Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1892 Electrical Storm

Much as been written about fires in the Fowlerville downtown area. Most of these fires began inside the buildings -- whether it was a result of a lantern or candle being knocked over or crude wiring or a stove fire -- but the community also dealt routinely with lightning fires. One such storm caused major and total destruction to two barns and the death of livestock. The following article was published in The Fowlerville Review and gives a good example of how quickly lives were changed:

A Terrific Electric Storm~~On Wednesday evening, at about 6:30, the most terrific electric storm ever witnessed in this vicinity, passed over and around this place. The fine basement barn of W.M. Horton, containing a large silo for ensilage, with its contents of hay and between six and seven hundred bushels of old wheat and a few agricultural tools, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Mr. Horton was about half way between the house and barn and was knocked down by the shock but was not the least injured. He looked over his shoulder toward the barn before he arose and saw the shingles flying in all directions. He ran into the barn and, at first, thought there was no fire but it suddenly burst into a flame and in a moment was enveloped in fire. Just a moment later, another crash was heard and the west barn on the Amos Barnard's farm, less than one mile north of the Horton barn, was struck and burned to the ground with its contents of hay and three horses. The horses were killed by the shock as they were found dead when they went into the barn after them. The loss falls quite heavily on both these gentlemen. We are unable to learn the amount of the insurance on either case. Several persons in the village were more or less shocked and two or three were knocked out of chairs in which they were sitting, although there were no serious results.

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