The Register last week gave a brief account of the drowning of Roy Landis Staley, son of Mr. James P. Staley, which occurred about noon on Thursday. The sad affair occurred after a part of ou redition had been printed, and as we were unable at that time to give the details of the distressing occurrence, we now relate the particulars.
The young man, who was 21 years, 10 months and 5 days old, and who lived a short distance east of town, had gone down the river road to watch the flood in the Potomac, stopping at John W. Mitchell’s place. On of Mr. Mitchell’s chickens was marooned on a fence, and he had a boat in which he thought he would row to the place and get it. Roy got in the boat with him, as did Freel Daniels also. The boat began to leak, and Mr. Daniels got out and stood on a fence. The two men continued down the stream, keeping within Mr. Mitchell’s lot, where there seemed no particular danger and where the water was smooth. When they got to the end of the lot a pile of drift against the fence had deflected the current, causing it to shoot swiftly out toward the river. The boat was carried against a a couple of small trees at the edge of a swift and dangerous looking current, and they were unable to manage it. In trying to hold it back the water began to pour into the boat, and in another moment it sank beneath them. This occurred a short distance below Mr. Mitchell’s home, in the public road, where the water was perhaps six feet deep and very swift. Both men were submerged in the rushing water. They came up and Mr. Mitchell was carried to a pile of drift that had lodged against some trees, but Roy sank again, to be seen alive no more. Mr. Mitchell was almost done for, be he held on to the drift until it began to give way, when he managed to find temporary safety in a tree. His calls for help soon brought assistance, and Samuel Muck and several others got a boat and went to the scene. Mr. Muck maneuvered the boat to the exhausted man at considerable peril, and rescued him from his dangerous position. The ordeal was a trying one for Mr. Mitchell, and he was very nervous for a time.
Word of the drowning was soon brought to town, and a number of persons immediately went to the scene. The turbulent waters, still rising, made any effort to recover the body impractical, and it was not until Saturday, when the waters had receded, that it could be searched for. Saturday afternoon a number of persons sought to find it, and Walter Caton and J. W. and Elmer Marshall were the first to observe it. They noticed a partly submerged coat at the edge of the water, and the body was thus located. It was held down boy a piece of driftwood, and was only a few yards from the place where the boat had capsized.
It is said that there was no water in the lungs, indicating that the shock and the knowledge of the danger had caused death before the young man had sunk beneath the water. The body, which was in good condition, was taken in charge by Undertaker Ferell, who embalmed it and prepared it for burial.
The funeral service was held Sunday afternoon in the Reformed Church, of which Roy had been a member, and was conducted by his pastor, Rev. Guy P. Bready. It was one of the largest funerals ever known here, the church being filled to its utmost capacity while a hundred or more persons were unable to gain admittance. Members of Roy’s Sunday school class carried beautiful floral tributes, of which there was the greatest profusion. The body was buried in the cemetery adjoining the church.
Roy Staley was one of the best young men in our community. Of quiet manner and gentle behavior, exemplary in his conduct and the best of habits, he was esteemed by all who knew him. Only good could be spoken of him. His sad death has brough grief not only to his own family, but many friends sorrow that he has been cut off just as he had entered manhood’s estate. He is survived by his father, and his devoted step-mother; a brother, Lester Staley; a sister, Mrs. Wm. A. Tabler, of Baltimore; a step-brother, Walter Staley, and a step-sister, Mrs. Walter Caton, of this vicinity.
A distressing incident of the affair was the fact that Mr. Staley, Roy’s father, was away from home when the drowning occurred. He had gone to Richmond to attend the Confederate reunion, and did not learn of the death of his son until he had gotten to Berryville, where his son Lester met him on the train. The shock was a terrible one when he was told the sad news. His friends extend to him and to the other members of the family great sympathy in this time of affliction.
No evidence analysis information has been cataloged for this piece of evidence yet.