Reading, MA Destructive Tornado, Aug 1857


Boston, Friday, Aug. 14.
Last night a tornado passed through the town of Reading and vicinity. It was nearly half a mile in width. Several dwellings and out buildings were damaged, orchards were uprooted, and considerable damage done to the crops, etc. No loss of life is reported.
The Boston Traveller gives the following additional particulars:
"The house of Deacon THOMAS H. SWEETSER, where our informant was stopping at the time of the tornado, was very much damaged. An "L," about 30 feet long by 20 feet in width, and two stories high, occupied as a shoe manufactory, with the exception of one room, used as a sleeping room, was blown down and crushed to "impalpable powder." The main part of the building was raised from the foundation about a foot, and let down again, resting in its old quarters after frocking about ten minutes. All the lights were, of course, extinguished, chairs and tables performed fantastic tricks, as though under the influence of the inhabitants of the spirit-land, and the nine persons who occupied the house at the time were filled with consternation. A young man had almost at the instant when the tornado struck the house, stepped from the "L" into the adjoining room where the family were, and thus probably was saved from death.
In Stoneham, which is southeast of our informant's point of observation, but little, if any, damage was done. This is the second violent tornado which has visited Middlesex county this season -- the first, it will be recollected, occurred in Tewksbury a few weeks since.

The New York Times New York 1857-09-15