Mazon, Verona, Kinsman, IL Tornado and Train Wreck, July 1903

Misfortunes in Grundy

On July 17, 1903 a cyclone struck this county. At Kinsman, Timothy Hart was instantly killed in the office of his elevator and five men with him were seriously injured when the building was reduced to splinters. Many buildings there were badly damaged and the property loss was heavy. Verona suffered some damage and two large barns on the Finch farm east of Verona were destroyed. West of town on the Viner farm the home and all buildings were demolished but no lives lost because all were away at the time. In 1863 a cyclone caused the death of Charles Viner on this same spot while he and his wife ran to seek shelter in the cellar. She reached the underground but as the house shifted on its foundation it caught him causing his death.

A Sante Fe freight train raced the storm from Streator but was held up at the Mazon Cemetary just as the wind struck lifting the train from the tracks and dumping half of it on either side of the rails. Tall elevators were damaged and at the Clark elevator F. M. Ostrander a carpenter, was making repairs in the office, when it was picked up and carried 20 rods with him inside it. This building contained a stove, a desk, and a heavy iron safe, and though nothing was left of the building but a heap of splinters, Mr. Ostrander was not badly hurt.

Mr. Fred Haage, living in Mazon south of the railroad was badly injured when his home was picked up, turned half around, tipped over and its roof jammed inside the next house where Miss Inez Keepers was also injured. Scarcely a building in this part of the village escaped heavy damage.

This is Grundy County: Its History From Beginning to 1968, Dixon, IL: Rogers Printing Company, 1968, page 294.