Thursday, April 11, 2013

Loaf of Bread, a Bedsheet and the Body of Samuel Brown

On June 9 1947 at Riverton the hat and shoes of 30 year-old Santo Domingo grocery man Samuel A. Brown (son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles O. Brown) were found on the old wharf on the Nanticoke River.  The local people believed he had drowned and they dragged the river for two days trying to find the body.  None was found.  Two days later the family of Charles Brown came down to the river and performed their own search which is described in the following article from the June 12th 1947 edition of the Salisbury Times;

Folklore on raising a drowned body from the depths  had new believers here today with the recovery of the body of Samuel A. Brown, 30, negro groceryman, from the spot indicated by a floating loaf of bread and a sheet.

According to Brown's sister, Mrs. Eleaner Morris, Laurel, a loaf of bread was cast upon the water, floated in circles and came to rest in a particular spot.

Accepting this as an omen, the family then took the sheet under which he had slept and cast it upon the water in the belief that the water would bring forth the body at the spot in which the sheet sinks.  At one spot the sheet floated.  When placed where the bread had come to rest it sank, she said.

"The body came to the surface in the spot where the sheet went under," she added.

Dr. Charles T. Fisher, acting medical examiner, issued a verdict of death by drowning, saying all circumstances indicated suicide.

Funeral services will be held for the former first sergeant in the Army at 2 p.m. tomorrow at San Domingo Methodist Church.

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