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Freeborn County, Minnesota Storm

August 1858

The Great Hail Storm in Minnesota.

The late hail storm in Minnesota was of a most destructive character. In Freeborn County, we are told, it raged as a tornado, tearing hundreds of oak trees almost into shreds, tumbling down fences, flattening corn fields, demolishing gardens, and doing much other damage. In Fairfield, Geneva, Clark’s Grove, etc., the storm was characterized by severe hail, which cut in pieces whole fields of grain, and completely destroyed numberless gardens. Some of the hail-stones were of the size of hen’s eggs. In the neighborhood of Faribault chickens, pigs and sheep were killed outright, and cattle and horses who could not get under shelter, were almost crazy with the fierce peltings of the storm.

The Hastings Daily Ledger contains the following item:

“Mantorville appeared as though an army of infantry had been using it as a target to fire at; windows were broken, and even the siding was pierced by hail, and the gardens and fields of grain could not have been in a worse plight if a herd of ten thousand buffaloes had come rushing over them from the western plains. One farmer in that vicinity said his loss was full [sic] $500; he was just preparing to harvest his wheat that had escaped the ravages of the rust and weevil, when the hail came and utterly destroyed it together with everything else in the ground. Some of the hail gathered after the storm, measured ten and twelve inches in circumference; and several animals had been killed from being hit. Our informant weighed one stone, or block of ice, whose heft was one pound.”

Chicago Press and Tribune, Chicago, IL 19 Aug 1858

Transcribed by Liz Dodson. Thanks Liz!


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