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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Sun., Aug. 28, 2011, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

A picnic outing on Medical Lake turned tragic when the Baty family – mother, father and 5-year-old girl – drowned while 2,000 people watched in horror.

They were attending the two-day picnic of the Red Men (a fraternal lodge) when Mrs. Baty suggested they go out in a rowboat, the better to see the “sports on the lake.”

The family went out with a friend, Edward Killmer, who was rowing. One of his oars slipped out of an oarlock, causing the boat to tip and take on water. But the boat righted itself and all would have been well, except the Batys jumped up and caused the boat to capsize.

“Grab hold of the boat and catch your wife!” shouted Killmer, but Baty was unable to do so. Mrs. Baty grabbed her daughter, but they both sank.

A 19-year-old Gonzaga College athlete jumped in the lake and swam 400 feet to the capsized boat. He dove repeatedly in an attempt to find the Batys, but they were gone. He did rescue Killmer, however. Several other onlookers swam out to help. The Red Men lodge canceled the rest of the picnic.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1963: The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in the nation’s capital, where more than 200,000 people listened as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

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