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 William Franklin Arnold

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William Franklin Arnold

  • Birth 15 Dec 1873
  • Death 18 May 1926
  • Burial Decatur, Adams County, Indiana, USA
  • Memorial ID 27076414

Decatur Daily Democrat, Adams Co, IN; Wednesday, May 19, 1926
IN STORM - William Arnold Farmer, Killed By Lightning - Otto Bieberick, Another Farmer, Seriously Injured During Storm - Much Property is Damaged By Wind

William Arnold, 52, prominent Kirkland township farmer, was killed, and Otto Bieberich, also of Kirkland township, was painfully injured about 7:30 o'clock last evening when one of the most severe wind and electrical storms in the history of Adams county swept through Kirkland and Preble townships, raging for more than a half hour.

Mr. Arnold was plowing with his tractor in a field on his farm about 7 miles southwest of Decatur , when a bolt of lightning struck and killed him instantly.

Mr. Arnold's lifeless body was discovered, still upright in the seat of the tractor, by his sons, Kenneth and Vernon , and his hired man, Francis Helmrich, who had left the field and taken shelter from the storm in the barn.

Mr. Arnold was working late in an effort to get as much plowing done as possible, evidently not noticing that the storm was rapidly approaching. His two sons and hired man heard the crash of lightning and immediately looked toward Mr. Arnold. The tractor stopped simultaneous with the crash of thunder. The three hurried to the tractor, but Mr. Arnold was dead when they arrived.

The bolt of lightning had struck Mr. Arnold at the base of the skull and travelled down his spine, leaving his body near his kidneys and jumping to the iron seat of the tractor. His back was badly burned by the bolt.
Much Damage Reported

The wind and rain played havoc in Preble and Kirkland townships, sweeping through the western part of the county. Trees were uprooted and telephone poles were broken down. Telephone lines were put out of commission and light lines were temporarily out of order.

The storm reached Decatur about 7:40 o'clock last night, but had broken greatly and only a light wind accompanied the rain and lightning. Floods of water fell for more than a half hour. About 8:15 o'clock, the rain turned into a drizzle, which lasted at intervals most of the night.

Property damage was reported from several parts of the state and the rain was general throughout the northeastern part of Indiana and most of Illinois . No property damage of any great amount was reported in Decatur .

William Arnold was a son of Frank and Susanna Barger Arnold, and was born in Adams county, December 15, 1873. He had been a lifelong resident of this county and was active in Kirkland township affairs, and his sudden death comes as a great shock to his many friends. Mr. Arnold was married to Ann a Hower, who preceded him in death. On April 13, 1901, he was married to Sarah Jackson, who survives. Two children by his first marriage, Homer Arnold, of Kirkland township, and Mrs. Mary Arnold, of Decatur , and four children by his second marriage, Mrs. Elsie Andrews, of Monroeville, Vernon , Glennys and Kenneth, at home, survive. The following brothers and sisters survive, also: Albert Arnold, Charles Arnold, Mrs. Frank Martin and Edward Arnold, all of Adams county; Mrs. Rose Milroy, of Akron , Ohio , and John Barger, a half-brother, of Wells county. Mr. Arnold was a member of the United Brethren church.

Funeral services will be held from the United Brethren church in this city at 10:30 o'clock Friday morning, with the pastor, the Rev. Cecil R. Smith, assisted by the Rev. A. R. ??edderjohann, pastor of the Zion Reformed church, officiating. Burial will be made in the Decatur cemetery.


Family Members


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  • Created by: DRWS
  • Added: 25 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27076414
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Franklin Arnold (15 Dec 1873–18 May 1926), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27076414, citing Decatur Cemetery, Decatur, Adams County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by DRWS (contributor 46971293) .