Cromwell Gould Drowned in River Last Saturday

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Publication Date: 
Wednesday, July 2, 1924
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He Was Just Twenty Years of Age and Was a Student at the State University at Iowa City

Saturday afternoon, Cromwell Gould while swimming in the mill pond by the Light & Power House, went over the dam and was drowned in the turbulent waters below. The terrible tragedy happened a few minutes before four o'clock. He, in company with Luverne Moeller, had just gone into the pond above the dam to swim. They had been swimming there before when the water was not so high. However, the recent rains had raised the water till there was a powerful current two feet deep sweeping over the dam. They did not appreciate the added danger of the few extra inches of water. Luverne swam to within about a rod above the dam and there the water was just swift enough so, as he says, he could just nicely hold his own. Cromwell, following close behind went past him with a smile, indicating that even that close to the falling waters and the seething whirlpool below, he was not in danger, that he could stop at the dam as he had done when the water was lower, and that, if he did go over, he could get out. But instantly the rapids caught him and carried him over. Charles Bernstein, engineer in charge of the power house, ran on the planks along the north side of the building and reached the west end in time to see Cromwell's shoulders out of the water and hear him cry "help me." Mr. Bernstein rushed for the pole that laid there and when he returned Cromwell had gone down never to rise.

H A Groth and Alex McCulla, who had just come up to the power house were standing a few feet further up the stream, and, while they heard Cromwell's cry for help, did not see him. Mr. Groth reached out with a rod and helped Luverne out of the water, and they and Alton Gilbertson who was just ready to go in swimming also, rushed to the lower side of the dam to see if they could save him there. But they were unable to see anything of him at all. The boys both wanted to jump into the roaring waters and help him out but [illegible for remainder of sentence]
mass of churning water and [illegible:?] the boys to stay out and not add to the already awful tragedy.

The news was phoned to town and soon the river was lined with men and a search was organized. The men continued to search the best they could until dark, without avail.

Immediately after daybreak on Sunday a search was organized on a more extensive scale, which included dragging all the portion of the river just below the dam and a less intensive search for several miles down the river. Not being successful, they sent for Baldwin Brothers of Waterloo, professional divers, who arrived in the early part of the afternoon. They took charge of the work just below the dam and there the river was very thoroughly dragged again, still without results. At twenty-five minutes after four Ewald Wiegner, in crossing the river about 150 feet below the dam and about 20 feet from the east shore, accidentally found the body by stepping onto it. At this point the water was about three deep. This was the place that had been thoroughly searched before and many believe that the body had just floated to this position and that earlier it had been swept into the race above.

The plant was shut down for a while during the afternoon and only a few minutes before had again been started up so that the water just being turned into the race from above there had carried the body down to this point where it was found. This seems to be the most plausible theory that was been advanced.

People were coming and going all day Sunday. At four o'clock a count was taken and at that time there were four hundred cars in the tourist park and at points adjacent to the river in the road and in the fields. At that time many started home. As cars were coming and going all the time, it is certain that between eight hundred and a thousand cars visited the scene with between three thousand and five thousand people, such was the interest manifested, by people from near and far.

As Eye Witnesses Saw It

Mr. H. A. Groth, who was one of the eye witnesses, says:

"Alex McCulla and myself had been up looking at the new sand pit on the west side of the river, and, as the water was so high, when we came back we drove around to the power house to look at it. Just before we reached it we passed Cromwell Could and Luverne Moeller, carrying a canoe which they had been using lower down the river. Soon after they reached the pond above the power house they went into the river and swam out towards the dam. Luverne was ahead, but Cromwell followed a short distance behind and almost immediately was swept over the dam. We heard his cry for help, but we were powerless to help. But I helped Luverne out of the water and then hurried to the [illegible: last sentence of the first column] of Cromwell. It is awful to [illegible?] such a tragedy when you can do [illegible: anything?].

