Clarion County, PA Tornado, May 1860

Tornado in Western Pennsylvania.


Houses and Barns Blown Down - Terrific Hailstorm -- $400,000 worth of Property Destroyed - Four Persons Killed - Forty Persons Wounded.

(From The Clarion Banner, Extra.)
Wednesday last the 30th inst.[sic] Will long be remembered in the annals of Clarion County, as forming one of its most terrible epochs. About noon on that day, a heavy black cloud was seen advancing about thirty rods south of St. Charles Furnace. An awful roaring sound accompanied it, and passing on to the farm of MR. SHOEMAKER, it burst with terrible fury, tearing his house and barn into fragments and breaking one of the legs of MR. SHOEMAKER; the dwelling of MR. THOMAS DOUGHERTY was next struck, and which was blown to pieces, the furniture broken to atoms, and his daughter killed; next the house of M'CONNELL HENRY was blown down, and his wife seriously hurt.
The barn of JOSEPH SMITH was completely wrecked. The house of a MR. CHARLES STEWART three quarters of a mile north of New Bethlehem, was blown down, and his wife killed, and other members of the family injured. The storm, in passing through Hessville destroyed the tavern of NATHAN HANE, and killed his daughter. In passing north of Millville, the storm destroyed the barns of JACOB HARTZELL, JOHN and AMUEL SHICK; the house of JOHN MOHNEY was blown to pieces, and his wife carried away, and no traces of her had been found last night at 12 o'clock, (30th inst. [sic])
In its course the storm did not strike either Millville or New Bethlehem, but beyond the former place is struck the village of Hessville. In this place were a number of dwellings brick, frame and log, and also a large grist mill, and a substantial bridge, spanning Redbank; every house, barn, mill, bridge and the store of IRVIN McFARLAND were destroyed, and four lives lost. Among the killed were the wives of MR. McFARLAND and MR. HESS.
A terrible hail storm passed through a portion of Porter and Redbank townships which in its course did an immense amount of damage. Beside destroying every fence in its track, fields of grain were badly injured, and as a matter of course, being left open, the cattle got in and committed still further savages.
Taken all together, the hailstorm and tornado, an immense injury of life and property has been sustained in the townships of Porter and Redbank.

(From the Jefferson Star, Extra, May 31)
Brookville, Pa., May 31st, 1860 - Since the late number of the Star went to press, we have received more intelligence respecting the ravages and disasters of the storm of yesterday. Its course was from southwest toward northeast.
MR. DANIEL FOGEL, a citizen, of this vicinity, was on his way home from the mouth of Mahoning, at the Allegheny river, and when he had reached Kellersburg, he was a witness of the passing hurricane or tornado. He supposed it was one half mile north of where he was, but it may have been two miles. It was in shape, like an inverted cone, in color like smoke, and well defined in its outlines. The sight was grand and imposing. Objects were observed in the cone, and were supposed, at first, to be birds but were afterwards discovered to be branches of trees and other substances. Coming on, he took dinner at Texas.
WM. SHOEMAKER, who resides not far from Texas, had his house, barn, and all his outbuildings entirely demolished, all of his family were injured - some of them seriously. Three persons are reported killed north of Bethlehem. North of Millville, four miles this side of Bethlehem, houses and barns were destroyed, and a roof carried from one farm to another. JONATHAN MOHNEY'S barn was destroyed.
One mile and a half this side of Millville, MR. SHICK'S house and barn were torn down and the barn was consumed as if by fire. Passing thence to Hess's dam, on Red Bank Creek, the tornado did its most fearful ravages on the village called Mayville. Eight families have been left entirely homeless - their dwellings having been entirely destroyed. We have it from MR. J. S. BARR, of Troy, who was there giving assistance after the storm, and MR. FOGLE, that from all of dwelling houses touched by the storm, the store room the large grist mill, saw mill, &c., there appears to be not enough stuff left on the ground out of which to erect one house. The large bridge over Red Bank was torn to pieces, and the abutments badly injured.