NORTH VERNON PLAIN DEALER & REPUBLICAN - MAY 31, 1917
WIND AND HAILSTORM HITS OUR CITY
HOUSES ARE UNROOFED AND TORN DOWN ELECTRIC LIGHT PLANT OUT OF COMMISSION
Almost Every Home In North Vernon Damaged From Wind Hail or Water All Churches Are Heavy Losers. City Will Be Dark Several Weeks.
The tornado which struck North Vernon Saturday night wrought havoc in every section of the city, wrecking buildings, unroofing homes
uprooting trees, lowering telephone and electric light poles and wires, but mercifully sparing human life and limb. The property damage in the city is
estimated at Vernon and in other sections of the county.
A sultry, humid atmosphere was noticed at noon and later in the day, at about five o'clock, the air became heavier and more oppressive.
The sky darkened and seemed to portend a heavy rain or wind alarm. Many people on the streets noticed strange looking clouds, great heavy black clouds topped
with a yellowish green, and with the memory of the Newcastle and New Albany disasters fresh in their minds, many were very much frightened before the storm broke.
It was about 7:30 o'clock when the tornado sturck, the wind traveling with a terrific speed that hurled the immense hail stones against
buildings with a force that broke windows in every building in the city the terifying sound of glass falling and breaking driving people into cellars or such
nooks and crevices as they thought best secured their safety. The fury lasted for about half an hour and when it abated sufficiently to allow people to look
about, the destruction that met their gaze was awful to behold.
The awful fury of the tornado laster for about one-half hour, when it abated a little and the imminent danger to life and property seemed
past, but a raging storm of wind, lightning, thunder, and rain, with occasional dashes of hail continued with scarcely a break until after midnight.
The first wave of the storm felled the smoke stack at the city power plant, causing the electric current to be cut off and plunging
the sity into darkness. When the storm relented for a few minutes and people began to try to get to their homes from the business district, they found the
streets almost impassable and the dense darkness made it almost impossible for anyone to move with speed. The flashes of ligntning which came in rapid
succession served to light the way for many who were madly trying to rush home and before many minutes men were out all over the city with lanterns and
flashlights calling at every house to ascertain if anyone were killed or injured.
No section of the city escaped but the greatest destruction was wrought on Walnut Street between the Baltimore and Ohio Branch track
and the First National Bank Corner. In this section Grossman's Grocery, the Christian Church, the residences of M.A. Stubblefield and Dr. W.H. Stemm, the
Stemm hospital, the Green buiding and both the residences on the Green property, the residence of Frank Craig, the Walnut Street Livery Barn, the J.T. Ball
building, and the H.H. Dowd furniture and undertaking establishment, the Tripp building and the I.O.O.F. building on the first floor of which the Cullum drug
store is located, were the most badly damaged. At the Grossman grocery the plate glass windows were torn out; the Christian Church was demolished beyond
repair, the front partof the Walnut Street Livery Barn was crumbled and the horses buried beneath the debris. It was some time before the horses could be
taken from the wreckage, but when taken out all were alive and began to eat when food was offered them.
The enitre front of J.T. Ball's buiding, in which is lacated his wall-paper, electric and art store, was crumbled and a portion of
the roof taken. Mr. Ball estimates the loss to his building about $700.
Among the merchants, H.H. Dowd has suffered the greatest loss. The storm broke the plate glass in the front of his furniture store,
which is located in the Hill Building and also tore off a portion of the roof, allowing the water to pour throught onto his stock of furniture, pianos, etc.
In the five and ten cent store, which in the J.H. Hole building, water came through the ceiling in several places making it necessary to cover the stock and
to remove the stock from the undertaking establishment upstairs; in the other section of the Dowd store, which in the Little & Dixon building, the back
portion of the roof being blown off caused the water to drip through to their carpet stock and caused much damage.
Mr. Dowd's loss will reach $7000, and he and his force of clerks worked all Saturday night and Sunday removing the stock to different
buildings or to dry places in the store. The five and ten cent store stock, in the basement was ruined and constitutes a large portion of the loss. The
interior of the Down Store Monday morning was a most distressing sight the water pouring through the ceiling and flooding the goods that remained in the
store, the portion that had been so badly damaged by the first blow of the storm.
