Marathon, MI Tornado, Jun 1855

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Destructive Whirlwind.

The town of Marathon in this county, was visited last Tuesday evening with the most destructive tornado ever known in this section of country.
It came from a westerly direction, and the first we hear of it was at JOHN CRAWFORD'S, in the town of Forest. MR. CRAWFORD'S barn was unroofed, and the boards, rafters, &c., carried in considerable distance. MR. McKINSTRY'S house was unroofed and much damaged. JOHN BLUE'S house and barn were unroofed, and the barn, a new frame building, was much racked. His fields were so much filled with fallen timber, old logs, rails, lumber and rubbish, that it will require nearly as much labor to clear it off as it did in a state of nature. MR. MERRILL'S house was moved from its foundation and unroofed. The widow LUTHER'S house was entirely demolished, and some of the furniture carried off in the whirl. Her son, a young man of eighteen or twenty years, was seen to be holding on to a wild plum tree, but after the tornado had passed, he was found upon the ground some rods off, the plum tree having been twisted from the ground. The young man was laying across MR. LUTHER, who had one arm broken in two places, and was otherwise so seriously injured that his recovery is very doubtful.
The school house was unroofed. MARTIN VALENTINE'S house was also unroofed. These are the only buildings we have heard of that were injured.
The heaviest loss will be in the destruction of the valuable pine and other timber in its course. So great was the force of the whirlwind that nothing could withstand it. The giants of the forest, which have withstood the storms of a hundred years, were wrenched from their roots, and tossed about like straws. Even stumps firmly embedded in mother earth, were torn up and carried many rods. Old logs which had laid on the ground for years were disturbed and torn from their resting place.
The air was literally filled with fence rails, limbs of trees, boards, rafters, shingles, &c., which were lifted to an immense height. The course of the whirlwind was in a nearly east direction, ranging from twenty rods to a half a mile in width, and making a clean sweep as it went. We have heard from over eight miles of its course, and it was still moving on its track of devastation and ruin.
We have been told by those who have visited the spot, that the track of the tornado presents a most singular appearance. The trees growing in the centre were twisted off and thrown lengthways, while those each side were thrown across those in the centre, the tops pointing in, and forming a handsome window.
In some places even the culverts across the roads were torn up by the tornado, and the roads generally are filled up with a promiscuous assortment of timber and rubbish of all kinds.
Near CRAWFORD'S is a small lake about forty rods wide and fifty or sixty long, the water of which raised higher than the tops of the trees, leaving the lake nearly dry. Near the house of MR. MERRILL, is what is called a mound spring from which a stream of water sufficient to fill a three-inch pipe is discharged. The spring forms a basin ten or twelve feet in diameter, and about eighteen inches deep. All the water was drawn up, and those who observed it say that no water arose in the spring for some moments after the tornado had passed.

Wisconsin Free Democrat Milwaukee Wisconsin 1855-06-06