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 Raymond Leslie Anderson

Raymond Leslie Anderson

Death 14 Sep 1905 (aged 20)
Burial Norwalk, Warren County, Iowa, USA
Plot East Half - Row 13
Memorial ID 27027266 · View Source
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September 21, 1905
Indianola, Iowa

Raymond Leslie Anderson was born at Spring Hill, Warren county, July 1st, 1885, and died at Indianola Sept. 14, 1905.

At the age of five years he came with his parents to Indianola where he has lived until his sad death last week. He was one who will be missed in his home, his church and his town. During the time that he lived in Indianola no fault was ever to be found in any of his actions. He was a favorite with both old and young. He was an especial comfort to his parents for he loved his home above everything else. His untimely death is sincerely mourned by all who knew him.

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Thurs., September 14, 1905
The Advocate-Tribune EXTRA
Indianola, Iowa


The Poultry Tent was Struck about a 9:30 this morning—Theodore Young and Ray Anderson were Killed Instantly; Carl Peterson and Blaine Wright Lived a Short Time

J.H. McGranahan Will Probably Recover, while J.F. Lough, Joseph Hickman, Dr. L.D. Carpenter, Guy Berger, B.F. Freel, J. Flack were severely shocked. Heroic Efforts were employed to revive them.

This morning at 9:30 lightning struck the tent in which the chicken exhibit at the Warren county fair was contained, killing four men, seriously injuring seven others, two of them perhaps fatally, and severely shocking number of people in the vicinity of the tent. Following is the list of killed and injured:


Ray Anderson, Indianola,
Carl Peterson, Indianola,
Blaine Wright, Pleasantville,
Theodore Young, Indianola.


J.F. Lough, Indianola,
J.H. McGranahan, Indianla.


Guy Berger, Wick.
Joseph Hickman, Indianola,
Dr. L.D. Carpenter, Indianola,
B.F. Freel, Pleasantville,
J. Flack, Swan.

Medical assistance was summoned at once, and Doctors Surber, Baker, Hooper, Judkins and Park went at once to the scene of the disaster, and aided materially in the recovery of the injured.

This comes at a terrible shock to the people of Indianola and Warren County. All summer, the Warren county agricultural society has been preparing to hold the largest, best and most thorough enjoyable fair, that has ever been held on this, its fiftieth anniversary. The buildings were repaired and enlarged, the grounds beautified, and the exhibits filled better than they have ever been before. No trouble was spared by the association to make this year's fair not only the best that has ever been held in Warren county, but the best ever held in the state.

The weather from the first was not propitious. On Tuesday it rained all morning, and on Wednesday intermittent rains prevented any crowd from gathering, Thursday morning, however, the weather looked more favorable. The clouds were lighter and it seemed that the rains were over. Early in the morning, people began to gather in from the country and by the middle of the forenoon quite a large crowd had assembled at the fairgrounds. Shortly after 9 o'clock the clouds began to thicken threatening another downpour. The wind changed to the northwest and large drops of rain began to fall. The people on the grounds crowded into the art hall and the various tents of the various exhibitors. The clouds grew thicker and it grew almost dark in the tents. Suddenly at about 9:30 there came a blinding flash of lightning accompanied by a crash of thunder that fairly stunned the frightened crowd. So brilliant was the lightning that it seemed to those in the tents that the walls had been burned away. They could see out as if there no canvas intervening. The bolt struck the iron poles of the tent containing the chickens and ran down them to the ground. Ray Anderson and Theodore Young were instantly killed. Carl Peterson and Blaine Wright lived for a few minutes after the shock and every known means was used for their recovery, but it was useless, the shock had been too severe. The dead and injured were at once taken to the art hall and wherever possible their friends and relatives were summoned by messenger, the telephone wires having been burned out. The hall was at once cleared in order to give the injured air and everything possible was at once done for the relief of the sufferers.

The cavalrymen, who are here during the fair aided the medical men most signally. They cleared the art hall of spectators and stationed a guard at the door to keep back the crowd. Many of them assisted skillfully in the effort to restore Carl Peterson and Blaine Wright. Their cool headed assistance enabled the doctors to work to the very best advantage in the ministering to the injured men.