The hardware stock of the Fred H. Tripp Hardware Company was badly damaged by water that poured through were a large portion of the
roof was blown off. Mr. Tripp's loss is great, though a large portion of the goods were carried to safety as soon as possible. The living apartments of
Mr. & Mrs. Guy Tripp on the second floor of the building also were badly damaged.
Besides the great damage to his building, Dr. W.H. Stemm lost heavily through destruction of library and office and hospital supplies.
He estimates his loss at $2000.
Otto White's building, in which is located his Photograph Gallery, was badly damaged, the sky light and a portion of the roof being
torn away. The Crocker Building, The Red Men's Building, the Masonic Building also were damaged in the way of broken windows and torn roofs.
The Lindley Building on the north side of the street the Russel and Wood buildings and every other building on the south side of
Walnut Street in the ruined district suffered a loss of part of the roofs and many windows.
Every church in the city was damaged, some of them beyond repair. Besides the Christian Church, which was in the midst of the worst
section of the storm and was so badly wrecked that it can hardly be repaired, the First Methodist Church had a portion of the roof torn off and the front
of the building crumbled, the steeple being twisted and left hanging on a few bricks. The interior of the church is ruined. The First Baptist Church also
was badly damaged, large windows being smashed, and doors and casings torn off. A large hole in the roof at the Presbyterian Church was the greatest damage
to that building, but the damage was increased by the amount of rain that fell on Sunday. At St. Mary's Catholic Church the large cross was torn from the
steeple and hung suspended and a large window in the vestibule was blown out. Windows were broken at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The Colored Church
was demolished. It was a small frame building and the wind reduced it to splinters.
Windows were broken at the Mission Church.
The City School Building suffered great damage, portions of the roof being blown off and sixty windows smashed. The school rooms
were filled with broken glass and by Monday morning when children reported for school the floors of many of the rooms were covered with about a foot of
water. The seventh and eighth grades and the high school have held sessions when the final examinations for the year have been given, but the lower grades
were dismissed as the rooms were not fit to be occupied by the children.
The damage is great at St. Mary's Catholic School. Parts of the roof are blown away and the rafters bent and twisted. Practically
all of the windows in the upper part of the building are out.
The Reliance Manufacturing Company, that operates the shirt factory is a heavy loser. The roof of the building was damaged and the
rain and hail caused damage to the company's machinery and stock that has been estimated at $1200.
The local florist, Warren Huckleberry, was hard hit by catastrophe. About 5000 feet of glass in his green house was demolished and
the heavy rain and hail injured his plants. His Memorial Day business was ruined and in totaling his loss, Mr. Huckleberry believes it will reach $1200.
On the south end of Fifth Street and on the business portion of O. & M. Avenue, the damage was not so great to any buildings though
many of the buildings lost portions of the roofs and all of them are minus some windows. The wind struck hard on West O. & M. Avenue and on North Fifth
Street, also on Hoosier Street for in these sections are many residences that have been unroofed or with the fronts or ends blown out the contents left
exoised to the awful rain that continued to pour all night and at intervals on Sunday. In the vicinity of St. Mary's Catholic Church, in the north end
of town, roofs are blown off houses, and some of the small brick houses have crumbled. The Fair Ground is a wreck. All the beautiful oaks are leveled
the grandstand was blown away and all the stalls and sheds are wrecked.
On South State Street and on Jennings and Jackson Streets the damage to residences is great and the wind leveled the trees in these
sections of town until the streets had the appearance of a ruined forest. A network of trees that made the streets impassable even to pedestrians confronted
the parties that started out for rescue work immediately after the storm. The beautiful grounds around the Tripp homestead and around the W.J. Hare property
are now a mass of fallen timber and beautiful South State Street and the side streets leading from South State Street will no more be the leafty, shaded
avenues that they formerly were during the hot days of summer.
The damage to trees on West Walnut Street was not so great as in other sections, but here also the residences were damaged to the
extent of broken windows and torn roofs. On State Street at the intersection of Poplar Street the storm hit with violence and the store room of Jacob
Bertman was ruined and his residence greatly damaged on account of being unroofed and the rain pouring in until the walls, floors and furniture were ruined.
The west end of the city known as the colored settlement was left in desolation, many of the houses being entirely ruined.
The Irish Hill section of the city, the vicinity of Buckeye Street and the places on the outskirtsof the city had their share of
the storm as well evidenced by the broken windows and torn roofs.
