Rock Island and Davenport, IA Tornado Destruction, July 1854


At 4 o'clock of Thursday afternoon last, a violent tornado passed over Rock Island, Davenport, &c. MR. ROGERS, clerk of the Audubon, who was on board the Golden Era at the time, furnishes us the following particulars:
The ferry boat at Davenport was blown out into the river and sunk. The Emma Herman lost her entire cabin, and the hull was blown over to the point of the island striking a ledge of rocks and breaking in two. One of our favorite packets, the Golden Era, is a complete wreck, above the hull. The second mate was blown from the hurricane deck into a mill on shore, and badly injured. The Ben Campbell, lying at Reed Island, lost both chimneys, and about twenty feet of the forward part of her cabin. A number of citizens of St. Louis, among them Judge GAMBLE and family, MR. BRUDELL and family, and others, were passengers on the Golden Era, but escaped without injury. Several lives were reported lost. The freight depot at Rock Island, was blown down. A three story brick house, occupied by WICKERSHAM as a tinner shop, was blown down, and several persons killed. Several dead bodies had been taken from the ruins. Eleven houses were blown down in Davenport. Hailstones, as large as hens' eggs, fell at the same time. -- St. Louis Republican.

The New York Times New York 1854-07-28



From the Galena Advertiser.
The Rock Island Advertiser gives the particulars of the storm which visited that city on Thursday last. It was occasioned by the meeting of two currents of wind, and the tornado did not last over twenty minutes. A new brick building of DR. JUDD was blown down; a carpenter shop near the residence of Judge SPENCER was demolished; one end of the railroad freight depot was twisted off; a steamboat on the ways was struck with lightning and considerably injured; a dwelling house on Franklin square, owned by JOHN S. PORTER, was struck with lightning. The Ben Campbell had her chimneys demolished. The forward cabin of the Golden Era was demolished, and her chimneys were blown ashore. A boy on board the latter boat was engaged in holding a state room door, when he was blown from the boat, door and all, and carried into the air. Striking the east corner of the third story of BURROWS & PRETTYMAN'S mill, he was deposited, with a part of the door still in his grasp, on the Water street sidewalk uninjured. These are only a few of the casualties of the storm. The Advertiser says: "The entire loss of property in Davenport will not probably fall short of $75,000 or $80,000, while the loss on the river and in Rock Island and vicinity will swell the loss up to $100,000 -- all accomplished in the space of about ten minutes."
The above paper gives no notice of any deaths, as before reported.

The New York Times New York 1854-08-01