Thursday, September 25th, 2014 09:00 pm
That a man lay down his life for his friend."
St. John XV:13

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When I saw the inscription, I knew there had to be a story.

Everyone has a story. Garland Pierce's story ended in tragedy. A young life cut short. Parents who never expected to outlive a child.

I saw the stone on a cool morning earlier this week at Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.

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So today, I went to the Arkansas History Commission to find news articles.
The article announcing the drowning of Garland Pierce on an August afternoon was front page news in the Arkansas Gazette. The microfilm image was hard to read, but I could read enough.

A. Garland Pierce Loses Life in River

Little Rock Man Drowns at Morrilton Trying to Save Woman

Ferryman Rescues Her

Victim of Tragedy Was Well Known in Capitol City as Scoutmaster of Boys Scouts


Morrilton, Aug. 29

A. Garland Pierce, 27 years old, son of John Pierce, 1317 Chester street, Little Rock, lost his life in the Arkansas River at 4:30 this afternoon trying to save Mrs. Bertha Troxell of southern Missouri, with whom he had gone [swimming].

Mrs. Troxell was rescued by a ferryman after she and Mr. Pierce had gone under twice. Pierce did not come to the surface the third time. His body had not been recovered late tonight.

The two went to the river and took kodak pictures, then donned their bathing suits. They waded toward a sand bar and got beyond their depth. The current is very swift where they entered the water. Mrs. Troxell said Pierce had just warned her about the current when they got into deep water. She was unable to swim. They went under together, Mrs. Troxell said. Pierce was fighting frantically [illegible] to her and swim out. The second time they went down their hold was broken and he sank. The ferryman heard Mrs. Troxell's cries and pulled her [illegible].

Mr. Pierce has been here [illegible] months representing the Tennessee National Life and Accident Insurance Company. He was a graduate of the law department of the University of Arkansas and formerly was a partner of Oscar H. Winn at Little Rock. He formerly was Scoutmaster of the Boy Scouts of Little Rock. [illegible] was a member of the Arkansas National Guard. He was a native of Jefferson county and was a graduate of Pine Bluff high school.

Beside his parents, he is survived by a brother, John Pierce, who [illegible] late tonight to assist in finding his body.
Arkansas Gazette,
Wednesday, 30 Aug 1916
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left to right: Garland Pierce, father John B. Pierce, brother John Pierce, mother Columbia Ellen Hudgens Pierce

OBITUARY

A. Garland Pierce
Funeral Services for River Victim Will Be Held Here Today


The body of A. Garland Pierce, 27 years old, who drowned in the Arkansas River near Morrilton Tuesday afternoon, was recovered at 9 o'clock yesterday morning, two miles below the scene of the drowning. The body was brought to Little Rock last night.

Mr. Pierce lost his life in an attempt to save Mrs. Bertha Troxell.

Mr. Pierce is survived by his parents, Mrs. and Mrs. John B. Pierce, 1317 Chester street, and one brother, John Pierce. Funeral services will be held from the family residence at 4 o'clock this afternoon. The Rev. Ferney Hutchinson will officiate. Burial will be at Oakland cemetery.

The pallbearers will be: Active - Arthur J. Jones, Russell Field, George Martin, Russell Snyder, Robert Richardson and E.L. Carter; honorary - J.H. Carmichael, L.C. Holman, Oscar Winn, J.R. McAllister, Fred A. Ingrig and Andrew J. Hunter.
Arkansas Gazette,
Thursday, 31 Aug 1916
John and "Lum" Pierce have a gravestone beside their son in Oakland Cemetery.