Harrison, OH Great Tornado Strikes Towns, Feb 1854


Harrison, Ohio, Tuesday, Feb. 14.
To-day, about 4 o'clock, P. M., the town of Harrison, (twenty miles northwest of Cincinnati) was visited by a fearful and destructive tornado, tearing down dwellings, stables, &c. The course of the current of air was nearly from southwest to northeast, and the width of its track was about one hundred yards. A thunder shower came on from about N.W., with indications of a heavy rain which was realized. Probably ten or fifteen minutes after the commencement of the rain, the tornado came down the White Water Hills, northwest of town, and about west of GOODLEY'S Mill, and struck the town in the direction of the Presbyterian Church, and crossing the pike near the east end of the town. It left in its track such destruction and desolation as we have never before seen. Houses, stables, fences, trees and out-buildings were prostrated, and in many cases blown into the adjoining lots. We were on the ground in a few minutes after the destruction, and gathered up in a hasty manner the items of destruction and loss. There are of course many omissions in the individual losses. A young man by the name of WM. PRUDEN, had his leg broken, and IRONAS HOMAN was dangerously wounded, and several others are more or less injured; but no lives lost. It is a miracle, too, for several houses and shops were entirely blown down.
In one shop five men were at work, and the building was entirely demolished; yet they escaped, by crawling from under the building. Some of the items of losses are as follows:
The first building the storm struck was CRAT'S carpenter shop. Loss about $100.
RICE & THOMPSON'S carpenter shop was a fine two-story building, 40 by 24. It was apparently a strong built shop, but the wind, strange as it may appear, blew the lower story from under the upper story, removing the former some distance, and the latter falling nearly on the foundation. The roof entirely blown away. The loss probably $300.
MR. FEBER'S tavern stand, a brick building, was unroofed and the upper story badly injured. Loss $250. JOHN SINGRE'S brick house, gable end in, and other injuries. Loss $200. ABRAM L. CLOCK'S fine brick residence is entirely in ruins, the roof and second story off, and the balance cracked. The loss in the full price of the building. His family was in the lower story and unhurt.
The Presbyterian Church, a new building, just finished and the finest ornament to the town. The roof was torn off, and the gable end blown down. The fine steeple stands and is not much injured. Those who saw the storm, say that the roof rose perpendicular and passed off to the N. E., entirely over the steeple, and was scattered over the neighboring lots and houses. The entire plastering of the church will be ruined unless roofed in a few days. Loss $1000 to $2000.
MR. JACKSON'S Pottery is badly demolished. Loss $200. DANIEL WISE had a new stable destroyed, fences down, loss $100; cows and hogs killed. HENRY WISE loss in stable and fence, $75 or $100. MR. YAGER'S cooper shop blown away, and the roof from his dwelling; loss $400 or $500. WM. SHROYER, end of dwelling stove in; loss $100. RICHARD PONNY'S dwelling, damage probably $100. ROBT. CALVIN, stable blown entirely away, loss $200. SAMUEL BALL lost a new frame building, two stories high, 42 by 24, an entire wreck, tearing away the sills. GEORGE OYLER, tavern stand roof stove in -- loss light.
ROBERT KEEN, stable blown down. OLIVER MILLER, stable blown down. P. BRUCKFIELD, a good stable destroyed. ABNER GUARD, a stable destroyed. PETER HELMOY, roof off dwelling -- loss $100. Two or three dwelling's belonging to the Cincinnati, Harrison & Indianapolis Railroad Company are slightly injured. DANIEL JENNY, a frame dwelling in a perfect wreck, roof off and some rooms blown away -- loss $400. M. DEORMEND'S barn destroyed. MR. DOBELL, stable down and other buildings injured. THOS. GREENE, dwelling, roof off -- loss $100. JOSEPH BARROW'S shop was entirely demolished, and his dwelling unroofed -- loss $500. MRS. LAWRENCE'S dwelling about the same as destroyed.
There were about fifty dwellings, stables and shps either totally or badly injured; the storm, however, passed over that part of the town where most were small buildings. The entire loss will not exceed $25,000.
We have not heard from the track of the storm from either way, southwest or northwest, but we fear much destruction is in the track.

P.S. -- The White Water is high. Yesterday evening, it was reported that the canal boat James Rairden, from Cambridge, Ind., went over the dam at the slack water, four miles below Brookville, Ind., and was wrecked. It was loaded with pork and lard, which is said to be a total loss. Barrels of lard or pork were seen floating past this town this evening. We have not heard of any breach in the canal.
In the storm here to-day, one man was blown out of the street and landed in a lot. Bags of wheat were blown out of a wagon. Sticks of timber were whirled through the air like feathers. There is now a large scantling or joist sticking into the gable end of a frame building twenty feet from the ground. It had been taken up by the wind and carried along endways with such force as to drive it through the frame and stick there. There are various hard yarns I could tell, but they can only be believed by being seen. -- Cincinnati Commercial.

The New York Times New York 1854-02-20