Baton Rouge, LA Tornado, Jul 1891

The extent of the damage done throughout the city by storm cannot be accurately estimated at this time, but it can be said that it is the greatest loss that Baton Rogue ever sustained, either from cyclone or from fire. The cyclone did make a track much through the city, but seemed to strike the ground and bound forward like a ball. It passed over several houses at a time, and descending again tore its way for hundreds of feet at a time. Trunks of large oak trees were popped off like pipe stems. So sudden was the strain that a number of bread carts, express wagons and other vehicles were caught and wrecked in the streets, and it departed as suddenly as it came. There were a number of narrow escapes, but no serious injuries are reported besides those mentioned.

NEW ORLEANS, July 6. --- The Picayune's Baton Rogue special says: A terrible cyclone struck this city a little after 6 o'clock this morning from the southwest to northeast. It entered the city at the GARIG brick yards, passed up through Catfish town and struck the hill just to the east of MR. JOHN JOHNSON'S residence. Its path continued in a northeasterly direction, crossing North Boulevard 100 yards to the east of the governor's mansion. It then went north striking the penitentiary building and T. J. DOUGHERTY'S residence on North street, and thence beyond the city.

The cyclone was 300 yards wide and ricocheted along its course like a cannon ball devastating as it went. In the city no one was killed, though several persons were seriously injured.

I have just returned from the state penitentiary which is partially wrecked. Ten convicts were killed, and 35 injured, five of these dangerously.

The following is a list of the dead:
Whites -- ISAAC McCLELLAND, of Caliasu; J. A. WAGGONER, of Claiborne; FRED CAGE, of Ouachita; JAMES VAN METER of Nachitoches; JOHN GIBSON and WILLIAM WILLOW of Orleans. GIBSON was one of the MEALY murderers.
Colored -- NATHAN CHANCEY, of East Felicina; HENRY CALESTIAN, Orleans; BEAUREGARD HARDEN of Bossier; EDWARD BUCKNER, of Caddox.

The convicts were at work in the Jeans pants factory in the third story of the north wing when the storm struck the building, and entirely demolished the second and third stories. There were others in the hospital in the second story, and it is a miracle that any escaped with their lives.

MR. JOHN RODUS, one of the guards, was sitting in the third story window opening to the south, when he was blown into the yard along with bricks and other debris. He escaped uninjured.

Ex-Judge J. FORD was in the commissary on the first floor when the building collapsed. He got near a wall and stood still muttering a prayer as he felt that his hour had come. When the materials quit falling he saw an opening and escaped into the yard uninjured. He immediately went to work to save and relieve others.

In addition to the north wing the cell building was unroofed and partially destroyed. The woman's ward was also unroofed. It is impossible to form any estimate of the damage to buildings as all property is more or less injured. In the city 50 houses at least were unroofed or destroyed.

Mr. J. H. YOUNG and members of his family were seriously hurt by the collapse of their house on St. Charles street. MRS. COTTON, SON and TWO DAUGHTERS living in a brick house on Main street opposite MR. G. D. WADDILLS, were injured in the falling of the building. MRS. COTTON received a dangerous blow on the back of the head and also internal injuries, while one of the girls was cut on the limb. MRS. COLTON, it is thought, will recover. There was no other seriously hurt.

[NOTE . The article calls for MRS. COTTON and MRS. COLTON . I do not know which is correct Stu Beitler]

Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1891-07-11

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