St. Louis, Missouri Tornado
CYCLONE HORROR AT ST. LOUIS
Graphic Stories of the Awful Tornado--Path of
the Cloud Demon
HUNDREDS OF LIVES LOST AND MANY CRIPPLED
Loss of Life Over Five Hundred--Thousands
Injured--Fire and Toppling Buildings Add to the
Terror and Fright--Disasters on the River--Eads
Bridge Partly Wrecked--Death at Liggett & Myers'
Factory--Night and Day Accounts of the Cyclone
STORY WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT.
St. Louis, May 28.--Death and destruction
reign supreme in St. Louis and vicinity at 1
o'clock this morning as the result of the most
terrible storm that ever visited this region of
the country. So widespread is the destruction in
both St. Louis and East St. Louis that it is
impossible to estimate the amount of damage and
the loss of life. Buildings of every description
are in ruins and as a result hundreds of people
are reported dead and injured. But until
daylight comes and order is restored it will be
impossible to make a definite estimate.
Reports are in circulation that seven steamers
lying at the wharf boats on this and the East
St. Louis side of the river have been sunk with
all on board.
The city is nearly in darkness as the electric
lights and trolley wires are down. With one or
two exceptions all the street car lines in the
city are at a standstill and thousands of people
were compelled to stay on down town or walk
The storm broke at 3 o'clock in the afternoon
after a most oppressively hot day and rain began
to fall. It soon developed into a fierce thunder
storm with winds from the east. A little later
the wind had gained a velocity of eighty miles
an hour, driving the rain before it and tearing
loose signs, cornices, chimneys, and everything
in its way. Many buildings of every description
were demolished and set on fire by lightning and
The fire department responded to fourteen
alarms. The streets were full of people going
home from work and a panic ensued as soon as the
storm broke. Men were picked up and hurled
against buildings, horses and carriages sent
flying here and there, and falling wires full of
deadly fluid added to the horror of the scene.
Suddenly the wind veered around to the west and
completed the destruction. It is asserted by
some of those who have traversed the down town
part of the city, that there are but few
buildings in St. Louis that have not suffered in
some way from the storm.
The wagon way of the Eads bridge on the East St.
Louis side is a crumbling mass of mortar and
stone, and parts of the tower and pier No. 1 are
also torn away. The roof of the Republican
convention hall was blown off and twenty-foot
sections of the western wall of the city yard
are clear down, exposing the interior. It was
during the exercise hours and the prisoners who
were exercising in the building were panic
stricken. They were too frightened to try to
escape. Jailer Wagner
was on the scene in a moment and with the aid of
a number of detectives and policemen, the
prisoners were placed in their cells.
Convention hall and the Four Courts were in the
past of the cloud as it passed from the city
hospital toward the river. Convention hall lost
a part of the roof at the eastern end, was
punctured in several places by flying timbers,
and sustained some derangement of the interior.
Ten days work and the expenditure of $5,000 will
make the hall good again. A section of the brick
wall of the jail went down, and the prisoners
In the district between Sixth street and the
river and northward from Chouteau Avenue the
tornado tore a diagonal path. The district
comprises business houses, many of them of the
older type. Every building within the path
sustained damage. Smoke-stacks and chimneys were
toppled over. Walls were leveled. Roofs were
Thousands of windows were smashed. Miles of
telegraph and telephone wires were left in a
network on the ground. Through this district the
streets were impassable. They are covered in
places with debris ten feet deep.
Along the Levee front the hawsers snapped and
boats were sent adrift; some to go down, others
to go ashore on the eastern bank. The loss of
life which might have taken place at this point
was averted by the hour at which the tornado
came. A little later the excursion steamers
would have been going out. None of them had left
the wharf. One up-river passenger boat had gone
an hour before, and, although not heard from,
probably had passed beyond the path of the
The death dealing cloud crossed the river at
such an angle as to strike and wreck the upper
works at the cast end of the Eads bridge, and to
sweep a part of East St. Louis. The list of the
dead and injured on the east side of the river
will not be complete until hours of daylight
permit effective search of the ruins. Enough is
known, however, to show that more lives have
been lost on the East side than upon the West
side. The injured number hundreds.
Perhaps the most impressive evidence of the
storm cloud's force is to be seen in the wrench
of the eastern end of the Eads bridge. There the
tornado dealt with stone masonry. It tore off
and tumbled down tons upon tons of this masonry.
Beginning with the big eastern pier, and
extending to the foot of the incline, the cloud
cut off the upper part of the structure as if it
had been a flimsy trestle instead of a structure
of world-wide fame for massiveness. What the
tornado did to the Eads bridge will not be
believed unless the eyes see it.
Fire added much to the loss account. Down wires,
wild currents of electricity, crushed buildings,
all contributed to this element of destruction.
The alarm system was paralyzed. Approaches were
blockaded. A $200,000 conflagration on the St.
Louis side was supplemented by a dozen lesser
fires. In East St. Louis a mill was burned and
two other considerable losses were sustained. To
the enormous total, fires added at least
Incidents of the Tornado in St. Louis.
