The following article was published July 22, 1976 in the local "Journal" newspaper. It tells of the tragic happenings that occured July 11, 1976 to the Briggs and Palmer families.
Two Died of Burns in Middlebury Fire
A fire that destroyed the Clifton Briggs home in Middlebury Center on July 11th claimed its second victim Sunday. Lulu S. Palmer, 92, of 30 Charles Street, Wellsboro, an overnight guest at the Briggs home at the time of the fire, died at the St. Joseph Hospital in Elmira, NY July 18th. Clifton M. Briggs, 72, of the Middlebury address died July 12th at the St. Joseph Hospital as a result of burns over 75 percent of his body.
Lightning hit the two-story Briggs home that was located on the Monkey Run Road about two miles north of Keeneyville in Middlebury Township during the early morning of July 11th.
Mr. Briggs and his wife, Dorothy, 67, were asleep downstairs and Mrs. Palmer, Dorothy's mother, was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom when lightning struck the wood frame home at 4 AM. Middlebury firemen were on the scene within minutes after receiving the call, according to William Lawton, Middlebury Township Assistant Fire Chief. The Chatham Township Fire Department also took part in the two-hour fight to bring the fire under control.
Damages to the house and its contents were estimated at $50,000. Firemen were able to save an attached garage, a car and a truck.
The injured were already out of the burning structure when firemen arrived. Mr. Briggs and Mrs. Palmer were first taken to the Wellsboro Hospital, then transferred to the Burn Unit at the St. Joseph Hospital in Elmira, NY. Mrs. Briggs was treated for minor facial burns at the Wellsboro Hospital and was discharged.
Funeral services for Mrs. Palmer were held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Tussey Funeral Home in Wellsboro, with the Rev. C. Richard Beach officiating. Calling hours were held at the funeral home Monday evening. Burial was made in the Middlebury Union Cemetery.
Mrs. Palmer was born in Wellsboro on May 22, 1884 the daughter of Judson and Millie (Coolidge) Shaw. She was a member of the Keeneyville United Methodist Church and attended the First Baptist Church in Wellsboro. She was also a charter member of Elnora Rebekah Lodge #28 and of Middlebury Grange #705.
Surviving are her daughter, Mrs Dorothy Briggs of Middlebury Center; two sons, Carl K. of little Marsh and Leigh J. of Horseheads, NY; six grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.
The family requests that memorial donations be made to the St. Joseph Hospital Burn Unit in Elmira, NY.
Mr. Briggs was buried in the Middlebury Union Cemetery last Tuesday. He was born February 18, 1904 in Middlebury Township the son of Charles W. and May (Smith) Briggs. He was a retired farmer, a trustee of Keeneyville United Methodist Church, member of Middlebury Grange No. 705, former tax collector and assessor of Middlebury Township and a director of Tioga County Grange Insurance Company for over 20 years.
He is survived by wife Dorothy Palmer Briggs of Middlebury Center, one daughter, Mrs. William (Lois) Garrison of Gibsonia; two sons, Charles H. Briggs of Loveland, Ohio and Larry S. Briggs of Keeneyville; a sister, Mrs. Helen Stevens of Wellsboro; one brother, Dean C. Briggs of Horseheads, NY, eight grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours were held at the Tussey Funeral Home in Wellsboro on Wednesday. Funeral services were held at the funeral home on Thursday, July 15 at 2 PM with Rev. C. Richard Beach officiating. Burial was made in Middlebury Union Cemetery. Friends may contribute to the Keeneyville United Methodist Church or St. Joseph's Hospital Burn Unit, Elmira, NY.
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