Clearspring, IN Barn Struck By Lightning, Sept 1916

Brownstown Banner newspaper, Brownstown, IN
Wednesday 10 September 1916;Front Page, Column 2

BURNED TO DEATH

Willis Clements Meets Death In Barn Struck by Lightning

Monday afternoon about two o'clock lightning struck Dave Hawkins' barn in Owen township, about three miles southeast of Clearspring, and as a result Willis Clements was burned to death. Clarence Hawkins narrowly escaped a similar fate, the barn was burned to the ground and two mules, a colt and a large amount of feed were consumed in the flames.

Mr. Clements was employed by Mr. Hawkins as a farm hand. After dinner he came from his home to Mr. Hawkins' place and he and Mr. Hawkins' son Clarence were getting ready to go to work, and went out to the barn when a storm came up. Thinking the shower would soon be over they sat down about the center of the drive-way to wait. Clarence was seated about two feet from the wall and Clements was seated with his back against the wall. They were conversing together when there came an awful crash and blinding flash of lightning which was the last Clarence remembered until after he was rescued.

Mr. Hawkins and family who were at the house, ran out and saw that the barn had been struck by lightning and was on fire. Clarence was found by his father lying unconscious on the ground several feet from the barn door and was carried into the house. Drs. Heller and Cummings, of this place, were called to attend him. After recovering consciousness he rallied rapidly and was considered out of danger, but he could not remember how he escaped from the barn nor recall anything that happened after he was stunned by the lightning.

It is evident that Mr. Clements was not instantly killed by the lightning, but also made an effort to get out of the barn, from the fact that his charred remains were found near the barn door where Mr. Hawkins escaped, this was about twenty-five feet from where the men were seated when the barn was struck. After the fire had gone down sufficiently to locate the body it was recovered from the burning building, but was burned beyond recognition.

Deceased was about thirty-three years of age and was a relative of Mr. Hawkins, with whom he had been employed since last February, his former home being at Bedford. He is survived by his widow and three small children, one girl and two boys. He was an honest, upright and religious man and was held in high esteem. The funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon followed by interment in the Bagwell Cemetery.

The barn was burned to the ground, and two mules and a colt were consumed in the flames. The mules belonged to Jas. D. Robertson, of Honeytown, who had driven there after peaches. A span of mules and a horse, belonging to Mr. Hawkins escaped from the burning building, but the horse was badly burned. Among the contents of the barn consumed were about forty tons of hay, about 150 bushels of wheat, some sheaf and threshed oats, a quantity of fertilizer, a wagon, surrey, harness and farm tools.

Mr. Hawkins' total loss is estimated at about $2000, with about $1400 insurance. Mr. Robertson had no insurance on his mules, and this loss is quite heavy upon him as he suffered considerable loss during the March overflow.

Charles Willis Clements
Find A Grave Memorial# 21888510