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Washington Court House, OH Tornado, Sep 1885

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Washington Court House, O., Sept. 10. -- The scene after the terrible cyclone beggars description. There is not a house in the town but what is more or less damaged. Hundreds of families are homeless, and all are discouraged. Nobody knows where 1,000 or more homeless people are to find shelter if it should rain, and there is every indication of it now. Here and there improvised ways of living began to appear. Cook stoves are being set up in the streets, and fires kindled with broken boards and shingles from the universal ruin.
The tornado came from the west, following a tremendously heavy rain, which fell about 8 o'clock. There are some who claim to have seen a funnel shaped cloud, but that is improbable owing to the darkness. Some of the larger business blocks destroyed are WILLIAMS' two-story brick. The first floor was occupied by CLINGSTONE & BEANE, dry goods. The second was in flats, and also had the telephone exchange. The second story was cut off as by a knife. HERBERT HAGGART, manager of the exchange, was fatally injured by jumping from a window to the street, the roof falling on him. The Odd Fellows hall, a magnificent building, the first floor of which was occupied by STETSON & Co., drygoods, was demolished. Their loss on stock will amount to $100,000. On the second floor was the Odd Fellows' hall. Forty brothers of the order were present when the tornado struck the building and literally mashed it to the earth, and nine of them were left clinging to the walls of the adjoining building and had to be taken down by ladders. Of those crushed down with the building by a miracle not one was injured. CHARLES DRAISE, a clerk for STETSON, was going in the rear basement door, and was caught and, perhaps, fatally hurt.
On Main street, of the three-story WHITE & BALLARD'S agricultural building nothing is left but a pile of bricks. The stock is a total loss. Opposite was WELTON & BARKER'S two-story dry goods store. It was demolished and the stock is a total loss. Strange to say, Music hall, adjoining, occupied by the Salvation Army, was scarcely injured, though the buildings on each side are in ruins. The rink known as the
"Coliseum," is blown completely flat. The wholesale grocery of DAHL & BAHI has the back part torn off and the roof is gone. All stock is exposed and injured, and the loss will be heavy. JAMES JACKSON, porter of the store, has his skull fractured.
The Pan Handle, Dayton and Ironton and Ohio Southern depots are completely wrecked. The covered bridge over Paint Creek is demolished. Many private residences are in ruins. Poles are uprooted and wires are down. The Western Union company tapped its wires and has two operators in Water Street.
Northwest of here thousands of trees have snapped off and crops are ruined and many houses are down. Two children were killed near Jaspar. Passengers coming in on the Midland road saw dozens of farmhouses in ruins and trees broken off like pipestems. MISS CLIFTON, living with ISAAC SNYDER at Oak Lawn, was seriously injured. She was discovered 100 yards from the house. W. Q. THORP, wife and child of four years were carried 100 feet on the floor of their sitting room and set down without injury. The house was totally wrecked, not a trace of it being left on the foundation. J. K. MOUSE'S house was turned inside out. MOUSE, his wife and three children together went with the floor through the house. They landed safely, but the floor was not found or any trace of the house. JAMES DENCH, his wife and their 4-day-old baby were swept against a tree, but not injured. The house was lifted and dashed to pieces. The roof of the Fayette County Herald building crashed through to the cellar with part of the walls, taking presses, type and everything with it.
A committee has been organized to care for the injured. Hundreds are left with absolutely nothing.
The killed are as follows:
EDITH FLOYD, a middle aged woman who lived in the suburbs.
HERBERT HAGGART, telephone operator.
The fatally injured are JAMES O. JACKSON and JOHN C. VAN PELT.
Among the injured are Judge ASA GREGG, cut severely on the head; W. W. SHOOP, cut in the ankle; BOWMAN HESS, cut on the face and head; MILT HYER, on the thigh, severely; HUGH FORSBAY, caught in the falling timbers and foot badly crushed; H. H. WHELPLY, station agent, struck on the head and left arm by a falling chimney; JOHN WILSON was under the debris for an hour, but was taken out only slightly injured.

The Chester Times Pennsylvania 1885-09-09

article | by Dr. Radut