One day, Hagerman lost his wife, two sons and a daughter in the river.  Two of the boys had taken a wheelbarrow out on the river in winter “after one night’s freezing.”  The boys broke through the ice.  The mother came running and one boy told her to slide him a plank.  She panicked.  She rushed to the hole and broke through the ice herself.  A small daughter rushed to her mother’s side and was pulled in by the woman.  “All four drowneded.”

    Hagerman found the older boy, a good swimmer, under the ice by the shoreline.  The boy tried to swim under the ice, but couldn’t’ break through.  His toes stuck out of his brand new shoes from his desperate kicks to smash the ice. 

    “And that was just before Christmas.”

    On Christmas Day the bodies were taken in coffins by a scow to Rockport and buried there.  Five girls and a boy remained in the family. 

From River's Edge: Reprobates, Rum-runners and Other Folk of the Thousand Islands by Shawn Thompson based on his interviews with Chancy Patterson. A surviving daughter of the Hagerman tragedy was Chancy’s mother.

Tragedy at Waterson’s Point

The Dewey Family at Waterson’s Point, circa 1912.  From left to right, Front:  Ray Dewey, Nellie McCormick Dewey, May McCormick Cupernall.  Rear:  Sisters Winifred & Hope Dewey.  Another sister, Martha (six at the time), was deemed two young for the boat trip/picnic, and left at home. 

Martha Dewey married Thomas Mitchell.  Their daughter, Nellie Mitchell Taylor, is Tom French’s mother.

Photo by Charles Cornell, from the photo album of May McCormick Cupernall (Courtesy of the Nellie Taylor Collection).  May McCormick Cupernall was postmistress at Thousand Island Park for 50 years beginning in the early 20th century.

Picnic at Waterson’s Point -- Undated Photo.  Note that the pavilion in this photo is the as in the adjoining Dewey Family picture and still exists to this day at Waterson’s State Park.  (Courtesy of the Nellie Taylor Collection).

Unrelated Photos from Waterson’s Point

© Copyright 2014 Tom French