CYCLONE
Of
Carroll County Illinois

May 18, 1898


The Lanark Gazette
Devoted to the Interests Of Carroll County, the Garden of Illinois

Lanark, ILL., Wednesday, May 25, 1898.

Carroll County’s Great Calamity!

This historical material furnished from the files of the Lanark Public Library

Transcribed from the original and contributed by Alice Horner

The Cyclone Of Last Wednesday the Greatest Calamity That Ever Visited Carroll County.

Hundreds of People Homeless.

The Property Loss Estimated at Close to a Million Dollars In this County.

Fine Homes Swept Away in An Instant. Thousands of Horses, Cattle, and Hogs Dead.

Miraculous Preservation of Human Lives. But Few Killed or Injured

The Trail of the Storm Demon From River to Adeline.

Echoes of the Storm!

The cyclone which swept over Carroll County last Wednesday evening was far-reaching and appalling in its destruction to life and property. Between Savanna and Mt. Carroll three people were killed outright and a score injured more or less seriously, some of whom perhaps will die. The damage to property was enormous, amounting way up in hundreds of thousands of dollars, some people even placing it at a million. In traveling over the path of the cyclone in this county thought that first impresses the spectator is reverence and wonder for the unseen power that preserved so many human lives in a scene of such wild and awful destruction. The cyclone started from Stanwood, Iowa, about 3:30, crossed the Mississippi river a short distance below Savanna, and followed the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway across Carroll County. (Note: Maps show Stanwood to be south and west of Maquoketa, Iowa and 88 miles from Lanark) In the neighborhood of Hickory Grove it crossed and re-crossed the railroad, but for the balance of the distance from Savanna to Adeline it kept on the south side of the railroad within a half mile to a mile of the track. It was first noticed from Lanark about 5:15, coming from a little south of west. The cloud in shape resembled a balloon. The whole mass was as black as ink, and twisting, writhing and heaving in a manner calculated to strike terror and consternation to the hearts of the beholder. Hail stones as large as walnuts fell in profusion. The cyclone appeared to move forward slowly, but all the time kept up within itself the awful writing and roaring above referred to. The long tongue which depended from the main body twisted and weaved about in all directions, darting here and there with inconceivable rapidity, and licking up houses, barns, trees, fences, in fact everything in its path like so many straws, only to cast them aside an instant later, broken and ruined beyond all redemption. At several times during its passage south of Lanark, it veered a little and seemed to be coming straight for the city, but luckily for us, changed its course again and continued to the northeast.

At Chris Rowland’s farm, a half mile south of the First National Bank, two barns were wrecked, fences swept away and some stock killed and injured. Several of his cows lost their horns, presumably from being carried in the air and dashed violently to the earth. The windmill was ruined and some trees uprooted. The house was untouched, save for some broken glass. Damage about $1,000.

At Thomas Searle’s, just across the road to the west, the hay barn and some sheds were leveled. Mr. Searle’s loss is about $200.

McKenney Bros & Lafferty offering discounts to storm victims
Ad appeared in the Lanark Gazette 8 June 1898 - just days after the storm

West Of Lanark

West of Lanark the first damage inflicted was a Howard Lego’s. The house was badly wrenched, the roof taken off, and all the windows broken. His barn, corn cribs, hog pens, granary and machine shed were totally demolished, and the lumber of which they were composed is scattered all over the surrounding country in the shape of kindling wood. All the small outbuildings on the place are gone. One horse is dead and a couple of others are seriously injured. About forty fine fat hogs were killed outright and thirty-five others crippled so that many of them have since died. Fifty little pigs were also killed outright. Mr. Lego had 2000 bushels of corn in his cribs, some of which has since been picked up, but the greater part is gone, where no man knows. His farm machinery, wagons, double carriage, etc. are nearly all ruined beyond repair. There was no one at home at the time of the cyclone. Mr. Lego and his wife were over at Conley Hawk’s, and the children returning from school and finding their parents not there, had gone over to their grandfather’s a quarter of a mile south. Mr. Lego has since found the "bull wheel" of his binder a half a mile from the shed where it was housed. He estimates his loss at $2000 strong, and no insurance. On Saturday a force of 22 men gathered at his place, put a new roof on the house, picked up the corn to be found, and assisted generally in restoring a semblance of order.

The next place we visited was Wallace Williams’, a short distance southeast. Here the house was unroofed, the windows and doors broken in, and the structure badly twisted and wrenched, making it totally unfit for habitation. In some of the upstairs rooms the plastering is taken off slick and clean leaving the lath exposed, and as clean as if put there yesterday. All the outbuildings were wrecked save a corn crib and the hay barn, and even they are damaged to a considerable extent. A barb wire fence on both sides of the lane leading from the main road to the house is torn from the posts completely. Here and there in the fields bunches of it can be seen rolled up and twisted in endless confusion. A large steel windmill blown into the front yard presents a curious sight. It was perhaps forty feet in height, and strongly reinforced, but it is bent and twisted until we do not believe there is a foot of straight metal in the entire mass. Fragments of clothing, furniture, and household utensils, together with the debris of wrecked buildings strew the fields for miles. All the trees about the place are damaged. Some are uprooted, some broken off, but all are ruined. Mr. Williams is reported to have lost 2 horses, 2 cows, and about 25 hogs, also a lot of farm machinery, about $2000 in all. There was no one about the place during our visit. It was indeed a scene of solitary desolation.

