Lightning strikes and deaths are certainly still a problem in our area, but imagine coping with our drastic weather without much knowledge or warning. Our grandparents and even our parents didn’t have the benefits of minute by minute weather coverage. Unless they had a radio, and listened to it, they often knew nothing of an impending storm. They went about their day with only their own experience and knowledge of the seasons, skies, and possibilities to guide them. And as this item proves, rain could just mean rain, or it could mean disaster.
The Caddo Herald
August 20, 1926
Busby and Ballard Killed by Lightning
Monday morning about 9:30 o’clock Leland Busby and Willis Ballard were killed by lightning on the road between the Robinson and Folsom places, five miles southeast of town. Porter Davis was severely injured by the same bolt. A team of mules were also instantly killed.
Busby is 17 years of age and a son of Geo. Busby who lives on the Robinson place. Ballard is 19 years old, a son of W. P. Ballard who lives on the Hibdon place.
The boys and been working at the Granville Baxter meadow, and had started home in the hay wagon when the rain came up. They got within a quarter of a mile from the Busby home when the lightning struck. Busby’s clothing was all torn from him by the bolt and a hole as large as a dollar was made in the back of his head. There were no bruises on either of the other boys.
Within the past two years lightning has played considerable havoc in this community. The Baxter barn was struck and burned by lightning a little over a year ago. A Mr. Smith was struck and severely injured by lightning near there two years ago and some stock was also injured.
The youths who were killed were hard working fellows, well thought of in the community. The families are well respected, and the whole community sympathizes with them in their loss.
Ironic that the Baxter barn was later destroyed by another fire:
The Caddo Herald
October 27, 1933
Barn of Mrs. E. G. Baxter Destroyed by Fire
Tuesday evening about 7:00 o’clock, the barn on the farm of Mrs. E. G. Baxter was entirely destroyed by fired of unknown origin. The barn contained feed stuffs belonging to Mrs. Baxter and to C. E. Baxter, all of which were burned and damaged beyond any use.
The barn contained 2,000 bushels of oats, 75 tons of hay, 150 bushels of corn and a ton and a half of cotton seed, which represents a loss of about two thousand dollars in itself. There was no insurance on the barn.
Mr. Baxter was unable to advance a theory as to the origin of the fire, but said it was in all probability caused by rats or by spontaneous combustion.