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Drowned Near Burdett Tuesday
William P. Copper, 27, Victim
Of Flood Tuesday Evening
While Attempting to Cross Swollen
Stream on Horseback, the Animal Floundered

Bulletin – The body of Wm. P. Cooper was found yesterday afternoon about three o’clock in the Pawnee, about 200 yards below the point where he was drowned. The body was found by using an improvised grappling hook, attached to ˝ inch gas pipe. Tuesday night after the drowning about seventy-five persons worked till 2:30 o’clock yesterday morning searching for the body. The work was resumed yesterday morning at five o’clock and at three o’clock yesterday afternoon the body was found.

William P. Cooper, 27 years old, was drowned in the swollen Pawnee Tuesday evening about 6:30 o’clock on the Crockett place, 2 miles east and a mile north of Burdett.

Mr. Cooper’s body has not yet been recovered.
The tragic accident occurred when Mr. Cooper attempted to cross the Pawnee on horseback after the cows, which were on the other side of the stream. The stream was about fifty or sixty feet wide at the point where Mr. Cooper attempted to swim the horse across it, due to the high water which has prevailed here for the last week. Mrs. Cooper witnessed the accident, as she was standing on the bank of the stream when it occurred.

Mr. and Mrs. Cooper had gone to the banks of the creek to see about repairing some fence, which had been washed out by the flood. Mrs. Cooper urged her husband not to attempt to cross the stream, as she felt it was too dangerous. The water was about twelve feet deep at the point where the tragedy occurred. Mrs. Cooper saw the horse flounder in the water, and her husband, struggling to save himself, apparently caught hold of the bridle or an ear of the animal, which he was riding bareback, the horse rolling over in the water.

It is believed the horse must have struck Mr. Cooper as the animal struggled in the water, as Mr. Cooper was able to swim, and he never came to the surface after he sank.  The accident occurred on the “Bob” Crockett farm. Mr. Cooper was a brother-in-law of Mr. Crockett, having married a sister of Mr. Crockett last fall. Mr. Cooper came here from Missouri about two years ago to work in the harvest and remained here. Mr. and Mrs. Cooper had been living on the Crockett farm, looking after the stock. Mr. Cooper’s parents live in Missouri.

Mrs. Cooper gave the alarm as soon as her husband sank, and within a short time a large crowd had gathered, and made every effort to recover the body. Rakes and grappling hooks were used, and also a hay rake, which was pulled back and forth across by men on either bank, but the body could not be located.
Harvey Kreiger, of Larned, county coroner, was called to Burdett about seven o’clock. When he arrived there about one hundred persons were engaged in an effort to recover the body.

Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Cooper, from near Joplin, Missouri, father and mother of the dead man, are expected here today in a car. Funeral services probably will be held tomorrow afternoon and burial will be at Burdett.

Transcribed and Contributed by Richard Schwartzkopf

Last Updated:  Tuesday, July 26, 2005 14:03:53

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