John & Jacobina Dotterweich who lived at old Hamburg Turnpike near Green Brook Farm were the parents of nine children. On 13 December 1874, five of the children went out to ride a sled and ventured on to a pond that was not completely frozen. When the ice broke the children were plunged into the water.
In an attempt to save their children the mother and father waded into the water up to their necks and attempted to save the children using a rope. The bodies of the children were pulled from the pond an hour later.
Between 800 and 1,000 people attended the funeral for Caroline aged 16, Augusta aged 14, Maggie age 13, John aged 11, Philip aged 9, and Barbara aged 6 at the Preakness Reformed Church Cemetery, Passaic County, New Jersey.
Drowning is not so pitiful
As the attempt to rise.
Three times, ’tis said, a sinking man
Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
To that abhorred abode,
Where hope and he part company –
For he is grasped of God.
The Maker’s cordial visage,
However good to see,
Is shunned, we must admit it,
Like an adversity.