Hartford, KS Tornado, June 1895


Twelve Houses Destroyed and Several Persons Injured – Storm Described by and Emporia Traveling Man


Twelve Houses Were Destroyed and Several Persons Badly Injured
HARTFORD, Kan., June 18. – A cyclone struck this place Wednesday, coming from the southwest and swept everything from its path, which was clean cut and about 100 feet in width. Several persons were injured so badly they are not expected to live. No one as far as known was killed outright. The known wounded are:
Mr. Lawson, will die.
Mrs. Lawson, seriously hurt.
Mrs. Mary E. Rawson, probably fatally injured.
Cora Rawson, severely hurt.
Ola Rawson, badly cut about the head.
Mrs. H. K. Smith, severely hurt.

About 12 houses were destroyed, as well as many barns and outhouses. Among the houses destroyed were those of Judge W. J. Combs, Mrs. Rawson, Clarence Conley, L. F. Dudley, J. A. Thompson, W. G. Root and Godfrey Schwartz. The roof of Clarence Cooley’s house was lifted off as clean as if the house had been put up and the roof left unfinished; the remainder of the structure was unharmed. Many other houses are more or less damaged. The total loss is estimated at all the way from $10,00 to $20,000.

An eye witness of the storm, F. B. Tucker, a traveling man from Emporia, says: “I was on the incoming Missouri, Kansas and Texas train due at Hartford at 5:20 p. m. Just as the train was stopping, I and other passengers noticed to the southwest a peculiar shaped white cloud formed nearly like a balloon, but a little more tapering. Its peculiar whiteness first attracted our attention. In a few minutes it seemed to stretch out its neck to the ground and turn darker. Then clouds from all directions seemed to cluster around the top, and as the small end struck the earth trees, fences, everything it struck were torn up and lifted into the air. The first house it struck was lifted bodily into space. In another second, beams, furniture, stoves, bedding and all kinds of material were seen shooting high in the air from all directions. By this time the passengers were beginning to notice that the funnel shaped cloud was coming straight for the car in which we were and inquiries began to made as to what was best to be done. Suddenly a Methodist preacher, I do not know his name. solved the problem by shouting: “Here goes for the prairie.” And rushed for the door, followed by everyone in the car. The run, however, was not necessary, for when only about 100 feet from the car, the storm center took a sudden turn eastward and swept past the rear of the train without touching it. The storm after passing through the town to the east seemed to jump the Neosho river and then rise and disappear in the air. Subscriptions have been started here for the benefit of the sufferers.

The Evening News, Lincoln, NE 18 Jun 1895