Friday, March 1, 2013

Nelson Arave Saved A Man From Drowning

It’s been pretty well substantiated that Nelson Arave, the first-ever “Arave,”  lost his father and a grandfather to a drowning accident in the St. Lawrence River. That tragedy led to Nelson’s being adopted by another family, moving to Nauvoo, joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his pioneer trek to Utah.
However, a much lesser known tale is how Nelson Arave saved a fellow Mountain Green, Utah resident from drowning.
Nelson Arave was among the first four pioneer families to settle Mountain Green.
He and a Mr. McLean built a  sawmill on the Weber River, located at the Strawberry bridge junction. (That is located at the far east end of Weber Canyon, where the canyon ends and the Morgan Valley opens up.
A short time later, in that same 1860 year, Nelson and George Higley built a flat bottom boat that would cross the river at the Strawberry junction. The boat capsized on its maiden voyage and both men, plus David Coolbear, another area resident, were thrown into the Weber River.
Coolbear could not swim and Nelson Arave is credited with saving his life.
So, there's some irony that drowning was so much a part of Nelson's life.
And, my own father-in-law almost drowned in the Weber River and so this tale really hits home for myself.
(-From the Morgan County News, March 21, 1947, by Mrs. William Chadwick in her “History of Morgan County” series.)