Mexborough and Swinton Times June 3, 1887
Sad Case of Drowning at Conisborough
An inquest was held at the Station Inn, Conisborough, on Wednesday afternoon, before Mr FG Nicholson, coroner for the Doncaster district, touching the death of William Ryan, who fell into the River Don, near Glasshouse Row, Conisborough on Tuesday afternoon and was drowned.
Percival Ryan, living at number 28 Glasshouse Row, Conisborough, glass blower at Messrs Kilner’s said the deceased, William Ryan, was his son. Witness saw him shortly before 11 o’clock on Tuesday morning, when he came to the glass works with a pint of beer. That was the last time he saw him alive. Word was brought at half past four that his son was drowned.
John Ryan, brother of deceased, eight years of age, said he was near the deceased by the river at half past four on Tuesday when he fell in. It was on the riverside near Glasshouse Row. Deceased was shooting with a catapult. He was shooting swallows. Part of the bank on which deceased was standing gave way, and he fell in.
Witness saw a cock boat, directly afterwards with three men in it. One of the occupants of the boat handed and oar to deceased as he was going down.
Fred Lees said he lived at number 148, Bentick Street, Doncaster and was an apprentice at the GN Plant Works. On Tuesday afternoon about our past four witness was in the boat with two other friends on the river at Conisborough, near Glasshouse Row, at the bend of the river. They saw the hands of someone in the water; the face was toward the bank and his back was towards the boat. The deceased will not be more than 2 yards from the bank, struggling with his hands above his head. The rowed up to him, but deceased had gone down. They saw him just under the water, about a yard down, and they put an oar down towards him when his hands were.
Deceased did not take all of it. The depth of water would be about six or eight feet. They then saw some men with the grappling irons trying to get the deceased out, after witness and ran and told them. The body was got out. None of the occupants of the boat could swim.
By the jury: They would be about 40 or 50 yards away from deceased when they first saw him. His hands were then working. There were only two little children on the bank near at the time of the accident.
William Ryan said he was a glass blower, and about 5 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon his attention was directed to a crowd running to the riverside, and it was stated that someone was drowning. He found there were many people standing, and he jumped into a cock boat, and enquired the position of the lad who was in. The occupants of the boat got out, and witness and another man got in; they found the deceased with the grappling irons after about three minutes, but not having a good hold he went to the bottom again. When witness got him out deceased was quite dead. His cap was on, and witness found a catapult in the water. It would be about seven minutes from his arrival until he got deceased out.
A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.