The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

October 27, 2010

Drowning at Austin’s Ice Dam

Springhill Record July 8, 1940: 
Charles Vickery Drowned While Bathing Monday.

    The first drowning accident of the season occurred at Austin’s Ice Dam about 2:15 p.m. Monday afternoon, when Charles Corey Vickery 17 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Vickery lost his life.

     The Ice Dam has been a favorite place for swimming with the youngsters for many years and almost every day they are to be seen enjoying themselves there.  On this occasion young Vickery had spent the morning at the dam as the day was extremely hot.  He returned home for lunch and then went back to the dam for another dip.  Little is known of just what happened to the boy, but it is thought he took a cramp in about five feet of water.  It was first noticed that he was in difficulty when James Langille struck his head while he was swimming.  At first he thought the boy was just trying to see how long he could stay under water as there had been no cry for help.  He noticed, however, that the body seemed to be twisted and reached down to touch Vickery who grabbed his hand.  Afraid he would be pulled under Langille pulled his hand away, then reached down and tried to lift the boy by the hair, which he found he could not do.  He called for help and Carl Cummings rushed to aid him.  The boy was taken to shore and rushed to the hospital in Charlie Corkum’s car.  Mr. Corkum was sitting on the bank at the time of the accident but heard no cry for help.  First aid treatment was not attempted at the dam, but enroute to the hospital, Elda Austin daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Austin, tried to revive the boy without success.

     At the hospital Doctors Simpson and Murray called for the Dreagger (spelling in article) crew and their pulmotor and worked for some two hours over the boy but failed to revive him.  Among the Dreagger Crew were John M. White, D.K. O’Rourke, John Spence, Bion McIsaac, William Jewkes.  Constable Leo McDonald also assisted.

     The funeral was held yesterday afternoon from the home, Herrett Road, the service being conducted by the Rev. F.S. Crossman of the United Baptist Church, who in his address spoke words of hope and consolation to the sorrowing parents and family.  The hymns by the Baptist Choir were “Does Jesus Care?” and “Abide with Me.”  The B.Y.P.U., of which Corey was a member, attended in a body and following the service, formed a line of honor leading from the door; four of the members also serving as pallbearer – Caleb Rushton, Donald Martin, Ronald Betts and Joe Rushton.

     There were many tributes of sympathy and esteem.

January 1937 – Escapes Drowning.

     It was fortunate for John Phalen, 10 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Phalen, Herrett Road residents, that a tree happened to be growing beside the lower pond at the colliery reservoir, for it was instrumental in saving his life on Friday.

     John, on his way to town, had ventured on the thin pond ice and a short distance from the bank broke through and sank out of sight.

     With him was Charlie Mishinac, who grasped the situation at a glance.  Grasping a limb of the tree with one hand, he crawled out onto the ice and caught Phalen by the arm and hauled him from the water.

     Taken home, young Phalen recovered quickly from the effects of his chilly dip.  He owes his life to the quick thought and action of his chum.

February 1937: Moving Steel into Position

     Perhaps you are not aware of the fact that the two centre spans of the new bridge which crosses the C.N.R. tracks at Springhill made history on the Canadian National Railway last week.  These two spans, 126 feet long, and weighing 19 tons each, were assembled in Amherst and moved on three flat cars to the Junction ready to be thrown into position.  These two spans were the longest ever to be shipped on the Canadian National Railway in Canada.  The day they were moved from Amherst, they were insured for $15,000.00.  Railway men tell us that this feat was excelled in the United States, where a railroad once moved a span measuring 136 feet.

     Friday morning was bright, but the temperature ranged around twenty below as the first span was thrown across the tracks.  Shortly after noon the second span was ready for hoisting and a number of pictures were taken as it dropped into place alongside its twin brother.