IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Li'l Bits

1915 Tornado

Andrew Hanson's barn after tornado June 12,1915
Andrew Hanson's barn after tornado June 12,1915, Lansing vicinity
~contributed by Errin Wilker


A tornado struck this community about five o'clock Saturday night, causing thousands of dollars loss to property, injuring a number of people hereabouts and killing two people in Franklin township and nine others across the Mississippi near Ferryville, Wis. Coming from the southwest, the storm struck the farms of Fred Williams, F.H. Brandt, Herman Plaht, Wm. Miene, Arthur Gass, Mrs. J. Schmidt, John Ruckdaschel, George Welzel, Carl C. Schroeder, Wm. Harris and Frank Tuller. Heaviest damage was done on the Welzel, Schroeder and Harris farms; and on the latter place only two small sheds remained standing after the storm had passed. The storm rose after leaving the Tuller farm, but descended again in Ludlow and near Rossville, at which latter place John Leppert, 40, and his six year old daughter were killed. Near Gunder and Frankville much damage was also done to farm buildings. On Sunday many local people went into the country to help clear away the debris at the stricken farms.

~Iowa Volksblatt, Postville, June 18, 1915
~transcription from Iowa Old Press by S. Ferrall


Waukon, June 17 - Special: Hundreds of people have visited the scenes of the tornado which swept through the vicinity of Rossville. The damage to livestock and property was considerable and in many instances not a building was left standing on the farms. At the John Lippert place the house and barns were destroyed. The Lippert [sic Leppert] family were about to eat their supper when the tornado struck the house. A heavy timber and a stove alighted on Mr. Lippert and his 8 year old daughter, killing them instantly. A baby in a baby carriage beside them escaped uninjured although the baby cab was demolished. Residences and barns were destroyed on the Bert Gast farm, his loss being over $10,000. Practically everything on this place was twisted and blown into bits. Five head of cattle were destroyed. The Gast family reached the safety of the cellar just as the storm carried the house away. On the Andrew Hanson farm, dwelling and barns were destroyed, and on the Wm. Harris place the residence and barn were destroyed. Houses and barns on the Klees, Sencebaugh, Monsrud, Leikvold and other places were destroyed. At the Kiernan home the storm spent its fury on the upper story of the residence. In a room in the northwest corner, Grandma Keirnan was sleeping. The roof was torn from the house and timbers and debris was piled all about her, but she escaped with but a slight scratch. The kitchen stove was twisted and torn into bits and one piece of the stove was hurled nearly through the side of the house. It was one of the most destructive storms that has ever visited Allamakee county and a hard blow to many of the farmers.

~Cedar Rapids Republican, June 18, 1915
~transcription by S. Ferrall
~Note: a photo of the demolished Leppert home was with this article, but did not reproduce well on the microfilm


A story of death, carried by the Ferryville tornado, came to light when Ludwig Nordlie, living six miles northeast of Westby, Wis., displayed a tax receipt which had been issued to john Leppert, a farmer killed in the storm near Lansing, Iowa. The paper had been blown across the Mississippi river to Nordlie's farm a distance of 25 miles. Nordlie was watching the storm approaching his place when the piece of paper dropped at his feet.

~Greene Iowa Recorder, Iowa News Column, July 7, 1915
~transcription by S. Ferrall


William Harris farm, 1915 tornado - Eve Orr's photo collection Wm. Harris was paid $400 for the barn destroyed by the cyclone. None of the other buildings were insured. Carl Schroeder was paid $1606; George Welzel, $300; Joe McDonald, $11.00; and George A. Waters, $1350.

Local individuals and societies are raising money, clothing and furniture for the Martin Olson family who suffered heavily when the storm struck their home on the Harris farm.

~Iowa Volksblatt, Postville, June 25, 1915

~the photos, left and below, were contributed by Phyllis Peterson, originally in the Eve Orr collection, now in the possession of Phyllis

"Will and Charity had moved to town in 1905 and the news story from the Volksblatt implies that the Martin Olson family was living at the Harris farm at the time of the tornado." ~Phyllis Peterson

William Harris farm, 1915 tornado - Eve Orr's photo collection William Harris farm, 1915 tornado - Eve Orr's photo collection


William Harris farm, 1915 tornado - Eve Orr's photo collection


The Postville Review, June 18, 1915, printed this notice: "At the Postville Theater tomorrow night, Manager Tuttle will present a number of photographic slides of the devastation wrought in this locality by last Saturday's cyclone. See them." Perhaps some of the above photos were among those shown at the theater!


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