A Pleasure Boat Drawn Under a Coal Barge.
Five Persons Find a Watery Grave.
Drs. Garkey and Miller, Mr. Adams and Dr. Acre’s Little Son Drowned
Narrow Escape of the Survivors.
Sam Lee Acree | One of the most lamentable casualties that we have been called upon to report in many months, occurred last evening about dusk across the river, resulting in the drowning of Dr. Garkey, the well known and much esteemed dentist, Dr. Miller, the dentist, Mr. Adams, the little son of Dr. Acre, and a negro man whose name we could not learn.
Yesterday morning Dr. Acre invited a party of friends, eleven in all, to accompany him on a trail excursion of his little experimental boat, the “Alpha.” During the day they steamed up the river, and as evening approached started back to the city. As their fuel had run short, they thought to economise steam by leisurely floating down the stream, keeping close to the Arkansas shore to avoid getting into the currents that would render the little craft unmanageable.
The trip down was accomplished in safety until they reached a point opposite the city, where some coal barges are moored. On attempting to round one of these barges the current, which at this point is fearfully strong, got the mastery of the frail craft, and the undertow dragged it under the bow of the barge.
As soon as the excursionists realized their danger most of them attempted to seize and hang on to the gunwale of the barge, but only four of the eleven were successful, and the other seven were dragged down by the remorseless undertow.
Boats were cut from the shore in a moment, and went to their assistance, and succeeded in saving Mr. Radgeski, cotton merchant, and Mr. Toabre, the jeweler, but the other five – Dr. Garkey and Miller, Mr. Adams, young Acre and the colored man were ingulphed in the turbid waves of the Mississippi.
It is useless to attempt to depict with words the grief and despair of Dr. Acre when he found that his darling boy and his friends were lost. it was beyond the power ***at guage. One of the party, Mr. Heneke, came over to this city immediately and brought the sad tidings to the bereaved relatives and friends, and the deepest gloom soon spread among all classes who heard the sad and fearful news.
Up to writing, although every effort has been made, none of the bodies have been recovered, and in the present stage of the river it is doubtful if they ever will be.
Dr. Garkey had made every arrangement to go to Europe, having recently closed out his business and affairs here, preparatory to leaving. He was a man universally beloved and respected, and his loss is greatly to be deplored.
We await further intelligence with impatience, although we have but faint hopes of the saving of any of those now reported lost.
[Sad Casualty; Memphis Daily Appeal; Memphis, Tenn; 10 May 1869; Pg 3]
Dr. Acre’s little son Sam Lee, after lying in the river two and a half month, was taken up one hundred and fifty miles below Memphis in a mutilated condition on the 17th inst. and brought up on the Natoma. It is some consolation to the parents and friends to have the privilege of interring his remains. He was a manly and bright little boy and his death has created not only a sadness in his own family but also among others who knew him, and especially his school mates. Out of the five drowned there is still one more, Dr. Garkey, not recovered. There is a possibility of getting his remains.
[Memphis Daily Appeal, Memphis, Tenn., July 25, 1869]