St Charles, MN Tornado, Oct 1903

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DEATH IN TORNADO'S FURY

Widespread Loss of Life and Property in the West.

BUSY TOWN NEARLY WIPED OUT

The Village of St. Charles, Minn., Laid Waste - Business Section Ruined and Nearly 100 Dwellings Torn to Pieces - Much Damage Was Done Elsewhere and Many Persons Were Injured.

Milwaukee, Wis. -- The story of a terrific storm sweeping across the State from the Mississippi to Lake Michigan, carrying death and destruction in its wake, is told by the dispatches which come from almost every city. Twelve were killed and a score or more injured.

The worst of the storm was felt at St. Charles, Minn., just across the Wisconsin line, which was almost completely wiped out with a record of seven killed and twenty-eight injured, many seriously.

The dead are:
JOHN HEBENS, SR.;
WILLIAM HEBENS, his son;
WILL ADAMS;
OSCAR CRITTEUDEN;
GEORGE JESSON;
ED MURPHY;
ED PETERS, of Dover, Minn.

The entire main street of the town was literally wiped out, hardly a business place being left standing. Forty-two residences were destroyed, and the total property damage is estimated at $100,000. Among the buildings demolished were the Central School Building, the Chicago Great Western Depot, the Catholic church and Parrott's Wagon Works.

At 2:30 p. m. the storm cloud was seen approaching from the southwest, and there was an immediate scramble for places of safety. The tornado struck the town from the southwest quarter and made a clean sweep through it, following almost entirely the line of the main street and devastating buildings on each side. Then the residences further back from the business centre were struck and many of them blown completely away.

It seems almost miraculous that there was not a greater loss of life. Four of those killed were in JOHN EBEN'S saloon when it collapsed, and they were buried beneath the wreckage. Two others were in a dry goods store which was blown away, and they were killed by the falling walls. E. PETERS, of Dover, was killed in the wreck of a hotel. The telephone exchange was demolished, and two of the girls were seriously injured.

The storm came upon the town with such suddenness that it was filling the air with debris of buildings before the citizens realized the nature of the calamity. Many of those injured received their hurts from flying missiles, while others were caught beneath the wreckage of their business houses or homes and remained pinioned down until rescued by the relief party.

The storm, however, seems to have followed very closely the boundary line between Minnesota and Iowa and damage to farm buildings, dwellings and grain stacks, with injury to human beings and death to live stock, is reported from several points in that locality.

At Almond, near Waupaca, three were killed, and at Blain, Wis., in the same district, two others met death. Wisconsin was not alone in feeling the effects of the storm, for the wind swept the upper peninsula of Michigan, also doing considerable damage there. The dead at Almond and Blain are: ALBERT HOLTZ, Almond; MIRS. HOLTZ, JOHN HOLTZ, aged fifteen years; ABRAM JOHNSON and MRS. JOHNSON.

The storm at Almond came unexpectedly. The day had been muggy, but a sudden shift of the wind was followed by a tornado, which torn down a dozen houses in various parts of Waupaca County.

The home of the HOLTZ'S was destroyed, and all three occupants are dead. At Blain, in addition to the dead, SAMUEL ERICSON was found in the ruins of his home, fatally hurt. ROBERT MANK was found with his back broken.

At Oshkosh the greatest trouble was due to falling electric light wires. Two men were struck and badly burned. At Baraboo the Baraboo River rose above its banks and flooded the business part of the city in a short time.

At Houghton and Marquette, Mich., the storm blew in the plate glass windows and the hail did damage. Several were injured at Independence, Wis., and the entire town was left in darkness by the burning of the electric light plant, due to lightning.

One man was killed and twelve were injured in Independence, where the property loss is $100,000.

In Racine, CARL LARSON was struck by a falling electric light wire and killed.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1903-10-09