About fifty windows were broken at the Metropole Hotel and damage was done by water that poured into the roooms. At the German
Hotel a part of the roof was torn away and many of the rooms flooded. Windows were shattered at the Edwards and Cottage Hotels.
The interior of the Weber Building was badly damaged on both floors by rain that poured through the damaged roof.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Asa Mingus, on Washington Street, which literally crumbled around their heads and left them and their
belongings exposed to the weather; the home of Johnson and Leonard families on West O. & M. Avenue, where the front of the house was blown away the Reihl
home in the same neighborhood, where the end of the house was blown away; the home of Frank Craig, on Walnut Street, where the end of the house was blown
away; and the home of Mr. and Mrs. E.T. Lisdsay, where the second story was splintered, were the objects of greatest damage, outside the Walnut Street
The Thelephone Company sustained a loss of about $4000, in wires and cables, which were torn down and tangled in the debris in
every part of the city except in a small portion of the down-town district. Mr. Griffits, the manager of the company, came here from Seymour, Monday,
and with L. Schockley, the local manager, is superintending the repari work, which is being pushed rapidly.
The smoke stack at the Glass Factory was torn down and the rear part of the roof torn off. Part of the factory was damaged but
little, and work has continued though only a part of the force is employed.
A large tree in falling crushed through the home of Mrs. V.C. Meloy, on Jennings Street, literally cutting the house in two, but
neither Mrs. Meloy nor her companion, Mrs. Larrabee, were injured.
The J.H. Miller Lumber Mill was damaged to a considerable extent by the hail and rain an the loss of electric current hindered
them in turning out lumber for repair.
The Eagles Hall, formerly the old David Bay property, which had recently been purchased and remodeled into a modern club house
by the Eagles' Lodge, was wrecked: the roof being torn off; one wall caved in, the windows shattered and some of the furniture strewn about the street.
At the Pin and Bracket Factory the stack and roof were blown off and the contents of the office badly damaged by water. The loss
at Eberts' Flour mill is great being estimated at about $3000. The roof the stack, and piping constitute the principle loss to the building and in addition
a large quantity of flour was destroyed and also a large amount of bags.
The barn on the North Vernon Lumber Company's farm was blown down, town horses being in the barn at the time. Several men succeeded
in getting the horses out and it was discovered that they had escaped with but few scratches. Two buggies, and some farming implements were destroyed. The
residence on the farm also was badly damaged the occupants having a narrow escape.
It can be said without exaggeration that not a house in the city escaped without damage. In many places roofs were torn off, flues
blown down, and windows shattered, while perhaps across the street only a few broken windows showed that the storm had hit, but in every instance some
damage, great or small was evident.
On Madison Avenue very little damage was done. The Jennings Theater was crowded with people who had assembled for the first evening
show and when the hail began to hit the building someone cried "Fire," which caused a panic, and it was with difficulty that the manager assured the crowd
that it was hail that was causing the noise and thus kept them within the building. The theatre suffered very little damage and on the first floor where
the theatre is located the force of the storm was hardly noticable. When the first wave of the storm struck, many people were in their automobiles but were
forced to abandon them and seek shelter within the buildings. Many automobiles were hurled down the streets, but very few of them were greatly damaged.
Barns and garages in every part of the city were hurled away. Daylight revealed some premises absolutely devoid of any out-buildings,
while others had three or four barns piled up on one lot. Several autos were caught in the wreckage of barns and garages, but some of them were taken from
the debris apparently none the worse for the experience.
Many strange experiences are related, among them the exeperience of Sam Thompson, milkman, who was making his route when the tornado
struck. He was on Jennings Street and he stood and held his horse all during the storm. When the fury was over and he looked around as the lightning lit up
his surrounding, he found that he was standing in the only spot whithin sight where trees and other debris had not fallen.
Clarence Baker and Otis Swaney, who were out fishing had a thrilling experience crouched under a rock in a bank with their arms and
legs locked around a broom-stick, which they had driven into the ground, hanging there in fear and trembling while the storm raged.
Earl Linkhart, grocer, unhitched his horse from the wagon and brought it into the store, where it stayed until the storm was over.
A barn on the premises of Robert Wrape, grocer, collapsed on his horse, but after the storm several men lifted the timbers and
although injured, the horse is still alive.
