Horton and Baker, KS area Tornado, Apr 1911

Leaving Germantown the storm moved east and struck the edge of the village of Baker, half way between Hiawatha and Horton. There a church was unroofed and several barns destroyed. One of the barns was the large corncrib of Justin Strube in which two thousand bushels of corn were waiting to be shelled. Strube was away from home. When he returned late in the afternoon the crib had been swept away. The wind had attended to the shelling of the corn. The grain was scattered over the farm and many places lay thick upon the ground. Strube's house was also blown away.

The Kansas City Times, Kansas City, MO 13 Apr 1911


The home of William Meredith is half way between Hiawatha and Horton, directly in the storm's path. On the opposite side of the road from Meredith lived his father-in-law, Willis Martin. Meredith's house still stands, but that of his father-in-law was carried away by the wind. Martin was dangerously injured.

And there was a tragedy within the Martin home. Mrs. Martin, more than 60 years old, celebrated a birthday anniversary a few days ago. Each of her three sons gave her a $5 bill. She pinned the bank notes to a mattress in her home, waiting an opportune time when she could go to town and buy a new dress as a birthday anniversary present. After the storm, Mrs. Martin began to look for the mattress -- she wanted her "birthday present," but the tornado had stolen that as well as her home.

The Kansas City Times, Kansas City, MO 14 Apr 1911


Discrimination Marked by Antics of the Storm - Hit a Few Towns.

Horton, Kas., April 13. --- Little farming was done in the once prosperous district around Horton in Brown County to day for the reason that the tornado of Wednesday afternoon left little to farm with. Where fine barns stood now lie a few stones that mark their foundations, broken boards and parts of machinery. Strawstacks disappeared in the wind and the countryside in the storm's path is as free from fences today as it was the day when the settlers first came to Kansas.

Straw fences are found along the edge of the swath the tornado cut, and the straws not only showed which way the wind blew, but how hard it blew. Wherever there was a wire fence or a hedge today is a straw wall, the straws catching in the hedge and being firmly matted there.
The antics of the wind were freakish. The tornado showed the rankest kind of discrimination. On one side of a lane houses were passed over undisturbed. On the other side everything was laid flat by the storm. More than that, the wind seemed to play favorites with the very trees. At the farm of George Yaussi [or Yaussl], north of Baker, there was an orchard of about two hundred and fifty apple trees and about sixty pear trees. After the storm not one apple tree was found standing, yet not a pear tree was injured.

Thomas Clelland, a farmer who lives a half mile west of Baker, was away from home when the clouds came up late Wednesday afternoon, but his two girls were there and Otto Sweitzer, a farm hand, was at work on the place. The threatening appearance of the sky sent to the house to warn the children. There was no cyclone cellar on the place, so the three decided to run to Baker. The storm met them on the road. When the rush of the wind had subsided they were found a quarter of a mile away, bound round and round with wire. A fence carried by the wind had struck them and rolled them up in it. Both of Sweitzer's legs were broken and he was cut and bruised severely. His condition is critical. The girls received many cuts, but were not dangerously injured. The farm they fled form was not damaged.

George Yaussi [or Yaussl], who has lived in Brown County forty years, and his family took refuge n the basement of their home and were not injured, although the house was damaged. Yaussi's fine barn, in which were about seventy cattle and many fine horses was destroyed; his hay sheds, implement barns, chicken houses, and orchards were ruined. His loss is estimated at about $10,000.

But Mr. Yaussl doesn't complain.

"My faith is in Kansas," he said today. "I was here during the grasshopper period and I'm not going to let a tornado drive me away."

The Kansas City Times, Kansas City, MO 14 Apr 1911

Tornadoes seem to be akin to the lightning's flashes -- they strike where they will. The barn and house of Mart Schilling in Brown County stood close together, so when the storm came he gathered his children and some of the neighbors and fled to the cellar of his home. his house was carried away by the wind and part of the basement walls fell in on Schilling, severing two fingers from one of his hands. None of the others in the basement the house had deserted was injured, but, then, neither was the barn. The wind overlooked it.

The Kansas City Times, Kansas City, MO 14 Apr 1911


The injured....
William Robertson, near Baker, one leg broken

The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, TX 13 Apr 1911