Fort Wayne, IN Maumee River Drowning, May 1895


Sad Accident Near the Columbia Street Bridge.

Frederick C. Geerkin, Aged About Seventeen, Meets With a Sad Death
---The Body Recovered.

This morning, about 10 o’clock, Frederick C. Geerkin, the seventeen-year-old son of Frederick H. Geerkin, of No. 38 Eliza street, met with death by drowning in the Maumee river, just below the Columbia street bridge.

The young man, in company with a newsboy named Ira Croy, of 58 Harmer street, and Charley Dinnen, of 314 Horace street, had gone to the river to fish. During the past few days the stream has risen about three feet and the boys started to wade to the small island, or rather rock pile, which formerly made a resting place for one of the piers of the old bridge. The current was quite swift and in crossing Fred stumbled on a stone and fell. As he did so he tried to grasp the hands of one of the boys but the current was too swift and he was borne down to a point where the water was ten feet deep.

The other lads shouted for him to swim and hurried on across. Fred made an effort to reach the shore but not being a very good swimmer soon sank.

The alarm was soon given and Superintendent Liggett and Lieutenant Lapp at once went to the scene. A boat and a long hook were secured and Henry Hazzard, J.W. Craigue and Joseph Beamer, after two hours’ search, succeeded in finding the body.

For some months past Fred has been employed as a caller by the Grand Rapids and Indiana railway, but lately he has not been working. His father is a Pennsylvania company machinist.

The funeral will be held Sunday afternoon, at 2 o’clock, from the St. Paul’s Lutheran church, on Barr street.

The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN 9 May 1895


Fort Wayne, IN Drowning


While Attempting to Ford the Maumee He Goes Over His Depth.

Yesterday morning Fred C., the 17 year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred H. Geerken, of Eliza street, was drowned while on a fishing expedition. He threw his line into the Maumee river just east of the Columbia street bridge. The spot did not suit him, and he took off his shoes to wade across the stream to an island near by. Before he reached the island the boy beyond his depth, and being unable to swim, sank beneath the water. He was last seen about 10 o'clock, and the body was recovered a few feet below the island and hour and a half later. Alfred McCullough, of 250 Karmer street, saw Geerken sink the first time, and he waded out to assist the boy ashore. Fred Webber, a newsboy, was near at hand and also tried to assist the drowning boy. Their efforts were futile. At first they thought Geerken was fooling when called for help. The drowned boy waded across the stream at this point a few days ago, but since the rain the river has risen about three feet. About twelve years ago Mr. and Mrs. Geerken lost another son by an accidental death. Freddie was a bright, industrious boy, and for a time was employed as caller for the Grand Rapids & Indianna railroad. Mr. Geerken is a machinist in the Pennsylvania shops. The body of Fred Geerken was found by Henry Hazzard, J. Bremer, and J. W. Craig and removed by the coroner to Scheumann & Klaehn's undertaking parlors.

The Fort Wayne Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN 10 May 1895