Thursday, May 23, 2013
From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 23, 1913:
"The Kansas River claimed the life of 'Billie Bob' Atkinson. The little body was found this morning a mile and a half east of Eudora, and about twelve miles from Lawrence. The body was discovered about 9 o'clock this morning floating down stream. John Williams, a farm hand and a fisherman, was on the river in his boat when he saw a peculiar object floating in the stream ahead of him. He drew closer and found that it was the body of a child.... The features were barely recognizable, but there was the little blue shirt and the overalls, the bare feet and the yellow hair which had been so curly.... There was no doubt as to the identity of the child. The little body was carefully wrapped in blankets and brought to Lawrence in an auto.... The body must have floated down the river over the dam. Had Williams not happened to have been on the river at this particular time this morning the body might have floated many more miles as there are very few persons who frequent the river at this place.... 'Billie Bob' must have lost his life close to the boat landing at the foot of Ohio street. The establishment of the fact that the child was drowned adds to the belief that he was playing in a boat; he must have lost his balance and fallen in. The child was helpless in the fight against the waters, the vulturous Kaw triumphed, the little life was blotted out and the dark muddy waters closed about the little body. That was ten days ago. Ten days during which the Kaw held its secret.... No one will ever know just where the tragedy was enacted, that much is the Kaw's secret forever. But the finding of the tricycle close to this boat landing, the fact that the child was seen going down the steps that lead to the river and the knowledge of his fondness for playing in the water from a boat led to the belief that the little fellow must have met with the fatal mishap at this particular place. 'Billie Bob' had been there numerous times before. He enjoyed playing in the water and once before had been rescued after a fall into the river.... The funeral will be held this evening at 7 o'clock from the home, 824 Mississippi street."