Washington, DC Drowned Trying to Save Hat, Aug 1901


Richard P. Walker Jumped Into Bay and Became Exhausted.

Washington, Aug. 9.—While endeavoring to recover the hat of a friend, which had blown off into the bay, Richard P. Walker, a bricklayer, who lived at 135 Carroll Street southeast, in this city, was drowned at Chesapeake Beach. Walker is a widower and leaves no family.

Early in the day he went to the resort with his nephew, George M. Handy, and a friend of the name of Williamson. They strolled around the grounds and generally enjoyed themselves until the afternoon, when they decided to go crabbing. On the end of the long pier they found a convenient place to sit, and there were there some time throwing their lines overboard and netting the crabs before the accident happened.

A gust of wind blew Williamson’s hat into the water. The crabbers tried to reach it with their long-pole nets but failed. Walker volunteered to jump in after it. His friends tried in vain to dissuade him. Taking off his own hat, his shoes and coat, he plunged into the water and swam after the lost hat. He finally recovered it, and started back to the pier.

Apparently he changed his mind and decided to swim in to the shore. When about 2000 feet from shore, the swimmer became exhausted, and, throwing his hands into the air, sank. He was not again seen. Had he been able to continue another hundred feet he would have reached shallow water and could have walked the balance of the way to shore.

About 25 persons were on the pier at the time of the drowning, and others on the shore saw the man sink, but no effort appears to have been made to render him assistance.

Boston Journal, Boston, MA 11 Aug 1901