A lady whose name was not learned was standing
at the northeast corner of Twelfth and Clark
avenue. She was picked from the ground and
hurled to the southwest corner. She landed at
the entrance of a saloon and save a shaking up
The Famous company,
Broadway and Morgan suffered the loss
of three immense plate-glass windows, and
thirteen windows on the second floor were also
broken. The damage to stock by water, which
flooded the stock rooms, is estimated at
was seriously injured in a stable in the rear of
his home while attempting to save two little
girls from the storm in the stable, where Mr.
Coffey, was at work. Mr. Coffey, seeing that the
roof and beams were about to fall, made a rush
to rescue the children, who were unable to move
from fright. While carrying them forth the roof
fell. Coffey thrust the girls under him, made an
arch over their bodies with his back, and
allowed the beam to break its force on him. He
was severely injured, but the children escaped
unhurt. When seen at the Hospital last night
Coffey said: "I got hurt myself, but I am glad I
got hurt myself, because it save those little
children. If my pains were twice as bad I would
still be glad I tried to save them."
says that Coffey's wounds, though serious, are
not necessarily fatal.
of the morgue, and
Adolph Meurer, of the Sprinkling
department, had a narrow escape from instant
death. The men were occupying a buggy. When at
Twelfth and Olive streets the buggy lurched
suddenly and in another instant it was on top of
the horse. The two occupants of the vehicle were
underneath the buggy. A pop-corn stand from
across the street flew into the air and landed
on the buggy. It was in the middle of the street
car tracks and soon a car was bearing down on
them. The motorman could not stop his car until
he had pushed the horse, buggy and cart several
feet. As no one would venture from a building
that contained four solid walls the two men were
left to themselves to fight their way out as
best they could. They succeeded after much
effort, and came out almost uninjured. The buggy
was totally demolished, and the horse was so
badly injured that it had to be shot.
The entire roof of the mammoth warehouse of
on Second and Walnut streets was uplifted and
scattered over several acres of the vicinity.
On Sixth and Chestnut streets the wind caught a
heavy four-horse truck and blew it 100 feet up
the street without overturning it.
At the stables of the American Express company
on Eleventh and Walnut streets, half a dozen of
the heavy express wagons were overturned by the
wind like so many toy carts.
On Fourth and Market streets, within a space of
200 feet, no less than fourteen overturned
wagons were counted during the height of the
storm. Four horses were blown out of the harness
that attached them to vehicles, and all found
refuge in a butcher shop.
Dead and Injured at St. Louis
St. Louis, May 28. -- Below is a list of the
dead and injured:
driver for Eberle & Keyes Livery company.
Sophia DeMartina, 402 South Twelfth.
Wallace Bradshaw, colored, killed at
Ewing and Scott avenues.
Katie Claypool, killed at Ewing and
Two unknown men; bodies taken to the morgue.
----- Jones, engineer Etna Iron
Frank Fisher, 1944 Papin.
Julius Gall, bookkeeper of Epstein &
Emma Chaney and Isabella Home, 1432
Unknown man at 210 South Commercial.
William Winkler, on Southern electric
car at Eighth and Park avenue.
Joseph Dunn, patient at City
Francisco Beligo, a Spanish woman at
Fred Zimmers, chief engineer Union
depot railroad power house, Jefferson and Geyer
Unknown child, about 5 years old, Ann and
Child, daughter of
Andrew J. Leineke of 1706 Hamilton
hackdriver for Eberle & Keys.
Fred Mauchenheimer, 1300 South
Thomas Killian, 1300 South Seventh.
Harry Killian, 1300 South Seventh.
William Killian, 1300 South Seventh.
Unknown man, 1300 South Seventh.
Unknown Frenchwoman at 101 South
Three people, names unknown, at 1333 South
At Liggett & Myers.
Mrs. J. P. Herman, 3634 Castleman
avenue, at Liggett & Myers Tobacco works.
Robert Wilson, 23 years old,
bricklayer, 4214 College avenue.
John Rofferty, laborer, residence
Three stone masons, names unknown, working in
Four unknown workmen found in stripping house.
J. P. Herman,
Miss Clara Herman, fatally injured,
both of 3634 Castleman avenue.
John Timmons, 1435 North Sixteenth
street, ankle and wrist crushed.
Jamas Lahan, 2810 Biddle street, head
Unknown man, skull fractured.
Pat Rooney, 1435 South Thirteenth
street, internally injured.
Pat Tracy, 2028 Adams street, head
Dr. Max Starkloff, arm dislocated.
David Clanzey, Fourteenth near
O'Fallon, head bruised.
Wm. Gabin, 1823 Papin, hip and leg
Robert Wilson, colored, bruised at
Twelfth and Gratiot by flying bricks.
M. M. Buck, 3012 Adams street, head
and body bruised.
Frank Reichert and
Eric House, bruises on head and body.
Peter Horn, injured in falling house
at 606 South Seventh.
Pat Moran, Ironton, Pa., right leg
John Taylor, injured about the head.
Wm. Flint, 3001 California avenue,
Thomas May, 1847 O'Fallon, bruised on
head and back.
Fred Mack, superintendent of the
morgue, and Adolph
Meurer of the sprinkling department,
bruised by overturning of the buggy.
