ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth

Warren Eugene Coman (1898-1912)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Whitehorse Star - Thursday, September 24, 1959

Drowned Friday. Warren Eugene Coman Loses Life While Bathing, 1912

    A sad accident occurred on Friday afternoon of last week whereby a mantle of sorrow was cast over the community when the Angel of Death entered the ranks of the children and in his mysterious manner laid his hand on Warren Eugene Coman, a lad nearly fourteen years of age.

    Warren, with two other boys his own age, Randolph Blackwell and Neville Wood, was swimming in the small lake, a half mile north of town, known for years by the residents of Whitehorse, as "the swimming pond." Neville and Warren were sporting with a raft which was on the lake, while Randolph, assisted by some smaller boys, was building a fire on the bank. In a bold spirit of adventure, Neville and Warren dived off the raft, intending, of course, to swim to shore, or at least supposing that they could catch onto the raft again when they came up. But alas for human plans: they had no sooner taken the plunge than one, at least, realized, that he was beyond his depth and that the raft had floated out of his reach.

    Neville had almost reached shore when he looked back to see if his companion was following, and saw him struggling, but not making any headway. He went at once to his assistance and tried to rescue him but both boys went down and had it not been for the timely help of Randolph Blackwell there would have surely been two lives lost instead of one. Randolph grasped Neville's hands and pulled him into shallow water but Warren was beyond their reach and as neither of the pair were good swimmers, the poor boy sank from sight, never more to be seen alive on this earth.

    The boys hastened for help, one mounting his byeicle and speeding toward town, the others running here and there wherever help could be secured the easiest. Mr. Scott was met a short distance from the pond, himself on the way for a swim, and on hearing of the accident, ran with all speed for the pond, throwing off his clothes as he ran. Reaching the place he dived again and again in a vain attempt to find the body of the lost boy.

    Others arrived soon after and with the aid of the raft and a pole and hook finally located him and brought him to the surface, but the heart had ceased to beat and the soul had flown to its Maker and to that bourne from whence there is no return.

    Dr. Clarke and others worked with fearful energy for nearly two hours trying to revive him, using all the means generally employed in such cases, all to no avail. It was a sad procession which wended its way back to town bringing the body of the boy who had started out so full of energy and spirits but a short time before.

    The funeral was held from Christ Church Saturday at 4 p.m. Reverend Blackwell conducted a beautiful and impressive service, assisted by Rev. Wilson, head of Presbyterian missions and a visitor here. A large choir comprised of both Christ church and Presbyterian singers, and the children's choir of which Warren had been a member for some time past, also assisted. The pall-bearers were: Neville Wood, Randolph Blackwell, Frank Wilson, Willie Blackwell, John Blackwell, Henry Blackwell, Dave Wilson and John Hoggan. The coflin was almost hidden with beautiiul flowers, tokens of sympathy sent in by his many friends.

    Warren Eugene was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Coman and dearly beloved brother and companion of his younger sister Marjorie. He was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, October 19, 1898, and would have celebrated his fourteenth birthday exactly three months from the day of his death. He came to Whitehorse with his mother and sister last August to join his father who had preceded them in June, and, although he had lived here less than a year, had won the admiration of all who knew him, the love of his companions and the good will of his elders tor his sterling traits of character. Manly, obedient and considerate, his presence was ever a joy to his parents during his life and his memory will ever be a comfort during the years to come.

    A very large crowd followed the remains to their last resting place where at the open grave Rev. Blackwell, Rev. Wilson and Father Rivet each spoke in reverent tones and asked blessings on and expressed sympathy for the bereaved parents and little sister.

"One by one earth's ties are broken
And we drift from life away
One by one they cast the shadows
From this life to Eternal day."

Card of Thanks

    Ralph Coman and family extend to the people of Whitehorse their sincerest thanks. The many kindly deeds and noble-hearted courtesies shown to us did much to lighten the weight of sorrow in our bereavement which seemed greater than we could bear.