Galena Weekly Gazette
28 July 1938

Youth Meets Death Last Thursday by Drowning in Creek

Ralph Cole, 17 year old son of Mr.and Mrs. William Cole who live at the old Black Jack mine about five miles southeast of Galena, drowned Thursday about twelve p.m., in the Smallpox Creek about a half mile from his home.

Ralph was born in Rice township on Jan. 15, 1921, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Cole. He attended the Spring Creek school, and after graduating from there he worked for his father on the farm.

He is survived by his parents, four brothers, Russell, Melborn, Edward and Eugene; two sisters, Callen and Audrey; and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wienen. He was preceded in death by one brother, who died in infancy.

Although Ralph could not swim, he loved to be around the water. Thursday noon he accompanied his father to the timber, and while Mr. Cole was cutting a tree for a pole for repairs to his hay rack, Ralph went down to the Small Pox creek to fish. Due to his being subject to fainting spells, Mr. Cole called to him at various times to see that he was all right, and when he failed to answer his last call, Russell, Ralph's brother, and Mr. Cole went to see why he did not reply.

They found the fishing pole, one end resting on the bank and the other end in the water, and immediately believed that he had fallen in the creek. Russell went into the water and found him in about four feet of water, almost directly across the narrow stream from where he had been fishing.

He was carried to the bank of the creek and then help was called from Galena. Several volunteers worked over him for an hour with artificial respiration, but to no avail.

The funeral was held on Saturday morning with services at nine o'clock from St. Mary's Catholic church, Rev. J. K. Nilles officiating.

The following friends acted as casket bearers: David McCaron, Donald Muchow, Harold Wienen, Alfred Wienen, James Bartell and Harvey Heim.

There was an exceptionally large number of spiritual and floral bouquets bespeaking the esteem in which Ralph was held by his many friends.

Interment was made in St. Mary's cemetery.

The following from out of the city attended the funeral:

Mr. and Mrs. J. Wilson, Warren, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Allison and family; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Swift and family; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Moore, Savanna, Ill.; Mr.and Mrs. Evie Christian, Shullsburg, Wis.: Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Carlson and family, Chicago; and John Eversoll, Schapville, Ill.

Submitted by Tim Doser