Brownsville, MO Area Tornado, Apr 1882


Friday, April 21, 1882

KANSAS CITY, MO., April 19 --- A cyclone last evening struck the town of Brownsville, and totally wrecked the place. Seven dead bodies have been taken from the debris, and more will be found. Among the killed was the operator at the station.

BROWNSVILLE, MO., April 19 --- The first intimation of the approach of the cyclone was a sudden roaring sound. When first seen the black funnel shaped cloud was two miles distant, traveling at the rate of a hundred miles an hour. It did not touch the earth until it approached the town.

Seven persons were killed outright, fourteen mortally wounded, and sixteen seriously hurt.

The following are the killed: Joe J. Scruggs, a farmer; Claude Meyers, dry goods merchant; F. K. Arthur, clerk; Con. White, City Marshall; J. S. Payne, minister; and James Miller, clerk.

Every house, tree, and shrub in the path, 150 yards wide, was leveled to the ground.

KANSAS CITY, MO., April 19 --- Near Marshall, Saline County, a destructive cyclone passed through the country yesterday afternoon. A number of farm houses were completely demolished and several persons were badly injured. The damage to fences, barns, etc., is very great.

ST. LOUIS, April 19 --- A dispatch from Renick, Mo., says a severe storm passed over there at 6 o’clock last night, blew off two or three roofs, turned around a building or two, and tore down fences, trees, etc. in great numbers. It seems to have been part of the storm which struck Brownsville, Mo.

MONTROSE, MO., April 19 --- Monday afternoon a cyclone destroyed eighteen dwellings and four churches. A school house was blown down and many of the children injured. At Appleton, thirty-four houses were blown down.

NEW ORLEANS, LA., April 19 --- Tuesday evening at 6:30 a cyclone crossed the Mississippi River at Carrollton, gathered water into a column sixty feet high, struck down with terrible force, and deluged the streets, unroofed and demolished many buildings. A number of persons were bruised more or less by the flying timbers.

The ferry at the wharf was lifted and was left some distance on the bank. An old negro man standing on the bank was hurled through the air and lodged on a tree uninjured. Taking a direction toward Lake Pontchartrain it crossed the upper end of Canal Street, and wrecked and unroofed many small buildings. The loss is many thousand dollars.

CHICAGO, April 19 --- Later advices concerning the cyclone which visited Brownsville, Mo., yesterday says: The storm struck the town at 4 p.m., and two minutes afterwards the most fearful scene of death and destruction was visible on every side. Large two story brick business houses were lifted from their foundations, and the ruins scattered in chaotic confusion in all directions.

Frame dwellings were overturned and crushed into splinters, while large trees were uprooted and carried long distances by the force of the storm. Hogs and other animals were picked up into the air, carried various distances, and dropped lifeless along the track of the storm.

The first intimation the people had of the terrible disaster impending was the appearance of a low hanging bluish funnel-shaped cloud rising in the southwest which seemed to be whirling and rolling in all directions, assuming every conceivable form and traveling at a most fearful rate of speed directly toward town.

People became intensely excited, and many sought safety in cellars, but the storm came with such velocity that no time was given people to seek places of safety. Just before the funnel struck the town, a loud, roaring noise was heard, which was followed by several loud electrical explosions.

At the southwestern limits of the town the funnel seemed to strike the ground and rebound a few feet into the air, and kept in close proximity to the earth during its entire passage through the town. It seemed to move in a rapid rotary manner, and everything it came in contact with was drawn up into its mouth, only to be dropped again a few seconds later, twisted and crushed out of all shape.

Fifteen brick and two frame houses, between fifteen and twenty dwellings, the Missouri Pacific depot and telegraph office were entirely destroyed, and numerous other buildings badly damaged. All the killed, except City Marshal White, were killed by falling buildings. He was upon the street, and was the most mutilated and disfigured of any.

Source: The Magnolia Gazette, Friday, April 21, 1882