He Was Last Seen Striding In the Direction of the River

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1813-1863


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Illustration: Hands in the RiverI want here to refer to an incident of our time in college. The tragic event of our course occurred in June 1855. It was just as we were about to graduate. The name of John Woodman, a member our class and XI chapter, appears in the list of alumni by a vote of the Trustees although he did not live to see his diploma. He was a fine scholar and one of our most esteemed brothers. It is generally supposed that he would have received the highest class honor at Commencement. He was drowned in the Kennebec and whether it was by accident or otherwise has never been known to this day. This was near the close of our final examinations. I was with him in his room an hour on the morning of his death preparing for a recitation. We reviewed together our German, which included Schiller’s poem “The Diver” containing a vivid picture of the sights at the bottom of the sea. The bell rang for class and I went to my room. He was not at the recitation and was last seen with his peculiar swing striding down the walk through the willows in the direction of the river. It was a bright Sunday morning when nearly all the students were formed into a search party determined to clear up the mystery. It was not long before his body was found floating in an eddy a little above North College. It was a sad time for us especially our brother Kappas, as he was one of our most beloved and faithful associates.

-Charles Foster, Class of 1855

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