Philadelphia, PA & Camden, NJ Tornado, July 1840


A tremendous blow followed the thunder shower yesterday, at noon, and many of the shade trees along the sidewalk suffered the loss of branches. On the river and along the shore where the sweep of the gale had more free exercise, its effects were very mischievous, and did considerable damage. The barque Anna Reynolds from Boston, was driven against Bucks Wharf, near Chestnut Street, and sustained some injury. Her rudder was entirely carried away. A schooner was entirely dismasted, and her rigging demolished. The sails of a number of vessels, which had been furled, were torn into shreds, and the pieces blown through the air.
Some object which appeared to be a tree, was seen by many of our citizens at a great height, some distance over the Delaware River, rising, falling, twisting in all directions. An umbrella was taken from the hand of an individual, borne aloft, and carried over to the bar in the river where it lodged. The pipe of the steam ferry boat Delaware was also blown off and her awnings torn away, and she sustained other injury.
In Camden the calamity was accompanied by the loss of life. It appears that a pleasure party from the city had resorted to New Jersey, and whilst there was overtaken by the shower preceding the tornado; several of the party sought shelter at the house of MR. FRENON, in Fettersville, within the limits of Camden. One of the ladies, apparently in her best years and of good health, was suddenly killed by a stroke of lightning which struck the house. The remaining persons in the dwelling were more or less injured, although MR. FRENON was the only person seriously hurt. The house, a two story frame, was very much shattered; the weather boarding was torn off and the chimney entirely destroyed. Dr. Fisler, the present mayor of Camden, was immediately summoned to the spot, and did much towards alleviating the pains of the sufferers. The house belonged to Mr. Bozar. Arrangements were made forthwith to have the body of the deceased conveyed to this city. The electric fluid extended to some distance, and also killed a dog and a hen.
A man named JAMES HAMILTON, at work in a garden in Irish Track Lane near the Baltimore Railroad, took shelter during the storm under a chimney, the remains of the house burned down a year ago. The lightning struck the chimney and killed him. The fluid was attracted to him by a steel buckle which fastened the strap round his waist.
The crops on both sides of the river also suffered considerably, the severity of the gale leveled the grain. The city also sustained great damage; among others, the Ridgway House was injured to some extent; and in Chestnut Street, towards the wharf, the destruction of awnings &c. was complete. - Philadelphia Ledger.

The Caledonian St. Johnsbury Vermont 1840-07-28