SALMON RIVER CLAIMS TWO VICTIMS SUNDAY
-- CAIN BROS. LOSE THEIR LIVES
Attempt To Ford River and Saddle Animals Carry Them
Into Deep Water - Bodies Not Found
(Special Salmon River Correspondent) The
Salmon river country which seems to have become notorious, both for the
number and fatality of its accidents in recent months, seems to have
reached a climax Sunday afternoon in the drowning of two well known young
The accident, which was one of
the saddest ever known here was intensified somewhat, both by the
comparative youth of the young men, and also by the fact that the bodies
have not been recovered.
The ford where the tragedy took
place, is considered the safest crossing point along the entire Salmon
river, and is used almost daily by the Gill brothers, and at any time in
the year except perhaps June or July. The Cain boys had crossed at
this same fording place perhaps hundreds of times without a mishap.
James Cain has been an employee of the Gill brothers ranch for several
months, while Charley, (or Boscoe) as he was better known worked on the
ranch of Hal Brown some miles up the Salmon River.
Exact details of the drowning are
lacking as we go to press, owing to the fact that there was but one eye
witness to the affair, and telephone communication between White Bird and
John Day has been interrupted for more than a week. It appears,
however, that Johnny Johnson, in company with the Cain brothers left White
Bird Sunday afternoon and started for Gill brother's ranch. It was
late when the boys reached the fording place, and the trio led by Johnson,
reined their horses out into the stream and headed for the opposite
bank. The river at this point, while perhaps more than 100 wide, and
about belly deep to a horse, notwithstanding, followed by a high falls
below, where the water is swift and deep. Johnson, it seems succeeded
in making the west side of the river without difficulty, and immediately
turned his horse around to watch the progress of the other boys.
James Cain, who was riding a mule, had reached the most dangerous part of
the channel, and all seemed to be going well, when the animal suddenly
became obstreperous and bolted for the eddy. The horse ridden by
"Boscoe" immediately followed suit, and in an instant both
riders, horses and all were floundering and struggling in the
current. At the juncture Johnson dashed back into the stream to
render what ever assistance he could; but before aid could be given, the
swirling eddy had engulfed the victims and all disappeared entirely from
view with the exception of the horse ridden by "Boscoe."
This animal swam out to shore, climbed to solid footing, shook the water
from its body and seemed to be none the worse for the experience.
Johnson made a heroic effort to
save the boys and only after he had been dumped off into the freezing
waters and saw his horse swimming away from him did he give up, clutching
his horse by the main and being carried to the bank by the struggling
Neither one of the boys was seen
after they sank in the icy water, both were dressed in heavy garments, and
each wore a pair of cumbersome chaps. It is supposed that the weight
of the boys clothing held them beneath the water, and has also prevented
the bodies from coming to the top. It is believed here by many that
the bodies will never be recovered. Searching parties have lined
both sides of the river every day since the accident occurred, in the hope
of finding some trace of the bodies, but have met with little
Citizens of White Bird and
surrounding country have raised a fund of fifty dollars to be spent for
dynamite which will be used in an effort to bring the bodies to the
surface. Twenty-five men of the river section are keeping constantly
at the work and it is hoped their efforts will result in the locating of
the bodies of the unfortunate young men.
Charley Cain, the oldest boy was
30 years of age, while Jim was about 23. Their mother lives on the
Camas Prairie near Grangeville, and a sister, Mrs. Clark Gill lives on
Salmon River. The boys were well liked in this part of the country.