Helena, AR Tornado, Feb 1871


MEMPHIS, Feb. 19. --- A terrific tornado passed over Helena, Arkansas, Friday afternoon, the wind blowing a gale from 3 to 9 p. m., prostrating telegraph lines and fences for miles; uprooting trees, carrying them high into the air; demolishing and razing to the ground dwellings, churches, barns, warehouses and stores, and doing immense damage. The tin roof of a large warehouse on the bank of the river was carried into the air, and landed on the opposite side the river, two hundred yards from shore; distance fully a mile. One church was blown down, and two others badly injured. --- In all thirty-three buildings, mostly dwellings, were destroyed. In one instance a one-story frame house was lifted from its foundation with its occupants, and carried into the air, where it was turned completely over and hurled to the ground, bottom up, fully one hundred yards from where it stood, killing one of its occupants, a man, and seriously wounding a woman and child. The chain-cables of the wharf boat were snapped and the boat carried down the river some distance and landed on a bar. Coal barges and flats were also torn from moorings and carried by wind down stream; one striking the opposite shore sank. The steamer Geo. W. Cheek was caught in the hurricane, and it was with the greatest efforts that she was prevented from being capsized.

Liberty Weekly Tribune Missouri 1871-02-24

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