A little further west on the same road is the old Perry Roderick place. The buildings here are all gone, nothing whatever being left to mark the place where they once stood save the cellar, and a few stumps of trees, and even these are completely denuded of their bark. Trees as large as two feet in diameter are twisted squarely off, fences are gone, the timbers and boards of which the buildings were composed are gone --totally obliterated. A stranger would drive along the road without the faintest suspicion that a comfortable farm home, with its auxiliary outbuildings had ever been reared here.

At the next place on opposite sides of the road were the beautiful country homes of Harl Moore and Henry Wise. Here the ruin is complete and appalling. These two homes were considered among the handsomest on what is known as the "south road" to Mt. Carroll, but of all the buildings, numbering perhaps eighteen or twenty, not one is standing, all are leveled to the ground. The scene is indescribably desolate. The grounds for a considerable distance about are strewn with wreckage, but it is doubtful if in it all there can be found one stick of timber as originally fashioned, or one single article of furniture, no matter how small, that has escaped injury. All show the relentless fury of the wind. Fragments of the buildings, splintered timbers, broken machinery, ruined furniture, bits of a piano, together with rags, which an instant before the cyclone struck was substantial wearing apparel, are everywhere in evidence, and litter the adjoining fields. At both places the people took to their cellars. Mrs. Moore was slightly injured, and in the place across the way Mrs. Wise and Mrs. Lew Feezer, who was visiting there, were both hurt by flying debris. Nothing serious in any of these cases however. Mr. Wise’s loss is about $4000 and Mr. Moore’s the same. No insurance.

On the Gus Smith farm, better known as the old Dresbach homestead, all the buildings were dashed into fragments in the twinkling of an eye. Large trees were torn out by the roots, broken off, and in some instances stripped of their bark and left standing. It is a gruesome sight. One calculated to fill the beholder with awe for the terrific force that in one second of time undid the work of nature for years, and dissipated the savings of a lifetime. At this place the family were at supper and unaware of the cyclone’s approach, until warned by a group of section men who had fled there for shelter. All took refuge in the cellar and none too soon, for they had barely reached there when the storm burst upon with all its pent up fury. Altogether there were fourteen people in this cellar, mostly huddled in one corner, and that none were injured by the wreckage rained upon them is simply miraculous. Between Smith’s and Moore’s, a six wire fence on both sides of the road was stripped clean. Not a vestige of the wire remains in its original position. The scene beggars description. It cannot be told by tongue or pen. For a complete realization of the cyclone’s awful effects a visit along its path is necessary.

The fine brick building on the Rohrer homestead was unroofed and part of the brick work on the upper story blown down. The other buildings on the farm are intact. Much damage was done to the trees and shrubbery here, but compared with his neighbors a mile or two east, Mr. Rohrer had not a great deal to complain of.

At C. H. Keim’s the fine large octagonal barn was razed to the ground, and his 60 foot hay shed with about 50 tons of hay were blown away. The orchard was devastated, 25 fine fat hogs and 80 small ones killed, 4 horses killed and two others so badly injured they will probably die, six cows are dead, and several injured. Part of the roof was taken off the house. Mr. Keim estimates his loss at from $2000 to $3000. No insurance.

George Schneider, on the old Henry Richter farm a little southwest of Keim’s, was the next place visited. Here everything is gone slick and clean. The family fled to the cellar for safety and escaped unscathed. Not even a trace of the house is left. The coat and hat Mr. Schneider is wearing he found in the hedge fence after the cyclone. Three horses were killed, two badly used up. Fifteen head of cattle and 70 head of hogs are dead. Some of his stock cannot be found at all, living or dead. His loss is $4000, and no insurance.

James Kauffman, on the S. J. Campbell farm, was also among the unfortunates. House, barn, windmill, all buildings, were laid low. The family escaped, Mrs. Kauffman alone being injured. She had two ribs broken and received numerous bruises. The buildings here were very similar to Mr. Keim’s. It was a fine place. The total loss was about $5000, with considerable stock killed.

South And West Of Mount Carroll

At the county farm the two top stories were taken from the fine large brick building, leaving only a shapeless mass of brick, mortar and timbers. Nothing is left here, save the foundation, that is worth a dollar. The barns, corn cribs, ice house, and all other buildings are flattened to earth. In the front yard large, handsome trees by the dozen are uprooted and twisted off, falling in all directions. All the implements, wagons, buggies, owned by the county are ruined beyond all possibility of repair. One inmate, Samuel Hoover, of Milledgeville, was found in his room on the second floor dead, his body covered with bricks and timbers. Conrad Traum’s skull was fractured and he has since died. Several other inmates were more or less injured. Superintendent Keefer ordered them all into the basement, and those who did not obey are now suffering the penalty. The loss to the county is variously estimated at from $25,000 to $30,000. Mr. Kieffer and daughter, Miss Bertha, lost all their personal effects, but like the majority of Carroll County sufferers are thankful that their lives were spared. The violent wards of the county are at present confined in the jail, while temporary quarters have been found for the harmless ones among neighboring farmers.