[illegible: first name?] Bernstein, engineer at the [illegible:?] plant, was another who saw the tragedy. He was standing on the north side of the power house, not far from where Mr. Groth and Mr. McCulla was standing. He says:
[Illegible:?] the boys go into the river and [illegible:?] out near the dam, and saw [illegible: Cromwell?] Gould go over the dam, feet first. I rushed over the planks and [Illegible:?] down past the falling water and saw Cromwell's head and shoulders above the water and he called "help me" [illegible:?] rushed for the long pole with a [illegible: hook?] on the end of it which is kept [illegible:?] for the rope in my car. The [Illegible: rod?] wasn't there and I ran with the pole [illegible: and?] hook, but when I got back he [illegible: had?] disappeared. When I saw him he [Illegible:?] just below the dam and right [illegible:?]. The water was at that time [illegible:?] a good strong two feet over [illegible:?] dam. Earlier in the day it had [illegible:?] twenty-six inches deep there [illegible: but?] commenced to go down a little [illegible:?] tell you I never want to see [illegible: something?] like that again as long as [illegible: I live?]. You just can't get your [illegible: mind ?] of it."


Cromwell Merle Gould, son of Mr and [illegible: Mrs.?] Ed Gould, was born at St. Ansgar, Iowa, on June 27, 1904. He and [illegible:?] twin brother, Kermit, were born [illegible:?] on September 4, 1904, Mrs. M. E. [illegible:?] and Mr K. Williams [illegible: ?] sponsors for Cromwell. He was confirmed October 24, 1920.

Cromwell was a member of the First Lutheran Sunday School at St. Ansgar until [illegible:?] confirmation and a member of [illegible:?] Class of the same Sunday School after his confirmation. He was also member of the First Lutheran Church [illegible: ?] Choir which sang before [illegible:?] people at Story City, 2,000 people at [illegible:?] and 6,000 people at Mason City [illegible: ?]. He was a member of the [illegible: ?] of St. Ansgar.

Cromwell was born on the old [illegible: ?] homestead, north of St. Ansgar. In early childhood his [illegible: parents?] moved to Osage, where the [illegible: family?] lived for a short time at [illegible: ?]
his entire education at our public schools. After graduation from the high school in the spring of 1923 he continued his studies at the Iowa State University, Iowa City, Iowa.

He returned from Iowa City on June 2nd and for the first time this summer attended church at the First Lutheran Church on the 8th of June. The brothers celebrated their twentieth birthday on Friday, the 27th of June. On Saturday, the 28th, he went to the river to swim. The story of this trip and is sad ending have been placed before our community by the St. Ansgar Enterprise in such detail that a mere mention of it is sufficient for this occasion. His death occurred at about 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon, the 28th of June, and his body was found at about 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon, the 29th of June.

The funeral was conducted at the home and at the First Lutheran Church of St. Ansgar by his pastor, Rev. M. E. Waldeland, on Wednesday, the 2nd of July, and was very largely attended being one of the largest funerals ever held in St. Ansgar, not half of the people being able to get into the church Rev. Waldeland preached a very impressive sermon from Romans 1 16 "For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for It Is the Power of God unto Salvation to Everyone That Believeth."

His remains were laid to rest at the Pleasant Hill Lutheran Cemetery south of Mona, Iowa, where he rests beside his uncle, John Gould, and his grandfather, Collin Gould.

The most beautiful wreath placed upon the casket of Cromwell Gould was that which was give by the members of his confirmation class. Instead of buying flowers that would wilt within a few days, they have donated a sum of money to be sent to the Foreign Mission field of the Church and there to be used in keeping one of the Foreign Missionary children in a Mission school. These children always assume new names when, after instruction, they are baptized, and it has been suggested to the Foreign Missionary Board of the Church that they suggest to our missionaries to have the child that will be supported by this money given the name of Cromwell Gould. In this way, Cromwell's memory will have blessed influence abroad and the action of the confirmation class it is hoped will bring beautiful flowers of Christianity to bloom in the heart and life of some little heathen child.

Present at the funeral from away were: Mr. S. M. Gould, New Lexington, Ohio; Dr. and Mrs. Geo Gould, Conrad, Iowa; Mr. and Mrs. E. Tostenson and son, Vernell, Jackson, Minnesota; Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Frank Rudd, Iowa; Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Springer, Charles City, Iowa; Mr. and Mrs. James Palmer, Lyle, Minnesota; Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Hofland, Star Prairie, Wis.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Frank and family, Carpenter, Iowa.

Card of Thanks
We wish to express our most[illegible for reminder of article: ?]