June 24, 1913, began as an ordinary day for William Hellmuth Jr. of Stevens Point.
He went to work at his job in the car repair department of the Soo Line Railroad, came home and had his dinner, and then sat in the kitchen holding his 4-month-old daughter, Evelyn, talking with family. Just a typical Tuesday in the Hellmuth home on the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Lora Street, right across from Forest Cemetery.
The Hellmuth family consisted of William's wife, Mayme Woods, whom he married four years earlier, 3-year-old son George, baby Evelyn and a stepson, Roy, 9.
William, 27, was born in Chicago on March 27, 1886, but came to Stevens Point with his family at age 3 and therefore attended the local public schools.
For many years, he was employed as a section hand by the Green Bay & Western and Soo Line, only at the beginning of 1913 taking the job in the car repair department.
Friends, neighbors and coworkers all described William as a man of quiet nature, an excellent worker and well-liked by all.
As William sat that Tuesday evening in his kitchen with his family, outside, a storm was raging, so often typical of the summer months in Wisconsin.
At 7:30 p.m., a bolt of lightning struck the chimney, then spread to all parts of the home. Although the rest of his family only felt a slight shock, the electrical charge came up through a nail in the flooring under William's shoe, and tearing off his shoe, ran through his entire body, leaving marks on his limbs, chest and neck. Although a doctor was called, death was instantaneous.
Little Evelyn, resting in her father's arms, was perfectly fine - a miracle that no one, even the doctor, understood.
Much damage was done to the home as well - shingles missing, joists and beams split and broken, plaster knocked off all the walls of the home, a large mirror shattered and clothes in a closet set on fire.
Although the fire department was called, the blaze was put out with buckets of water before they arrived.
Besides the Hellmuth tragedy, the Stevens Point Daily Journal also reported other damage from the electrical storm at the same time.
Just as Hellmuth was killed, the residence of Fred Hass, 1234 Church St., also was struck by lightning. The bolt first struck a large oak tree in the yard and peeled off the bark, then it split and one charge jumped to the home, about 15 feet away, tearing through the north wall of the kitchen, passing through the home and exiting at the rear.
Hass and his two sons were sitting in the kitchen at the time but were not injured except for a light electrical shock. In a separate room, his wife, daughter and mother-in-law likewise felt the charge.
Where the current passed out of the home, walls were shattered and siding and frame were bulging outward. Dishes and glass panes in the kitchen were broken, and pieces of silverware melted.
A second charge from the strike passed along a wire from the oak to a post, which it split fully in two, and a third charge passed from the wire to a chain that was on a beagle that Hass kept outside in a doghouse. The dog was killed.
A flock of 18 young ducks was housed in a coop right under the oak, and amazingly only one was killed.
At the same time as the other two bolts, a bolt struck the Wojalisvez home at 318 N. Third St., causing shocks to the occupants but doing little damage except to knock plaster off some walls.
The storm, which brought one-and-a-half inches of rain to Stevens Point, brought heartache to the family of young father, William Hellmuth.