Horrible Accident at Broadway
THREE YOUNG GIRLS DROWNED WHILE CROSSING THE NORTH BRANCH OF THE SHENANDOAH RIVER UPON A FOOT-LOG.
One of the most horrible accidents which it has been our province to record for a long time, occurred at Broadway, in this county, on Monday morning last about 9 o'clock, by which three girls lost their lives while attempting to cross the north branch of the Shenandoah river.
The young girls, by name, Mary Fadely, aged 21 or 22 years, and Julia Fadely, aged 24 years, and Leann Wilt, aged about 17 years, had left their homes in what is know as Hottinger Hollow, some 7 miles northwest of Broadway, on Friday last, to visit friends near New Market, Shenandoah country, in what is know as the "Mash," and on Sunday evening had returned and stayed all night at Mr. Benjamin Wilt's, an uncle of one of the unfortunate girls, who resides about one-half mile from Broadway. On Monday morning they had started on their journey home, and instead of crossing the river at the bridge, as they had done in going down, they determined to cross at a foot-log between the residences of Capt. J. F. Branner and Samuel Branson (colored) in order to shorten their walk, the bridge being a less direct route. They had arrived at the foot-log and the two older girls, Miss Fadely and Miss Wilt, had crossed with some slight bundles they were carrying, but the younger girl was afraid to venture upon the log alone, and the two returned to assist her. They each took her by the hand and they all three started across, side-stepping.
Capt. John C. Sprinkle, of Brock's Gap, who was coming into Broadway for the purpose of taking the train, saw the whole affair and says that when about the middle of the stream (which is about twenty feet from bank to bank at this point) they all seemed to lose their balance and fell into the current together. The stream was somewhat swollen and the water was bout 5 feet deep and very swift. As soon as they fell Capt. Sprinkle and a gentleman who was with him, whose name we have not been able to learn, threw off their coats and ran down the river as fast as they could with a view to rescuing them if possible, but so rapid was the current they were swept down to the eddies about 100 yards below, and but one of the girls was seen distinctly by these gentlemen after they were precipitated into the water. This was the younger of the three, who seemed to have gotten a foot-hold and screamed loudly for help. Capt. S., who was some distance from her, beckoned her to come towards him, but whether through fright or inability, she made no apparent effort to obey him, but threw her hand frantically above her head and fell backward in the current to rise no more. Her body floated down the river opposite Capt. Branner's residence, where she was rescued perhaps a half hour later. The last seen of the other two girls alive they were being swiftly swept down the river, still clinging to each other's hand, to the eddies below, where they were speedily drowned. The body of the elder Miss Fadely was found about one hour after the accident, but the body of Miss Wilt, from our latest information, (about 1 o'clock P.M. Monday,) had not been recovered, though the citizens of the town had turned out in masse and were dragging the river in every direction.
Every effort was made to resuscitate the younger girl who was first rescued, but to no avail.
The father of the Fadely girls is, we understand, employed at the Columbia furnace, in Shenandoah county, and, together with his youngest daughter, made his home at Mr. Wm. Williams, near the dividing line between this and Shenandoa country, his wife being dead. The eldest daughter lived with a Mrs. Regena Dellinger, in Hottinger Hollow, and Miss Wilt lived with her grandmother in the same locality. The people of the quiet little town of Broadway were thrown into a fever of excitement and did everything in their power to rescue the victims, but to no effect.
The girls were, so far as we know, most respectable people, and their untimely death is universally regretted. We are under obligations to our friend, S. B. Few, Esq., who resides in Broadway, for the particulars as give above.
Since the above was put in type, we learn that the body of Miss Wilt was found on Tuesday morning, about one mile below the scene of the accident.
The bodies were buried at County Line Church on Wednesday.
Transcribed By: Brenda (Hamilton) Johnson