River Falls, WI Lightning Strikes Circus Tent, June 1893


Lightening Strikes Ringling's Circus Tent, Killing Several Persons.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., June 21. --- A Tribune special from River Falls, Wis., says: At 4 o'clock this afternoon the large circus tent of Ringling Brothers was struck by lightning while crowded with people killing seven and injuring more than twenty. The killed are:
J. A. CLENDENNING, town clerk of Oak Grove and his SON.
O. P. WIGGINS, 14 years old.
CURT ALDRICHS, 12 year old boy and an UNKNOWN BOY.

The names of the injured cannot be obtained as they were taken away by their friends. The performance was not quite over, but the terrible storm caused the immense throng to crowd out of the tent. While the people were passing out the tent was struck twice by lightning, with the above result. Fire started, but was extinguished.

MRS. CLENDENNING and another son are serisusly [sic] injured. PATRICK COLLINS, a farmer, unmarried, is seriously injured, and is at the Gladstone hotel, and two strangers supposed to be railroad graders are also at the hotel badly injured.

JAY E. LOUCKS, proprietor of the Gladstone hotel, was passing through the tent with his wife, three nieces and one child, when the shock came.

The bodies of the dead were taken to the village engine house. Some of the bodies were badly scorched, but the majority presented no external evidence of the shock. Death was absolutely instantaneous in all cases except that of young DEAN. Six men carried the paralyzed form of a young man named LEWIS ROSSOIS, whose face and breast were terribly burned and whose lower extremities were paralyzed. At a late hour he had recovered consciousness and was receiving every care from a nurse. With great dificulty [sic] he managed to tell that he was a laboring man and that his relatives live near Spring Valley, Minn. While he is seriously burned and his lower limbs at present benumed [sic], he is not fatally injured.

Another badly injured young man is WILLIAM B. L. HORME, aged 18, whose parents live at Norman, Okla. MRS. CLENDENNING has recovered consciousness but the fact of her husband and sons death has been kept from her. She thinks they have gone home to attend to the chores. She will receive a sad awakening tomorrow. None of the circus people were injured.

Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1893-06-24