S. Sankey of 1827 North Market, cut
in head and arms.
John O'Conner, 2109 Adams, badly
Gertie McKenna, 2108 Eugenia, head
Bridget Gunn, 2722 Sheridan, fatal
Albert Raven, colored, 118 North
High, cut on head.
John Fox, 1223 Blair avenue, right
J. W. Rowden, 4232 Connecticut
avenue, scalp wound.
Alfa Elberfield, 913 Locust, scalp
Edward Lackbehler, 4208 Clayton road,
injuries in face.
Martin Finan, 4356 St. Ferdinand,
John Scott, struck on head at Seventh
and Chonteau avenue.
---- Gunther, 2324 Whittemore place,
Gunther, scalp wound.
Man at 1803 South Ohio avenue,
Phil Medart, 1721 Missouri.
Herbert Rowe, 163 South Compton
avenue, struck by falling bricks.
Three firemen at Union depot power
house, Jefferson and Geyer avenues.
John W. Judlim, 2023 South Jefferson
avenue, burned by live wire at Lafayette and
Burt Johnson, yard clerk Wiggins
Ferry company, arm broken.
Three persons on Waverly place,
Dr. W. A. McCandless, 2319 Lafayette avenue.
Mr. Epstein, of Epstein & Bernstein,
Charles Ramast, head cut.
Abe Fredman, 1014 Julian street, cut
in head and face.
Charles Ventula, head cut.
Joe Ramag, leg broken.
H. H. Sawyer, internal injuries.
W. H. Shaw, 2834 Market, right arm
John Sawyer, 1728 Chouteau avenue,
Henry Abtor, serious injuries.
George Benel, fatal injuries.
George Poper, 2114 Gratiot, internal
John Williams, 2107 Singleton, right
G. C. Popditz, 2501 South Broadway,
Eleven persons in eddy at Pittsburg dyke,
supposed to be from steamers Libbie Conger
Crew and passengers of steamer Bald Eagle,
which was blown down the river and has not been
heard from--20 persons.
All but three members of the crew of the steamer
J. J. Odil, which blew up and sank. Three
Passengers and crews of two South St. Louis
ferry boats--20 persons.
Blown off a Loomis Ice company barge five--not
known whether saved.
NIGHT SCENES AT EAST ST. LOUIS.
Fires Under Control--Ambulances
Going--Search Lights Used to Find Sufferers.
St. Louis, May 28.-- Shortly after
midnight the fire department secured control of
the conflagration at East St. Louis and the
members of the department began to assist the
ambulance corps in caring for the wounded. No
attention was paid toward taking care of the
dead. The streets were in Egyptian darkness and
searchlights were placed on patrol wagons in an
effort to reach the location of the injured. The
ambulances were run at breakneck speed and
inside one hour at least twenty-five seriously
injured were carried to the dispensary. Their
wounds were dressed as rapidly as possible and
they were carried to houses to await the result
of their injuries.
The scenes of death and suffering in East St.
Louis are beyond the power of description. Men,
women, and children fell victims to the sudden
swoop of the elements and the clang of the
ambulance only notified the survivors of the
death of another citizen. Railroads both east
bound and west bound are stalled at the entrance
of the Eads bridge with no hope of proceeding
farther for the next three days. Every ferry
boat on the river has fallen victim to wind and
waves and there are not over two crafts in the
river tonight that dare cross the Mississippi.
Men bringing information of the condition of
affairs in the ill-fated city of East St. Louis
are obliged to climb on hands and knees across
the broken girders of the Eads bridge.
of the Western Union telegraph corps
of repairers made the perilous trip at midnight
and reports the situation one of horror. The
people are panic stricken and nearly 200 are
homeless. In addition to this is the horrible
fear that some of their relatives have fallen a
prey to the elements.
It is utterly impossible to get a record of the
dead as carried into the improvised morgues. So
far, seventy-four bodies have been found and at
this hour messengers are constantly notifying
the authorities of finding the remains of
unfortunate victims in ditches, under trestle
works, railroad wreckage and in the demolished
residences and railroad depots.
At the east telegraph switch tower of the Eads
bridge twenty unidentified bodies are stacked in
ghastly rows on the pine floor. Of these it is
assumed that fully three-quarters are well known
and prosperous citizens.
The identified dead so far include
and his wife of Vandalia, Ill., who were among
the victims of the relay depot wreck.
Daily Republican, Decatur, IL 28 May 1896
TRAIN ON THE BRIDGE.
Passengers in C. & A. Coaches Owe Their
Lives to the Engineer.
St. Louis, May 28. -- While the storm
was at its height No. 7 of the Chicago and Alton
road pulled out on the bridge from the Missouri
side on its way east. Engineer
had only proceeded a short distance when
he realized the awful danger which threatened
the train. The wind struck the coaches at first,
startlingly, causing them to careen ominously.
At that time he was half way across. Overhead
telegraph poles were snapping and tumbling into
the river, while several large stones were
shaken loose from their foundations and came
toppling down into the water. Fearing that every
moment his train would either be blown into the
river or else the bridge would be blown away
beneath him, Swoncott, with rare presence of
mind, put on a full head of steam in an effort
to make the Illinois shore.