At Vernon the damage was a great in proportion as in North Vernon. Perhaps the greatest loss there was sustained by F.T. Semon, whose
flour mill was unroofed and a large amount of wheat and flour ruined. His loss will reach several thousand dollars. A portion of the roof of the Court House
was torn off and the water poured through penetrating the ceilings and dripping on the first floor. The loss on the Court House is provided for by a tornado
insurance of $1200, which had been taken out by the County Commissioners some time ago.
The Vernon public school building was wrecked the roof being torn off and a portion of one side caving in. The Methodist Church was
badly damaged one end of the building being torn out. The roofs were taken from the Baptist and Presbyterian Churches.
The residences on the Graves and Boyd properties were almost completely destroyed and residence formerly owned by Wm. Wenzel, located
near the Pennsylvania track was unroofed. Part of the roof was torn from the Burkhart residence and the roof of the Cosby restaurant was damaged.
At the home of Walter Hartwell, near the bridge, a tree fell on the house damaged it to such an extent that remporary repair was
impossible and the family was forced to move out.
The Vernon Hotel building owned by Haydon and Semon was untirely unroofed. Fred Fetter's residence was badly torn and heavy timbers
from this residence were carried to the Reynold's home, one piece hitting and breaking a stove. The Howard Jordan property also way damaged by timbers
supposed to have been carried from the wreck of the Fetter residence.
Part of the roof was torn from the Semon Livery Barn and as in North Vernon, almost every house suffered damage.
At the outskirts of the town the damage was as great as in Vernon. The Schweinbold property suffered great damage, part of the
house on the Pete Hengstler property was shattered caved in. The residence and barn on the Jesse Richardson farm were damaged and two horses in the barn
were injured. The buildings on the Carney farm were wrecked.
The brick house belonging to John Overmeyer, just north of Vernon on the State Road, was completely demolished. This house was
unoccupied, the John Jones family, former occupants having recently moved.
The John Overmeyer home suffered the general damage to roof and windows and the roof of a shed in the rear of the premises was
lifted and deposited in a tree in a neighboring yard. This place was the scene of one of the narrow escapes of human life. James Arnold and two boys were
returning home from a fishing trip and as the storm came upon them they sought shelter back of the barn. When they discovered that they were facing the
wind they ran around the barn and had just got to the other side whom the barn was blown away. They ran to a small gulley and lay flat in the grass until
the storm was ever. They were not injured.
North Vernon and Vernon were harder hit than any section of the county, but throughout the entire county losses great and small
are reported. In Bigger Township many barns were destroyed, and a number of horses and cattle killed. WIndows were broken everwhere and roofs and flues
torn off or otherwise damaged.
Through the damage at the City Power Plant and the loss of poles and wires, heavy loss was sustained, by the City of North Vernon,
but a tornado insurance policy taken out but twenty-four hours before the storm, will aid materially in replacing the damaged property. The bill for the
payment of the insurance policy was allowed at the meeting of the City Council, Friday night. The policy is for $16,000.
The heavy rain that fell incessantly until after twelve o'clock Saturday night caused the ruin of many of the interiors of houses
and of household goods. Where goods were not watersoaked, soot from cimneys was blown over the contents of rooms and in many instances the water and soot
joined forces in the ruination of carpets and furniture. Flues crashed through the roofs of many houses and pieces of timber, splinters and broken glass
were imbedded in walls and furniture. Plastering fell from the watersoaked ceilings and walls in many homes.
The work of cleaning up the debris and repairing the damaged buildings is being carried on with zeal. The North Vernon Lumber Company
and the H. Miller mill are flooded with orders for shingles and glass. Two carloads of shingles were sold in three hours, Tuesday. A carload of glass was
shipped here to the two firms, Tuesday morning. Carpenters have been calling from surrounding towns and cities and gradually the number of patched places
in roofs is growning. The city has forces of men at work on the streets, cutting up the fallen trees abd dragging them away. Even the heaviest losers have
gone into the work of repair with cheerfulness and the words. "No one was killed or injured," is the answer that is heard on every side to the solicitous
remarks and inquiries of visitors. Extra police have been appointed to patrol the ruined districts, but no attempt at looting has been reported.
Visitors have thronged the city every day this week, coming by train and automobile from Columbus, Madison, Seymour and other cities.
Great damage was done to young crops all over the county by the rising waters, the creeks reaching a stage higher than for many years.
