Lafayette, IN Drowning, May 1913

Indianapolis Boy Is Drowned While Attempting to Save Men Marooned on Bridge.


Indianapolis Student at Purdue Loses Life at Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE, Ind., March 25. – L. P. WOOLERY, a special student at Purdue, lost his life in the raging water of the Wabash River between the Main and Brown street bridges this afternoon when the torrent upset a canoe in which he and G.B. Ely, a junior at Purdue, were trying to get to the Brown street levee to rescue Paul Wangerin and Charles Burhouse, who were marooned there.

Wangerin and Burhouse were standing on the west pier of the Brown street bridge when two of the spans collapsed. Woolery and Ely were warned against venturing out but persisted.

About thirty feet from the shore, a wave struck the frail craft and upset it. Woolery tried to swim but could not and he sank in about sixteen feet of water. His body has not been recovered.


Ely swam through the rough water until he came to the roof of a barn. The water was sweeping around the barn at a terrific rate when Capt. John Kluth of the Police Department arranged a pulley which Ely hung to and he was carried to the Main street levee. His frantic mother was on the shore watching him.

Woolery, who lost his life, is a son of F.P. Woolery of 1962 Broadway, Indianapolis.

The river is still rising six inches an hour and all traffic between West Lafayette and Lafayette is cut off. Late tonight Mayor George R. Durgan took personal charge of the flood situation.

The last pier of the Main street bridge tonight gives every sign of collapsing. The city water works system is out of commission and the city is in darkness. Many houses have been washed away.

Leland P. Woolery, 22 years old, was the son of Pierce Woolery of 1962 Broadway. He was in his first year at Purdue University and was taking the agricultural course. His father had little information about his death. The message he received from A.F. O’Brien, a fraternity brother of young Woolery, simply announced he was drowned at 2:10 o’clock in the Wabash River while attempting to rescue two persons who were in danger. When the message was sent the body had not been recovered. Young Woolery was a graduate of the Manual Training High School and well known here. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, IN 26 Mar 1913