Holyoke Man Takes Dive Into Canal

by Laurel | February 6th, 2014

03 February 1915

Second Level Canal South From Dwight Street

Second Level Canal South From Dwight Street

Joseph Nedbolski Makes Careful Preparations for Suicide;
Changes Mind, Is Quickly Rescued
Had Been Out of Employment;
Despondency Given as Reason for Attempt

Holyoke, Feb. 2 — Carefully removing his overcoat, hanging it on an iron fence rail and then calmly climbing the fence, Joseph Nedbolski, a middle age man residing at 268 East Dwight Street, leaped into the second level canal from the Dwight Street Bridge about 3:30 this afternoon. No sooner had Nedbolski struck the icy waters than he evidently changed any plans that might have formulated to commit suicide for he began to swim around until assistance reached him. A rope was dropped down to him and Nedbolski grasped it eagerly and was hauled out, not much worse for his experience. He had been out of employment for some time and it is thought possible that he became despondent, causing him to take the plunge.

For several minutes before Nedbolski took his cold water bath, people had observed him standing against the bridge fence and looking down at the canal. He was about a half dozen feet from the end of the bridge, near the driveway to the Beebe & Holbrook paper mill, where there is a high stone wall and where it looked as though a persons chances of getting out of the water would be extremely small. Among those who noticed him take off his coat was Edwin Kellogg of Smith’s Ferry, an employee of the Holyoke Street Railway Company who was riding on the rear end of a sand car that was proceeding up Dwight Street. The motorman also noticed Nedbolski’s strange behavior and the two could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the man climb the fence and jump into the canal.As soon as he hit the water Nedbolski began to paddle around, but made no outcry. Mr. Kellogg cut a piece of wire that was hanging near the bridge, but this was unable to reach Nedbolski. Then a man came along in a sleigh. He had a handy plank that he tossed over to the swimmer and Nedbolski was able to keep his head above water until Albert Herbert, Robert Thompson and Robert Mutch, employees of the Beebe & Holbrook Mill, secured a rope. This was lowered down to Nedbolski, he got an unbreakable grip on it and half a dozen men joined in yanking him back to earth.

The Police Department was notified and Officer Michael Driscoll responded with the patrol wagon. Nedbolski was able to walk to the boiler room of the mill and later the patrol took him to his home. City Physician William P. Ryan was also called.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

One Response to “Holyoke Man Takes Dive Into Canal”

  1. I found a Joseph Nedbolski on the 1930 Census on Ancestry.com. He was born 1885 Poland. In 1930 he was a janitor, widowed, and boarded with another Polish family at 3121 West 39th Place Chicago. So probably not a happy life.

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