De Leon Free Press

DeLeon, Comanche County, Texas, Friday, October 12, 1923

Farmer Near Duster Struck By Lightning…Bolt Bursts Ear Drum and Burns Body From Head To Foot, Yet He Lives

Lightning plays strange pranks with humanity sometimes, but of all the strange and weird stories, the case of Ben KEITH, residing on the Copperas Narrows, seven miles southwest of De Leon, is most unusual, especially when one considers the fact that the victim lived to tell the tale.

Mr. KEITH, a life-long resident of the De Leon section, who is about 40 years of age, was engaged in picking cotton on his farm, Tuesday of last week. His wife and daughter about 12 years old were with him. A cloud was coming up and they were preparing to leave the field and were weighing up. A flash came, striking Mr. KEITH. Here is what it did to him:

Burned a stripe down his right side from head to foot, raising large blisters, burning even the bottom of his feet, and literally roasting the side of his face.

Bursted his ear drum and he will not regain his hearing on that side.

Tore his hat to shreds; split the apron of his overalls and the leg of his trousers; cut his shoe strings and when it reached the bottom of the lace, cut the top of the shoe and knocked it off his foot.

Knocked down Mrs. KEITH and blistered the side of her face, and also knocked down the young daughter.

Mrs. KEITH supposed her husband was dead. She ran across the field to his brother’s home to bring help. When they got back Mr. KEITH seemed to be bead, but a rain came up, and physicians say the rain falling in his face is the only reason he ever regained consciousness.

Physicians were called from Sipe Springs, and later Dr. BLACKWELL from Gorman. The patient is slowly recovering, but his injuries are serious.

Robert Glover Slaughter

Death claimed Robert Glover SLAUGHTER, aged 67 years, at the home of his son, Payne SLAUGHTER, last Thursday evening at 9:30 o’clock, October 4, 1923. He was born October 12, 1855, near Sommerville, Tenn.

Deceased had resided about De Leon for the past 13 years, coming to Texas from Mississippi. He was married at the age of 20 years, and is survived by five children – Mrs. Mary ROBERTS of Memphis, Tenn., Jim SLAUGHTER of Stonewall, Okla., and John, Dave and Payne SLAUGHTER, who make their home at De Leon. All of his children were present at the funeral service.

Mr. SLAUGHTER had been in failing health for a number of years and had been confined to his bed for a long time. The sapping of disease on the faculties of both mind and body gradually wore away his once strong physical frame, and he finally answered the call of the grim messenger.

In his day, Mr. SLAUGHTER had been a licensed minister of the Methodist faith. He was converted at the age of 13 years and lived an active, consecrated Christian life, living and dying in the faith. Peace to his departed spirit, and an abundant entrance into the live beyond!

Vital Statistics for September


H.M. SEXTON and Miss Grace FRAZIER

L.P. NORWOOD and Miss Jewel PAYNE


J.K. HALL and Miss Minnie McLENDON

L.R. ADAMS and Miss Madeline VINES

Eddith CARROLL and Miss Lizzie ARTHUR

Jesse PURVIS and Miss Odessa L. JOHNSON

M.L. JACKSON and Miss Essie KERLEY

Gailey GORE and Miss Ira TURNER


Elmer COX and Miss Perline HUNT

George LESTER and Miss Lorene STAR


Robert HURST of Sidney

Veda WINFREY of Gap

Mrs. Rube DUDLEY of Comanche

James F. CHANCELLOR of Newburg

Mary LAKE of Gap


Born to Mr. and Mrs.:

