Genealogy Trails

Jackson County, Illinois


Friday, March 28, 1890

A cyclone passed over the northern part of this county on yesterday evening about 4 o'clock, crossing Bradley township traversing in a north-east direction.  The first house in the tornado's track was on the farm of WM. C. DEAN south-west of Shiloh Hill, known as JACK BURK farm; THEORDORE GILLESPIE has the place rented.  Mr. GILLISPIE and his little son CALVIN were in the barn at work' when the storm struck it they were blown outside but fortunately escaped without injury.  The barn was completely demolished, killing one horse and two mules belonging to MR. DEAN.  At the house were MRS. GILLISPIE and the three younger children, the house suffered the same fate as the barn, but here too, the inmates were fortunate enough to come out of the wreck unhurt, with the exception of the hired girl, who had her collar bone broken.
The storm traversing a north-east course, next struck the farm of Mr. T. J. CROSS.  MR. CROSS saw the funnel like cloud approaching in time to get his family together and get them into the cellar before the force of the tornado struck them.  MR. CROSS had a fine large barn demolished and his residence was almost completely torn away; the kitchen was blown down and one side and one end of the house torn out, every vestige of furniture was blown out of the sitting room and the room made as bare as an empty dry goods box.  MR. CROSS' loss will amount to several thousand dollars, but he considers himself fortunate in that none of his family were hurt.
The next place in the winds' wake was the farm of AUGUST NAGLE, the kitchen part of his residence, where his wife and hired girl were busy ironing, at the time the devastating cloud reached them, was blown down; but the women were saved by being under a heavy piece of timber that in falling lodged on the stove and prevented the crushing weight of the other portion from falling in upon them.  MR. NAGLE's barn afforded no more resistance to the force of the wind than if it had been paste-board.
From NAGLE's the course of the funnel fiend could be traced by uprooted orchards, forest trees and broken fences 'till when within a few hundred yards of Campbell Hill, it struck the barns of FRITZ WHIPCOMIER and WM. IRVIN; WHIPCOMIER's barn, which was almost new and very large, and strongly built was moved from it's foundation and MR. IRVIN's barn was entirely blown down.
Still traversing a north-east course and barely missing the town of Campbell Hill, the next victims of the winds' wrath were MR. JEFF WHEATLY and family and the family of REV. J. MCMILLAN who are close neighbors and live within a quarter mile of Campbell Hill.  Both houses and the two barns were scattered like a box of matches, and though both were substantial frame houses there was hardly a piece of either left but what a man could carry away.  MR. WHEATLY and his wife and four children were picked up in different parts of the yard some distance from where the house had stood.  the two places of MR. WHEATLY and REV MCMILLAN presented more the scene of a battle field than anything else it can be compared to.  MR. WHEATLY sustained severe internal injuries besides cuts and bruises about the head and face.  MRS. WHEATLY has both legs below the knees crushed and broken and a piece of flesh as large as the hand torn from the left one leaving the bare bone in view.  She also received cuts about the head; and her injuries are supposed to be fatal.  Four of his children are also badly hurt and may not recover, one a child of about four years old had the left side of the head crushed in ; another one about two years old has a broken leg and is badly cut about the face, an older one received a bad cut in the head and still another is seriously hurt in the back; in addition to the injuries mentioned all have bruises and cuts; two of his children escaped unhurt.
The family of REV. MCMILLAN fared but little, if any better than that of MR. WHEATLY.  MR. MCMILLAN happened to be in town when the storm struck his place and to this he probably owes his escape; if not from death, at least broken bones and cuts and bruises.  MRS. MCMILLAN and four children were found like the WHEATLY family scattered in different place about the yard.  MRS. MCMILLAN is injured internally and fears are entertained that she may not recover.  One child has her hip, ankle and foot dislocated, another has a leg broken, another is injured about the head and face, another has the tendons of the leg broken.  At this writing the probabilities are that one or more of them may die.
As soon as word was brought to Campbell Hill, which was in a few minutes after the storm had created such havoc, scores of kindly hands speeded out to render what aid and assistance was possible, the wounded were tenderly lifted and carried to town where the doors of sympathetic friends were thrown open to receive them.  MR. WHEATLY and family were taken to the residence of his father-in-law, SQUIRE J. H. WARD, and medical aid summoned.  Three of REV. MCMILLAN's children, all of them injured were taken to REV. G. A. GORDON's.  MRS. MCMILLAN and another child were taken to MR. A. O. GENUNG's and the baby which was found in the public road where it had been blown, rolled up in some bed clothing and escaped without a scratch, was cared for by MRS. J. L. TAGGART.  To add to the difficulties of the situation, DR. DEAN was the only physician home, DR. WHITTINGTON being in attendance at court in Murphysboro.  DR. DEAN worked like a Trojan but for one man to attend to the wants of so many injured was an impossibility.  The telegraph wires being down a hand car was sent to Ava with word for all or our Doctors to go at once to Campbell Hill, to assist in setting broken limbs and dressing wounds.  In response to the message, Drs. ROSSON, DAVIS and MCRUACK, with other parties who volunteered to go, boarded the handcar and in a few minutes were at the bedsides of the stricken nest relieving pain and applying bandages.  Quite a number of people went up from Ava in buggies to offer any help that might be needed.
Having wraught such terrible destruction in the immediate vicinity of Campbell Hill, the next victims of the storm's ravage were MR. JONNES LIPE and family, who live about four miles north-east of Campbell Hill in the edge of Perry County.  It is reported that MR. LIPE had one child killed, and all the other members of the family injured, some of them seriously.  His house and barn were blown down.
The above account furnishes but a meager description of the storm's savage work.  Telegraph poles were blown across the track, demolishing the wires and interrupting the running of the trains.  There were many narrow and thrilling escapes from the jaws of death.
Just before striking the barns of WHIPCOMIER and IRVIN, it divided into two parts, the part that blew down the homes of MR. WHEATLY and REV. MCMILLAN pursuing the original north-east course and the other part going off at an angle up through Randolph County, from where MR. W. C. DEAN and WHIT GILBREATH, who returned from St. Louis on the 8:32train brought reports of houses blown down and a number seriously injured in the neighborhood of Houston.  It will probably be several days before the full extent of the injury to persons and the damage to property is reported.

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