Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: THUNDER STORMS

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The year 1727 is noted for its thunder storms and its earthquake. Two instances of danger to life and yet of escape from injury, by lightning, are related of Hampton people, by the Rev. Mr. Gookin.

"A little after break of day [April 10], a thunder storm came over this town. At first the thunder was but low, and seemed to be at a distance; but all at once came on an amazing clap; the lightning then fell upon the house of Mr. Edward Shaw. It took off all that part of the chimney which was above the roof, and broke down all the fore part of the chimney in the northeast end of the house till it came to the chamber hearth. In the lower room of that end of the house, where the man's mother [Mrs. Esther Shaw, 82 years old] and one of her grandchildren lodged, it took a small table, within four feet of the head of her bed, and carried off the leaf of it, throwing it towards the bed. It went from thence down into the cellar, where it moved two hogsheads, which stood near the foundation of the chimney; one of them, which was full, was turned partly upon its head; the wooden hoops upon it were all loosened, but the iron hoops were not moved. In its passage into the cellar, it went through the hearth, where, after the rubbish was removed, was found a large hole that was made by it; and in the foundation, a little over one of the hogsheads, was observed a small hole, where it is probable the lightning had its vent. In the southwest room of the house, where the man and wife lodged, it entered into a small cupboard, where it broke divers earthern dishes, but yet the door of the cupboard was not burst open . . . . . No person in the family hurt."

"In the afternoon of July 5th we had another thunderstorm: Mr. Samuel Palmer, Junr (Esquire Palmer) was then riding towards the woods, having behind him his little son, a child of about seven or eight years old. As they were travelling along there came a very terrible clap of thunder: the lightning struck two trees (twelve feet asunder) which were but a hundred yards before them, and but about fifteen yards on one side of the path in which they were going; it tore one of the trees all to pieces, and threw some of the splinters into the path. They were riding a good pace, so that in less than a minute they would have been up with the place where the lightning fell, and so would probably have been killed by it. There was as it were but a step between them and death."

This summer of 1727 was one of extreme heat, which continued many weeks without rain, so that the fields became dry and parched and "many wells and springs of water failed that never had before.
. . . . . . In the midst of this sultry heat and in the evening of a very parching day (August 1), the heavens broke out into a continued blaze of flame and thunder, horrible to behold and hear, for two hours together. The flashes of lightning were without intermission, and consequently, the peal of thunder perpetual in our ears."

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