Monday, March 5, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History:March 5

March 5, 1922 – Five members of the Gunder Midby family of Sheldon, Houston County, Minn., met their death in the waters of East Beaver Creek shortly after 3 p.m. today. Mr. and Mrs. Midby and their four children, Ester, aged 6; Louella, 4 years; Genevieve, 2 years; and Arthur, 4 months old, together with Robert Wisland, who was driving the team, were returning from Beaver Ridge where Mrs. Midby and children had been visiting her mother, Mrs. Amund Lee.

Horse drawn Sleigh1

When they reached a point in the road between the saw mill and the old Messerall place where a swinging bridge was formerly used over the creek, they attempted to ford the creek. The sled struck a rock and the front bob parted from the rear on, the sled turning over with its occupants. Robert Wisland clung to the lines and was drawn safely to the other bank by the horses. After a struggle to save the two children he was holding in his arms, Mr. Midby, to save his own life, let go of the little ones who had been in and under the cold water for some time. They perished with Mrs. Midby and the other two children.

Rain and melting snow had swollen the creek considerably and the water at the point of the attempted crossing was approximately four feet deep with a swift current running.

Beaver Creek, Houston County, Minn.2

A search was started for the bodies but none were recovered until late this evening when Mrs. Midby and baby Arthur were found near the place of drowning. The search was resumed the following day, and during the afternoon another body was found. The fourth body was found Tuesday morning a mile down from the scene of the catastrophe. The fifth body, that of oldest daughter Ester, would not be found until Aug. 1924, even though her father continued to search for her regularly.

The Caledonia Argus; “Mother and Four Children Perish in Beaver Creek. Mrs. Gunder Midboe (sic) and Four Children Drowned Sunday Afternoon in Beaver Creek Four Miles Northwest of Caledonia—Sled Hits Rock and Overturns In Swollen Waters From Spring Freshet. Four Bodies are Recovered.”; March 10, 1922; p. 1.



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