Word Count: 414
Boy Saved During Tornado
By Sally Madison
May 29, 1896 Oakville Times:
Captain Robert Bowman of the Mississippi Shipping Company, who grew up here in Oakville, saved the life of an unknown child during the recent tornado that devastated St Louis, day before yesterday.
Mrs Margaret Bowman reported: I went to the dock to greet my husband home from his two-week trip to New Orleans. He had dismissed the crew for the day, so no-one else should have been around. I was in his cabin checking his linens, as Robert checked the ropes that tied to the dock when the boat began rocking more than usual. The choppy river was becoming aggressively violent at an alarming rate. We needed too get off the boat quickly.
As I attempted to mount the gangplank as the large droplets of rain and wind had intensity as exponentially as the water had. My skirt clung to my legs and then the wind pushed me into the muddy river. I struggled back to the dock and Robert pulled me up. The wind was howling frightfully. We looked up the bank towards the new bridge and could see that the sky had become a variegation from white to green to purple and then to black. We realized we were in imminent danger, since we had seen the devastating power of a tornado previously in our lives. Robert quickly grabbed a rope and lashed me to a piling of the upper dock. The wind smashed the boat against the dock with such force that the hull split open. I screamed to Robert that I saw a young boy on the boat. He had to be a stowaway from New Orleans, and he was obviously a run-a-away, judging by the matted hair and the shabby britches. Robert ran back to the boat and grabbed the child as the boat rocked violently, They were both in great danger of being thrown overboard and fell in the hemorrhagic waters on deck. Robert pushed the child on to the dock and grappled his way out of the boat. I screamed for them to hurry. They crawled slowly, as they were facing the horrendous wind. When they managed to reach one of the upper pilings, Richard secured the child before lashing himself fast.
The child, yet to be identified, is currently recovering in Widow Bowman’s home in St. Louis.