August 5–1898 —with files from the Almonte Gazette
About four o’clock last Thursday afternoon a thunderstorm passed over the section of country between here and Pakenham, and several cases of damage by lightning are reported. The most serious was the death of Mr. Martin Rachfort, a stalwart young man of 23, who had been engaged on the farm of Mr. John McCann, near Blakeney, for the previous six weeks.
Mr. McCann had been at Pakenham, and was hurrying home to escape the impending storm when he passed Mr. Rachfort at work digging a drain some distance from the house. He shouted to him a couple of times that he had better go to the house before the storm came up. Mr. McCann took supper, and, noticing that Mr. R. did not arrive for his meal, though the usual signal had been given, he went out to see what was the matter, and found him lying dead in a lane between where he had been at work and the house.
He had been in the act of walking to the house, carrying the shovel he had been using, when a bolt of lightning struck him and killed him instantly. The straw hat he wore was torn to pieces and was scattered around where the body was found, the tongue of one of his boots was found ten feet ahead of him and both boots were badly torn.
Two small round holes were found on the left side of his head, marks showing that the electric current had skimmed along the surface of his body were also quite discernible, and a wound as of a burn on his feet showed where, the fluid had found egress, from the body. The current “ chipped” some of the silver on his watch and made an incision in the glass face, but the watch was still running when the body was found.
A brother of deceased was summoned from Sand Point, and took charge of the remains. Coroner (Dr.) Burns was notified, but did not deem’ an inquest necessary. The funeral took place on Friday j afternoon, from Undertaker Donald son’s “ morgue” to St, Mary’s church, thence to the R. C. cemetery