CLINTON DAILY HERALD-MAY 19, 1898

DEATH IN ITS TRACK

Awful Storm Sweeps Through This Part of the State.

CLINTON COUNTY’S LOSS

Several Killed and Injured--Immense Damage to Farm Property.

Last night about 4:30 o’clock a terrific cyclone passed through this county, scattering death and destruction in a most horrible manner. The force of the storm struck about three miles north west of Charlotte, where four people were instantly killed and other injured.

In the track of this cyclone, which traveled in a northeasterly direction lay some of the best improved farms in the county. Today, where stood yesterday the very best of buildings, in many places there is hardly enough left to mark the sight of a magnificent house or barn.

At 3:15 this morning a HERALD reporter took a train for Charlotte in order to view the ruins of the storm. Words utterly fail to picture the destruction wrought by this cyclone,. Trees, many inches in diameter, had the bark entirely twisted off, pumps were lifted out of wells; wagon wheels were twisted into kindling wood and tires were bent in all manner of shapes.

The path of the cyclone was about one-half mile wide and everything in its course met with utter destruction. Dead horses, cattle, hog, sheep, etc, are litterly strewn over the ground, also pieces of farm implements, furniture and other articles. One man this morning picked up a razor. Where all these things come from no one known. But it is no wonder that such is the case, for some of the farms had nearly everything swept away and no trace of them can be found. Animals with broken legs and otherwise injured are seen over every hand.

Eye witnesses say this cloud from which the cyclone came was of the funnel shape and that it keep up a rapidly revolving motion, the roar of the mighty winds were heard several miles distance. The clouds were very dark and the approaching ugly mass warned the people of what was coming and many made their escape by going into cellars and ditches.

Those Who Were Killed.

Martin Hines, an old man who lived with his son, Michael, two and one-half miles northwest of Charlotte was in the barn when the storm struck. He was found dead in the debris. Every building on the place was utterly demolished. Mr. Hines owned a fine herd of sheep and all were either killed or crippled.

John Clark lives three miles from Charlotte, and here Frances Solan, the 8 year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Solan, met her death. She had been at school, but the teacher saw the storm approaching and dismissed the pupils. The little Solan girl and her teacher had just reached the home of Mr. Clark when the storm struck them. With Mr. Clark’s family they started for a creek near by, but before they reached a place of safety, the wind caught up the little girl and threw her violently to the ground. The others could do nothing to save her and barley escaped with their lives. The house and other buildings were utterly torn to pieces and five horses were blown into the cellar.

Jay Breen, aged eight years, and Maggie Maloney, aged 26, were killed at the residence of Mike Maloney, grandfather of Breen and father of the latter. Their bodies were found in the field after the storm. Nothing whatever remains of the Maloney home.

The destruction was terrible at the home of H. C. Hansen, one of the wealthiest men in the county. His two barns, one 52x112 and another 58x80 were utterly demolished with their contents, among which was 180 tons of hay. His house containing 17 rooms was badly wrecked and is almost a total loss. He had lots of stock nearly all of which was killed or badly injured. Out of 370 head of hogs and pigs, only a few remained. His loss is estimated at $10,000, with $2,500 insurance.

The loss of Michael Hines and John Clark will amount to over $5,000 each

Killed and Injured.

There are rumors of many being killed and injured whose names could not be learned. However, the following ia a correct list of the dead as far as reported:

Delmar.

Obe Allison 
Soren Clemanson

Near Delmar.

Unknown man

Near Elwood.

Two unknown hired men

Near Preston

Charles, Flora, wife and three children

Near Charlotte.

Martin Hines
Frances Solan
Jay Breen
Maggie Maloney

Near Riggs.

Two unknown men

Injured.

Andrew Pardy

Delmar.

Entire Allison Family

Near Charlotte.

Wm. O’Meara

Storm at Delmar.

The cyclone just missed Delmar passing along the outskirts of the city. Every member of the family of a Mr. Allison were more or less injured and one boy was killed outright.

Near Preston.

A telegram to THE HERALD states that Chas. Flory, wife and two children, living south of Preston, were killed and one child could not be found.

From Stanwood.

It was nearly 3:30 when the storm was seen here. The air was murky and many had noted the conditions were favorable for a tornado, when all of a sudden there was seen a funnel. shaped cloud and the roar of the monster could be distinctly heard. All fears were allayed when it was seen that the storm was moving away, but grave fears were entertained that many lives would be lost. People on horses and in buggies started on the route of the storm, but they failed to hear of any casualties. Fences, trees and buildings were blown down at many places.

