Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Struck By Lightning

This is day 19 of The Family History Writing Challenge.  I decided to write about a cousin today.  The story of his death and other events of the day are quite unusual.  My great grandfather's sister married my great grandmother's cousin, and Lemoine Wesley Gibson is their son.  Lemoine was my first cousin two times removed, and with the other relationship he is probably also a distant cousin again.

August 1947, in Richmond, Indiana, had turned into a scorcher.  There had not been a break from the heat all month and here is was all ready the 25th.  Lemoine had been running his farm near Kitchel Station and dealing with the heat.  He also traveled around to other farms in the area and did custom baling.

Lemoine had to head over near Abington Pike to bale some hay for John and Ed Wuenker that morning.  It was going to be miserably hot baling that hay, but he needed to get the job done.

He got up early that morning and told Mary he was heading over to the Wuenker farm.  He spent the morning baling and he was trying to get some finished when the clouds started to look ominous.  He wanted to get the section done that he was working on before the rain hit.  He saw lightning off in the distance and it started to cool down quickly.  Just a few more minutes and he could head in to the farmhouse and take shelter from the storm.  It was time to grab a little lunch anyway.  

At 12:10 pm a bolt of lightning struck.  It was a huge bolt and it hit Lamoine hard.  The force of that bolt ripped the shoes right from his feet.  It stopped Lamoine's watch.  It killed the horses that were standing near him.    

When the storm had passed over and Lamoine had failed to come to the house to get out of the storm, John Wuenker began to worry.
He figured he better go out and check on Lamoine.  He found him a short time later laying about 50 feet from the hay baler.

A couple of hours later, Mary was at home and she saw a storm coming in.  This was the same storm that had struck Lamoine.  Mary didn't know about Lamoine yet.  The lightning in this storm was still monstrous.  It was cracking all around.  The next thing Mary knew the house was struck.  Thank goodness, it hadn't caught the house on fire.  She realized later it had taken out some wiring in the oil furnace.  

The coroner came in the late afternoon with the Wuenker's to inform Mary that Lamoine was stuck by lightning and had died.

Lamoine was laid out for his funeral at his farmhouse two days later.  One of his young nieces remembered going to attend his funeral.  She was more concerned about the "poor" horses dying than her Uncle Lamoine. Lamoine was taken to his final resting place at  Earlham Cemetery in Richmond.  

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