[ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

Cyclone, June 1883 (part 1 of 2)


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 1/22/2017 at 17:13:00

Cyclone, June 1883 (part 1 of 2)

Elkader Register, Fri., 15 June 1883.
Elkader Register, Fri., 29 June 1883. Elkport Local Items column.



On Monday afternoon one of the most severe rain storms of the season visited Elkader and vicinity, the rain pouring down in torrents, and soon the gutters along the streets were filled to overflowing with rapidly running waters. The rain was also accompanied by some hail, but not a very heavy fall of it.

The heavy rain caused the creeks in this vicinity to rise rapidly, and considerable damage was done to bridges. The worst effects of the storm in this neighborhood were felt at Brush Creek and Elkport, where it developed into a regular cyclone, blowing down houses and barns, and carrying away property.

The cyclone struck Brush Creek at about three o'clock p.m., Monday, coming from the southwest, and destroying nearly one-third of that village, and causing a loss of nearly $35,000. The following are the damages:

C. Heith's barn and windmill, $600.

J. S. Sherman, barn, $300.

C. D. Shambaugh, barn and windmill, $1,300.

Theo. Chase, house and contents, $400.

George Lickiss, house and contents, $600.

Lorain Ball, house and barn, $1,400.

Luther Shaffer, house and contents, $500.

William Alfred, house and contents, $700.

Bart Jewell, house and contents, $500.

J. H. Walrath, house and barn, $1,500.

Luther Carey, house and barn, $800.

L. L. Woods, house and barn, $900.

Underwood, barn, $300.

W. H. Durin, barn, $400.

Methodist church, $3,000.

Pacific block, $1,300.

L. D. Peterman, house, $100.

Henry Flaufer, barn, $1,300.

Seven or eight persons were injured, but none killed. About twelve buildings were more or less damaged besides these mentioned above. Many families have been rendered entirely destitute, but those who did not suffer by the storm have raised means to assist them, so that no great suffering will be experienced.

Will Glime was working in his shop at Brush Creek, when the storm struck it, and the sides and roof were lifted up and carried away, leaving him standing on the floor, uninjured. At the same place Miss Jewell was giving instructions on the organ to a class and all were gathered close to the instrument. The house was blown down, some of the side timbers falling on the organ, but not one was hurt.

Another incident illustrating the force of the storm was the picking up of a cow near the residence of John Carnall, and carrying her to the six corners, a distance of half a mile.

The M.E. church which was destroyed by the cyclone was almost a new one, having been completed but two or three years.

Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Walrath had a very narrow escape. They heard the storm coming, and started down cellar, but before getting but a few steps down the wind caught the house, and moved it on its foundation so that Mr. and Mrs. W. were caught between the joist and cellar wall, and held so tightly that they could not escape until part of the cellar wall had been removed. Had the floor been moved a few inches further they must have been crushed to death.


The first building struck was that of Charley Heath's, six miles west of Brush Creek, barn and windmill demolished; next Sy. Sherman's barn; next in its course was the large barn of C. D. Shambaugh's, at the west edge of town, barn and windmill total loss. Then commenced the work of destruction.

James King's lumber pile was in its course - just commenced building. The house of Theo. Chase was entirely wiped out; no one at home. Dr. Robbins' barn and house badly damaged; shop of W. H. Gleim leveled to the ground; Bob Newton's dwelling, within 70 feet, untouched; Geo. Lickiss' house badly wrecked; within 50 feet a brick veneered building was entirely ruined; in its rear, about 40 feet, stood a horse barn, occupied by Jud Keith, who had just put his team in, with harness on, building blown out of existence, but the team stood unharnessed, tied to the manger, after the storm passed.

Frank Gates' house, 80 feet south of the brick, was carried about 100 feet and left in the middle of the street, a total wreck. In it were Keith, his wife, three daughters, and his wife's father; they were in the wing, the west side of which was taken and the whole family buried in the ruins. Keith and his wife were the first to liberate themselves; one of the girls was under the main part of the stove, and was taken out stripped of nearly all her clothing. At this time they heard an appeal for help from the grandfather, who said; "Can't you help me a little ?" He was under a part of the side of the building with his head through the side door of the stove, which had to be spread part to get it off his neck; his head and hair were full of ashes and smut. None were seriously hurt.

Just southeast of this stood a frame, Luther Shaffer's. His wife ran to his father's when she saw the storm coming. The building went into more than a million pieces. About 300 feet south and west was the dwelling of Wm. Alfords, his wife and two children in it; if the whole force of the storm had concentrated here the destruction could have been no greater. The wife and children suffered but little injury.

Just across the street, corner-ways from L. Shaffer's dwelling, stood that of Bart Jewell's. Mrs. Jewell was giving Miss Mary Hutchison a lesson in music at the organ; Mrs. Jewell's little boy was with them. This building was wiped out entirely; the floor was dropped not far off with various parts of the building. Mrs. Jewell was slightly cut in the right temple; Miss Hutchison and the little boy uninjured, but sadly dembralized in appearance.

On this same block, east, stood the M.E. church, which was mashed to the ground, an entire wreck, the only things saved were the bell, clock and bible.

Just south of it stood the dwelling of J. H. Walroth, which is a wreck of its former self - moved from its foundation about eighteen inches, roof gone, windows mashed in and the building driven full of splinters. His stable and woodshed were destroyed.

A little farther south stood the stable of Lucius Cary; that shared the same fate. His dwelling on the east of the street is little less than a complete wreck, driven full of holes and bespattered with mud. Cary's horses were a little south of his barn in pasture. One of them was carried across two wire fences and the road, and killed by flying debris.

Just east of the M.E. church and across the street was the dwelling of Lem Wood. It was completely demolished. His family was in; all escaped unhurt. All that was left in the eddy of this fearful destruction was what the family had on.

On the north side was the barn of W. H. Duin. It was lifted and carried - no one knows where. A horse that was in the barn was found several hundred feet away unscratched.

Further down town and north, the Central House stood, being a part of a brick block. The whole block was unroofed, and part of the front wall blown down. Fred Glime's store was moved from its foundation, also his barn. The barns of J. O. Hoover and Wm. Marshall were damaged.

(continued in part 2, link below)


Note: several of the surnames were spelled differently in different parts of the articles, which were transcribed as they were published

Part 2 of this accounting of the cyclone

Clayton Documents maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen


Post Response

Your Name:
E-Mail Address:
One Genealogy Document per submission please!
Please include the source of the Document. Thank you!

If you'd like to include a link to another page with your message,
please provide both the URL address and the title of the page:

Optional Link URL:
Optional Link Title:

If you'd like e-mail notification of responses, please check this box:

Verification Test: Please type the two letters
before submission   (helps stop automated spam):  



[ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]