A little south and west of Mt. Carroll the storm struck the H. L. Downing homestead creating ruin to everything standing. All the buildings, fences and trees on the farm are gone, together with a lot of horses, cattle and hogs. Out of 160 hogs, Mr. Downing has but 15 left. Some of the horses and cattle were found in pitiable shape, with legs and backs broken and eyes gouged out and had to be killed. The loss here will approach $10,000. (Note: H. L. Downing was Harvey Loomer Downing, Alice Horner’s great grandfather. His son, also named Harvey Loomer Downing, injured his back when a large table fell on him when he was in the cellar. He reported later that others who similarly sheltered in the cellars were also injured by falling debris, although the official accounts usually don’t mention it.)

The William Petty homestead, just opposite, farmed by Albert Petty, was served in like manner. Everything gone, the buildings converted into kindling. The live stock loss here was frightful, with 100 head of hogs, 90 sheep, together with a large number of horses and cattle. Like their neighbors, however, the family hurried to the cellar and were saved. The damage at this farm will reach $10,000 strong.

Further west at John Kessler farm, the cyclone seems to have caught the family unprepared. Everything was swept away in an instant. Mrs. Kessler was killed and her husband seriously injured. Their son Henry was badly shaken up, but will probably recover.

The fine brick house and barn on the Bristol place, just west of Hickory Grove are gone completely. All the family got safely into the cellar save Gus, an eighteen year old boy, who clung to a post, but was lifted up and carried nearly a mile through the air and deposited in a plowed field where he lay for some time in an unconscious condition. He finally regained his senses, and wandered around in a dazed condition until he found his people. Gus’ shoes and stockings had been torn off and his clothing was in shreds, but he still had a glove between his teeth, where he hastily put it to get a better grip on the post.

Other parties west and southwest of Mt. Carroll who were more or less damaged by the cyclone are: A. A. Nelson, Geo. C. Kenyon, Harry Witmer, Geo. Rauser, A. L. Hartman, Geo. Fulrath, Sr., Henry Harnish, Geo. Bickelhaupt, Clayton Buckwalter, C. L. Kinney, James White, Al Dupuis.

The old Samuel Preston farm, now occupied by William Wires, was devastated. All buildings are down except one.

The Preston school house has disappeared from the face of the earth.

E. L. Tomlinson on the river bottoms south of Savanna is reported to have lost all his buildings. One of his hired men blown into a pond and drowned, and another insane through fright.

Parties who were fishing at Sand Slough saw the cyclone cross the river. They say the water was carried 200 feet in the air, and in falling drenched the east side for a quarter of a mile from the river.

East Of Lanark

Passing from Chris Rowland’s over the cemetery the destruction was enormous. The beautiful pine trees were uprooted and twisted off by the score, and heavy monuments tossed about like so many straws. In the old part the heavy Dame monument is the only one standing and uninjured. Most of them are only thrown down and can be replaced easily. Some are chipped and broken beyond repair.

Directly east across the road from the cemetery is the Ezra Schroek place occupied by Chas. Wentz. Here the damage is considerable. All outbuildings down, the house unroofed and badly racked, fences gone, and trees and shrubbery ruined.

The old Flautt house south east of the cemetery was damage considerable. Chimneys blown down and part of house roof gone. Barn slightly damaged.

At Cal. Puterbaugh’s place, 1 miles east of town, his barn, some outbuildings and windmill are gone and his house is in a badly twisted condition. Mr. Puterbaugh was not hat home and we could not ascertain his loss but it is considerable. It is understood that he will rebuild as soon as possible as his residence is hardly safe in the condition it is. Several hundred rods of fence are also gone on this place.

Henry Arnold, wife and children were in the cellar when the storm broke over the town. The house above them was taken as slick as could be off the foundation, not even a chip dropping into the cellar. Mrs. Arnold had about 100 quarts of canned fruit in the cellar and only one jar was broken. The house and all the outbuildings here are a total wreck, with everything being smashed and broken. Mr. Arnold had a new dwelling house and nine new outbuildings a week ago, now he has only a large pile of kindling wood in all shapes, sizes, and lengths. He lost about 300 little and about 35 large chickens of thoroughbred strains, besides two large hogs and eight or ten small thoroughbred pigs. His furniture is all gone and what little he has left cannot be repaired. Mr. Arnold’s clothes were hardly soiled by the storm but Mrs. Arnold has clothes scattered all around the country. His loss consists of about $500 above his insurance on household goods, farm implements and stock. Mrs. Arnold carried insurance to the amount of $1,480 and will resume building operations on the same foundations used before as soon as he settles with the insurance adjusters.

Siegel Taylor who lives on the Amos Wolf place across from H. S. Arnold’s did not suffer as bad as his neighbor but nevertheless was pretty badly scared. The house and outbuildings here were somewhat out of range of the storm and besides moving house from foundation, chimney gone and windows destroyed nothing else of any importance happened here. Pine trees two and three feet in circumference were snapped in two and scattered along the road at this point as though they were toothpicks. Repairs will be made as soon as possible.

D.S. Arnold further up the road was touched up a little, but his loss will not be heavy -- About $200. He suffered the loss of a couple of small outbuildings and the barn was moved six or eight inches from foundation.

The public tool house near the Grisinger school house is said to have been moved from foundation a few inches but no further damage done. Near the Geo. Taber place a road grader was picked up and set on end very nicely, but owning to some freak of nature nothing was broken.

