Lincoln, IL, Storm, June 1897


Five Persons Killed and Several Hurt by the Fall of a Barn in Lincoln, Ill.

Lincoln, Ill. (Special).–Lincoln was visited almost on the anniversary of the waterspout of1892 by a terrible storm. Factory roofs and chimneys were blown away, houses were damaged and trees dismantled. The centre of the storm was about the Illinois Asylum for Feeble Minded Children, where five boys were killed and the superintendent seriously injured. The buildings were considerably damaged.

It was the asylum farm, however, that the greatest damage was done. There are about sixty boys regularly employed under the direction of Superintendent JACOB WILMERT, to care for the six hundred acres owned by the State.

A party of twenty-six boys, averaging fourteen years old, had been taken down to assist in picking peas, and placed under the charge of one of the oldest employees, LEMUEL GLEASON. The day was intensely hot, and when the work was done, GLEASON took the boys to Salt Creek which flows through the farm and treated them to a swim.

As they started back from the creek, a storm cloud was seen coming up, and, to escape the rain, the attendant hurried the boys into the big farm barn. Superintendent WILMERT was in the barn. The boys had just entered the barn when the storm broke, and it seemed to centre its fury on the structure. Without warning the building gave way and fell, crushing its occupants beneath its timbers.

The storm continued for about thirty minutes, but before it was over, the work of rescue was begun, and five bodies were taken from the ruins. Superintendent WILMERT was one of the first of the injured to release himself. His head is cut, and his back and abdomen were crushed by timbers. Attendant GLEASON has a crushed foot and received injuries in the back which are quite serious and possibly dangerous. The killed were: CORNELIUS MACKINZIE, JAMES O'BRIEN, CASSIE D. LAZARON, J.C. COOPER and SYLVESTER BAKER. The injured are HEINRICH BERGER, MILTON GARRAY, ROBERT ALCOT and WILLIAM E.C. WITHAM.

The County Record, June 24, 1897, page 2