Pekin, IL Tornado, May 1859

Particulars of the Tornado near Pekin.

[From the Peoria Transcript. 28tb.]

We learn by a special telegraphic dispatch from Pekin, that a whirlwind, characterized by all the terrible peculiarities of that phenomenon, occurred near that city on Thursday afternoon. The locality of the catastrophe was the farm of J.C. AYDELOTT, and the HAWLEY place of the old Springfield and Delevau road, about four miles below the city of Pekin.

The whirlwind commenced at three o'clock in the afternoon, and passed from west to east. Its track was one hundred and fifty yards wide, and continued for half a mile, passing over that distance in a minute, and carrying ruin and destruction in its course. Trees, fences, buildings, and everything in its pathway were prostrated, and their shattered remnants tossed about like feathers.

It first struck the farm of J.C. AYDELOTT, passing over that and the land of some of his neighbors, taking up the board fences bodily, and rending them into flinters (sic), it rushed with increased fury upon the HAWLEY place, which was the scene of its principal devastation. There it uprooted the orchard, and a row of locust trees eighteen inches in diameter, in front of the house, blowing them about as though they were mere straws. The house was entirely demolished. It was of brick, eighteen by forty, two stories high, with a one story L, the walls being thirteen inches thick. The smoke-house, wood-house, and the other out-buildings adjacent, experienced the same fate at the hands of the great wind monster. There were in the house at the time six persons, and astonishing to say but two of them were injured, and they not seriously. The damage to the HAWLEY place cannot be less than $5,000.

A span of horses attached to a wagon were standing in front of the house, one of which was blown over the fence, and the other was found, after the storm ceased, lying on the ground, with the wagon body right side up over him, indicating that the animal and the vehicle had gone through some singular evolutions. The wagon box was blown half a mile, and was found at that distance from the place from which it started.

It was reported in Pekin that Dr. MANS found a check with its head blown off by the evidence of the wind.

Such are the details of this terrible visitation, as they have been communicated to us by an obliging correspondent at Pekin. We shall hear further particulars to-morrow [sic].

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL 31 May 1859