Obit: Luethe, Berthold E. #2 (1859 - 1902)

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Luethe, Leuthe, Franckenberg

----Source: NEILLSVILLE TIMES (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 05/08/1902

Luethe, Berthold E. #2 (25 AUG 1859 - 4 MAY 1902)

Sunday morning, May 4, 1902, at about 9 o’clock, B.E. Luethe, lieut. Commanding Co. A. and Jas. Murphy, Jake Burnett, Adam Kuentz of Colby, Len Darling and Chad Lyons, attempted to cross Black river on the frail temporary ferry boat that has been used at the Grand Avenue crossing since the bride was swept away last year. The boat has never been consider safe for over four passengers at an ordinary stage of water, but at such a time of high water as prevailed Sunday, even four would have been rather a large load. But the six got in, Lyons and Darling being boys, and Mr. Kuentz, the last to get in, declining to risk the trip until encouraged by those in the boat, and even when the boat started across he asked to be taken back, but went ahead with the rest, but the rush of the stream forced the boat down, and in a moment all were swimming or struggling for their lives. They all clung to the ferry rope, which had broken, but that was found to be utterly useless, as it seemed to pull them under instead of keeping them afloat. One by one they let go, and floated off doing what they could toward getting ashore.

Jake Burnett go hold of young Lyons, and managed to get him in close to shore, when Herman Mai reached out with a fish pole and got them in. Murphy, after a hard swim in the swift current, reached shore, thoroughly exhausted. This left Luethe, Kuentz and the Darling boy to be looked after. Jake Burnett ran for a boat near by forcibly took it from the boys who had it, and went to the rescue. He saw Mr. Luethe swimming towards shore, not over twenty feet from safety, and, thinking him safe, he turned his attention to Mr. Kuentz, who was floating down stream rapidly, clinging to a piece of board that had providentially floated against him as he dropped out of the ferryboat. Kuentz was too far dazed to reach for the boat when Jake reached him, and his hands had to be taken from the board and clasped over the edge of the boat by Jake in order to get him ashore, which was managed in this way.

The Darling boy floated on down through the riffles and was rescued by means of a boat that was brought out of the O’Neill Creek in the nick of time.

Mr. Luethe sank, but just why must always remains a matter of conjecture. The river at that point must have had a powerful undercurrent, and it is possible that with his clothes saturated, and partially exhausted by his swimming, this current pulled him down, or he may have been taken with cramps, or ceased his efforts from sheer exhaustion. He sank from sight, and before the spectators realized the situation, his exact location was lost. He was not seen again.

The river was dragged all day Sunday and Monday, but the flood increased in height and it seems impossible to learn the location of the body until the water subsides.

Citizens have made up a purse of `50 as a reward for the recovering of the body.

This second tragedy plunged the city into still greater grief. Mr. Leuthe, like Mr. Burpee, has always been a popular man and merchant, and has been intensely interested in Co. A., of which he was next in succession for Captaincy.

Berthold E. Luethe was born in Milwaukee Aug. 25, 1859, and lived there until 1890, when he moved to Neillsville (Clark Co., Wis.). He married Emilia Franckenberg Oct. 15, 1881. He had always been in commercial life, having been a traveling salesman, and when he came here, he, with Mr. Dangers and others, engaged in general merchandizing, later being the head of the firm of the Leuthe-Schroeder Co., and later engaging in buying and shipping farm produce and selling farm machinery. He was activity personified and had done more for the farming people than any other merchant in aiding them to dispose of their surplus produce.

He leaves a wife, a son, Thermo, a brother, A. Luethe, and step-mother, Mrs. Julius Luethe of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

(Follow on in 5/22/1902 Neillsville Times)

Last Saturday morning Lester Beaulieu and Ole Lee found the body of B.E. Luethe, who was drowned on Sunday, May 4, near the Grand Av. Ferry in this city. It was a little way upstream from the mouth of Wedges Creek, six or seven miles south of the city, at the surface of the river, with the feet tangled in some roots, which prevented it from moving. Lee and Beaulieu had been employed to search the river and had put in a number of days working diligently up and down the stream in a boat, and it is gratifying that their work resulted in success.

All legal forms were complied with and the remains brought to the city by Peter Johnson, undertaker, and Justice A.E. Dudley impaneled a coroner’s jury - W.H. Lowery, Frank Burnett, Lon Brooks, Frank Dwyer, J.D. Stannard, Clarence Breed - who viewed the body and returned a formal verdict of death by drowning according to the facts, as published last week in the Times. Later in the day they were taken to his late home, and on Sunday services were held at the armory.

At 2:30 p.m. Co. A., headed by the Second Regiment Band of Marshfield and regimental officers, and followed by the Workmen, Woodmen and Masons, in the order named, marched to the residence and escorted the remains to the armory. After the beautiful services, conducted by W.M.S.M. Marsh, music by the band and singing by a male quartet (S.M. Marsh, H.C. Clark, J.A. Phillips and Guy Youmans) the great concourse of people passed from the hall, leaving the dead in charge of a squad of eight militiamen of Co. A, who maintained their watch until Monday morning, when the remains were escorted to the depot and were shipped to Milwaukee, accompanied by relatives and military escort, where they were laid to rest.

A most imposing funeral and military escort was given Mr. Luethe at Milwaukee, where he was formerly a member of the Calumet club and well known in society. The funeral address was in English and German. A touching tribute was an entire carriage load of wreaths and flowers.



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