Galesburg, IL Tornado, May 1858
A new brick dwelling, lately erected, belonging to Major McKoy, was badly injured, the roof being carried away and the building left uncovered to the torrents of water which poured in , and destroyed the interior to a great extent. The building cost $7.000 and will be repaired at a great expense.
The tin roofs, cornices and chimneys of our best business houses were torn away by the storm, leaving the stores and shops unprotected from the rain, which did great damage. In some instances the tin was carried in large sections several rods high in the air, and thrown upon other roofs, while the signs, to a great extent, whirled about at the mercy of the winds; and sidewalks, in whole blocks were carried bodily for several rods. Carriages, wagons and horses were whirled about promiscuously, and people thrown from them at a distance, being able to save themselves only by holding to fences, and even then lifted from the ground in spite of their utmost exertions.
The country around has suffered generally by demolition of fences, barns, houses, &c., and the groves, in places, have been nearly uprooted.
Altogether, this storm has proved the most terrible calamity that has visited our county, exceeding by far the great storm of 1844; and the freshet has also done sad havoc, widening the streams to the breadth of rivers, in the course of a couple of hours, carrying away fences, lumber; and even houses could not withstand its force. The hail which preceded the storm has also done its work upon the crops of grain, which were very forward.
The damages sustained by the whole country are immense. The loss to our city alone is estimated from $50,000 to $100,000.
We find the following additional particulars and incidents in the Galesburg Free Democrat:
A lady was walking on the square at the time the storm commenced, was blown from the sidewalk and injured severely. She was found apparently lifeless and carried into a store, where she soon recovered.
Four miles from the city, near Centre Point, many farm houses were blown down, and horses, cows, sheep, hogs and poultry were killed and blown about indiscriminately over the prairie.
A gentleman who was riding in a buggy on the prairie, was blown against the fence, with buggy, &c piled upon him. He was searched after by two other gentlemen who happened to be in sight at the time, but could not be found. It was supposed he was rolled into the water and strangled.
Our city police were on duty all night of Thursday, assisting those who were in danger, and for this they certainly deserve the thanks of the city.
Such a terrible and destructive storm has never been heard of in this country before----there have been tornadoes which have swept everything before them for a few miles, but this storm, we doubt not, was felt all over the country.
Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, IL 17 May 1858