Keosauqua, Van Buren, Iowa
Thursday, June 29, 1882
Items of Interest Connected with the Lives of Some of the Wounded and Dead.
GRINNELL, IOWA- William N. Ford, who
was killed, a retired gentleman, near 70 years of age was a native of Covington
Mass., born near the home of William Cullen Bryant. He came to Grinnell
twenty-seven years ago, was a deacon in the Congregational church, a man of an
estimable and marked character and possessed of considerable means. He has one
daughter who resides in Nebraska. He married, for his third wife who was also
killed, the mother of S.G. Joyce, now a resident of Council Bluffs.
Mrs. Ford was a most estimable lady. She has two
sisters residing at Gilman. The funeral was postponed to await the arrival of
the son and daughter.
The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Fuen were found together,
fully four hundred feet away from the dwelling, they apparently having been
killed by falling timbers.
Mrs. Griswold's husband was supposed to have been
burned in the Chicago fire. She was a lady of about sixty years of age, owning
considerable property, herself occupying one of the finest houses in the town,
valued at several thousand dollars, which is a complete wreck. She has one son
in the vicinity. Falling timbers from her house killed her instantly.
B.H. Burgett was a student of the sophomore class. His
father resides in Deep River in this county, and is one of the most wealthy and
respected citizens. Young Burgett was a great favorite in the college, and his
remains were accompanied to Montezuma by his class and will be buried to-day.
E.B. Chase from Storm Lake, was a member of the
preparatory department and a very promising young man. It is said...[cannot read
line]... the wind from the third story of the building. His remains were sent to
Storm Lake on Sunday.
Mrs. Leibee was a widow, and one of the most respected
ladies of the town, about seventy years of age, and a woman of the Christian
character. She, too, owned considerable property. Her daughter, wife of Captain
Haulin, and her son, Joseph Leibee, are her only kindred her as far as
One of the saddest cases is that of the Clement
children. Their ages were thirteen and fourteen respectively, whose father
Deacon Clements, died two months since, they being of remarkable promise, and
their mother now prostrate and not expected to recover, almost unconscious of
Miss Susie Bayer was one of the jovial attractive young
misses of the town, her father being an esteemed merchant of the place. Her
little brother who is seriously injured is not yet aware of the death of his
sister or the probable decease of his mother, whose spirit is vibrating between
life and death.
Conductor Deigman, of the C.R.I. & P railway, was a
fine appearing manly gentleman, always impressing himself upon those with whom
he rode. After his injury he called repeatedly for his wife, who took the cars
at Stuart, maintaining her composure until she was handed an extra from the
Register, and from that time she continued to repeat, "dead,"
"dead." She attended her husband with close riveted eye, watching the
pulse for hours., but at last swooned in the presence of the one to whom she was
so devotedly attached. She accompanied, under the kindest attentions of
Superintendent Royce, the remains to her home in Stuart, where no doubt every
demonstration of affection and sympathy was manifested for the one who was
universally esteemed as a gentleman and an official.
We are compelled to deter further notice of the deaths
at this time, and will notice the condition of some of the injured, and their
escapes. Especially that of the family of Rev. J.M. Chamberlain is known as the
treasurer of the college and the editor of the Independent. He is a brother of
ex-Governor Chamberlain, of South Carolina, who married two years since, Mrs.
Dyke, daughter of Rev. B.L. Herrick, and the wife of Mr. Dyke, a capitalist, who
gave a large sum of money for the freedom of the south, and who left a legacy to
the Iowa college. Mr. and Mrs. C. have one daughter, thirteen years of age, who
soon after the storm passed the house of Mr. Grinnell in her barefeet. They made
a miraculous escape from one of the most cultured and beautiful homes,
refinement had ministered to their tastes. Mr. C. received perhaps a half-dozen
blows on the head from fallen timbers and falling boards, but with great courage
came to the rescue of his wife and daughters. Mrs. C. received severe injuries
of her ankle and was borne to her brother's home in the southern portion of the
town in great suffering, which she bore courageously. She will probably recover.
Mr. John Pierce was lifted from a side walk and hurled
through the bay window of a residence, landing in the middle of a parlor and his
only injury was a scratched face. And yet the house into which he made his
sudden entrance was not damaged much.
