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Henry C. Coon 1899-1909


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 9/22/2010 at 23:18:15

Drowned on Friday
Little Henry Coon Meets Death in the Des Moines River
Body Was Recovered Monday
Funeral Held Monday Afternoon From the Methodist Church and Burial Made in Oak Hill Cemetery

The community was shocked and grieved Friday [June 25, 1909] morning to learn that little Henry L. Coon, twelve year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Coon, was drowned near the M. & St. L. railway bridge south of the city at 10 o’clock. He was in the water wading with two playmates, Edward Smith and Willard McCoy when he accidentally stepped into a deep hole or “step-off” in the river bed. The river was high and the current was very swift at the “step-off”. As soon as Henry got beyond his depth he called for help but the only ones around were his little playmates. Neither of the other boys could swim. At first they did not realize that Henry was drowning. They thought he could swim. But as he did not respond when they spoke to him and went down the stream with the current they realized his perilous current. They could nothing for him however. He soon became exhausted and after going down the stream with the current about three rods he went under the water for the last time. The boys on the shore ran for help and got Jas. Howe at the M. & St. L. tower. Mr. Howe notified the Rock Island depot boys and authorities and himself went immediately to the river. He made every effort to find the boy, but without avail. When citizens arrived boats were secured and the river dragged and raked without any success. Nets were stretched across the river at different places as far down the river as Wallingford. Although everything possible was done to find the body, all effort at first proved useless apparently, and the body was not found until Monday at about 10 o’clock. Geo. Cass and Mrs. Hayes made the find on the west side about fifty rods below where little Henry went down. The river was dynamited Sunday and this may have had something to do with bringing the body to the surface. The rains, floods and dirty water made the search difficult.

Funeral services were held in the Methodist church Monday afternoon at 4 o’clock, Rev. W. C. Wasser preaching the funeral sermon. Burial was made in Oak Hill cemetery.

Little Henry Coon was born in Estherville, May 20, 1897. He has lived here with his parents since his birth. Henry was a bright little fellow, and filled both the H. C. Coon and Chas. Coon homes with sunshine. A host of young friends and friends of the Coon family are grieved beyond measure at the sad death.

The sympathy of all are extended to the family in sorrow.

Charles Coon and family and relatives feel deeply the kindness shown by the citizens of Estherville in their tireless efforts to recover the body of their dear one. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, June 30, 1909)

Little Henry Coon Drowned
With Two Other Boys Was Wading For Minnows in Des Moines River Below M&St.L. Bridge
In River Three Days
Was Drowned Friday Morning, But Body Not Recovered Until Monday

Little Henry Coon, the ten year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Coon, was drowned in the Des Moines river at the big bend near the M. & St.L. railroad bridge about nine o’clock Friday morning while he and little Edward Smith and little Willard McCoy, of about the same age were in the river seining for minnows, with which to go fishing. Little Henry thought it would be an excellent opportunity to go bathing and accordingly stripped to a pair of overalls and went into deeper water. The boys had a dog with them and the dog swam out towards the channel after a stick that one of the boys had thrown into the river. Henry started to follow the dog and stepped into a hole in the bed of the river where the water was considerably over his head and the current very swift. The lad could swim a very little but was unable to work his way out of the merciless depth and after a brave struggle sank out of sight and to the bottom of the river. His two companions watched him in helpless terror, until he sank for the last time and then gave the alarm. They first told Jas. Howe, who has charge of the switch tower and he hastened to the river, swam out into the channel and dove to the bottom in several places but could not find the body. Notice of the drowning had reached town by that time and the people generally turned out to lend a helping hand. A net was stretched across the river several rods below where the boy went under and another at Wallingford. Grappling hooks were put in use and the search continued all that day, all of Saturday and Sunday, but not until Monday was the body rescued and then only after it had become bloated and come to the surface of its own accord about twenty rods below where it went under. Dynamite was used freely Sunday but did not good.

Funeral was held Monday afternoon and the little body laid to rest in Oak Hill cemetery.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Coon have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community in their deep affliction. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, June 30, 1909)

Drowned in River
Youngest Son of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Coon Drowned Friday Morning
The Body Found Monday
Was Eighty Rods Below Where It Sank – Twenty-five Pounds of Dynamite Used

Henry C. Coon, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Coon, was accidentally drowned in the Des Moines river at a spot just east of the M.&St.L. R’y bridge south of town between nine and ten o’clock Friday forenoon. He was only ten years of age and had gone to the river with two other boys, Edward Smith, son of Mr. and Mr. Ed Smith residing on south tenth street, and Willard McCoy, son of Mrs. F. L. McCoy, living near the Coon family in the south part of town. The boys were all about of an age and had played together for some time. The little Coon boy had his dog along with him and when they reached the river Henry threw a small stick into the river, according to the story told by the Smith and McCoy boy, and his dog swam in and brought it out. He threw it back in again and it went so far that the dog could not find it. It was then that little Henry took of his hat and waist, leaving only his bib overalls on, and waded out into the water, following the dog. He had waded only a short distance from the shore when he went down in the water over his head and by this time was out in the swift current. He came up and screamed from help, at the same time fighting desperately to stay on top of the water. He came up at least five times before he sank to the bottom. The Smith and McCoy boys gave the alarm at once, running to the railroad tower and telling Towerman Howe of the awful accident. In less than thirty minutes men were there dragging the river near the spot where he sank but could not find the body. The river was fenced with woven wire in three different places, one just below where he went down, another below the Abernathy farm four miles down the river and another at the Wallingford bridge. The river was dragged for nearly two miles and dynamite used but up until Monday morning the body could not be found.

At nine o’clock Monday morning Geo. Case and W. A. Hays were going down the river in a boat and discovered the little body near a pile of brush at the bend of the river just above where the fish seine had been placed across. The whistle at the city power house sounded the news that the body had been found.

The water was about twelve feet deep where he was drowned and had a very swift current on account of the high stage of the water. The river was lined on either side with anxious workers and watchers for three days and nights but were helpless in their efforts to find the body until it came to the top of the water. Everything possible was done and the relatives feel very grateful to the people of Estherville for their assistance.

Little Henry C. Coon was ten years of age and a bright and promising youth. His parents, grandparents and relatives are almost distracted over his sad and unfortunate death. The sympathy of the entire community is extended the bereaved family in their time of profound sorrow. Funeral services were held Monday afternoon in the Methodist church and the little body deposited in Oak Hill Cemetery. (Estherville Democrat, Estherville, IA, June 30, 1909)


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