Those who view the ruins of the tornado marvel at the fact that no lives were lost and on one was injured. Those who endured the
astonishing fear of the half-hour of storm and darkness feel that the preservation of life was miraculous. That there is no human toll and that the wreckage
of buildings was not greater is partly explained by the fact that wind was high. Had it been lower, a more gruesome sight and a more tragic story would
doubtless have been the result.
V.C. MELOY HOME
WALNUT STREET NORTH VERNON
NORTH VERNON SWEPT BY TORNADO
NORTH VERNON SUN - MAY 31, 1917
LOSS TO PROPERTY WILL LIKELY REACH $200,000
Twister Puts Electric Light Plant Out of Commission--Walnut Street Residences Hard Hit--Two People Were Injured. No Deaths Reported
SHADE TREE LOSS IRREPARABLE
It is estimated that the property loss will reach $200,00 in this county as the result of a tornado that swept over Center and Vernon
townships Saturday night, lowering houses, barns, fences and trees. The tiwster accompanied with hail as large as hen eggs, arose suddenly and lasted for a
period of an hour and a half, starting near 7 o'clock and spending itself somewhere near 8:30.
The storm was visible from two directions, from the north-west and south-west. It made a zigzag path through the city doing its greatest
damage on Walnut street between State and Madison avenue. Here the Walnut Street Livery barn operated by S.M. Carson, the Christian church and J.T. Ball's wall
paper store were practically demolished. Across the street the residence of Dr. W.H. Stemm and the hospital adjoining were greatly damaged, the latter building
being unroofed. Across the alley, the Green residence occupied by Mr. and Mrs. E.T. Lindsey and the building used by Dr. J.H. Green at the corner of Walnut and
Jackson streets were unroffed and the buildings in the rear removed from the foundation and the yards all strewn with timbers. When the roof left the Green residence
Mrs. Lindsey and Mrs. Frank Cosgrove were in an upstairs room. The women were frantic with fright andthat their lives were spared is miraculous as particles of
wood and hail flew through the air like bullets from a machine gun.
The large skylight at Otto White's photographic studio was riddled by hail and the rear of C.S. Crocker's building let loose scattering
bricks on the side walk.
On Walnut street, between Jennings and Madison avenue the Iron block owned by Dixon and Little was damaged. The three buildings occupied
by H.H. Dowd & Co., owned by the Lange heirs and Joe Hole were partially deprived of the roofs and the mammoth stock of H.H. Dowd & Co. was damaged by water to
the extent of several thousand dollars. In fact, Mr. Douwd was hardest hit of any business man. All day Sunday workmen labored removing Dowd's furniture stock
to the Mulvey building on Fifth street.
Down the street further, at the corner of Walnut and Madison avenue the Andrews building occupied by the Palace Pharmacy and the Odd Fellows
shows marked evidence of the storm's fury. The large plate glass window forming a part of the front of the building was blown in and the upper story windows were
broken, letting in sufficient hail and water to damage the lodge room considerable.
The slate roof on the residence of Jacob Bertman on State street gave way and flooded the interior with water. Like many other families,
members of the Bertman family remained up all night placing receptacles and rugs about in an effort to catch the dripping water and to lesson the damage to furniture.
The building adjoining, used by Mr. Bertman as a wareroom in which he carries on his junk business was deprived of its roof and considerable loss was sustained to
Following the falling of a chimney at the residence of J.C. Cope, the slate roof was broken and let water to the rooms beneath, almost flooding
the apartments. Water came in at other openings made by hail passing through the windows. Residents on West Walnut street and Gum street had to battle against
torrents of water that poured into their homes when windows were broken by hail. This was also true of residents in other parts of the city.
The damage to the churches, exclusive of the Second Methodist and Christian were confined to windows being broken and fixtures and carpets
soiled. The Second M.E. (colored) was completely demolished the same being true of the Christian. The large cross on the St. Mary's church was bent to the roof on
the steeple and the cross on the parochial school building was swept away. The city high school building on the north and west side was deprived of many window glass
and otherwise damaged.
Regardless of reports to the contrary, the only people injured were Mr. and Mrs. Asa Mingus. To a sun representative Mr. Mingus said he and
his wife had just vacated their residence when it collapsed. The residence was built of brick located on Washington street and when the aged couple concluded to
leave their home they got as far as the front door, when it blew from its hinges striking Mr. Mingus rendering him unconcious. As his wife was in the act of ministering
to her husband, a falling brick struck her and for a time she was dazed. They however, had just reached the street when the building fell scattering brick promisciously.
