Fort Smith, AR Tornado Causes Death And Damage, Jan 1898
TORNADO WRECKS A TOWN.
FORTY PERSONS KILLED AND PROPERTY WORTH OVER $1,000,000 DESTROYED AT FORT SMITH, ARK.
RUINED BUILDINGS IN FLAMES.
CATASTROPHE OCCURRED WITHOUT WARNING AT NIGHT -- MANY MIRACULOUS ESCAPES REPORTED -- LISTS OF THE DEAD AND INJURED.
Fort Smith, Ark., Jan. 12. -- At least forty persons were killed and property worth over a million dollars was destroyed by a tornado which burst upon this city a few minutes after 11 o'clock last night. Men, women, and children, asleep in their homes, were without a moment's warning awakened to meet death under falling walls or in the flames which soon engulfed many of the wrecked buildings.
Those know to be dead are:
MINCER, SILAS, merchant.
RUTTLEDGE, HARVEY, negro.
Two Unknown Men from the Burgess Hotel.
GRISWOLD, JOE, tailor.
MARTIN, JOHN, Madison County.
RILEY, J. B., Madison County.
CARTER, GEORGE, fireman at Grand Opera House.
BURGESS, MRS., proprietor of Burgess Hotel.
Two Unknown Men, died at St. John's Hospital.
FOUTS, J. M., farmer.
KYLE, JOE, farmer.
Two Boys named LEFEVRE.
KNAPTON, JR., MALT.
KNAPTON, MRS. MALT.
LUCAS, JOE, negro.
FERRELL, ED, butcher, and his two little children, IRENE and ROY.
RICHARDSON, FRANK, restaurant keeper.
ADAMS, JOHN, carpenter.
MAUVER, MRS. CHARLES.
RITTER, ______, gardener.
LAWSON, MRS. WILL.
BADT, JOHN, farmer.
SHEEHAN, infant child of MRS. MAGGIE.
WOEHLE, L., butcher.
SMITH, JAMES, clerk.
SMITH, JR., JAMES.
GRAY, wife and son.
Among the injured are MRS. BRADEN; D. L. GRIMES; WILLIAM LAWSON; BELL MARTIN; TONY EBERHART; F. E. HUBBELL; R. H. GRENHOLDER; A. B. STAFFORD; DR. GATE; MRS. GATE; MRS. GATE'S mother; MINNIE BURGESS; MRS. E. GRELL; MRS. HUGH ROGERS; MR. and MRS. RITTER; MRS. F. H. BROWN; MRS. LUTHER HUNTLEY; ED YADEN; R. L. HIRSCHBERGER; and MISS LILLY STAHL.
With the frist crash of the storm business blocks, handsome mansions, hotels, and humble cottages were leveled to the ground and scattered in shapeless masses. Several of the wrecks caught fire, and the inflammable timbers burned furiously. The Federal court is in session, and that brought a great many farmers here, who, unregistered, crowded the boarding houses and wagon yards. For this reason the number of victims who perished may never be definitely known.
Some Of The Damage.
The tornado struck the city near the National Cemetery and swept its way through the heart of the town. Leaving Fort Smith, it bounded toward Van Buren and continued down the river, demolishing everything in its path.
I. ISAACSON'S store was totally demolished and the stock is a total loss. BABCOCK'S grocery store had the rear end blown out. The following stores were totally demolished: FLEMING Brothers, coffee and tea; HARESFIELD'S restaurant; SMITH'S grocery store; MARTINEZ'S second-hand store; J. MANCE'S dry goods store; MANN & WIRSON, groceries; city feed store. Many other stores were badly damaged.
The upper floor of the block blown down on the corner of Garrison and Towseau Avenues is used as a flat. The ruins caught fire, and seven bodies were taken from them. Burgess's Hotel, a three-story brick building on Towseau Avenue, was demolished. There have been eight bodies already taken from the ruins. Rescue parties are still at work at both places, and expect to find several more bodies.
The National House, a two-story frame, went down in wreckage with fifteen inmates, but all escaped without serious injury. GEORGE CARTER'S house was turned completely over and is now supported on the roof. A half pane of glass was driven through CARTER'S neck almost severing the head from the trunk.
The National Cemetery is a wreck. Hige trees are uprooted, the lodge demolished, and the wall torn down.
Fort Smith's fifty-thousand-dollar high school building was badly wrecked, but was one of the few buildings upon which there was a tornado insurance.
Judge PARKER'S residence is badly wrecked and the old RECTOR mansion, where ALBERT PIKE once lived, is a pile of ashes, the ruins having caught fire.
The First Baptist Church and the Central Methodist Church are now only a scattered pile of kindling wood. The Church of the Immaculate Conception and Brownscomb Memorial Church lost their spires and sustained other damage.
The Citizens' Relief Committee has raised $10,000 for the relief of the sufferers. President ROBINSON of the San Francisco Railroad, unsolicited, sent his check for $1,000. The Missouri Pacific Railroad also sent $1,000.
Business is practically abandoned all over the city and men of all classes are assisting in clearing the debris.
The New York Times New York 1898-01-13