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A Century of Drownings at Harvey’s Lake (1863-1963)

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A Century of Drownings at Harvey's Lake
1863 - 1963
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Report of Study and Findings of Thirty-Six Drownings in Harvey’s Lake and Susquehanna River
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1. Introduction


Harvey's Lake Police Chief Fred Swanson recovered 17 drowning victims over the years of his service, from 1932 to 1952.

This article recounts 57 reported deaths by drowning at Harvey's Lake between the years 1863-1963. Nearly half of the drownings occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. During this time public access to the Lake was at its zenith with major beaches at Sunset, Picnic Grounds, and Sandy Beach. But there were also boat rental services at points around the Lake. A number of drownings occurred, too, at Warden Place where a drop-off on the Lake bottom contributed to deaths.

The available reports suggest that three victims were never recovered from the Lake depths and a fourth in the post-1963 era.

List of Drowning Victims

This is as complete a list as possible of drownings at Harvey's Lake. The primary source is the Wilkes-Barre Record Almanac; corroborating news articles from the Record and other sources have also been used where possible. These sources may not be complete. Dr. Benjamin S. Davis used the Almanac as the basis for the accompanying article.

1. June 13, 1863 David Westover
2. Sep. 18, 1881 Agnes Kitchen
3. Sep. 30, 1891 Gomer Rosser
4. Oct. 24, 1894 Jacob Johnson
5. June 23, 1895 Gowen C. Herdman
6. June 23, 1895 Lewis A. McCarty
7. July 12, 1985 Annie Smith
8. Jan. 9, 1901 Fred Puterbaugh
9. June 6, 1903 Earl Hoover
10. June 7, 1903 Joseph Masterson
11. Aug. 25, 1906 Theodore Yoos
12. Aug. 7, 1907 James McGreevy, Jr.
13. July 13, 1908 Arthur Jones
14. July 4, 1911 Joseph Morrick
15. July 24, 1912 George Brean
16. July 4, 1913 Alice Crispell
17. Aug. 2, 1913 William Griffiths
18. July 31, 1914 Warren Yeisley
19. July 18, 1915 George Stevenson
20. Aug. 20, 1916 Bernard McDonald
21. July 11, 1918 Mary Williamson
22. July 27, 1919 Edward Slivinski
23. Aug. 8, 1919 Joseph A. Laufer
24. Aug. 13, 1921 Robert Owens
25. Jan. 8, 1922 Roland Gross
26. July 14, 1922 Charles Mack
27. June 17, 1923 Anna Bonsavage
28. Aug. 18, 1923 Leo Emerick*
29. Aug. 23, 1924 Andrew Karalus
30. Aug. 31, 1924 Ralph Jones
31. July 27, 1925 Louis Cappellini
32. July 27, 1925 John Marinangioli*
33. July 23, 1927 John Ragunis
34. July 25, 1927 Pious Telelsha
35. Aug. 10, 1927 Martin J. Noon
      (aka Johnny Hardy)*

36. July 11, 1928 Ralph Frey
37. Aug. 30, 1928 John Sauer, Jr.
38. Aug. 20, 1931 Charles Hicks
39. Aug. 20, 1931 Mrs. Charles Hicks
40. Aug. 20, 1931 Sylvester Shoemaker
41. June 30, 1935 Stephen Yachna
42. Aug. 16, 1935 Nellie Barbon1s
43. May 6, 1937 Iris Stevenson
44. June 9, 1937 Anthony Wozinski
45. June 28, 1937 Frank Meighan
46. Aug. 15, 1937 John Kelly
47. Aug. 16, 1938 William Morgan
48. Sep. 2, 1939 Millard “Slim” Haefele
49. Sep. 9, 1941 Teddy Frantz
50. July 19, 1942 Anthony Burian
51. July 19, 1942 Joseph Wysocki
52. Aug. 14, 1942 Nathan B. Iscovitz
53. July 1, 1945 Harry F. Sorber
54. July 4, 1949 Walter Anusicwicz
55. July 13, 1949 Frank Gilvery
56. Aug. 25, 1959 Alexander Iwanski
57. June 14, 1961 Donald Hall

Post-1963:

58. June 27, 1976 Robert Brulo
59. Aug. 13, 1976 Ronald Lupa
60. July 3, 1977 James R. Passarielli
61. June 15, 1983 Kenneth LaBar *
62. May 1, 1988 Kenneth Cara
63. Mar. 19, 1991 Leo Edwards
64. June 19, 1995 Arthur “Tommy” Rhone II
65. Apr. 1, 1999 Atty. Joseph Gorman
66. July 2, 2016 Dakota Williams

*Victims whose bodies were not recovered.


© 2002 F. Charles Petrillo (Revised 2018)

Copyright 2006-2007 F. Charles Petrillo