Mr. Michael Pierce was on Broad street walking towards
home, when he was lifted from his feet and borne more than twenty rods without
touching the ground, and then gently placed on terra firma. He was feeling
sore-his only trouble from it. The adventure made him feel quite old.
A young man named Henry Wier was driving with a team
and buggy in the northern outskirts-and how he is alive to tell the story he
doesn't know; but he was lifted from his buggy and set at the side of the road,
while his rig went -he doesn't know where. One horse was found dead several rods
from the place, and the other horse and the buggy haven't been found.
A student in the third story of ...[cannot read
line]... "heard the roof rise" and the wind took him in charge, formed
a sort of a cushion around him, and seated him in the grass a hundred feet from
the building as softly as he could have done it for himself.
Another student, a young man with one arm, was in the
dormitory and he was let down with the walls and timbers into the basement, when
he found himself sitting on the college bell, which had evidently got the start
of him in the tumble, though it had much further to fall. He got out, and went
to his home in Montezuma the other day.
SOME OF THE CURIOUS AND WONDERFUL THINGS.
Iowa State Register.
A drove of thirty cattle, belonging to
Mr. A.A. Foster, west of Grinnell, that were killed, were lifted out of the
barnyard, carried sixty rods, and were seen by some of the family in the flash
of fire at a height of three or four hundred feet. They were dumped down in a
gully, in a pile, and all close together, and looked as though they were dead
before they touched the earth.
It is asserted by many reputable people that in the
center of the awful circle or loop that the tornado made at Grinnell, that
objects were carried a thousand feet high, and one small house was taken up
bodily some four or five hundred feet, and then dropped in a lump some two
hundred feet from its original site.
Many people state that they saw the balls of fire or
electricity during the tornado's time, and report them to have been of sizes
varying from one foot to five in diameter, and exploding with a strong smell of
sulphur, or more like a smell of hot copper. Others report a dense and stifling
odor more offensive than sulphur, and as foul almost as that of putrid flesh.
The rain fall was phenomenal, as all report. At the
college it was the heaviest of all. The earth there still bears evidence of
One gentleman says that he saw Deacon Ford during a
livid and protracted flash of light up in the air at least five hundred feet
Everything tends to confirm the theory that the tornado
is of electrical origin, and that it is the marvelous power of electricity alone
that can apply itself to such small surface and work such havoc. Against its
resistless force, a house of stone walls ten feet thick or walls ten feet of
wrought iron would stand no more than a house of frame. Its power is the
impossible made possible. No force that has known could have the power in small
compass that this had but electricity.
We saw to-day several large lumber wagons that were
dashed to pieces, all the spokes broken out of the wheels, a hub split open and
the tires broken and flattened out as straight as though they had been
straightened on an anvil.
J.M. Wishart's horse stood in the barn. This was
stallion weighing 1,600 pounds. The barn was broken and carried up in one
direction, while the horse and part of his manger to which he was haltered was
carried off in another direction from the barn. The two lines of travel may be
described as on sexangular sides eastward. The horse was found a thousand feet
from the stable and unhurt.
The freakish work of the unloosed devil of the upper
air was well shown in one street. On one side a dwelling house was torn to
fragments and left a mass of splintered ruins, while the opposite house was
unharmed below the cornice but was entirely stripped of its shingles.
An iron pump with a two inch pipe was twisted off five
feet below the level of the ground and carried off fully ten rods.
Making exceptions for the possibility
of a tornado extending from Leavenworth, Kansas, in this same locality, there is
reason for building on the theory of the California scientist and the
meteorologist who has assumed, with some considerable intelligent proof
that an intelligent proof that a telegraph wire or a number of wires, will fire
at and cut a tornado funnel in two, when they extend across the tornado track at
a right angle. For if this be assumed, then the storm which passed near Nevada
in alighting below Ames was divided on the ...[cannot read line]...cut in two
sections, one curving to the north, passing a little south of Marshalltown,
thence due south. The other curving to the south from the point of division and
southeast, both meeting over or in Grinnell.
Special Cor. to State Register.
Malcom- The dead have all been buried
with the exception of Mrs. Akers, whose remains await the arrival of her husband
from Colorado. The wounded have all been cared for. Superintendent J.W.Akers has
been here two days, taking care of his brother's injured children. Benevolent
persons from Brooklyn have gone into the county southeast of here and are taking
the necessary relief. We were taxed to our greatest capacity till relief came
from Des Moines. Many blessings on the people of Des Moines. Theirs was the
first relief to reach us. Provisions and clothing and three hundred dollars came
Nearly every person in town suffered from loss of
property. We were so busy with the killed and wounded, and with our individual
losses, that the relief committee were not organized until rather late.
