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Cyclone, June 1883 (part 2 of 2)


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 1/22/2017 at 17:32:37

Cyclone, June 1883 (part 2 of 2)

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


After completing its work of destruction at Brush Creek, the cyclone appears to have raised and did not again strike earth until it reached the Bear Creek country, where the creek of that name enters into the Volga river, in Elk township, where it again commenced devastating all that lay in its path.

Of its appearance at this point an eye-witness says: "As the storm approached it made a noise like the running of a train of cars. Two currents of air, one coming from the south and the other from the west, met and came over a hill from the west, and turned northeast, felling trees on both sides of the creek, completely blocking the road and making travel by team impossible, and making a track about twenty rods wide, which extended to Elkport, a distance of five or six miles, overturning and destroying everything in its path, houses, barns, trees, etc., all seeming to offer no resistance to its terrible force."

The damages done in Elk and the southern part of Volga townships will foot up many thousand dollars, and may be stated as follows:

Mattis Krieg, house, barn and other buildings totally destroyed. The storm caught up to Mr. Krieg and carried him about ten rods, throwing him against a barbed wire fence, bruising him considerably but inflicting no serious injuries.

John Ortman, house and other buildings totally destroyed.

H. Boehn, roof blown from house, barn and granary totally destroyed, and considerable grain carried away.

Fred Watterman, house, barn and other buildings totally destroyed.

Chas. Waterman, house, barn and granary badly shattered.

The heaviest loss sustained in the country was at the place of Charles Menge, where his house, barns, with all their contents were totally destroyed, including the clothing of the family, only saving what they were wearing at the time of the storm. Some of his household goods were found a quarter of a mile distant, but torn and broken so as to be of no value.

W. G. Woodall's stone house was blown down and also his barn, killing one horse. His loss will be about $1,500.

Wm. Koehn is said to have met with a considerable loss, but we have no particulars.

Continuing in its line the cyclone reached the, SOUTHERN PART OF ELKPORT, where the first building struck was the old distillery, which it wrecked.

From there it struck the dwelling of Mrs. Hartge, widow of the founder of the town. The roof was torn off the house, and the south wall torn out, making the house entirely useless. Just southwest of the house stood a large frame barn 40x60, built out of very heavy timbers, which it demolished completely. This entire building is a mass of broken timbers, boards, walls, machinery, etc. This property is situated in a valley, and the buildings are very close to the bluffs about 150 high, but they seem to have afforded no protection from the storm, and our fancied security against tornadoes on account of shelter from bluffs is now dispelled. Mrs. Hartge was in the house at the time and crawled under the bed for protection. She was not injured. From this property the storm continued towards the town, where two barns were blown down, numerous out-buildings, trees, etc., were demolished, but before reaching town proper, the storm again raised, closing the scene of disaster, and passed on over the balance of the county without further damage.

The most strange part of the affair is the fact that but few persons were injured, and only slightly, while none were killed. Completely demolishing houses in which many of the families were and not killing a single person reads more like fiction than fact.

The cyclone was preceded by a very heavy hail and rain storm, but no lightning or thunder. Parties who have visited the scene of the storm state that large trees were torn out by the roots, others broken off short, and others were stripped of all foliage and small limbs, presenting as bare a spectacle as in mid-winter.

LITTLEPORT was visited by a heavy rain and hail storm on Monday afternoon which a correspondent describes as follows: "The storm struck here about 3 p.m. There was very little wind, with torrents of rain, and hail too numerous to mention. Hail stones the size of potatoes fell thick and fast, they were not all round shaped, but seemed to be chunks of ice broken off and hurled at our quiet little town until a large amount of window glass was broken. At the store of E. L. Tiede, nine panes were broken, ten at J. J. Brich's, and more or less from every building in town."

A CORRESPONDENT WRITING FROM, VOLGA CITY, under date of June 12th, says the storm yesterday was very severe on the roads between here and Elkader. The bridge across Haven's creek, near the Swan school house was washed away, and a number of others injured. It is said here that this was the hardest storm since the great flood in 1876. Besides the bridge mentioned in this correspondence, one on the Strawberry Point road was somewhat damaged, and one on the Elkport road, near Communia, was entirely carried away. There are probably others that were washed out or damaged, but which have not been reported.

--- ---

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

In making up our record of the cyclone, we overlooked one sad case, that of Hiram Cooper, residing on Wm. Ortman's place. The house was entirely destroyed, and all their goods blown away, nothing being saved but one quilt, and the clothing they had on. Mrs. Cooper was struck by a falling timber and badly injured, but is now getting along all right. What makes the matter more sad is that they are poor people, and could illy afford to lose their property.

Part 1 of this accounting of the cyclone

Clayton Documents maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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