Body was pulled from Mahoning River, ID unknown

One hundred twenty-five years ago in 1898, two very different Mahoning River stories taken directly from the pages of The Youngstown Vindicator:

“Ghastly find. Decomposed body of a man in the river at Girard. Found this afternoon. The corpse discovered in some bushes by John Johns.

“John Johns was on the east side of the river pulling driftwood, the stream being much swollen by the recent rains. While working away, he discovered the body of a man lodged in some brushes along the bank.

“Johns went at once to Undertaker Goodrich, who went to the spot, about 200 yards below the dam, and took the body from the water and left it on the bank until the arrival of the coroner, A.M. Beach, of Niles, who was immediately notified.

“The body was found at 12:30 this afternoon, and could not be identified appearing to have been in the water for a long time and badly decomposed. The man was 5 feet 9 inches tall, wore a dark brownovercoat, a dark blue suit, a light blue flannel shirt without a collar and shoes and had short, black hair and a dark mustache.

“In his pockets were found a pair of white socks, a small circular mirror and a book entitled ‘The American Tract Society,’ the book having been printed in New York City. It seemed that the man must have been about 45 years old.

“It is supposed that the body floated down the river and over the dam during the present raise in the stream. No one in this vicinity is known to be missing. An inquest will probably be held. Crowds have visited the spot where the body is lying. The corpse is a repulsive sight.”

And on a lighter note:

“A rabbit hero. He was in the Mahoning River, but saved his cottontail. Below the Bridge. He was drifting in the current, but made brave efforts and escaped.

“Yesterday a rabbit, a wild, gray little thing from the woods, attracted attention as it battled with the current in the Mahoning river and finally landed on the east side a short distance above the mill, and escaped from a man who had the heartlessness to pursue the poor, panting little creature after its heroic struggle, for which it deserved a monument, rather than cowardly pursuit.

“The rabbit first attracted the attention of some folks on the Spring Common bridge, under which the cotton tail was carried in the current, which was swift, the river being high. A crowd stopped, watched, commented, expressed sympathy and applauded the wee hero as he struggled against the stream.

The current seemed at one time as if it would carry him over the dam, and that catastrophe would certainly have settled him. But when some distance down he turned to the east and then it was feared that he would get into the mill race and meet the fate of the foolish eels that were slaughtered by Mr. Homer Baldwin’s gigantic water wheels.

But fortune favored the brave swimmer and he reached shore in safety. Shaking himself, he hopped up the bank and disappeared, evading the man who had started in pursuit.

It was said by those who witnessed the incident that it was likely that the rabbit had been drowned out by the flood in his retreat along the shore, and been carried away when attempting to reach terra firma.”

• Compiled from the Youngstown Vindicator by Chelsea Hess, Mahoning Valley Historical Society archives assistant.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today