Avon, IL Tornado, Jun 1873

The Tornado in Illinois

One mile south of Avon, in Fulton county, the tornado commenced with great force and tore down one barn and injured another barn and house at that point. It then took an easterly course, tearing down or riddling everything in its course. The extent of the tornado was a half a mile wide from north to south, and four miles from west to east. Two houses were completely torn to pieces and the families came out unhurt. Mr. MAHOLLON was in his barn, which was upset; he got his leg broke and was injured otherwise but not dangerously. There were some fifteen buildings in the scope of the storm, and all but the house of Mr. HAICH were badly used up: several of them were fine houses and barns. Orchards, forest trees and fences were completely carried away. Trees were generally torn up by the roots, while fence-posts were broken off at the ground. Parties who have been over the line put down the damages at from $25,000 to $30,000.

The following is the telegraphic account of the storm near Monmouth:
“Parties have just returned from the scene of the disaster and describe it as equal to the fierce storm that passed through this country years ago, completely demolishing the town of Ellison, this, however, not striking a town, but taking everything in its course. The clouds came from the southwest and also from the northwest, and meeting at this place and bursting with all their fury, ad then, passing in an easterly direction, swept everything clean- houses, fences, trees, horses and cattle. Even the ground in places was torn up. Passing through a body of timber, all was completely destroyed. Even the stumps of the trees were torn out of the ground, roots and all. Trees two feet in diameter were twisted off and carried whirling through the air. Mr. CATON’s house was literally torn to pieces and scattered to the four winds. Mr. CATON and wife, and a woman and child living with them, were in the house and were carried about fifteen rods, and found among the demolished tree-tops, all more or less injured, though none seriously. Mr. VANDEVERE’s house was entirely destroyed. The family took refuge in the cellar. Mr. VADEVERE had an arm broken, one son killed and another badly injured. A large roller, seven feet long and two feet in diameter, of solid oak, was carried about twelve rods, striking the door that young VANDEVERE was holding and killing him. Mr. VANDEVERE had 100 hogs, and four or five horses, and almost all of his other stock killed. In all about fifteen houses were entirely destroyed with all their surroundings. The storm extended about five miles, being about half a mile in width. All the stock in the course of the storm was either killed or maimed. All agree that had such a storm struck a town it would have totally destroyed it, not leaving a shred of anything to have marked the spot.”

An Avon correspondent of the Peoria Transcript gives the following particulars relating to the great storm:
“Thursday last was a day long to be remembered by the citizens of this community, as being the date of the most destructive storm in this country. The country over which the tornado passed comprises a strip sixteen miles in length and a half a mile in width. Having visited the scene of the destruction, I have gathered the following: The first damage done was in Swan Township, Warren county, where it destroyed WILLIAM HEUSTON’s barn, fences, and a portion of his stock, loss $500; A.J. CAYTON loses his residence, barn and fences, which were leveled with the ground; also, had considerable stock injured. Another house on the same farm was unroofed, loss $2,000; WILLIAM JONES JR., loses his house, barn and fences, loss $700; A. VANDEVERE’s fine residence, barn and fences were totally destroyed. He also loses about fifty head of hogs, and some other stock, loss $10,000; CHARLES and GEORGE THOMAS’ large brick house badly shattered, barn unroofed, fences destroyed, etc., loss $1500; WILLIAM THOMAS loses in fences and stock $500; CHARLES PERRY had his house, barn, fences and stock destroyed, loss $3,000; Mr. CLAYCOMB lost four horses, $250; BUDD REED, house, barn and fences destroyed, stock killed, loss $1000; H.C. BRINKMYER loses house, barn and stock, loss $2,500; WM. MCMAHILL, barn unroofed, fences down, loss $500; H.H. and O.L. HEWITT fences and stock, $1,000; PEYTON A. VAUGHN, barn unroofed and fences destroyed, $1,000; JOEL NICHOLS, house, barn and fences all gone, $2,500. The above comprises the principal losers in Warren county. In Fulton county the first damage done was the tearing up pf the telegraph poles for the space of a quarter of a mile, and breaking the wires. The following persons also lost heavily, as noted: JOHN WOODS, fences and stock, $200; HEWITT & SANDERSON, fences and stock, $400; H.V.D. VOORHEES, fences and stock, $100; damage to cemetery about $50; JOHN VAN WINKLE, house barn and fences, $2,500; E.G. ROE, barn torn to pieces, house punched full of holes, $1,000; J.B. HATCH, two tenement houses, and a barn demolished and fences down, $2,000; C. ACKIERMAN, house ruined, barn destroyed, fences down and stock killed, $5,500; WILLIAM MCBRIDE, house unroofed, barn and fences destroyed, $2,000; RALPH JOHNSON, house ruined, barn and fences torn down, stock killed, $5,500; THOMAS POOL, house, barn and fences utterly destroyed, $1,000; ANDREW MUHOLLAND, house unroofed, barn unroofed and turned upside down, and fences destroyed, $1,200; R.S. GORHAM, house, barn and fences destroyed and stock killed, $3,000; D.H. GORHAM house slightly damaged, barn the same, fences down stock injured, loss, $500; JAMES STAGGS, house damaged and fences down, loss, $200; JOHN POOL, house, fences and stock damaged, loss, $300; O.S. WOODS, loses in fences, $200; S. TOMPKINS, fences, etc., $100; JOHN KUTCHLER, fences, about $100; GENERAL L.F. ROSS, fences, etc., about $200; There is besides the above, about $2,000 damages distributed among the farmers near the track of the storm.

The following is a list of the casualties:
A.J. CAYTON, head cut and spine injured, dangerous; MRS. C., arm and rib broken and internally injured, supposed to be fatal; ANGELINE BAKER and child, severely bruised; A. VANDEVERE, arm broken, badly bruised all over; LOVELL VANDEVERE, side, internally; GEORGE VANDEVERE, aged seventeen years, killed; MRS. VANDEVERE, an arm and leg badly bruised; CHARLES PERRY, bruised about the head and face, also injured internally; MRS. PERRY, head cut, body and limbs bruised, and internally injured; KEARNEY PERRY, eleven years old, head and face cut and internally injured, probably fatal; WM. PERRY, shoulder bruised. At BUDD REID’s there were five in the house, all slightly injured, and one was picked up about a hundred yards from the house; JAMES OGLE, working for NICHOLS, internally injured; J.W. SANDERS, slightly; F. POOL, slightly; R.S. JOHNSON, slightly; A. MAHOLLAND, leg broken, badly bruised and internally injured, probably fatal; A child had a sliver driven through its arm; H.C. BRINKMYER, cut over the eye and hurt internally. He was alone, having driven his wife and child away from home some ten days before the storm. JOE NICHOLS, slightly; MRS. NICHOLS, dangerously, having received internal injuries and a severe cut extending from the hip down to the knee, probably crippled for life; a child of MRS. N. had a leg broken.

“The course of the tornado was nearly east, having varied from that direction only two miles in the sixteen it traveled. The fields in its path are full of lumber and sticks, of all sizes and descriptions, a large part of which in falling had penetrated the ground to a depth of from one to two feet. Rails, fence boards, etc., were driven through cattle and hogs as well as horses. Wagons were torn to pieces in some instances and carried a quarter of a mile. A feather bed was found over two miles from home. Plows, harrows and other implements were scattered promiscuously over the fields, hardly one of which is whole.

“The aggregate amount of damage in three townships through which the storm passed will exceed $50,000.

Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, IL 5 Jun 1873