_____ Penticoff, living on the Amos Wolf place, was pretty badly scared but suffered no personal loss of any mention. (The space, representing Penticoff’s missing first name, is original.)

Milt Lichty, living near the Grisinger school house, had a corn crib upset but no further loss.

On the John Stineman place about everything is a total wreck. The force of wind stripped the shingles off the roof as clean as could be, even taking some of the nails out. The house was moved about a foot off of foundation. The force of the wind here seemed to act as a suction as all the doors and windows inside of house were blown out instead of in. Mr. Stineman was in an outbuilding at the time of the storm and came near losing his life by having the building fall on him. He was very much surprised to find most everything in sight gone, when he recovered from his fright. A large part of the house is now being held up by a good sized prop, and by the looks of things, the said prop is working overtime daily. One of Mr. Stineman’s horses was badly injured by having a portion of roof fall upon it. A five board fence was once around the place a few weeks ago but a whole fence board cannot now be found on the farm. His loss will amount to at least $1,5000 with no insurance. (Note: An obvious typo here; whether this is supposed to be $15,000 or $1, 500 I don’t know.) He will rebuild as soon as possible and will erect substantial buildings. The young orchard at this place is torn out by the roots, twisted and twirled and is a complete loss. His farm machinery, windmill, buggies and all the grain that was stored on the place is gone and he knoweth not whither.

At the Geo. Taber farm everything went as slick and clean as a whistle. Barn, house and all outbuildings. The house rested on a small hill and consequently received the full blow of the storm. It is understood that nothing of any importance was saved. Loss about $2,000 with insurance of $600. His tenant, Benj. Helsinger, lost all his household goods and implements, together with some live stock.

All the buildings on the old Tupper farm south of Geo. Taber’s, occupied by Conrad Dampman, was totally destroyed. Mr. Dampman lost all of his farm machinery and household goods.

Conrad Diehl’s place was out of reach of the storm, but he suffered the loss of a good horse while in the field.

A short distance from Stineman’s is the Alt. Nichols place and the buildings there were all demolished in the twinkling of an eye. The barn is a total wreck and the house was lifted completely off of the foundation and scattered over the adjoining country. It is understood that Mr. and Mrs. Nichol took refuge in the cellar when the storm broke and that they had a very narrow escape from death by a large stone from the foundation falling in the cellar within a few inches of Mr. Nichols and wife. A large pine tree that formerly served as a shade tree in front of the house succumbed and fell over the cellar. The foundation is badly used up and will have to be rebuilt. The residence was on a small hill and received the full force of the storm. All fences within eyesight from this place are gone and only a few posts remain. The household furniture is scattered around and is in a bad mix. We did not see Mr. Nichols as to his loss but it is understood that it was pretty heavy. He found his wife’s ring Monday among some broken dishes. The sets were gone and the ring was badly twisted. It will serve as a memento of the cyclone of ‘98.

A short distance east lives Mr. and Mrs. George Nichols and family. The house and barn were in a slight hollow and through some freak of nature the storm was most severe here. It being the worst mixed up and badly scattered farm between here and Shannon. The large bank barn is a total wreck and the foundation is partly gone at one end. Across the road was the house but it is gone complete except a small summer kitchen. The windmill, corn cribs, hen houses, farm machinery, household goods, furniture and the supply of grain on hand at the time of the storm are all of the minus quality. A small grove of large pine trees before and to the side of the house are a sight themselves and shows very plainly the force of the wind. Some are uprooted while others are still standing erect without any bark to hide their nakedness. The storm here was at its fiercest and it will take an immense amount of labor to straighten things up in proper shape again. A short distance behind the house is one of the largest mixed up messes since the event of Noah’s ark. There you can see bed springs in the treetops, bed ticks in branches of the trees and a milk tank is lodged securely in a pile of debris close by. A short distance away from this point are carpets, running gears to both wagon and buggies, buggy wheels with the spokes blown out and a person can also see inch boards that have been driven into the ground to a depth of eight to ten feet. A buggy tongue lying near by proves conclusively that the storm was no plaything as it is twisted, splintered and tied in a dozen different knots of its own making. A small garden was just beginning to flourish at one side of the house, but the wind carried it all away slick and clean. The Gazette reporter did not see Mr. Nichols as he was absent from the farm and we do not know how much of his stock is killed or what his losses are; but at a rough estimate would put his loss at least $4,000.

While driving across the country we noticed that all along the hedges were large piles of fine debris collected in the bushy branches. Small stuff being wedged into the hedge so tight that is impossible to dislodge it.

At Jacob Grossman’s all the small buildings are leveled, barn damaged, large cattle barn entirely gone and house damaged to considerable extent, trees torn out by the roots and fences laid low. The damage will approach $2,000. Mr. Grossman has carried cyclone insurance for years and is protected to some extent.

David Rowland also sustained some loss on outbuildings and stock. His hired man was out doors and rushed into a cattle shed for protection, and thinking that a not very safe place, left it for a solid post outside. He had hardly done so before the shed was wrecked, burying about a dozen head of cattle in the ruins. Some were hurt but the most of them were extricated without serious injury. (Note: The hired man most probably was Morris Horner, Alice Horner’s grandfather.)

