Darter - Charley - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Darter - Charley

Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal Monday, 18 June 1894
Charley Darter, the well known paper hanger, met a tragic and violent death yesterday afternoon about half past 1 o’clock. At that hour he was at his home on Lane Avenue, just out of the city in the suburb of Longview. He was standing between the posts of his front gate holding his horse by a strap and allowing it to graze. A black cloud, not at all menacing, however, was coming from the west and his wife stepping to the door, called to him to come in before the rain began. She repeated her request several times and had he heeded, he would now have been alive and well. But he replied that he would come in before the shower began and stood resting easily with one hand upon the gate post and the other clutching the strap. Suddenly from the front of the cloud just above him there descended perpendicularly a bolt of lightning. Those looking in that direction were for a moment blinded by the flash and were only aroused by the clatter of hoofs as a wild and maddened horse charged down the street. It was Charley Dater’s horse and the lifeless body of its owner lay between the posts of his own gate. His wife and Ella Compton were the only actual witnesses of the tragedy. They aver that the bolt descended in the form of a large ball of fire, as large apparently as a base ball and seemingly struck its victim directly on top of the head. The neighborhood was quickly aroused and came hurrying to the scene of the terrible accident. The body of the unfortunate man lay in the tracks where he stood when struck down by the bolt from the heavens. The bolt had struck him on the back of the head, tearing his straw hat to atoms and burning the hair off. The charge then rushed through his body passing out at the tips of his toes and fingers. The gate post where his hand had rested was badly splintered by the electricity which passed off from his finger tips, while two large holes were torn in the ground where his feet were. His shoes were cut to leather strings and his clothing had taken fire, but barring the hair being burned from the back of his head, there were no bruises on his body. He looked as natural as in life and, of course, never realized what hurt him.  His wife, utterly prostrated by the terrible affair, was taken to the home of a neighbor near by, and the victim’s father, J. J. Darter, was hastily summoned, he taking charge of the remains. The funeral will occur from the residence tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock, the interment being at Oak Hill.  A peculiar fact in the case is that the bolt fell full six minutes before the rain came. The thunder which followed was not a hard crash, although it attracted attention over the city. - s

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