A View From the Lake

This article submitted by Linda S. Lorentzen on 9/17/96.

This past weekend provided an unusual opportunity for my mother. She was alone with two of her grandchildren: my daughter and my nephew. For countless baseball reasons, the rest of the clan couldn't make it and so the three of them decided to make the most of the situation. My mother's only concern was what she would do in an emergency, as I was providing the bus service back and forth from the city, leaving her without a car. After thinking through her options she was sure that someone would be around at one of the other cottages and so I left her in charge.

I'm sure that accidents have been happening at the lake since human beings first discovered its shores. In the New Paynesville/Paynesville Press recorded history, the first accidental drowning took place in 1868. Ttwo trappers crossed the lake early in the spring in their heavy laden boats. All of their traps and camping gear were in the boat. Midway between the inlet and the outlet of the lake, high waters swamped the boat and it immediately sank. Ironically, only one of the trappers was an expert swimmer. The other man could barely tread water. Somehow, the expert swimmer drowned and the amateur made it to the shore safely.

During the one week in the summer of 1905 several narrow escapes from drowning by swimmers were reported. In one incident a physician, Dr. Helmer, had been bathing at the lake when he had trouble and had to call for help. Then two men, at separate times, were pulled from the lake by their companions. Both men had been near drowning. A fourth incident was reported by men who were repairing the north bridge. As they worked they noticed a body floating toward them. One of the men balanced on a piling and pulled out the son of Mike Miller. ďHe was able to keep his legs and arms in motion and thereby kept on the surface a portion of the time but was all but insensible when gathered in by the bridge builders.Ē The boy had gone swimming with a group of boys, went out too far, and was carried away by the current.

Forty years after the first reported drowning, an eighteen-year-old, Cenious Thorson, of Roseville Township, drowned while swimming near the third island. Evidently in that August 1908 week, the boy was overcome with cramps and went under in six to seven feet of water. His employer, Christian Christianson, a farmer in the area was in a boat nearby. An expert swimmer, the boy had already swum a long distance, perhaps even a couple of miles. When Christianson notice that Thorson was having difficulty, he was a distance from him. By the time he rowed the boat to the scene, the boy's body had already sunk to the bottom of the lake. Since Christianson couldn't swim, he had to go for help and by the time he returned with help, it was too late to save the boy.
One continuing theme throughout history is how fragile life is. Although everyone wants to avoid an accident, sometimes they just happen. For all of its beauty, Lake Koronis is also to be revered whenever we use its waters.

Kristina reported that the only accident she and Jeffrey experienced was a hook in Jeffrey's jacket. Kristina felt a tug on her line, gave it a pull to set the hook, the fish let loose and the lure ended up on Jeff's jacket. No puncture wounds were present, so they didn't even bother to tell grandma. Minor incidents with which to contend are put into perspective when hearing of major accidents. Safety and concern for ourselves and others on the lake will preserve for all of us a view from the lake.

Information for the above article was taken from the following issues of The Paynesville Press: July 20, 1905 and August 6, 1908.


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