Morton, WA Riffe Ferry Drownings, Jun 1915

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

5 On Ferry Are Drowned

Horse Backs Party Going to Church Into Cowlitz River.

40 Tacoma, Wash., May 29.-Fiver persons were drowned in the Cowlitz River about eight miles from Martin, miles south of Tacoma, today, when a horse attached to a vehicle in which they were going to a mass at a Catholic church backed off the Riffe ferry.

The dead are: Mrs. Herselman, Miss Anna Bergen and Frank Bergen’s three children, all of whom were under 10 years of age. Miss Ella Bergen and Bart Bergen were saved.

Oregonian, Portland, OR 30 May 1915

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Five In River Not Found

Cowlitz Being Dragged for Victims of Ferry Accident.

Morton, Wash., June 2.-(Special.)-Unceasing efforts have failed to locate any of the bodies of the five persons, Mrs. Robert Herselman, Miss Anna Bergen and Frank, Florence and Mary Bergen, the three small children of Frank Bergen, who were drowned in the Cowlitz last Saturday while crossing the Riffe ferry en route to Harmony to attend mass.

Two expert river men, Frank Core and Fred Hill, of Toledo, are dragging the river, having hauled a large boat overland from Toledo with which to work.

Oregonian, Portland, OR 3 Jun 1915

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Two River Victims Found

Bodies of Children in Ferry Accident Taken From Cowlitz.

Morton, Wash., June 4.-(Special.)-The bodies of Florence Bergen, aged 8, and Mary Bergen, aged 10, who, with Miss Anna Bergen, Mrs. Robert Herselman and Frank Bergen Jr., were drowned last Saturday at Riffe Ferry, on the Cowlitz River, were found late today five miles below the ferry at the head of Dunn Canyon.

The accident occurred when the vehicle with the party bound for mass at church slipped into the river. The bodies were brought to Morton, and the search for the other victims was renewed.

Oregonian, Portland, OR 5 Jun 1915

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One Body Recovered at Riffe.

Centralia, Wash., June 5.-(Special.)-Following work received here yesterday that the body of one of the three children drowned at the Riffe ferry last Saturday had been recovered, Coroner Newell went to Riffe today to assist in the search for the other bodies. No inquest will be held as a result of the accident unless one is demanded, as it is the general opinion that William Rose, the ferryman, is not to blame for the accident. Frank Bergen, who was driving the team that dropped into the river, admits he drove on the ferry before the apron was set, although he asserts he was given the signal by Rose to come ahead.

Oregonian, Portland, OR 6 Jun 1915