Through the rain and hail they reached the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Spade, where they are temporarily staying.
When the storm was at its heigth and the hail and rain descending in torrents, a horsse hitched to a delivery wagon in from of Linkhart's grocery
store made an attempt to liberate itself from the rig. Mr. Linkhart desiring to save the animal hurriedly unhitched it and led it into his grocery store. The animal
was tied to an ice box until the storm abated.
The fair grounds and Pierce street present a deplorable sight. At least forty trees were snapped off like pipe stems in the fair grounds. The
ampitheatre is partially demolished being struck by a falling tree. The race track Sunday morning was submerged in water a foot deep.
The planning mill of J.H. Miller and surrounding buildings were unroofed and the Ebert & Bro., flour mill and ice plant were damaged the wind
carrying a portion of the roof away at the latter building causing considerable flour to be damaged, it is said.
The barns at the residences of Mack Stubblefield, Robert Wrape, Ed Kirchner and Charles Miles collapsed. The Miles barn was built of brick and
when it gave way several head of cattle in the debris that afterwards were found to have been uninjured. Every residence in North Vernon in the wake of the storm shows
evidence of being damaged. Either the roof is off, windows destroyed or void of chimneys.
The residences of Mary Reihl, Wm. McGuire, Mrs. Specht, Arthur Hutton, Mrs. Mary Miller, Richard Couchman, Michael Langneck, Nicholas Huffman,
Ronald Ball, Mrs. Anna Riplinger, Jno. Ball, John Denton are either without roofs or deprived of windows or chimneys.
The city electric light plant is completely out of commission and authorities say it will be several weeks before sufficient repairs can be
made to turn on the current. They claim that the electric wires down in the city can be put up speedily, but that repairs will have to be purchased for the dynamos,
all of which will take time. Fortunately the carried tornado insurance on the plant which will greatly aid in meeting the expense of placing the plant in commission
again. The amount of $25,000 was carried.
The local telephone exchange places its loss at $10,000 and although a force of men are now at work making repairs, it will be some time before
communication will be available to all parts of the county and the system placed in as good a condition as formerly.
The Eagles hall, formerly the David Bay property on Popular is void of any roof. The furniture and a great deal of the parahernalia is ruined.
The McMillian building at the corner of Jackson and Walnut street and the residence of Frank Craig adjacent to the Christian church are damaged.
although the property loss can be replaced, a loss irreparable is the hundreds of shade trees uprooted or twisted.
The plate glass window at the store of C.H. Hughes, Son & Co., was demolished and the loss to the Hughes firm will be at least $300.
At Vernon the tornado did a great deal of damage to residential property. The homes of John Boyd, Peter Hengstler, Mrs. E.B.O. Lamb, Jesse Richardson,
Jacob Henninger, George Rogers, were either lowered or the roof taken off. The belfry on the Methodist church is demolished and the west end of the building caved in, the
Baptist and Presbyterian churches are considerably damaged. The Jennings county court house is practically without a roof and the rain Sunday and Monday morning made it
necessary for officials to hunt a dry spot which was found in the treasurer's office. The May session of the Jennings circuit court convened in the water soaked court
room Monday and then adjourned. The county commissioners have been called into special session to order repairs made on the court house roof. The school building was
partially demolished. Semon's flouring mill was deprived of its roof and otherwise damaged by walls giving way. The loss in flour and wheat will total several thousand
dollars. Many other buildings in Vernon were damaged. The Reed & Roger M'f'g., Company;s plant was partially unroofed.
At Fred Verbarg's residence trees are down and windows broken from flying slate and hail. The beautiful lawn at E.H. Tripp's residence is strewn
In Bigger township according to reports twelve barns were lowered and at least twenty others greatly damaged.
The residence of George Wallaceis deprived of chimneys. His loss is covered bu tornado insurance.
In the tornado's visitation on North Vernon, citizens lived through one hour and thrity minutes of the most thrilling drama since the cyclone of
1883. The air way gray carring ice pellets hard as rocks and two inches in diameter. The loss to growing crops throughout the county and the property loss is immense
and it is believed that the first estimate of $200,000 will be increased to twice that amount.