Conrad Peters home - before and after

Conrad Peters fine two story brick residence is a complete wreck and so are all the outbuildings around the place.

The house was brick veneer and was jarred so suddenly that all the brick shook off the entire structure except a little spot in front. The windows are all gone and the house is twisted so that the doors refuse to open.

The roof was carried away slick and clean. The walls and ceilings of the upper story are badly caved in. Large trees were uprooted here and tossed aside like a child’s plaything, even the sidewalk down to the road was picked up and carried away. Clothes, stoves, kitchen utensils and hundreds of other things are scattered around in endless confusion. Mr. Peters’ loss is not known, but it will be in the neighborhood of about $3,000. Some stock is reported killed. He will rebuild at once.

Will Manning lost his barn and all farm machinery. He also lost a valuable horse.

Albert Shaner living on the Scott Lowman farm lost considerable, but the largest loss was to Lowman on account of the barn being gone, also granary and corn cribs damaged.

W. P. Johnston living a short distance east lost his house, barn and all outbuildings, except part of corn crib. Everything is gone here including clothes, valuables and household trinkets. Where the house once stood now looks like some one had gone over the ground and carefully swept it with a brand new broom. Mr. Johnston’s loss is not so heavy in a financial point of view as he carried $2,700 insurance against cyclones. Fences are unknown in this vicinity at present. There is not even a suspicion that there ever was a fence within miles. A short distance beyond this place is part of a wagon lying in the road awaiting a claimant. Heavy timbers are scattered along the road here for at least three quarters of a mile.

The line of trees between Joe Warner’s and Johnston’s land are partly uprooted and twisted in horrible shape, but strong as they were the force of the storm was not broken.

At E. Cheeseman’s farm everything is in total ruins. House, barn, outbuildings were swept almost perfectly clean. One horse, one cow and a large number of spring shoats were killed in an instant. (Note: The OED defines a shoat as a young pig, newly weaned.) The family were in a small kitchen at the time of the storm and while endeavoring to get into the cellar the storm broke and Mr. Cheeseman was thrown into the front yard rather violently, it being some time before he regained consciousness. The rest of the family were not even scratched and the small building they were in was the only complete building left standing. The loss here is the greatest on the road between Lanark and Shannon as it is more complete. One of the largest and finest barns in Carroll county graced this place, the dimensions being 38 x 64 and cost to erect three years ago an even $1,300. The farm machinery was nearly all new, but owing to breakage is little or no good and the household goods, clothing, furniture, carpets, cooking utensils, jewelry, valuables of different kinds are all gone. Trees in this vicinity are without bark and numerous things can be seen hanging in the branches in peculiarly striking attitudes. Six young calves were frisking around the Cheeseman place last week, now there are only two and they have had all the friskiness taken out of them. Large crowds of working men are being sent out from Shannon and it is estimated that about 500 men are at work at present in the vicinity. The Shannon lodges are doing more than their share in sending men and money, also the stores of that town are understood to be liberal donors of food supplies. Mr. Cheeseman placed a rough estimate on his property and thinks about $5,000 will place him right with the world again.

Across the road from E. Cheeseman’s was formerly the residence of Henry Rahn, but it is different now as Rahn’s house, barn, and outbuildings are no more in that locality. A short distance south of his place and also to the north are marks that the storm left showing it to be at least a quarter of a mile in width. Mr. Rahn lost everything in both barn and house. Not even recovering hardly enough clothing for a small boy. At the time of the storm Mr. Rahn ran away from the house while the rest of the family hustled for the cellar. The storm took overtook him in a small ravine and he lay flat on the ground hanging on to the grass roots and he had to hang pretty tight too. Several pieces of flying boards fell around him and on him bruising him up considerably. Mrs. Rahn received a severe cut on her head while in the cellar, owing to falling timbers. His loss is about $3,500 with no insurance. He will rebuild immediately.

Mrs. Peter Hyzer’s place, opposite that of Cheeseman’s is demolished. All the buildings here are gone. It is said that two large farm horses here were carried over a willow fence and set down without any damage whatever. No insurance. Estimated loss $3,000. Will rebuild.

Wm. Erdmier is minus house, barn and all outbuildings. Three horses lost. The tornado picked one horse up and carried him half a mile, when found a fence board was sticking through him. 52 head of hogs went to join the horses. As it was about supper time a fire was in the cooking stove and after the storm had gone by it was discovered that the debris was burning fiercely. No protection could be made to save things so everything went up in smoke. Tornado and fire insurance $3,200. He will rebuild.

Jake Daniels, Sr. lost house and barn, corncrib and granary still standing. Loss $3,000. No insurance.

Jake Daniels, Jr. lost everything. He is right across the road from the old homestead. New furniture and household goods. Loss about $2,500. No insurance. He will probably rebuild.

At the Chris Geisman place, barn and all outbuildings gone. Also lost 2 horses, 20 head of hogs and several calves. He is understood to have $1,000 insurance.

At the old Lehman farm part of the house and born tore away. Rest of buildings uninjured. No insurance. Loss $1,000.

Jim Messner lost all outbuildings. No insurance. Loss $1,000.

Hail stones as large as a man’s fist were common. We have heard of some being picked up that measured 13 inches in circumference.

