Sunday, June 2, 2013

1907 Memorial Service at Bowdoin College for 3 Classmates Who Drowned in Two Accidents


Memorial Service in Bowdoin College Chapel, October 27th, 1907, at Brunswick, Maine, in memory of Richard Almy Lee; John Franklin Morrison; and Harry Joseph Dugan.

The three men died in two separate sailing accidents on the same day, 9 July 1907.



Memorial Address by Henry Leland Chapman, D.D.







Through a committee chosen to speak for them, the classmates of Richard Almy Lee and John Franklin Morrison speak thus of them. "Both were hearty, wholesome college fellows, men who had endeared themselves to us by the close ties of three years of intimate companionship.  Both were fellows whose moral life and personal characteristics were above reproach, leaders in the class, men who were willing always to work for the college and for the class.  In whatever was done in college that aimed for the right, they could be depended upon to render assistance.  In the front rank in pleasure and labor, yet it is not for what they did that we cherish their memory, but for what they were.  To those who knew them as we classmates knew them, there remains the consolation that the whole course of their lives was pure and noble in every way."

And those who speak as representatives of the classmates



of Harry Joseph Dugan, say of him that "he was a young man of noble qualities, and the life cut short was one of one of great promise.  His manly traits, his studious tastes, his upright character, and his social nature endeared him to us who were closely associated with him as classmates during the past year, and will long be cherished in our hearts.  His death comes to us all with a sense of personal loss."

...It is significant that Morrison and Lee had been chosen President and Vice-President of the Christian Association for their Senior year...


From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections and additions welcome!]


Joseph Almy Lee was born 11 May 1886 at Brunswick, son of Bowdoin professor Leslie Alexander Lee and Elizabeth Tibbetts (Almy) Lee.

John Franklin Morrison was born 9 November 1886 at Medford, Massachusetts, son of banker and businessman John and Susan C. (Stearns) Morrison.  John Morrison was a son of Benjamin F. Morrison, a noted Massachusetts educator who was spending the summer at Whitefield, Maine, at the time of the accident.

Harry Joseph Dugan was born 20 August 1889 at Bangor, Maine, son of Patrick T. and Hannah Elizabeth (McKie) Dugan.  


Richard Almy Lee and his roommate John Franklin Morrison were lost in a yachting accident off Phippsburg, Maine, on 9 July 1907.  The Lewiston Evening Sun published an article about the capsizing, before the men's bodies were found, on 25 July 1907.  

It was a while before anyone realized they were missing; then Professor Lee spent several days of searching before finding someone who had seen a sloop capsize and disappear.  [I would hope that someone in this day and age would take it upon themselves to contact the authorities.]  Once there was a general idea of where the vessel went down, volunteer vessels, the Revenue Cutter Woodbury and a diver were eventually able to detect the vessel in the depths.

Eerily, Harry Joseph Dugan drowned in a capsizing off Castine, Maine, on the same day, 9 July 1907.  In this accident, which might have resulted from the same freak weather system, five other young men drowned; one managed to save himself.

As an article about the incident in the Bangor Daily News indicates, sailing accidents were a common occurrence at that time in Maine, but that this accident was unusually hard on the families of Bangor, Maine.

If you have further information on Richard Almy Lee, John Franklin Morrison or Harry Joseph Dugan, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

Location of the two incidents, Castine, Maine, Maine [A], and Phippsburg, Maine [B]


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Thanks for stopping by!

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