Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lightning Strike in Bovina 120 Years Ago

The Stamford Mirror of July 26, 1892 reported the following on its front page:

A recent Wednesday evening, as Mrs. Prof. Hastings was standing in the store door of T.E. Hastings, at Bovina Centre, watching a coming storm, a bolt of lightning struck her, tearing off one shoe and stocking without seriously injuring her, and at the same time knocking down a team of horses belonging to "Champ" Worden, which were standing near.
T.E. Hastings' store is what is now Russell's.   Thomas E. Hastings, the son of James Madison Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott, was born in 1829 and was a long time merchant in Bovina (see the January 31, 2012 entry for this blog for more about Thomas).

"Mrs. Prof. Hastings" was T.E. Hastings' daughter-in-law, Jessie Sherman Hastings.  Jessie was born in 1866 in Davenport, NY.  She married James Blair Hastings in Davenport in 1889.  Hastings, born in 1860, had grown up in Bovina and went to Hamilton College.  He taught in a number of places, including the Delaware Literary Institution in Franklin, where he met his wife.  They moved to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania in 1890, where he was principal of the public school there.  Jessie became ill with rheumatoid arthritis, commonly known then as rheumatism.  Her doctor advised James and Jessie to settle back in the Catskills, where the mountain air was thought to be good for her condition.  Ironically, it was not long after returning to her home county for the sake of her health that Jessie was struck by lightning.  It is possible that the lightning strike did further damage to Jessie's already fragile health, for in the winter of 1893, she suffered from hemorrhaging of the bronchial tubes.  Maybe this was caused by the lightning, but it does sound very much like tuberculosis.  Whatever the cause, another move for her health was recommended, leading them to spend a year in Minnesota.  They returned to Delaware County after that year.  Less than a decade later, in yet another attempt to restore Jessie's health, they moved to Cape May, New Jersey so that she could be by the sea.  These efforts were to no avail. Jessie died in April 1908 at the age of 41.  James continued to live in New Jersey and work as a teacher after the death of his wife.  As well as teaching, he was elected mayor of West Cape May.  He died in Cape May in September 1920.   

Champ Worden was David Champion Worden.  Born in Andes in 1861, he was the son of Ira Bassett Worden and Phoebe Hull.  Married to Henrietta Ann Boyd, he was the father of eight children, including Edna Worden Carter, who lived on what is now Jason and Lisa Stanton's place, and Leroy Worden, who was my next door neighbor when I was a child and young adult.  In 1926, it was Champ who demolished the old Methodist Church, located across from what is now the Community Hall, using the wood to build a barn on his farm.  Champ died in 1929 in Bovina.

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