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Terrible Accident

Joe and Richard Gooch Killed by Lightning Sunday

Oxford Public Ledger

July 21, 1898

(submitted by Sue Gill)

The heavy storm which passed over the Berea section Sunday afternoon brought with it great sorrow to the home of Mr. Dudly Gooch who lives near Goshen Chapel, as two of his sons, Joe and Richard, aged 14 and 12, were instantly killed by lightning.  From what we can learn the particulars of the sudden death are as follows:  Joe, Richard and a little 6-year-oldbrother had gone off in the field, a few hundred yards from the house, to get some apples, and when they gathered some from a tree the rain began to fall.  The boys did not have time to reach the house, so they all ran to a bushy water oak, a single silent sentinel over a grave near by, and all three huddled close together to keep as dry as possible and to enjoy eating apples. While one of them was in the act of biting one a stroke of lightning came and killed Joe and Richard and stunned the little 6-year-old boy.  As soon as he recovered consciousness he pulled himself up by the tree and called his brothers and found that they were dead.  He ran to the house and told his father what had happened.  Imagine reader, if you can, the sorrow of Mr. Gooch when he reached the fatal spot and looked down upon the forms of his two dear boys, who,  only a few minutes before, left the house the picture of health.  The lightning did not strike the little oak tree, and the boys must have received the full current as their necks, shoulders and backs were blackened.  In telling about it the little one that was spared said that fire rolled all over him.

The news of the distressing accident spread rapidly and relatives, friends and neighbors gathered at the distressed home and rendered every assistance to the suddenly bereaved family.  Their sympathies went out spontaneously to them and consoled them as much as possible under the harrowing circumstances.

The funeral occurred Tuesday, witnessed by a very large concourse of people whose tears mingled with those of the afflicted family.  The interment took place at the old family grave yard hear Shoo Fly, and all that was mortal of two bright, cheerful and obedient boys was deposited in the same tomb to await the summons to "Come up higher" and be with the "Saints in Glory."

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