Last Raft memories

The article Monday about the last raft brought back one of my earliest memories. That raft passed through Lock Haven a few days prior to its wreck on the Muncy bridge on March 20th, 1938. My father, later a surgeon in Williamsport, was at that time in general practice in Lock Haven.

He woke me long before daylight and took me to the riverbank just south of the Jay Street bridge. The raft was tethered to the shore.

I remember that there was a small crowd of on-lookers, probably fewer than 100, and as the raft cast off, just at dawn, everyone walked along the bank at the river’s slow pace. I remember that the concern was whether the raft would break up crossing the concrete dam at the east end of town.

It crossed the dam headfirst as though it had side-to-side hinges allowing each section to dip to the lower water level until the entire raft, sweep tiller and all, was below the dam and on its way to Williamsport.

I remember holding my father’s hand as he introduced me to somebody he knew.

“This is my son “Merky,” he said, and the man replied,” Murky waters, eh?”

I would not be four years old until the end of the next month, so it is plain that the event is deeply engraved in this now 83-year-old mind.

Henry “Merc” Hager

Fort Myers, Fla.

Former city resident and state senator

Submitted by E-Mail