Carlinville, IL Tornado, Apr 1860

The Hurricane at Carlinville-Great Destruction of Property.

[Correspondence of the St. Louis Republican.]

Carlinville, Ill., April 17, 1860--This city and section of country was visited on yesterday evening, about six o’clock, by one of the most terrific storms that was ever experienced in this country. There seemed to be two distinct currents of air, both of which came in contact when about over this village, creating a most terrific and appalling scene. A number of houses were blown down and roofs by the quantity were torn from dwellings, storehouses and barns, and carried to an incredible distance.

The roof of the Protestant Lutheran Church was blown some distance, and the walls somewhat injured. A dwelling house in the west part of town was demolished by a roof from a large store house, the roof having been carried about fifty yards, striking the top of the dwelling, crushing it nearly level with the earth. The family narrowly escaped with their lives--one child was badly hurt in making its escape from the building. A roof from a dwelling was seen flying through the air, at an angle of 200 feet, supposed to have been carried about a mile and a half. One large two story frame house was twisted around, making it almost a total wreck.

Stock was killed in every direction. Consternation was seated upon every countenance of the inhabitants. Trees, fences, brick chimneys, etc., could have been seen flying in every direction. A small child was carried at two different times quite a distance in the air, but was not seriously injured. It was blown from off a porch where it was standing. Small outhouses went tumbling about as if their weight did not exceed that of a feather. A man by the name of Love, while plowing, was instantly killed by lightning. We heard of another that was plowing, and had both of his cattle killed, one by the lightning, and the other by the falling of a tree; the driver was uninjured.

It is almost impossible to give you a correct idea of the terror of the tornado, and the damage done. The extent of property destroyed will amount to thousands. Our village presents this morning a most “woe-begone” appearance, One or two families have been turned out of doors, and left destitute except of what they wore upon their backs. The roads leading through the timber were this morning impassable, the falling timber obstructing them. The wind at intervals formed whirlwinds, and wherever they struck destruction was the result.

The hardest of the storm passed southwardly, and as yet we have no tidings of the extent of the damage, but it must have been greater than just in this neighborhood..

The tornado lasted about thirty minutes. Very little rain accompanied the wind. The lightning was intense, and the thunder constantly rumbled in the heavens. Our oldest inhabitants do no recollect of a more terrific scene since their settlement upon these broad prairies.

We hear of no one killed by the hurricane, but a number injured, and hundreds narrowly escaping with their lives.

Chicago Press and Tribune, 23 Apr 1860