New Hampshire’s Serious Weather: Struck by Lightning in 1860

Sky showing lightning effects during storm of August 24, 1624, drawing, black chalk on brownish paper, Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

Sky showing lightning effects during storm of August 24, 1624, drawing, black chalk on brownish paper, Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

During the thunder shower of Wednesday last, the lightning was frightfully vivid, and struck in several places in this city. At 6 o’clock, at the residence of John S. Folsom corner of Concord and Walnut streets [in Manchester NH], it came like a sheet of fire, as an eye-witness describes it, and it came near the house it divided, and took the points of the lightning rods on the house and barn, and went into the earth doing no harm except frightening the whole neighborhood. It seemed aimed for the barn, but the rods attracted part to the house. So powerful was the bolt that it shook the house form top to bottom, and the buildings near by–John Welch was standing in the barn across the road, and was knocked back several feet by the shock. The residents near by say the crash seemed as if the tops of the houses were falling in. The inmates of the house were not seriously injured, though James, the son, was leaning against the door post and received a jar in one ear making it numb for a while. Otis’ Patent Lightning Rods were put on the house and barn last week, and had it not been for them it is not probably the inmates would have escaped. The points of the several rods were turned black or melted, and the rods down looked yellowish as iron does when powder is flashed upon it.

In the Cemetery, at the lower part, near the brook, the lightning struck a pine tree and shivered it to atoms, hurling pieces long distances.–The flash lighted up the Gas Works and Foundry giving them the appearance of being on fire, so much so that some of the workmen fled from the buildings.

There were two heavy showers here, but it seemed to be heavier to the east of us. At Amherst there was no rain.

At Janesville, the wife of S.C. Gilman, who boards at the house of Edson Bond, was sitting at the window, about ten feet from the lightning rod of the house, and was struck in the face, the fluid leaving a black mark under the left eye, on the left side of her body, and injuring her hip so that she is lame. About the eye the flash is swollen and she cannot see out of that eye easily. She was knocked over by the shock.

At Derry just before the last train up, a flash followed the wires into the telegraph office and the report was as the crack of a rifle. A lady standing in the ladies’ room, was knocked senseless but recovered in a few minutes.

The barn of John S. Furber, near White’s at Londonderry was struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon, set on fire and consumed, together with four cows, one horse, two sheep and several tons of hay. Insured in the Rockingham Farmer’s Mutual for a small sum. His loss is chiefly on the stock. There was another barn cornering on the burnt one, which caught, but the wind changed, and water was poured upon it and it was saved.

At Chester, Wednesday, the barn of Capt. Moses Haseltine was struck by lightning and consumed with contents. It had extended to the house when the stage came by and the driver thought there was no chance to save it — [Mir. [Editor’s note original article from Manchester NH Mirror newspaper]

Article published Wednesday, August 15, 1860 Farmer’s Cabinet (Amherst NH) Vol 58, Issue 3, Page 3

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