Monday, June 14, 2010

Sad Termination of an Intended Pleasure Trip to the Yosemite Valley

From The Brooklyn Independent, 18 June 1870, page 3:

About two weeks ago, a party of six boys and two teachers from Mr. McClure's Oakland Academy, left on horseback for the Yosemite Valley, among whom was Frank Tubbs, son of Mr. H. Tubbs of this town; a son of Judge Campbell, of Oakland; a son of Mr. Bonnestel, and a son of H. C. Bennett, Esq., the well-known grain dealer, of San Francisco, a boy about fifteen years of age. The party had been up to the Nevada Falls, and were returning when they reached the ford of the Merced River. One of the teachers took the lead and crossed first, the boys following after, one teacher coming last. Young Bennett was the last of the boys to cross. He rode a mule at the time, which became somewhat unmanageable. As the stream carried them down, the mule sunk into a deep place in the river, and young Bennett was thrown. The rapid tide took both under some logs that obstructed the stream at this point; they soon appeared, however, at an opening, when the mule swam ashore. Young Bennett, who was a good swimmer, appeared to be struggling in the water; he was, however, drawn under a second tier of logs, and the distance under water being so great before another clearing occurred, young Bennett was drowned. After a diligent search of two hours, his companions found his dead body a considerable distance downstream.

Yesterday morning his father received a letter from him, giving an account of the the trip and speaking of the enjoyment all the members of the party experienced during their sojourn in the valley. Shortly after reading the letter he received a dispatch stating his son had been drowned, as described above. The father, of course, is almost heart broken at this sad termination of what promised to be a most enjoyable experience in his son's life. Mrs. Bennett is on a visit at the East.

Mr. Kerr, one of the teachers, brought the body of young Bennett back to the city of Oakland. For a distance of forty miles he was obliged to pack him on the mule's back. He arrived on Thursday night.

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