Monday, May 26, 2008

She Died a Heroine

New York, 1895

A Young Girl Sacrifices Her Life in Saving Two Children.

Lillian McMullen, a fifteen-year-old orphan employed at the stock farm owned by Joseph Fahy, the watch case manufacturer at Sag Harbor, was drowned Monday afternoon while crossing Peconic Bay on the ice between North Haven and Shelter Island. Since the recent blizzard the people of North Haven who go to Shelter Island to do their trading have been obliged to walk over on the ice or remain at home, as the ferryboats were frozen in. During the mild weather of Saturday and Sunday the ice became thin in places where the tide runs swiftly. On Monday Lillian, whose relatives live in New York, lost her life while making the trip, but she died a heroine. With her when she set out upon her journey were ten and eight-year-old daughters of Superintendent Gordon of the stock farm. The three were trudging merrily along on their way home from the island, having crossed the bay in safety a few hours before. When half way between the island and North Haven Lillian stepped in an air hole, which was covered with snow and a thin coating of ice.

The two children hastened to her assistance and they, too, fell through. Lillian, instead of trying to get out herself, gave her attention to the little ones. She bravely grasped the rough edges of the ice and held on until the children climbed to her shoulders and thence on the ice. Then she warned them not to come near her again.

Lillian had become chilled and was hardly able to move after she had placed the children in safety. She struggled to pull herself out, but her strength soon failed her and she sank out of sight. The body was probably carried out to Gardiner's Bay by the strong current.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, Feb. 22, 1895, p. 1.

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