IN THE MIDST OF DEATH
By S. C. Turnbo
The following account which is sad an pathetic was furnished me by Mr. Noah Mefford and his wife Mrs. Rebecca (Risley) Mefford and relates to the death of Miss Ada Malissa Risley a sister of Mrs. Meffords and which occurred while Mich Risley and Mrs. Celian Risley his wife who is the father and mother of the dead girl lived on the Sam Pelham Place near Dugginsville Ozark County, Mo. Mrs. Risley is a daughter of Jim Tabor and the little girl the subject of this sketch was only 4 years old. In giving a history of the case Mr. Mefford and his wife stated that one Saturday morning at 9 A.M. while a thunder shower was passing over three of Risleys children Ada and Mary Ann who was 6 years old and their brother Jim who was 7 years old were seated together on a small bench in the corner of the house near the fire place. Ada was sitting between the other two and they all had hold of a spelling book and the two older children were reciting the A.B.Cs. to Ada when an electrical bolt struck the top of the chimney then leaped to the end of a rib pole and followed a few feet then left it and struck the roof of the house and followed part of it a short distance to the wall of the house and passed down it to the mirror which was hanging to the wall and shattered it to pieces, leaving the looking glass the current flashed to the little girl and struck her on the side of the head and scorched the parts where the lightning took effect. Mr. Risley was sitting at the door reading the Bible his wife was standing on the porch. Rachel Elizabeth another daughter was standing in the south door that lead out onto the porch. Mr. Risley was not shocked his wife was knocked down and fell under the dining table, Elizabeth was knocked back against the bed, Jim was severely stunned and Mary Ann was not seriously injured, though with the exception of Mr. Risley they were all unconscious for a short time. As soon as Mr. Risley realized what had occurred and knowing that water was a good restorative in cases where people had received an electrical shock picked up his wife and children one at a time and carried them out into the yard and laid them down on the ground where the rain could fall on them and done all he could to resuscitate the inanimate forms. They all soon revived except Jim and Ada. Poor Ada never recovered and they thought that Jim was dead but he finally recovered. Mr. Risley and his wife and the children who had fully come to themselves realized that Ada had passed from beyond this life - that the angel of death had taken her away. The scene was tearful and sad the body of the little girl received interment in the cemetery at Lutie. The parents were intending to send their children to school at the Edmondson school house on the following Monday. Soon after the little body was laid to rest under the sod Mr. Risley said that on the day before the death of his little child a small bird lit on his shoulder then on his head and chirped a little song he said that the action of the little songster puzzled and irritated him not thinking it was an ill omen and tried to scare it away. The bird would fly off a few yards and come back again. Mr. Risley would repeat the story of the bird and shed tears for he seemed to incline to the belief that it was a warning of the sudden taking away of his beloved child."
Springfield-Greene County Library