Clarke County, MS Tornado Hits Plantations, May 1866


Memphis, Friday, May 18.
A terrible tornado and hail storm visited Clarke County, Miss., last week, and uprooted trees, leveled houses and barns, entirely destroyed the crops and killed and wounded people and stock. In describing this calamitous occurrence, the Bulletin's correspondent says: "I have frequently heard tell of hail being as large as a hen's egg, but never saw any until this time. One stone struck me on the cheek bone, and brought blood. The hail was drifted in piles, in some places two and three feet deep, and remained on the ground until the next Saturday morning. We had no water all the time. I never saw such destruction before. The country around where it passed looks as if there had been a severe frost. All the leaves were beaten off by the hail. It took the buds off of the fruit trees, and other small growths. The large pine trees looked as if they had been dented all over with a hammer. As to gardens and vegetables, there are none. The falling of the timber killed a great deal of stock. As to poultry, the hail killed nearly all; in fact I do not see how anything escaped that was out without protection. I had a man farming with me by the name of SALEM NEWLAN. His house blew down and killed his wife instantly. Nearly all the houses that were not blown down were unroofed. Very little timber remains standing. The crops are utterly destroyed, both corn and cotton. Some farmers will not be able to procure cotton seed to plant again.
The crops in this country were never so gloomy and the rain continues to fall every day. Those who have bottom land will not be able to work in it for a week or more, even if the rain was to stop now; others will not be able to put seed in the ground until the 20th inst.

The New York Times New York 1866-05-21