Mount Holly, NJ Double Drowning, Jul 1906
Carelessness on the part of the occupants of a row boat caused a double drowning in the lake at Rancocas Park on Saturday night (July 28th), the first fatal accident to happen since the opening of the resort.
The members of the party were Miss Paula Bozarth, daughter of Mr & Mrs. Benjamin Bozarth, age unknown; Mrs. Albert Rossell, who was Susie Stilts, 19; Clarence Carmelia, 19, and Raymond Rambo, 18, all of Mount Holly and the young women were the victims of the drowning.
The event that attracted these young people to the park was the annual picnic of the United Circles of the Brotherhood of America and they had gone to the resort for an evening of pleasure. Boating appeared to be a popular pastime and this party decied to join the throng on the lake. It was about 7pm when the young men engaged a boat and the pleasure trip was begun.
Rowing toward the dam, the quartet appeared to be in high spirits and they attracted some attention from people along the shore and others on the lake by what was considered unusual conduct in a boat but as the craft moved along in safety there was no interference. Splasing water on each other seemed to be the principal delight of the young people.
Finally, the boat passed around the bend and disappeared from the view of those on shore and that was the last seen of the party by those whose attention had been attracted. A short time later, about 7:30, came news they young women had been drowned and those who had seen the reckless behavior needed no explanation of the sad accident. Many indeed had expected to see the overturning of the boat while it was in sight of the landing.
There were no eyewitnesses of the drowning and the only explanation that can be accepted as correct is that given by the young men whose efforts to rescue their companions were without avail. Rambo was the oarsman. He was rowing ahead while other members of the party were having a jolly time when suddenly one of the oars slipped from the lock and the boat careened, water rushing in. Becoming excited, the occupants moved and caused the boat to take in more water. As they believed the craft would overturn, the women jumped into the water followed by the young men. All tried to keep their heads above water by grasping the side of the boat, but their combined weight caused it to upset.
Rambo and Carmelia directed their attention to saving the women and they succeeded in swimming with them to points near shallow water but the women relaxed their hold on the rescuers' clothing before places of safety had been reached and they disappeared and sank to watery graves.
By the time the young men were safely on land, people who were boating had been attracted to the scene but they arrived too late to be of any service. The report of the accident quickly spread throughout the park and men in boats with grappling irons and hooks were soon searching for the bodies. This search continued until 12:30am when Budd Goldy of Centerton located the bodies with his apparatus. That of Miss Bozarth was found first in about six and a half feet of water while that of Mrs. Rossell lay in the water of only three and a half feet in depth. When the body of the latter was stood up, the water did not come up to the shoulders.
Being take ashore, the bodies were turned over to undertaker H.H. Earnest, of Mount Holly, who had been summoned to the scene. Later Sunday morning, they were taken to the parents of the victims, Mrs. Rossell going to Smithville.
The Funerals took place yesterday afternoon. Mrs. Rosssell is interred in the Brotherhood Cemetary, Mount Holly. At 1:30, services at the house and grave were conducted by Rev. G.F. Smith, pastor of the Lumberton and Smithville Methodist Churches, assisted by Rev. D. Everett Van Dright of Seaville. Miss Bozarth was buried at St. Andrew's Buring ground on Pine Street at 4pm. The services were conducted by Rev. James Stoddard and the all bearers were six yung women from the factory of the Mount Holly Shoe Company where the deceased was employed.
The drowning of Mrs. Rossell is the third accident of that kind in the Stilts Family; two other children (brothers of Mrs. Rossell) drowned when they fell through the ice a few years ago.