Douthit and Martin Killed and Yokely Injured by Lightning, Yadkin, NC, 1883

May 24, 1883 (The Commonwealth, a newspaper of Scotland Neck, NC, 3d page)

Killed By Lightning—Mr. John Stipe, mail contractor on the line from this place to Yadkinville, informs us that, on Tuesday about 11 o’clock, a.m., a thunder cloud passed over the farm of Mr. Lewis Williams, of Little Yadkin township, Yadkin county, and three colored people working in his river bottoms took shelter with a fine horse they were ploughing under a large tree. The tree was struck by lightning, and two of the persons and horse were killed outright and the third so injured as to be despaired of recovery. The colored persons were Elias Douthit and his mother-in-law, Americus Martin killed, and Wm. Yokely stunned. They were found by a boy who went to carry their dinners, the man and woman sitting against the tree, the horse lying with his head and neck across the legs of the man, while Yokely lay a little way off from the tree. –Winston Replublican


[On Ancestry. com, it appears that Elias Douthit married Mary Martin on 11 February 1881. On the 1880, Meadow, Stokes, North Carolina, census (name spelled Douthet) he was 22, Mary was 20, and they had two sons: 2-year-old Alex and a 1-month-old infant son who did not have a name yet. 

Of note, because this article is written with the focus on the victims and describes Americus Martin as Elias Douthit’s mother-in-law, it was not until later that the full impact hit me. Mary Martin Douthit, at the age of 23 and as the mother of a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, at least, lost both her husband and her mother in an instant, while they were working. Obviously, I did not know her, but my heart breaks for her, over 130 years later.

I cannot find his mother-in-law, Americus Martin, with as much certainty, although the family immediately before his family on the 1880 census is headed by a woman named Luscinda Martin, who was born about 1840. I tried to follow this lead, but still could not verify a connection.

I could not find more information on any of the other individuals with any certainty.] 




About Kindra

Executive Director for Quaker House, bringing a little bit of peace through counseling and support to military members and their families.
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