A tragic drowning accident on the St. John River claimed the life of Winfield Yerxa in May, 1873. Five persons including Winfield were in a small boat which set out from the shore for the purpose of boarding the steamer Andover for passage to Woodstock. The small boat struck the steamer. Winfield and a Colwell girl were drowned. This occurred at the place known as Gibsonís or Rankinís Ferry, approximately 7 or 8 miles below Woodstock.
In the newspaper account of the accident, Winfield Yerxa is said to have been 14 years old, but another record states 15 years. He was described as being a very fine person. His only brother, Elias Yerxa, had died in March of that same year, 1873. Winfield was buried in Dowville Cemetery.
(See newspaper clipping from Woodstock newspaper, The Carleton Sentinel, May 31, 1873, regarding the tragedy.)