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Coulterville Clatter


On Thursday, February 4th, about 2 o'clock, just after dinner was over and the family was gathered around a heating stove, lightning struck the house of Mr. Johnie Rugeley and their escape from instant death, at least some members of the family, seems to be nothing less than miraculous. They were around the stove, Mr. and Mrs. Rugeley and baby and Walter Millican. The lightning struck the upper part of the stove, following it down into the stove, tore several joints of the pipe all to pieces, overturned the stove, then followed along where the floor and ceiling met for a ways and tore a piece of weather boarding off from the sill, up for ten feet or more. Shattering the weather boarding into splinters and throwing the splinters for some distance. Broke several windows all to pieces and shattered every lamp shade in the house. There was no fire in the stove but a lot of ashes and Mr. Rugeley thinks the ashes saved their lives, as they turned the current of the lightning outwards, and they were all in front of the stove and not more than four feet distant. The jar was awful, everybody was stunned and it was several minutes before they could hear or realize what had happened. The current of lightning melted holes in the stove pipe, did not hurt the sill of the house but split up a live oak block. He says he can't understand how the current of electricity got out of the back of the stove as it did, without breaking the stove, which it did not injure.

Bay City Breeze, February 11, 1897


On the Trail-Gulf to Dakota

“Stampedes invariably occurred at night. Very often slight sounds such as a horse shaking itself and making the stirrups rattle, or a rabbit might try to weave its way through the herd, was all that was needed to cause the sea of flesh to become terrified and break loose.”

“But it was when thunder crashed, streaks of lightening flashed, and a deluge of rain fell that cattle forgot to be ladies and gentlemen and became panic stricken. It was then a real stampede where the herd was sweeping across the prairie.

"Biographical Sketch" Bradford Robbins Grimes by Daisy Ferguson Grimes

Bay City

Considerable damage was done the Wm. Walker residence Monday afternoon by the lightning. It was at first reported to this paper that the damage was slight, but upon further investigation we learned that the damage is in the neighborhood of three hundred dollars. The chimney is ruined, some of the timbers cracked, a newly varnished floor covered with soot from the chimney, the wall paper badly torn and the piano damaged by falling brick.

Matagorda County Tribune, May 11, 1913

Midfield Minutes

We had a good rain Thursday night, which was badly needed. It was accompanied by considerable lightning, which killed a mule belonging to H. Fortenberry.

Palacios Beacon, May 23, 1913

Lightning Strikes
Home of Wm. Walker in Bay City Causes Consternation

Monday afternoon during the fierce rain storm when the wind blew a gale and lightning struck the dwelling of Wm. Walker in the west part of town. The brick chimney was demolished to a point below the comb of the roof, the stovepipe knocked down and the stove upset, the house generally seared and shook up and the telephone put out of commission.

Something like an explosion down the chimney blew soot through the house, damaging the paper on the walls and the inside of the piano. Loss of $250 to $300 is covered by the lightning clause of the fire insurance.

Mrs. Walker, her mother and a neighbor the only occupants, were somewhat frightened, but not injured.

Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer, May 1, 1914

Midfield Maneuvers

A wind storm or cyclone struck between here and the oil field, blowing down and entirely destroying a house on Mr. Shaw's place besides damaging the barn and other buildings, also do damage to others in the settlement. No loss of life is reported.

The lighting struck and killed a mule for Roy Buchanan Monday.

Matagorda News and Midcoast Farmer, May 1, 1914

Duunbar Dots

During the electrical storm Saturday the lighting struck the telephone wire in front of Mr. Viets residence cutting the wire, burning the phone out and throwing splinters from the pole across the road.

Palacios Beacon, August 21, 1914


The home of H. L. Burns was struck by lightning early Saturday morning.

Matagorda County Tribune, October 24, 1919

Lightning Bolt Damages Home on Morton Ave.

In Sunday morning’s storm the residence of Mrs. Maide Moore on East Morton Avenue was struck by lightning. A great hole was torn in the roof and two of the gable windows torn out, sash frame and all. When the lighting entered the front bedroom it seemed to divide and to the three occupants, the room appears to be full of balls of fire. None of them were hurt, not even stunned, though Mrs. Moore’s nephew, Don Harvey, a lad of eleven or twelve, had the bedding on his bed catch fire about two feet from where he was lying. With rare presence of mind the youngster gathered up the bedding and smothered the flames. This is about the narrowest escape on record and the family feels very thankful for their escape.

The Palacios Beacon, May 25, 1923

By Harry Austin Clapp

Tuesday the lightening played some merry pranks about these parts. Put the fones out of commission by striking the wires in front of the post office, then it gamboled down to the home of C. L. Ash and finding Mr. Ash sitting on the back gallery resting from his labors. It struck as near him as possible, tearing the back of the house into bits and scattering the resulting kindling far and wide. The explosive force was so great as to blow out every window in the house. Damage estimated at about $500.00. Oh, no, it did no damage to Clifford, for he was protected, front and rear, with substantial bumjers [bumpers?] and the shock absorbers with which he was equipped. Certainly, he was able to bring the mail in, as and when, it arrived at the station.