The train had scarcely proceeded 200 feet when
within about the same distance from the shore an
entire upper span of the driveway of the bridge
was blown away. Tons and tons of hug granite
blocks tumbled to the tracks, where the train
loaded with passengers had been but a moment
before. At about the same time the wind struck
the train full on its side, upsetting all the
cars like playthings. Luckily no one was killed
in the wreck, but several were taken out
The wrecked part of the bridge is just east of
the big tower, near the Illinois shore, and
extends east for about 300 feet. The entire
upper portion, traversed by the cars and
carriages, is carried away, while the tracks are
buried in debris, in some places eight feet
Daily Republican, Decatur, IL 28 May 1896
The Story of the Cyclone's Deadly Work
Told After Daylight.
GREAT LOSS OF LIFE AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
Corrected List of the Dead in St. Louis and East
St. Louis--Judge Foulke, of Vandalia, One of the
Victims--Action By Congress
St. Louis, Mo., May 28. -- Two hundred
lives were snuffed out in the city and as many
more in East St. Louis, property destroyed, in
value running into the millions is the record of
yesterday evening's tornado. This is a
conservative estimate. No possible idea of the
number killed in the tornado in this
neighborhood, in Missouri and Illinois can be
made at this time. South St. Louis is littered
with the bodies of the dead. East St. Louis is a
gigantic cemetery. Under the debris of buildings
in that city scores are buried whose bodies will
not be brought to light for many days, perhaps
never. It was the most disastrous storm from
every point of view in the history of the city.
It did little damage in the business and
northern portions of the city, save along the
river front, where the destruction cannot be
estimated. Nor will it ever be known just how
many gave up their lives in the waters of the
Mississippi where the tornado tore all the boats
in the harbor from their moorings. The channel
is full of wreckage. In South St. Louis, where
the storm spent its force, all the way from
Patin street to Carondolet it put a stamp on the
face of the city that will not be effaced for
years. Strong buildings fell before the wind
like houses made of cards. From where it entered
the city in the southwestern suburbs to where it
left near the Eads bridge, there is a wide path
of ruins. Factory after factory went down and
piles of brick and timbers mark the spots on
which they stood. Dwellings were picked up and
thrown in every direction. Business houses were
flattened with no chance for escape of the
occupants who are now in the ruins covered with
bruises, mangled bodies that will not be
recovered until a systematic search is made.
Thousands of families in South St. Louis are
practically homeless, and temporary hospitals
shelter hundreds. Early in the storm the plant
of the Laclede Gas company was destroyed and a
large portion of the central part of the city
was cut off from the gas supply. Wires were torn
down all over the city, elevators blown down,
boats sunk, church and school houses demolished.
After the wind and rain had done its work, fire
added to the destruction. The destruction of the
water works early in the storm cut off the water
supply and Chief Purdy
and his men fought fire with a bucket brigade as
best they could.
There is no way of estimating the number of
lives lost on the river craft that happened to
be near when the cyclone came. Hundreds of
barges were moored all along the river bank, in
some instances with as many as ten to twelve
persons on board. The men were blown into the
water and the barges were capsized. The
destruction of life in this way is certainly
large. A rumor that the excursion steamer Grand
Republic had gone to the bottom with 500
excursionists is denied by the officer of that
company, who said the boat left for Alton at
noon. The storm struck the city on the
southwest, just north of Tower Grove park, and
traveled in a northeasterly direction to Grand
Avenue, then followed the Miller Creek valley to
the river. At the levee it swung almost at right
angles, and swept straight up the river to
Madison, where it veered east again. Judging
from the reports of the greatest damage the path
of the storm averaged ten or twelve blocks wide
with an extreme of sixteen blocks wide. In
places where large manufacturing building went
down are piles of dead. At Seventh and Rutger
streets, more than twenty bodies are imbedded
and as many more in
Fred Mannhemeher's tenement;
twenty-nine of the employes at Liggett & Meyers
Cigarette factory, and twenty-five of the
employes (sic) at the St. Louis Wood Ware
A wild current of electricity crushed the
buildings, and added to danger from fire alarm
systems which were paralyzed. A $200,000
conflagration on the St. Louis side is
supplemented by a dozen lesser fires. In East
St. Louis a mill was burned, and other losses
bringing the total to half a million. In
comparison in size of fatalities and losses,
East St. Louis exceeded those on this side of
the river. A larger part of the central portion
of the city was razed to the ground; on the
flats on the north of Adams bridge not a house
is left standing. In the latter portion the loss
of life is terrible. Scarcely a family escaped
without fatality. Many instances of whole
households being wiped out of existence. A
conservative estimate of the dead is 150. The
list of dead included all the boarders at the
house, except Judge
Hope, of Alton, Ill.; all boarders
estimated at 16 at the Tremont house; twenty
unidentified bodies at the bridge tower; six
unidentified bodies at the electric railway
stations; seven unknown dead in the Dublin house
and Policeman Thomas
Griffin and his family of three.
When the sun arose on St. Louis and vicinity
this morning it showed a scene of terrible ruin,
disaster, wind, rain, fire, combined in a
mission of destruction. Two hundred lives were
lost in this city, and as many more in East St.
