DAHL, Oscar c1875-1907
Posted By: S. Bell
Date: 7/10/2012 at 14:58:29
[Waterloo Semi Weekly Courier, Friday, November 8, 1907]
DROWNS IN RIVER
Body Found Near C.G.W. Bridge Tuesday at Noon
Fell from Trackway in the Presence of Witnesses
The body of Oscar Dahl, a many employed in the city as a plumber's helper, was discovered on the foundation of the second pier from the East approach of the Great Western Railway bridge. Death occurred some time before the body was discovered but whether death had occurred from drowning or from his striking the stonework of the pier as he fell from the trackway was not determined. The body was lying on the left side, only partly submerged. The head was entirely under water.
That portion of the clothing which was not submerged was not even wet in the feeble struggles which the man made. At his side there was a gunny sack partially filled with bottles, both whiskey and beer bottles, and the conclusion of the police was that Dahl had been on a foraging tour to secure the flasks in order to trade them at some saloon for drinks.
The distance from the floor of the bridge to the surface of the water is probably 20 feet. On the top of the head there is a distinct bruise and it was the better of several that the man was stunned by striking his head against the pier in his downward flight and was not able to make any effort to save himself from the water. The body was lying in water not to exceed 18 inches in depth.
It is believed that the strong wind blowing down the river during the day is responsible for Dahl falling. He might not have been in the best of condition physically, and the wind was of sufficient force to overbalance him. Even the strongest walkers at times found it difficult to make great progress against the wind.
Frank Bentz, who was passing along Water Street near the bridge, was the only eye witness of the accident. He states that Dahl was attempting to cross the bridge when he fell between the trackway and the outer guards. When he struck the water the man raised his head and gasped once or twice and sank into death. Bentz waded out as far as he could toward the body, but made no attempt to bring it to shore. The police were notified and an attempt made to communicate with Coroner E. L. Rohlf. Meanwhile hundreds had gathered at the approach of the bridge and Frank Bentz and Henry Tardy filly brought the body to the bank of the river, where it was identified. The accident happened at 12:30 o'clock.
Dahl came to Waterloo from Fort Dodge last April and had been employed in various capacities, working most of the time as assistant to a master plumber. He worked some time in ditching for sewers. He was last employed by the Mansfield brothers.
As soon as the body had been brought to the bank of the river there were numerous persons in the crowd who recognized him. Mayor Rector was present and so far as possible the features of the dead man were shielded, and especially so after identification had been made positive.
One young man in the throng claimed an intimate acquaintance with Dahl and stated that he was about 32 years of age and that his parents resided in Fort Dodge. It was further stated that Dahl at one time was prosperous, but that adverse circumstances and a disposition to sow wild oats had led to his down fall. The drowned man was single but his father and mother are both living at Fort Dodge.
Black Hawk Obituaries maintained by Kermit Kittleson.
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