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WATKINS, Eldon 1911-1931

WATKINS

Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 8/27/2015 at 23:04:03

Eldon Watkins Drowns in Bass Lake, Minnesota

Clothes Found On Bank By Relatives Who Searched For Him

Efforts To Find Body Are Unsuccessful

Went to Island in Lake With a Boat Believe He Tried to Regain Boat Which Had Drifted from Shore

It is believed that Eldon Watkins, 19 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Watkins of Grundy Center, was drowned in Bass Lake near Cohassett, Minnesota, some time Monday.

The young man left the home of his uncles, Harold and Harry, who operate a farm near Cohassett, on Bass Lake Monday morning. He took the boat for an island in the lake about half a mile from the main shore. It is believed that he beached his boat on the shore of the island and left it and when he returned the boat had drifted out into the lake. It was while he was attempting to swim out to the boat that he was taken with cramps and was drowned. He was a fair swimmer and under ordinary conditions he would have been able to swim from the shore to where the boat was found.

Eldon was expected to return home at dinner time. Late in the afternoon when he did not return the family began a search for him. They found the stranded boat and later his clothes in the bank of the island and his foot tracks leading to the lake. The lake at this point is from 50 to 60 feet deep.

Eldon went to Minnesota two weeks ago to help take care of the farm of his two uncles while they came to Grundy county on their usual spring sheep shearing trip.

Relatives at Grundy Center received a message announcing Eldon's disappearance and his probable fate. The message came at 10:30 in the evening. Shortly after midnight, the boy's father and brothers, Harry and Harold and Glen Cone left for Cohasset in a car and they reached there, a distance of 500 miles, twelve hours later.

The American Legion Post at Grand Rapids, Minnesota, have since been assisting the family in dragging the lake in hopes that the body of the missing boy might be recovered. So far they have been unsuccessful.

Eldon graduated from the Grundy Center high school two years ago. He was a good student and he was beloved by all who knew him. Aside from the father and mother he is survived by one brother and three sisters.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 21 May 1931, pg 1

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Eldon Watkins' Body Found In 25 Feet of Water

Body Of Missing Boy Brought To Surface With Grappling Hooks

Remains Were Brought Here Sunday Morning

It Is Believed the Boy Went Down Where the Body Was Brought Up

The body of Eldon Watkins, the 19-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Watkins was found in 25 feet of water and about 350 feet from shore in Bass Lake, near Cohasset, Minnesota, at ten o'clock Friday morning. Eldon left the home of his uncles, whose farms adjoin the lake, early Sunday morning on a fishing trip. He left word at his uncles' home that it might be late in the afternoon before he would get back. About the middle of the afternoon Mrs. Harold Watkins and Mrs. Harry Watkins noticed a boat drifting in the lake and they became alarmed. A searching party was organized who crossed the lake to an island where they found the boy's clothes on the shore.

Farmers from the neighborhood of the Legion Post and Grand Rapids began at once to comb the bottom of the lake with grappling hooks. The search was continued every day until the body was found Friday morning. Searchers had been over the same space before but had missed the body.

The remains were taken to the funeral home at Grand Rapids, 12 miles away. A brief funeral service was held there Saturday forenoon before brought to the home in Grundy Center. The boy's father and two uncles and Glenn Cone brought the remains here from Minnesota. The body was carried on a trailer attached to the car. They arrived here early Sunday morning following an all night drive.

Funeral services conducted by R. B. Fisher were held at the Presbyterian church Monday afternoon. Burial was made in the Grundy Center cemetery.

Bass Lake is eight miles long and the distance from the shore to the island where Eldon's clothes were found is about 3-4 of a mile. Eldon had his gun with him and it is believed he beached his boat on the island to go hunting for ground hogs. The gun was found about 10 feet from his clothes. The water is very deep near the shoreline where the boy's clothes were found. It is believed that he swam to where his body was found before he went down. He may have been taken with a cramp. This was the second drowning of record that has taken place in this lake. The other was a son of William Kerr formerly of Grundy County.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 28 May 1931, pg 1

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Elden Leroy Watkins
(By Rev. R. B. Fisher)

Elden Leroy Watkins was born at Arriba, Colorado, September 9th, 1911. The parents, Mr. Herbert and Mrs. Hattie Watkins, came back to Iowa when Elden, their eldest child, was only one and one-half years of age. Elden attended our public schools and graduated in our local high school class of 36 in number in 1929. He is the second of this class to pass beyond, and both from tragedies. However, this statement does not signify that a portent of evil is hanging over this class, for it does not. Elden was drowned at Bass Lake, Minnesota, May 18th, about noon. The whole countryside there was enlisted voluntarily in hunting for him till the body was found. He leaves beside his father and mother, two brothers and three sisters. They are Lawrence, Melvin, Eileen, Harriet and Doris.

It was one of the joys of my present pastorate to receive into this church and baptize Elden as one of its members on January 5, 1930.

Elden wears on the lapel of his coat the Cross and bars which indicate that he had attended Sunday School nearly seven years without missing. He had kept up this attendance until and including his last Sabbath on earth. On his going to Minnesota he had attended the nearest Sunday School there, which was about seven miles away. But he did not miss during his four Sundays there. As a partial result of his consistent and regular church habits he was called by the minister who conducted a service in his honor there Saturday morning before his father and brother started to bring his body home "A shining light at Cohasset."

As his pastor I had real pleasure in Elden, his brother Lawrence and their congenial crowd of several boy friends of their age. They were always together as far as their time would allow. Their Sunday School class generally saw them all together and their attendance at Christian Endeavor was pretty regular also. Elden seldom if ever missed leading in prayer wherever sentence prayer was called for, and he was a clean boy and naturally religious. His habits were good and wholesome. And upon his leaving, he leaves but few things for his parents to regret concerning him. Elden's passing is so well known because of the nature of his going that we need not review it here. But we all hold him in deep respect and love for his earnest sincere character. His life is the product of the Christian home, our schools, the church and community.

Services were held at the First Presbyterian church Monday, May 25, 2:30 p.m., Rev. R. B. Fisher, the pastor of the church, officiating.

He was buried at the Grundy Center cemetery. Members of his graduating class were the pallbearers.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 28 May 1931, pg 12


 

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