Louis, while thousands are injured, many so
severely that they cannot recover. The exact
number will not be known for many days, perhaps
never, for the debris of ruined buildings all
over the city covers hundreds of corpses. The
destruction of property will aggregate many
millions of dollars, but cannot be estimated
with any degree of accuracy. The terrible
tornado which caused this destruction struck the
city yesterday afternoon at 3:15. All parts of
the city and East St. Louis felt its effects.
The greatest damage on this side of the river
was inflicted within a three miles strip along
the Mississippi. Many buildings were totally
collapsed, others unroofed, very few escaped
some injury. Depressing sultriness, puffs of
wind, by turns from all points of the compass,
heavy clouds around the horizon were
characteristics of the afternoon. For hours the
currents shifted and winds blew hot and cold,
and a storm centre developed. In the west a
thunder storm developed, and came up slowly at
first. As the black rim mounted higher its arch
embraced more territory to the north and the
south. A strong wind from the east began to blow
in the face of the storm. It was a lower
current. It raised a dark cloud and brought it
forward faster and faster. Suddenly the wind
stopped blowing from the east, there swept from
the northwest a terrific gale which made the
best build structures tremble. When the
hurricane broke over the western part of the
city, there came a deluge of rain. For half an
hour from 3 to 3:30 the hurricane blew from the
northwest. Then came a lull, the current shifted
and in the southwest a funnel shaped storm cloud
formed and burst upon the city from that
direction, and struck the city hospital, and
tore away through the city to the river in a
northeasterly course. It wrought such havoc as
will long leave traces in that part of the city
east of Seventh street and north of Cherry to
the Eads bridge. Boats at the wharf were torn
from their moorings and set adrift or capsized.
The storm crossed the river, demolished the
upper work at the east end of the Eads bridge
then wreaked it fury on East St. Louis. With the
storm though the sun was still an hour high,
daylight gave place to the darkness of midnight.
By midnight, reporters for the Associated Press
visited all the stricken portions of the city
and suburbs. The list of dead discovered fell
far below the first estimate, but long enough to
be appalling. Crushed beneath falling walls,
hurled against the sides of buildings, struck by
flying timbers, cut by splintered glass, shocked
by torn down wires, humanity suffered in ways
Hospital in Ruins
The city hospital looks like a ruin. The
surgical ward is partly demolished and portions
of the other buildings are unroofed and the
walls cracked. Physicians at once began the
removal of patients to temporary quarters. The
weakened structure it is feared will collapse.
Four hundred and fifty-six were in the hospital
when the storm came, and a number were injured.
The convention hall and the four courts were in
the path of the storm. The former lost a part of
the roof and the walls were punctured in several
places by flying missiles. It can be restored in
ten days. A section of the brick wall of the
jail went down but the prisoners were too panic
stricken to escape. In the district between
Sixth street and the river, north from Chateau
avenue, the tornado tore a diagonal path through
the older portions of the business district.
Every building in its path was damaged. The
streets are impassable in this section. Had the
tornado came a little later the loss of life on
the river would have been much greater as the
excursion steamer would have been going out.
A million dollars will not cover the damage
to property. How any person in the path of the
cyclone escaped is a mystery to all who passed
over the devastated region. Four square blocks
were absolutely swept away. Many inmates are
beneath the ruins. The Lake house, the Groes
building, Tremont hotel, Martell house, Vandalia
round house, with twenty dwellings around it,
the Howe Institute, the Vandalia freight house
in the last of which all were killed, are a few
of the buildings which went down before the
blast. The boats known to be sunk are the S.
C. Club, Henry Stockman, Tug Rescue, Milsken,
Christie, Wiggins, Medill and all the wharf
boats. It is asserted that not a perfect line of
wire remains in the western states.
The Death Roll.
St. Louis, May 28 -- 3 p.m. --The following
is a corrected list of the dead in East St.
Louis: Charles Wait,
William Surrer, Mrs. Stock. J. A. Porter,
Cincinnati drummer, name unknown,
L. Richardson, flagman Vandalia road,
Amelia Suiter, John
Reams, Scott Hayward, Peter Walmsley, John
Anderson, Mrs. Bruce, Emma Sullivan, Jacob
Kintzet, P. J. Scrickle, unknown
woman and two children, near Drury ice house,
messenger boy on bridge, seven unknown dead in
the Dublin house,
Michael Kildea, Thomas Keef, Bert Farrell, Wm.
Farrell, Frank McCormack, Joseph Franks,
unknown man and woman near Broadway
Thomas Griffin and family of three,
Frank Rose, foreman at Elliott's
works, Robert Bland,
John Valentine, City Collector
David S. Sage and wife,
Phillip Strickler and mother,
Judge Foulke of Vandalia, Ill.,
and all the boarders of the Martell
house, except Judge Hope of Alton,
A. R. and Mrs. John Hayes, Will Hayes,
all boarders at the Trenton house,
estimated at sixteen;
Tyler Mitchell, Wm. Mitchell, six
unidentified bodies at the bridge tower, two of
whom are supposed to be
William Sullivan and wife,
Mrs. John Reid, Patrick Dean and
family of six, John
Buchart, two boarders at Stacey's
boarding house, Edward
O'Brien, John Breen, Ida C. Labdue, Mrs. Roofe,
Albert Volkman, Joseph Mitchell, John Sullivan,
Wm. Rickey, unknown man on
Collinsville avenue, son of
Mr. Ira Kent, Henry Winterman, Jacob --ert
and sixteen unidentified bodies at Winslay park.
