Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lost Hikers: Sound familiar?

This article ran in the Fall River Herald in about 1915-6.  Helen is a great aunt to my generation, sister to Raymond Sr.   The article is undated but at the time of this experience she is teaching at a high school in Orleans, MA, a town just at the elbow of Cape Cod.    She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College and was a teacher until her marriage in 1917 at age 28.

Miss Helen E Nute of This City and Companion found in an exhausted state
Will suffer no serious effects from their way walking from Brewster to Orleans

Miss Helen E Nute of this city, daughter of J.E. Nute, manager of the Fall River Gas Works Co., and Miss Bertha Wilson of Thomasville, Me., assistant principals of the Orleans High School, had an extremely unpleasant experience Sunday night in the Brewster woods, in which they were wandering about from dark until after midnight.

Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Nute drove down from this city in their automobile Sunday morning to spend the day and started on their return about 3 PM.  Their daughter and Miss Wilson accompanied them as far as Brewster, intending to walk back to Orleans.

Not having arrived home after dark, Mr. and Mrs. Higgins, with whom the teachers board, became worried, and soon afterward made inquiries by telephone of Brewster residents, and ascertained that two young women had been seen entering the woods about 4 o’clock.  Fearing that the two teachers had become lost in the woods, Mr. Higgins notified the selectmen who also notified Deputy Sheriff Boland.

A general alarm was sent out about 9 o’clock by ringing the church bells, and searching parties were organized under the direction of Sheriff Boland, Dr. Lemuel Pope, Elnathan Eldredge, George Steel and others from different sections, who started out to search the various cross-roads and wooded paths.

Mr. Nute, who had arrived at home in this city, was notified by telephone about 9 o’clock, and he said the girls had spoken of taking a cross cut through the woods from Brewster to Orleans.  About midnight, one of the automobile searching parties penetrated the road leading through Roland Nickerson’s deer preserve near Cliff Pond in East Brewster woods, and learned that the young women had been there just before dark and inquired the way to the village.

The caretaker had directed them toward the Brewster road, but they had evidently become undecided again and had got lost before getting out of the woods.  This was the first clue to the young women since the search began.  The party took different paths, and Mrs. Higgins and his searchers soon found footprints.

On reaching a point about half way between Cliff pond and Baker’s pond they were overjoyed at meeting the two exhausted and frightened girls coming toward them, hardly able to speak from hoarseness, after shouting at their utmost for hours.  They reported having lost they way, owing to the density of the woods and the intense darkness which came on very early, owing to fog and cloudiness, when they left the Nickerson bungalow.

They were considerably worn out from their long tramp and the prospect of spending the entire night in the dark woods.  They had heard the bells and the tooting of automobile horns and whistles of every description, and could at times see the rays of the automobile headlights turned upward when climbing steep hills but, of course, were absolutely unable to make themselves heard by the searchers by screaming or shouting.

Every sound in the deep darkness, even after the rising moon had lightened it slightly, and every big tree seemed an object of terror, owing to their failing strength.  The searching parties had covered every road where automobiles could penetrate in that entire section between Brewster, East Harwich, and Orleans.

Meantime, Mr. Nute had become so alarmed that he and Mrs Nute started again from this city for the Cape about 11 PM, reaching Orleans about 3 o’clock Monday morning.  They were rejoiced to learn that their daughter and her companion had been found and that neither of the young ladies was in serious condition.  It is believed that they will suffer lasting effects from their experience.

Newspaper reporting is just not the same as a hundred years ago.

I think I may have inherited some of Helen’s genes.


Pat said...

At least one or two of them (genes, that is).

janie said...

Ya' think?