Bio: White, Mrs. Lawrence C. (Saves Baby - 1955)
Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon
Surnames: White, Krause, Kuhl
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville,
Clark Co., WI.) May 12, 1955
White, Mrs. Lawrence C. (Saves Baby -
Saves Baby from the Cold Depths -
Mrs. Lawrence C. White, Town of Grant, waded into
the deep waters of O’Neill Creek, snatched her two-year-old
daughter from the water’s clutch and gave birth to a boy -
all within eight hours.
Mrs. White, with confinement expected soon, went
into Neillsville last Wednesday afternoon to see her doctor.
Upon her return to the tenant house on the George Krause place,
northeast of Neillsville, she was changing to her house dress when
Danny, four, came running, in great excitement, shouting that Ellen
had fallen into the creek. Mrs. White, in bare feet, dashed
out of the house and out to the road, in a race for the bridge,
distant perhaps 150 feet.
The Mother Waded in -
she ran, a man came along in a car, and she asked his help.
The two ran to the bridge; saw the child in the water. The
man tried to reach the baby with a limb, but she was too far
out. He said he could not swim, Mrs. White could not swim
either, and she knew the water was deep. But she wasted no
time. From the east bank she waded out, reaching for the
baby. The water came higher and higher. The baby was
drifting toward the far shore. Finally, with the water up to
her breasts, she grabbed one little foot, just as the child was
turning over on her face.
A Flicker of Life -
Wading to the bank, Mrs. White found life weak in
her child. The man, helping her, tried artificial
respiration. She put her mouth to the baby’s and sucked hard,
drawing out all the water she could. With a flicker of life
in evidence she took the baby into the man’s car, and he
raced over the rough roads to Granton; as they went the child
expelled water from her lungs. At Granton, the child was given
emergency aid. Soon Mr. White dashed into Granton from the
Harland Kuhl place, where he works, and took his wife and the baby,
both wet and cold from their encounter with the creek, to Memorial
Hospital at Neillsville. There the baby was found to be in
relatively good condition, despite her near-drowning. She was
held for a day or so and was then released.
Then another Race -
When Mrs. White returned home, she got into dry
clothing, attended to her family duties and presently recognized
the need for another rapid drive to the hospital. Her husband
hurried her over the road again, and at about 11 p.m. she gave
birth at Memorial Hospital to a boy of nine pounds and eleven
ounces - a fine young man, who had not been troubled at all by his
partnership encounter with O’Neill Creek.
She Learned Fear -
for little Ellen, the two-year-old who had fallen into the creek,
she had experienced a great change; when she contrary to family
orders had gone down to the creek early Wednesday afternoon, she
had daringly told her brothers, as she swung out over the water "I
ain’t afraid." But when, on Friday, The Press man
wanted to take her picture at the scene, she cried and did not want
to go near the water. She consented to go only when her
father took her in his arms and protected her from
Danny and his brothers have also learned a
wholesome respect for this creek, which is really only a tributary
of O’Neill Creek, which in the summer shrinks to almost
nothing, but which runs dangerously deep below the bridge in the
wet season. When The Press man first arrived, he found the
boys of the family on the east side of the house, as far as
possible from the creek.
Showed Her Brothers -
Prior to their education, Danny, 4, Timothy 6,
and Ilene Ellen, 2, had ventured down to the bridge. Ellen,
showing off her bravery to her big brothers grasped the railing
with her hands and swung back and forth, with the brave words "I
ain’t afraid." But the little hands were not strong
enough. They failed her on a swing out, and she fell into the
water. Danny dashed home for mother. Timothy stood
watch. Happily the child floated mostly on her back, and did
not completely fill her lungs. She was upon her back when her
mother arrived; started to turn over as her mother reached
They Stick Together –
Those who read this are doubtless praising in their minds this mother, who waded into the deep and cold water to save her baby. But their thoughts are feeble compared to the warm praises of her husband. He is a real family man, with a warm love for his wife and children. He told The Press that he is deeply grateful to his wife for saving their baby, and for the way she has stuck loyally to him in a period of adversity. The Whites came up to Clark County from Waukesha, where he had worked and accumulated moderate savings. They were working a farm of their own for a time, and ran into hard going. But they are sticking together, despite cold water and adversity, and they have in them the stuff to see them through.
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