Lake Gervais, MN Tornado, Jul 1890

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Lake Gervais MINN Tornaco 7-13-1890.jpg Lake Gervais MINN Tornado 7-13-1890 2.jpg Lake Gervais MINN Tornado 7-13-1890 4.jpg St Paul Lake Gervais MINN Tornado 7-13-1890.jpg Newport MINN Tornado 1890.jpg Newport MINN Tornado 1890 2.jpg Newport MINN tornado 1890 3.jpg Newport MINN Tornado 1890 5.jpg

The place where the cyclone struck the ground and caused loss of life was on the shore of Lake Gervais where J. H. Schurmeier, of this city had a summer cottage in a little basin where Simon Good was also located. The funnel-shaped cloud swooped down on them, demolishing the dwellings and a number of other buildings in the same neighborhood. The camp of Colonel Helleser, of this city was blown down, but the party escaped injury. In the wreck of the Schurmeier and Good houses however, five were killed and ten injured.

Mrs. J. H. Schurmeier, Charles Schurmeier, of St. Paul, Rev. Mr. Phaefler, of Brennan, Texas; George Miller, of the First National Bank of this city, and Schurmeier's driver.

The bodies of Mrs. Schurmeier, her son, and Mr. Phaefler have not yet been found. The injured number ten. It is said that the cyclone was confined to a district [illegible]...... long, and that the worst damage was within a limit of half a mile.

George Hazard, a laborer in the employ of the ill-fated Schurmeier family, reached St. Paul a few minutes after midnight and reports that the list of dead at Coleman's and Gervais will certainly reach twenty. Three bodies were taken out of the lake last night. Between 4:45 and 5:30 the boatman at Coleman's let sixteen row-boats, each of which carried from two to five persons, and only four of the sixteen have returned. Many of these people were no doubt drowned.

At Coleman's also the tornado picked up the house of Joseph Latroux and carried it far into the lake. Mrs. Latroux and her little 4-year-old daughter were in the house and both drowned.

For three miles along the shore of the lake the road from St. Paul runs within a few feet of the water. Along the line of this highway the water is full of buggies, wagons, horses, broken trees and the debris of houses. It is practically certain that many people were blown into the lake and drowned, though no bodies have been recovered. Every thing is confusion, and the rain was so heavy that it is almost impossible to make any headway in the wreckage and waste of the water. Many farm houses along the shore of the lake were blown down and in some places portions of them were carried a mile.

On the Gervaise road, four miles north of the city, the house of Nathaniel Getzky, containing twelve persons, was completely demolished, two children were killed and six other persons so badly crushed that they are not expected to recover. Four of them had gone into the cellar and the wind slid the house from its foundation, dropping its "sleepers" upon them.

Midnight reports from Little Canada, a village of 500 people seven miles from St. Paul, indicate that the cyclone struck that place with full force. Twelve houses were blown down, three people killed and eight or ten injured.

Daily Freeman, Waukesha, WI 14 Jul 1890

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On the shore of Lake Gervais J. B. Schurmeier, of this city, had a summer cottage, where Simon Good was also located. The funnel-shaped cloud swooped down on them, demolishing the dwellings and a number of other buildings in the same neighborhood. The dead are Mrs. Schurmeier, Charles Schurmeier of St. Paul, the Rev. Mr. Peaefler of Beenan, Tex., who was visiting them; George Miller of the First National Bank of this City; "Pete," Mr. Schurmeier's driver, whose last name is not known. Ten persons were injured.

A steam launch on Lake Gervias was overturned, and it is reported that two of its occupants were drowned.

At Little Canada.... appearances indicated that the cyclone struck that place with full force. Twelve houses were blown down, three people killed, and eight or ten injured. Those killed were: Michael McAfee, George Burt, Hiram Nederstrom

Centralia Enterprise and Tribune, Centralia, WI 19 Jul 1890

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Another Victim of the Cyclone

Minneapolis, Minn., July 16. -- Another victim of the Lake Gervais cyclone, died yesterday. It was Mrs. John Clark, whose home at Little Canada was wrecked. Her left arm was torn off and her lung exposed. She died in great agony. A sliver pierced her husband just above the heart, and though he hovers between live and death, it is thought he has a chance to recover. The house of Robert Baumgardner, nearby was also completely wrecked, but the family escaped by going to the cellar.

Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, OH 16 Jul 1890

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Three More Victims

The Minnesota Cyclone Death List Being Swelled

Minneapolis, Minn, July 16 -- Three bodies of victims of the Lake Gervais cyclone, were found this morning. They were close together in a marshy portion of the lake, 200 feet from shore. The bodies of Chas. Shurmeier and Rev. M. Pfaefle were considerably mutilated; but that of Mrs. J. H. Schurmeier was not disfigured.

The Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI 16 Jul 1890

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The storm at Gervais was a veritable funnel-shaped cyclone, terrific in its force, but limited in its sphere of action. For some miles in either direction considerable havoc was wrought to farm houses, barns and trees, while some people were injured.

But it was just on the southern shore of Lake Gervais that the elements found their victims. Here, in a little valley near a charming lake resort, the cyclone burst, killing six persons at least and possible a half dozen more. The cone-shaped cloud swept everything before it, carrying a number of horses into the lake, along with the bodies of three persons not yet recovered. The path of the cyclone left an awful wake of barren country so piled up with broken trees and debris as to be almost impassable.

Several minutes before the cyclone made its appearance at Lake Gervais the members of the GOOD and SCHURMEIER families and several parties visiting them were either rowing or sailing on the lake, or sitting on the outside of their cottages. Threatening clouds were arising and the cottages were sought. In the GOOD cottage were thirteen persons. In the SCHURMEIER residence were nine persons. The heavens grew darker and old MR. GOOD, seeing the cone-shaped cloud far in the north, predicted a cyclone. All the inmates of the GOOD residence with the exception of DR. EACHUS went down into the small cellar under the cottage. DR. EACHUS was urged by his wife to go too, but he refused.

The wind came, the cone-shaped cloud was coming over a hill half mile north of the cottages, twisting huge trees out of the ground and carrying them forward pell-mell in its path. The doctor had seen enough and he made for the cellar. Soon there was a crash. The barn belonging to MR. GOOD had struck the house, both going to pieces on the little colony of safety seekers. They were all more or less injured. During the storm they remained in the cellar and were compelled to take a thorough drenching.

To the people in the two SCHURMEIER residences fortune dealt a worse blow. Their places of shelter were twisted to pieces by the first and most violent gusts, and none of them having previously sought shelter in the cellars, were at the mercy of the storm. GEORGE MILLER, cashier of the First National Bank of St. Paul, was carried forty feet and thrown to the earth and killed. His wife was carried some distance and found buried under the wreck with serious injuries. MRS. J. H. SCHURMEIER, REV. PHAEFLE and CHARLIE SCHURMEIER were evidently hurled into the lake where they were drowned, as their bodies could not be found among the debris. MR. J. H. SCHURMEIER, HUB SCHURMEIER and wife and the female servant were carried but a short distance and landed under some trees.

The Ohio Democrat New Philadelphia Ohio 1890-07-17