The farm of James Davidson was damaged very heavily, his barns and sheds being destroyed. Hail fell in many places, but little damage was done by it. When the storm started it appeared that two clouds united. At Gordon Carl’s farm it twisted a new steel windmill tower into knots; the summer kitchen was blown from the house and scattered through the fields, and the farm implements were twisted into all kinds of shapes. It soared across the road to the next farm house and uprooted several trees about the grove. Then it went along the telephone line to Elwin Sayer’s, where the C. & N. W. section men had taken shelter in the barn from the hail that accompanied the storm. Mrs. Sayer called them to the cellar and they had only reached there when the barn was all torn to pieces and the boards sent them crashing around the house as if they had been shot out of a cannon. One of the men got a gash cut in his head in the cellar, but not serious. A team of horses was left on the barn floor unharmed. Next in its path was Mr. Kane’s farm where it scattered the outhouses and took the chimney off the house and destroyed a valuable horse for Mr. Kane. It passed Mr. Wood’s place without doing much harm and then crossed the railroad track and took Al Miller’s sheds, 20z100 feet, entirely away, and a mile east of there took eighty head of cattle and carried them over fences a mile and left them apparently unhurt.

From Clarence.

The people of this place here horror stricken yesterday afternoon about 3:45 to see a great funnel-shaped cloud approaching the town from the southwest. It passed, however, about 80 rods north of the business portion of the town, doing no damage whatever to the town. Portions of buildings, trees and fences were plainly visible in the fearful whirling storm. Reports of great damage are coming in from the track of the storm. Two large barns and many farm buildings were destroyed. On the farm of S. K. Davidson, south of Stanwood. The farm property of Gordon Carl, four miles west of this place, was badly damaged. A large barn belonging to C. Peterson, three miles west, was completely demolished. The barn and farm buildings of Henry Wechoff, northeast of town, were blown away. The house and barn belonging to Chas. Dake, two miles, were completely swept away and the family escaped death by fleeing to the cellar where they escaped all injury. Other reports of damage and also of loss of life are coming in but so far has not been substantiated. The storm took a northeasterly course from here.

From Lost Nation.

The storm was first seen in the far west and for many miles its approach seemed to be coming directly toward this town. Later, when apparently about ten miles distant, the funnel-shaped cloud slightly changed its course and seemed to swing to the south somewhat bit its general course was east, and a little later it again appeared to come directly toward town, crossed the line into Clinton county just south of the Iseman farm, then south to Theo. Hillis’. The first house was destroyed in the county, as far as we have learned, was that of Patrick Welch. Twenty-eight persons had taken refuge in Mr. Welsh’s cellar and the house was blown from over their heads, but no one was hurt. The part included Teacher Miss Spellacy and all the pupils of the Welch school; the school house near by being completely destroyed.

Some damage was done to the property of Tim O’ Boyle one mile south of town.

It seems a miracle that in the six miles course over Liberty township, but one house and one schoolhouse happened to be in the course of the storm and no loss of life is reported here, but from that on the destruction was terrible, although the cloud at the Welch place changed its course to directly east two miles, leaving the town to one side. It then turned to a northeasterly direction, crossing the corner of Sharon township, destroying the homes and property of peter Mc Andrews, (except house), building on the Wm. Rice Welch farm; from there on it took a course almost direct toward the town of Delmar, passing just south of the home of J. D. Leinbaugh but striking and entirely destroying the beautiful property of Wm. Ruggenberg, at whose place the work was particularly destructive as it completely demolished his large barns, house, etc., and killed nearly all of a large drove of fat cattle, most of his hogs and horses.

Other homes on the route toward Delmar that are reported destroyed are Geo. Teakey, Gene Hiner and E. A. Coverdale.

Magnificent but Awful

The storm as viewed from this town was a magnificent but awful sight, as it first appeared in the west in the direction of Stanwood, it seemed high up in the air hanging funnel shaped toward the earth, swinging and whirling in its course. Occasionally the bottom of the funnel would appear to swoop down to the earth and again rise.

As it came toward higher lands this side of the Wapsie, it seemed to come nearer the earth and instead of there appearing to be any clear air below it, it lowered and the black funnel appeared to pierce the earth.

The roar of the cyclone could be heard like a hundred railroad trains coming when many miles distant.

The Welch house us about 6 rods south of this school house which shows the width of the black whirlwind as an investigation shows that property a few rods north and south from those buildings was unharmed.

As it passed by and onward in its course, it seemed to lower and as it was disappearing in the east looked like a big, black ugly cloud and nothing like the swinging funnel which had approached from the west. No rain or hail accompanied the storm. The intense heat preceding its coming gave many a partial warning and several were heard to remark that it was cyclone weather and when the alarm of its approach was given the school was notified and everybody arranged for place of safety.

