McPhatter, Mary (Née McNabb)

“The Storm of Thursday ─ A Woman Killed in Puslinch”



The most painful incident in connection with the thunderstorm is that of Mrs. John Henderson McPhatter, of the Gore of Puslinch, who was killed by lightening at her own house between 3 and 4 o’clock on Thursday afternoon, September 1st, 1881.


  The particulars, gleaned from William Dunn of this city (Guelph), who was in the house at the time of the occurrence, are as follows:  Mrs. McPhatter had been busily employed knitting a house mat, but the darkness occasioned by the storm, became so intense that she could not see to do her work and set it aside, seating herself in a rocking chair, near the chimney and close to the wall of the house.  A lively conversation was kept up on various topics between Mr. and Mrs. McPhatter and Mr. Dunn, the latter being about four feet apart from Mrs. McPhatter.  Suddenly a shock was felt which rendered Mr. Dunn and Mr. McPhatter insensible for a moment.  On recovering from the shock, they found Mrs. McPhatter sitting, as appeared, insensible.  Mr. Dunn, assisted by Mr. McPhatter carried her outside, poured cold water over her and used every restorative in their power to bring her back to consciousness, but without effect.  Then the melancholy fact dawned on their minds that she was dead.


  The grief of her husband was heartrending and it was some time before he was convinced that she was no more.  The electric fluid had entered about her head and passed down one side to her foot.  There were no marks left on her body.  Her boot was torn off her foot and this was the only perceptible evidence of the calamity.  It appears that the lightening had come through the chimney, entirely demolishing it in its passage, destroying the floor on the upper part of the house and tearing the plaster off the side of the wall on which the unfortunate woman was sitting.  Two dogs, which were lying sleeping on the floor near Mrs. McPhatter, were also struck and never moved afterwards, but lay as if still asleep. 


Mrs. McPhatter was about 24 years of age.  She had only been married about a year and a half.  She leaves no family of her own to mourn her loss.  Mary (McNabb) McPhatter came from Kinloss Township, Bruce County, prior to her marriage.



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