[Unfortunately, I cannot find records for the Prigley family. My guess is that Crothersville is the one in Jackson County, Indiana. The story has the father as William Prigley and the lost little boy Eddie Prigley. However, the young man who found the boy was Isaac Warner, and he appears to be the Isaac Warner who was born in Indiana in 1856 to Levi and Mary Warner, living in Washington, Clark, Indiana, in 1860, and in Crothersville, Jacksonville, Indiana in 1880. He would have been about 18 at the time of this story. I have also added this story to familysearch.org here. Currently, only Isaac Warner is attached to the story.]
LOST IN THE WOODS
A Child Lives Seventy-six Hours in the Woods Without Nourishment.
From the Louisville Courier-Journal
For the last two mornings our Jeffersonville reporter has furnished us in his reports an account of a child being lost in the woods, and last night he sent us the following particulars of this strange and interesting story:
The little son of Mr. William Prigley, who was lost in the woods near Crothersville was found late Tuesday afternoon.
The circumstances attending this case are most remarkable.
On last Saturday morning Mrs. Prigley started for a cornfield near her house, leaving her little son, a child three years of age, at the house, telling him to remain in the yard and play until she returned. She had not been gone but a few minutes before the appearance of a storm coming up caused her to return. What was her surprise and alarm when she arrived at home to find that
HER CHILD WAS NO WHERE TO BE SEEN.
She searched the entire premises but could not find a single trace of the boy. Becoming by this time seriously alarmed, she flew over to a neighboring house and gave the alarm.
In less than an hour the entire neighborhood, headed by the frantic father, was out searching for the missing boy. A thorough search was made all day and late in the night, but it proved fruitless. At early dawn the next day the search was resumed and at night the boy was still missing. The parents all this time were frantic with grief, and the mother attempted to drown herself in the river known as the Muscat-tatack, at Baker’s Mills, but the attempt was frustrated, and the grief-stricken woman carried to her home.
The third day the search was still continued. By this time over 200 people had gathered and joined in the search. The excitement in and around the entire locality was intense, men coming for fifty miles on their horses to assist in searching for the lost child. At about four o’clock Tuesday afternoon a lad named Isaac Warner, while hauling stave blocks through a lonely part of the dense woods and at a point four miles distant and across the river from Mr. Prigley’s house, heard a peculiar moaning sound. He stopped his team and listened. The moaning was repeated. He got off his wagon and commenced searching around. He had been searching but a few moments when he
DISCOVERED A CHILD LYING PROSTRATE
upon its back. Its face was turned up and presented a pale and ghastly appearance. Warner went to the poor little thing and took it up in his arms. It moaned piteously, and was nearly dead from fatigue, hunger and exposure. The child proved to be the lost one, little Eddie Prigley, and had been wandering around in the woods for seventy-six hours, and had eaten nothing in all that time. It was dressed only in a thin calico frock and as the nights have been cool of late, his suffering must have been intense.–The child was immediately taken home to its overjoyed parents. Medical attention was called and every thing has been done to save the life of the little wanderer.
HOW THE CHILD CROSSED THE RIVER
is explained. On Saturday the Muscat-tatack river was very low, and Mr. Prigley, owning a field across the stream, had a log raft constructed for passage to and from the field. The child had frequently crossed this log bridge, and must have done so that day. Saturday night the river raised four feet, completely covering the bridge, and after the little fellow got over he was unable to find his way back. The rain also covered the bottoms and lowlands lying along the river, making it impossible for a child of that age to find its way out. It appears also that the search for the child was made on the side of the river on which Mr. Prigley’s house is located, no one dreaming that the boy had crossed over in the bottoms on the other side of the river. The timely finding of the boy under the accidental circumstances seems truly providential, and its escape from death was miraculous.
September 10, 1874
Anamosa Eureka, 4th page, 1st column, top