From Preston.

A cyclone, terrible in its work of destruction and death, passed one and one half miles south of own, about 4:30 yesterday afternoon. The extent of the damage cannot be fully estimated at the present. The entire family Chas. Flora, consisting of himself. wife and three small children are killed. The farm buildings along the track of the storm are totally destroyed, A few are as follows: The building of Ed Cain, Wn. Brown. T. A. Hunter, Carl Yadoff, H. L. Basio??, Thos. Elliott, the buildings on these and many other farms, are either totally or partially destroyed.

The scene beggers description, buildings, farm implements, stock and every imaginable debris are scattered in all directions.

From Delmar.

A most terrific cyclone visited this section of the country, one-fourth mile south of town, yesterday afternoon at about 4 o’ clock, killing numerous persons and demolishing everything in its path. Six persons were killed near here and several more near Rigg and Charlotte.

One son, Obe, 18 years old, of John Allison is dead. The rest of the family are more or less injured. His entire farm and stock was destroyed.

Two men working on the Jake Staman farm, west of town, were killed.

Soren Clemenson and another man working on the Wm. Cook farm are also dead.

The farm houses, stock, barns and shed of the following persons are also completely destroyed: Marvin Fenton, James Davis, Robert Brady (newhouse), L. L. Harrington, B. D. Brooks, Chas Goodall, M. D. Davis, Henry O’ Grady, and Albert Doty, who lives on a rented farm.

The town cemetery was swept clear. A school house in the Benjamin district, Miss Mae Kneer, teacher was destroyed; also one in the Quinlan district, Miss Ellen Corty, teacher, who were blown away. A man with a team stopped n the road in front of Mr. Ruus’ house before the storm. After it was over nothing could be seen of man or team. Have heard nothing yet.

Storm in Clinton

About 10:30 Wednesday night a severe rain and thunder storm struck the city. It was one of the worst electrical storms that has visited Clinton for some time. About 10:45 lightening struck the barn of Mrs. Cosgrove on Ninth avenue. The building caught fire but the flames were soon extinguished by the fire-department. The loss was about $200, which was fully covered by insurance.

The wind blew down a portion of the big tree in front of Champlin Brothers and the rest was cut down this morning.

Steamer Saturn’s Experience.

The steamer Saturn which was going down the river with a raft, had a very narrow escape. The storm struck her about two miles below Sabula.

Capt. W. A. Krotka was seen by a HERALD reporter this afternoon and was told the experience of the Saturn. He said the boat was anchored near Sabula, when he saw the storm coming. He moved down the stream in order to keep from being blown into the bridge. He says he watched the clouds closely and saw one from the southeast approaching one from the northwest. They met just over the hill near Sabula, and took an easterly direction. Captain Krotka said, there was no whirling motion until the clouds came in contact. he was the storm coming directly toward him and thought the boat would surly be lost. When the cyclone was within a few rod of the Saturn, Mr. Krotka says a fierce wind from the south struck the approaching storm and turned its course enough so that the full force just missed the boat. However, it did not fully escape, and when struck by the wind turned nearly over. He says the engine room had a foot of water in it when the boat righted itself. During this time Captain Krotka was struck on the head with a board from the pilot house, and Mate Eugene Clark was injured by a line breaking.

While the storm was passing over the crew say they saw some animal, either a cow or horse in the cloud.

Seen on the River

George Nevitt, who came down the river last evening on the Cuclone with a raft, and was near Sabula when the storm passed, gave a vivid description of what he witnessed.

Notes of the Cyclone

Sheep are seen in many places hanging in the trees.
The cyclone moved very slowly, but with terrible force.
Not a drop of rain fell before or directly after the storm.
Charlotte people turned out in masses to aid the unfortunates.
At the Hansen residence the carpets were blown from the floor.
In the path of the storm were some of the best stock farms in Iowa.
At the Maloney residence barb wire was wound several times around five pigs.
Men caught in fields sought safety in creeks, wells and in every imaginable place.

In the cemetery near Delmar, not a monument or tombstone was standing after the storm.
At Delmar the roar of the storm could be heard fully an hour before it passed the town.
Trees were stripped perfectly clean of leaves and small branches and are as bare as in January.

H. S, Gunyer of Polo, Ill., was in the city today. He said the storm passed within six miles of Polo, and that it was very destructive..

The school house near John Clark’s was totally demolished. The teacher and several pupils had left the building only a short time before it fell.

 

 

 

 

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