Tewksbury, MA Tornado, Aug 1857

Extraordinary Tornado in Tewksbury, Mass.

The Boston Traveler gives the following particulars of the violent tornado which passed over Tewksbury, Mass., and neighborhood, on Friday afternoon week:
At about half-past five o'clock P. M. some of the inhabitants noticed over Round Pond a singular appearance. It resembled in the opinion of some a water spout; was at first about the size of a cart wheel, and appeared to be in a whirl. As it gathered force a noise was heard like that of a heavy train of cars under full headway; it had a variable motion, at one time taking a south-west, and at others an easterly course. Its path was through the valley, with a width of about 25 rods, and it soon assumed all the characteristics of a violent tornado, levelling[sic] and sweeping all within its sphere.

It first struck among the orchards of MR. JACQUES and MRS. KITTREDGE, doing considerable damage. With increased force it then struck upon the farm of MR. MOREY, totally destroying a field of rye and uprooting all his apple trees. At this place a fisherman, a resident of Lynn, who was on his return from Lowell, supposing that a shower was approaching, drove under a tree for shelter. The tornado struck the team, taking both horses and wagon into the air, landing the horses in a ditch by the side of the road, throwing the man across the road and breaking the wagon into fragments. Some portions of the wagon were afterwards found nearly a mile from the spot, sticking up in the ground. The occupant of the wagon was thrown across the road, the tree under which he was sheltered being blown down upon him, by which he was seriously but not fatally bruised. It next swept through the orchard of OLIVER CARTER, doing great damage, and then crossing the hill made a clean path through an oak grove. One of these oaks was afterwards found in a duck pond a quarter of a mile distant. The larger portion of the orchard of MR. CALEB LIVINGSTON was demolished.

It then crossed the farm of MR. SAMUEL THOMPSON, tearing down his fences and destroying his corn-field, orchard, etc. It next struck the house and barn of MR. JOHN CLARK. The barn was completely demolished, and the roof and the back part of the house carried away. There were nine persons in the house at the time, but they were fortunately in the lower rooms, and all thus escaped injury. The houseless family were afterward cared for by the inhabitants. The tornado then crossed the river and took off the corner of the barn of MR. BENJAMIN BURT, destroying the sheds between the house and barn. At this place the force of the wind was such that an ox-cart was taken from the ground and broken into pieces. Of one wheel not a spoke was left. Continuing in its course it crossed the track of the Boston and Maine Railroad, uprooting trees, and was last heard from upon the farm of MR. UPTON, of Wilmington, where it made a path in the woods, but gradually diminished in violence, which was noticeable from the fact that instead of pulling up a tree by the roots, only the tops were taken off. As it passed the railroad track a spiked plank at a crossing was torn up and carried a considerable distance. Of course, the inhabitants were in a state of great alarm at this unusual visitation.

It is entirely owing to the fact that its path was through the valley that there was not more serious injury, nearly all the houses being located upon the elevated ground. Some state that the first they noticed of the matter was the branches and even whole trees wheeling in the air. Others imagined it to be a fire in the air. One family, under this supposition, threw a pail of water upon the fire in the cooking stove and fled to the cellar for safety. One tree of considerable size was seen in the air at an estimated height of eighty feet, and the trunk of a large tree which was uprooted has not yet been found. Some of the fragments of the house of MR. CLARK were carried for a considerable distance. Although the loss of property must be quite large, fortunately no lives were lost.

The Republican Compiler Pennsylvania 1857-08-03