Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lost in the Mountains

I found this story about a cousin of mine named Jason Burns, who was found dead in the mountains at the age of 15. Jason's paternal grandfather was my Great-granddaddy George Burns brother. Also, Jason's maternal grandfather was also my Great-granddaddy George Burns brother. Jason's story is still told in the mountains...a modern day Appalachian cautionary tale.
The Pendleton Times
14 December 1917


The subject of this writing is Jason Burns, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Burns, of Glady, who on Saturday morning November 24, left home with two dogs and his gun to go hunting. He was seen about Eleven o’clock a mile from home going towards Beulah and not returning at night. It was thought that he had gone to some neighbor’s house. But not returning on Sunday, his parents becoming alarmed, word was telephoned all over the country and could get no clue of him. Searching parties began to search the mountainside where he was last seen, but could find no trace of him or the dogs. On Wednesday, the 28th, Jacob Arbogast found the dogs at his bear trap and phoned to his parents about the dogs. Then the mountains were full of men searching for him but it all seemed in vain as it kept snowing and no trace of him was found until Saturday when Wilson Sponaugle and James Wimer found tracks where he had stepped in a mossy place in old snow on an old railroad grade back towards Cheat River.

On Sunday morning, December 2, it was clear and a large crowd started in all directions in hope of finding him. About 11 O’clock, old tracks were discovered again in the old snow but hard to follow. Just at 12 O’clock, his body was found west of Beulah near the top of Shavers Mountain about 5 miles from home. It is supposed that that he was lost and froze to death the first night, as there was no sign of any fire where he was. He had his coat down on the ground and bed down on it and his gun lay at his feet loaded.

There were 18 men in the searching party that found him who names are as follows: Barney and Rafe Harris, Denis and Emery Thompson, Cleat and Ora Strader, Jacob Arbogast and son Sam, Charlie Rennix, Crickard Adams, Glen Heflin, Jess Ingerman, Wade Griffins, Ellis Williams, Dick Kessinger, William Burns, the father of the lost boy, and Clarence Bowers. The one that discovered his body first was Barney Harris, went on and broke the news over the phone while the rest stayed back and brought the body back to the railroad at Beulah, from there he was taken to his home at Glady on the hand car. On Monday, December 8, his body was taken to the church and his funeral was preached by a Mennonite preacher from Job. His texts was from Luke the 4th chapter, the 18th and 19th verses. At 4 O’clock his body was laid to rest in the Glady Cemetery amid a large congregation. He leaves to mourn his loss a father and mother, 3 brothers and 2 sisters besides a lot of sorrowing friends. He was 15 years, 3 months and 27 days old.

Now young boys all who read or hear this, take warning and listen to your parents when they advise you about the danger of going in the mountains with dogs and gun when you are not acquainted with the woods. The dogs led this boy so far in the woods that he couldn’t find his way back out. Think of the 8 long nights he lay out in the cold snowy mountains. Think for one minute how his dear father and mother felt and listen to your parents.

Written by Jacob Arbogast.


Byron Chesney said...

That is such a sad story. I am amazed that there aren't more such cases. But, I guess young boys don't venture out like that much anymore. Most are too busy sitting in front of a TV playing video games.

tipper said...

Such a sad story-gives me chills-even though it happened all those years ago.

The Tile Lady said...

How very sad. Such a wasteful loss of a young boy just beginning his life. I know it broke his parents' hearts. It reminded me of that song about the little boy and girl who get lost in the woods that Allison Krauss sings. Just so tragic.