Antigo, WI tornado, May 1898


At 7 o'clock Wednesday evening, May 18, 1898, a cyclone struck the northwestern part of Antigo, causing the loss of three lives and approximately $35,000 worth of damage to property. Those killed were Frank Billings, who had a box car thrown against him; Goldie Sheldon, 7-year-old daughter of Homer Sheldon, and Ignatz Barr, struck while standing in front of the F. Ringsmith residence. Seriously injured were: Mrs. Alex McMillan and daughter, Mamie, Mrs. J. Kolte, Mrs. Martin Lynski, Dr. Frank I. Drake, Mrs. Francis Kaplanek, and Mrs. H. H. Ward.

Property damage was as follows: Electric light plant, water works powere house, Isaac Cople residence, John E. Martin residence, and E. Houck residence demolished, household goods of Frank Newberry damaged, L. C. Bemis residence damaged, F. Ringsmith residence demolished, Homer Sheldon household goods damaged, Mrs. A. Tollefson residence and household goods damaged, Joseph Steidle, two houes [sic] damaged, Gus Urbank household goods damaged, L. Frederickson house demolished, Horace Kellogg house damaged, W. Putnam residence damaged, Henry Feindeisen house moved off foundation, C. H. Petters residence damaged, A. C. Conway, W. Whitney, Olaf Goldstrand, and C. Hungerford residences damaged or they were destroyed. George Bemis house and contents damaged, L. E. Buckman, A. Goldberg, G. Parker, Will Botrell, Dr. H. V. Mills, Mrs. Harris, P. J. Millard, C. O. Marsh, W. Kenyon, Allan Taylor, Al billings, L. K. Strong, H. C. Mumphrey, J. H. Trever, Ralph Briggs, Joseph Bainiaj, Bruno Krowlinski, Alex McMillan, Ed Grabowsky, Wm. Heckman, Edward Boettcher, Frank Valnets, Mike and Frank Lynski, Joseph Hoffman, August Reige, Joseph Holle, Mrs. Hayes, A. Kolte, J. A. Weaver, T. Bradnock, August Frieburger, and H. Ward all suffered either residence, barn, or household damages, some both household and residence damages. The Chicago & Northwestern Railway suffered considerably also.

Many farmhouses, barns, and sheds were destroyed in the eastern part of the county. Trees were uprooted and broken off and forests were laid low. The path of the cyclone was small, but very destructive.

Mayor Dailey immediately issued a proclamation calling upon the Antigo citizens to aid the suffering and homeless. A Citizens' Relief Committee was appointed. The Jones Lumber Company of Elcho donated $50 for relief. Food, clothing, and financial aid was distributed fast. The city council appropriated $1,000 for relief purposes and offers for assistance came pouring in from every section to the sorrowing and stricken community. Never before or since has Langlade Clounty witnessed such a holocaust.

The History of Langlade County, date not provided