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Ferry-Middleburg-7So a while back, while digging through some records and inputting in some names into my ancestry.com tree, I found something that caught my attention. There were two family members that had the same date of death.  This caused me to focus on figuring out what happened with them. They were sisters.  And I’m very dear to my sister, so it just urged me to know more.

Nancy and Delphia Little are my 2nd cousins 5x removed. So they weren’t close relatives but not distant really either. They are on my mother’s paternal’s side of the family. They were 2 of 12 children approximately.

Delphia was 22 when she drowned. The ferry accident happened 12 days before her 23 birthday. Nancy was about 25 years old. I don’t have a specific birthday on her to know.

I hope to find out more about the family even though they are not directly related to me. It’s only by marriage. But still.. they’re family nonetheless.  Below is taken from a newspaper in 1859 about the accident.

April 14, 1859, NC ARGUS (Wadesborough, Anson County, NC)

-A very sad occurrence took place, on Saturday last, at the mill-dam of Col. John E. AUSTIN , of this county, on Rocky River.  The river was quite high, and a party, consisting of two brothers and two sisters, children of Mrs. Jacob LITTLE , of Cabarrus or Stanly county, who had been to Charlotte with a wagon, and were returning home, undertook to cross the river above the mill dam, in  flat, at a private ferry belonging to Col.AUSTIN , where another wagon had crossed in the flat but a short time before, and were carried by the force of the current towards the dam. One of the poles used to guide the flat slipped out of the hands of one of the parties, and the flat became unmanageable. Mr. Wm. AUSTIN  and one of the LITTLES, perceiving that the flat would inevitably go over the dam, jumped out and swam ashore. The other Mr. LITTLE  and his two sisters were carried over with the wagon, four horses and the flat. The wagon ran forward and off the flat, excepting two wheels, which caused the flat to keel up at one end and throw the young ladies out into the river. The young man, their brother, recovered them and replaced them in the flat, and finding that he could do nothing with the flat himself, after floating down the river some distance, told his sisters to hold on to the flat while he would swim ashore and seek help and return to their rescue. He did swim ashore, and ran to Mr. GREEN’S , about a half or perhaps a mile, and returned and found the flat floating down the river, the wagon loose and his sisters gone. One of the bodies of the young ladies was afterwards found lodged against a raft. The body of the other had not been found at last accounts. They were both undoubtedly drowned. It is thought they and the wagon were thrown out at a rapid and rough shoaly place in the river, or that they had attempted to grasp hold of a small tree which bent over the stream and near to the water, and were dragged in that way and drowned. It was a deplorable fate for the poor, helpless young women, and is a heart-rendering accident to their widowed mother, as well as their brothers, and everybody. It is wonderful that they were not all lost; and it is probable that if they had all remained in the flat, and kept their presence of mind, they might all have been saved. One of the horses broke loose and swam out but the other three drowned. [note: The girls that drowned were Nancy E.LITTLE (b.1834) and Delphia L. LITTLE (b.Apr 14, 1836), both daughters of Jacob. W. “Jack” LITTLE and Margaret “Peggy” LOVE] (photocopy)

Source: Newspapers 1859