Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Date of Birth: December 24, 1882
Date of Death: August 26, 1905
Additional Photos: (1) (2) (3)
Kentucky Career Notes:
Transferred from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute
Biography - Genealogy of the Robertson, Small and Related Families: Hamilton, Livingston, McNaughton, McDonald, McDougall, Beveridge, Lourie, Stewart by Archibald Small
Claire Porter St. John, eldest son of Joseph Lancaster and Jessie (Porter) St. John, was born December 24, 1882, in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania (sic), and the State College of Kentucky at Lexington, at which institution he received the degree of M.E. in 1904.
Claire Porter St. John was drowned August 26, 1905 while canoeing down the Ohio. Late at night his party of three went over a dam, which they mistook for the lock on account of the darkness, and the canoe was upset. Claire could easily have escaped, as he was a strong swimmer, if he had not been swept under two empty coal barges, which were unfortunately being towed up the river just at that time. He was a great athlete in college, having played on the football, baseball and basketball teams as well as having won the mile championship in the college games. He was a most popular fellow and had just begun a very promising career.
Obituary - Claire St. John A Graduate of K.S.C. Drowned Lexington Herald (August 28, 1905)
Star Foot Ball Player on State College Gridiron Lost in Rapids of Ohio
UNCLE OFFERS REWARD FOR RECOVERY OF BODY
Together with friends he went canoeing, and swift current carried them over dam - they were taking engineering course in Pittsburg
(Special to the Herald) PITTSBURG, Pa. Aug. 28. - Caught in the treacherous waves of the Ohio river above Lock No. 2, at Merryman, near midnight, three young college graduates and expert canoeist were carried along by a swift current and hurled over the dam. Claire P. St. John of Brooklyn, N.Y., a graduate of State College is believed to have drowned.
His uncle, E.H. Small, of Pennsylvania, said that a liberal reward would be paid for the recovery of the body. The two men who were rescued are F.A. Sarvis, a graduate of Lehigh University, and C.J. Hendrickson, a graduate of Cornell University. Claire P. St. John was twenty-three years old and a graduate of the State College of Kentucky, of which institution he was a star on the football gridiron for several years. According to the story told by Sarvis yesterday, the young fellows left Verona about 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon in a light birch canoe.
The three men are taking an engineering course as apprentices at the Westinghouse Electric Plant and became warm friends.
While stopping at Turtle Creek, which they all roomed, Sarvis said that they had planned to go from Pittsburg to Wheeling by canoe, and remain over at the West Virginia town until Sunday evening, and return by train.
All were expert canoeists, but they were not familiar with the Ohio river. The tow boat Gilet picked up Sarvis and Hendrickson in a semi-conscious condition, but could see no trace of St. John.
Burial of St. John Lexington Herald (September 3, 1905)
Friends in this city are in receipt of news verifying the dispatch of a few days ago in which was contained an account of the drowning of Claire St. John in the Ohio river, a short distance from Pittsburg, a week ago last night. No further particulars were given than appeared in the original report, except that the body had been recovered and that the funeral took place Friday from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y.
After attending Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, at both of which institutions he took a prominent part in athletics. Mr. St. John came to Lexington in the summer of 1903 and took a course in the summer school at the State College. Entering the Senior Class that fall, he graduated in the Mechanical Department the following June with the class of '04.
He played end on the football team and first base on the baseball nine, and was very popular among the students.
IN MEMORY OF COMRADE Lexington Herald (June 8, 1907)
The following resolutions were adopted by a committee from the class of 1904 of Kentucky State College regarding the death of Claire T. St. John, a member of the class, who was accidentally drowned three years ago while boating on the Ohio river:
Whereas, God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit to take from us our fellow-classmate. Claire Porter St. John; and,
Whereas, In his death we realize the loss of one of our most loyal members; therefore, be it,
Resolved, By the class of '04, In our first tri-ennial reunion, that we express our deepest sorrow in his untimely death, extend our profound sympathy to the bereaved family, and spread these resolutions upon the records of this class.
MARY J. MAGUIRE,
NANNIE S. TUCKER,
CHARLES R. GILMORE.