CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011
YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER (Pennsylvania) DROWNING
IS A WARNING
Just August 17 a young man’s body was pulled out of nine feet of water near the pier at Yough River Park in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. People gathered to watch, talk to others, and call loved ones, fearing the drowning victim might be someone they knew.*
During my time in Connellsville I witnessed a body being recovered—a young boy. I was writing for the newspaper then. As I watched the scene I recalled how I enjoyed sitting on a rock in the shallow part of the river to cool off on hot summer days.
New Haven Hose Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Topper noted that the river has shallow areas where people can walk across the river and there are also deep pockets that can be dangerous. “People have to be careful and respect the river no matter how low it appears to be.”*
Only recently I was writing a chapter in my novel about a group of French émigrés traveling along the Braddock and Burd Roads (approximately the Nemacolin Indian Trail) between Cumberland, Maryland and Old Redstone (Brownsville), Pennsylvania on the Monongahela River. They were nobles and workmen, city folk escaping the French Revolution. They had purchased deeds to land in Ohio from the Scioto Associates (a sub-company of the Ohio Company).
They had to cross numerous rivers, including the Youghiogheny. However, they didn’t cross at the future Connellsville, but near Addison, Pennsylvania.
I recall reading about the dangers they faced as they forded the rivers. Fast currents, shallow waters, unexpected drop-offs into deeper water.
- Few obstacles are more daunting than fording rivers, which have unknown depths and rocks that often overturn wagons and ruin supplies. Fortunately, none of us drowned, although there were a few close incidents… we located a favorable place to ford Savage River. We had learned that the best way to cross a stream was at or slightly below the mouth of a tributary, where there was usually a riffle caused by the formation of a bar of sand, gravel, and mud. The crest of this riffle offers a very practical spot for fording.**
Rivers were dangerous in 1790.
They are dangerous today.
Swimmers must know the river and their limitations in order to be safe in the waters.
My sympathies extend to the family and friends of the drowning victim. It is a reminder for all swimmers to take the precautions necessary for safety.
**Excerpt from the novel I am writing, Intertwined Love