In June 1940, Susie Carpenter, 16, Libby Carpenter, 14, Louis Ware, 15, and Nellie Ware, 13, accidentally drowned in an artificial lake belonging to Mrs. Laura Clemons and her brother Saul Stanley, operators of the Spanish Villa just south of Devon.
The article below mentions all four girls being buried in the Florence Cemetery. To date, only the burial plots of Susie and Libby Carpenter have been identified.
Boone County Recorder June 13, 1940
Two Pairs of Sisters First Drowning Victims in County for Years – Warned By Owner About Deep Water
Four girls, Nellie Ware, Louise Ware, Susie Carpenter and Libby Carpenter, all of Devon, were drowned Wednesday afternoon of last week when they waded beyond their depth in an artificial lake on the property of Mrs. Laura Clemons and her brother Saul Stanley, operators of the Spanish Villa, just south of Devon.
Nellie and Louise Ware were daughters of Harry and Thelma Ware, and Susie and Libby Carpenter were the daughters of Earl and Mary Carpenter. Ages of the girls were 13, 14, 15, and 16.
Mr. Stanley said the girls had visited the lake Tuesday afternoon and waded along the shore. He warned the girls to stay away from the lake because of its depth. Stanley said the girls replied they had heard they could wade across the seventy-five-foot body of water. The lake is 100 feet long and 15 feet deep. The lake was dug for a swimming pool, Mrs. Clemons said, and had never been completed.
The girls returned Wednesday, the Ware sisters accompanied by their two younger brothers, Chester 10, and Harry Jr., 8. The boys played along the banks as the girls waded.
Harry, the first to miss the girls, ran to Spanish Villa, Dixie Highway, to summon aid. The Florence Volunteer Fire Department was called and the South Fort Mitchell Life Squad, Covington Fire Department, Erlanger and Elsmere police also responded.
The firemen dug out a side of the lake and drained part of the water, while the other rescuers, using a flatbottom boat, trolled with barbed wire to find the bodies.
Libby’s body was found first after an hour’s search. The bodies of Susie, Louise and Nellie were recovered two hours later.
Efforts of firemen, police and several private physicians failed to revive the victims.
At the time of the drowning Chester was in another part of the 160-acre tract and was unaware of the tragedy until he saw the rescuers arrive.
Harry Ware, father Louis and Nellie, is a carpenter on the Clemons and Stanley property. Earl Carpenter, father of the other girls, is a farmer.
The disaster Wednesday was the first in Boone County this year according to reports.
Funeral services for Nellie and Louise Ware were conducted Friday afternoon at Florence Baptist church. Burial was in Florence cemetery.
Services for the Carpenter sisters were held at 11 o’clock Saturday at Florence Methodist Church with internment in Florence cemetery. Phillip Taliaferro, Erlanger funeral director was in charge of the arrangements.