Boone County, IA Tornado, Jun 1882

The Great Iowa Cyclone.

Track of the Storm.


Boone, Iowa, June 20. - The great cyclone which made such destruction at Grinnell seems to have gathered first in this county, and near the northwest corner of Peoples, close to the farm of O. Schlettler, of this city. Mr. Schlettler's buildings were demolished, and damage done to his premises to the amount of perhaps $2,000. From this point the cloud took a course to the northwest, in the direction of Boone, but, striking the timber south of Moiugona [sic] a few miles, it seemed to break, and gathered again east of the river, taking more of a southeasterly course, passing through a portion of Colfax and out of the county through Garden, where, also, great damage was done wherever it struck. Maj. Holmes and J. M. Gildea, of this city, were within three hundred yards of the terrible visitor in Peoples township, and not far from where it started. They were driving in the road when it


to the southeast. They say the sight beggars description. The sound was like the roaring of as thousand furnaces, and the sight was such as to strike terror to the heart. They saw it pass near them, striking first the house of a Swede named Christopher Christafson, and that was the last seen of that house, except as timbers and pieces of wood were after-terward [sic] seen to fly from the twisting and whirling cloud. The family were in the cellar, except Christafson, who was taken up with the house, and whose injuries are not fatal, as at fist reported. They saw it next strike the house of Mrs. Peterson, which was served in a like manner. Mrs. Peterson was out in the garden at the time, and her 13-year- old brother and three children were in the house. The brother was killed, and the eldest child was found a long distance away with the other two smaller children, one under each arm, held tightly, as when he grabbed them when the storm struck the house. Further on the Swede church was struck, and


scarcely enough to mark the place where it stood. The great sucking monster drew into its maw everything over which it passed, even licking the water and mud from the ponds. Wire fences, with their green posts, were drawn from the ground, hedges and bushes stripped of their bark, and chickens of their feathers. The gentleman mentioned saw where a boulder, weighing about a ton and sunken about one-third into the ground, was lifted and carried several rods. At one time the cloud hovered on a high knoll for a few moments, as if to rest and gather worse fury, and then it ballooned away on its mission of death and destruction. It headed in a direct line for Boone, but, striking the timber-belt on the Des Moines river, seemed to burst. Forming again, it drifted south, and must have raised again until it got to the southeast part of the county, where the funnel-shaped demon of wrath lashed its furious tail down among the happy homes of


The chief damage reported from there is to the houses and property of E. G. Clark, O. Turner, and Mr. Roberts, who live in the northern border of that township. The residences of these men were destroyed and carried away with other buildings. Much stock was killed, including three horse belonging to Clark and Turner. The animals were carried away some distance and were found dead. No other fatalities are reported in Garden, but these people, with their families, were only saved by taking refuge in their cellars. Mr. Clark was bruised severely about the head by a falling brick. Mr. Clark's house was tipped over to the south, and the farm machinery brought over and piled together with it, including a large wheel of a reaper in the field, all in one mass of ruins. Dr. Turner's house, nearby, was lifted over the treetops and smashed to the ground, about fifty feet from where it had stood, to the northeast. Mr. Roberts' house was taken to the southeast and the barn to the north-west, and both are in ruins. Three of his horses were taken from the barn, carried from a half to a whole mile, and were not killed, while one was left standing where the barn had been. One was found about a half mile or more away, standing with its halter tied to the plank which went with it on the journey. Between Mr. Roberts' house and barn, which were demolished, was a large pile of stove-wood, not a stick of which was moved. Mr. Roberts had about $75 on his house, including a $50 bill. After the storm he saw


fluttering on the ground, and found it was the $50 bill held by a little sliver of wood. The rest was not found. One of his buggies was taken and another by the side of it left. Clark lost two head of cattle and one horse. Lewis' house, a mile south and three miles west of Roberts', was moved, and Mrs. Lewis was badly hurt. Garden Church was shaken and the plastering injured. The furniture, clothing, bedding, and everything belonging to Turner, Clark, and Boberts [sic] were ruined or distorted. Everything in the track of the storm looks as if it had passed through fire, but close inspection showed this appearance was given by everything being coated with mud. A pond near by was sucked clean of its contents. There was no rain or hail with the storm at this point. Dr. Turner describes the appearance of the cloud to him as that of


reaching from the heavens. Others at a distance all describe it as funnel-shaped. The cloud was seen by many in Boone, both before and after it passed the river over Peoples township. It appeared from here like a great snake about the size of a stove-pipe, but smaller at the lower end and larger at the top. When it gathered in Garden township it appeared from here at times as a great funnel and at other times like an hour-glass. The cloud was very dense and black about half way up, but was frequently lighted with lurid flashes of lightning, which played almost incessantly up and down in the cone.

The Ohio Democrat, New Philadelphia, OH 29 Jun 1882


Iowa City, June 19.- The tornado struck the southwestern part of Boone Co., Saturday evening, at 8 o'clock. It was plainly seen here and seemed 20 miles away. Reports are just coming in of great destruction in that section. All buildings on several farms were completely demolished. A church four miles south of Ogden was destroyed. Many persons have been have been seriously injured and one man killed. Information is difficult to obtain on account of heavy roads. A woman and child reported missing.

The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI 19 Jun 1882


In Boone County a number of farm-houses and barns were carried away, and Christian Peterson's 8-year-old son was killed. The loss in Henry County will reach $500,000, of which one-forth was inflicted in Mount Pleasant. SHADRICK SCOTT and his mother are the only persons known to have been killed.

The New York Times, New York, NY 20 Jun 1882