When the bolt struck there were fifteen or twenty men in the chicken tent. Those who were killed were standing near the iron poles and so received the full force of the shock. The current was communicated from their bodies to those standing near them. The ones nearest the walls of the tent being the least severely hurt, some escaping with only a severe shock. So severe was the shock that many people on the outside of the tent who were hurrying to shelter were knocked down. Inside the art hall Mr. Hickman was engaged in taking a rug from a wire that ran across the room. The wire was struck and burned in two. Mr. Hickman was knocked from the top of the ladder upon which he was standing and several men at the foot of the ladder were shocked by contact with his body.

Immediately following the crash ensued such a scene as was never seen in Warren county before in the memory of the oldest inhabitants. Wild rumors flew here and there of terrible loss of life, and no one knew but what his nearest and dearest had been struck by the terrible sudden death. Fathers and mothers were hunting frantically for their children and the children were anxiously seeking their parents. A dozen different stories were afloat as to the names and number of the dead. Vague rumors came to town of the disaster and everyone who relatives or friends were at the fair grounds hurried out as fast as they could get there. The rain poured down all the time in torrents but so strong was the excitement that it was not noticed.

Gradually the floating rumors were confirmed or denied and the real extent of the disaster became known. The calamity had been so sudden and severe that at first it was not possible to realize the full extent of it. An expression of horror settled upon the faces of the crowd. The men who had been killed and those who were lying near to death as a result of the terrible power of the storm were well known to almost every person on the ground and were neighbors and close friends to many of them. Inside the Art hall was an affecting scene. The dead and injured had been laid in the booths and the last services were being performed for those who were beyond human hope, while every effort was being made to restore those who were yet living. Strong men wept and were not ashamed of it. The officers of the association looked utterly broken down by the shock. The gathering for which they had hoped so much, had worked so much, had ended in the most heart-rending catastrophe that has ever come to this county. Everything that was possible to do for the suffering and their friends they did working heroically to render the necessary assistance. The bodies of Ray Anderson, Carl Peterson and Theodore Young were removed at once to their homes and the body of Blaine Wright was taken to the city morgue, no friends or relatives of his being present to claim the body.

J.F. Lough and J.H. McGranahan are very seriously injured but it is hoped that they will recover. Both were standing in the tent near the poles where the bolt struck. J. Flack, of Swan, was very severely shocked but will recover. Dr. Carpenter, of Indianola, B.F. Freel, of Pleasantville, and Guy Berger, of Wick, were severely shocked, but it is thought that their injuries are not serious. The best medical assistance was given them and at noon, today, it is hoped that they will recover in a short time.

The disaster casts a deep gloom over Indianola and the whole of Warren county. The fair--the county's holiday and gala--time has been turned into a period of the deepest mourning. Men meet each other on the streets and have nothing to say except of the subject that fills everyone's minds.

The dead, with one exception, are all residents of Indianola and have always been known and honored here.

Theodore Young lived in west Indianola and was well known to many of the people of the town and respected by all who knew him. Ray Anderson was the son of Austin Anderson and was one of the most promising young men in Indianola. At the time of the disaster, he was caring for an exhibit of chickens that he had at the fair. Carl Peterson was the son of John Peterson, of Indianola, and was a promising lad well along in his teens. Blain Wright was the son of E.B. Wright, formerly a banker at Pleasantville and a man well known to all in that vicinity. Every one will be missed from the community.

In the face of the calamity such as the present mere words of condolence are far too weak to offer to the bereaved parents and relatives of the dead. Their grief is too profound to be comforted by mere expressions of sympathy. But in their deep sorrow they may be assured that every man, woman and child in Warren county is stricken by the calamity that has been visited upon them and that every head is bared in respect for those so lately here but now departed.


At half past one o'clock J.H. McGranahan and the others who were less seriously injured were getting along nicely and hopes were entertained for their ultimate recovery.

Secretary Talbott informed us that the fair had been closed. While the rain was sufficient to interfere with the fair today, had it not been for the sad deaths which occurred, the society would very likely have made an effort to continue the fair, probably holding over until Saturday.


At about the same time the lightning did its fatal work at the fair grounds Carl McNeil's livery barn on east Main Street was struck.

Family Members



son of AL & HM Anderson
[Austin L & Hattie (Whiteley) Anderson]
Sept 14, 1905
Gone but not forgotten





  • Maintained by: RH
  • Originally Created by: 46620252
  • Added: 23 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27027266
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Raymond Leslie Anderson (1 Jul 1885–14 Sep 1905), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27027266, citing Webb Cemetery, Norwalk, Warren County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by RH (contributor 47049533) .