Since there were major questions remaining from my recent column on the Peelle-Hoskins Park, I concluded it with a request that if anyone could assist in filling in some of the missing information, to please contact the News Journal.
The major questions centered around the death of a swimmer at the park, which from all indications marked the end of the use of this very popular meeting location.
The phone call and information came from 93-year-old Ann Larrick, who was a second cousin to Walter Bogen, the boy who drowned at the swimming hole. Contrary to what I reported in the article, the Walter was a Wilmington College student (not a high school student). I also implied that he was swimming there without permission, and the answer to that is still unclear.
Ann was two years younger than Walter, but they were virtually raised together. Ann confirmed that Walter had completed his first year at Wilmington College and the tragedy occurred late in the summer before the fall semester opened. The year was 1947.
There was the question of why the death notice did not appear in the local newspaper. Ann speculates this was because the body was taken to the home of the deceased and not to a funeral home. She told me she was there and that it was a very difficult time. She remembered that he had died from having stomach cramps while swimming.
According to Ann, Walter was raised in the Wilmington Friends Church and was a regular part of the music program there as well as other venues in Wilmington.
According to Wilmington College Archivist Lee Bowman, Walter was a very active freshman singing in two choral groups and participating in a gospel team. These facts were recorded in the 1947 college annual.
Finally, I asked Ann if she ever went to the Peelle-Hoskins Park. She responded that she was a member of a 4-H club which annually visited the park.
Neil Snarr is Professor Emeritus at Wilmington College.