Taken from History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, Vol. 2
written by Williams (H.Z.) & Bro., Cleveland, Ohio   Published 1882


THE STRUTHERS TRAGEDY

In February 1826, Miss Drucilla Struthers left her father's residence in Coitsville for the purpose of going to the post office at Poland village, where she expected to get a letter from her affianced lover, then residing in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Her younger sister, Emma, accompanied her down to the Mahoning River, which was very high at the time, intending to ferry her across, and then return home. The skiff in which they were to cross was fastened nearly opposite the mouth of Yellow Creek and directly opposite to the present village of Struthers.

The young ladies were daughters of John Struthers, who settled in Poland Township in 1799, held office of sheriff of Trumbull County, and other responsible offices and was well known and respected by the pioneers of this county. They were sisters of the Hon. Thomas Struthers, who was the proprietor of the thriving village of Struthers.

When the young ladies came to the bank of the river, Emma laid off her shawl and bonnet on the shore and they embarked on their fatal voyage. Emma was good with an oar and practiced in rowing and managing a skiff.

At this point the known history of their lives ends. It is involved in mystery that can not be unraveled. No human eye saw them on their fatal voyage, as they were not spared to relate the events of that awful hour, of what happened or befell them; why they were unable to propel their craft across the stream; what were their feelings and actions when they discovered their dangerous and helpless situation; how many plans they devised to regain a landing; how hope and despair alternated each other in quick succession; how their terrors increased as their disappointments were repeated; and as they approached the dam over which they were soon to be precipitated how their souls sank within them, when they beheld the foaming waters beneath them and hope gone; what thought agitated their souls as they made the fatal descent, their craft overturned, and the dark waters received them.

Alexander Cowden heard their cries, but did not apprehend at the time that they came from persons in distress. David Brownlee reported having crossed the river a short time previous in that skiff and that one of the oars or rowlocks was defective in some way, which doubtless was the cause of the disaster.

When they were missed an active search commenced. The next day the remains of Drucilla were found fastened to a bush which grew on the river bank, one and one half miles below where they embarked. Six weeks elapsed before the body of Emma was discovered. It was found at the head of an island near the Dickson farm.

Mr. J.R. Cowden has favored us with the above facts. He was one of the searching party from the first and until the body of Emma was found.