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 - 1955) 

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 -

As 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 -

As 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 danger. 

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 her. 

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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