Near Forreston

The following story of the tornado is taken from the Forreston Herald of last Saturday. The only properties in town that were molested were F. Folkert’s barn, completely ruined; John Gersbaugh’s house partially unroofed; and Sam Acley’s house where several windows were blown out, and the cooling board and drapery where his dead wife lay was almost overturned and the white drapery so badly spoiled with mud that it had to be removed.

At F. A. Heilman’s the destruction was complete, and to crown it all, the debris of one of the buildings took fire. Hogs, cattle, horses and other animals were strewn over the country dead or in a dying condition. Mr. H., wife and little child took refuge in the cellar and escaped bodily injury. Scarcely anything was left worth saving. Barn, grain, and all was strewn over the land. Mr. Heilman misses a tin box, about 10 x 12 inches, painted red, with lock to it containing valuable papers , and an account book, which cannot be found.

Going to the Halsy place where Lewis Basse lived, the conditions were about the same, excepting the fire. Hay, straw, etc. were blown in such solid masses that a common fork cannot penetrate the embankments lodged against the hedges and other obstructions. Hogs, horses, chickens, cats, dogs, etc. were lying dead or dying all around. Not a vestige of anything but rubbish is left; even the giant trees of many years are broken off or uprooted. Some of the trees had roots projecting ten feet in the air. A pocket book containing some money was found here by relic hunters. Mrs. Basse received injuries to a shoulder. They took refuge in the cellar.

Not long after this report came that Johann Maas, near Harper, had met with great disaster in the death of three children and the possible death of the mother.

Later in the evening the three dead children were brought to DeGraff’s undertaking rooms. The boy about ten years of age was the first to receive attention. He was terribly mutilated. Apparently not a bone in his little body was unbroken, and his face was so thoroughly impregnated with dust that no amount of scrubbing with hot water could eradicate the grime. The little girl probably eight years old, a pretty child, was next. She was not as dirty as the boy, but her neck, back, arms, and legs were broken. Both children were as limp as rags. The last one was a boy baby two months old, which was found imbedded in the dirt and had to be dug out. Its little skull was broken open and the brains exposed.

It seems the mother and these three children were in the house and when it was taken away they were carried nearly forty rods and lodged in a ditch east of the home. The mother died at 4 o’clock in the morning, after great suffering.

At Harper

The first place visited was Peter S. Myers’ whose windmill was blown across the top of his house, and his large bank barn totally destroyed. Hay, corn and other grain, together with livestock strewn all over the land. Loss heavy.

The large new house of Avert Ludwig, which on account of its size and prominence on the corner of his fields, was a landmark, is completely gone, together with the barns and outbuildings. Good for nothing but kindling wood already split for the fire.

Continuing on we stopped at Johann Maas’ where we viewed great destruction also, but the saddest of all was the sight within the house where lay the mother of the three dead children, in her coffin, and the husband and father in an adjoining bed room with the remaining children, almost distracted with grief, which no consolation of friends could relieve. This was a sad scene indeed, and would test the nerves of the bravest.

At John Radamaker’s we found that horses were buried in the grain where they died. The large bank barn gone. Corn planter forty rods away in the grove. All hogs killed or dying.

At Tony Van Raden’s the iron wind mill was blown across the top of the barn.

At Engleke VanRaden’s the barn was unroofed, machinery in a heap and fences all down.

At Peter S. Myers’ besides what is related above, two horses and three cattle were killed; a car load of barley was exposed to the weather; large timbers from the barn were carried 80 rods away. Stone on which the steel wind tower rested, weighing two tons, were removed from their place.

Kaltenberg’s house and barn entirely gone, nothing can be found except pieces of stoves and a few heavy articles. Not a timber or board to be found. Mr. K. Had his arm dislocated. Clothing hung on the line was all lodged in the hedge or wire fence, reduced to nothing more than worthless rags. Simon Voss found an old purse in the hedge fence containing a small amount of money, which had been diligently searched for by the family, and turned it over to the owner.

At Geo. Hardenstein’s the destruction was complete. Carpets and spoutings were lodged in the willow trees.

The Diehl school house is completely demolished. Nothing left of it except a little of the foundation.

At Harm Holstein’s, what is known as the old Henry Dovenberger homestead, the destruction is complete. Not a thing is left but kindling wood and broken machinery. Here we saw 10 head of cattle, 2 horses and a lot of hogs lying around dead. Some of the cattle were carried 40 rods away from the stable. Mr. Holstein cannot find his treasurer box, containing all his valuable papers. It is painted red. Will pay for its return.

Reuben Fry escaped much injury. His house was painted with mud on the north side, and nearly all his windows taken out. He lost a newly built kitchen. The old John Dovenberger place, occupied by John R. Heeren, is totally destroyed.

John Timmer’s house and barn blown all over the farms. Eli Timmer’s house and barn all gone. Nothing left of it. Herman Dicker’s house and barn completely demolished.

Bunker Hill schoolhouse nowhere to be found. Nothing but the iron pump left. Cooney Smith’s house, barn, and cribs all down.

Harry Blair’s new house and new barn all gone, besides 24 hogs, 2 cattle and two calves killed. Mr. Blair is disabled.

Arthur Middlekauff’s house and barn gone. J. H. Middlekauff’s windmill and barn gone.

Nearing Adeline we found the old stone church completely unroofed, the steeple, bell and all in a heap in the graveyard.