Monday hundreds of sightseers from adjoining counties flocked here to see the devastation caused by the storm. Monday afternoon Red Cross workers
were in this city. The rain at intervals since Saturday night has minimized hopes on the part of many citizens of saving the greater part of their household effects.
However, many worked Mondayin an effort to place temporary roofs on their residences. Help of friends has proved very adequate to many tornado victims. The night patrolmen
have kept vigil over the damaged area.
The building occupied by the Fred H. Tripp Hardware Co., was unroofed damaging considerable stock. Many trees were lowered at Mr. Tripp's home.
Dr. Stemm places his loss at $2,000, H.H. Dowd at $6,ooo and Jap Ball at $1,600 with no insurance.
The Ades building was relieved of a large sky light and otherwise damaged to the extent of about $300.
Tuesday morning two express cars loaded with glass consigned to local firms, arrived and the glass was disposed of before evening. Other shipments are
At the residence of Mrs. Anna Riplinger, an attempt at burglary was committed Monday night. Mrs. Riplinger's son, John, who had arrived in the
morning from Louisville, heard the thief cutting a front screen door and a revolver was discharged in the direction of the noise, the thief escaped unidentified.
Patrolman Fleming reports having encountered a suspicious character in the alley back of Linkhart's store and at a distance fired 6 shots at him
as he fled the neighborhood of west Walnut street.
The city schools scheduled to conclude the school year yesterday, were dismissed Monday morning when the result of the damage to the school building
The firm of Carter & O'Haver lost some stationery stock, tablets and envelopes when rain poured in their building from upstairs windows. Edward
Olcott's two residences were damaged. Warren Huchkeberry, the florest, reports the loss of 5,000 feet of gland and a green house. Henry Funke reports that a portion of
his residence is unroofed. The roof on the residence of Sophia and Josephine Franz was partially carried away. Charles Knaub, west of town lost his residence and barn.
Earl Boyle and family were forced to seek shelter at a neighbor's.
It is said much damages was done at Scipio and its vicinity, but due to telephone wires being down we were unable to ascertain the extent of damages
The Louisville Courier Journal of Monday contained the following: Mrs. Minnie McNaughton wife of Homer McNaughton, arrived from North Vernon, Ind.,
yesterday to notify her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Eberts, 417 East Maple street, Jeffersonville, to suspend preparations they were making to move. It was the intention
of Mrs. and Mrs. Eberts to load a car to-day to go to North Vernon to reside. The arrival of Mrs. McNaughton was the first known in Jeffersonville that North Vernon had
been visited Saturday evening by a tornado. Much damage done. Vernon, two miles east, also badly damaged. Mrs. McNaughton was not able to state the estimated loss in
either place, nor the number of casualties.
"Every wire was down," said Mrs. McNaughton, "and there was no way for me to communicate to my mother and father, so I told my husband he could
look after our interests and I would catch the first train for Jeffersonville. My parents had decided to locate in North Vernon and a house was selected. This was so badly
damaged they could not move into it and I felt they should be notified. I do not believe there was a residence in North Vernon escaped injury. Our home was damaged only
to the extent of one window being demolished. The screens protected the doors and windows but something went through one of them.
Mrs. McNaughton said the storm care up about 6 o'clock Saturday evening and was at its height at 7 o'clock. For over five hours, it raged with
such fury the people were panic-stricken. The rain fell in torrents. The smokestack at the light and water plant collapsed and part of the building was wrecked. This left
the people in darkness and without water. Out of six churches in the city, two the Christian and negro Baptist were razed, and the other four damaged.
Mr. Eberts and his older brother Jack Eberts, both of Jeffersonville own a 100 barrel capacity flour mill and an ice plant and these have been managed
by Mr. McNaughton for several years. Mrs. McNaughton said both plants were unroofed and badly damaged otherwise, but were not down. She said it will cost a considerable
sum to put them in working condition again. There was considerable wheat and flour in the mill and this was damaged. No estimate could be given by Mrs. McNaughton of what
the mill property and ice plant would be.
