Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 16 July 1897 p 6
The residents of Crawfordsville were quite shocked last Tuesday to hear of the drowning of Miss Georgia Coulter, daughter of Prof. John M. Coulter, at Winona. The young lady was born and raised here, where she had many friends. The following special from Winona to the Chicago Tribune gives the fullest account of the tragedy:
Eagle Lake, Ind., July 12—For the first time in the history of Winona a shadow is cast over the assembly by a fatal accident. No news could have come with a more forcible shock than that of the drowning of two of the most popular young women at the pleasure resort and the narrow escape of three others. The drowned were Miss Georgia Coulter, Chicago, and Miss Bertha Yarnelle, of Ft. Wayne. John G. Coulter, William Grey and Miss Eunice Munson were by chance rescued. The body of Miss Yarnelle was recovered, but the remains of Miss Coulter are lying in ninety feet of water, and the chances for their recovery are small until a professional diver can reach Eagle Lake.
There was a stiff wind blowing on the lake all day, and in the afternoon John Coulter, who is a son of Prof. John M. Coulter, of Chicago University, and William Grey, grandson of W. C. Grey, editor of the Interior, took a spin in the sailboat to try the wind.
Some of the tackle broke and after it was repaired they took Miss Steward, of Lafayette, and a friend who is visiting here, out for a short sail. With Miss Stewart’s party were Misses Yarnelle, Coulter and Munson, who were of the younger set. The three girls wanted to go out, but they were afraid to carry more than four.
When Miss Steward and her friend returned with the men after a cruise about the lakes, the three girls were waiting at the dock, and Miss Coulter asked her brother for a short sail. The three girls then got aboard and the boat was headed for Yarnelle’s Point, so called from the fact that the Yarnelle family was once wrecked there during a severe storm. When the boat was brought about for the return trip it went over.
John Coulter, speaking to the Tribune correspondent, said that Misses Yarnelle and Coulter, who were in the boat, instead of getting on the upper side of the boat sprang to the lower side, and so capsized the little craft. The boat turned completely over twice. Coulter and Grey, who were expert swimmers and divers, managed to get all three of the girls to the boat. They had no sooner done so than to their horror the boat rolled over once more, and all were again in the water.
The fight for life was begun over again. Coulter succeeded in getting Miss Munson to a place where she could grasp the boat again. Miss Yarnelle did not come to the surface after the third inversion of the craft, and Miss Coulter had also disappeared. The men dove until they were almost completely exhausted without result.
William Scheimer, the boatman, had by this time discovered the wreck while looking over the lake with a glass and hastened to the scene in a rowboat, which he reached at 7 o’clock. The party had then been in the water half an hour.
Before Scheimer reached the sailboat, George Ritter, of Warsaw, a fisherman, had reached the boat. Scheimer commenced diving at once, while Ritter took in the exhausted survivors and gave the alarm in the park. The steamers hastened to the scene. Scheimer by hard work had recovered the body of Miss Yarnelle, which was tangled in the rigging, so that a knife was used to cut the remains from the ropes.
There is ninety feet of water where the body of Miss Coulter went down and search for the time was abandoned.
The body of Miss Yarnelle was taken to her father’s cottage, where Drs. Schoonover, Shackleford, Burkett and Webber, of Warsaw, worked for hours to resuscitate life without effort. Scheimer, who had done the diving, was half drowned, but will probably recover. He asserts that he found the sheet rope tied in a bow knot, and declares that the accident must have occurred while the boat was gibing.
The effect of the accident on the cottagers here was marked. The hundreds of people here are as one big family, and the shock affected all alike.
Edward F. Yarnelle, of Mossman & Yarnelle, father of one of the girls, is known for his splendid voice in every part of Indiana. At the time his daughter was drowning, he was rehearsing with a quartet for Sunday music. The Yarnelle family has been here every season for many years, Mr. Yarnelle being a director of the association. Miss Bertha was 17 years of age and a most lovable girl.
Miss Georgia Coulter was aged 14. She is the youngest daughter of Professor Coulter. The family has been here for only a few days, and this is their first season at Winona. Professor Coulter is president of the summer school and at the time of the accident he was in Chicago, but is expected here in the morning.
It may be several days before the remains of Miss Coulter can be recovered. The divers and apparatus will probably arrive from Chicago tomorrow morning. Professor Stanley Coulter, of Purdue University, who is on the ground, is directing the search. The Tribune says locally: “Professor John M. Coulter, who lives at 5830 Rosalie Court, received a telegram two hours after the accident from his son, John, saying: “Boat tipped over. Am afraid Georgia is drowned.”
Without even waiting to lock up the house or turn out the lights Professor Coulter started for Eagle Lake.
Later in the night neighbors saw the lights burning and noticed the house was unlocked. They entered and found the telegram, which Professor Coulter had left on his desk.
Georgia Coulter was the youngest of three children. She was 15 years old, and had been a student at Hyde Park High School for two years. Her brother, John, is seven years her senior, and is accounted as a skillful sailor.
Professor Coulter has a summer home at Eagle Lake, and his family has been there for the last few weeks. During the warm months, he goes down there every Saturday, returning to Chicago on Monday. He came home yesterday.
Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 16 July 1897 p 6
A special Tuesday from Eagle Lake says: “The prolonged search for the body of Miss Georgia Coulter was rewarded at 8 o’clock this morning. The missing girl’s body was found in eighty feet of water
All Monday night long men with grappling hooks dragged the upper bay where the boat capsized, but were misled as to the exact spot. The man who saw the accident was George Ripple, of Warsaw, instead of Rittler, as was reported, and the mistake cost much time.
When Ripple boarded the steamer this morning he pointed out the place so nearly that after ten minutes’ work the grapple brought up the body of the missing girl. By an extraordinary good fortune there were no disfigurements.
The body was removed to the cottage of General Manager Sol C. Dickey. The funeral will be held at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and the body will be placed in a receiving vault at Warsaw for the present.