William Elmer Hammer
William Elmer Hammer and his fiancée, Gay Pye died four days before
they were to graduate from Dakota Normal School. A special note appeared
on the back of the commencement program June 14, 1893.
"The foregoing program for Commencement Day was fully prepared
and every preparation was completed for its happy fulfillment, when,
on Saturday June 10th, 1893, Miss Gay Pye and Mr. William Elmer Hammer
of the graduating class were accidentally drowned, by the overturning
of a boat in Lake Madison.
The entire school is in profound grief at this great affliction. All
the appointed exercises for the week are set aside, but in place of
this program and at the same hour, proper memorial exercises will be
held for the loved and honored class-mates and the diplomas will be
formally presented. Those for the dead will be presented to their families."
The 1981 Summer Alumni News recounts an article from the Madison Daily
Leader during the time: 8.
(Alumni News Editors note: "The following article
is reprinted from the Madison Daily Leader of June 12, 1893 and tells
of the drowning of two State Normal students a couple days before they
were to have graduated. The headline read: "Under the Cold Wave
- Tragic Ending of Two of the Graduates of the State Normal School -
Gay Pye and William Hammer Drowned.)
Sunday morning Madison was thrown into a state of gloom and feverish
excitement by the announcement that two of the Normal School Students
- Wm. Hammer, of this city, and Miss Gay Pye, of Bryant, had the evening
before, about 10 p.m., been drowned in Lake Madison while out boating.