St. Louis, May 28. -- The following is
a list of dead so far as known: Watchman on
board the Dolphin, name unknown, drowned;
unknown man at Borham's quarry;
driver for Western Star Daily Co.;
James Dunn, Francisco Roderiquez, Fred Well,
3 years old;
Theresa Well, 8 months old;
and child, unknown man, driver;
Peter Diedrich, employed at bagging
mill; Max Weiss, Malacy
McDonald, Supt. Walter, Pierce Oil
Co.; Mr. Jones,
engineer Aetna Iron works;
Frank Fisher, Emma
Fisher, Isabella Horn, Sawyer Mfg.
Co.; Charles Tandy,
Sawyer Mfg. Co.;
----Zimmerman, killed at Union depot
company's house; Katie
Claypool, D. Hassings, Mrs. Lewis, Fred Jondock,
Mrs. Anna Gardiner and a six-month's
old babe; Mrs. Augusta
Jalm, aged 63;
Robert Hold, Charlotte Ender,
widow, 62; Jos. Miller,
Mrs. Helix, Wm. Bowler, Rose Duggan, George A.
Hurbert, his two children,
Harry and Willie,
7 and 9; Tina
Matilda Rux, 56;
John Loberlin, 53;
unknown man, two-year-old child;
Peter McGivens, Anna Leva, Peter Deadrick,
The Cyclone in East St. Louis.
East St. Louis, May 28. -- The
residents of the stricken city gathered in
little knots on the streets. They did not mind
the drenching rain. Nothing except the wind
which left death in its path possessed any
terrors for them. The court house and the police
headquarters were blown away. Officers know not
where to find the chief. In the course of time,
however, temporary police headquarters were
established. Drays and wagons were pressed into
the work of removing the dead and dying. Several
bodies were found transfixed by huge timbers.
Others lay moaning and groaning under timbers.
Every courier brought fresh tidings of calamity,
until those who received their reports became
inured to the tales of horror. East St. Louis
and its ruins is one huge mausoleum covering no
one knows how many dead. Almost every house had
relatives or friends among the dead and injured.
Mothers, sisters, other relatives ran from one
temporary morgue to another in search of missing
ones. Miss Dean
sat speechless in the car stables, her dead
father lying at her feet, her mother not far
away, her two younger brothers lying mangled on
the floor near by. It was an awful spectacle but
duplicated over and over again. Often times some
survivor of a family watched over the mutilated
dead of a neighboring family. Mothers, sisters,
fathers, brothers, weeping or dry-eyed dug for
hours through the debris at the Vandalia freight
depot and waded elsewhere in an attempt to
extricate loved ones. Many waded through water
and slush in the ruins of the Martell and
Tremont houses. The rescuers came upon the
bodies of two dead infants and then upon a woman
pinioned beneath the timbers. She said the
children were hers. Her name is
home in Litchfield, Ill.
Discomfort at St. Louis.
St. Louis, May 28. -- The complete
suspension of the telephone communication and
street car traffic has multiplied the
inconveniences and general discomfort. There are
few means of summoning ambulances for the
removal of the dead or injured and many of them
must be conveyed in wagons or on litters. The
city dispensaries are overcrowded. Scores of
volunteer physicians have tendered their
services and are assisting in caring for the
wounded. The demolition of the city hospital has
prevented the use of that institution but the
old house of the Good Shephard has been
substituted and all available supplies are
Fifty School Children Killed.
St. Louis, May 28. -- Very brief
reports from the northwestern part of the state
say that at the Rush Hill school house was torn
to pieces by the tornado. Fifty children were
killed. It is reported that at Renick great
property damage was done and a number of persons
Daily Republican, Decatur, IL 28 May 1896.
Lightning struck an oil tank near the express
house and set fire to it, and it is feared that
the building might have also been burned.
The Grand opera house and the Standard are in
The front of the Southern hotel is a mass of
ruins, the debris falling into the office. The
entire kitchen end of the structure is swept
hardware Co. has offered all of their axes and
picks for the use of the relief committees.
The storm is reported to have struck St. Louis
near the corner of Fourteenth and Olive streets
and did not do much damage in North St. Louis,
confining its work to South and Middle St. Louis
and then jumping across to East St. Louis.
AT THE CITY JAIL
A Big, Broad Road to Liberty, but the Prisoners
were Too Terrified to Accept It.
A twenty-foot section of the western wall of the
city jail blew down, exposing the interior.
It was during the exercise hour and nearly 200
prisoners were in the “bull ring.” They were too
frightened to run although escape would have
been easy. Instead they set up a concerted yell
of terror, and many voluntarily sought shelter
in their cells.
was on the scene in a moment, and with the aid
of a number of policemen and detectives, soon
had the noisy crowd behind the locks.