At Adeline

No less than seven dwellings were totally destroyed. The Hammond residence, occupied by T. B, Rinehart, total; Gottlief Rummel residence, total; John Rinehart residence, total; Rev. A. X. Harrison residence, total; German Evangelical church, total; Schumacher place, total; Mrs. Downey’s house, unroofed; Hi Mullin’s house, unroofed; Creamery chimney and part of roof gone.

Besides all this destruction two lives were lost in Adeline, Eberhart Shoemaker and Josephus Mullen.

Richard Reese was killed south of Byron and five persons in Stillman Valley.

At Mt. Morris

Extract from a letter from Frank Eckerle.
Mr. Benj. Fridley’s house was razed to the ground, utterly demolished -- his barn, also horses, cattle and chickens were killed, but the people were saved, sustaining a few injuries. All but one boy were in the cellar. When it was over he was found near where the house had stood, hugging the stump of a tree that had been twisted off and carried out of sight. He had a broken leg and arm and some smaller injuries. The father also had a small cut on his head and a broken shoulder. They were all so besmeared with mud that they could be recognized with difficulty. Chickens, dead and living, were deplumed and looked half ready for the cook. Only one old rooster escaped with his feathers. A calf had a 2 x 4 scantling run through its body and a horse had one stuck fast in its hip and was bleeding to death. Four or five horses dead--one carried almost to the house. A corn plow was in the cellar too.

Uncle Dave Price’s barn was demolished, several hogs and some horses killed and part of his house torn down.

Mr. Gegou’s barn destroyed, house badly damaged but left standing. Near the railroad a man and wife were in a bank barn milking. When pieces began to fly they ran to the wall and timbers, boards, hay and debris of every description fell all around them and yet the only injury sustained was when the cow stepped on the man’s foot which first called his attention from his milking enough for him to be cognizant of a worse thing coming upon them. These are only a few of the incidents as related by those who went to the scene.

Notes

People from all over the county visited the path of the storm Sunday in the eastern part of the county and all agree that it is not so bad as in the west end of Carroll county’s domain.

Everybody is anxious and willing to help clear up their neighbor’s debris.

When the Gus Smith farm was demolished Grandfather Jeffries who was in the cellar was found to be covered about the head with a fluid resembling blood. It was feared he was fatally injured, but a closer investigation proved it to be the juice of canned raspberries.

A. H. Hawk of this city, was near Adeline when the cyclone struck and sought safety in a barn. The structure was blown down and a horse fell on him. He was brought home that night and has since been confined to the house. It is understood his injuries are not serious.

At Dupuis place near Hickory Grove the tongue and front wheels of a new wagon are entirely missing, while the hind wheels are uninjured and were not moved an inch out of their tracks.

A sheep, with a shingle driven through its left hind leg, was observed hobbling about in Shaner’s pasture Sunday. The shingle was about a foot long, and projected six inches on each side.

A man by the name of Smith, who works for Coon Peters, thought the cyclone wouldn’t amount to much and refused to go to the cellar. The wind picked him up from the front porch, threw him through an upstairs window and down the stairs on the inside. He had a leg broken and has a different opinion of cyclones now.

Geo. Nicols’ hired man stood at the top of the cellar stairs, holding a door shut; the house was lifted over his head, and smashed into thousands of fragments. He did not receive a scratch.

Henry Arnold has some chickens running around which are entirely destitute of feathers, except a collar around their necks.

It is estimated that from 150 to 200 monuments were toppled over in the Lanark Cemetery. Many of them are broken and chipped, but few entirely ruined.

It is reported that west of town the skin of a hog was picked up, which was removed from the animal as neatly as if done by an experienced butcher. Only a portion of the head remained in the skin.

One section of a disc harrow was picked up, which in flying through the air had struck some obstruction and was bent double, the two edges coming together. There is not an appliance in a Lanark machine shop that could have produced the same effect.

Queer freaks of the tornado are being related on all sides. Many of them appear incredible, but after one has passed over the track of the storm, he is ready to believe almost anything.

Many articles have been found in fields far removed from the cyclone’s course, some of them indicating by the addresses thereon that they have come a great distance. Pillows, sheets, tablecloths, mortgages, notes, insurance policies, women’s wearing apparel, etc. have been found, some of which is believed to have come from the vicinity of Maquoketa, Iowa.

A dining room chair was picked up on Eli Lower’s farm. It is not even scratched. Where it came from no one knows.

A diagram of the tornado’s course can be found on one of our inside pages together with a concise account of the damage inflicted elsewhere. The storm was fearful and far reaching. The foregoing account covering the ground from the river to Adeline may be relied upon as correct in all essential features.

(Note: The transcriber does not have this diagram and would really like a copy if at all possible. If she doesn’t receive one, she may later make a map using a 1908 Carroll County Plat Book. If you have a Carroll County Plat Book closer to 1898, or a copy of the original map referred to in this article, please inform Alice Horner. An account written at the time of the Cyclone by the Mt. Carroll newspaper may also be made available, and it is believed that account provides a map.)

