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Isaiah Jobes and William G. Johnson, two colored men of Fair Haven, were drowned in the Shrewsbury river off Oceanic about six o'clock last Friday night. Jobes was 41 years of age. He leaves a wife and a little girl aged two years. Johnson was 17 years of age and was the son of George Johnson.
The two men were in the employ of John Carton, the florist of Rumson. During the day they had been at work on the Wild estate at Locust Point. They knocked off at 5:10 in the afternoon and in the company with Andrew Hawkins, a colored man, and Mr. Carton, entered a batteau to row across the river to Oceanic. There was a gale blowing from the northwest, but under the shelter of the Middletown banks the river was comparatively smooth. When they got to the middle of the stream where the wind had a full sweep the water was lumpy and the seas broke over the boat. The batteau being overloaded the boat swamped, and Jobes in his fright moved to one side of the boat and caused it to capsize, throwing the four men into the water. Jobes could not swim and after struggling a few minutes sank to the bottom. Johnson had been rowing and his strength was so far spent that he was unable to save himself. Hawkins and Carton managed to catch hold of the boat and kept themselves afloat while they called for help. It was dark at the time. After a short time Carton's strength was gone and his grip loosened upon the boat. He would have gone to the bottom had not Hawkins seized him with his teeth and kept his head above the water until help came.
The rescuers were Joseph Green and Chas. Dean of Navesink. These two men had been at work at Oceanic during the day and were crossing the river to their homes when they heard the cries for help. They rowed to the spot as rapidly as possible and pulled Hawkins and Carton into their boat and then took them to Oceanic, from whence they were afterward taken to their homes.
On account of the roughness of the water on Saturday, no attempt was made to recover the bodies of Jobes and Johnson. On Sunday a number of the oystermen of Fair Haven and Oceanic dragged the river bottom, and about two o'clock in the afternoon the body of Jobes was secured by Forman R. Smith, of Fair Haven, and the body of Johnson by Elisha G. Keach.
On Monday night Coroner R. T. Smith made an official inquiry into the cause of the death of the two men. As a result of the inquiry he did not deem an inquest necessary, and gave a permit for burial.
The funeral for Johnson was held at his father's house in Fair Haven at one o'clock this afternoon, and an hour later at Fisk chapel, the Rev. Walter A. Rice conducting the services. The interment was made at the burial ground at South Eatontown.
The funeral of Jobes will be held from his mother's house in Fair Haven to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, and from the A. M. E. Zion church, Red Bank, at eleven o'clock. The services will be conducted by the Rev. Joseph P. Thompson, of Philadelphia, and the interment will be made at South Eatontown.
Source: Red Bank Register Wednesday, November 16, 1887
Death notices in the same issue note that Wm. G. Johnson was aged 17 years, 6 months and 21 days and Isaiah Jobes was aged 40 years and 10 months.