Frozen, but Fortunate
Saturday, December 30, 2006
The Neche Chronotype reported an amazing tale of survival on this day in 1909. John Westphal, of rural Neche, North Dakota, was found on the morning of December 24 after struggling through a harsh blizzard for over twenty-four hours. The man had left the home of Thomas Corbett on the evening of December 22, and had started out for the Louis Morris farmhouse, two miles distant. A terrible blizzard blew in from the northwest, and Westphal became lost in the darkness and blowing snow. He did not realize where he had wandered to until he stumbled down the bank of the Pembina River and through the ice. Drenched in the icy cold water, Westphal emerged from the river and immediately felt his clothing freeze stiff to his skin. He helplessly wandered in that condition until he reached the home of W. Welford around two in the morning. Although he lost a few frostbitten toes, Westphal counted himself lucky to have even survived such an ordeal.
The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican (Evening ed.). December 31, 1909: p. 2.
–Jayme L. Job