As printed in the Bladon Springs Herald, Bladon Springs, Alabama
19 Jul 1871, Wed • Page 1
“The Richland Beacon,” of July 1, has this sad and tragic story. The most heartrending catastrophe it has ever been our misfortune to chronicle was that of the drowning of, C.C. Halleck, and his young sisters, Rachel and Mary, in Boeuf River at Stafford’s Ferry, between this place and Girard, on Tuesday last, the 27th, under these circumstances.
He had been to Mount Lebanon for his sisters, who were students in the Baptist Female Institute there, and was returning home with them in a carriage. Arriving at the river and finding the boat on the (west) side, it is presumed he led the mules down the bank, which is very steep, his sisters remaining in the carriage. The boat not being securely fastened, was pushed off from the shore either by the mules stepping upon it or the wheels striking it, as Mrs. Stafford, who was in her house on the east bank of the river, says when her attention was first attracted to the terrible scene by the screams of the girls. He and the mules appeared to be in the boat and the carnage in the water, and the girls clinging to it. The mules were soon drawn out into the river. The noble and heroic brother sprang the assistance of his beloved sisters and struggled hard to save them but alas, all went down together and were drowned before those whose attention was attracted to the scene could reach them.
A more striking instance of self-sacrificing devotion was never witnessed. This noble young man was swallowed up in the river with a sister on each arm, dying in the effort to save the lives of those loved ones.
No boats were near at hand on the eastern side, but Mr. Smith and two or three freedmen swam over and tried to reach them by diving. They went down so quick it was impossible to reach them before they sank. Major Stafford brought the news to Rayville, hooks were prepared and a number of us repaired to the spot and soon succeeded, by the united effort of all the anxious friends there assembled in fishing up the bodies. They were near each other, fifteen or twenty feet from shore, in about twelve feet of water and about fifteen yards below the landing. The mules and carriage were found very near the landing and only a few feet from shore but in very deep water.
C.C. Halleck was an exemplary christian, a worthy member of the Baptist church, moral and upright, rendering himself self a useful citizen, beloved by all who knew him, having no enemy but many warm friends. He was an affectionate brother, using every effort to educate his orphan sisters and brothers. He married Mrs. M E. Martin, on Sunday, the 18th inst., started from home on the Tuesday following, never to see his bride again.
Rachel, the elder sister, was a lovely girl, just budding into womanhood, who through the efforts of her fond brother, would soon have become an accomplished lady and an ornament to the society of Richland parish.
Mary was a sweet little girl of eleven or twelve years of age, and would soon have followed her sister into the sphere of usefulness and attraction. Never have we witnessed such universal gloom and sorrow in a community as that occasioned by the sad calamity.