Sunday, 20 of August 2017

Struck By Lightning

from Berwick newspaper 14th August, 1868 – p3 – BELFORD
DEATH BY LIGHTNING
On Thursday morning thunder was heard in the distance at Belford, a great
deal of lightning was seen, and a slight shower fell. The heat in the morning
and forenoon was oppressive even under a heavily clouded sky, and at noon
the thermometer in the shade was 74 degrees. In the afternoon about two
o’clock, a terrific thunderstorm broke over the town and neighbourhood, rain
fell in torrents, and the roads in the locality were flooded. Mrs Virtue Moffatt,
Belford, had gone with Mr George Gibson’s children in a conveyance to Budle
Bay, which is about three miles from Belford, for the purpose of bathing the
children. The storm was raging in dreadful fury when the party reached the
sea. Mrs Martha Davis, and the nurse Mary Ann Goodwill, tried to persuade
Mrs Moffatt to return and not bathe in such an appalling storm, but their
entreaties were of no avail. Mrs Moffatt had bathed one child and the nurse
had taken it away to bring another, when Mrs Moffatt was struck by the
electric fluid and fell down in the water. A person named Gray, who is living
in a house adjoining Mrs Jane Henderson’s, Blacksmith’s Arms, had come
from his work and was changing his clothes, (the window of his house faces
the sea), when missing Mrs Moffatt, who had fallen down in the water,
he hastened to the scene of the melancholy disaster,
but the unfortunate ladwas just expiring, and in a few minutes life
was quite extinct. The body was
removed to Mrs Jane Henderson’s, which is about a hundred yards from the
fatal spot. The electric fluid had struck deceased on the left temple and her
left shoulder and side were much discoloured from the effects of the fire. An
inquest was held on Saturday by J. J. Hardy, Esq., coroner, the verdict as
above. The body was quite supple. The deceased was a widow, 60 years of
age, and leaves two sons to mourn her loss. She was interred at Belford on
Sunday.
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