IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Li'l Bits

Bulman family tragedy


Funeral card - Ben Bulman & Alice M. Meyer Bulman
Funeral card - Ben Bulman & Alice M. Meyer Bulman

Ben Bulman
Born Aug. 2, 1891
Died June 17, 1919
Age 27 yrs. 10 mos. 15 D

Alice M. Bulman
Born April 26, 1895
Died March 15, 1919
Age 23 yrs. 10 mos. 17 D

Benjamin 'Ben' Bulman and Alice Minnie Meyer were married September 2, 1914 at Mt. Hope United Presbyterian Church in Union City twp. Allamakee County, Iowa. He was born in Union City twp. to George & Anna (Rowe) Bulman. She was born in Iowa to Henry H. & Minnie Meyer / Meyers.

Alice's body was never found. Ben & his daughter Mable are buried at English Bench, Union City twp.

Gravestone of Ben, Alice & Mabel in English Bench cemetery


Three People Drowned in Rain Swollen Creek

Dubuque, Ia., March 17 -- three people were drowned near Waukon in Allamakee county, Saturday night, when they were carried away while crossing a creek, swollen by the heavy rain. The victims are Mrs. Ben Bulman, aged 27; her daughter, aged 3, and her father, Mr. Meyers, aged 54. they were driving a team across the stream.

~Nevada State Journal; Reno, Nevada; March 18, 1919


Three Drowned in Dorchester Flood

Three lives were lost in the flood at Dorchester Saturday evening. A.H.Meyer* and daughter, Mrs. Bullman of English Bench and her little three year old daughter were drowned about six o'clock when Mr. Meyer attempted to drive across the Arch creek dry run near Dorchester. Searching parties found the body of the little girl a half mile below where the drowning is supposed to have occurred and the body of Mr. Meyer was found a mile down the run. Mrs. Bullman's body has not yet been recovered. The strangest part of the tragedy is is (sic) that the drowned man had lived near the scene for 25 years and was familiar with the dry run and its dangerous condition in flood time, and had been warned by parties he met on the road that the water was deep, and had gone over the top of their buggy box when they forded the run, a short while before meeting him.

One of the horses was drowned and when the other ambled into Dorchester the people felt certain that a drowning had occurred and a searching party was organized at once.

Mr. Meyer was about 65 years old, and had retired from farming about a year ago and was making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Bullman. They were returning from a visit with his other daughter, Mrs. Wm. Kohnen, when the drowning occurred. Herman and Martin who reside west of Caledonia, are sons of the deceased.

~The Caledonia Argus, Friday March 21, 1919
~Daughter was Mable Bullman b. 12/27/1916. Buried at English Bench, Union City Township
~Although the father's name is given as A.H. Meyer in the news article, he was Henry H. Meyer. The 1900 US census, Allamakee co., Waterloo twp. enumerates Henry H. Meyers, b. June 1858 in Germany, immigrated in 1879, naturalized; his wife Minnie, b. Sept. 1860 in Illinois; their children: Martin (b. Sept 1882), Herman (b. Feb 1885), Rosa (b. Aug 1887), Clara (b. July 1891), Alice (b. April 1895) & Elmer (b. Oct 1898).


Body Not Recovered

Waukon, April 14 - The body of Mrs. Ben Bulman, one of the three victims of a drowning accident near Dorchester a month ago, has not as yet been found, despite the diligent search that has been made for it. The husband has offered the sum of $200 as a reward to anyone finding the remains, which will doubtless stimulate the search.

~Waterloo Times-Tribune, Tuesday, April 15, 1919



All Allamakee county was shocked and saddened today upon learning that Ben Bulman, 30 years of age, a prosperous farmer residing near Dorchester, had committed suicide Tuesday afternoon by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun. His wife and only child, a girl of 3 years, were drowned in a dry run flood near their home three months ago and the body of Mrs. Bulman was never recovered, though constant searching was continued for weeks, bloodhounds covered the run in a vain attempt to scent her body beneath the debris, and a large reward was offered by the husband for her remains.


Mr. Bulman's continued distress has led him into deeper gloom and despondency as time elapsed and of late he has been seen walking along the scene of the drowning tragedy at late hours of the night, brooding over his distressing trouble and suspense. He had made his home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Bulman, since the tragedy and Tuesday afternoon about 3 o'clock he remarked to his father, "You will never see me again," and started for his own place. His father is past 80 years of age and did not realize or think seriously of what his son had said, and supposed he had only gone to look after his farm work.

But as night came on his father worried about his continued absence and went to his home about midnight. He entered the house but finding nothing to arouse suspicion and believing his son was out somewhere, returned to his own home. This morning, however, he went again to the place and in an upstairs room found his son lying dead on his child's bed, the shotgun lying on his body. On a table downstairs was found a note, scratched on an old envelope with the point of a file, which read: "I am going to be with Alice (his wife) and my little girl." Tied to a fence outside stood his team hitched to a corn plow. Coroner Heucker of Waukon was called and conducted and inquest, the jurors being Ed Sadler, Leonard Bulman and Daniel Sires, and their verdict was suicide.


Thus is recorded the final chapter of one of the saddest and most heart-rending tragedies ever known in this county. This entire family, loved and respected by friends far and wide, and by a large number of relatives, has passed to its eternal home in the brief space of three months and their loved ones have been plunged into the deepest mourning, while the entire community is saddened beyond the power of expression in words. Mr. Bulman is survived by both parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Bulman, and a number of grown brothers and sisters, most of whom reside in Canada and North Dakota. Arrangements for the funeral have not been made, awaiting the arrival of the distant relatives.

~La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse Wisconsin, 20 June 1919

~Funeral card contributed by Errin Wilker
~Newspaper articles contributed by LA, Errin Wilker & S. Ferrall
~Additional information provided by LA, Errin Wilker & S. Ferrall from personal knowledge & census records

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