The Matagorda County Tribune, August 17, 1928



By Harry Austin Clapp

The Cottingham house occupied by Carl Boeker, has been repaired and is in fine condition. This house was struck by lightning last summer and pretty well torn up.

Matagorda County Tribune, December 7, 1928

Lightning Strikes Residence in North End of Town Tue.

On Tuesday afternoon about 4 o'clock a dense and angry looking black cloud formed in the north and for a while it looked as though Palacios would be visited by a severe storm, but fortunately it went around, we receiving only a light sprinkle, accompanied by some electrical disturbance during which the house on Pavilion Street, occupied by O. P. LeCompte and family was struck by lightning, the bolt went down the stove pipe, came out of the stove and exploded, no damage was done except Mrs. LeCompte and little daughter, Shirley Fay, were stunned by the shock and the fuses for the electric light blown out. A short distance north of town there was a terrific rain which extended as far north as the County line.

Palacios Beacon, July 11, 1929


Electric Storm Hits Matagorda

Lightning Strikes Several Places and Is Followed With Wind and Rain


An electrical storm accompanied by high winds and about an inch of rain visited Matagorda at about 10:30 this morning.


Heavy clouds hung over the town and bolts of lightning struck chimneys and other places. One woman, it is reported, who was using an electric iron, was shocked and burned when a bolt struck her home.


Business was expended during the brief, but exciting visit of the storm.


The Daily Tribune, Wednesday, September 3, 1930


By Harry Austin Clapp


This week started off just about right with a severe electrical storm. Continuous flashes and unceasing rolls of thunder followed by a very high wind and heavy rain. The barns and garage at Gus Franzen's blown from foundations and several other light structures moved. About ten p. m. Sunday the lightning struck a cow staked out in the yard of M. S. Holsworth. Jack had the new cow only two days and is now out of the milk business.

The Daily Tribune, May 24, 1932


Lightning Strikes T. Elliott Tuesday At Carancahua
Victim Knocked Unconscious When Bolt Hits Church West of City Limits

During the electrical and rain storm of Tuesday morning, Tom Elliott, who resides west of town, was knocked down by a bolt of lighting which struck the Carancahua church.

Mr. Elliott and Mr. Plant and his brother-in-law, who were working on the road nearby noticed the approaching storm and sought shelter in the church. As it was near the noon hour they decided to eat their lunch and Mr. Elliott stepped to the window to wash his hands from the dripping eaves when the crash came and he was knocked to the floor unconscious. His companions, who were only a few feet away, were not injured and they fearing the building was on fire as the room was full of smoke, rushed with him out doors and laid him on the ground. Some passers-by brought Mr. Elliott to town and he was taken to the home of his daughter, Mrs. Stillman Winfield, where medical aid was administered, and after some hours he began to recover from the effects. He is now doing as well as could be expected. Luckily no bones were broken.

We have not learned the extent of the damage done to the church.

Palacios Beacon, November 29, 1934

Lightning of Monday Kills Jersey Cow Belonging to Herbert Gusman

One of the prize milk producers of Herbert Gusman’s Jersey herd was killed Monday by lightning. None of the other cows close by was hurt. Mr. Gusman stated that the cow that was killed was one of the very best in his herd. Mr. Gusman is owner of the Sanitary dairy.

Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 6, 1936

Lightning Misses Local Couple By Narrow Margin

Lt. and Mrs. J. C. Wilkes narrowly missed serious injury or possibly death early Saturday morning when lightning struck the ridge pole of their home directly over where they were sleeping and knocked a hole about a foot and a half in diameter in the roof.

The bolt, instead of following its direct course, then followed electric wires over the side of the house and down to the ground floor in the garage where it smashed the switch boxes, leaving them in a condition as if they had been smashed with a sledge hammer.

An automobile standing directly beside the boxes was not injured. Only damage was that to the roof and boxes which since has been repaired.

The thunder which accompanied the bolt awoke several people in town and caused considerable comment as it was apparent it had struck close by according to the many reports heard on the street next day.

Palacios Beacon, June 11, 1942

Collegeport Man Hit By Lightning In Home Saturday Nite

During Saturday night's storm, lightning stuck the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Brown of Collegeport. The bolt passed through the roof into the heated bathroom and exploded between Mr. Brown and the tub, knocking him unconscious. Mrs. Brown succeeded in carrying her husband to air and he revived. The downpour eliminated the danger of fire, but a large hole was torn in the roof.

The Daily Tribune, March 21, 1944


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