From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 18, 1911:
"After one of the bravest struggles that ever a mother made to save a child's life, Mrs. L. C. Hemphill passed away this morning at Simmons hospital. The seven months old son died about three hours earlier.... About three o'clock yesterday afternoon Mrs. Hemphill was at her home one-half mile south of Reno. With her in the kitchen was the seven months old son, while another child, a boy about five years old, was playing outside the house. Mr. Hemphill was working in a field about two miles away. The fire in the kitchen had gone out, and Mrs. Hemphill started to light it. She thought that all of the coals were out of the stove so she put in some kerosene to start it. In a moment she knew her mistake. No sooner had the kerosene been poured in than it touched some coals and the inevitable happened -- it exploded. In a moment Mrs. Hemphill's hair and clothing were one mass of flames, while the fire reached forth to the baby, playing there. The flames were fast spreading over the house.... Across the road about 75 yards away there is a pond. That was the very thing, the mother thought. Her own life was gone, but the baby, the little thing in her arms crying, while the flames devoured its clothing.... There are two barbed wire fences before one can reach the pond, but the mother did not stop for these. How she got over them no one knows.... First she threw the baby in [the pond] and then she went in herself.... The other child was running after her crying, 'Mama, don't burn up. Please mama, don't burn up.' When he saw his mother and brother in the water the little fellow ran a half mile to Reno. It was from the child, who arrived at Reno exhausted, that the people first knew of the story. 'Mama's burning up,' he said. 'Please don't have mama burn up.' Neighbors at once went to the scene of the fire.... Mrs. Hemphill and the child were taken at once to Simmons hospital [in Lawrence] where everything possible was done, but it was too late. The bodies were charred, the suffering fearful. At half past ten last evening the baby died and at three this morning his mother passed away. Mrs. Hemphill never lost consciousness up to the moment that she died. She told how it happened. 'I saw that I would not live. That there was no one to help me and that the flames had too good a hold on me. I made up my mind then to simply lie down on the ground and die. But then I saw baby.... The pond was the first thing I thought of. I knew I had to die, but oh the baby.' Mrs. Hemphill was a nurse before her marriage at Rosedale hospital. She was a singularly capable young woman.... Never has a mother made a braver fight to save a child's life than Mrs. Hemphill. Those who know the surroundings and about the fences cannot imagine how she ever managed to get over these obstacles. Think of what that must have meant, when her clothing and body were on fire.... The funeral will take place tomorrow at noon."