STORY OF CYCLONE OF JUNE, 1883
NORTH VERNON SUN - MAY 31, 1917
Since the tornado of Saturday night many of our older citizens have mentioned the cyclone of 1883. On June 13, 1883, the Sun contained the following
story on that twister:
"Last Sunday evening, a little before 6 o'clock a terrible roaring was heard that sounded like the rumbling of many trains of cars. People were
frightened and sought shelter from-they knew not what. In a few moments the wind began to blow and then ensued a scene that is beyond description. The storm struck the
south-west part of the city and swept every thing before it. It first struck the dwelling of Rev. James Taylor (colored) which, together with its contents, was entirely
destroyed. The inmates escaped with several severe bruises. The dwelling of Mrs. Harms in the same locality was unroofed and the body of the building was badly wrecked
and twisted out of shape. The inmates escaped without injury. The frame house of James L. Yater was considerably damaged having a part blown entirely away. His orchard,
one of the finest in the county, was entirely destroyed. His barn was destroyed also. The residence of Francis Little had the chimneys blown off, the kitchen unroofed and
many of the windows broken in pieces. Andrew Musser and family occupied a small cottage near the colored church which was completely wrecked. How they escaped without some
sligh bruises is a mystery. The colored M.E. church, a solid brick structure 30 x 50 feet was entirely destroyed. A small cottage occupied by Johanna Everhart had the roof
blown away and its contents entirely destroyed. The dwelling of Samuel White, occupied by his family, consisting of himself, and an invalid wife and daughter, was swept
from over them, leaving only the floor, which was moved 10 to 20 feet to show that a building was ever there. The houses of James Marlett, Engerburt Ahlmann, Samuel Wilson
and the one occupied by James Lett and several others together with barns, stables, orchards and fences were more or less damaged. Several persons were seriously injured
though none fataly. The amount of damaged to the city alone will exceed $10,000.
"It passed eastward, south of the O. & M. railway about a half mile and thence to Butlerville. Along this line of the hurricane it blew the roofs from
three or four houses and carried up into the elements what was known as the Oakdale school house.*** At the of the sweeping away of this happening there was in it, a woman
and two girls, her daughters, who were, she claims, on their way to Harrison O. She was carried, she avers, along with fragments of this building together with her two children,
a distance of three or four hundred yards, and just how high in the air she does not know. Her clothing and that of her children were stripped from their persons and she
received a severe wound in the head. She was found by Jesse McIlroy and taken to Butlerville where their wounds were treated by Dr. Nelson.
"Passing over the O. & M. west of Butlerville, it then traveled eastward again and along a line a mile north of the town. In its way was the residence
of Thomas Moore, trustee of Campbell township. His house was unroofed and all the windows blown out.
To give the reader some idea of the velocity of the airy traveler, we will relate a few circumstances which occurred here: About 50 yards from Mr.
Moore's residence, a barn was unroofed and a piece of the sheeting 3 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches in thickness and 4 feet long was carried horizontally and driven through the
solid wall of Mr. Moore's residence, passed entirely across the sleeping apartment and made a heavy indentation in the opposite wall of the room. Also one of the plates of
his house was hurled a distance of a quarter of a mile and driven into the ground 10 feet. From Mr. Moore's residence to the residence of Mrs. Anna Cope a distance of about
500 yards, the ground was literally strewn with the fragments of buildings, fences, rails, tree tops, bricks, etc. Next Mrs. Anna Cope was visited and the first story of her
dwelling was swept away. Two fine barns were crumbled into a state of chaos before the whirling, destroying, visitor. It crossed the O. & M. railway east of Butlerville,
about a mile. In its pather where it struck the track, waa a passing freight train, running the rate of 20 miles an hour. This train was hauled by two engines, one of them
the rear one, was drawing fourteen cars. This number was too wide for the path of the storm and ten of them were blown from the track like chaff from a threshing machine."
The Sun continued in its description of the storm mentioned the house of Mrs. John C. Lee was struck and passed on to Nebraska where it presented a
sublime, yet awful spectacle. After enumerating the blowing down of farm houses of Moses Renfro, James Gordon, Wm. Grinstead and Calvin Jackson, it concluded its description
"This is an attempt at a minute description of one of the most destructive and violent cyclones that ever passed over the state. Those who were fortunate
enough to escape the dreadful destroyer of property and life should assist those whos lot was to be located in its line of march. We know not how soom the angry elements will
again burst forth in all its wrath and fury and indiscriminately sweep over our homes and buildings. We should indeed revolve in our minds the Golden Rule: 'Do ye even so unto
others as ye would have them do unto you."
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