George Joseph Smuin Finds a Watery Grave, 4 July 1892, Ogden River. Mabel Burton drowns 2 weeks later.

Smuin, George Joseph b. 1873









George J. Smuin, age 18, son of Bishop George Smuin of Lynne, while in bathing in Ogden River yesterday afternoon, was suddenly seized with cramps and before aid could reach him, sunk to the bottom and was drowned.

The good people of Lynne celebrated the glorious Fourth in many different ways, but the most popular enjoyment was a driving tour through Ogden Canyon. By dawn the road leading to the canyon was lined with vehicles filled with merry crowds of young, middle-aged and old people, none of whom were more happy than a party of sixteen young ladies and gentlemen, among whom were Ellen, Rose, Susie and George Smuin, David Gaisford, Joseph Hutchins and Fred Romrell.

Long before the noon hour, the proposed camping grounds, near Ririe’s ranch, were reached, and the party divided up into small companies. Some fished while others stayed in camp and read or strolled away as is the custom among young people on pleasure bent.

About eight o’clock nearly all of the picnickers were gathered around the camp when someone proposed taking a swim in the river. As a large number of bathers had been observed during the day at different points on the river, no one thought of the danger attending such action, and the move was heartily seconded by the gentlemen. Inasmuch as no bathing suits had been taken on the trip, those who desire a bath were in a quandary where to obtain something which would answer the purpose. Suddenly a brilliant idea entered the head of young Smuin, and he straightway proceeded to put it into execution. Taking a large burlap sack, he cut a place for his head and arms, and retiring to an improvised bath house he slipped on the bathing suit, saying as he did so that as there was only one suit to be divided among so many they must take turns, and he would be the first to try it.

The water where the young man entered was very deep but so clear that in most places the bottom could be seen. Smuin stuck out boldly and seemed to enjoy himself after the first chill, but suddenly he was seized with cramps and after giving utterance to several cries for help, he sank to the bottom. Hutchins and Romrell spring into the water to aid their comrade, but the intense, icy cold gave them the cramps and they returned to the river bank with much difficulty.

What makes the death seem more shocking was that it was witnessed by the boy’s three sisters and many of his old playmates and associates, who were powerless to aid, and could only stand by and see him meet his fate.
It was indeed a sad party returning home.

Immediately the Lynne Ward organized several searching parties, and last night men in boats dragged the river. Two o’clock this morning the searchers reached Lynne with the body which had been found lodged among the willows.

The members of the bereaved family are heartbroken, and the father refuses to be comforted. Undertaker Larkin immediately went out and took charge of the body.

(End of newspaper article)
Through the years, Ellen, Rose, and Susie could recall this tragic event almost as clearly as on the day it happened.

Funeral of George Smuin: Utah Digital Newspapers, Ogden Examiner 1892-07-07, p. 8:
Funeral occurred 6 July 1892 at 2:00 in the Tabernacle. His remains were interred in the City Cemetery.


Burton, Mabel (m.) George Smuin after their deaths  burton-mabel-b-1877-sealed-to-george-j-smuin-headstone

The Ogden Standard Examiner
24 July 1892
Funeral Services
Over the Remains of Miss Mabel Burton

The Utah & Northern morning train arrived here at 9:50 yesterday bearing a sad burden. It was the earthly remains of Miss Mabel Burton, who was drowned in Swift Creek, Idaho, last Thursday while out picnicing. The remains were accompanied by the grief-stricken parents, Hon. W. W. and Mrs. Ellen Burton and other members of the family, who were on a visit in Idaho at the time, and were taken to the residence on the Bench, where they were prepared for burial.

Miss Mabel was born May 19, 1877. The funeral services will be held in the Fifth Ward meeting house today (Sunday) at 2:00 p.m. All the friends of the family are kindly asked to attend and show their esteem for the loved lost one, who has met such a terrible death in the bloom of youth.

Mabel is sealed to George Smuin. Both drowned tragically, about 2 weeks apart. They were not yet married.



About annlaemmlenlewis

I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am currently serving as a Missionary in the Washington Yakima Mission. Welcome to my personal blog, Ann's Words, and my Mission blog, Our Yakima Mission. If you are interested in family history stories and histories, you can find those posted in Ann's Stories. Thanks for looking in!
This entry was posted in Family History, Smuin Family. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to George Joseph Smuin Finds a Watery Grave, 4 July 1892, Ogden River. Mabel Burton drowns 2 weeks later.

  1. Rick Francom says:

    I question that George Joseph Smuin and Mabel Burton had a relationship. He was 18 years old and she was 15 years old. I believe that their fathers knew each other because George Smuin was the bishop of the Lynne Ward and William Walton Burton was serving on the High Council of the Ogden Stake. George Smuin had served on the Ogden City Council a few year earlier and they were both well known businessmen in the city of Ogden. I think the two families got together and decided to have their children sealed in the temple because they would not have the opportunity to since they both lost their lives so young. President Wilford Woodruff gave permission for the sealing to take place. George Joseph Smuin was my great uncle. The story of what happened to Mabel Burton is found in the Memories section in FamiySearch. Thanks for sharing the story of what happened after these tragic accidents.

  2. Thank you, Rick. I’ve changed the title. I’ll look to see if I have a source that indicates they were engaged. I read it somewhere, but it may have been an assumption because of the sealing. Thanks for posting the photo of Mabel and the other info.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s