Hazel Green, WI Tornado, Mar 1876
We question if there has been anything in this country approaching the power and violence of the tornado that visited the village of Hazel Green, Wis., on Friday last. Heretofore there has been some apparent limit to the force of whirlwinds, and there has generally remained in their path some monument of strength which has defied their assault; but in this case the storm appears to have been absolutely resistless.
There was no partial demolition of objects in its course; no ruin simply of frail tenements, while stronger ones resisted successfully. All that the tornado struck in its full force it destroyed absolutely, completely. Heavy stone buildings were crushed like paper boxes, not by persistent beatings about them, but instantly, as if a colossal hand of iron had struck them to the earth. No instance occurs to us where the destruction and loss of life have been so great, proportionately, from such a cause. The whirlwind only struck at a few points in the village, but where it descended havoc and ruin were the result. Seven persons were instantly killed, and fifteen more or less severely injured, while over twenty buildings were destroyed.
This in a small village of 1,000 inhabitants. Something of the force of the tornado may be gained from the fact that a span of horses standing side by side in a barn were lifted sixty feet in the air, and carried a distance of twenty rods and dashed to the earth again, falling only ten feet apart, and retaining the respective places occupied when they were lifted from their places. One whole family named RICHARDS, together with a neighbor and her infant child, were killed, and so suddenly did the tornado strike the dwelling where they were assembled, and so quick was the work, that they were found in the very positions occupied ere the stroke descended, having had apparently no time to make even a frightened movement toward escape. Outside of the center of the whirlwind the force was of course moderated, and here the destruction was only partial, but it seems that in the direct line of the tornado, and in the places where it fairly touched, nothing withstood it. It appears, also, from all that can be learned, that the fearful visitation was confined to a narrow limit, and that no other points in the vicinity suffered to any extent. The occurrence is a phenomenon which weather prognosticators would do well to study.
Decatur Daily Republican, Decatur, Illinois, 3/14/1876