[A quick records search reveals the 1870 Anamosa, Jones, Iowa, census listing Marsena French. His father was Marsena H. French of New York (1836), his mother Emily of Michigan (1842), and siblings Ada C born in Michigan (1860), Helen H born in Iowa (1865), Emily A (1867) born in Iowa, and Morgan born in Iowa (1869). I have sent a message to the owner of a tree on ancestry.com and have included the story unattached to any tree or record here on familysearch.org. Please feel free to copy the story and attach to your tree (keeping the story “public” if on ancestry.com would be appreciated–no link here required).]
Another Boy Drowned–We are pained to learn of the drowning of a son of Dr. M. H. French, formerly an old resident of Anamosa, and now of Sioux Rapids, Beuna Vista Co., Iowa. The sad affair occurred on Saturday, June 28th, at three o’clock in the afternoon. The boy’s name is Marsena B. French and he was nearly nine years of age. He, in company with two other lads,–one older and the other younger than himself–went into the Sioux River to bathe. The two boys tell conflicting stories about the accident, but one version of it is that the older boy, with Marsena on his back, swam out in deep water and then accidentally or purposely let him slip off into the water where, being unable to swim, he was drowned.
The boys, through fear we must suppose, did not speak of what had happened until after six o’clock–more than three hours after the accident. Preparations were immediately begun to recover the corpse, but a heavy rain set in and continued until darkness came on. The next day the river was dragged and friends made the most strenuous efforts to find the body, but it was not discovered until the fifth day.
Decomposition of course rendered the immediate burial of the corpse imperative, and sad indeed were the hearts of the parents as they gazed for the last time upon all that remained of a son who, only a week before, was in buoyant health and spirits. The sympathy of old friends and neighbors in Anamosa will go out to the afflicted ones in this their dark hour of sorrow.
July 10, 1873
Anamosa Eureka, 3rd page, 3 column, near bottom of page