…on Friday afternoon the 23d day of May 1783, a heavy cloud suddenly arose, and the greater part of the family were collected in one of the rooms to wait till the shower should have past. Otis, with his cane in one hand, stood against the post of the door which opened from this apartment into the front entry.* He was in the act of telling the assembled group a story, when an explosion took place which seemed to shake the solid earth, and he fell without a struggle, or a word, instantaneously dead, into the arms of Mr. [Jacob] Osgood, who seeing him falling, sprang forward to receive him. This flash of lightning was the first that came from the cloud, and was not followed by any others that were remarkable. . . .Tudor obviously received these details from the family of Jacob Osgood (1752-1838)—though not descendants, since that man didn’t leave any. A few pages earlier Tudor recorded an anecdote about Otis from Jacob’s younger brother, Revolutionary surgeon Kendall Osgood (1757-1801), who left children in New Hampshire. An older brother, the Rev. Dr. David Osgood (1747-1822), was a prominent minister in Medford and also had children. The house still belonged to the Osgood family when Tudor wrote, and he evidently visited the property.
* His own room was on the left hand side of the front door, when looking at the plate [shown above]; and at his death, he was standing in the door way of the room to the right. The lightning struck the chimney, followed a rafter of the roof which rested upon one of the upright timbers, to which the door post was contiguous. The casing of this door was split, and several of the nails torn out all which marks still remain as they were at the time.
But by the end of the 1800s, another story had sprung up.
TOMORROW: The hired man speaks?