A special detail of police was hastily summoned,
and will be on guard all night.
The Four Courts was otherwise badly damaged, and
court was adjourned in confusion.
A big fire was raging at the poorhouse at 6 p.m.
AT THE UNION STATION.
Two Women Fatally Crushed Under Fallen Walls.
As the storm cut through the railroad yard back
of the Union station it turned over any number
of freight and passenger cars and carried away
the northwest corner of the Union depot grain
This elevator is one of the largest in the city,
and as the wreckage came down it crashed through
the roofs of a half dozen deserted shanties. So
far as could be learned no one was injured
But as the storm came on in its fury it struck
the saloon at Twenty-first and Clark avenues,
owned by a man known to the policeman on the
beat as “Steve Brodie.”
The whole east wall of that three-story brick
structure was carried away, but as it fell it
caught the heavy lines of electric wires and
snapped them each in twain.
Then came the crash which buried the two women.
Next to the saloon is
Mrs. Gunn's grocery store. She and
were there alone, and as they were standing
speechless under the fury of the storm the west
wall of "Brodie's" saloon came down through the
roof of the grocery store. There was no scream
from the women; they were being crushed and
Patrolman Bart Keany
was a block away and he started for the place.
As he was making his way through the awful
torrents of rain every telegraph pole on the
street came down with a crash and the wires came
with them. But Keany got into the wreckage and
after a half hour's work had gotten to where the
impaled women could be seen. After the worst of
the storm had subsided the women were taken out.
The girl was so badly bruised and crushed that a
physician said nothing could be done for her.
was cared for in the saloon, and there the same
physician said she could not live.
The storm carried away the fronts of the brick
dwellings at 2035, 2037, 2039 and 2041 Clark
avenue, but none of the occupants were injured.
The houses were occupied by
Mrs. Fay, Mrs. Barry,
Mrs. King and Mrs. Hogan.
Every tree was blown to the ground from
Twenty-first street to Jefferson avenue.
Over on Chestnut street there was consternation.
A series of poles supporting heavy telegraph
wires fell to the street.
As they fell one of the poles shot through the
side of car 56 of the Market street line and
knocked one man out the back end. His skull was
said to be broken, and he was taken to his home
on Connecticut avenue. The car was wrecked.
Another man was injured in the same accident,
but he left before the ambulance came.
In falling the wires caught two horses and a
wagon on Twenty-first street near Chestnut. The
wagon had been deserted by the drive and was
crushed by the wires. The horses were carried to
the ground and held there until the wires were
Then the roof of the new storage building of the
Liggett & Myer Tobacco Co., on Chestnut street,
near Twentieth, was carried away and with it
went half of the west wall.
The whole mass crashed though the roof of a
paint shop below. It is believed that
was in the place at the time, and he has not
been seen since.
Chimneys and windows were fun for the storm in
the "burnt district," and trees were leveled to
The above is necessarily, but a partial and
imperfect report of the great disaster attempted
to be described.
CONVENTION HALL WRECKED.
East Wing Blown Off by the Cyclone.
The east half of the Convention hall was
blown off, involving the most serious
consequences to the Republican convention.
Daily Republican, Decatur, IL 28 May
Young Dr. John Spaulding in the Great Tornado
at St. Louis -- Heard from Today.
St. Louis, Mo., May 28. -- To
Dr. T. B. Spalding ,
Decatur, Ill: Was in the cyclone, but escaped by
the skin of my teeth. Am all right.
John B. Spalding.
(John went to St. Louis on Tuesday morning
and had planned to remain there several days on
business. His parents were very much gratified
this forenoon to hear from him.)
Daily Republican, Decatur, IL 28 May
CHURCHES IN RUINS
Long List of Holy Edifices Razed by the
SIXTEEN COSTLY CHURCH HOUSES
In the Neighborhood of Lafayette Park Either
Totally or Partially Destroyed, Entailing Losses
Aggregating a Quarter of a Million.
A long list of houses of worship ruined and
damaged by the storm.
Churches Estimated losses
Lafayette Park Presbyterian . . . . . . .
Lafayette Park Methodist . . . . . . . . .
Lafayette Park Baptist . . . . . . . . . .
Church of the Unity . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mount Calvary Episcopal . . . . . . . . . .
Memorial German M. E. . . . . . . . . . .
Holy Cross, Saxon . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Compton Hill Congregational . . . . . . . .
Compton Heights Christian . . . . . . . . .
St. Henry's Catholic . . . . . . . . . . . . .
St. Paul's Evangical . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Trinity Lutheran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
St. Vincent's Catholic . . . . . . . . . .
. . 3,000
SS Peter and Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
St. John's Episcopal . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Annunciation Catholic . . . . . . . . . . .
Over forty St. Louis churches were smitten by
the elements Wednesday night.
Rain poured into the unroofed buildings, flooded
the basements and ruined the furniture.
Falling steeples added to the general havoc.
Nearly every church near the desolate districts
that escaped damage is used for hospital and
The houses of worship around Lafayette park,
all of them of the costliest kind, felt the blow
more than the others.
The Presbyterian church at Missouri and Albion
was damaged. Rev. S. C.
Palmer is its pastor. His home, at
the eastern front of the park, was demolished.
