Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Ellen Sarah Boise ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
Ellen "Nellie" Sarah Boise
BORN: 23 Oct 1867 DIED: 5 Aug 1891 BURIED: 10 Aug 1891
BIRTH PLACE:  Polk Co., Oregon
DEATH PLACE: Long Beach, Pacific Co., Washington
IOOF - Nellie Boise, age 24, born in Oregon, drowned at Long Beach, Washington, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. R. P. Boise.

PHOTOGRAPH NOTE: The picture of Nellie Boise is courtesy of the Salem (Oregon) Public Library Historic Photograph Collections.  The caption which accompanies the photograph reads "This photograph was displayed as a part of the Diaries exhibit from April to May, 1995 in the Heritage Room at the Salem Public Library. Sarah Ellen (Nellie) Boise was born in 1867 and drowned in the surf at Long Beach, Washington on August 5, 1891. As a young woman she attended Willamette University graduating in 1887. She was the daughter of Judge Reuben Boise, of the Marion County circuit court and the sister of Whitney L. Boise"
Two Young People Lost in the Surf. ONE A SALEM GIRL. 
Nellie Boise and William Steel Drowned. 
The Treacherous Undertow Sweeps Them Off Their Feet, and Carries Them Away. 
Astoria, Aug. 5. - Gloom was cast over Long beach, on the Washington shore, about 12:30 this afternoon, when Miss Nellie Boise, of North Salem, and William Steel, of Portland, were drowned in the surf. The distressing accident happened in from of Stout's hotel, and more than twenty persons saw the two young people swept out to a watery grave. A huge wave, attended by a fearful undertow, swept the party of bathers into a deep water hole, and, before the undertow subsided, the unfortunate young people had worn themselves out in struggling against it. There were about twenty of the party together, among them being Will Steel, Nellie Boise, Herbert Nichols, B. McFarland, George Myers, Balfe Johnson, Ben Lombard, L. Shepard, Merle Johnson, Mrs. Hanthorn, Mrs. Myers, and others. 
Geo. Myers was farther down the beach than the others and was the first to feel the irresistible pressure of the undertow as it swept him off his feet. He shouted to those farther up and motioned them to go to shore. They all started, but the treacherous wave almost immediately overtook them and lifted them off their feet. Some of the young men were farther out than the ladies, and when the undertow caught them it swept the ladies past them. All were very much excited, and Miss Boise fainted in the arms of her escort, Ben Lombard. He was a good swimmer, and made Herculean efforts to reach a safe footing with her, and would undoubtedly have succeeded, had not a second wave torn her from his grasp and she sank to rise no more. Lombard tried in vain to reach her again, but could not, and in an exhausted condition he was dragged on the beach. Steel, who was a trifle father out than Miss Boise and Lombard was seen on the crest of a wave after the deadly undertow had partially subsided, but was apparently too weak to help himself, and, before assistance could reach him, he too had perished. 
The true cause of the accident is probably best explained in the account of an experiences surf bather, who was in the water near the scene of the accident. He says, "I had just come well in, after being far out in the breakers, and was in water a little more than waist deep. Suddenly I heard an outcry below me, and saw an immense wave, followed a moment later by another. The surf was coming from the southward, and when the wave and undertow struck me it almost knocked me off my feet. In fact, it was the heaviest undertow I had ever experienced, although I have been bathing for ten years on this beach. I tried to struggle against it, but finding that it was useless, I went with it, and watching a favorable opportunity, came in as soon as it subsided. I was too busy looking after myself to notice those below me, and did not know until I came in that there had been an accident. The strong undertow ceased less than fifty yards beyond where the party of bathers were when it caught them, and I think that if they had not worn themselves out, struggling against it, they would have been safe, after it had spent its force." 
The sad affair has plunged the whole beach into mourning, as both parties were so well known and popular. An effort will be made to fine the bodies this evening, but it is doubtful of they can be recovered tonight, as the tide does not run out within three feet of low water mark, and without they are found within the next twenty-four hours, it is doubtful if they can be recovered before next winter. 
When news of the drowning was spread along the beach it created intense excitement, and the wildest rumors were afloat. Every man who was missed was thought to be drowned, and while it is still uncertain whether others were drowned or not , yet it is hardly probable. PORTLAND, AUG. 5 - Miss Boise was the older of two daughters of Judge Boise, of Salem, was 24 years of age, and was a leader in society in the Capital City. She went to the beach last Saturday, and was staying at the cottage of Judge Scott, of Portland. Although unable to swim, she was always very cautious when bathing. W. L. Boise, brother of the drowned girl, left for the beach on boat tonight. William steel was 19 years of age, and was an adopted son of Postmaster George A.. Steel of this city. 
The receipt of the news of the drowning of one of her most winsome young ladies was indeed sad news for Salem. Miss Helen [Ellen] Boise, the one whose bright life has been thus suddenly terminated, was the elder daughter of Judge and Mrs. R. P. Boise and was one of the Capital City's most popular young women. She was a leader, and wherever she was her presence was felt. Vivacious and full of good humor, she was the life of every gathering in which her presence shown. She was a faithful member of the First Congregational church of Salem. She took an active part in the Homeric reading club, and was a charter member of the Marion Square Lawn Tennis club. 
Miss Boise was born on her father's farm in Polk county, and would have been 24 years of age on the 27th next October. Her life has been spent in Salem, where she received her education, graduating with high honors from Willamette university in 1887. She was liked by all and beloved by many and her death makes a vacancy that can never be filled. She will be missed, and many are the tears of friends, relatives, and acquaintances that will be shed for this noble, self-sacrificing young lady. The bereaved family have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community in their hour of sore bereavement. 
Daily Oregon Statesman 6 Aug 1891 1:5-6 
See also Capital Journal 10 August 1891 1:6, 3:4-5
Ellen S. Boise 
Oct. 23, 1867 
Aug. 5, 1891
IOOF Register of Burials 
DAR pg 18 
S&H pg 13 
DOS 6 Aug 1891 1:5-6