Children drown in Green River on March 3, 1912.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 8/28/2001
  • Essay 3518

On March 3, 1912, a wagon carrying George Standish and members of his family falls into a deep hole in the Green River, as they are attempting to ford it. Two of the Standish daughters, Muriel and Lilith, drown.

Standish, who lived near Kent on the west bank of the Green River, saw that a log jam had formed between the east bank and a small island in the middle of the current, and decided to go to the other side to break it. Rather than travel a quarter mile to a bridge to the north, he attempted to ford the river, as he had done many times in the past.

His three daughters, Muriel (9), Lilith (7), and Mirzah (4), were his constant companions, accompanying their father wherever he went. Visiting that day was Oscar Simpson, a friend from Seattle. Standish hitched up two horses to a dump wagon, and, with his daughters beside him and his friend standing in back, drove slowly across the river.

What Lies Beneath

The river was normally shallow near the Standish home, but unbeknownst to all, floods from last November had excavated an eight-foot deep hole near the other side. Once the wagon reached it, one of the horses sank out of sight, capsizing the conveyance.

Standish grabbed the older girls and Mizrah grabbed his neck as they fell into the current and were carried downstream. He clung to his daughters until the icy water numbed his arms, causing him to lose grasp. The youngest child held on for dear life as they were swept farther downriver. Simpson, who had managed to escape the cold water, ran down the bank and dove back in, saving father and daughter.

Muriel and Lilith had by this time succumbed to the current. Their bodies were found thrown against the rocks. Attempts made to revive them were to no avail.


“Muriel and Lilith Standish Lose Lives,” Auburn Argus, March 9, 1912, p. 1.

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