Elzie Fleming
Frank Ross

IPAVA — E. B. Fleming and Frank C. Ross were drowned in Spoon river, June 21st, two miles East of Bernadotte. A fishing party of eleven persons left here in the forenoon, arriving at the river about 10 o'clock. About noon some of the parties were preparing dinner, cooking fish, while others were fishing, or getting ready to fish. Mr. Fleming had made a small sein for catching minnows, and was wading in the river dipping up minnows and putting them in a pail. He accidentally stepped off in water about eight or ten feet deep. Not being a very good swimmer, it is supposed he strangled or cramped while in the water, and did not rise until taken out about six hours afterwards. Ross, seeing his companion struggling in the water, dashed wildly in the stream. It is supposed he strangled on rising from the water. He called for help, and came up from the bottom several times. The rapid current carried him swiftly down stream. Some of his companions extended a pole within his reach. He was either unconscious or so strangled that he did not recognize the assistance. His body was taken from the river Wednesday, June 22, at 11 a.m. after having been in the water nearly twenty-four hours. The coroner held an inquest June 22nd and reported death by accidental drowning. The bodies were buried with K. P. ceremonies, and buried side by side, near which will be erected a monument sacred to the memory of both. The love of David and Jonathan, Damon and Pythias was never more fully exemplified that in the sacrifice of the life of Frank Ross for his friend Elzie Fleming.

Two hundred men were on the scene of accident Wednesday afternoon, night and Thursday morning, until the body of F. C. Ross was found. Seventeen divers and swimmers were in the river most of that time, and those who need special mention and public gratitude are Geo. Coakley, Wilbur Lease and Coakley Hellier, they being in the water five hours without intermission. The Knights of Pythias from Canton, Lewistown, Vermont and Ipava, about 100 in number, buried the bodies after form of their ritual. Rev. Herries preached the funeral sermon. About fifty Masons as a body accompanied remains to place of burial. There were fully 2,000 persons in town to attend the funeral, the largest that ever occurred in Ipava. These two exemplary young business men had friends by the hundreds, and there was a universal grief expressed in every countenance. They were born and raised in Ipava and were about 23 years old. The heart-stricken parents and relatives have the sympathy of every one in this sad bereavement.

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Sad Accident At Ipava

Frank C. Ross and Elzie B. Fleming Drowned in Spoon River.

Treacherous Spoon river has again claimed its victims and Frank C. Ross and Elzie B. Fleming, two of Ipava's most promising young business men, occupy graves side by side in the Ipava cemetery.

Early Wednesday morning of last week a party of Ipava's best young men, in company with two traveling men, went to Spoon river for a day's outing. After dinner two of the party went in bathing and asked Fleming to join them. This he did not do, but waded around in shallow water for sport, singing all the while. Suddenly he disappeared from sight and cried for help. When this occurred young Ross was some distance away and while he ran to the river bank he removed all his clothes but his shoes and lunged in to swim where Elzie had disappeared. Wild with a desire to save his companion, who was more than a brother to him, he forgot his own self and became frenzied with excitement. The rest of the party made all possible efforts to save Ross, but he sank and gave his life in behalf of another. It was a noble deed and after many of us are dead and long forgotten the bravery and manhood of Frank C. Ross will be remembered. At nine o'clock that night the body of Fleming was recovered, but it was with difficulty and not until Thursday afternoon than the body of Ross was found.

The funeral occurred Friday noon and more than 1,500 people were in attendance. Ipava was in deep mourning. Every business house was closed. Strong men, women and children could be seen in solemn thought and tears on every hand. They were both promising young men and beloved by all who knew them.

Mr. Fleming was 23 years of age and a member of the K. of P. and Masonic orders and the Presbyterian church. He was soon to be wedded to a Miss Garwood, one of Ipava's most popular ladies. He carried an insurance of $5,000 on his life.

Frank C. Ross was 25 years of age, a member of the I. O. O. F., K. of P. and Masonic orders and carried an insurance of $7,000 on his life. He was a son of Mrs. Joseph Parker of this place and, although he did not make Astoria his home, was a great favorite among the young men of Astoria. The people of Astoria were shocked at the sad accident and many attended the funeral.

 

Published in the Astoria Argus on 6/29/1893

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