Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Severe Hurricane

A fierce tornado passed over this county on Tuesday evening of last week. The citizens of Oskaloosa may remember, as we do, seeing a dark, swift, and singular shaped cloud a short distance south west of town. We mentioned last week that in that neighborhood several houses were unroofed and many fences blown down. The cloud passed on toward the northwest, and we do not hear of material damage being done until it came near the village of Indianapolis. There it descended to the earth and swept everything before it. It was funnel-shaped, the smaller part being quite lengthy and reaching nearly to the ground, and moving with frightful rapidity. It struck the house of A. J. Myers and left it a wreck. Barely escaping the house of [Willie] Baker, it demolished his saw-mill and destroyed his grove, also his blacksmith and wagon shop and store room were completely destroyed. The house of Mr. Burkes was ruined; that of John Evans turned round and much damaged, that of James Hines moved and well nigh destroyed, and Mr. Leake’s store turned round but not much injured. The school house standing on the public square was torn to pieces and swept completely away. The residence, smoke house, stable, etc. of James McCoy destroyed. The house of Mrs. Massey, the wife of a soldier was, was apparently crushed, she and her children being protected by the high posts of the bedstead on which they were reclining. The village church was picked up and carried about sixty feet, the roof being taken clear away, and the bare walls left standing – The house of James Green, occupied by William Biggs and I. N. Garret, was wrecked completely. One of James Bridges, occupied by Daniel White, was destroyed, and Mrs. White and child considerably hurt. One of Elijah Sewell, occupied by Wm. Cratty, wrecked. One of D. Tinsley, occupied by Reuben Cooley, unroofed. That of Mr. Robb destroyed. Several other small buildings were blown away. Just after passing through Indianapolis. The cloud struck the ground and for some distance swept it clean. Further on the two story residence of Mrs. Hutchinson was destroyed, and also that of O. Kennels; Mrs. K. being seriously injured. Jos. Bonsall’s house was destroyed, and he and his wife received some personal injury.

J. B. Leake, Esq., to whom we are indebted of the above particulars, mentions several interesting incidents. The hurricane was about two hundred yards in width, and traveled with wonderful rapidity. Mr. L. thinks it could not have been more than half a minute from the time the cloud came in sight until it was gone. In one place a shingle was found driven deep into a solid oak tree. The “suction” was so strong that the windows in some of the building on the outskirts of the storm’s path, were drawn outward and swept away almost with the rapidity of lightning. In once instance a ledger, lying on a desk four or five feet from a window thus carried away, was taken off and had not been found at last accounts. We are sorry to learn that some families not very well off at best have been left in destitute circumstances by this destructive tornado. – {Oskaloosa Herald.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 3, 1862, p. 1

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