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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage May 24, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Saturday, June 28, 2014

1927: CLARKDALE; Dorothy Teague Drowned, June 28.

Verde Heritage

"BODY OF GIRL RECOVERED 72 HOURS AFTER DROWNING IN MAD WATERS OF VERDE. Body found by Uncle One Mile Down River. Recovery of "Wall of Water" Victim Ends Most Vigilant River Search."

"With the suddenness that her life was taken, the waters of the Verde river at 1:30 o'clock yesterday gave up the lifeless body of Dorothy Lee Teague, 9-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Teague of 519 Main street, Clarkdale. Claude Teague, uncle of the drowned girl, discovered the body lodged against a low dam just one mile below the spot where Dorothy Lee, her sister and two companions were playing when a 'wall of water' from the upper reaches of the Verde suddenly engulfed them."

"The finding of the girl's body ended an incessant search that began immediately after the tragedy that continued day and night since Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 o'clock when Dorothy Lee was last seen. After Teague sighted the body he summoned deputy Sheriff C. C. Edwards of Clarkdale, and with the aid of Joe Young, Charles Miller and Frank Lewis it was extracted from a bed of mud near the dam which diverts water into Pecks lake."

"Although the body had remained in the water for 72 hours it was unmarked and not badly decomposed. The Scott & McMillan ambulance was summoned and the body was removed to the Jerome funeral parlors pending completion of funeral arrangements."

"Since the tragedy Tuesday afternoon that took the life of Dorothy Lee and threatened three companions of the drowned girl, a ceaseless vigil was held by a score of volunteer searchers who had worked day and night along the rocky shores of the river for evidence of the lost child."

"Mrs. Teague, who bore up bravely immediately following the news of her daughter's death, is reported in a serious condition and is under doctor's care. The grief-stricken mother was confident that the fast receding waters of the Verde would give up her child."

"LOG SAVES ONE: The drowning of the Teague girl and the rescue of her sister, Orpha Teague, and Ruby Smith, and the miraculous escape of her sister, Faye Rae Smith, who swam to shore after being carried down stream clinging to a log for nearly a mile, is the breath-taking picture, that presented itself when the 'wall of water' poured over the little group."

"The four girls left home at an early hour Tuesday morning to picnic near Tapco. With baskets of food swinging by carefree skips, the girls arrived at a shaded spot just below the power plant and prepared and ate their lunches. In the usual manner of play they waded through a shallow channel to a sand drift in the middle of the river. It was here that they were playing when the river began to rise at a rapid rate as a prelude to the great surge."

"Joe Beriatti, employed by the Arizona Power company, and an unidentified man were the sole witnesses to the catastrophe. Neither could swim, but realizing the situation, Joe tied a rope around the waist of the stranger and then with his own body as a support, they waded neck deep to the island, grasping Orpha and Ruby Lee."

"HARD STRUGGLE: It was only a matter of seconds until the water was over all heads."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Friday, July 1, 1927; page 1, columns 6-7.)

DOROTHY LEE TEAGUE was born in Clarkdale on July 24, 1917. She is the daughter of Herman Sidney and Erma (Horn) Teague. Herman was born in Texas on October 18, 1888. He is the son of Joseph Berry Teague and Nettie Elizabeth Turner. Dorothy Lee Teague drowned in the Verde River on June 28, 1927, then was buried in the Cottonwood Cemetery. Herman Teague worked as a guard at the smelter. He died in Clemenceau on January 14, 1949, then was buried in the Cottonwood Cemetery, plot B 025. (see: Sharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives.)

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