Ozark, AR Tornado Strikes Small Towns, Apr 1883

A TERRIBLE TORNADO.

HOUSES AND TREES SWEPT AWAY LIKE CHAFF IN ARKANSAS.

Little Rock, April 14. -- A special to the Gazette from Ozark, Ark., says:
"Shortly before 1 o'clock this morning a disastrous tornado struck White Oaks Station, on the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad, 10 miles west of this place, from the south-west. The sides of the mountains, which before the storm were covered with trees, now show none standing, even the oaks being snapped in twain like pipe-stems. A hail-storm followed and lasted until the ground was covered with ice. Many of the stones were nearly as large as hen's eggs. F. H. PISER, Postmaster, lost his store and residence and probably most of the mail. Three hundred dollars in currency was also scattered by the winds, $89 being found. MR. PISER was seriously injured about the spine. L. R. H. WALLACE'S residence, stables and store, occupied by J. E. COX, were leveled, as were also the residence of J. C. McMURRAY and all others at that place. The path of the storm averaged three miles in width. It came from south of the river at a point near White Oaks. The telegraph wire was blown down for nearly four miles and no fences can be seen anywhere. Trees 2 and 3 feet in diameter were uprooted, broken, and twisted like twigs. One tree, more than 2 feet thick, lay on the railroad tracks, the iron rail beneath being broken into pieces. Pile after pile of green railroad ties were found blown around as if they had been matches. A car-load of lumber was emptied, the side stakes being broken off short."
Reports of destruction of property and loss of life come from every direction. THOMAS E. ROSS and wife and WILLILAM HERRON, residing one mile north of here, were fatally injured and their houses were swept away. W. E. McCAIN, DAVID HALL, JOHN BRASURE, and MR. WALLACE all lost their houses. WALLACE'S was a one-story and a half log-house, the upper half being carried away. DANIEL WADE, WILLIAM HANN, and ZACH HARPER also lost all their buildings. The Union Church and schoolhouse, a mile north-west of here, are in ruins. DANIEL WADE lost everything in his house. There is only one building of any kind left standing -- COLE'S section-house -- which was not squarely in the track of the storm. At Gay's Mill, two miles west, one small residence is all that remains standing. F. J. LEWIS'S house and a half-dozen others are in ruins. A storm of such severity was never before known here. The tornado reached Conway, Faulkner County, on the same railway, at three o'clock in the afternoon, from the north-east. Nobody was killed, but several persons were badly injured. No reports have been received from the interior.
The Catholic and Baptist churches are both destroyed. SIMMONS Brothers' gin mill is a total wreck, and HILLIARD & Co.'s planing mill was swept away. The BRUCE, FRAUENTHAL, and MARTIN BRESK blocks were unroffed, and the front of BROWN'S drug store was blown in. The KIMEROAS residences are in ruins. The total loss will probably exceed $50,000.

The New York Times New York 1883-04-15