Kankakee, IL Tornado, Apr 1860


Destructive Effect of Wind and Hail in Illinois and Indiana.

(From the Kankakee Gazelle, 12th.)

On Monday afternoon last, a hail storm and a tornado visited our usually quiet town, the former working considerable destruction to the window glass, and the latter unroofing over scores of chimneys, and blowing over and scattering houses, shops, &c., in a very miscellaneous and unlooked for manner. The hailstorm occurred about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and the balls of ice which fell "thicker and faster and more of them," for about then minutes were of unusual magnitude. The[sic] were as round as billiard balls, were solid and compact ice, hard as Mr. Pharaoh's heart, and varying in weight from one to eight ounces, and one was picked up weighing four ounces, and another eight. Mr. A. S. Perry picked up one which measured a little over ten inches in circumference, a round solid body of ice. As there was no wind to speak of at the time, and the hail fell nearly perpendicular, there was nothing like the damage done that would otherwise have occurred. As it was, about one-fifth of the lights in windows fronting the south were broken out.

The hurricane operated its hardest about 6 o'clock. It came from the south-west, and seemed to be confined to a strip of territory about ten rods wide, running a little north of east through the town. We have not heard as to what damage it may have done on the prairie south-west of us, or whether it visited any other than this particular locality. It passed along to the south of Mr. [ineligible] residence, tearing down fences, and scattering the posts, boards and rails in all directions. Blowing over some sheds and out-houses in the south-west part of the town; it next struck the kitchen of the Dr. Bailey property on West Avenue, occupied by S. Willey. Samivel thought at first that he was sent for to attend the Charleston Convention or some other bad place, but not being ready to depart so abruptly, he very sensibly held up the falling structure while his family literally "cleared the kitchen." The woodshed of the Illinois Central Railroad was next attacked and the larger portion of the roof of the east side ripped off ---many of the sheeting boards and several of the rafters being carried across the street and against the two story frame building known as the Wilbur Building. It was occupied by an Irishman---the lower story as a grocery, and the second story as a dwelling. The front was stove in by the flying timbers, the chimney blown down, and the rear end partly ripped off. Mr. Patrick was taking his tay, and was much alarmed at the freedom taken with his premises and thought at first that he and his family were kilt intirely[sic], but he gathered up the members of his family and made safe escape. The building is pretty much a wreck. The storm next struck the frame carpenter shop west of Grove City House, and flattened it out marvelously. A piece of timber from the store wreck was carried through a window in the Grove City House, and in its antics broke two bedsteads, but injured no one. The house of Benjamin Lens came in for the next swipe. The roof with the chimney was taken off clear and clean, and carried some rods, and roughly deposited on the ground. Welch's stable took to the winds and went over to McGrew & Vail's haystacks. The shingles on the east roof of Esq. Vaughn's house were torn off in a savage manner, and sent "kiting" through the air. A small stable belonging to Gen. Longfellow was blown down, and his buggy badly injured thereby. The large two story house on the corner of Greenwood avenue and Merchant street, formerly owned and occupied by J. H. McIntosh was partly unroofed, and the stable on the premises was blown down and scattered round about. When the stable fell Mr. Hiram Reed was in the [ineligible] but he escaped from the wreck with ease and without injury. A cow and a calf were buried up in the ruins, but were soon fished out, sound as limbs, but sadly frightened at the sudden turn affairs had taken about them. A shed near Lormon's wagon shop was blown down, and the shop came near going over, but stopped short at an inclination of seventeen and a half degrees. Mr. Lorman's stable in the rear was blown down in manner and style aforementioned. The storm, then, as a kind of valedictory to its operations, picked up the unoccupied story-and-a-half framed house formerly occupied by John Suddeth, and left it in dry spots all around the adjacent lots. It was in size 16 by 20, but the wind took it and strung it as a boy would a quail trap. Some damage was done to the barn, fences, and sheds of Major [ineligible]obbie's residence. But he is well able to stand the racket.

The damage done by the hail and wind is estimated at some $2500 or $3,000. We should all be devoutly thankful that we fared no worse.

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL 21 Apr 1860