Idaho County Free Press

Thursday, July 15, 1920





   A.S. Wright, 59, president of the Wright Grocery Company in Grangeville, lost his life at noon Saturday in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue his grandson, Frank Willey, 12 years old, from a drowning in the middle fork of the Clearwater River at Lowell, 25 miles up the middle fork from Kooskia.

  Mr. Wright's death was attributed to heart disease, superinduced by over-exertion when he saw his grandson struggling for life in the swift waters of the river. Mr. Wright sank to the bottom, in 25 feet of water.



  Mr. Wright and the Willey boy were members of a party from Grangeville which had gone to the forks of the river on a fishing trip. Included in the party were E.A. Day, his two sons, Ernest and Fred, and Vernon Willey, while camped nearby was a second party comprising W.H. Badgero, of Grangeville, his son-in-law, J.E. Merrifield and  G.A. Hackett of Walla Walla.

  About noon on Saturday the Day boys and the two Willey boys were wading in about a foot of water on a sandbar in the river, when suddenly Frank Willey stepped off the sandbar into deep water. His companion immediately called for help to adult members of the party, who were sitting on the bank of the river 200 feet away. Rushing to the scene, Mr. Wright, fully dressed, leaped into the water to rescue the boy, caught hold of the lad, and for a moment attempted to bring him to shore.

  Observing Mr. Wright was unsuccessful in his effort, Mr. Day jumped into the raging river, and caught Mr. Wright by the hand. Mr. Wright suddenly let loose Mr. Day's hand and at the same time released his hold on the boy, and dropped beneath the waters surface. The boy also went down, and it was only with difficulty that the other men in the party were able to rescue Mr. Day. The man and boy went down in 20 feet of water.



  The body of Frank Willey was recovered by the use of grappling hooks within a half hour after the boy drowned, while Mr. Wright's body was not recovered for two hours.

  For an hour and a half, members of the party, assisted by Mrs. William Parry of Lowell, worked over the boy in an effort to restore respiration and bring him to life. but without avail.

  When Mr. Wright's body was brought ashore, attempt was made to revive a spark of life in him, but with fruitless results.

It is believed that Mr. Wright's death was due to heart disease, from which he had lately been suffering.

  His sudden release of the boy and is of Mr. Day's belief, as does the fact no water was found in his lungs, while the boy's were filled with water, is the case with a person who has been drowned. Also, the boy came to the surface the proverbial three times before he sank to the bottom, while Mr. Wright's did not rise.

  Coroner A.J. Mugg was called to the scene of the tragedy Saturday afternoon, and arrived at Lowell 8 o'clock Saturday night. He deemed no inquest necessary, and had the bodies removed to Grangeville.



  Mr. Wright was born Oct.  20, 1860, in Clark county, Kentucky. On Jan. 26, 1882, he was married in Rockport Missouri to Miss Villettie L. Woods, and to them were born two children, Pearl Arthur Wright, and Mrs. George D. Willey, both of this city. In 1901 the family moved to Grangeville from Villisca, Iowa. Following the decease of Mrs. Wright, Mr. Wright married on Dec. 18, 1912 to Miss Sarah E. Korman, who survives him.


  HAROLD FRANK WILLEY, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Willey, was born in Grangeville on Aug. 10, 1908. His entire life was spent here. Besides his sorrowing parents, he is survived by three brothers; Vernon, Glenn, and Wayne, and by two sisters; Eva and Beulah.

  Joint funeral services for Mr. Wright and his grandson were held Monday afternoon at 2:30 form the Odd Fellows hall. Every seat  in the hall was occupied while many friends  found standing room only. Brief services were conducted by the Rev. S. Randall, pastor of the Federated Church. Burial, directed by A.J. Maugg, took place in the Prairie View Cemetery.

  Active pallbearers for Mr. Wright were A. Urbahn, V. Knapp, John P. Eimers, C.A. Johnston, R.F. Fulton, and W.H. Badgero. Honorary pallbearers were T.E. Quinlan, D.H. Sasenberry, M.B. Geary, J. Frank Sims, Frank Hockersmith, and C.C. Call.

  Pallbearers for Harold Frank Willey were John Eimers, Jr., Floyd Hamill, Reese Hattabaugh, Jr., Harold Smith, Rowley Call, and Paul Eimers. All are Boy Scouts.

Submitted by Chris Cornett



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