Skaters Have Narrow Escapes

From the Detroit Free Press, 23 January 1911, Monday, Page 5

Skating on the river and waterways of Belle Isle yesterday afternoon two young men had narrow escapes from drowning. Ernest Warren, aged 18, broke through the ice in a canal on the island and was rescued by a friend, Albert McClellan, 344 St. Aubin avenue. H was taken to the Belle Isle police station, and after drying his clothes, went to his home, 336 St. Aubin avenue. Walter Haug, aged 18, 229 Willis avenue west, fell through the ice into 18 feet of water in the river off the island. He was pulled out by persons nearby and also taken to the station.

The 1910 United States Federal Census shows [James] Ernest living with his parents, Charles and Libbie [Monroe] Warren, and his brother, Claude. Charles and his sons worked as machinists at an undisclosed machine shop. By 1920 Ernest was living with his parents in Seattle, King, Washington, where he was working as a yard man at a lumber company.

Ernest married Mary Hazel McUmber on 17 August 1926 in Charlotte, Eaton, Michigan. They moved to Lansing, Ingham, Michigan and are shown there in both the 1930 and 1940 United States Federal Census records. The 1940 census included a daughter, Marilyn J. (8).

Ernest retired from General Motors as a Tool & Die Maker. He was widowed  and living in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas, at the time of his death in 1962.

I wonder if Ernest stayed in touch with his friend, Albert, who pulled him from the water that winter’s day in 1911? Did he recall the story to his wife and daughter?

Screenshot 2018-01-12 at 3.16.00 PM

View of ice skaters on frozen canal on Belle Isle during winter. Skating pavilion in background. Printed on front: “12810, a winter sport, Belle Isle, Detroit, Mich., Detroit Publishing Co.” Printed on back: “Phostint card, made only by Detroit Publishing Co.” Handwritten on back: “Isn’t this a good picture of the island? With love, Bertha.” Card is postmarked March 12, 1911.

Postcard Courtesy of the Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Digital Collections.


  • Warren, Ernest. “Skaters Have Narrow Escapes.” The Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) 23 Jan 1911, Mon, Page 5.
  • 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations. Inc., 2006.
    • Year: 1910; Census Place: Detroit Ward 9, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T624-683; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0129; FHL microfilm: 1374696
  • 1920 United States Federal Census  [database on-line]. Provo, UT USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
    • Year: 1920; Census Place: Seattle, King, Washington; Roll: T625_1925; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 83
  • Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
  • 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc.,, 2002.
    • Year: 1930; Census Place: Lansing, Ingham, Michigan; Roll: 991; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0040; FHL microfilm: 2340726
  • 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
    • Year: 1940; Census Place: Lansing, Ingham, Michigan; Roll: T627_1762; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 33-57
  • Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc. 2013.