Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Day at the Lake

Summer is upon us now and people are enjoying their time out on the water. The warm weather and the sunshine bring about scores of possible activities in which to spend our free time. There is the fast paced sport of water-skiing, the hard work of rowing canoes, a lazy afternoon in a raft just off the shore line, a picnic out on one of the little secluded islands, reeling in a monster bass, swimming across the bay, or jet-skiing down the river. However you choose to spend your summer day on the lake, it will be filled with sun and fun.

Then something will show up on the local news that night or on the front page of the newspaper, pulling us back into reality. A tragedy occurs and reminds us that the lake is not just fun and games, it can be a dangerous place.

But, we also forget that these same types of tragedies happened a century ago, as well.

Duluth News Tribune(MN)  dated 20 May 1906
Dr. Simeon Eldridge Sr. was born in the Friendship community of James County. He was educated at the nearby Savannah Seminary. He then studied medicine under Dr. Roddy in Ooltewah. He enlisted in the Union Army in the summer of 1863 and served until 1865 when his left hand was wounded. This eventually led to 3 amputations. In 1874, he began a medical practice in James County. The following year, he married Mary McGill and the couple went on to have 8 children. The doctor lost a large part of his family that tragic day in 1906. They were rowing across the Tennessee River to take Betty Grace Miles home to meet  her husband when the boat overturned. The only survivor was Jesse Jr., who later became a doctor like his father before him. (1)

The article states that they were from Norman and not Friendship. Actually Norman was the Post Office for the southern part of the Friendship Community. W.C.Norman was the post master.

1 Donnelly, Polly W.; Editor; James County, A Lost County of Tennessee; pg 111


  1. Great read. Very interesting. Well written.

  2. Great to find this article as this family its written about is my ancestors- The Eldridges, from what is now called Birchwood Tn

    1. Glad that I could help with your research. Thanks for reading. You never know who can use the information that gets put out there. It's always good to know that it is helpful.