Beauty Contest Winner Saves Man from Drowning

A beauty queen hero emerged on the banks of the Potomac, one summer day in 1924. Below is an article from the Washington Post, published on June 2nd, 1924.

Miss Leoma Davis, winner of several Washington beauty contests, yesterday afternoon dived into the Chesapeake canal and saved G. W. Cave, local insurance man, from drowning. Cave had gone down the second time when the young woman, considerably lighter in weight than he, dived to his rescue. Cave was taken out of the water in a semiconscious condition, but was revived by Miss Davis and R. D. Jeffries, of Ballston, Va., after 15 or 20 minutes of rescusitative efforts.

The three had been fishing on the Potomac all afternoon. Returning to a point opposite Fletcher’s boat house, beyond Key bridge, they left their boat and crossed the ridge to the canal, where they got into another boat to get to the mainland. As they pulled up at the landing on the far side of the canal, Cave lost his balance and fell into water 15 feet deep. When he came up the first time Jeffries held an oar to him, but Cave, already well nigh exhausted and realizing he could not swim a stroke, broke the oar in two in his frenzy and went down again. Then Miss Davis, attired in hiking apparel went to his rescue. They struggled in the water for several minutes until Miss Davis struck Cave a stiff blow on the back of the neck. Holding him about the neck with her left arm, she then swam to shore, where Jeffries and a small boy pulled them in.

Miss Davis insisted Cave be taken immediately to his home in Tudor Hall, Tenth street and Massachusetts avenue northwest. Then she was taken to her home at 806 C street southeast. She was second in the Shrine beauty contest last June. She is 22 years old.

Leoma sounds like kind of a badass, much like our “whoopee” rebel, Marjorie Morris.

Beauty Contest Winner Washington Post headline
Beauty Contest Winner Washington Post headline

To add a little more color to this post and expose a little crazy in Leoma’s past, we came across this quick mention in an article from May 3rd, 1928. Seems like Ms. Davis had a little love triangle going. That never ends well.

Peter Kametudis was indicted on a charge of assault to kill in connection with the shooting of Mrs. Hattie E. Davis, 607 Florida avenue northeast, mother of Miss Leoma Davis, whom Kametudis had been courting. The police charged that he called at the Davis home on October 1 last, and after finding out that Miss Davis had an engagement with another man, became infuriated, created a disturbance and ended up shooting the girl’s mother in the neck.

Damn … like an episode of Cops. The house is still there, across from Gallaudet University. You’ll probably have a different view of it the next time you pass it. Also, it’s a couple blocks from where Officer Sprinkle lived.

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About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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