Mt. Carroll

The terrible destruction of property by the cyclone that passed through our county last Wednesday is still the absorbing theme for thought and conversation. The wonder that so few persons were injured or lost their lives seems almost miraculous, but the wonderful appearance of the destructive power just above the horizon was so manifest that it inspired all cautious people with an impulse to seek a place of safety, and the best refuge was the cellars of the houses. So far as we have learned all who did so came out without personal injury, or at least very slightly so. There are a great many persons who have explained the wonderful phenomenon, with its source of so great power, that your scribe is in total ignorance on the subject and how people got so great knowledge is as much a wonder a the cyclone itself. We stood near the entrance to a substantial cellar watching the motions which had the appearance of an apocryphal beast, twisting, turning, heaving and writhing in painful contortions agonizing to deliver itself from the grasp of a greater power than was inherent to itself. How feeble does man become in the presence of such an exhibition of forces in nature, apparently undirected by organized mind. It evidently was some such manifestation of natural or supernatural power that led Job to exclaim to his conceited friends as a rebuke, "Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? Or his tongue with a cord thou lettest down?" Job XLI:1. He that rideth on the storm and controlleth the winds, alone has the power to control results.

Charles Carley and family of Morrison came up to view the effects of the cyclone and to visit their son, Fred. S. and family.

Robert Gillogly of Washington township is spending a few days in our city the guest of his congenial friend, Jacob Lohr. Quite a number of incidents of the long, long ago has to be conned over and embellished.

The remains of Samuel Hoover, killed in the cyclone at the county home, was taken to Milledgeville on Friday for burial, that being his home before coming to the county farm.

Rev. I. L. Richmond will lecture in the Joe Arnold’s school house in Freedom township on Tuesday evening, May 31st, inst. Subject, "Cubas Battle For Bread." (Note: The Spanish American War was going on at this time.) A chorus choir of young people from Mt. Carroll will furnish excellent music. No charge for admission but a free will offering will be solicited. We can safely promise all who are interested in Cuba that they will be well paid for attending. Cuba is the all absorbing question of the day and demands the aid and sympathy of human people everywhere. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes to a certain extent.

Dr. Caldwell of Freeport was in this city last Friday visiting Mr. Carroll Henderson and Mrs. Wm. Warfield, both of whom are old people and quite seriously afflicted.

Mr. Hoover of Freeport was here on Saturday attending to business. He purchases hides, tallow and other pertenances of beef cattle.

Lewis Tompkins of Aspen, Colo., is the guest of his mother and sister of this city. Lewis has made a success in the far west and as a result of his surroundings he is an ardent silver advocate."

Some persons estimated the number of vehicles used on last Sunday at one thousand, used by people in viewing the ruins made by the cyclone last Wednesday near this city. There were visitors from a distance of 25 miles and one of the saddest features of such calamities is the propensities of people to carry away something as a souvenir that might be useful to the family whose property was destroyed, such as silver knives, forks, spoons, and such like articles. We do not think as a rule the people mean to pilfer but curiosity to have something to take things thoughtlessly. One fellow tried to carry off a live pig but was prevented. Our people are out today (Monday) helping to clean up the debris and to restore articles to their places as much as possible. The Baptist church will open every afternoon this week to receive clothing, food, furniture or any useful articles the generous hearted may be willing to help restore the loss. Push the work along.

Henry Mackay Esq. and family went up to Pleasant Valley on Monday to make Rev. J. R, Smith a social visit. Rev. Smith is an aged minister of the gospel, a Scotchman by birth. The genial talented poet of Pleasant Valley, though quite aged, his lovely genial nature breaks out in poems brim full of youthful energy. Love of God, of man and of nature keeps old age in bloom.

It is a sad commentary on the habits of the present age that of the great number of young men rejected as unfit for military duty, that ninety percent of them were cigarette smokers. The heart was affected, the defect of head led to the disgusting habit.

Last Saturday, Mrs. Kessler was buried at the Hickory Grove cemetery. Elder William Eisenbise preached the sermon. She was killed by the cyclone on Wednesday afternoon last. Mrs. Kessler was born in Germany and was at the time of her death about 68 years of age. She was an old lady loved and respected by every one who knew her. The tragic manner of her death casts a gloom of sadness over the whole community. She leaves an aged injured husband and three children to mourn their loss.

J. N. Keech and wife of Oxford Junction, Iowa, were visitors in our city Friday and Saturday last.

Mrs. Nellie Dains Walmar of Battle Creek, Michigan came home to visit with her father and sister. Mrs. Walmar is always a welcome visitor in this city where she was educated and had her home.

Willie Charles of Chicago is the guest in our city of Mrs. H. Colehour and Geo. R. Stanton. Mr. Charles was a former resident of our city.

C. W. Middlekauff Esq., Lanark’s leading legal luminary, was in this city on Saturday having on his genial countenance a legislative smile which he distributed to the able bodied voters, accompanied with a warm grasp of his hand. There were circumlocution about his purpose, which was to solicit a vote for him as candidate for representative in the legislature. His manly way of soliciting votes made friends for him so that if he should secure the plum, Lanark could feel proud and the county would not have to feel ashamed.

Rev. J. P. Phillips, Jno. Rinewalt and Orrin Grove attends the associational rally of the B.Y.P.U. At Polo on Thursday of this week.

On account of the great calamity that has befallen so many of our citizens, the G. A. R. have decided that it would be patriotic to declare all matters that cost money, off, and contribute to the sufferers, so our decoration will be observed in a quiet undemonstrative manner. Jeremiah.

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