Old Newspaper Clippings

[McLeansboro Times ]
Thursday, October 17, 1917


Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Orval Sloan Escapes Watery Grave

          Tuesday morning, while the mother Mrs. Orval Sloan, residing on East Oak street, was hanging out the family washing on the line, her little two-year-old daughter followed her out into the yard, and but for the timely arrival of Bernard Hampton, a near neighbor, the little one would, in all probability, have met an untimely end.  The child followed the mother over into the yard of W. A. Kelley, where she was using a portion of Mrs. Kelley's clothes lines to accommodate the output of her work.  At the northeast corner of the Kelley home there is a large cistern with a flat concrete covering.  Over the opening, in the center there was a temporary board covering.  In some manner the covering had become slightly moved to one side in a manner that allowed it to tip downward if stepped on.  Mrs. Kelley was on the rear porch near the well.  While the two ladies were engaged in conversation, little Mary Jane in her playful mood, climbed up on the concrete curb and started across it.  She stepped on the board covering and it tipped suddenly and the little one went down in the cistern into several feet of water.  Mrs. Sloan never noticed the child fall in, nor did Mrs. Kelley, but she heard an unusual noise and in turning around noticed the child was missing.

          The board, after tipping, had rebounded to its former position, but from natural instinct, Mrs. Kelley raised the board up and there to her surprise, the little one was splashing around in the water.

          The alarm was sounded, as only women can do, and in a very few minutes all the neighborhood had responded, and there was general confusion until Bernard Hampton hurried to the scene.  He grabbed a rope and bucket from a well nearby and with the assistance of another gentleman, whose named we failed to learn the bucket was lowered into the cistern, and while the other gentleman held the rope, Mr. Hampton went down the rope and into the water getting hold of the child as it was going under the water.  The baby was then brought to the top, but little the worse for its thrilling experience, but greatly to the delight of the mother and large number of ladies who had gathered during the excitement.  The ladies are all of the opinion that Mr. Hampton has broken into the hero class, and it is possible that he will soon be wearing a Carnegie Medal.

          It was, indeed, a very narrow escape for the little one, and it seems a mere accident that the discovery was made in the nick of time.  Mr. Sloan, who is head bookkeeper at No. 19 mine, was notified of the incident by telephone after the child had been rescued, but he hurried home to extend his gratitude to the rescuers for saving his daughter from a watery grave. -- West Frankfort American.

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