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James Jamison – Larned Cemetery, Larned, Pawnee County, Kansas


"On May 9th, 1889, a thunderstorm raged in Larned about nine o’clock in the evening. Mrs. Jimison had gone to bed, but Mr. Jimison was at the time sitting on a chair in the kitchen leaning against the wall. The lightning struck the roof of the house near the kitchen chimney ran down the wall, and entered Mr. Jimison’s right arm half way between the elbow and shoulder. The electric fluid then passed up the arm to the shoulder, across to the back ,down the inside of the left leg, through the foot and out at the end of the great toe, leaving a distinct mark on the flesh all along the route. Mr. Jimison was knocked insensible, and when found a few minutes afterwards by Mr. Charles Keran, who ran to his assistance on hearing the cries of Mrs. Jimison for help, he was lying in the middle of the kitchen floor, and his clothes were on fire. Charlie extinguished the fire by throwing his vest over it and smothering it and then he and Mrs. Jimison dragged the insensible man out on to the porch. By this time the house was discovered to be on fire, both inside and on the roof. Mrs. Jimison then turned her attention to extinguishing the fire on the inside, while Charlie threw some water on the roof, extinguishing the fire which was burning on the outside. After the fire had been put out Charlie and Mrs. Jimison again went to the assistance of Mr. Jimison and by throwing water in his face and chaffing his hands and head restored him to consciousness.”


“Where the lightning struck Mr. Jimison there is a large spot of apparently cooked flesh, his back is badly burned and blistered, as is also his leg and foot, along the course taken by the electric fluid. The front end of the slipper on his left foot was cut into shreds as thought slit by a pair of scissors. At this writing, Wednesday morning, Mr. Jimison is alive but almost entirely helpless, and the result of his injuries cannot be definitely determined. It is something remarkable that he escaped instant death.”1


James was born in Pennsylvania in 1833. As a young man, he moved to Illinois, where he enlisted in Co. D 20th IL Infantry. He served three years and was honorably discharged with a monthly pension of $16.00 for “sore eyes.”2


Records indicate that James had been married twice, with both wives buried in Illinois. In 1884 James left Illinois and headed west to Dodge City. He remained there for thirteen years until moving to Larned in 1897. On May 17th, he married Ada Guernsey. Two short years later, James died.



1The Larned Eagle-Optic (Larned, Kansas) 12 May 1899 p. 3

2Kansas, U.S., Enrollment of Civil War Veterans

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