Jacksonville, IL Great Destructive Tornado, May 1859



Correspondence of the St. Louis Republican.
Jacksonville, Ill., Friday, May 27, 1859.
Yesterday evening a terrible storm and tornado passed over a portion of this County, (Morgan,) doing much damage both to life and property. We have not received full intelligence respecting the damage done, but hasten to send you what we have already learned. We will send further particulars to-morrow, if we learn anything new concerning it. The storm appears to have originated in the southeast, and proceeded to the northwest. The damage done is as follows: A house belonging to JOSEPH FRY, about eight miles southeast of here, was destroyed, and the tenant's wife, MRS. RICHARD ROUT, a child of MR. GEORGE VAN ZANT and a Portuguese boy, were all killed. The child we understand, was found in a cistern.
A house belonging to MR. BEDFORD BROWN was blown down, and his son SAMUEL killed. A house belonging to, and occupied by, MR. BARNABAS BARROWS, was destroyed, and we are informed two of his children are missing.
A house about nine miles south of here, owned and occupied by MR. JESSE HENRY, was blown down, but what other damage done we have not learned.
A house southeast of here, belonging to JACOB SAMPLES, was destroyed, and his son-in-law, a man named THOMAS, killed. A man named JONATHAN CARLYLE was also killed, and his house torn down. We have heard of several others being killed in that neighborhood, but as yet have not learned who they are. Of course, fences, barns, horses, &c., are in the same category.
Very many persons have had their limbs broken. Several horses have been killed by the stables falling on them. Fences are so badly used up that in some places it is impossible to fina a rail where the fence was. Those persons we mentioned as being killed were literally mashed to pieces, so as scarecely to be recognized. We are very fearful that when all is known fully, it will be even worse than anticipated.
On the Great Western Railroad two cars, which were standing on a switch, were run off and turned over on the track, so that the train coming here from Springfield was delayed until midnight. The rain fell in torrents all over the country, and was accompanied by thunder and lightning.
The day before yesterday a storm passed over Springfield, during which the end of a double dwelling home was badly torn my lightning. Fortunately, no lives were lost, that part of the house which was struck being unoccupied. The other half was occupied.
It is possible that very much damage has been done by the storm of yesterday, but, of course, it will be some little time before we learn exactly how much, or how many lives were lost. We hope to learn that the matter has been exaggerated, and is not so bad as now represented, but we fear the worst.
We also learn that the station house at Bement, on the Great Western Railroad, east of Decatur, was blown down.
In addition to those mentioned as having been killed, we have learned of two more, viz. the mother of MR. CARLYLE (who was killed) and the wife of JACOB SAMPLE. Several persons who were injured are not expected to live. Is all we have learned of ten or eleven.
On MR. JOS. FRY'S place, everything -- house, barn, furniture, were torn into shreds; the fences scattered for miles, fifteen horses were killed; (besides the human beings we mentioned yesterday;) seventy hogs, several head of cattle, and all his fowls; even the rats about the premises did not escape. The wagons were blown to atoms, spokes knocked out of the wheels, and even the tires bent. This is but one case in many. Several others suffered in the same way.
The house of WILLIAM McDONALD, south of this place, was torn into atoms, not ten feet square of the house or barn remaining; and, singular to say, himself, wife and children, escaped with their lives, though they were badly bruised, yet not dangerously. At the place of MR. BARROWS, of which we spoke yesterday, in addition to the destruction to life and property, he lost one hundred and ten hogs out of one hundred and fifty.
A horse was found in the neighborhood dead, with a rail run through him lengthwise, so that both ends were visible. Another horse was found dead, with a bridle and saddle on, but the rider or owner has not yet been found; it is feared that he has been destroyed.

The New York Times New York 1859-06-02