Marion, IA Storm, July 1860

Severe Storm in Marion

July 20, 1860, at half past 8 A. M., a severe storm came over Marion, from the northwest, accompanied by heavy rain and severe lightning.

A stroke of lightning struck a house in the north part of town, in which school was taught by Miss Kellogg. As school had not yet "taken up," but seven pupils had arrived, and these, together with their teacher, were felled senseless to the floor. On recovering from the shock, Miss Kellogg found all of the children still on the floor, three of whom never arose.

The killed were: A son of Mr. Joseph Cooper, aged about 12; a son of Mr. Joshua Bennett, aged about 9, and a son of Mr. Pifer, aged about 7.

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Terrible Storm at Marion


We learn from the Linn Co., Register that last Friday morning there was a severe storm in that locality, with much lightning.  A school house, containing at the time only seven children and the teacher, Miss Kellogg, in the north part of Marion, was struck by lightning.  Three of the children were killed.  The Register says:

Had all the scholars been present who are normally in attendance the calamity would have undoubtedly been greater -- we learn from the teacher Miss Kellogg, that she was herself felled to the floor with all in the room, that when she recovered she found all the children still on the floor; three of whom were dead! the others soon recovered.  Those that were killed were:  a son of Joseph Cooper, aged 12; a son of Mr. Joseph Gennett, aged about 9, and a son of Mr. Pifer, aged about 7.  Then in a moment's time, in the twinkling of an eye as it were, have three promising youths been hurried into eternity, and three households laid in mourning by the destroying angel.

Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, IA 24 Jul 1860


According to the 1860 Census, the boys killed were:

Clinton Cooper, son of Joseph and Polly P. Cooper, age 11; notation on the census form "Killed by lightning July 18th 1860"

James Pfieffer, son of Christopher and Catherine Pfieffer, age 5; notation on the census form "Killed by lightning July 20 1860"

Charles Bennest, son of Joshua and Elizabeth Bennest, age 7; notation on the census form "Killed by lightning July 20th 1860"

Miss Kellogg could have been either Almira Kellogg, age 28, teacher or Ann M. Kellogg, age 18, teacher.

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