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Koelman, Simon Drowns in River 1895


Posted By: Ernie Braida
Date: 10/31/2011 at 22:45:32

Simon Koelman, 19 years of age, was drowned in the Des Moines River, one-half mile above Rousseau ferry, about 7 o’clock Saturday evening. Young Koelman was in the employ of J. E. Leanhart a farmer living near Rousseau and went in company with his employer for a swim after quitting work for the day. The young man could not swim and was cautioned by Mr. Leanhart not to go into deep water. Mr. Leanhart spent some time trying to learn him to swim and then struck out for deeper water not noticing what Koelman was doing and not supposing he would attempt to follow him. After swimming 50 or 100 yards down the river Leanhart heard the young man call out that he did not think he could make it and saw that Koelman was in the deep water and told him to go to the shore. Mr. Leanhart says that Koelman could easily have reached the shore but instead commenced threshing around in the water and soon sank from sight. Leanhart struck out for him at once, but was unable to reach him in time to save his life. The alarm was given and after a short search the body was found a little distance down the river from where he sank. Justice Crozier was notified, and empanelled a jury, who, after viewing the remains and hearing the evidence, rendered a verdict of an accidental drowning. The body of the unfortunate young man was taken to the home of his parents who live eight miles east of Pella. The funeral was held there Monday.

A curious feature of the case that will interest believers in psychical phenomena is the fact that Mrs. Koelman, separated from her son by many miles, was intensely and strangely agitated between the hours of 5 and 7 p. m., so much so that her family feared she was losing her mind.
She felt the approach of impending evil, but did not seem to connect it with her son. It was many hours afterward that she was made acquainted with the sad accident by the bringing home of the body of her son, and fully knew the import of that strange foreboding.

Marion County Newspapers 1895


Marion Documents maintained by Allen Hibbard.
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