Monday, April 11, 2011

Struck by Lightening

 When reconstructing the Hatteras families from both genealogical and historic records, some truly remarkable historic tidbits are found.  Some of these aren’t really of any significance other than to the families involved and as sort of a general interest historic sort of way, but I find them fascinating regardless.  For example, did you know that lightening could strike you while you are in bed?
This  record is about the family of Washington W. Scarborough, born in 1862, son of Ezekiel Scarborough and his wife Catherine, thought to be a Barnes who initially married a Price.  Washington married Bethany Miller who was born between 1852 and 1854, the daughter of Hezekiah Claughton Miller and Bethania “Bethany” Gray.  They probably married in late 1872 or early 1873, judging from the birth of their first child, Dorcas Rosa Scarborough in December 1873, according to both family records and the census.  Their second child, Ezekiel Littleton Scarborough was born in December 1876.
The family history of both the Scarborough and the Miller families records their deaths.  Both Washington and his wife, Bethany, were killed, in bed, by lightening, while the small child who slept between them survived.  According to the Miller family records, Bethany died about 1885.  The Scarborough records don’t give a death date.  In the 1880 census, Cilioven, also known as Salome, was just 3 months old at the time the census was taken.  If they died shortly thereafter, she would have been the child between them.  There is no record of a later child being born to this couple. 
If they died in 1885, it’s unlikely that they had no children between 1880 and 1885.  Of course, if they had additional children, they could have died, and even a child who survived the initial lightening strike could have succumbed later to their injuries.  Dates in genealogical records that only provide a year are often “about” dates from someone’s later recollection and are often incorrect, so they could have died anytime between 1880 and 1885.
A sad tale indeed, but the kind of information important to genealogists.  Hatteras Island has the highest incidence of deaths from lightening strikes in the US. 

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