The following are the names of the committee:
W.E. Gould, Cashire Malcom Bank; Rev. T.C. McFareland,
Dr. W.S. Wilcox, A.P. Meigs, and Clark Varnum. They are authorized to receive
contributions and distribute relief.
Besides the almost universal private losses, there are
many of a public character that appeal to the charity of friends and humanity.
There is not a room left in town in which a funeral can
be held. Both churches (Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal) are destroyed. The
school house and Masonic hall are so badly injured as to be unsafe. The funeral
of Mrs. Akers will probably be held at the ruins of her former home.
The Gazette was destroyed. A quantity of printing
material has been rescued only to be badly injured by the rain to-day. Three
thousand copies of the State Agricultural Society's Premium Lists are lost with
the Gazette office. Mr. Duffus deserves sympathy and assistance.
The members of the churches have lost so much
individually that they cannot expect to do anything towards rebuilding their
place of worship for some time.
THE TORNADO OF 1860.
THE ONLY RIVAL IN IOWA HISTORY TO THAT OF SATURDAY JUNE 17, 1882.
The tornado of Saturday night traveled
a distance of perhaps 150 miles in the state-beginning in Boone county as a
tornado, although there was some hard wind west of that and going nearly or
quite to the Mississippi river in the southeast part of the state. The famous
Iowa tornado of 1860 beginning in Hardin county and crossing the Mississippi
river at Camanche, where it literally destroyed the town and killed some sixty
people, was much longer and just as violent in places as this one was, although
it did not touch the earth so often. Its course was directly over Cedar Rapids,
but it jumped that city in a skip of ten miles that it made. Else there would
have been in that city the same hour wrought in human life and property that was
wrought in Grinnell. That tornado started in Hardin county, about two o'clock in
the afternoon of Sunday, and crossed the Mississippi river and destroyed
Camanche, about midnight. It killed some thirty people in Hardin county, sixty
in Camanche and probably ten others at intermediate points. It went through the
heavy timber on the Iowa river in Hardin county as completely as choppers would
have cut a swath through the great oaks and elms. Nearly all the people living
in brick houses on its line were killed, the houses being crushed and dropped
into the basement, and very few hurt in frame houses. It did great damage to
crops and the county in its track still shows the scar of it.
FIGHTING TORNADOES WITH CANNONS
Mr. James L. Loring, of Dallas Center,
a civil engineer and a member of the State Board of Health ends a letter of
notable ...[cannot read line]... traveled in the tropics, and tells how the
waterspout if broken by cannon balls. He says a tornado is simply like a
waterspout on land, and that the way to fight them is to do it by
concussion of the air-or fight air with air. Here is the letter and everybody
will read it, and many will discuss it:
Dallas Center, June 21.- State Register.- I have
crossed the Equator a few times and in that region seen several waterspouts
which are of the same nature as the cyclone lately so frequent in Iowa. They are
waterspouts simply because they only have water to act upon. We invariably broke
them when they came so near our ship as to be dangerous by firing a cannon, the
concussion of air being sufficient to disorganize them. The destruction in the
path of the late tornado, I believe, could have been avoided if we had a cannon
at Gowrie, Rippey, Grand Junction, Perry Minburn and Dallas on the Ft. Dodge
road, and on some of the towns on the Northwestern. At all those places the
clouds were plainly seen and all the inhabitants of these towns watched it from
its first formation. We fight fire with fire, and I think we have to fight air
with air. It would be cheaper to put an iron cannon in every town in Iowa than
it will be to pay the losses of Saturday. If one of these clouds were seen
forming near a town, and the concussion of the air from a succession of firing
certainly ought to effect the same result in Iowa that it does on the equator. I
thing any sailor will agree with the above view, who has seen the cone of water
drawn up by the water spout fall and the whole dissipate before a cannon shot.
It is all very well to demonstrate scientifically the constituents of the terror
which ruined Grinnell but after all the best method of preventing the formation
of such a cloud is the thing we are after. Yours, etc.
JAMES L. LORING.