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<Killed by Lightning>

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African Americans in Kentucky Killed By Lightning
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1940
In early newspapers are articles about people in Kentucky killed by lightning, and the articles were many times front page stories.  There are also lightning deaths noted in the U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 and in the annual Mortality Statistics volumes, some of which are available full-text at Google Books. See Lightning Fatalities by State, 1956-2012, a NOAA website, for a rank of where Kentucky stands in terms of deaths due to lightning. This entry is an introduction to the names, geographic locations, and data on African Americans in Kentucky who were killed by lightning. 

 

Since 2006, there have been less than 50 lightning deaths per year in the United States, according to the statistics at the NWS (National Weather Service) Lightning Safety, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) website. For earlier data, back to 1940, and additional information, see Victims/SurvivorsSafety Tips, and other educational links on the National Weather Service, NOAA website. See also Lightning Casualties and Their Proximity to Surrounding Cloud-to-ground Lightning (thesis) by M. M. Lengyel; An Epidemiological Description of Lightning-related Deaths in the United States by P. J. Duclos and L. M. Sanderson; and search in PubMed for articles on lightning and lightning injuries.

  • 1850 - Jenny, a slave, killed by lightning strike, May 1850. Warren County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 3, line 1, Year Ending 1st of June 1850.
  • 1860 - Robert, a slave and farm hand, killed by lightning, April 1860. Madison County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 3, p.2, line 10, Year Ending 1st of June 1860.
  • 1860 - Nathaniel White, a 13 year old slave was killed by lightning May 1860. Barren County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 3, p.3, line 12, Year Ending 1st of June 1860.
  • 1860 - Ruben White, a slave who was married, was killed by lightning May 1860. Barren County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 3, p.3, line 12, Year Ending 1st of June 1860.
  • 1868 - Two white men and a colored man killed by lightning in London, KY. June 26, 1868. Laurel County. Source: "Three men killed by lightning in Kentucky," New York Times, 06/28/1868, p.1.
  • 1870 - James Diggs, a farm hand, killed by "effice [efficacy] of lightning," November 1870. Madison County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 2, p.2, line 29, Year Ending 1st of June 1870.
  • 1870 - Edmond White, 9 years old, was killed by lightning July 1870. Madison County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 2, p.2, line 27, Year Ending 1st of June 1870.
  • 1870 - Pauline White, 13 years old, was killed by lightning July 1870. Madison County. Source: U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Schedule 2, p.2, line 27, Year Ending 1st of June 1870.
  • 1890 - Lish Wilson, 15 years old, was one of two boys killed by lightning in Louisville, KY. The boys and two others had been out fishing and took shelter under a tree when it started to rain and lightning. June 1890. Jefferson County. Source: "Article 2 - No Title," The New York Times, June 15, 1890, p.2.
  • 1902 - Nelson Holmes a Negro farm hand was killed by lightning in Mt. Sterling, KY. July 1902. Montgomery County. Source: "Severe storm in Kentucky," Spokane Daily Chronicle, 07/28/1902, p.1.
  • 1907 - Evans Duncan, colored, was killed by lightning at Cleaton. July 1907. Muhlenberg County. Source: "Here and there," Interior Journal, 07/23/1907, p.1.
  • 1907 - A Negro named Mimms was struck by lightning and killed while plowing the fields of Frank Waldron near Allensville, KY. The two mules attached to the plow were also killed. August 1907. Todd County. Source: "News notes," Interior Journal, 08/20/1907, p.1.
  • 1908 - Thomas Gaines, a 13 year old colored boy, was struck by lightning and instantly killed while passing under a tree on the farm of Catesby Woodford. June 1908. Bourbon County. Source: "Prominent farmer and colored boy killed by lightning," Bourbon News, 06/16/1908, p.1. Thomas Gaines was the son of Gertie Hanline Gaines; the family lived in Flat Rock. Source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census.
  • 1911 - One colored person in Kentucky, between the ages of 20-29, was killed by lightning. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1911: twelfth annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.385.
  • 1916 - One colored person in Kentucky, a child 5-9 years old, was killed by lightning. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1916: seventeenth annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.321.
  • 1917 - Three colored persons were killed by lightning: a baby under 1 year old; person between 20-29 years old; and a person of unknown age. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1917: eighteenth annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.347.
  • 1918 - Four colored persons were killed by lightning: a child between 5-9 years old; a child between 10-19 years old; a person between 20-29 years old; and a person between 40-49 years old. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1918: nineteenth annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.326.
  • 1919 - Three colored persons in Kentucky were killed by lightning: two children between the ages of 10-19; and a person between 40-49. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1919: twentieth annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.336.
  • 1920 - One colored person in Kentucky, between the ages of 40-49, was killed by lightning. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1920: twenty-first annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.361.
  • 1922 - Two colored persons in Kentucky were killed by lightning: a child 10-14 years old; and a person 35-44 years old. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1922: twenty-third annual report, part 1, by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.410.
  • 1925 - One colored person in Kentucky, between the ages of 35-44, was killed by lightning. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1925: twenty-sixth annual report, by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.185.
  • 1929 - One colored person in Kentucky, between the ages of 35-44, was killed by lightning. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1929: thirtieth annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.284.
  • 1931 - One colored person in Kentucky, between the ages of 45-54, was killed by lightning. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1931: thirty-second annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.249.
  • 1932 - Three colored persons in Kentucky were killed by lightning; they were all between the ages of 25-34. Kentucky. Source: Mortality Statistics, 1931: thirty-third annual report by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, p.246.

Subjects: Killed by Lightning
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Brent, George
Birth Year : 1821
George Brent was born near Greensburg, KY; he and his parents were slaves owned by Louis C. Patterson. Brent's father gained his freedom and moved to Lexington, KY, where he secured a note for the purchase of his son. George Brent then moved to Lexington, was employed as a blacksmith and became a freeman when he paid off the note of $1,200 at the end of three years. A year prior to his freedom, George Brent married Mildred Smith, a free born woman from Campbellsville, KY. In 1837, the Brent family moved to Illinois, eventually settling in Springfield at 1417 East Adams Street. Springfield had become the capital of Illinois in 1837 thanks to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and several others. The Brent family was among the first African Americans to settle in Sangamon County. George Brent became an ordained minister in 1864 and the following year was pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in Springfield. The church was formerly known as the Colored Baptist Church, that was started in 1838 [more information at the Zion Missionary Baptist Church website]. The first church building was constructed under the directorship of Rev. George Brent. He and three others made the bricks from which the church was built; Rev. Brent and the three men were owners of the brick yard. Rev. Brent was pastor of the Zion Baptist Church until 1887. George and Mildred Brent had four children in 1870, according to the U.S. Federal Census, February of that year, two of the children were killed when they were struck by lightning [see George Brent at Find A Grave]. For more see History of Sangamon County, Illinois; together with sketches of its cities by Inter-State Publishing Company (Chicago) [full-text available at Google Book Search]; and contact the Springfield, Illinois, African American History Foundation.

*The last name is spelled as Brents and Brentz in the census records.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths, 1st African American Families in Town, Free African American Slave Owners, Killed by Lightning
Geographic Region: Greensburg, Green County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / Springfield, Illinois

Scott, William
Death Year : 1901
William Scott was a jockey from Louisville, KY. In 1901, he was one of three people to die at Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, all of whom were killed by lightning strikes. Scott died when the race track stable known as Irish Row was struck by lightning [source: "Lightning Killed Three," New York Times, 07/07/1901, p. 2].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Killed by Lightning
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada

 

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