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Saturday, July 2, 2016

This Makes Third Time: Lightning Strikes Seaman Mead's Barn (1899)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. Saturday, May 13, 1899. Page 1.

Entirely Destroyed in Sunday Night Storm-Loss About $4,000-Insured $3,000

There is an old saw that lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place. But this isn't true in Greenwich.

Down in the valley at the rear of Mr. Seamen Mead's residence  there is something that attracts lightning. In fact that locality seems to have, more or less, a something that draws electricity in a thunderstorm. Mr. John Dayton's, Town Clerk Mead's, Mr. Chas. Cameron's and Mr. George Rowland's residences on the Field Point Road and near by have all felt the bolt. Now they are all protected by lightning rods, and thunder storms pass them by without harm.

Three barnes has been struck by lightning near where the one which was destroyed in Sunday night's storm was located.

In 1876, in 1896 and in 1899. The one burned in 1876 belonged to Col. Thomas A. Mead, and the other two to Seaman Mead.

A terrific thunder storm passed over Greenwich Sunday night, the air had been heavy all day, and the conditions were just right for a severe electrical storm. It was one of the most severe storms of the summer.

There was a continuous play of lightning for some two hours before the rain came, and then the dark clouds poured their contents to the earth, the wind blew and the lightning and thunder was something awful, it being incessant.

About nine o'clock it became known that Seaman Mead's barn had been struck by lightning and was in flames.

The fire alarm had made known that there was trouble, but didn't tell where, for it struck one, but the glare in the west told where the fire was.

In the pouring rain, with the lightning flashes coming in frightful succession and brilliancy, with the thunder roaring incessantly, the firemen responded to the call. 

So on the Volunteers and Amogerones were on the spot and had two or three streams of water playing on the fire.

It was seen that the barn could not be saved, ___ the fire was well underway before the firemen arrived. And so efforts ____ade to save the barns and houses near by ___anger, which were successful, for the flames were kept confined to the barn which was struck.

In charge of the firemen was Chief Engineer Russell, with Foreman Mead, Assistant Foreman Peck of the Amogerones, and Assistant Forman Emery and Mahoney of the Volunteers.

Grave of Seaman Mead in New Burial Grounds Association Cemetery
next to the Second Congregational Church, Greenwich. 

Mr. Mead and his family were sitting on the piazza of their house when the lightning struck the barn. An alarm was rung in from the box near the old toll gate, but it was thought that the storm had affected the wires in some way, and the system failed to work.

When they heard the crash they surmised that the barn had been struck, and on going to look in that direction they saw that it was on fire.

The family rushed to save the horses, there being three in the barn, and succeeded in getting them out of the barn, and also in saving, with the help of neighbors, the carriages, harness, and other things in the barn.

Miss Louise Mead, who had pluckily gone into the barn, and had succeeded in finding one of the horses, was injured by being thrown to the floor by the fright of the horse. She had grasped him by the mane, and was leading him out, when he became frightened and, throwing his head, freed himself from her grasp, and with such force as to cause her to lose her balance and she fell heavily to the floor, badly bruising her shoulder.

At two o'clock the firemen went home, all danger being over.

The barn was insured for $3,000 by Mr. Cameron, the insurance agent. The claim was promptly adjusted and the companies are ready to pay Mr. Mead. It will cost about $4,000 to replace the barn for the building was a large one. 

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