeral of little Della Dreamer will be held some time this afternoon from the home on North Main Street.
Andrew Peter Johnson (1839 - 1930)
Anna Hertner Johnson (1860 - 1896)
Emil Johnson (1882 - 1882)*
Emma Louise Johnson VanValkenburg (1885 - 1980)*
Ella C. Johnson Marsh (1887 - 1985)*
Karl Andrew Johnson (1889 - 1901)
Plot: Park Lawn Sector Bl 33 Lot 50 Sp 8
Created by: I Remember When
Record added: Apr 08, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68096535
Added: Aug. 21, 2013
Added: Aug. 21, 2013
Added: Sep. 16, 2011