July 2, 1942. It was a terrible day in Taylorville. Dale Wilson Lynch, age 14 drowned.
It was a day like any other day on the farm. We had dinner, the mid-day meal. Mom had made a big pot of butterbeans. I don’t know how it happened but we decided to go swimming in the creek.
I remember bits and pieces of that day. I remember the three of us walking down Gum Point Road; Dale, Lois, age12 and myself, age 9. Somewhere along the way Charles Johnson joined us. His dad was the school bus driver. Charles was the same age as Dale. I don’t know if this was pre-arranged or just a coincidence. At that time, we didn’t have electricity, running water or a telephone.
We walked to the end of Gum Point Road to the home of Mr. Flint and family where the present day Albatross Motel is located. Mr. Flint was the overseer of the construction of the big red steel boat. This is the same house that Uncle Harvey and Aunt Alice lived in when it was located on the home Lynch farm.
Wesley Flint, same age as Dale, was supposed to go swimming with us. But he had a cold and his mother wouldn’t let him come with us.
I don’t know why we didn’t go swimming right there. We got into Norman’s rowboat. Dale and Charles did the rowing. Somewhere that afternoon, someone else had joined us. I cannot for the life of me remember who it was. But there were five of us in the rowboat.
They rowed to the deepest spot in the creek. Past Teaberry’s home to where the creek makes a bend before Herring Creek. The land on either side of the creek was owned by Riddle Farm. We probably didn’t have any life preservers or anything to throw.
I don’t remember anyone diving from the rowboat. But I do remember that suddenly we missed Dale. I remember being in the bow and looking under the boat for him.
All of us ran across the field to the stables and told the men that our brother Dale was missing. Mr. Whaley, the general manager of Riddle Farm, drove out to the farm to inform mom and dad. Years later mom told me she knew something was wrong as soon as Mr. Whaley drove into the yard.
The next thing I remember, there were about a dozen people standing on the small strip of sand opposite where we thought Dale was last seen. There were ten or twelve rowboats and a few small outboards going back and forth in that general area.
They were pulling short lines with fish hooks. They were hoping to snag the body and pull it to the surface. In ten or fifteen minutes, a rowboat near the opposite shore pulled Dale to the surface. His body was hurriedly wrapped in a blanket and taken to Burbage Funeral Home. All this happened on a Thursday. Black Thursday for the Lynch family and Taylorville.
The next thing I remember was the hearse bringing Dale home. Probably on Saturday. His casket was set on sawhorses in the parlor. A big black wreath was hung on the door signifying a death in the family.
Sunday I remember bits and snatches. The screened porch was full of grieving people. Relatives and members of the Taylorville community came and went. All paying last condolences for Dale. I remember Grand Mom Elliott came and cried along with her daughter.
Boys and girls congregated around the barn. All remembering Dale. Fifty years later I met Shirley Dumutte. He had lived a mile away. He said Dale was the greatest friend he ever had.
I remember Uncle Mickey Parsons feeding the chickens and taking care of the livestock so that dad could be free.
The next day, the hearse came. Dale was taken to the Taylorville Church. His casket in front of the congregation. I remember The Old Rugged Cross was sung. Rev. Justice from St. Martins did the service.
The last song was sung and the pall bearers carried Dale to the family plot behind the church. There he was laid to rest beside his brother, Herbert Lynch. Herbert was a Christmas baby. Born December 20th, 1924. Died December 30th, 1925 from pneumonia.
Dale was gone. A few pictures and a report card from the seventh grade are all that remained. 719 8/11/15
Lois and I never talked about that day. She didn’t ask me anything and I didn’t ask her. I remember seeing Charles a few times. Never asked him. I still can’t remember who the other person was in the rowboat. It’s nearly too late to ask anyone.
Mom in her later years wanted to exhume Dale and Herbert. She wanted them re-buried at Sunset Park. They would be beside her and dad for eternity.