Woodford County, IL Tornado, May 1858

The first great storm occurred in 1858. It occurred May 13th, toward evening. It had been threatening during the day, but toward night a heavy wind began blowing from the west. It lulled a few minutes and the worst of the storm seemed passed, when the wind suddenly shifted to the north and blew a hurricane. It was not a tornado but a strong wind blowing with unexampled fury. It was widespread in its destruction and all parts of the county suffered from its ravages. Trees were uprooted or broken off; barns were destroyed; houses moved from their foundations or destroyed, and stock was injured. It is impossible that any adequate account of the actual damage can ever be given, so broadcast was its destruction.

Near Eureka the house of JACOB FELTER was destroyed. The building was not entirely finished, and was probably not as strong as it otherwise would have been, yet it was near enough completion to enable the family to live comfortably in it. Mr. Felter had gone out during the lull to look after his stock, and the side of the house fell on him. His feet extended from under the wall and his wife tried to raise it from his body, but was unable to do so. When it was raised from him he was dead. Another death occurred as a result of the storm, MRS. OTTO, residing near Secor, being killed by it. In Clayton township Mrs. Susanna Tallyn had a thrilling experience, and a narrow escape from death. She still remembers with horror that terrible night with its dangers. Her husband was outside looking after the stock when the storm came up. They were also living in a house that was not completed, yet it was regarded perfectly safe. The storm destroyed the house and caught Mrs. Tallyn between the wall and the stove in such a manner that it was necessary to cut her clothing away before she could be removed. She and three small children were in the house together when the storm came, but as if by a miracle none of them were seriously injured. Mr. Tallyn, who was on the outside, was injured by having one of the out buildings fall on him. William Worthington, who lived near Mr. Tallyn’s also suffered damage from this storm, while the house of Dolphus Forney was one of the many blown from its foundation. The night following the storm was one of fear and dread. It continued, tho less fiercely, during the night, and with the morning came a full revelation of the havoc it had wrought.

History of Woodford County 1910, pages 135-136