Clyde EOFF of De Leon, girl

Clint WELCH of De Leon, boy

Thos. A. FORREST of De Leon, girl

C.E. CRUTCHFIELD of De Leon, girl

John Truitt SMITH of De Leon, boy

Daniel W. HARDIN of De Leon, boy

C.O. PELL of De Leon, boy

R.H. BASSETT of De Leon, girl

J.R. SCOTT of De Leon, boy

Robert CUSTER of De Leon, boy

Louis PERKINS of Sipe Springs, girl

D.O. WILLIAMS of Priddy, girl

Doyle McCARTY of Sidney, girl

Robert SNEED of Sidney, girl

W.F. SANDERS, of Sipe Springs, girl

John M. GRAY of Comanche, girl

Alfred COKER of Comanche, boy

W.H. STURDIVAN of De Leon, boy

W.P. St. CLAIR of De Leon, boy

J.A. GARRY of De Leon, boy

K.C. SAYLES of De Leon, boy

A.A. GRIMES of De Leon, boy

Hardy SLIDER of Comanche, girl

John HILLY of Hasse, girl

Newt BINGHAM of Beattie, boy

Thomas KING of Comanche, boy

Ron OWENS of Lamkin, boy

John RACHAEL of Sipe Springs, boy

Armstrong COX of Comanche, girl

W.E. THOMAS of Gustine, girl

B.F. GRIMM of Blanket, girl

Leland STEWART of Comanche, girl


Miss Bertha ROSS, who is teaching at Stamford, was spending the last week end with her parents and friends.

J. Doss MILLER, Jr., a director of the Shorthorn Breeders Association has been asked by the association to attend the fairs at Brownwood and San Angelo, and Mr. MILLER left early in the week on this mission.

Mr. and Mrs. J.M. WHALEY and Mr. and Mrs. Earl BREWER, went to Cisco Sunday for a brief visit with relatives and friends.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. Russell RICE, last Sunday, a baby girl.

I will positively prosecute anyone found hunting, gathering pecans, or trespassing on my property. – C.R. CARRUTH

No trespassing or threshing pecans allowing on my place on Sabano. – C.L. LIGHTFOOT

M. LIVINGSTON and W.W. BARRINGAON [sic] were on business at Brownwood Monday.

Earl HOWELL, with the American Security Co., now making his headquarters at Austin, was spending several days with his parents here over the past week.

Mr. and Mrs. A.J. BETTIS are soon to have a new place of residence, contractors being busy erecting a modern bungalow on a lot facing north, between the W.C. STREETY and G.H. YORK residences, the plan being a most attractive one. Mr. and Mrs. BETTIS will occupy the new house.

I have posted my land on Copperas Creek, 9 miles southwest of De Leon according to law, and will allow no pecan gathering or hunting on same. Anyone so found will be dealt with by law. – Joe BISHOP

Bill BUTLER went to Waco Tuesday to have his hand examined and treated. He had a finger amputated there last week. He is recovering very nicely.

Misses Johnie and Charlotte COONER with their cousin, Mr. Cecil COONER of Gorman, returned home Tuesday from Haskell and other places where they have been visiting relatives and friends.

We will positively not allow hunting, pecan gathering or trespassing on our premises, 9 miles southwest of De Leon, on Copperas Creek. Keep off and save trouble. – Pink and John SCOTT

Grand Encampment of Odd Fellows

The annual Grand Encampment of the I.O.O.F. of Texas convened on October 8-9, in the city of Brownwood, with Grand Master SLATTON of Hillsboro and Grand Scribe E.Q. VESTAS present. Besides these, there were many high dignitiaries of the order present from all portions of the state, including our own fellow townsman, B.J. PITTMAN.

Some 900 delegates from all portions of the state were present in the meeting.

Those attending the meeting from here were: Mr. and Mrs. B.J. PITTMAN, Messrs. E.R. McCLELLAN, C.L. KINCHEN, J.O. PATTERSON, J.R. WOOD, J.W. SHOOK, G.W. ROLLINS, W.T. JETTON, C.B. LIVINGSTON, C.E. BASS and J.O. STONE.


©2004 Judith Michaels.  This transcription is the generous work of Judy Michaels taken from microfilm held by the Newspaper Collection of the University of Texas at Austin with a microfilm copy at Comanche Public Library.  The information may be used for personal research only and not for commercial purposes without specific permission.