|James Otis Jr by Henry Blackburn, 1755|
The life of James Otis Jr is certainly an interesting one. Lawyer, politician and a significant figure in the American Revolution, Otis died on this day in a most singular way and it is this sad event that caught my attention.
On the afternoon of 23rd May the 58 year old lawyer was visiting family in Andover when a violent electric storm raged overhead. Ready to take his leave once the storm had passed, Otis was happily settled in one of the parlours of the house chatting amiably to its inhabitants when a bolt of lightning struck the chimney. With his shoulder resting against the door frame, Otis was catapulted forward and into the arms of his host, Jacob Osgood, already stone dead.
It would appear that the bolt of lightning whizzed down the chimney, along the rood rafter and straight into the door frame where Otis rested. The frame itself split open with the force of the blast and killed James Otis Jr outright.