The Rockford Gazette

Rockford, IL

26 May 1880

Copyright Rockford Register Star 2005

Used with permission.

Drowned in the River.

About 10 oclock Monday morning, Mr. E. A. Burbank and W. A. Wickersham, two of Medlars artists started out for a little sail on the Rock. The boat chosen for the trip is one they have been rigging themselves, and resembles somewhat a catamaran. They had been out for about an hour, perhaps, and were in the middle of the stream opposite the camp grounds when the boat


It was apparent at once that they could not save it and, in order to save their own lives, must abandon the boat and swim to the shore. Burbank asked Wickersham if he could make it, and having received an answer in the affirmative, they started for the west shore


It seems that Wickersham, before starting out in be morning, had put on a large pair of hunting boots and not having time to pull them off before starting for the shore, they were the means of tiring him very soon. Burbank inquired of him several times if he was all right, and each time received the answer yes. Wickersham began to slacken up, and Burbank gained on him quite little, and when near the shore he heard the cry,


and looking around saw that Wickersham was completely exhausted. Being so near shore, he thought if he cou1d get some of his wet clothes off, he could more readily save the


This he accomplished, he started out for where Wickersham was. He reached him in time to catch hold of some of his clothing, but being well neigh exhausted himself was compelled to release his hold in order to save his own life. Reluctantly he again started for the shore only to see his companion sink for the last time to a


Mr. Burbank came to this city as quick as possible, and a number of men started for the spot to drag for the body, but up to the time of going to press no trace of it had been found.

Mr. Wickershams parents reside at Princeton, this State. He had been at work for Mr. Medlar only a short time but by his gentlemanly manner be had gained many friends.

The body Mr. Wickersham was found about half past three oclock.

[Note 2005: Perhaps this event played a significant part in Burbank's later mental health problems with depression.]