"A Sunday Tragedy"
(Bolton, Rogers and Goodin}

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"In Poynter's Chapel Cemetery in the Baldrock Community {Laurel County} there is a tombstone inscribed Alexander Bolton, born Februry 2, 1908, died June 1, 1924. If you happen to know that in the Bolton Family Cemetery in Pulaski County the graves of three sisters bear the same death date, and in McCreary County there are two graves that bear the same identical date, you would then ask what happened on June 1, 1924.

It was a bright Sunday and meeting day at Poynter's Chapel. It was an important day in the lives of the people for it was a social time as well as worship.Everyone would be there wearing their new or best summer clothes. Edith, Orphie and little Madelyn Bolton had new dresses for the Meeting Day. More than anything they wanted to see their friends at the Chapel.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bolton, {"Robert L. was a minor in the coal mines and also a farmer by occupation, and Grandma Durlie Garrison Bolton was a post mistress at the post office in Bird KY,") parents of the girls, lived in Pulaski County and kept the Bird, Kentucky postoffice. The Chapel is Laurel County and Rockcastle River ran between which meant the girls would take a boat across near the site of the London boat dock location.

On the particular morning the Rockcastle was rising and the father of the girls looked at the river and said there would be no going to church, the current was too strong. He left soon after and no doubt the girls were crying. Mrs. Bolton with motherly understanding felt the disapointment of the girls.

Cumberland river ferry 1950

Later that morning a boat arrived with Ben Rogers and Alexander Bolton {Son of Alexander Bolton & Mary Thomason } paddling and their passenger was Bertha Goodin. Alexander was an uncle of the girls and Ben, the son of Matt and Laura Rogers, lived near Eagle Rock on the McCreary County side of the Cumberland river. The boys had always lived near the rivers and could swim and handle a boat expertly. The pleas of the six children wore down Mrs. Bolton;s resistance and she gave reluctant permission for her daughters to go to church with the others. In a short time the girls were ready and the eager youngsters pushed off from the river bank and the mother waited to see them safely across.

The girls, not wanting to sit on the wet seats, stood and held to each other. Somewhere about midway of the river one of the girls lost her balance. No doubt someone leaned forward to catch her, then the boat dipped and catching water began to sink. one of the girls caught the boy nearest her and the two went under. Though he was a good swimmer, he could not keep his head above the water with the terrified girl clinging to him. Their screams mingled with the cries of the mother and in a moment five children drowned.

Little Madelyn, the youngest never went under. her small body, clad in her new summer dress, floated to the mouth of the Rockcastle River and out into the current of the Cumberland. She was found later about a mile down river by those searching for the six bodies. There was no water in her lungs, she had died of heart failure.

I have often thought of that poor mother who stod on the bank of the river and watched as her three daughters died. There was no one near to hear her cries for help as she stood horrified and helpless.

In the Bolton family cemetery near Mt. Victory, Kentucky (some 20 miles east of Somerset) there are three gravestones.

The inscriptions read:

Edith Bolton
October 18, 1911
June 1, 1924

Madiline Bolton
December 7, 1916
June 1, 1924

Orphie Bolton
August 16, 1914
June 1, 1924


At Bald Rock in the Poynter Cemetery a stone reads:
Alexander Bolton
February 22, 1909 June 1, 1924


Ben Rogers and Bertha Goodin were buried in McCreary County near Eagle Rock. The graves were re-located when Lake Cumberland was constructed. Ben's father and mother, Ben and Laura Rogers are buried in the Poynter's Chapel Cemetery. It is possible that Ben was brought to this cemetery........


Mrs. Bolton, { Durlie Garrison } is buried in the Garrison Family Cemetery near Mt. Victory.


The article above was written by Geneva Pope -
permission to use by Debbie 

Photo of the river, and the Garrison Cemetery tombstone photos and Bolton/Garrison Family Lineage
courtesy of Tomi

Last Update Friday, 28-Dec-2012 01:41:25 EST

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