The roof of the church landed near the center of
Lafayette park. The church was of rough stone,
and its Sunday school is, next to Wanamaker's in
Philadelphia, the largest in the United States.
Lafayette Park M. E. church,
Rev. S. C. Werlein,
Pastor, at Missouri and Lafayette, was partly
ruined by the falling steeple. The pink stone
walls littered the vacant lot on the north, as
well as the auditorium. This church is noted for
the sociability of its young people.
On the north side of the park, corner of
Armstrong and Park, is the Church of the Unity.
This is a white stone building, rather small,
and is on an elevation. The roof was lifted off
and deposited in sections in the park.
Southeast of the park is the Baptist church, at
Lafayette and Mississippi, a brick building,
which sustained about $8,000 damage.
The Baptist Orphans' home, immediately east,
was partly wrecked.
Southwest of Lafayette park, Mt. Calvary
Episcopal church, Rev. P. Fauntleroy rector, at
Jefferson and Lafayette, was entirely wrecked.
Part of it is on the Union club and the rest of
it covers the street car tracks.
Following Jefferson avenue south, the Memorial
M. E. church of brick, corner of Accomac, was
Smaller churches and parochial schools, with
damaged fronts, can be seen further south, and
at Miami street the old Saxon church of the Holy
Cross is a heap of ruins.
The Concordia seminary and the publishing house
are well battered up.
North and west from Lafayette park, St. Kevin's
church, on Park and Cardinal, escaped unscathed.
Compton Hill Congregational church, Lafayette
and Compton, had its cornice and part of the
roof sheeting detached; Compton Heights
Christian church, St. Vincent and California,
lost many bricks, and the Episcopal church, on
Grand and Lafayette, suffered slightly.
St. Henry's church, California and Caroline,
Rumor has it that a priest and some nuns are
still under the ruins.
East of Lafayette park there are a number of
German families that will lose thousands of
At Ninth and Lafayette is St. Paul's
Evangelical church, Pastor Jacob Irons, of which
only about 15 feet of wall remains. The monster
steeple crumbled like dust.
Trinity Lutheran church, Eighth and Lafayette,
shared the fate of all high structures and
Hanser lives next door and his family
narrowly escaped destruction.
St. Vincent's church, Ninth and Park, did not
lose its steeple, though there are no trimmings
thereon. Like a lone sentinel it stands, a mute
witness to the general leveling of man's
St. Peter and St. Paul's Catholic church,
probably the wealthiest German congregations in
the city, is desolated compared with the
grandeur that the parishioners boasted of before
St. John's Episcopal church at Hickory and
Dolman is minus its steeples and a wing.
Expenses of repairing will amount to $13,000.
The German school at Eighth and Marion was
The Annunciation parish at Sixth and La Salle
is a heavy loser. The steeples fell, and besides
crushing the adjoining row injured
Father Head and Miss Head.
No additional bodies have been recovered from
the ruins of the tornado-stricken district in
St. Louis and only one additional death has been
reported. Those reported as missing now are:
James T. McGurk,
George Mallory, 28 years old, worked
for Missouri Car and Foundry company;
31 years old;
Julius Gohering, 45 years old,
Dertling, 36 years, 3524 North
The Perry Bulletin, Perry, IA 11 Jun 1896
Articles transcribed by Jackie
Harral. Thanks Jackie!
ST. LOUIS TORNADO
St. Louis, May 28. --- Yesterday the
weather was oppressive all day and at 4 o'clock
in the afternoon the entire western horrizon
[sic] was backed with clouds. The growing
darkness gave the people the first warning of
the coming storm.
Shortly before the tornado reached the city,
funnels were observed to shoot down from the
clouds. The came the outburst.
Three funnels approached St. Louis while
lightning played among them and the thunder was
almost incessant. Men, women, horses and
everything were picked up and carried hundreds
of feet. So irrisistible [sic] was the cyclone
that some of the staunchest business blocks in
the city went down before it.
Massive stone fronts caved in and iron beams
were torn from their festenings [sic] and
carried away blocks as if they were feathers.
Not once during the passage of the funnels
through the city did they rise from the ground,
as is usual in the case of small towns.
It is now estimated that 300 were killed in this
city and 200 in East St. Louis. It is generally
thought that this estimate is under, rather than
over the number, as nearly that number of bodies
have already been recovered and the search of
the ruins has scarcely begun.
The property loss is placed anywhere between ten
and thirty millions. Among the prominent
buildings destroyed by the cyclone was the great
auditorum [sic] where the republican convention
was to be held. The East roof of this building
was blown off, and the entire interior of the
building was flooded by the rain which followed
the tornado. It is not believed that the
building can be repaired in time for the
Following is the list of the dead so far
TWENTY EMPLOYES of the LIGGETT & MEYERS Tobacco
TWENTY men employed in the St. Louis Wooden
Gutter and refirgerator [sic] factory.
JOHN B. HENDY.
JAMES DUNN, janitor of St. Paul's
CAPTAIN SEAMAN, WIFE and THREE of the crew of
the steamer Libbie Conger.
Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1896-05-30
Submitted & transcribed by Stu
Beitler Thank you,
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