By Kris Leonhardt
It was the perfect summer day in June 1907. The cool summer breeze danced through the air, as the sound of children’s laughter drifted into the windows of 215 Prairie Street.
Anton L. Peickard sat home in the early evening anxious to return outdoors.
With no parents at home to forbid his exit, Anton left the family home to meet some of his boys.
The group discussed fishing on such a beautiful evening, but only Peickard and his friend Fritz Rosenow made their way to the Wisconsin River.
Peickard and Rosenow were good swimmers and had been to the river many times. Rosenow, headed for his sophomore year in high school, was born and raised in Stevens Point and knew the river well.
Reaching the launching area at 7 p.m., Peickard, a strong and able rower, began to scull the large flat-bottom boat, as Rosenow held the line.
The pair worked the river together as time passed quickly. When the boys came up empty, they recalled a spot where they had some success.
Making their way to an area below Bliss Island and south of the railroad bridge, Rosenow and Peickard reached a place on the river that had a particularly heavy current.
The boys had crossed the spot many times and were unconcerned about their abilities to traverse to the location of the river that held so much promise.
As the scow reached the active current, it hit an eddy strong enough to turn the boat around, capsizing the youth.
Peickard was snatched up by the current and carried away immediately. Dressed in a heavy coat for the cool summer evening, the boy quickly became weighed down as the coat filled up with water.
Hearing his friend yell for help, Rosenow swam to his aid struggling to keep Anton’s head above water.
As the two continued to barrel downstream, they hit a sandbar and were tossed aside.
The boys struggled to stay above water, but without the aid of his friend, Peickard eventually sunk below the surface.
Seeing his friend disappear into the cool water, Rosenow swam hard for the shore. Once on land, he ran for help.
Upon reaching a neighboring house, authorities were summoned. A crew of rescuers working for three hours to retrieve Anton. When they were finally able to locate him, the dark skies made it impossible to recover him.
The follow day, Anton’s body was pulled from the river in the early morning light.
Anton Peickard was laid to rest in Forest Cemetery in Stevens Point.
Kris Leonhardt may be contacted by mail: P.O. Box 51, Marshfield, Wisconsin, 54449 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.