Event Person

Lewises Drown on Moore’s Lane

Aerial image showing the lower end of Moores Lane
Aerial image showing the lower end of Moores Lane

6 Children Eyewitnesses

“As his six small children summoned aid, Mr. Lewis1, 38, farmer on Moore’s lane, West Side, gave his life in vain to save his young wife. Both lost their lives directly in front of their home on the former Stahler farm as aid approached the scene in response to the children’s cries. Both bodies were recovered and resuscitation efforts were in vain. Fire Capt. Walter Chick of Seventh street fire station, and son David Chick, 13, were baiting a trotline in front of the Chick camp nearby when the drownings occurred and Captain Chick recovered the body of Mr. Lewis about 15 minutes after he submerged. The body of Mrs. Lewis was recovered about 9:30 p.m. by Raymond Pierron of Friendship. As volunteers dragged the river for the body of Mrs. Lewis, city firemen under Lt. Frank Eastwood, acting assistant chief, used a resuscitator in an effort to revive Mr. Lewis. Captain Chick administered artificial respiration until fireman arrived with the resuscitator.”

Went to River to Bathe

“After finishing the day’s plowing, Mr. Lewis, who is employed on the Thomas E. Lewis farm, took his family and friends to the river bank to bathe. Mrs. Lewis and Hilde Fultz, 11, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. E. Fultz, went ahead of the rest of the party and Mrs. Lewis was in wading when Mr. Lewis and children reached the bank. Mrs. Lewis waded out about 50 feet and suddenly stepped into a hole and submerged. She came to the surface and called for help. Mr. Lewis kicked off his shoes and plunged into the water and hurried to her aid, running in shallow water and swimming as he reached the deep water. He caught hold of Mrs. Lewis and both went down, Mrs. Lewis emerging four or five times before being drowned. Mr. Lewis was drowned when he submerged the second time and his body did not appear on the surface again. Douglas, 11, and Joseph Franklin, 9, sons of Mr. Lewis, told Deputy Sheriff Burl Justice and firemen details of the double drownings.”

Daddy Sitting On Bank

“Mother was wading out from shore and stepped into a hole,” the boys said: “Daddy was sitting on the bank. He was not ready to go in swimming. Mother went down and came up calling for help. Daddy said to his cousin, Joseph Caldwell, 16, of Friendship, “go in and get her” Joe replied, “I can’t swim that good.” “Daddy ran down the bank kicking off his shoes. He did not wear a shirt and jumped into the water with his pants on. He ran and swam to mother and got hold of her. Both went down. Daddy came up and we could just see his face. He called for help and went down. Mother came up four or five times after that.”

“We saw Mr. Chick fishing in his boat and we called to him for help.” Capt. Chick said he and his son had just finished baiting a trotline when they heard children calling. “Mr. Chick they are drowning.” “We were about 150 yards downstream,” Capt. Chick said, “and I jumped to the rear of the boat and started the outboard motor. When we reached the scene David handled the boat and I dragged the scene with a boat hook I use to pick up the trot lines. Within about 15 minutes I recovered the body of Mr. Lewis. We took the body to shore and I administered artificial respiration while others continued the search for Mrs. Lewis.” Joseph Caldwell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Caldwell, of Friendship, visited the home Saturday and helped Mr. Lewis cut weeds.”

Started To Rescue

“I cannot swim too good,” the youth said, “but I jumped in the water and started after Mrs. Lewis, Mr. Lewis ran by me and got to her first. Both went down before I could get to them.” Displaying manly courage Douglas and Joseph Lewis, calmly told officials of the drownings. “We helped daddy work some Saturday” the boys said, “but we didn’t do very much.” “I watered the mule for him this evening,” Joseph volunteered. Acting Chief Eastwood and Firemen Larry McCormick and Gerald Ennis responded with resuscitator, dragging brail2 and life jacket. Fireman received the call at 8:19 p.m. Deputy Sheriffs Justice, Sam Simon, and Mac Wamsley responded and aided in the rescue efforts. A long bar formerly extended out into the river where the drowning occurred. In the last two years Portsmouth Sand and Gravel Co. has been dredging sand and gravel on the bar and the dredge cut a hole about 20 feet deep, residents of Moore’s lane said.”

“Mr. Lewis’ first wife 3and infant died Jan. 6, when the family resided on Lucasville star route. He married Elizabeth Lewis4 April 5 at Greenup. He was a son of the late Dan Lewis of Carter co. Ky., and Mrs. Elizabeth Lewis Fannin of Friendship. Surviving are six children at home: Douglas, Joseph, Vesta, Chauncey, Dorothy, and Gerald. Mr. Lewis also leaves two brothers, Edward of Lucasville Star rt, Paul of Dayton, a sister Elsie Griffith of Wheelersburg, rt 1. Mrs. Lewis is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ervin Odle of Friendship and the following brothers and sisters: Sgt. James Odle of Ft. Bragg, N.C., Malissa Cassero of Brockport, N.Y. Woodrow Odle of De Smet, S.D. and Mary Jeannette, Rosie, and Lula at home in Friendship. The bodies are at Melcher funeral home with funeral arrangements pending arrival of relatives from out of town.”5

The Obituary of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Lewis

“The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Lewis, who lost their lives in the Ohio river Saturday night, were to be taken to the home of a neighbor Thomas Fultz of Moore’s Lane, at noon today. Double funeral services will be held at the Fultz residence at 1:30 PM Wednesday with Reverend Henry King and Reverend James Boggs officiating.”

“Mr. Lewis is to be buried in Howard cemetery at Camp Creek, and his wife is to be buried in Friendship cemetery, under the direction of Melcher funeral home.”

“Mrs. Lewis, 21, stepped into a hole while wading on a sandbar in the Ohio near the Lewis home. Her husband, 37, went to her aid and both were submerged. Surviving are six small children.”6

  1. Harvey Milton Lewis
  2. A rod or pipe to which sometimes hooks are attached.
  3. Beulah Fannin
  4. Elizabeth Odle
  5. 4 Lose Lives in River Mishaps Over Weekend. (1947, June 30). Portsmouth Times, p. 1.
  6. Mr. and Mrs. Milton Lewis. (1947, July 1). Portsmouth Times, p. 19.